April 12, 2013 by Made In Brum
I was one of the early members of the ‘D’ Club, within
I can’t for the life of me remember when I first joined, but it must have been in the late 60s or very early 70s, as I worked in Corporation Street in those days, and as the club opened at lunch times midweek, I used to go in for lunch. Des Blee, was the manager and a very good job he made of it. I still mouth water at the thought of those crackling good, Hot Roast Pork Sandwiches. Yummy, Yummy.
It was dark in ‘D’ Club, with no windows and half way down the bar there was a low step. We used to call it the strangers step, because the regulars knew it was there. Strangers nearly always stumbled. We sold quite a few extra pints that way and it always kept us amused. After games, you could also guarantee quite a few players of both teams would come in for a pint or two. I met and chatted to many of the players of the late 60s and 70s. It was really good banter. Managers came in too. I had many chats with Sir Alf Ramsey, Jim Smith and Freddie Goodwin the list goes on and on. There was, and I suppose still is a tunnel under the stand that runs from the old players changing rooms, and up to the centre tunnel. A door off this leads into the back of the club. Another nice thing about the “D” Club was that in addition to the current players using the club was we also had players of yesteryear in there too. I met and also chatted to players such as Gil Merrick, Joe Bradford, Ambrose Mulraney and Bertie Auld to name just a few, also most of us remember the visit of Cassius Clay to St Andrews. Well he came into the ”D” Club aswell. He shook hands with us all. Me included, what an honour.
We had a sort of reciprocal agreement with the opposition clubs, where they had a private club within their clubs, whereby their fans were allowed into our club, and we in theirs. Not once did I ever see any trouble. There was only one team that we never allowed into our “D” Club and yes you can guess who that is, SOTV.
Away Travel. In those days alcohol was allowed on the coaches and we always ran our own coach to away games. One game at Crystal Palace was very funny. We arrived well totted up, and straight into their Glaziers Club we went. It was very full when we got in there and we spotted a table in the middle of the room which was empty. Three of us (I will mention no names) made a bee line for it and sat down. The fourth guy had gone to the bar. The table was one of those circular metal topped ones with a central column underneath which was held by a nut and bolt arrangement. We soon found out why this table was empty. It was their equivalent of our ‘D’ Clubs strangers step. The fixing was faulty, and the table top kept going round in circles and it wasn’t level either. As I said, we had, had a few on our way down there, and after a few more, we hadn’t a clue whose drink was whose as the table. The table was going round and round and up and down. It was hilarious. The Palace fans were in stitches. We are Brummies though and finished our drinks. Haven’t got a clue what the result was.
Part of the old Wembley Complex was a hotel, that the FA always took over on International games. On the first floor was a long room, which with sliding doors could be divided into three.. England in one. The away team in another and Blues nearly always in the third one. We always assumed this was because of Jack Wiseman‘s influence in the FA. Dinner was always served at these games sometimes after the games and sometimes before, together with wine etc; This particular game was on a Wednesday night, I seem to remember. After the dinner I went to relieve myself in the gents. When I got in there , there were two of our members occupying two of the three stalls, leaving the centre one empty. So of course I went to that one. The two guys left, and then someone came and stood on my left. I couldn’t believe it. It was Mick Mills the England left back. Seconds later another figure appeared on my right. I nearly had an accident as I wasn’t finished. There stood no my right was no less a figure thanRivelino, the Brazilian. That’s my claim to fame. Having a pee standing between Mick Mills and Rivelino. Two of the most famous footballers at the time. That’s something to tell my grandchildren.
Another international that we went to, I nearly got left behind. The game was another Wednesday game against Denmark. It was called off through fog. We always went into the bar before the game and with drinks on the coach, a few of us had sunk a few already. As usual the dinner was booked for after the game, so we had a long time to wait with the postponement. Plus the coach wasn’t booked to take us home until later either. So you can guess the rest. Nothing else to do but wait in the bar. Enough Said! Now, after a few drinks, like a lot of people I am more than capable of dozing off. Alcohol seems to do that to me. This night was no exception. After dinner I wandered off to the gents, and put the engaged up in one of the cubicles. I don’t remember anything else. Apparently about an hour later I heard a lot of shouting and banging on doors and my name being called. The coach was waiting, and luckily there had been a head count. I wasn’t the only one. Two other guys had dozed off somewhere as well. Not with me I hasten to add.
Another funny incident i recall, was on a Saturday game, where we had stayed overnight in London, and on the Sunday morning we had been to Petticoat Lane Market. On the coach coming home, one of the guys was pleased with himself. He was showing us what he thought was a bargain he had bought, or rather two bargains. He had seen a stall selling grey flannel trousers at £2 a pair. He went behind a screen and tried both pairs on. Satisfied he bought them. The stall holder wrapped them up there and then in front of him. This guy proceeded to unwrap his parcel, and to his horror, amid loud laughter he held up two pairs of trousers with one grey leg and one brown leg on each pair. He was shocked. “I saw him wrap them up in front of me. How did he do that”? he said. What’s always puzzled me about that is how can a so-called seamstress sew one brown leg and one grey leg together without noticing that they are odd? Also, I wonder how many more pairs the dealer had got and also sold.
The ‘D’ Club stopped later though, because they moved it over to a room under the Kop. It wasn’t the same and it gradually fizzled out. That was a shame, but the memories were priceless, i hope you enjoyed them.
If you have any memories about the ‘D’ Club or might know someone who does then please let me know by leaving your stories and thoughts in the comments below.