In the days before European club tournaments,the Wembley weekend was the highlight of the footballing year.
Watching Scotland play England at Hampden was always wonderful but the Wembley weekend (1965), added an adventure to the football.
At the time this fixture was played around the middle of April every year and, we saved our 10 bob every week after New Year to finance the trip. We, being four mates working in a factory in Hillington near Glasgow. Willie had just finished his ‘time’ and had bought a Mini, the other three of us were apprentices in our final year. Having driven a few hundred miles without mishap, we agreed that Willie driving us to London for the game, was the perfect solution.
We left early evening on the Thursday, to give us time to get there and have Friday night on the town before the game on Saturday. Getting to London proved to be a wee bit more tricky than we had thought. Willie’s Mini did not have any optional extras which, in those days, meant no heater or radio. No Motorways either, the A74 to the border then on to England via lots of towns, over Shap Fell and across country to Scots Corner, by which time we were struggling to keep Willie awake, his previous longest drive having been to Largs.
Thankfully the lack of a heater and the freezing temperatures were a help although, we couldn’t feel anything below the knees. We ran into a bit of fog on the A1 and Willie decided that rather than drive blind, sticking to the tail lights of the lorry in front was the best way to get there, no matter what speed he was doing. It worked but i’ve always blamed it for my premature loss of hair.
Our Friday night out on the town was amazing, we even made a quick dash through Soho, just so that we could say we had – although by then Willie was a basket case, mind you he did manage a truckload of beer before succumbing.
On to the game on Saturday, which was almost an anticlimax, a 2-2 draw against 10 men (no subs). Scotland had a terrific team then, Henderson, Crerand, Law, St John and many more but even then you could see England had a bit about them. Still a draw at Wembley had to be celebrated properly, so a few drinks and off to the Hammersmith Palais.
We travelled back on Sunday and I can barely remember the trip home.Then it was into work on Monday to tell tales of our trip or a close approximation.
You had to do it once.