I never paid much attention in classes as they were just a necessary evil that I had to endure between games lessons, I was one of the best and youngest footballers in the school and never imagined for one minute that any career other than playing for Manchester United lay ahead of me.
Like my idol George Best I was severely disadvantaged from day 1 as on the first day of school I was assigned to the “house” of Beaufort there were 4 different house’s but I got Beaufort and it was the equivalent of being born in Ireland my new “House” seemed to consist largely of academics or boys with two left feet, I consoled myself that I would never make the school debating team as long as I had a hole in my, well let’s just say I wouldn’t, but a bunch of Mummy’s boys was never ever going to win anything at Sports Day either, When I eventually left school, the sports achievements column on my CV would probably be as empty as the one for academic achievements.
The Head boy was going to pick the team, Beaufort came last at everything and my motto is “Second Place is the First Loser” I really didn’t want to play in a team that was going to get hammered, I did my best to hide but after the Head Boy had picked all his mates from the Chess Club my name was called, he wasn’t the head boy for nothing he was a really nice lad with a lovely family, unfortunately, he used to get ribbed mercilessly as when his voice broke, it really broke and he sounded like Barry White, it’s strange how sibling s can be so different as his younger brother was one of my best school friends, he was also a great athlete but unfortunately he had been assigned to another house.
The team we were playing in the first round consisted of several very good players and were the favorites to win the competition, if we were to play them at Chess we would have won but this was football and we were going to get annihilated, from the kick-off it was like the Alamo, I wasn’t used to defending but did the best I could, we were crap our only saviour was our goalkeeper who I shall refer to as “Jumbo” he nearly filled our goals and he was having a fantastic game he seemed like a football magnet, every shot from the opposing team hit him, he never saved one with his hands and a lot of the time he seemed to use his face.
Nil Nil with a few minutes to go Jumbo took a goal kick and I got the ball near the halfway line, i was playing on the right-wing and our head boy had installed himself at centre forward, I played with the lads from the opposing side in a boys league at the weekend and they knew what I was capable of, as I started to run at goal all the defenders moved towards me forcing me out wide down the wing and towards the corner flag but leaving our Head Boy unmarked, Onside, in front of goal and behind the keeper, the goalie who also knew me and thought that I would rather die than pass to someone else so he had adopted a position to cover the near post, to his surprise I took the ball to the touchline.
I was fast but puny and I had to summon up all my strength to lob the heavy rain soaked leather casey football over his head and out of his reach, my cross was inch-perfect, time stood still, our Head Boy had chosen that moment to use his Beaufort Blue football shirt to wipe the rain off his glasses but in one movement he put them back on, pushed them up the bridge of his nose and steadied himself for what could only be described as a tap in, he was no more than ten feet out with an open goal in front of him, the ball landed perfectly, it was harder to miss but somehow he did, he flailed at the ball and spooned it over the crossbar.
All our team had watched in disbelief, he was still apologising as the other side took their goal kick, that had been our one and only chance and I was largely unsympathetic, instead of running back to defend I chose to sprint over to him and give him the worlds biggest rollocking, long story short while I was doing that they scored and we lost 1 – 0.
I hadn’t seen the “Head Boy” for 40 years and I had moved miles away from the town where our school was, but the man who had just reversed his Lorry into my girlfriend’s car was climbing out of his cab, he was already apologising and I recognised his voice instantly before he turned around I knew it was him, the years had been unkind to him, but his dulcet tones were unmistakable, the memories came flooding back if he could miss an open goal it didn’t surprise me in the least that he could in broad daylight miss a black VW Golf in his rearview mirror, whose driver had flashed his headlights, sounded his horn and had reversed about 4 car lengths as far and as fast as it was possible to try and avoid the impending collision.
So Baz whats this story got to do with a blog about the Motor Trade you’re asking ? as it happens “a hell of a lot” as it was the beginning of the end for my Used Car Sales Business when the accident happened i had been driving my girlfriend’s car, it was our day off and we were heading to the Trafford Centre to go shopping, I had stopped at the garage because the screen in her car was dirty and the screen wash bottle was empty, If it hadn’t been for that “sliding doors” delay none of this would have happened, Karma yet again took control of my life, I had taken a short cut to avoid traffic and we ended up behind a lorry, there were several car lengths between our car and the lorry when having missed his turn he suddenly and without warning slammed on his brakes.
