Monday, 19 November 2007

He played for West Ham, honest!

When I was around seven years old, this bloke moved in next door to us. He looked over the fence at me and my friend kicking a ball around in the garden.
"I used to play for West Ham you know" he remarked casually before continuing to rake his lawn.
I didn't give a crap, but my friend asked what his name was. I can't remember exactly what his name was, probably something football formulaic like Jimmy Hardacre, Alf Rodgerstone or Billy Bignuts. In retrospect I have to admit he did carry himself as a failed 1970's footballer. Mullett, lambchop sideburns, medallion, vein ridden pickled red nose, but you don't notice those details when you're seven.
So we went inside and asked my dad whether he'd heard of Alf Rodgerstone (or whatever his name was), he said no, never heard of him.
So we went back outside and proceeded to crush this mans dignity as only seven year olds can do.
Me : "My dads never heard of you."
Alf : "But I have played for West Ham"
Me : "If you played for West Ham, why don't you live in a mansion then? Why are you living near Manor House?"
Alf : "I got injured"
At this point Alf was almost in tears, his rake had dropped to the floor and his eyes welled up. I saw his wifes sad face despairingly sway from side to side as she dried the cups from the inside of his kitchen window.
My friend, who wasn't as articulate as me, then delivered the classic line. His statement was a sock filled with snooker balls compared to my rapier like precision questions.
"If you did play for West Ham, you must have been shit."
Alf Rodgerstone moved out of the area shortly afterwards.

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