By James Metcalf
The Year was 1993 September 1st. Myself (aged 19 at the time) and 2 girls or a similar age, that I was friends with at the time decided to go to Old Trafford on a Wednesday night. We took the Official supporters coaches, which happens to be the only time I’ve done that. The traffic around Manchester was terrible and by the time we got into the ground the game was 5 minutes old and we were already 1-0 down. Ludo had been beaten by Lee Sharpe I think. The game was fairly predictable and we lost 3-0. Cantona and Bruce bagged the other goals.
Anyway, we walked out of the ground after and followed a large group of West Ham fans to where we thought the coaches were parked. We walked for ages before realizing that the fans we were following were heading to their cars. So, we turned around and walked back only to be told that the coaches were moved on by the police and couldn’t wait any longer for us. Short of cash and any other ideas, we headed to where the Team coach was parked.
By this time the players were just about all on and Billy Bonds was standing by the doors of the coach.
I believe my exact words were ‘Billy, Mate, we’ve been left behind by the coaches and have no way to get home’. Billy told the 3 of us to hold on and went on to the coach to speak to someone else.
A few minutes later, Harry Redknapp comes down and says ‘You sure there’s no other way home for you?’ After a short discussion he tells us to get on the coach!! I couldn’t believe this was happening!
As we got on, the board members were at the front, the senior players like Alvin Martin and Tony Gale were to the other side.
Just past the kitchen (and the waiters) were a set of seats with small screens built in above. We were lucky enough to sit around a table with Mark Robson who was a total star, a West Ham man through and through. I remeber him tucking into a bowl of Chilli Con Carne and telling us he lived in Beckton!
Ludo was playing cards with Keith Rowland and Matty Holmes. Down the back was the roudy lot, Martin Allen, Colin Foster, Ian Bishop, Morley and so on. One of them chucked their dirty pants at the girls, who barely spoke the whole way home. I think they were just so shocked by what was happening.
The only player not on the coach was Julian Dicks. Robson told us he was driving back to Bristol that night. Certainly one of the greatest nights of my life…..
Have you got a tale of meeting a West Ham player? If so, email it to me and I’ll publish it on the site at some point.