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Your Memories Start With ITV  

By Bernie Bostik


That's what ITV have been spouting for the past week or so,'Your memories start with ITV' is the other line, then they peddle that advert out, the one were they go back in time showing people sat in front of the TV, watching England's greatest moments from Gordon Bank's save against Pele through to Beckham tugging on his jersey after his pen against the Argies, and It got me thinking, where was I when all this was happening? Because I certainly wasn't sat at home on the couch watching bloody ITV. Not since being a kid anyway, were I would avidly watch the World Cup and Euros with my father. This is the first major football tournament since Mexico 86 were I will actually be sitting down in-front of the telly being a proper armchair supporter, just like the rest of the millions all over the World; no jostling at the bar to get a warm pint, no queuing for a Jeff Hurst, just sat contentedly enjoying one of the biggest spectacles this planet has to offer. And you know what I am dead excited. 

It's just like being a kid again. The world cup chart is taped to the wall, the sweep has been organised between the lads (I've got the Argies and Sweden ), I have a lump of pollen the size of me fist , umpteen bottles of Faustino in the wine rack and the England slam sticks have been purchased from JJB. They have been bought for one reason and one reason only, so I can do me birds head in by banging them together whilst singing 'da da dadada da da da da....ENGLAND' every few minutes until she cannot take any more and retires to the bedroom with the baby in tow to watch Emmerdale, thus freeing me up to smoke in the front room instead of going out on the balcony for a chong. So let my memories begin and let’s look back and see where I was and what I was up to when the major football tournaments were taking place. 


West Germany 88 - Going off my nut on LSD and pot in Pikey's bedroom as we tried to muster up a bit of a band, which included Pikey on lead guitar- the only one out of us who could actually play anything, Tez on a cheap Casio organ and me supplying the percussion section on a variety of objects but mostly just twatting a tambourine with a drumstick. That was until Pikey told me to pipe down as he started one of his 20 minute solo's - which was more a type of medley of Jeff Beck, Clapton, Joe Satriani, Led Zep, Beefheart and Zappa songs. We called ourselves Doley's on Rolly's, and don't ask me to tell you anything about how England got on because I haven't the foggiest.  


Italia 90’ - Going off my nut on every drug known to man - apart from crack, smack and prozac - in Legends in Warrington as the excellent Mike Woods & Noggy* spun the sounds in that mad little DJ box they use to operate from not far from the madding crowd .They were the Queen bees swarmed by us busy worker bee's, as we waited on command for them to play that floor slamming romper stomper of a tune so we could buzz off around the dance floor amid the smoke and strobes in our own cosmic disco garden. And I remember nothing about the World Cup that summer. I did wear the Italy away top to legends a couple of times though (a rather snazzy white Diadora effort) until it ended up with the inevitable pin hole burns, one of them the size of a ten pence piece.

And I was sporting a Toto Schilacci type scowl at the time. The reason for the scowl if you will let me digress a little bit. Back then in them crazy daze I was mixing a lot of LSD with MDMA, because for me it was all about just getting right off it and fuck all the love and lets hug everybody. Fuck that, I wanted to be left alone to go completely loco in my own little bubble in the middle of the dance floor and god help any happy hands in the air raver who dared to come near. They would get my I'm-off-my-nut-and-to-twizzled-to-talk-Schilacci-scowl, which seemed to do the trick. You see the reason for wanting to be left alone in my own little bubble was; every time the strobe started going 10 to the dozen I use to get transported into this wondrous E/LSD type trance/dream were Del-Boy and Rodney would appear on the dance floor next to me saying things like 'Who dares wins Bernie my old boy' and 'This time next year Bernie we're going to be Millionaires'. It sounds mad and some of my friends use to think I was bonkers when I tried telling them on a few occasions, and one of them even suggested going to see the quack. 

But I didn't need no Doctor Melfi type to tell me I was cracking up. I done my own diagnosis and just put it down to watching religiously every Only Fools and Horses episode that I had on video, in my box bedroom at my mum and dads house, during the inevitable three day come down psychosis, after a weekend of proper debauchery to the brain. The OFAH episodes were only viewed after the staunch arm aching five hour wanking session that is, watching porn (so on that diagnosis, why didn't Nina Hartley or Ginger Lynne pay me a visit on the dance floor then?...weird!). Anyway enough about my box bedroom antics and back to the job in hand. So you can see by the state of my mind that football held no sway during this summer as it was E for me not E for England .

