Tales From Fulham Broadway

Chelsea vs. West Ham United : 14 December 2008.

This is the story of Saturday night, Sunday morning and Sunday afternoon.

On Saturday evening I met up with a few friends to see The Blockheads perform in my local town of Frome. This band was fronted by the king of lyrical wizardry Ian Dury, who sadly passed away a few years ago. They have produced some great songs over the years, especially in the 1977-80 period. Infact, I worked out that the fourth single I ever bought, back in around April 1978, was The Blockheads’ “What a Waste.” This song has a certain amount of notoriety in Chelsea circles because of one line, referring to Fulham Broadway tube station. For a twelve year old boy in Somerset to hear the “Chelsea station” mentioned in a pop song was great. Many debates have been held over the years, questioning if Dury was a Chelsea fan. If not, why did he mention that station? Maybe we will never know. This was a Stiff record – and I remember being ever so thrilled by a swear word on the sleeve. Rock and roll! Half way through the gig, The Blockheads aired the song…their first real hit.

“I could be the driver in an articulated lorry I could be a poet, I wouldn’t need to worry I could be the teacher in a classroom full of scholars I could be the sergeant in a squadron full of wallahs What a waste What a waste What a waste What a waste Because I chose to play the fool in a six-piece band First night nerves every one night stand I should be glad to be so inclined What a waste! What a waste! Rock and roll don’t mind (Schtum) I could be a lawyer with stratagems and ruses I could be a doctor with poultices and bruises I could be a writer with a growing reputation I could be the ticket man at Fulham Broadway station What a waste What a waste What a waste What a waste Because I chose to play the fool in a six-piece band First night nerves every one night stand I should be glad to be so inclined What a waste! What a waste! Rock and roll don’t mind I could be the catalyst that sparks the revolution I could be an inmate in a long-term institution I could lead to wide extremes, I could do or die I could yawn and be withdrawn and watch them gallop by What a waste What a waste What a waste What a waste Because I chose to play the fool in a six-piece band First night nerves every one night stand I should be glad to be so inclined What a waste! What a waste! Rock and roll don’t mind Chose to play the fool in a six-piece band First night nerves every one night stand I should be glad to be so inclined What a waste! What a waste! Rock and roll don’t mind What a waste! What a waste! Rock and roll don’t mind Chose to play the fool in a six-piece band First night nerves every one night stand I should be glad to be so inclined What a waste! What a waste! Rock and roll don’t mind”

Great stuff. During the gig, I realised that I most probably bought the single in the town’s “Woolworths.” Pretty poignant really – this very week, “Woolworhs” shops all over Britain have been having their closing down sales, the most notable name in the high street to be affected by the global downturn thus far. A real shame.

“What a waste” indeed.

A few of the songs were careering around my head as I drove into Frome on Sunday morning. Due to the lack of work around at the moment, PD. Dave and Karen had decided not to go to the game. I had acted as ticket-broker and had shifted the tickets to some close mates. I volunteered to drive. Parky from Trowbridge was travelling up with Glenn and myself. We left at 9am and I made great time. Constant chat on the way up yet again – they should connect Parky to the National Grid, the energy he expels.

Parked up at 11am and straight into the café for a fry-up. Frank and Andy were already there. The owners presented us all with individual Xmas cards, thanking us for our custom throughout the year. A nice touch.

I needed to zip down to the stadium in order to get a few things sorted out. Popped into the shop – bought the late Ron Hockings’ “100 Years Of The Blues” for £25…I already have his 1985 and 1995 editions of these books, in which every game is detailed. I love pouring over the games. So many memories. Ron was th official historian until his untimely death in 2006, just after we secured our third championship. He went to about 4,000 Chelsea games apparently.

By the time I had retraced my steps to the refurbished Goose, the clans were gathering. I made my two pints last forever. Good to see three of the Nuneaton lot pop in. Neil had a glance at my newly-acquired book and spotted his first ever game – a 3-1 win at Highfield Road back in 1971…a week after Trowbridge Andy’s first game! The banter was flying about. Had a word with Dutch Mick in the beer garden – he spotted my Blockhead T-Shirt and it turns out he is a big fan too. On the subject of music, about 16 of us are going to The Specials gig at Brixton next May…that promises to be a classic. Another potential legendary weekend is planned for Cup Final weekend too. Alan and myself are seeing Morrissey on the Friday. Alan, Daryl, Gary and myself are seeing Depeche Mode on the Saturday. We just need to get Chelsea to the FA Cup Final for one of the best two days ever. Watch this space!

