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by Vaughanie  

With thanks to my mate Bernard Long


With everybody's favourite muscle-feeler back out on the streets it has reminded me of the urban myth/legend of the Green Jackets. Anybody who was a school kid in the early 70's in Wigan (and probably all over Lancashire) could tell you rumour and word of mouth created a legend in our town that made the Blair Witch legend appear about as scary as Watford fans.


Like every other school in town, my school Upholland Grammar, lived in terror of being paid a visit by the GREEN JACKETS. In an age when going on the rampage in town centres was common practice amongst football hoolies- these guys were said to go on the rampage in schools. They were rumoured to be a gang of black guys from Liverpool who wore a uniform that included a green coat and one white glove and drove around in a removal van.


At playtime we passed on the latest rumours we'd heard. About how they descended on a school, terrorised the kids and teachers beating up who ever they wished. They were even said to have carved "Happy Birthday" on one lad's back with a razor blade.


They spread so much fear that that the Wigan Observer went as far as printing a front-page story denying they existed - complete with an artists impression of what a member would look like.


At the time I was in the 2nd year and they were definitely turning up there. Rumours had been rife for weeks but it was soon confirmed that they were turning up one Friday night when we had a school disco for just our year. With the adrenaline flowing I and the rest of my mob polished our Comos and armed ourselves with whatever was handy. As the night went on we forsook our normal pastime of snogging the girls and kept our eye open for the dreaded Green Jackets. It was probably about 8.00pm when the cry went out "The Green Jackets are here - across the field". And there they were along with white van. Goodness knows why but about 50 of us armed ourselves and charged across the field. Now if anyone knows the geography of Upholland Grammar (now Winstanley College ) will realise this involved a sprint of about 100 yards. As we approached them they didn't move and we charged into them. As I said if anybody knows the geography of the place they will also know that at the top of the school field was the home of 1st Orrell Scouts and Cubs and yes we'd just steamed into about 20 petrified scouts in their green(ish) uniform. We were then chased back by two dodgy looking scout leaders and three teachers.

I'm sorry to say they never turned up and we went back to the far more pleasurable pastime of kissing the girls.



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