Everyone has their favourite chippy – and indeed their favourite footballers. No Ian Crook link intended.
My old boy was a typical man of his era in that as much as he “loved” my mother there were (many) times he couldn’t wait to escape from her.
Very early one sunny morning he said “come on boy”, bundled me and the Boxer dog into the Austin 1100 and made the 20-mile journey to sunny Sarfend on Sea. It was when The Beatles were in their infancy; around 1965. No seat belts, he had his Police warrant card and didn’t worry about consuming a few pints of what he fancied. He wasn’t daft, but didn’t need to be too careful. No breathalyser then.
There was a trip on the green and cream electric train, a failed attempt at beach fishing, watching Dad losing his temper on the slot machines (and my helping to make it worse for him by winning a few coins on the penny falls while he couldn’t work out the “corrected” rifling on the pellet guns and remonstrating with the stallholder), some time with a football on the beach, an ice cream and then….. what was probably the most wonderful fish and chip meal of my life.
Southend boasted a department store called Keddies, a kind of 1960s take on Jarrolds I guess. There was my Dad, me and the bloody dog (you could take dogs into most eating places then) sat in this posh dining room with white tablecloths. Breaded plaice, a few chips and peas for me. As a youngster I hated the skin on the fish, so Stormy the dog filled it’s unbooted paws. I’ve rarely been so happy in my life as that day. Eight-year-olds are easily pleased when they’re made to feel grown up. Even today I reckon.
But this nostalgic recollection made me think. Could that wonderful day ever be so successfully re-experienced?
And hereby the link from plaice to place (I know, that was truly awful).
I once went to a reserve match (they did exist historically, honestly) where Marc Libbra scored the perfect hat-trick (left foot, right foot, header). I remember an old Division One game with Lee Power taking a ball on his shoulder, cutting in and blasting it home.
Recalling Ade Akinbyi and dear old Jamie Cureton as potentially the next best thing as a striker partnership is something I might not be alone in looking back on.
Robert Eagle, Victor Segura (please don’t laugh, he wasn’t that bad), Dani Ayala, John O’Neill who was Wimbledoned out of the game. Forever.
Chris Sutton, Craig Bellamy, Ashley Ward and Jon Newsome who were fire-sold at their peak.
Tom Adeyemi, Korey Smith, David Smith. Henrik Mortensen.
Cameron McGeehan, Jed Steer, Ben Wyatt.
Neale Fenn, Paul Dalglish.
There are many other NCFC players in this category I have long forgotten but the ones I have mentioned had one thing in common.
They had that mayfly-like ability to light the old place up and burn brightly while they were here, which was often not long enough.
Just as I well know that 50 years on I’d never enjoy a repeat of that meal with Dad and the dog as much as I did then, I’m equally sure I would feel exactly the same about the players I mentioned. They all brought joy in their day, but… oh well, sometimes I just don’t know.
Please let us know if you can recall players of a similar ilk that appealed to you in a like fashion.
And although MFW doesn’t do advertising (yet) and nobody will ever equal my hour at Keddies, my favourite chippies are the Grosvenor in the City, Plattens in Wells and Mary Jane’s in Cromer. *Many other fish bars are very definitely available – and they’re all just fine if you’re starving and they let you do your own salt ‘n’ vinegar.
In the spirit of a “dead weekend” I’ll pose an MFW question for all readers: how many Welsh internationals have been capped while playing for Norwich City? And can you name them? (It’s not as easy as I thought and I’m still not convinced I can answer the question 100 per cent correctly myself, tbh).