May 8th 1972

“derby county win football league div 1. Man City end up fourth”

So, ‘my’ team’s dream was shattered as the season came to a close, thanks mainly to a few crappy losses, but mostly as the result of a fan coming to see them play at Southampton.

I suppose that I must have been excited for a while…. only to have the team (as the saying goes) “clutch defeat from the jaws of victory” (Something I have become FAR more accustomed to as a Saints fan these days!)

If, and this is a big IF, I even got that excited? I believe I have mentioned before that my fascination for football back then was more to do with the intricacies of the statistics surrounding it than the beautiful game itself. I was, for want of a more perfect phrase, a “little football geek”.

My biggest joy each year was being given the latest issue of the Rothmans Football Yearbook, a two inch thick ‘tome’ covering the prior season. Every game across all the leagues, every scorer, every attendance figure & who officiated, along with a veritable cornucopia of news, trivia and nonsense.

Many other Christmas presents would immediately fall by the wayside as I would lay flat out on the floor, my head in the pages of my Rothmans poring over the contained minutiae. My Dad mentioned once that it was invariably the best couple of quid he spent every year. What did he mean by that?

In a TOTAL ‘fit of 36-years-too-late realisation’ I have genuinely just twigged that “Rothmans” must refer to the cigarette manufacturer/brand of the same name! This goes a long way to comprehending the utter naivety I carried around with me at the time.

They say that with age comes wisdom, but I suspect many of us would love to return to those times and indulge in such simple pleasures again. 

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