Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Holiday camp football...part two

So we were stood in two lines on the football pitch one morning singing "God Save The Queen" awaiting the arrival of Her Scouse Majesty again before kicking off the 1965 FA Cup Final for the tenth succesive day when three young men turned up and stood on the other side of the chain link fence to watch with bemusement.

Having shaken The Queens hand again and having been introduced as "the crap Gary Sprake", again, our dad noticed the three young men watching us and invited them through the gap in the chainlink fence to join us.

They were German, three lads in their late teens who were stupid enough to visit a 1970 France where everyone still hated the Germans, the fact that they hadn't been born until five years after the war had ended was irrelevant and our dad was the first person who had spoken to them since they had arrived.

The 1965 FA Cup Final was quickly abandoned in favour of a rematch of England vs West Germany, our dads favouring the 1966 World Cup Final version of England vs West Germany (4-2 to England) whereas the German lads favoured the recent 1970 World Cup quarter final (3-2 to West Germany) - as it was three Germans against dozens of English I was nominated to play in goals for West Germany, Gary Sprake again behind Franz Beckenbauer, Gerd Muller and several other well known (although not to me) West German players of the era.

The West German team that I played in for the rest of that holiday were invincible, England couldn't get anywhere near my goalmouth so I spent long hot afternoons playing in the dirt watching Franz Beckenbauer knock goals in for fun at the other end of the pitch all of which earned me a slap around the head "for winning" from our dad.

And as was traditional we all retired to Bernards Bar in the evening for a drunken night of world war two songs and in the spirit of multi-culturism that was sweeping across the brave new Europe of 1970 our dad invited the German lads to join us in the fun.

Bernard wasn't very happy.

The Germans sat with us for a while but when it was their turn for a round they came back from the bar to explain "zat ve are very sorry but ve haff to go now", when asked they revealed that they had been ignored at the bar and then told to leave by mine host Bernard.

A British deputation headed by our dad and the scouse dads went to the bar to mediate and explain that they had invited the Germans and if the Brits could forgive them for bombing our cities 25 year earlier then surely the French could, after all, they'd just let the Germans walk straight into their country hadn't they ?

Bernard was insistent "Zose feelthy Bosch {spit} weel not be served at ma bar {spit}" he explained and then wiped up after himself, and despite protracted negotiations he would not be moved from his principle that all Germans were to blame for the loss of four years worth of turnover at his bar, 1940-1944, regardless of when they were born.

But us British are not world reknown for our diplomacy skills for nothing, oh no, our dad spotted a fatal flaw in Bernards principles, the Germans would not be served at the bar if they did not need to go to the bar, and they wouldn't need to go to the bar if they gave our dad the money to go to the bar for them - so thats what happened and within half an hour everyone was well-oiled, including Bernard and they were all singing war songs again, especially Bernard who introduced a few new ones sung in the French language and although we could not understand what the words meant we had a good idea judging by the gestures made towards our German guests.

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