There was a time, back when I was aged around 11 or 12, when my parents had a very strange idea. They decided that Wednesdays were going to be days when all four of their children had to go to bed earlier than usual. I regard this as a strange idea, as my experience of trying to get a child to go to bed earlier that usual is that either they just stay awake complaining that they are not tired yet, or they go straight to sleep but wake up earlier and complain that they aren’t allowed to get up yet. Frankly, I am not sure which is worse.
It did have one enormous benefit for me, though. In deference to my status as eldest child, I was allowed to go to bed in their bedroom and read. As it was a Wednesday, I was also allowed to have the radio on and listen to football commentary on whichever BBC station carried it in those days long before Radio Five was even thought of, let alone given the absurd ‘Live’ suffix.
Curiously, I don’t remember any of the matches I heard apart from the occasion in 1979 when Liverpool and Nottingham Forest met in the European Cup. But I do remember spending many nights listening as Bryon Butler and Peter Jones commentated on crackly lines from all around Europe.
At the same time, I was also discovering a whole new world of books. I know that I read The Hitch-Hikers Guide to the Galaxy at least twice, because I remember Dad complaing that I was bending the spine of the book back too far. I wonder if he still has that copy?
Anyway, this particular memory was prompted because the BBC are now trying to pick exceptional pieces of football commentary to put into a national archive. Personally, I’d just like to hear some of the game that I have mentioned above, or indeed something from any game that I might have listened in to. I somehow doubt that will happen, but at least I still have the memories of that time.