By Iain Campbell
27/05/88 to 29/05/88
1988 was a time when there was no internet, no satellite TV, no multi-millionaire footballers and no mobile phones.
But what we did have was a network of football fanzines, and supporters magazines, throughout the length and breadth of Great Britain.
“The Web” was Queen’s Park’s supporters magazine and we used to swop with various other clubs including Leyton Orient.
I was editor of “The Web” and Dave Knight was the editor of “The Leyton Orientear” and through this contact we were offered the chance to play in a four team tournament in London in May.
To this day neither Dave nor myself remembers who suggested that we should visit London and many an argument has ensued over who should take the credit with neither of us wanting any !
The tournament, The Anglo/Scottish Trophy, was going to be between QP Supporters, Leyton Orientear, CHAOS (Children’s Holidays And Other Specialities), a local charity, and QP Amateurs, a long established team run by Keith McAllister.
The story of the weekend appeared in “The Web” number 48 and is adapted below.
“We left the Social Club at closing time on Friday night with Higgy in exceptional form (was he steaming or what ?).
On the way down to London we stopped at a service station and a football was produced to pass the time. No sooner had it appeared than it was despatched onto the roof of the petrol station. Luckily somebody climbed up to get it before Higgy had a chance to scale the drainpipe.
Keith and his team, who are pretty mental all the time, drunk or sober, were booked into a hotel, the Sir Alfred Hitchcock (I kid you not) while our lot were going to stay with the Leyton guys. So on arrival in London we headed for Sir Alf’s place.
Arriving at 7am there was nobody about so we got a football out again and went for a kickabout amongst the trees opposite the hotel.
Eventually someone from the hotel appeared and the order went up, “twenty nine tea and toast, please !”
Dave Knight and the Orient guys met us at Brisbane Road (Leyton O’s home ground) and then it was onto Beckton United’s ground where the football was taking place on a gloriously sunny day.
Beckton were a club who were regular members of the London Spartan League (up until 1996 when the club unfortunately folded) and they had a superb park and their own clubhouse with a bar.
All the proceeds from the day were going to CHAOS and their charity team were first up against the QP Amateurs. Not much of a contest unfortunately as our Glasgow friends won 12-0.
Our first game was against Leyton Orientear and we had a squad of fourteen for Manager Higgy to pick from with Davie Nisbet assisting him from the sidelines as he was unable to play due to a broken ankle.
Our team for our first game outside Scotland was:- Martin Harvey; Stephen Fox, Robert Graham, Neil McAllister (c), Joseph McMonagle (Alan Rhodes) (Ronnie Smith); Kevin Devine, Stephen Stormonth, Alan Raeburn, Stephen McGilp; Iain Campbell, Alan Dickson
There were only three minutes on the clock when Joe “Judo” McMonagle went over his ankle and had to come off. Bad news for the team, and worse news for the poor people in the bar who had to endure Joe’s ramblings for the rest of the day. Cider and sun are a terrible combination !
After being 3-1 down at half time we fought back and ran out 6-4 winners with goals from Kevin Devine (on debut), Stevie McGilp 3 (one a penalty), Stormy and Neill, our skipper.
With hardly time to catch our breath we were back on again, this time against CHAOS and the team was:- Martin Harvey; Stephen Fox, Robert Graham, Neil McAllister (c), Alan Raeburn; Kevin Devine, Stephen Stormonth, Alan Dickson, Stephen McGilp (Alan Rhodes); Iain Campbell (Richard Finnigan), Ronnie Smith
Another high scoring game and we won 6-3 this time thanks to goals from Rab Graham, Kevin 2, Ronnie Smith 2 (working so well in tandem with his strike partner !) and an own goal.
Near the end Richie Finnigan came on for his debut and made an instant impact by falling over with nobody near him !
In the final game the QP Amateurs defeated the Orientear 6-0 to set up a penalty shoot-out against ourselves to decide who would win the Trophy.
The shoot-out took place amid great tension and, after five penalties each, the score was tied at 4-4.
Stormy, Kevin, Neil and Martin had all scored for us while Foxy had hit his kick high, wide and not very handsome over the bar. Martin had saved one of Keith’s teams penalties to keep us in the game.
Into sudden death and I was given the task of putting us ahead, which I did with aplomb, before Martin saved Paul Stewart’s kick to win us the Anglo/Scottish Trophy.
Dave Knight presented the trophies (we had supplied one and The O’s the other) to Neil McAllister then the teams retired to the bar.
At night the O’s laid on a disco for us at a local rugby club and it went on well into the wee small hours.
Midnight marked the 21st birthday of Big Stormy so that was another excuse to have a drink or two.
The Leyton guys arranged to put us up in various houses and in the morning everybody met up at Sir Alf’s before we headed to Blackpool on the way home.
A few hours were spent in Blackpool which was just enough time for five of Keith’s team to be left behind after failing to turn up for the bus home.
“The Blackpool Five” did eventually get home safely after claiming they’d missed the bus by seconds. More like hours !
We arrived back in Glasgow about 11pm on the Sunday night after a superb weekend away.
A big thanks to Dave Knight for arranging everything and a few weeks after the event I received a letter from Dave saying that £250 had been raised for CHAOS and that all the Leyton guys were very impressed with everybody’s friendliness and good humour".
The start of a beautiful friendship………..
Twenty five years on we continue to be friends with Leyton Orient supporters and the new generation that has come through from both sides can keep the legacy going whilst the veterans can reminisce to their hearts content.
Getting in touch with the Orientear is undoubtedly one of the best things we’ve ever done and no matter who wrote to whom first, it was a letter worth writing 25 years ago.