* Mike Woods and Noggy are still putting together some rather spiffing re-union nights from what I've been reading on www.lovelegends.com  



Sweden 92’ - I have no recognition of this tournament at all and I cannot even remember if England took part. I must have been working in a hotel in London from the dates and I was hanging around with a load of Italian housekeepers who worked at the hotel around this time. They had just discovered MDMA and I had the pleasure of escorting them out on their weekends across London . We always use to go to the SW1 in Victoria it seemed to be bouncing at the time. One night from that summer which is firmly logged in my ever so quickly diminishing memory banks (them drugs deffo take there toll) is one were me and three of the lads shared a big bag of extra potent smarties and a podium with six dark haired Mediterranean Italian stunners and with no acid to douse my adrenaline, testosterone loved-up high, I was like a dog with two dicks. Now that I'd found love what was I gonna do? I'll tell you what I was gonna do, I was going to perform a riveting hip shaking get down with the horny belissimo baby's then bang the arse off one of them till I twang me banjo string...that's what!  



USA 94’ - Going off ones nut on black label Smirnoff and bugle, in a house in Kenton London were I was living with a few lads who were up to no good. Two of them had fucked off to the States for the World Cup and left me and little Dave at home to hold the fort. Dave was a little upset his mates had done one, that much upset he went straight out a blew 5 grand on the exies on the biggest telly comet had to offer and a swimming pool for the back garden (a 4ft deep 18ft wide put together yourself thingy, that took 48hrs to fill. We had purchased it from an advert in the Standard and when we got to the address to pick it up - a fuck off big house in Surrey - some bird who had a bit of Dorian from Birds of a Feather about her but with chunkier thighs answered the door in just a Bikini - I say go, she say yes. Dim the lights, you can guess the rest! So me and Little Dave spent the World Cup floating on a couple of lilo's sipping strong liquor while cheering on Brazil , on a precariously placed monster of a telly in the back-garden.  



Euro 96’ - I spent this summer living above my mates boozer (Empress of Russia) in the Angel London. I never got to any games as I was knee deep in antipodeon trollops all vying for me attention at the time. Fran who ran the boozer had a strict policy when it came to recruiting staff for the live-in bar job, they had to be female and they had to fuck, otherwise it was fuck off. Fran use to fire right in there on the first night and if he got knocked back guaranteed the bird would only last a couple of days on the job. Me and Dreamy (Irish kid looked the spit of him out of D:REAM) were a little more subtle. 

The first night was spent filling the fillies with tales of witchcraft, ghouls and other haunting stories about things that go bump in the night like the pubs resident ghost (come on, every pub has one!). Then later on as the girl slept soundly in the bedroom next door to ours, we would get out our trusty mop handle and Dreamy would climb out of the window and shuffle along the ledge so he could reach over and tap and scrape the girls bedroom window next door using the mop handle. Till about 60% of the time the girls would come running into our bedroom telling us that they can hear strange noises. With a comforting arm around the shoulder and a 'you can stay in here tonight love' they were like lambs to the slaughter and believe me a few of them got a proper butchering. One South African honey pot, who we had a proper set too with, which ended up with me getting bored after copious amounts of copulating positions including DP's, ATM's and other devilish sadistic manoeuvres, I went and got my head down in her bedroom and left Dreamy to finish the job off. Only to return a few hours later with a full bladder and a Liverpool scarf tied around my head (don't ask me why) were I participated in taking the most satisfying lag ever all over the South Africans face until she woke up.  

The boozer was ramode all the way through the tournament and there was a carnival atmosphere around London that summer. There were plenty of knobs around though as you only have to see the footage from Trafalgar Square after England got knocked out to justify this. I bumped into a gang of these knobs down Upper Street after the Spanish game when I was confronted by them in a drunken haze belting out 'EN-GER-LAND' and they were a little dumb founded that I wasn't joining in with their Burberry clad bulldog bravado. When they started questioning my loyalty to Queen and country I played dumb and started to reply in my pigeon Spanish, just for a laugh 'No comprendi senyour' On hearing this the baying mob was baying for my Rioja coloured blood and they started legging me. They legged me until I couldn't run another step due to the fact that I was laughing to much, when they caught up with me and found out I was English they were a little bit displeased , but the offer of a round of free drinks back at the Empress turned them around. They stayed at the pub just long enough for me and Fran to fleece them out of all there hard earned cash playing killer pool.  



