In June 2006, only 7 months after the South of England Northern Ireland Supporters Club was formed, I invited everyone down to Bournemouth and thought we could have a day out at the seaside – trip to the pier and beach and laugh at my co-workers who were slaving away while I had the day off. It was all set! So on the 22nd June we were all set for Germany v. England, we assumed Germany would win their group and that Sweden would win England’s group, meaning they would play each other on the day of our meeting. In the end we had to settle for watching Germany v. Sweden and later, Mexico v. Argentina. At any rate, it was another SOE NISC day out watching football and getting pished up. We weren’t in the world cup and we wanted to show the Bournemouth public how much we enjoyed ourselves anyhow!
The night before Owen Millar had driven to mine from Torquay and I’d also picked my mate Gavin McClelland up from Southampster Airport. Gavin (a Northern Irish childhood mate of mine) was visiting me in England for the first time since I moved there three years previously. That night we ended up watching South Korea and Togo (I think) in the Moon in The Square pub before going to Jumpin Jaks and getting hammered! That was a late one, and before I knew it Graham Anderson and Gemma Mornin were knocking on my door and it was Saturday morning. The day we aimed to turn Bournemouth green with flegs, nipple balls and crocodiles.
We got a bus into town from my house (which at the time was 88 Ensbury Park Road). There were five of us. Just before this I had sang Common People in my living room on karaoke and done a stupid dance in a neighbours garden. Because thats the way life should be, right? Anyhow we met a lady called Gwyneth on the bus and showed her the £1 green nipple ball (I bought them at G and T’s in Winton). Once we got off the bus we headed for O’Briens for breakfast and O’Neills for liquid breakfast for 12 noon. At this point I realised I had lost my mobile phone. Not normally a problem for an 80s kid confused about modern technology, but today of all days I needed it. As club chairman and host!! I would be expecting calls from the likes of Hong Kong Army Alfred, Tim Beattie and Scatt Gordon. So I had to get a return taxi home ASAP before the meeting even began, as I reckoned I had lost my phone in my neighbours garden while doing my stupid dance. Low and behold I was right. After knocking on my neighbour’s door, they said they had found my phone, complete with 4 missed calls and a few texts. Of course, by the time I had got back down to meet the lads at O’Neills pub in Lansdowne, they were already one drink in, and the flegs and the like were up on the walls, with the place already looking green. Sammy G, Scatt and Chris were there, as was Lola Gordon, Scatt’s daughter who was dressed in a Northern Ireland shirt and making her SOE NISC debut. To this day (2008) Lola is still the youngest attendee at a meeting. Then the fun could commence.
Richboy was there, as was his brother Phil from Portydown who had made it over for the weekend. New guy from Carrickfergus Ryan was there with Jonathan his brother and the turnout was looking impressive already. We drank lager and had an official meeting there, with Alex and Beverley also bringing a new club ‘member’, Zulu the cardboard NI fan. Also there Simon McCully and his girlfriend Emma, Tim Beattie and Dave King. We also had Scatt’s mate Trevor Thompson from JP Morgan turning up, a Belfast lad. Plus Hong Kong Army Alfred was due later in the day. After the meeting in O’Neill’s we posed for photos next to the pictures of Northern Irish legends George Best and Pat Jennings. I think this is the reason we chose to start the day out in there, so we could see the photos. Irish Bars are always a bit false and commercial, but it did the job, and soon we were off down the road to Bar Vin, where we would watch the first match at 3 pm, which was Sweden v. Germany. Everyone brought a random item with them for the day and we had a hell of a lot of paraphinalia on what is still the biggest day out for any South of England Northern Ireland Supporters Club meeting. I brought with me mini football nets and in Bar Vin, we held a penalty shoot out on the dancefloor, which I won, but got booed. Thats because I didn’t let Chris win, which I should’ve. At this stage I was on the Pear Cider with ice which was going down a treat (I took a lemonade before that for energy). We met two South African girls in there, Justine and Megan, one of whom was wearing green and they joined us for the day out. We got some food (free bar snacks) in Bar Vin as organised by me and watched a pretty one sided 3-0 win for Germany. I dont remember Sweden putting up much of a fight in that match. I then suggested we had to go to the beach – SOE NISC motto being more than just a piss up by the seaside! For some reason nobody else was up for it, so we ended up with a slight split. Some of us headed to the wee Irish pub Daisy O’Brien’s, some headed for food and some headed for the free open air live music festival in Bournemouth Square that day. It was rather a daze, I really expected everyone to be up for a trip to the beach in between the two games, to chill out get a carryout and enjoy the sunshine which we were graced predictably with on a Bournemouth June Saturday. It wasn’t to be and soon I was sinking a lager with the boys in Daisy O’Brien’s. We only stayed there for two drinks because (GET THIS>>>) in an Irish pub they wouldn’t let us put Irish flegs up!!!
No bother as me and Sammy G put one fleg up outside the shap called ‘Quiksilver’ in Bournemouth’s pedestrian precinct at Old Christchurch Road. The other fleg we put on the railings outside Daisy O’Briens pub. At this point the local peelers asked me what we were doing. I said “enjoying life.” They laughed and dandered off. We met a lady in there from Londonderry who was with her English boyfriend and very confused by it all. Graham and I frisk searched each other using these green feather dusters. It all looked a bit camp actually. Then we did the bouncy sang songs at the Portugal boys in there and headed in search of a bar nearer the live music which would let us in wearing our taps. Scott and Sammy were watching the music and we ended up talking to the bouncer and he let us into the Tapp and Hobbitt bar who would be showing the Argentina v. Mexico match later on, which was set to be a cracker! We got some tables and beer and the place turned green!! Sadly Chris Gordon was underage and rightly so couldnt get in, which was sad for him and Sammy. I think we sneaked him in for a quick lemonade anyway!
