I dreamt last night I was on a bus, sitting next to John Young, former Thunder and Heed Army terrace companion and Cambridge cattle grid inspector... and we were joined by old mate Gary Davidson, Lord Francis of Cannon...
Actually that was about it (apologies if you were expecting a really interesting dream!)... I woke up... it was 05:14... time to drag myself out of bed and head up the A19 (I did plan on getting dressed in between...). As usual, I had a quick glance at Facebook on my phone... and learned of the passing of Ian Thompson, someone I’d met through work in the mid-90s and another stalwart of rugby league and football terraces.
The dream was simply a coincidence... but the reality of the news really shocked me. I’d spent most of the weekend fretting about work, my job, my future, my family... because that’s kind of what I do best... but someone I knew well has died... and while I worry another family mourns...
My thoughts go out to Maddy, Ian’s daughter. I haven’t seen her in a while, but she regularly accompanied her Dad to Thunder away games, back in the days when she wore a baseball cap... because it was trendy... or so she thought. I lost count of the number of times I tried to flick it off her head... an irritating adult sort of thing, but by way of a slightly offbeat farewell to Ian, I am going to end with a totally random baseball cap story that was so funny at the time... will surely lose a lot in translation, but that’s hardly the point...
Many moons ago, the Thunder Army travelled down to what was then the McAlpine Stadium, home of Huddersfield Giants... the result was a conclusion of the foregone variety, but that didn’t really matter. I was in superb drinking form... three cans of Strongbow on the way down to West Yorkshire; meanwhile Gary was struggling and only consumed a couple of dozen alcopops... even so we were both in high spirits when we arrived at the ground.
Come 3pm, after a couple more drinks, it was party time on the terraces and Frankie (who was sporting a baseball cap... told you it was a baseball cap story) decided that we should give the team a rousing 1940s-style welcome.
The players jogged onto the field... we stood and cheered and Gary threw his cap into the air to greet the Thunder players. It was just like the olden days... except the cap didn’t come back down. I remember as clear as day the genuinely quizzical look on Gary’s face as he stared up to the roof of the stand wondering how his cap had managed to fly upwards... then basically disappear into thin air.
Now the loss of a baseball cap isn’t the end of the world... in fact after a few drinks it’s actually quite funny (especially when it belonged to someone else), but I just wonder if we ever ventured back to Huddersfield, whether lurking somewhere in the rafters...
Rest in peace Ian x
All my own work... almost.