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Glory Days
Glory Days

Way Back Then - Part 4

By: Chris Smith
Date: 05/12/2010 (Last updated: 13/03/2011)

I CAN'T believe I was looking forward to the 1983/4 season after the dross of the previous campaign. However, hope springs eternal and after a nice sunny summer and a few quid in the bin thanks to a summer job at Salvesens which was to last 2½ years, the horrors of the last campaign were consigned (I hoped) to the dustbin.

It could also be the first season in which I would realistically be able to see all of the home games. No more university either and all the "less than" feeling tied up with that.

It was also good to be working with Town fans, a new experience. Whilst I had been away, there had been some sort of kudos (in my mind at least) in following a relatively unpopular team but at the end, it got a bit wearing. Whilst not all the folk I worked with supported Town, there wasn't an antipathy or downright piss-take of them either. This differs from what I have heard around Town today. Arnie and Ollie supported Arsenal but Arnie was a regular at Blundell Park and would travel to some away games. Biffa went to a lot of the Man Ure games but could claim to have been nicked when we played at home to Sheffield United in 1980 for invading the pitch. He was also a great laugh at away games. However, plenty of us were Town fans in our own right including one of the managers and there was some friendly rivalry with a H*ll City supporting supervisor. Another supervisor had actually gone to Essex University like me although he was more inclined to Man City. I can't remember if they were at Salvoes when I started there, but Little Chris and Pete were stalwarts who I still see at games although they slum it in the Lower Carlsberg.

I'd been on the Old King Cole (sorry about the mockney rhyming slang, but due to my dad coming from the smoke, I'm half cockney myself. I didn't tell you earlier in case you didn't like me) for a few weeks and took a summer job earmarked for my brother after a bit of smart thinking and a phone call from my mum whilst I was sleeping off a cider or something. I reported to Ladysmith Road the next day and did a twelve hour day having joined up in time for the pea season. My first job was clearing the shite off the floor and there would be a lot of it coming off the production lines. I thought I was reasonably fit when I started but ached like **** for a few weeks whilst my muscles grew muscles. I the ended up packing endless bags of cauliflower into boxes and stacking them onto pallets which I soon found I could do in a state of near catatonia it was that boring. I was starting to become quite strong though and then ended up knocking various half ton pallets of frozen veg into hoppers at the start of the process. Despite it being a complete waste of a degree, beggars couldn't be choosers in that job market and there was a certain satisfaction to be gained in watching the muscle pile on. I wasn't paying tax apart from that awful emergency version briefly whilst your tax code is sorted out.

The good thing about the job was that you could have an enormous calorific intake with impunity. It also helped work up a thirst and if you did overindulge the night before, it normally only took about an hour to sweat out the hangover. An even bigger Chris and I went into The Honest Lawyer after a particularly warm twelve hour shift and ordered pints of mild and cider respectively. When the barmaid turned round to give us our change we asked for the same again having downed them in one. I think we could have got them for free as she was convinced we had spilled them.

I'd actually perfected the art of downing ice cold Dry Blackthorn in one earlier in the year on a trip back to Grimsby. This is one of my favourite stories about the spontaneous kindnesses that come from the folk of GY. I had a severe hangover having paid £2 at a Maths Department wine do where I had drunk as much as I could, all free, and then given a presentation on Marxian economics the next morning with the London Philharmonic having a particularly tuneless practice session at full volume in my head. Anyway, I'm looking to get a sherbet before getting on the mid afternoon service from Kings Cross and a bloke with a Spar carrier bag asks if I know where a drink can be procured from. I said I knew a beer off and he asked me if I could get some for him. Sure, I said, and he opens the bag which is full of money and offered to buy mine as well, despite my protestations and that I was getting a four pack minimum. he'd been skippering a Spanish trawler and we had a cracking journey up with me tasked to get the refills. We had a connection at Newark and enough time for a revitalised me to run to The Bowling Green for more off sales prior to a farewell drink at the Yarborough Vaults. When he downed his pint in one, I took a look at my cider and followed suit. He even invited me to his daughter’s wedding the next day. Absolutely brilliant and I can't think of another town where another inhabitant would pay for an impromptu session with someone they've never met. I've gone off track again haven't I? I hope it brings out how I felt nicely at ease with my roots, possibly more so than at any other time.

Continued in Part 5

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