I was cautious as I waited to see what the driver was going to do next, but the lorry didn’t move so I indicated to move out and overtake him and slowly moved forward waiting for a gap in the oncoming traffic, I was about 15 feet behind him when I saw his reversing lamps light up, I jammed my fist onto the horn but I could see in his drivers mirror that he had his head turned and was looking at his passenger mirror, he couldn’t hear me or see me, without checking properly and clearly angry at himself for missing his turn he set off backward at an alarming speed.
My Girlfriend screamed, the Golf was still in 1st gear ready to move forward and I grabbed at the stick to ram it in reverse and get out of the way before we got crushed, I wasn’t used to the Golf and I selected 6th gear which was where reverse would have been on my car, straight out of 6th and into reverse letting the clutch out as fast as i could without stalling, the lorry was almost on top us, the tyres squealed on our Golf and we set off backward but my ill-fated maneuver was halted by the queue of stationary cars which were behind us.
The lorry kept coming, there wasn’t enough time to get out of the car, we braced ourselves for impact, and the lorry hit us, the force was unbelievable, my girlfriend slid under the seat belt banging her knee’s on the dashboard, and scraping her shoulder and neck on the material of the belt, I was still clutching the gear stick in my hand and I was wearing a substantially built divers watch which remained fastened firmly, there was no give in the stainless steel strap at all and the winder was forced into the back of my hand dislocating a bone in my wrist, my wrist bending backward beyond its natural limits as I was launched forwards like a crash test dummy, the muscles in my wrist were shot, my foot was jolted off the brake pedal and the pedal dug into my ankle.
My Girlfriends knees were badly bruised and she was badly shaken but even so she set off out of the car at lightning speed, the car was her pride and joy and she was furious, I went after her, I thought that she was going to kill the driver, we were very lucky to be alive if I hadn’t have been able to reverse the lorry would have crushed us, I calmed my girlfriend down, we thought the Head boy was going to have a heart attack and I had given him one telling off 40 years ago that he didn’t deserve so this one was “On The House”.
We exchanged details, then we reminisced about old times as if nothing had happened, he never mentioned missing the open goal but oddly he had remembered an incident from our childhood that showed me in a bad light, his mother had been in charge of the Cub Scouts group that I had attended until it had clashed with “Captain Scarlett on tv and I stopped going, his Mum was brilliant and she came round to my house to see why I had stopped attending, Instead of telling me off for being a ‘Wus’ she gave me a special dispensation to be late and go when the indestructible agent from Spectrum had finished killing the Mysterons, as I said before, his family was lovely and it was hard to be mad at him.
As we went our separate ways I shouted, “Don’t forget to tell your brother that you “bumped” into me” we both laughed, but my injury was worse than I had first thought and was to cause me 2 years of hardship, the muscles in my wrist were badly damaged and my left arm was virtually useless I couldn’t push or lift anything and couldn’t even support my own weight, my wrist would dislocate at will, I had to wear a metal wrist support during the day but when I took it off at night, the pain would wake me up if I moved in bed causing me no end of sleepless nights.
Work was seriously affected too, during the day sleep deprivation had turned me into a Zombie, I couldn’t do anything right, I had to employ people to do everyday things that up to now I had done myself, changing gear in my car was too painful, I couldn’t even wring a wash leather out on my own and had to pay a valeter to clean my cars, simple repairs were now beyond me, my overheads at the garage soared and I was also having to pay out for private treatment on my wrist with the threat of having steel pins and the bones fused together courtesy of the National Health, a simple injury to my wrist cost me thousands of pounds which depleted my working capital and had a domino effect setting me back in my business more than you can imagine and about 20 times more than the insurance company could imagine or would eventually compensate me for.
My profits were decimated and the writing was now well and truly on the wall for Barrie Crampton Car Sales, I have often wondered since would things have been different if The Head Boy had volleyed my cross into the back of the net and we had won the game, or perhaps if instead of shouting at him for missing I had strangled him to death?
Just like at school I still haven’t learned my lesson and i realise that this time I should have let my girlfriend kill him then at least I could be sure that the Head Boy could not cross my path in the future to complete his “Hat Trick” of bad Karma and finish me off instead.
I went on to discover, girls, beer and cigarettes and never got to play pro football for Manchester United or anyone else for that matter, pretty much all of the 2 left feet Mummys boys went on to do very well for themselves, a few weeks ago and to serve as a reminder I got an email from one of them he was holidaying at his second home in Florida