France 98’ - I spent most of my time in Paris giving my brother-in-law a hand who was over there working the tickets. We paced the Champs Elysee which had become a sort of stock exchange for touts with gangs of scouse/manc/cockney spiv's trading toe to toe with Japanese tour operators (who didn't receive their allocation of tickets from FIFA and whose tickets were vastly becoming the tournaments big earners) Yankee scalpers each-one with there gleaming brilliant white smiles with added extra brightness due to the backdrop of a California bronzie, FIFA representatives on the take, wannabe German touts badly dressed in badge emblazoned denim waistcoats and the ordinary man on the street Frenchman who had received a rather large quantity of tickets through a kind of state lottery.  

One match Jamaica v Croatia at the Stade Felix Bollaert in Lens (a town about the size of Hough Green ) the yokels turned up in numbers all clutching the golden tickets thinking they were about to make a killing but when they were confronted by a baying mob of English grafters and politely told to fuck off and stop asking such inflated prices, they realised this wasn't going to be the case. With a kind of Mexican stand off ensuing for about an hour. But with just over another hour to kick off the locals were getting restless. They began to off load quickly and for any profit they could get. The English lads snapped them up then got to work on the swelling throngs - which was predominately made up of black English youths. And was making its way towards all the touts who were stationed at a set of gates to a small park just in-front of the stadium which was at the end of the only street leading to the ground. My brother-in-law said he had never seen anything as busy in such a short space of time in his life - and he was the Daddio when it came to concerts, football games, festivals anything that involved a crowd, tickets and an earner he was there...believe me.  

It was fun to watch him and the rest of the English lads apply their trade, in the 80's these lads would have been slicing each-other up, but here they were all getting on great, helping each-other out watching each-others back and at the end of a busy shift sharing a few beers as they hit the town together. Work hard - play hard is I believe one of the rules a tout on tour must abide by. The closest I came to seeing an England game was when two tickets for the Argie game came into my hands that I had swapped for two Holland v Belgium with a couple of Belgian looking nonce's - you know the type thin muzzy, greasy hair and bad shoes. The tickets quickly left my hands though as I sold them on for 15 hundred quid for the pair. I never did get to see any games that world cup, I was trying to keep hold of an 'oddie' for the Jamaica Croatia game but the b-i-l found a punter for it as I was just about to enter the turnstile.  


Holland/Belgium 2000 - I was living in Holland at the time so this was on my own doorstep and I managed to break my duck and get in a few England games. Against Portugal the gang spent the day in a Chinese restaurant over looking the square in Eindhoven , watching the mingland fans entertain themselves on weak beer while we enjoyed a mighty fine Chardonnay. I phoned my b-i-l who joined us for a quick won ton noodle before he got back on the hoof. The game was shite the night out shite. The game against Germany at Charleroi turned out to be a better venture. The day started in some hotel near the ground were the lads tucked into some buffet meant for corporate VIP's and ended up in the early hours in Brussels red light district all high on tablets, and I didn't see a piece of garden furniture all day long. My abiding memory of this Euro's wasn't Shearers header against Germany thus enabling England to beat Germany in a major tournament since I don't know when, it was a gang of scousers in Amsterdam all wild on the magic going around picking up small cars and dumping them in the canals.  


Japan 2002- Oh were do I begin with Japan ? It was a spur of the moment thing - I only decided the day before that I was going- but I'm dam glad I said yes and jumped on board because this trip had everything. From just walking up-to grounds ticketless and gaining entrance with the merest hint of spiel (See the infamous Mikey Williams 'I took my tickets out the envelope and they blew away in the wind' patter on the onemanonegoal dvd - which gained him a couple of VIP seats for the game) to running amok amongst all the FA dignitaries and players wife's in the VIP lounge after the Nigeria game were we drank the bar dry and -after getting thrown out - took command of a load of limos that were meant for the players wife's and got saved by a certain Mr Beckham who told the English security to let us go just before they were about to shop us to the Jap plod.  

