About 20 months ago I wrote a story of a ten year freaky journey (2004 – 2014) between two people – Lee Adams AKA Lock in Lee and myself Jonny Blair. The journey was hard to explain, as basically Lee and I, when in each other’s company encourage random freaky events that neither of us can explain. When I wrote the article on the ten year story, I kind of assumed that that was it. The freaks lasted 10 years and there would be no more crazy sh*t happening when Lee and I were together. It was over. Surely. But the madness continued. We were wrong. The crazy s*it rolls on. It got crazier. In the form of Jack Barmby, Grodig, BLAIR ADAMS and J Jenner. Quite frankly, these freaks in the last 20 months have been more ridiculous than the previous ten years. I don’t know where to start, so if you’re new to my site, then read the previous story:
The freaky Journey with Lee Adams and Jonny Blair
Re-cap 2003 – 2014
Just a quick re-cap here as I’ve told the story a lot of times before. I met Lee Adams in 2003 when we auditioned for a student experiment that was a mock Big Brother. We both got through the auditions and were eventually voted into the house called the Lock In. The house was a crazy time, a weekend “away from the outside world” and without any football results. With a lack of football results, The Lock In gave us a football quiz. The only question of the quiz that we remember was either:
- Who won their last England cap in the 5-1 win over Germany in 2001?
- Who was the first player to score for 6 Premier League clubs?
The answer, to both, was Nicky Barmby and we got it right and it became a code word. Lee and I went to London for the Big Brother auditions and weirdly, Lee sent me a text message around this time which said “Forest have signed Barmby”. A few weeks after the Lock in and I invited Lee to watch the Cherries at Dean Court. Lee is a Nottingham Forest fan and so that day we put a bet on Barmby to score for Forest. It was only 12-1 or something and we stuck a quid on it, but the bet came up and kick started a series of crazy and ridiculous coincidences over the next 10 years, culminating in the Jonny Evans bet, which again came up trumps in January 2014. Again read the original story for the freakiness of it all. In between times, I even met Jonny Evans while backpacking in Turkey.
As I was leaving Lee and Birmingham behind the day after the Jonny Evans bet, Jack Barmby signed for Hartlepool United. On that exact day. Nick Barmby’s son! And the team he left was Manchester United, team responsible for the freaky Evans bet. And guess what? Jack Barmby scored on his debut, for Hartlepool United. We just knew it…I was out in Hong Kong by this stage.
I met Lee in London for a World Cup Pub Crawl piss up with some friends. There were just two freaky things that had us thinking again.
1.As we walked past our base for the night, the Castle Hostel in Southwark, I told Lee my mate Chris was coming down – from Doncaster. At THAT EXACT MOMENT a car pulled up at the traffic lights with a guy wearing a Doncaster Rovers football shirt. It wasn’t even Chris!
2.Then we were walking down the street later and I jokingly said “I’m going to shoot someone!” as part of a conversation we were having. At that exact moment, a sign on the wall read “Johnny Got his gun”. It was ridiculous!
After that I was on my adventures backpacking through South and Central America, arranging to meet up with Lee in Birmingham in October 2014, which would coincide with the Birmingham City 0-8 AFC Bournemouth match.
I flew from Belfast City into Birmingham ready to meet up with Lock In Lee. Just before I boarded the flight I bought the Newsletter, Northern Ireland’s National newspaper. On this exact day, on the front cover was “Adams must apologise”. At the end of Lee’s shift in work that day, one of his last clients had an address listed in Newtownards on it – my home town!
This was freaky and we had a crazy weekend. As a side freak, and probably not linked at all, AFC Bournemouth won 8-0 at Birmingham City – a record away win and a record home defeat for Birmingham and I was wearing a hat with the number 8 on it, that day. Odd! We also drank at the Figure of Eight pub, but we fixed that of course, after the match!
After about 5 months in Eastern Europe, Scandinavia and the Baltics, I was back in England. It was time for another reunion in March 2015. I got a bus from Liverpool to Birmingham and agreed to stay for two more nights this time in Birmingham. Yes, you’ve guessed it, on that very day there were some weird links in the newspapers.
