When I met Terry Mancini

Retsub, my brush with fame.

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Having penned my first blog entry on my abject failure to ever see Arsenal win anything physically, I was bombarded with compliments from well wishers.  Although I never received any royalties of film offers, I was offered a number of holiday destinations, should our beloved team qualify for a final again.  It’s nice to know that I am so well regarded that people suggested some really interesting places such a Timbuktu and the North Pole.   Such was the strength of the support I received that I decided to write another entry.

Initial thoughts were ‘My life as a football Hooligan’, but in truth I was too scared to get involved in any trouble and usually ran away.

“Chelsea always running, Tottenham running to, so’s The North Bank Highbury running after you”;  with the exception of me, because I was windy.

Then I thought I would talk about my collection of pristine Arsenal programmes, which I carefully stored under my jumper at each game to keep them flat.  However, my daughter recently announced they were the property of my first Grandson (not even on the horizon yet).   Probably a good thing, as I would have bored everyone to death.

So, I decided on a subject not Arsenal-specific, but one that may drum up some interesting Arsenal specific responses.  I titled it Retsub, my brush with fame.

In my banking career (yah boo hiss) I came into contact with a number of well-known celebrities at corporate events etc, but I wanted to share with you my stories of how I met with footballing greats (OK greats is pushing it a bit) on a personal level.

My elder brothers were schoolboy friends of a Charlton player called Phil Warman; I think I may have spoken with him once or twice. This meant at School I could say I was best buddies with a pro footballer: stardom indeed at an early age.

At secondary School I was coached by Lenny Lawrence (along with 700 other kids) who went on to manage Charlton.  We also had Keith Weller for a while.  Not that it did me a lot of good.  Having left School, some friends and I formed our own team. First season wasn’t a great success and we narrowly avoided relegation.  Thinking back, I don’t think it was possible to get relegated anyway. Worst moment was at the awards, when were awarded the ‘fair play trophy’ much to our embarrassment.  Still, greatness was to come: and I became a hero the next season, when I was the first player to be booked.  Huh no more fair play awards for us.  I still proudly display my Eltham and District Division 2 trophy, mainly because it was the only one I ever won.

But greater things were to come.  Not necessarily in chronological order.

In the early 1980’s my girlfriend (who became my wife) and I were holidaying in Ibiza.  Sitting in the bar one night I got talking football with a guy who announced he was Les Cartwright and played for Coventry City.  I think I knew of him, but he certainly wasn’t an A-lister.  It was, however, an interesting insight into the life of a professional footballer.  Serendipitously, thirty-five year later, Gerry of Bergkampesque fame referred to Les affectionately….

I once took a girlfriend to Highbury for the first time.  I was pretty full of myself on the journey to Highbury, explaining about The Marble Halls and the only team with an underground station named after it.   And how the star players all had big flash cars, and if we were lucky we might catch a glimpse of one or two at the players’ entrance.   In truth, Arsenal were having an awful season and were in danger of being relegated.   So, we are on the tube and I look up, and sitting opposite me complete with his kit bag was………an Arsenal megastar: maybe Charlie George or Alan Ball?   I have to be careful not to offend a fellow Bergkampesquer, but the megastar was none other than Terry Mancini.  Now Terry was playing that day and he was travelling to the match on the tube, classy huh?  I was going to be flash and say “alright Tel”, but chickened out.   I remember he was a great header of the ball, but not the most gifted player with the ball at his feet. He had been purchased from QPR to try to save Arsenal from relegation.   During that period we probably had the worst team I can remember.  We didn’t get relegated that or any other season.  Mancini was eventually shipped out to Aldershot.  Did he really get a hair transplant?

In July 1983 my wife and I married and honeymooned on a far way Island paradise….. OK it was, Majorca.  One day I was sitting on the balcony and glanced across at the next hotel.  There, lazing on their balconies were the great Brian Clough and his assistant Peter Taylor.  I thought about shouting over “alright Brian”   but chickened out.

A few days later I was playing head tennis with two young lads in the pool.  Like all kids do they were pretending to be their heroes and shouting out the name of Nottingham Forest players.   This was great, Forest supporters in the pool and their manager in the hotel next door.   I took great pleasure in telling them that Brian Clough was next door, and probably exaggerated a bit and told them that I had exchanged pleasantries.  This would no doubt be fantastic news for them that their manager was only a stones throw away.. But no, their response was “ He’s our Dad”… hmmm felt pretty foolish, but I will still claim I taught Nigel Clough a thing or two.

