Aged 11, I was all set to attend my first professional game — Arsenal versus Liverpool at Highbury — together with an Israeli schoolfriend from Mathilda Marks-Kennedy School, then in Child’s Hill, and his father.
I hardly slept the previous night and was oozing with excitement on the morning of the match when the phone rang at about 10am. “I’m really sorry but we’re unable to go as Ilad is poorly,” his dad told my mum in badly broken English.
I was devastated, my dreams crushed. My amazing mum was having none of it as the tears started running down my face. “Right, get ready, I’m taking you to the game,” she cried.
Before you knew it we were in the back of a London taxi Arsenal bound. The driver was a real life-saver in my eyes and dropped us right outside the ground. We arrived just in time to see Liverpool get off the team bus. Now brimming with excitement, I remember being immersed by the pre-match atmosphere and it was here I purchased my first football scarf.
The match passed like a blur, although I will never forget ‘king’ Kenny Dalglish curling one into the top corner and Ian Rush running Arsenal ragged. More than 50,000 spectators were treated to a real master class that day, winning 3-1.
My dear mum has retained hero status ever since. She certainly chose the right encounter as my late father, who hated big crowds, selected a tedious goalless draw between England and Northern Ireland at Wembley as his one and only game.
* Hendon United Sports Club will be looking to finish the weekend top of the MGBSFL Premier Division. They visit North London Raiders who look so much stronger with Liron Mannie back in the team. All eyes will be on NLR goalkeeper Scott Shear, a recent arrival from Redbridge Jewish Care, to see how he fares on the big stage.
* Best wishes to the recently-engaged Alex Bloch who suffered a nasty injury to his ACL ligament in the recent match between NL Raiders and Brady Maccabi.