1.THE TIMES – the Times had for the first time in ages a mention of Tony BLAIR on the front cover. Yes, on that exact day I got the bus to see Lee. Again this was freaking us out.
2.IRISH POST – The Irish Post caught Lee’s eye in the shop as I had been out in Merseyside the night before with my brother. There was a random mention of an Irishman on the front page that day. But then – to freak us out, when you turned the page…ADAMS was mentioned.
But of course just the mention of Adams was freaky enough without the added “rejects Royals”. This dated back to the Lock In when Lee and I had a major debate and difference of opinion about the Royal Family. Basically Lee is against them, and I am for them, and here in the paper “Adams rejects Royals”.
That sounds crazy enough as it is, but then think about it even deeper. I am Northern Irish and I bought the Times in Merseyside. A British paper and Blair was on the front. My surname. Lee is English and he bought the Irish Post in Birmingham. An Irish Paper with Merseyside mentioned on the front and Adams rejecting Royals in the inside cover (linked story from the front). Lee’s surname of course. This was crazy! Both papers of course, on the exact day we met.
That night we went down Lee’s local and did the pub quiz and met my mate Ian McKinney (nicknamed Skin), from Northern Ireland. I know Ian well from Northern Ireland matches down the years. We told him the Nicky Barmby story and had a good night, but nothing freaky just yet. The next day we went on a mini pub crawl in Birmingham and I decided I would go to Nottingham with Lee to watch Nottingham Forest v. Rotherham United that night. I had been to the City Ground before to watch the Cherries (a 1-1 draw in 2005). Lee is a long time season ticket holder at Nottingham Forest.
The Jack Barmby Freak
On the walk through the city centre of Birmingham, we decided to put a few bets on. I was adamant for whatever reason that Nottingham Forest would beat Rotherham 2-0. I don’t know where the bet came from in fact, but we put that bet on. Then, as we were checking for possible first goalscorer odds for Nottingham Forest, something ridiculous happened. We just couldn’t believe it. Jack Barmby had now signed on loan for Rotherham United and neither of us knew it.
He was 7-1 odds on for the first goal for Rotherham, so we had to put the bet on as well! We couldn’t believe it – we would now be watching Jack Barmby live and Lee as a Forest fan would hope he didn’t score. So we put on three separate bets in the end.
1.We bet on Nottingham Forest 2-0 Rotherham.
2.We bet on Jack Barmby to score a goal anytime.
3.We did an accumulator bet on matches taking place that night, picking the winners for reasons that linked Lee and I.
So with the bets all placed, we headed in Mark’s car (Lee’s mate) to the City Ground in Nottingham. We stopped off for a beer in the pre match home pub (my first time in that pub). It was in there that Lee and I shared the bet idea with Mark. Mark then said to us “You’ve bet on Grodig to win. Who the hell are Grodig?” It was a genuinely good question!! We both said we had no idea but we had to pick one more in the accumulator and because Forest had a player called Gardner, we decided that the GRO and DIG were as good a reason as any to pick Grodig for a win. We had to look them up on WiFi in the pub. We found out they play in Austria and had lost their last 4 matches, and were not expected to win this one. Oops. We then found out their match was in Austria, an hour ahead of us, and their match was almost over. They were 2-0 up! What!
Jack Barmby didn’t play
When we got into the stadium, Jack Barmby was listed in the match programme, but when the team was announced, he wasn’t playing, and wasn’t even on the bench. He may have been injured. He may have returned to Leicester City from his loan spell. We still don’t know. So that bet was gone and there would now be no more freakiness. But this was just the beginning.
Daniel Lafferty was playing
Rotherham United had a right back on the pitch. It was Daniel Lafferty. How freaky is this? He is the Northern Irish guy that I met next to Jonny Evans in Turkey back in 2013. He was now the right back for Rotherham United.
