Monday, July 07, 2008

Kids who don't listen

I often tease the kids about how little they tell me about what they're thinking and doing. Forgetting of course that I never used to tell my parents anything, nor would I even feign interest in what they did, or what they told me. Yesterday this hit me like a train. My Dad was telling me a story about when him and his Dad went down to White Hart Lane to see Spurs against Benfica in 1962 in the European Cup semi final, how they went with Grandad's friend Ted Smith, the landlord of a pub in Skerton, Lancaster, who used to manage Benfica from 1948 to 1952.

*screech of brakes*

Er, rewind please. How come I've never heard any of this before? A namedropper like me? My Dad used to make real efforts to take me to European games at Anfield and Wrexham, when I was about 11 and upwards - we were never going to see European football at Ewood, were we? - in so doing, he must have told me the details of that story many times before, but I won't have listened. Sure, I took in the detail that he'd only been to London once, but nothing about the magic of European nights. They even met the Benfica team and the captain Aguas, who Ted had brought over from Angola, and who hugged him like a son in the reception of the Park Lane Hotel.

I've been hunting down some information about Ted Smith, who must have been a pioneer and an adventurer to have done what he did, coaching the best club side in Europe at the time, winning the Latin Cup, before the European Cup was launched. This is our history and it's right in front of us. Blink, and you miss it.

1 comment:

George Dearsley said...

I was at that Spurs v Benfica game (still have the programme) and Spurs were robbed by two diabolical offside calls. But it was an amazing game and Benfica were terrific. Incredible story about the old coach though.