In 1993 a civic reception was held at Sheffield Town Hall to celebrate the historic achievements of a Sheffield Wednesday team who took the city to Wembley three times in a season. It was at this reception that I experienced a claim to fame that most people cannot even imagine.
I should really qualify this by saying I wasn’t in the gents toilets with him at the time. Even by my standards I think that may have crossed the line of decency and privacy. For two magical minutes I held the glass of the man who had scored that 30 yard free kick against the Blades in the FA Cup semi final and who is to many people, God.
I stood very still, holding it with both hands to ensure that I didn’t spill a drop of the amber nectar. Looking around the room I could see my uncle talking to Mark Bright about the future of the Premiership. My brother was wandering around just generally being cool and introducing himself to Calton Palmer and anyone else who would shake his hand. And my dad was scaring Graham Hyde by forcefully telling him how important he was to Wednesday’s central midfield.
And here I was holding Chris Waddle’s pint.
Now I have doubted this has happened many times before. After all I recently had a dream where my Nan entered a competition at Meadowhall to become a flag bearer at the 2012 Olympics. She won. She’s going to be representing Sweden. Look out for her.
I can hear you thinking from here, how did that lucky cow get to be in the inner sanctum of the Town Hall reception whilst thousands lined the streets? Dad was a city councillor at the time and he basically smuggled me and my brother in through the back door. Crafty but worth it.
So picture it, here I am still clinging to Waddle’s pint pot for dear life when he returned. He looked down at me and said ‘thank you’ in his Geordie tones and off he went to mingle. I stood there with my hands around an imaginary glass for a good few minutes more, unsure of how to move on from this momentous occasion.
I noticed my Dad was now standing by the window talking Nigel Pearson like he was an old family friend. I walked over and lingered around the edges of the conversation. It was time for the boys to go out onto the balcony and soak up the adulation they deserved.
Nigel Pearson asked my Dad if he’d mind holding his child whilst he went outside. There we were, me, my Dad and Captain Marvel’s little one watching Nigel lead his team outside for one final time that season.
Carlsberg don’t do civic receptions but if they did they’d definitely be holding Chris Waddle’s pint.
Enjoy the class of 2012 Civic Reception for the boys. I’ll be there to thank the team for an amazing season. I hope you will be too.