A few years later, my wife’s uncle was part of a team that installed the first giant screen at the back of the South Bank.  They obviously didn’t know he was a Spurs fan as they rewarded him with a number of tickets which he duly passed on to me.   So my wife, my Mother in law and I find ourselves sitting in or around the Directors’ box at Highbury.   Can’t remember who we were playing, but I was sitting just in front of Paul Mariner who was injured.  I thought about introducing myself but you know the story by now.   Highlight of the day was Charlie Nicholas appearing as a sub.   Suddenly Charlie is warming up, clad from head to foot in a bright red tracksuit.  My Mother in law exclaims in a really loud voice “ Who is that great fairy?” .  We escaped but only just. Another chance of fame had slipped away…

And finally, (to collective sighs of relief) my final story.   I was sitting in the bar of the Intercontinental Hotel in Bahrain enjoying a beer on a Thursday evening.   For those not familiar with the geography, Bahrain is an Island attached to the Saudi mainland by a causeway.   Saudi is a dry country (no alcohol), so every Thursday evening hundreds of Saudi’s drive across the Causeway to enjoy the pleasures denied to them on the mainland. When they drive back it is probably the most dangerous road in the world.  It was fairly early and the hordes hadn’t arrived yet.  Suddenly two really beautiful blonde girls approach me and we begin chatting.  It turns out that they were the cheerleaders for The Arizona Cardinals who were in Bahrain to entertain the American troops based there.  Now this was pretty amazing, and ten minutes later about 20 further girls were surrounding me. OK I have exaggerated before, but this really happened.  If I had a camera I would have bragging rights for ever.  But no such luck, and ten minutes later about 50 randy Saudi’s arrived and ruined any photo opportunity.

What did you make of Retsub ladies?

What did you make of Retsub ladies?

So endeth my claims to fame.  Hopefully it will stir up some interesting stories from fellow BK’ers! 🙂

Written by: Retsub.

This entry was posted in Uncategorized and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

33 Responses to When I met Terry Mancini

  1. TotalArsenal says:

    Super stuff, Retsub! 😛

    The only famous footballers I met were Dutch players. I used to wash the car of Theo de Jong who was an attacking midfielder at my local club Roda JC and lived in the same street I lived in back then.

    I once walked past Edu at Highbury but he was talking to somebody already and we were heading out. That is about it.

    Love the Clough story. That must have felt very special. 🙂

    I have heard a few stories about friends and fellow bloggers brushing with fame and suffering from being star-struck. I am pretty sure I would suffer from this as well..

  2. Milo says:

    Totally unrelated, but after reviewing recent as well as old match footage of Ozil, I have noticed a couple of interesting facets to his play that are either underrated/undervalued, or go completely unrecognized.

    First and maybe most important point: He opens he field and direction of play up, more than any other high profile number 10 or playmaker, by NOT being afraid to move the ball, or run sideways. Everyone always is looking for the big, flashy, vertical ball over the top, but when it’s not there, he refuses to force it and I admire that…Greatly. He certainly has the vision and skill to execute more difficult passes. His tendency to drift sideways results in him looking like a drifter, but he’s like the knight in a game of chess. Not always flashy, but LETHAL. No one has figured it out yet, but I tend to think his lack of production has more to do with Arsenal’s and Arsene’s tactics than it does Mesut. Remember he played for that counter attacking ego-maniacal idiot/genius (gotta admit 😦 ) at Real.
    Point number two: His crossing at Real…This could be the most worrying portion of this analysis…We never cross the bloody ball, or when we get in to crossing positions, the potential crossee (yup, no such word) has no ones’ head or any other anatomy used to direct a football towards goal to aim at, because….because, because…I can’t quite put my finger on this one…

    Oh yeah and another point, I need to add…Guy can shoot and has solid shooting technique, assuming he has kept practicing it.
    As for his commitment, or apparent lack of outward commitment??? It takes a diverse group to win a league, or trophy…I am actually of the old school, that certain players defend and attack, while other players defend to an extent, but not as much as the other 7 or eight. You cannot afford to carry more than one or two of the players who fall in to the latter category, IN AN IDEAL FOOTBALLING WORLD. Sadly, that World has come and gone and you arguably cannot afford to carry anyone of that ilk 😦 I have witnessed that he DOES pressure the opposition, but only at times. It ain’t his fault he’s more technically gifted and intelligent than everyone else on the field. Anyone who deems him to be shit, might want to take a closer look. Shit he most certainly is not.

    At first I always wanted to see spirit, or thunder and lightning, but then came to realize all the different footballers over time whom I have loved to see play and greatly admired. Some have that outward fire, some not a bit of it. I myself do not play with that emotion, believe it or not, at least not in a competitive fashion. IF someone threatens or endangers me, offends me, or my family, I do lash out, but NOT to win.

