Well done, Luther!
It was a dark and stormy night, as Edward Bulwer-Lytton famously said. I jumped on my Moto Guzzi 1,000cc motorbike and zoomed off to Exeter at 100mph, downed five pints of lager and a vindaloo curry as you do, and off to the match. It was an FA Cup night!
City were entertaining Watford and I knew it was going to be a “big one” – but I didn’t expect the whole world and his wife to come.
Queues everywhere. A high police presence too. Excitement was in the air! But would we get inside before the start? No.
As I stood outside impatiently waiting to get into the ground I was listening to the “oohs” and “aahs” of the supporters as they roared on their respective teams.
Suddenly there was a strange, unpleasant sound.
Luther Blissett, Watford’s black centre-forward, had got hold of the ball.
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His response? He raced up to the City end and cracked in a superb goal. One-nil to Watford and I’m still outside!
When we got on to the terraces the atmosphere was electric. So was the football. We cheered our team on and taunted the Watford fans with the usual “Come on over here if you think you’re hard enough”. Fortunately, no one did.
This was what “the lads” did in the 70s. Jolly bad form, of course, but really only the brash badinage of the yobs on the terraces – which is what we were, the flame of youth burning bright.
The match ebbed and flowed from end to end. Lots of cracking shots on target, but sadly no more goals to be seen.
As we streamed from the ground I knew I’d seen one of the greatest football matches of my life. I went through the game in my head, remembering the racist chants and the loutish taunts to the away fans, who gave as good as they got. It was an exciting match, but Watford had won 1-0.
I never saw the goal, we were out of the cup, and all I could think was ... Well done, Luther.