Back in my single days, when I was contemplating looking for a job abroad the then current girlfriend asked me if there was anything I would miss. My reply was “the football”. Not quite the answer she was hoping for I suspect. Despite my efforts to convert her, my wife could not be described as a fan. After over half a century of patient explanation, the offside rule is still a mystery to her. At best, it can be said, that she tolerates my passion for the game. It is not for want of trying on my behalf.
During our courting days, she had to attend a func- tion in Glasgow, in connection with her work as a travel agent. I agreed to meet her off the train on her return and perhaps we could go out for a meal. What I had overlooked, was the official opening of the floodlight system at Muirton Park on the same evening, when the FA cup holders West Ham United were the visitors. When she alighted from the train, all dressed up, she was whisked up to Muirton Park, to a seat in the stand, no less. In retrospect, perhaps I should have treated her to a half time pie!
Having missed the home game versus Kilmarnock , due to an important appointment at Abernethy Church, we set off for our honeymoon at Largs. By a stroke of luck, Saints were playing Greenock Morton on the following Saturday. As Greenock is just up the coast from Largs, what better way to spend the afternoon than a visit to Cappielow. Sadly, Saints lost by three goals to one. The following year, we booked a holiday in Spain. By this time, we were expecting our first child. A trip to Barcelona was a must, especially as Barca were playing Valencia at the Nou Camp Stadium. The stadium was certainly a cut above Cappielow and I did splash out a few pesetas for cushions to sit on. Always the gentleman!
It was when our third child was on the way I finally decided to forsake the beautiful game and concentrate on the family. It was following a game against Rangers at Muirton Park, which the visitors won 4-1. Three of the goals were from the penalty spot, which was a bit much even by Rangers standard. For once in my life, I left before the final whistle. Rather ironic, when I recall that it all started when I proposed when I was still on a wave of euphoria after watching a young Alex Ferguson put three goals past Rangers in a 3-2 Saints victory at Ibrox.
Recently , our 51st anniversary fell on a Saturday and my wife remarked “we should have been spending the weekend in Largs”. “What a good idea” I replied “Saints are playing at Kilmarnock!”. That’s what you call pushing your luck. It didn’t happen, which is probably just as well, as Killie won 2-1 as a result of a freak deflection. I would have been accusing her of being a jinx.