Posted by WOOLTONIAN on July 8, 2004, 01:53:16 PM
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A good mate of mine contacted me last night and asked for some advice. The arse had dropped out of his world. The worst thing that could happen to a Red had happened. Here is the story I related to him, to try and blow away the clouds of his misfortune.
The year was 1987, the month September. The bluenoses had been crowned champions in May. Wooly & Mrs Wooly were living in the sleepy hamlet of Woolton Village. Little Wooly (Billy) was about to start his second year at school. After a hard days slog in the office (BICC) and a couple of quick slurps in the local on the way home, I arrived home to be greeted by "You better have a word with that son of yours".
This was not a rare greeting as Mrs Wooly often used the phrase "Wait till yer Dad gets home".
Me lad had obviously been crying, his face all red and his eyes all puffed out. I took the
lad in the kitchen cos it was obviously going to be a man's conversation.
"Whats up lad?" I asked.
"I've been thinking" offered the wee lad.
"Well that's a good start" I came back.
"All me mates in school" a long pause followed "Are .... are .... erm".
"Are what Lad, spit it out".
"Well .... they're Evertonians".
My heart missed a beat or two, what on earth was happening here, "YES?"
"Well I've been thinking ..... perhaps I could be an Evertonian"
My heart stopped, I couldn't believe my ears.
In the space of about three seconds, I thought, How am I gonna explain this to me old fellah? What will me mates say in work when they find out? What have I spawned? Can this be the Antichrist hiding in my son? What are they teaching him in this school ?
"WHAT?!!!" was all I could manage.
"Erm .... I ..... was .... thinking .... I .... could .... be .... an"
I stiffened. "Dont you dare use that word again in this house."
Little Wooly began to shake, but he stuck to his guns. It was my turn to stutter "But .... but .... well don't expect any more pocket money from me" was the best I could come up with.
I could see the lad was determined and nothing I could say would ever change his mind at this moment in time. So I sat on the couch with my head in my hands, Mrs Wooly made herself busy in the kitchen, my little girl sat next to me patting me on the knee, "Its ok Dad" she said.
The bottom was falling out of me world and all I could do was sit there mumbling back to her "You don't understand love".
The only thing for me to do was to take the dog for a walk (usual thing when losing composure). Walking 50 yards up the road I came to a pub; that was far enough, the dog was looking knackered. Sitting in a quiet corner sipping a pint of mild was always my way of sorting out problems and after a short while it came to me!
When I got back home Mrs Wooly was putting the tea on the table. The dog went back to the yard after its lengthy walk, half a bitter and a pack of crisps, while we ate our tea. I finished my tea first and left the table. I went up stairs into the lad's room and picked up his quilt and pillow and returned to the kitchen.
"Have you finished yer tea Lad?"
"Right are you ready then?"
"What for?" he said.
"Well I've been doing a spot of thinking meself and if you're as determined as you seem to be to become ONE OF THEM, then there's only one thing for it. I opened the back door and whistled the dog, "Sam get in 'ere."
The lad looked at me with confused eyes. As Sam ran past me and into his favourite spot in the living room I walked the lad out into the back yard.
"There you go Son, your new Home" said I pointing at the 3 foot x 3 foot x 4 foot kennel and without a word in he went.
I went back into the kitchen, the face on the wife was tantamount to murder and I must admit I felt sick inside. I told her he would knock on the door any minute now and things would be fine. A determined little beggar was young Wooly and after an hour there was still no knock.
My missus was on the verge of going ape. She said, "Let him in love". I looked toward the back door. It was hammering down with rain and as I peeped through kitchen nets. I could see him, he was like a drowned rat. My admiration for the lad had tripled, Evertonian or not he was a determined and very proud lad.
I had to give up, I couldn't let this go on much longer ... and then I heard a little knock. I rushed to the back door and looked through the glass, he was absolutely soaked. Pan-faced as ever I said "Yes Son?"
"Can I come in?" he said. If he could read my mind he would have known HE'D WON.
He stood inside the back door and continued, with a nervous giggle, "It's not the best idea I've ever had, is it"? The tears ran down my face, how heartless could a Father be? Fancy doing that to a boy of SIX - I was ashamed of what I'd done.
We walked together to the bathroom and I ran him a hot bath. He was sitting on the loo lid and I told him about the history of Liverpool Football Club while the bath was running, and I explained that although Everton had won the league, it would be a long time before they ever won it again.
I told him about the virtues of picking a team and sticking with them, as against becoming a turncoat. He just nodded as I spoke. Mrs Wooly stood behind him ruffling his wringing wet hair and giving me daggers at the same time.
After Billy had gone to bed that night I rang my boss and asked him for an emergency holiday, after all this was an EMERGENCY of the highest order. The following day, the little Liverpudlian toddled off to school with a whole new perspective about what it was to be a Red man. Wooly also toddled off to B&Q.
Working like a slave, by the time 3.00pm arrived the project "RED ROOM" was complete. In this short space of time I had painted all his walls and his door with white gloss, all the frames and skirting with red gloss. I had bought a new Liverpool FC quilt cover and pillow. A Liverpool lamp. A Red radio-cassette player (with a Liverpool tape of Kop songs). I had hung all me old European Liverpool flags and Liverpool scarves on the walls. His ceiling was covered with an old banner which had been stapled to the Plaster (not recommended) saying ONCE A RED, ALWAYS A RED, ROME 1977.
A lot of money was spent that day but the look on his face when he got home was well worth every penny spent.
Young Billy is now a 23 year old 6' 3" giant of a man, and has repeatedly thanked his Dad for showing him the light. The story is told as often by him as it is by me and we always laugh together, but I always wonder if he knows how close I came to giving in, and how close he came to living the rest of his life as a BLUENOSE.© Wooltonian 2004
Post Script:In todays society above action would probably be classed as child abuse and I would not suggest anyone follows my lead. But doing a lad's bedroom up is still within the realms of good parenthood.
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