    Just to give you a taste, this is the list of footballers I have “liked” on Facebook: Ozil, Roberto Falcao (Roma, Brazil), Nakamura, Nakata, Adrian Mutu, Ivan de la Pena, Andres Iniesta, Andres Escobar, Abou Diaby, Kieran Gibbs, Youri Tielemans, Sergi Samper, Alessandro Del Piero, Ryan Gauld, Xabi Alonso, Franz Beckenbaur, Rui Costa, Jari Litmanen, Tomas Rosicky, Matthias Sindelar, Carles Puyol, Ledley King, Tugay Kerimoglu, Carlos Valderrama, Roy Keane, Paolo Maldini, Ronaldinho, Roberto Rivelino, Arsene Wenger, Per Mertesacker, Zinedine Zidane, Aaron Ramsey, Gianfranco Zola and the greatest, Dennis Bergkamp.

    All those players listed, I have either read about, or watched and a good lot of them, I admire for more than just their on-field artistry. Not all of them are wizards with a ball at their feet, or shrinking violets and you’ll notice there are no goalkeepers…Not something I did consciously…I’ll be honest, I do not know enough about that position, but all of them have their unique and distinct story and style of play and that is what I enjoy most about any profession I take an interest in…Those being music and football.

    Notice how none of them are shit… 😀

  3. Gerry says:

    My only comment here, Milo, is why did you not make your off-topic comment into your maiden post? Instead, you have somewhat crassly cut across another post.Which is doubly annoying as your comment/post has some great points in it.
    I sincerely hope that TA might consider deleting it, and mine here, and slips it in as a post tomorrow, because your timing … well …????
    Sorry Milo

  4. Gerry says:

    Resub , it’s the way you tell ’em 😀

    I am so glad you do not wander and deviate in your comments, as they are so much better served in your posts. Get your best 50 posts and you have a very readable book. I’lI look forwards to the next 48 posts with interest. Great stuff that brightens up the interlull no end … before we get back to the serious business which will quickly follow. Than you, and I thank TA for putting it out. Perfect post ant the perfect time.

    Please enjoy it, it going to get serious all too soon …

  5. Retsub says:

    Thanks Gerry appreciate your response. I did actually start to write a book once, just a way of keeping memories. Maybe next time we have an inter lull I will tell my best story which is totally off topic.

  6. Milo says:

    Just got a little excited, I guess 😀 Left out a few players whom I enjoyed watching as well 😀 Still, Steve’s Ozil bashing, along with my tendency to want to see Arsenal players showing commitment, yet liking a fair few players who either didn’t show outward emotion, or were renegades and deviated from strict tactical instructions, got me thinking 😀

    I once ran in to a guy who was the star striker at my local semi-pro side, who’ youth system I was in 😀 Carlo Arghittu, of Club Roma in St. Catharines Ontario 😀 I didn’t say one word to him, as I was a camp counsellor and I had 15 kids to chase after, and he was busy showing his daughter around the museum the camp was based at 😀 I also was very shy.

    That’s my closest thing to rubbing shoulders with football fame and royalty 😀

  7. TotalArsenal says:

    Great comment, Milo. 🙂

    Ozil is the ultimate server to to the team, always looking to add value in an attacking sense, which is a lot more than purely producing assists and scoring goals. So where should he plan: Central or free on the wing? 😀

  8. Milo says:

    Right wing for me, no question, but in a free role.

  9. 17highburyterrace says:

    Dammit…Just lost a comment…Maybe I can make this new attempt a bit tighter… 😀

    Retsub: Thanks very much for another very entertaining post! I wish I had something to add… The best I can do is say that I attended the same language institute during our stay in Spain as AW’s daughter…though I missed her by a few months… Supposedly she was a class above her peers–at least when it came to holding her liquor (or not indulging so brazenly, in the first place)… There was a “story” of her entire cohort all getting sick from (supposedly) deciding to drink water straight from one of the fountains at the Alhambra… Put me in the group who’d be too afraid to approach a famous player in public… Didn’t Highbury Harmony have a Manhattan Santi spotting?…

    Also, with so many so quiet during this Int’l break, I don’t think we ought to chastise Milo for recognizing the contributions of Ozil. I’m still very (very) down about his injury and quite worried that we won’t see him again at Arsenal. His tweets are nice but the overall landscape of English football + the pressures unique to Arsenal might be just a bit too rough. The injury, on the other hand, could provide just the breathing room our Messy needs so that he can return as value added when the competition starts getting fierce again. On that note, I like the idea that Giroud might be ahead of schedule…

