Northstand Nostalgia: Night to forget for Hippodrome Tone

Micky Flanagan

Micky Flanagan

Carl Baker put Pompey 1-0 up on 20 minutes Picture: Joe Pepler

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Apologies to those who feel they may have heard this tale before, however, it is unlikely you have.

There might nevertheless be some resonance with those who are familiar with the comedian Micky Flanagan and his trademark ‘going out’ skit.

For those unfamiliar with this comic genius, or for those who might just like to be in the loop, I suggest a brief YouTube visit.

It’s the early 80s, I was sat on a half-full Exeter-bound coach to watch the Blues take on their Devon opponents.

The coach was one of Martin ‘Fooksy’ Fooks’ much-fabled excursions.

Winding our way through town in a vain attempt to add to the coach’s passengers, I spotted a friend walking down Fratton Road – on an errand for his mother.

TP had been out of work for some time and even if he had remembered Pompey were playing that evening, it’s unlikely he would have had sufficient funds to finance the trip.

Five minutes earlier he was sat at home contemplating shoe-horning a whole afternoon of nothing into his busy unemployed schedule.

This inactivity scheme was thwarted by Mrs P’s request for a tin of Whiskers for Tiddles.

In Tony’s haste to return to his more pressing engagements, he grabbed the first articles of clothing at hand to carry out this feline-benefacto chore ASAP.

Walking purposefully towards the Co-op, his speed was hampered by his choice of footwear – the only shoes available on his exit were his mother’s slippers which were abandoned at the front door.

Although they did look silly, his sister’s equally handily discarded pink cardigan created quite a nice ensemble in which Tony could complete his task. His good deed was about to take a rather large detour, as he was grabbed from behind by a couple of associates and bundled aboard our coach before you could say: ‘Eight out of 10 owners, said their cats prefer Whiskers.’

Tony was quite a fashion-conscious young man, who later become known as ‘Hippodrome Tone’ for his love of the club scene and his dapper appearance.

It took him a fair while to live down that evening.

I cannot actually remember the result that night, I do however remember Tony entered the ground through an open gate, which at the time looked a good result for someone who only had enough loose change in their pocket to purchase a chicken and tuna kitty combo.

TP’s luck didn’t hold for long, though, as a torrential rain storm proved too much for his mum’s slippers and sister’s cardy.

Compensation came his way on our return journey.

He was an excellent pool player and hustled his way to a full belly of beer and a pasty, thanks to some complicit Devonians at a Honiton public house where we all dried off a little before heading for home.

When Tony finally did arrive home in the early hours of the following morning, he was greeted by two very angry faces.

Both Mrs P and Tiddles were far from amused, as Hippodrome had completely forgotten the cat’s dinner he was sent out to get 12 hours previous.

And just like Micky Flanagan, Tone didn’t even want to go out, let alone out, out!

A regular contributor to the Football Mail’s letters page many moons ago, the Northstand Critic has got back in touch and now writes a column in the Sports Mail.

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