In the red corner: Liverpool
In the blue corner: Chelsea
Guest starring: Hulk Hogan
It was not a good week leading up to the weekend with myself having a touch of the old stomach upset – won’t go into detail but think water and bottom and you might be close (hope it’s not lunch time).
Frantic plans were made that left the camp bit in the balance. We can always (well I can) drive back home after the game on Sunday instead of camping and messages were exchanged between the gang just in case.
Picked AJ (a good friend) up at the station on Saturday morning and bless him he had flowers and chocolates for my Mrs not knowing plans had changed and he was now staying at my Mum’s. The chocolates went down a treat though.
Saturday was a game day for us amateur footballers in the shape of our own Community Shield trophy game, that due to my illness I selected my brother in the then Pepe Reina role (replacing myself), with my lad at centre half in the Carragher role. AJ was drafted in (even though he thinks of himself as the new Ian Rush) for line running duties and all the stick that goes with it.
Match goes well and only a late equaliser for the opposition denies us a 2-1 victory. On to pens – My lad volunteers for the 1st – Centre halves taking pens not a good idea – top corner and a good start. Brother makes a super save to keep it at 1-0 and we duly despatch all our 5 pens to take the trophy.
Back the local for a shandy or 2 (me still not drinking yet) and leave brother and AJ in the boozer and off home. Brother assures me just a quiet one and early home for AJ and himself before the long drive south in the morning.
And now the good news, I’m passed fit for the Sunday by having my 1st, how can I say this, stiff shit for 5 days, so text all the Camp Reds to inform them of the good news.
Up at 6.00am, wake my son and a quick snack and off to pick the other 2 amigos up. Pull up me Ma’s and brother walks out followed by an almost dying AJ – what happened to the gentle night lads!! A BBQ and another local boozer was the answer with AJ leaving his jacket in the boozer.
Down the M6 with strict instructions to brother that no ale before 7.00am. 7.01am comes and my brother cracks open his 1st bottle of cider. By this time AJ is fast asleep and in some sort of coma, only waking at exactly 8.30am when someone on Talksport mentions Frank Lampard and he arises from his hangover induced sleep by saying his 1st words of the day with some abuse at the top of his voice.
The rest of the journey was uneventful and we arrived at the campsite around 9.45am to be greeted by a couple of more mates.
Brother puts the tent up but not in record time, probably due to the high winds or more likely the Wizard of Oz Tinman limbs (before oilling) from his footballing exploits yesterday (which he told everyone in Cardiff about).
My lad has his Liverpool socks pulled fully up to guard against the wind but with a warning from Uncle that if he stays like that he will get strange looks round these parts. I am sure my uncle never gave me a warning like that and I ‘m sure he just mentioned about crossing roads and the like.
Cans cracked open and my 1st taste of ale for 5 days, the longest I’ve been without ale since I was about 12. It goes down well and no reaction from the inner regions. A few breakfast butties line the stomach for the day ahead and a bit of ‘pebble picking’ on the beach for my brother and I.
A pint at the camp bar, the nicely names Marconi Inn, with flags tied up and off into Cardiff with Julie on taxi duty. Beers are drunk and songs sung (and food consumed by AJ) and off into the ground. We are sat back row behind the goal. Flags are tied up and the Community Shield is duly won with a very good performance.
Riise scores a cracker, Crouch gets the winner and Sissoko gives Ballack a welcome to England tackle which duly floored the German. The Chelsea end is far from full but it is a long journey from London to Cardiff!!
Again more ale is downed (my stomach holding out well), watched MOTD in a city centre pub (with flags tied up), songs sung (the lad cannot sing in tune but he is loud) and time to meet Julie for the taxi back to the camp.
However, this was to be the start of one of the funniest things I have seen whilst watching the reds. Julie was a bit late so we waited on the usual wall next to the canal. Along comes an Hulk Hogan lookalike in the form of a sort of begger/tramp, with a walking stick and a key on a piece of string round his neck. He pestered us for the next 20 minutes asking for any spare money and AJ gave him a cig.
Then he started to really get on our nerves which culminated in my lad taking up his challenge of an arm wrestle, which was absolutely hilarious. My lad, with a few beers down him, f’ing and jeffing whilst beating Hulk. I looked at my brother and he was holding his lower parts to stop him wetting himself . Here we were in the middle of Cardiff, worse for wear with ale and my lad is arm wrestling an Hulk Hogan tramp. Finally we get rid of him (after brother politely threatening to rip his head off) by another cig from AJ (who wasn’t too pleased to lose 2 cigs in one day).
Back to the camp with loads of reds in the bar and brother is now on the old Merv the Swerve and is duly whacked due to ale consumption (and his aging limbs). One pint he has and he swerves back to the tent.
We have eats, drinks and singsongs and we leave AJ and the rest, and my lad and I go to have a can or 2 at the tent to round off another cracking day in the Welsh capital.
Back at the tent brother is asleep and snoring but we wake him to give him another can of bitter, which he drinks and goes back to the land of nod. Several cans later and after a walk round the campsite we hit the sack.
3.30am AJ stumbles through the tent door and drops himself in the middle of us 3 (4 in a small 3 man tent is not healthy) and pinches all the covers and pillows.
After zero sleep I drop into the car at about 5.30am, curl up but get little more sleep until morning.
The disposable BBQ is cranked up by brother and he serves a super breakfast that goes down well and my stomach is still intact. Brother washes it down with a can of bitter and AJ yet again is rough as rough.
Showers, etc, good bye to the lads, crank up Ring of Fire on the car CD player and we are off home.
Cracking journey home, 3 hours and a couple of cans for brother and I drop him and AJ off in town for a bevy before AJ’s train home. I get home, pop the video in of the match and watch with a smile on my face with memories of another cracking weekend of beer, football and great banter.
Sadly, it was to be our last trip to Cardiff for now with the Cup Finals and Community Shields moving to the new Wembley but at least we have our memories.
Watch the highlights here:
London Stadium will play host to an all-London Premier League encounter between West Ham United…
Saturday's Premier League action kicks off at Stamford Bridge as league leaders Chelsea take on…
Coventry City are up with the early pace setters in the Championship in the 2021/22…
When Harry Kane finally confirmed that he was staying with Tottenham for the remainder of…
The FIFA Club World Cup is a football tournament that takes place every year in…