    In the meantime, TA is right about drawing on our English core. I saw parts of the San Marino training exercise but missed the Estonia match (great weather here, finally starting to turn just a bit…) No goals from open play suggests we might struggle in a like manner… Hopefully, our injured and/or retired team leaders (Arteta and BFG) are working with the wider squad to keep things better organized at the back. I’ve got a feeling we may be seeing a bit more of Nacho given the Koscielny sore tendons. Chambers suspended for Hull (5 yellows) already makes us smaller at set-pieces… Another big opportunity/test for Bellerin?…

    Up front, this *could,* however, be a good time for Alexis. He’s got a late match in South America so maybe not for the Hull game, though he seems absolutely indefatigable. (Did anybody else see him literally go through the advertising boards vs Peru?…) Is it possible Theo could come straight back into the team? That seems a stretch. Rosicky? Poldolski–who actually came closest to beating Szcz in the Poland upset? Probably only as subs. Instead, it’s gotta be Santi (and Jack) running the show and trying to get Danny and Ox in on goal… Consider me concerned…We’ve got extra matches vs that Belgian team, too, so either the team gets further stretched or (fingers crossed) a few players step up and stake their claim to a bigger contribution in the first team.

    So, there you go…Still pretty long, but whatchagunnerdo?…

  10. TotalArsenal says:

    Hi Milo, but that’s where Theo will be. 🙂

    Agreed, in a free role, right or left doesn’t bother me.

  11. TotalArsenal says:

    Good to see you back here, seventeenho. I am reading Charles Frazier’s ‘Cold Mountain’ at the moment, and although set in a different part of the US, it still makes me think about you up in the mountains of Tahoe. You are a lucky man to live in such a great place and good to hear the weather is turning your way, so to speak.

    The squad is now quite small indeed and there will be challenges. Ozil will be a big miss, and maybe this is what the fans need: absence makes the hard grow fonder and all that… We have six games before there is another fecking interlul, and this might suit us really well. Get through those six games with good results and we will have laid the foundation for the rest of the season. A two weeks club footie break should also help us further in getting the sick and injured back to battle again. I am really looking fwd to those six games. Sleeves up, focus clear, team work, and the talent will shine through. 🙂

  12. jnyc says:

    Great post ! Id give anything to have met Clough, and now the dream is to meet Arsene.
    Here in new york at my job ive met paul pogba, jordan henderson this summer. Pep guardiola this past saturday, and roman abramovich in the past. I just missed seeing pires and fergie (different occasions).
    But just briefly met these guys, said hello, no real chance to chat or anything special.

  13. TotalArsenal says:

    Wow Johnnie, nice profession you must have… 🙂

  14. welshman1965 says:

    I had a text from my Dutch Friend TotalArsenal asking if I would write a post reference my encounter with God (Dennis Bergkamp). It was a story I shared with him a number of years ago and something that will remain with me for the rest of my life.

    First of all you need to understand that I am not a person that gets star struck with celebrities or stardom as there have been a few occasions where I have come across Celebrety status individuals from the sporting world and my mind is to leave alone and let them carry on with there day without interference.

    Our visit to Milan for our magical victory in the San Siro against Inter where Inter were destroyed ( what memories) we were drinking in a small bar/cafe that had a number of magnificent football trophies on display for what was five aside football. Quietly sitting in the corner was a rather distinguished man drinking coffee reading his paper, I looked at the guy and I thought I know that guy, I’m good with faces but terrible with names. I thought a bit and then it came to me, manager of Uraguay , father to an Italian God, Cesare Maldini. I told my friends who were with me and like a shot they all got up to surround him for autographs and chats. Me I sat in my chair told my friends to leave him in peace but no off they went so I just let them get on with it. Remember they are only human they just do a different job.

    For a number of years my son trained and played with the Arsenal youth team, never signed as Mr Massey never fancied him but then again what does he know lol. They used to train in the clock end on a Friday evening in the sports hall behind the stand . Monsieur Wenger used to treat all home games as away games back then and he would arrange for the first team to meet in the car park under the stand and then they would travel by coach to Canary Wharf to stay overnight in a hotel of their choice .

