Rugby League World Cup Final, Manchester 2001
To get into Old Trafford for the Rugby final, my good friend Dave Thelwell (who used to train donkeys on Blackpool beach) had to book my ticket with his credit card. Unfortunately I'm not allowed to have a credit card or anything else with a sharp edge for fear of harming myself!
After the run in I had with the stewards the last time I visited Old Trafford I was a bit apprehensive, but the chance to do a second Rugby World Cup Final in as many years was too good a chance to miss!
When I arrived at the train station in Manchester I went into the toilets and changed into my Velcro suit, then headed off to the stadium. When I got there I realised that I had forgotten the baseball cap and glasses that I was going to wear as a weak disguise, so I parted my hair in the middle, made some scones and pretended I was Mr Kipling instead! I had a bit of trouble explaining this at the booking office, but after giving an exceedingly good explanation I was given my ticket and entered the ground without any problem.
As always, I needed to be as close to the front as possible, preferably by the half-way line, and Dave had told the booking agent this, stating that he wanted to be able to hear the grunting of the players as it reminded him of his wife! My seat wasnít far away and didnít see any problem getting on.
Normally when I'm at 'work' I donít usually watch the game, as I'm too busy watching the police and security, checking that my 'flying on spot' is safe, otherwise I would have to make alternative arrangements, but this time was different. I couldnít take my eyes off the game and for a second, didnít want to miss the second half, but only for a second!
When half-time came I made my way to my chosen spot and waited for the beginning of the second half.
As the players came out, I took off my trainers (as the pair I had on didnít grip the grass too well) and put them in my bag. When I did this, the lads around me all stared and asked what I was doing? I told them that I did it for luck and liked to feel cigarette stumps between my toes, lit or unlit! I then stood up, ready to go, but suddenly, a line of people started walking alongside the pitch. It was now or never so I went for it! I grabbed my bag and stood on the chair in front, then jumped on the wall and landed the other side. As I did, the line of people suddenly started body-popping, it was either that or they were of a nervous disposition, so I took advantage of their shock and ran through them. As I got onto the pitch, I dropped my bag and ripped my suit off as I went and headed towards the ball. The Kiwi captain saw me coming and picked it up so I went over to the referee to shake his hand, but he just shook his head, so I motioned to the Kiwi for the ball and he shook his head as well. This led me to believe that there was a bad case of head lice about and I wanted no part in them!
I ran away from the infestation and then started to moonwalk, to screams from
the crowd. Next thing I knew
was the sight of the stewards coming after me, and now it was time for a laugh! As I legged it away, one of them tried to do a sliding tackle on me but wasnít good enough and ended up on his arse! I raised my arm in a triumphant gesture at his failure and this brought the house down! Then I got to the end of the pitch and handed myself in, as I couldnít think of anything else to do at the time. Next thing I know, six of the heavy mob arrived and the plastic barn door brigade took over and, as is the Old Trafford tradition, started with the nasty stuff. In their frustration of not being able to open the boarding to get us through, they kicked it in - BOARDS DON'T HIT BACK: Bruce Lee, "Enter the Dragon".
They were in such a hurry to kick my head in that we went up the steps two at a time, and as we went through the stadium they walked me really fast, trying to trip me up as we went. Then one of them got me in a head-lock and tried to ram my head into the corner of a brick wall, but when I saw it coming I summoned up some extra strength and pushed against him and missed the wall. As we half ran, they kept squeezing my skin really hard, obviously out to cause as much pain as possible! So I kept struggling, and when I saw two policemen I tried to call them over, convinced that something nasty was going to happen to me, but they just stood and stared!
I was then taken to a room and thrown across the floor, and over a chair. When I stood up I saw that the room was full of security and stewards and tried to remain calm. I picked up the chair and sat on it, and as I did the door opened and a really tall guy in a long black coat came flying at me and hit me across the face. I thought that it would be pointless to react, as this would give them an excuse to lay into me even more, so took what I was given. As the abuse was hurled at me, the door opened again and in came two policemen. I was then taken out of the security room and led towards the police charge room, followed by the Matrix man (who I got the impression was maybe the head security guy), followed by his cronies.
I turned to him and said that even though I was a Scouser, it wasnít personal doing Old Trafford, as I had done Anfield a few weeks earlier during the Liverpool v Chelsea game. He said he didnít care and that if I went to Old Trafford again he would take it personally. OOOOH! I'd beaten them again and they were no longer the tightest security in the country, only heavy-handed tossers!
I was taken into the charge room and asked by the officer in charge if I had any warrants out for my arrest? I hadnít but he checked to make sure. When it came back that I hadnít, he asked me what happened to me at Anfield? I lied through my teeth and told him that I was released without charge, so he agreed to do the same. BONUS!
I got dressed and was to be escorted to the nearest exit. As I walked out of the charge room the blag Matrix man was stood outside looking like a Klingon in drag and stared at me as though he was trying to bend spoons As I walked past him, rather than argue, I left with a contented look on my face.
I rang Dave outside the ground and he told me that the whole streak was shown on TV. DOUBLE BONUS!
I then headed home, happy with the thought that I'd done a god job AND got away with it! Albeit a bit bruised!