Mentioning Wembley took me down memory lane…
Recently on a rugby league website, former St Helens player and pundit Ray French recalls through BBC archive footage the rugby league challenge cup final between Wigan and St Helens 1961 and Tom van Vollenhovens try as his choice as ‘greatest ever’ try scored.
I was there as a 10-year-old when something else significant happened.
My mother, father and myself went to Wembley on a charabanc (along with another 100,000 people…) and we were in
an elevated position behind the posts. It was so hot that my mother fainted and had to be carried down to the St John’s ambulance staff pitch side and then on a stretcher to the first aid tent at the far end of the ground, my father going along with them.
It was of course a bit traumatic for me watching them disappearing into the distance but I saw my father walking back along the touchline and was just about level with the try line as Tom went over. He was within a metre of him
Looking at the video I can briefly see my father unaware of the excitement going on beside him. The archive footage is of course in black and white and people dressed up, as in suits and tie and rosettes and rattles. Even the referee can be seen wearing a blazer!
I mentioned it to my mother recently who didn’t remember anything about it at all and it is nearly 50 years since I have been in touch with my father so it is unlikely that anyone can corroborate my experience.
I can also remember having a sore chin for ages after as the massive rosette I was wearing kept scratching my chin!
Every time Saints playing Wigan is mentioned I rub my chin to this day as I am doing now as they are currently playing. It’s too exciting to watch however so I’m sending this instead, by way of distraction! (Alas , currently 10-8 to Wigan)