    Set the seen, security would be there and there job was to keep the parents , youth players away from the first team and the coaching staff including Wenger. Typical security staff full of self importance and me waiting to meet God. My favourite Arsenal player of all time, a true phenomenon . Remember I don’t get excited, just another human being. But no, this is God, Royality what more can I say, I was determined to meet him, dodging the security guards who block my path and told me to stay back these fools were to be outwitted. Cut a long story short I outfoxed them and there standing before me was God. I should say the sun shone through and bounced of his dynamic features but it didn’t , but there was I before God, star struck and in complete awe. Wow what could I say, and this is what I can recall I just said “Sorry Dennis for disturbing you but can i have your autograph”? I produced a napkin, clean and unused but never the less a napkin for him to sign. He just looked and me a smiled and straight away struck up a conversation with me. The rest I can’t remeber that well but we talked for quite a while only being interrupted by the wretched security guards and now the supervisor . But what a gentleman he was!!!

    Anyway i I achieved my goal , got my autograph and had a conversation with God. I don’t have the napkin anymore but I have something more special , my memories. 😀😀😀😀

  15. 17highburyterrace says:

    Now that was a good read… Cheers, Welshman…

    Here’s how I’m picturing it… http://4.bp.blogspot.com/-l8jod_HEeG4/TbwcifmdpPI/AAAAAAAAmH4/z2NJ-48iwL0/s1600/3.jpg

  16. TotalArsenal says:

    Cheers Welshman1965 🙂

    Was great to read your meeting with God again, always puts a smile to my face. And what a day to have been in Milan! Enjoy Antwerp! 😉

  17. TotalArsenal says:

    There are enough sunbeams there for all the Invincibles, 17! 🙂

  18. Gerry says:

    I hope this does not prove to be too much of a dampener on these happy memories, but …

    Sadly for me, my recent quiet time, as some mave have guessed, I finally said goodbye to my 15 year old dog, Flossie.
    She passed away peacefully in my arms at the vets yesterday. I am still coming to terms with the silence around the house, which is doubly strange with 8 other dogs around, but she was ‘wife’ to one, co-auntie with another to one pup, but mother to the remaining 5 of the ‘family’. So key was she within the group as a whole, and missed by all. Although they are probably picking up on my mood.
    Hence the silence.
    If I can get a photo up I will.

  19. Retsub says:

    Great story Welshman 1965′ puts my encounters firmly in place

  20. TotalArsenal says:

    Thanks for posting your sad news, Gerry. A big loss for you and your other dogs. I hope the happy memories will become stronger than the sadness felt by you at the moment. Would be great to see a photo of the Flosser. 🙂

  21. welshman1965 says:

    Thanks to you all, I hate writing but had so much fun reliving my memories!!!

  22. VCC says:

    Gerry. I cannot say too much right now, but I’m thinking of you at this so sad time. I grew to know Flossie through our chats during our times on BK. you know how much I truly love dogs and this is a sad time for me to be writing these words.

    George and I send our love.

    RIP Flossie, and God bless.

  23. Retsub says:

    Really sorry to hear that Gerry, we lost our beloved Buster last year at a similar age. If it’s any consolation at least she lived to a good age

  24. TotalArsenal says:

    Great picture in your gravatar, Gerry 🙂

  25. Gerry…

    Very, very sorry to hear your news… Nothing I can say can help as you know the drill well enough…(And worst of all, my hunch is that it only gets tougher…) More dog-a-tars, I say, and Flossie looks like she was a very fun girl… Obviously, you made a great home for her…


  26. jnyc says:

    Fancy retail shop, TA… the best part is seeing some cool people. Otherwise mediocre job as you’d suspect. By the way, abramovich doesnt seem to have picked up much english, as his girl did all the talking. Unless he’s very shy, which I doubt.

  27. TotalArsenal says:

    Johnnie, he just knew you were a Gooner…… 🙂

    Mixing with the great and famous in a fancy retail shop sounds fun to me. 🙂

  28. TotalArsenal says:

    Sorry Seventeenho, not sure why your comment went into moderation last night. Gerry, it was meant for you.

  29. Gerry says:

    No problem TA – Thanks for the messages folks. Dog lovers to a tee.

    Yes, I have been through this three times in the last 10 months. I gave her every chance over the last 6 months to tell me when she had had enough, and that only came over the last few days. Never easy, but I wanted it to be her decision.
    Memories galore. She was a very competitive in her play, tough, but not aggressive in any way. She just had Presence!

    The gravatar will always remind me to do what you can, while you can.

    Which reminds me …
    TA you will have mail shortly.

  30. Retsub says:

    Everyone seems to have a gravatar so here is my attempt. Got a feeling it might go wrong but I won’t know until I hit enter

  31. Retsub says:

    Hmmm that didn’t work

  32. TotalArsenal says:

    Good luck Retsub 🙂

  33. TotalArsenal says:

    New Post New Post 🙂

    Charles Bell, a new writer on BK, has written a fine, provocative post about what the loss of MO11 really means for Arsenal.

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