Having met Lafferty and Evans in Turkey in 2013, the pair of them were now involved in the whole crazy betting thing that started with Nick Barmby in the Lock in in 2004. Barmby won us the 2004 bet. Evans won us the 2014 bet. Lafferty was now on the pitch and kept the score down to 2-0 in the second half and helped win us the 2015 bet. Ridiculous.
Skin was at the Match
I got a text during the first half from my mate Ian (Skin) who we had met the night before. He randomly told me that he was at the match too. At half time, I got my Northern Ireland flag out in the Trent End, waved it till he saw me and I climbed over into his stand for a photo. It was crazy!
What was a bit crazier about this moment was that exactly 10 years to the month, I had travelled to Manchester, Berlin and Warsaw with Skin as part of a Northern Ireland trip. Above the photo it said “Nation? Prove it” and I produced the flag and he did a thumbs up, almost like a subliminal answer to that question. Totally bizarre and I only noticed it on Facebook later.
Nottingham Forest 2-0 Rotherham United
You guessed it. Nottingham Forest won the match 2-0. It was already 2-0 at half time and that turned out to be the final score. We had won the bet! The freakiness continued, but it didn’t end here and the final twist in the March 2015 was ridiculous!
The GRODIG BET
I mentioned before that the Austrian team Grodig had lost their previous four matches. But Lee and I, the freaks were together tonight and we had banked on them because of the name only. It was random. GRO and DIG – based on instinct and Gardner. Against all the odds, GRODIG also won 2-0, ending a run of 4 straight thrashings! But we did an accumulator bet.
So in our accumulator we had banked on the following teams to win, all based on logical reasons that linked Lee and I:
Grodig – because of GRO and DIG through Gardner.
Nottingham Forest – because of Lee and we were going to the match and Lee’s a Forest fan.
Juventus – because they took their kit colours from Notts County and that night, from the Forest stadium, we could see Notts County’s ground.
Barcelona – because I had been to Barcelona’s stadium since the last bet we did.
Leeds United – I think it was either because Nicky Barmby once played for Leeds or the fact that we once did a bet on Fulham and they screwed us over.
Burton – While talking to Skin the night before, he mentioned how he went to watch Burton Albion in his quest to visit all 92 football stadiums in the English League.
Albion – Same reason – while talking to Skin the night before, he mentioned how he went to watch Burton Albion in his quest to visit all 92 football stadiums in the English League.
We stuck £1 on it. We would win £287.58 if all those predictions came up. After the match we had confirmation on the TV in the stadium that Leeds and Juventus had won. The other matches were tighter and we had to check them…
Fulham 0-3 Leeds United
Arbroath 0-2 Albion
Nottingham Forest 2-0 Rotherham United
Borussia Dortmund 0-3 Juventus
Barcelona 1-0 Manchester City
Grodig 2-0 Wolfsberger
Burton Albion 2-1 Southend United
And…Burton Albion scored their winner in the last minute and we did it. We won the bet! We went down Lee’s local for a celebratory pint and we made this video. It was ridiculous!
We cashed our winnings and that was that. It was all just crazy. From The Lock in to Nick Barmby to Jonny Evans to Daniel Lafferty to Jack Barmby to Grodig. I went away for a bit, celebrating my 100th country in Tunisia and then spending 4 months outside Europe – in Hong Kong, Bangladesh, Kuwait and Bahrain. We agreed to meet up again in September 2015, but by now we were convinced that the freakiness simply couldn’t go on.
Lee heads to the United States on holiday and winds up in New Orleans keen to meet up with author Stephen Rea due to the fact that he was once a roadie for Ozzy Osbourne and they had a meeting in Birmingham before. Lee is a massive Black Sabbath and Ozzy Osbourne fan. The original coincidence was a bit crazier, in Lee’s own words:
“Lock in Lee” Adams: I was walking through Birmingham with my clothes all adorning Black Sabbath and my phone ring was iron man on my old Nokia. I had lost my mates and my phone was going off and this guy Brian and his wife, grabbed me saying I had to come back to the Copthorne Hotel to meet Stephen. Stephen, was Stephen Rea, a Northern Irish man who had once been the roadie for Ozzy Osborne! So we went back there to the hotel and they were all drinking there. Stephen’s story was that he and his friends had saved up to go and see Ozzy play in Brazil but could only afford the plane fare. They wrote to Ozzy and his crew to ask them for help and they sorted it out for him. Eventually they asked Stephen to be roadie for them!!”