Just after this my friend Catherine came in dressed in green and Hong Kong army Alfred arrived. Alfred was a nutcase. A Hong Kong boy who had no links to Northern Ireland whatsoever but turned up at two meetings! Tim kindly donated his 125 year Northern Ireland shirt as a present to Alfred who hopefully still has it. Just after that we started to watch Argentina v. Mexico. As a fan of both Maradona and Hugo Sanchez in the past, I wasn’t sure who to support on the day, but as Mexico play in green and I had a sombrero I plumped for Mexico. The SOE NISC members were split over which team they wanted to win. The day was all going well, but new guy Ryan was causing a bit of a stir, using Owen’s Argentina fleg, he was parading the bar almost looking for a fight. He started some argument with Graham Anderson about Argentina and the Falklands War, which Graham, as the nicest bloke you’ll ever meet tried to explain the situation to him (he looked as though he was born post-1982…). Graham takes no shit as an army man and Ryan then started slabbering at an English guy who was just trying to watch the football. I think Mexico went 1-0 up while this was all kicking off. Then apparently Ryan launched a punch and hit Richboy in the face. The bouncers saw all this, I missed it, Ryan then started slabbering at Trevor, who was from the Ormeau Road ad kindly invited along for the day by Scott. Trevor got caught up in it all, as mayhem unfolded in the Tapp and Hobbitt. I’m pretty anti-fight myself. I believe there is always a better way to resolve matters other than hitting someone. Soon Ryan was banging Trevor’s head off the ground outside the pub and made it away on his toes. During this time, Ryan’s brother Jonathan offered an apology on behalf of his brother and handed me my NI shirt back, which I leant him for the day. (We still managed to lose THREE NI shirts that day. Ryan disappeared and with him, Scott Gordon’s vintage 1996 era NI tap). Soon the ambulance had arrived and Trevor was taken away. We were all too pissed and everything to know what had happenned. Needless to say Ryan and his brother were kicked out of the club straight away. Totally disgraceful behaviour, which will not be tolerated in the SOE NISC. Imagine fighting with your own people.
I spoke to the bouncers, worried that they might tar us all with Ryan’s brush, but they didn’t and allowed us to stay. A few people had left by that point, but we still made some noise and watched Argentina beat Mexico 2-1 in the Tapp and Hobbitt, before Owen decided we needed to negotiate our way to cheap wine and a nightclub open until 3 am. And he was right. The Tapp and Hobbitt was due to close at 11 pm, and we needed somewhere which would let us in all dressed in football shirts. I suggested the Showbar, as I worked for Bournemouth Borough Council and knew some of the staff, plus they’d let us in no bother. Then Owen saw the Consortium and decided we should try it. One quick chat to the bouncer from Owen Millar and suddenly we were sorted. All the bouncer wanted for letting us in with all our paraphinalia was some Red Bull to keep his energy levels up for the night. So we bought him some Red Bull and we were in! We found our own place downstairs and stayed there till the end dressed in green and with flegs out! We did a few “gay discos” as well, which is basically all the lads taking their taps off and dancing round the room like maniacs. Some of the girls must have enjoyed it, as one saw fit to pull my pants down! Last thing I remember Gemma was hitting me and girning so I sent her home, Owen was necking the wine, Beattie was focked and I fell over in the corner still sinking pints with Sammy G…
Then everybody headed back to my house for karaoke and probably woke all my housemates. Gemma even nicked Matt’s bed. Ah well. The Bournemouth meeting was over in a flash and suddenly I woke up on the Sunday with a hangover and met Owen, Gavin, Simon and Emma in Yates’s pub to watch England squeeze a 1-0 win over Ecuador. Soon my time living in Bournemouth was up as well. That night I drove to London to move some stuff into my new house at Wood Lane, Shepherd’s Bush. By the end of the week I had left my beach job, moved to London properly, and said my good byes to Bournemouth, for now.
Bars we visited – O’Neill’s, Bar Vin, Daisy O’Brien’s, The Tapp And Hobbitt, Consortium Nightclub.
Who was there – Jonny Blair, Owen Millar, Sammy Gordon, Chris Gordon, Lola Gordon, Scott Gordon, Dave King, Tim Beattie, Richard Ingram, Phil Ingram, Gavin McClelland, Gemma Mornin, Simon McCully, Ryan Parker, Jonathan Parker, Trevor Thompson, Alex Higgins, Beverley Perrett, Zulu, Graham Anderson, Justine Buckley, Megan, Emma, Alfred Ko, Catherine Sneddon.
Matches we watched –
Sweden 0-3 Germany
Mexico 1-2 Argentina
Random items brought – Green nipple ball, green sombrero, Zulu the Northern Ireland fan, Football Nets, Jerome Quinn in a NI tap, 2 green crocadiles, Sweden fleg Argentina fleg, Mexico tap.
Lost property –
1 Asics green quartered NI tap 1996 (Scott Gordon)
1 Patrick green NI tap 1999 (Jonny Blair)
2 nipple balls
1 football nets