Anyone who went will tell you Japan was special. The place, the people, the atmosphere. I am not old enough to be able to reminisce about the good old days (late 70's early 80's) when the lads ran ragged all over Europe lifting everything that wasn't nailed down, but Japan was on a par with it a few of the Euro veterans were saying. The day of the Argie game in Sapporo I found myself with a gang of grafters who were pilfering full sets of golf clubs from golf shops then walking straight into the nearest DHL office to ship them home. You would think the lads were going on holiday the way some of them were entering the grounds inundated with bags full of booty. I had a ticket for the game but after slipping into the ground without having a portion of it ripped off, I thought I would try and go and pass it on to a more deserving England fan than myself (obviously for a few quid like). I spied a timid female steward and explained my circumstance to her 'I had entered the stadium with my friends ticket by mistake and he was waiting outside the ground for me.' I was then escorted outside the ground by the steward to look for my friend (these Japanese stewards were ever so helpful) I then looked around for the nearest English fans looking for a ticket (there was hundreds to choose from) and called a couple over , we then started haggling over the price blatantly in front of the girl until we come to an agreement and and one of the lucky fans got escorted back into the ground with me. Once inside I got the money off him and left him with the still intact ticket and instructions on how to try and bunk his mate in.  

The Argie game itself wasn't that special but the night out after ranks as one of my most memorable. It started off back at the hotel bar sharing drinks with Ossie Ardilles he had us all in stitches as the lads kept pestering him to do his 'win the cup for Tottenham' line from that Spurs FA cup song. Fatboy Slim popped his head in the bar with a camera crew on board but he quickly retreated to the safety of his room when the lads started a rendition of ' we all agree John Kelly is better than Norman .' We then moved to a small bar in the centre of the city which was four floors up in a lift. All the bars seemed to be like this, you never got any bars that were on street level they seemed to be hidden away a couple of floors up. Well this bar was as big as a sandwich box and in it was squeezed about 30 scousers, 15 cockneys, 10 Mancs and a handful of Stockport who were bizarrely all wearing Japanese policemen's hats that they had somehow snaffled. Each one in this den of iniquity was a tout, grafter or an up-to-no-gooder. The highlight of the night was Rory the blue giving us a hearty rendition of an old Everton song from 85 that goes to the tune of Alouette, but he rejigged it using the current England teams names subs an all, it went on for about an hour with all of us joining in on the chorus. The night finished with 15 of us getting stuck in the lift for a couple of hours which came to a grinding halt after we were all bouncing up and down singing the tune to Tom Harks-The Piranhas. And when we were set free there was a mad press pack involving three news cameras waiting for 'the cwazy engwish hoowigans' to emerge from the broken lift.  

Unfortunately, I could only stay for the group games due to other commitments, but the lads who stayed kept waltzing into every game with little resistance including the final, when looking like a load of physios, trainers and subs off the Brazil bench (each-one of them head to toe in Brazil trackies) and with all kinds of passes around there necks they breezed past security.  


Portugal 2004 - After Japan Portugal was a big let down. After bunking through passport control at Lisbon airport ( I couldn't be bothered hanging around in the queues , due to all the extra security brought in for the influx of English louts) I made my way in a taxi to a little Holiday resort a few clicks outside the city, were the lads were holed up in a Hotel. I managed to get to the opening game Portugal v (surprise winners of the tournament) Greece in Porto . My next game was England France which was shite and the night out even worse...well if you can call it a night out. After the game in the hotel bar the barman called a halt to the proceedings when he got on the blower to the plod because someone had knocked over a table of drinks. Within 10 minutes the riot squad arrived, batons at the ready and cleared the bar. That was it for me the carnival was over and I caught a flight home the next day, and had a surprise touch in the airport, when they had a power cut. Everything was pitched in darkness but I carried on doing a bit of duty free shopping (free being the operative word). The lads moved down to a couple of rented villas on the Algarve to carry on the party. They did have a bit of bother one night when they got in a barney with a few Russian gangster types in some restaurant but 'Big Ed' saved the day and sparked four of the Dolph Lungdren'esque bruisers flat out , while 'Curly' hid under the table (Eds own words, not mine).


Germany 2006 - I will be busy sat at home on the couch chonging my brains out, that is unless England get to the final then it will be a short Lancaster Bomber ride over to Germany just in time to witness Steven Gerrard thundering in a twenty yard pile driver after a nod down off 'krazy legs' Crouch who had received the forty yard pinged ball from Carragher in the last minute of injury time against Germany. Well it might not quite go according to plan but you have to be there just in case don't you?






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