So it transpires that Stephen Rea is not just an Ozzy Osbourne fan, but he comes from Northern Ireland. Even more – he supports the Northern Ireland football team and he is an author. A lot of parallels with my life. During the latest meeting in 2015, Lee finds out that Stephen has released a book on a local football team in New Orleans, formed in Finn McCools Irish Pub.
Lee gets Stephen to sign me a personalised copy of his book Finn McCools and posts it out to my temporary address in Hong Kong! Amazing. We also find out that Stephen Rea went to a Northern Ireland match and met Andrew Milliken, a friend of mine who I have roomed with and partied with on Northern Ireland away trips down the years, including in the Faroe Islands. You can buy Stephen Rea’s book here!
On a final note, it was weird that it was called Finn McCool’s because this is not only a Northern Irish giant, but was the name of the pub in Weymouth (England) that I launched the South of England Northern Ireland Supporters Club in, back in 2005. I hope to meet Stephen Rea someday!
Lock in Lee and I were reunited in Bournemouth again for the first time since 2005, (when Lee came down to watch the Nottingham Forest match). We agreed to meet up in Dyalns university bar in the building we did the Lock In in back in 2004! It was Friday 25th September and we planned a reunion. The week before I had breakfast in Piggies in Westbourne, got talking to the chef and owner and he was a Nottingham Forest fan, Robert Taylor. The odd things were beginning again, here where they all began in Bournemouth.
Nothing strange was happening that morning of the reunion though, just a normal day. Then, as I was getting ready to leave to get the bus towards the university, I was on the BBC website. What the fuck?! Jack Barmby had signed for Notts. County on loan, that exact day. That exact day!
We met up and had a good catch up and a great night for the reunion. But something even odder has now happened. Lee ADAMS and myself Jonny BLAIR happened to notice a while before that a player called BLAIR ADAMS played for Notts. County. Well he was now being joined by Jack Barmby. So you would have Blair Adams and Barmby all on the same team.
Blair Adams, Jack Barmby, J Jenner, Carroll, Adams
Weirdly that weekend we didn’t think to do any bets or anything, it was more of a lads catch up. And nothing happened on the pitch that our bets would have predicted – Jack Barmby didn’t score and Blair Adams didn’t play. But then we noticed something very very odd that weekend. It was Notts. County v. York City on the Saturday. It had been York City that Jack Barmby scored his first Hartlepool goal against. He was now at Notts. County. On the Notts. County team was not just Jack Barmby (who came on as sub) and Blair Adams (in the squad but not that day) though…
The bench had a J Jenner on it. It’s not a common name, a J Jenner. Yet this linked Lee and I back to the Lock In. I studied with Julie Jenner in PR at University, she assisted behind the scenes at the Lock in and also went out with Lee. But that wasn’t all the freaky stuff…
The Notts. County team also had Roy CARROLL and an EDWARDS on it. Lee’s Mum is called Carol and her maiden name was Edwards! So there were 5 players with a bizarre freaky link to us that weekend. Then, Blair Adams was sent out on loan to Mansfield. So now that Notts. County had the likes of Barmby, Jenner, Edwards and Carroll, they didn’t need the one player that linked Lee and I – BLAIR ADAMS was gone!
The madness really has gone on and we have no idea what is going on. There is a strong bond between myself and Lock in Lee Adams, one which I don’t share with anyone else I’ve ever met, and probably never will. The story rocks on and on.
Meet us for a pint along the way please. Because if you do, the madness stops. It only ever happens when the two of us are involved on our own. It’s a freaky thing.
“It’s a weird and wonderful world if you come from Wimbledon” – John Motson (neither of us do)