A big cheer rang out in the pub when Gianfranco Zola was spotted arriving at The Bridge on TV. A few songs in his honour. Good stuff. We exchanged a few Christmas cards.

Alan gave me a rare Cocteau Twins DVD, which I was so pleased to receive. The only reference to 1983-1984 this time will be a nod towards me stumbling across the Cocteau Twins in the autumn of 1983. I first heard Liz Fraser’s voice on This Mortal Coil’s version of Tim Buckley’s “Song To The Siren.” A song so pure it still chills me to the bone. Once I heard Pat Nevin loved them too – well, perfect.

A hardy few of us will see each other a Everton next Monday…for the rest, it was “Have a good Christmas – see you on Boxing Day.” I left for the ground quite early – chatting away with Russ, another Frome / Chelsea boy. It seems that The Slug ( aka The Kings Arms ) is now the designated away pub at Chelsea on match days. I guess this is par for the course these days…think The Arkles near Anfield for Everton, The Fernhurst at Blackburn, The Beehive at Bolton. It would never have happened back in the eighties, though!

I got to my seat by about 3.30pm…plenty of time to soak up the atmosphere. A typical Chelsea Home Game of late…tons and tons of possession, but…well, you all saw it. Really, over the course of the whole game, we again deserved to win…but. Thought Mikel was our best player by far…a real solid performance, breaking up the play, playing it simple. So strong. I was really disappointed, again, by the lack of movement from the front six at times. West Ham were spirited, but I was still flabbergasted that they went 1-0 up. That Bellamy is such an irritant, but a good player of course. Ballack was woeful and deserved to be subbed at the break. My “favourite” referee Old Mother Riley was winding me up, as per usual.

A few, typical, boos at half-time. Mention Scolari to anyone now and they will say “No Plan B” in the way that Ranieri was “Tinkerman” and Mourinho was “The Special One.” Doesn’t matter that this is Scolari’s first four months in charge at Chelsea ( that he has won World Cups, that he was England’s first choice after Sven )…Scolari has no Plan B and is therefore a rubbish manager. This is the view of many at Chelsea. Funny how we urge other clubs to give new managers time, but not at Chelsea. Anyway, Drogba for Ballack at the break wasn’t rocket science. Let’s see if he does have a Plan B?

I thought that the atmosphere wasn’t bad for a change, especially in the second-half once we had got the goal back. A great goal, too. Nice stuff. At times I actually heard the West Stand singing. The second-half was a war of attrition…not a bad game at all really…a nice bit of noise. Of course, Cech’s fantastic save from Carlton Cole at the death gave us a share of the points. Deeply frustrating, of course. Then the boos started. After Liverpool fans booing their team off after a 0-0 draw at Anfield ( in which they went a point clear at the top ) and Arsenal fans shamelessly booing Eboue at The Emirates, it seems that Chelsea fans ( sorry – I mean Chelsea customers, not fans ) boo the team now too. What does it all mean? Maybe Booing is the new rock and roll? I can’t get my head around it. Sometimes my disgust for my fellow fans is palpable.

A quick march up the North End Road. Reached the car at 6.15pm. Glenn ( the worse for wear – he had been on the Guiness and was wobbly ) called me to say that Parky was nowhere to be seen. They had arranged to meet outside “The So” but Glenn had said that it had kicked-off. I tried to phone Parky, but no answer. The time passed. I eventually spoke to him and he had been hit by some West Ham. I was worried for him, but he seemed OK. Just like West Ham to hit someone on crutches I thought. Glenn waited in The Goose for him. I spoke to Glenn, infact, just as a mob of West Ham were scouting for stragglers. I waited in my car. At 7pm, I looked back and saw them both, safe…Parky with a beaming smile on his face. He was OK. He was buzzing, infact. I drove home, through the busy streets around Barons Court and then out onto the M4, as Parky beemed as he told me of his expoits. It seems a few lippy West Ham fans had goaded him, so he launched into them, crutches flailing. He got hit, but took a few down with him. I didn’t know what to think to be honest. He was safe, that was the main thing. He didn’t even have a bruised ego – far from it infact. He was just glad we had waited for him. As if we would leave him!

We sang a few verses of Rolf Harris’ “Two Little Boys.” “Do you think I would leave you crying when there’s room on my horse for two?” We laughed. After a few minutes, Glenn fell asleep, all limp with Guinness. Eventually dropped Parky off at 9pm, Glenn at 9.15pm…I bought another Chinese on the way home…getting back at 9.45pm. Rather than watch “MOTD2”, I instead played the Cocteau Twins’ DVD. I couldn’t stomach seeing the game again, really.

Another two points dropped – plus the chance to go top.

What a waste.

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