North Stand Critic: Tale of two scarves

Peter Marinello
Peter Marinello
Matt Clarke has found himself back in familiar surroundings in the centre of defence in recent weeks  Picture: Joe Pepler

Back home – but Pompey defender would switch back

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I t was the best of times during Christmas 1974 in the Northstand household,

I paraded around the house in my new (number seven, Peter Marinello) Pompey kit and my brother was equally pleased with his new Doctor Who style Blues scarf, lovingly knitted by our mum.

My sister, oh I don’t know, got a doll or a Donny Osmond something? I can’t remember.

Come to think of it, I don’t seem to have any recollection of my sister at all during the whole of the 1970s.

Such was growing up in our totally football dominated house. Sorry Sis!

Shortly after opening our presents, Dad revealed an extra gift for my bro and me, which was not under the Christmas tree.

We were to be taken to Cold Blow Lane, home of Millwall, for our first visit to ‘the hospitable Lions’ den’.

On December 28, 1974, Pompey and Millwall played out a drab 0-0 draw in front of ITV’s big match cameras – the game itself was easily forgettable.

However, during the half-time interval Dad sent our kid to the tea bar, for a Bovril and two cokes for our refreshment.

He returned a few minutes later, a little distressed, minus two cokes, half a cup of Bovril, all of his loose change and his brand new Pompey scarf, having ‘bumped’ into a couple of young Millwall fans.

This incident set off a deep dislike of all things related to MFC, that my brother still retains to this day!

It also led to a change in my brother’s personality.

Growing up with my quiet little brother,who was more mild-mannered than Clark Kent, was good fun.

Especially for me, my greater age and related strength ensured I generally came out on top during any disagreements.

As we grew older, this became less the case.

Fast forward to September 20, 1980, Boothferry Park, home of Hull City.

My brother and I trudged disconsolately out of the stadium having witnessed Pompey being defeated 2-1, after taking an early lead.

The deciding goal was scored direct from a free-kick, harshly awarded against our keeper Peter Mellor for handling the ball outside of his penalty area.

Exiting the ground my brother was still annoyed and got involved in an argument with a young Tigers fan of a similar age to himself, regarding the award of the free-kick.

Whether my brother had a flashback to Cold Blow Lane, I am unsure – but my brother, my innocent little brother, decided to confiscate the scarf of his Yorkshire foe.

Unfortunately for him, an off-duty member of the Humberside Police Force was present to witness the north-south feud as it developed and just like Mr Webb of Cheshire (the match referee), the officer’s judgement fell unequivocally in favour of the home team.

My kin was taken into custody just long enough for him to miss the last train home and was subsequently released without charge.

From that day on, obviously deeply scarred (or scarfed) by these two incidents, he was quiet no more.

During young adulthood my brother built himself a bit of a reputation as a feared pugilist.

He now lives away from the city and his persona has returned to its original polite dormant state.

He rarely attends matches and to my knowledge has never worn, bought or pinched another scarf.

His brother, however, is still Pompey mad and a keen collector of football ephemera.

I am at present in search of a 1970s Millwall and/or Hull City scarf to add to my football memorabilia collection.

NORTHSTANDCRITIC

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