Saturday, April 17, 1982

"I say happy memories / leave a bitter taste"

I did nothing but listen to match on the radio, Athletic away at Cotton Bank, horrible memories of May 1978 still so fresh: Athletic had to not lose to get promotion, a sea of Athletic fans with flags, green and white hats, scarves, chanting, chanting. . . . Then that crushing Bobby Stamp goal three minutes from time—I remember it all so clearly—and the desperate Easterby attacks, the growing sense of despair as we—me, Robert, Carol—watched the season's hopes ebb away. . . . (The final whistle but still hope if the other results have gone our way! We huddle round radios, waiting, listening: Purswell win three-nil, Cross End win too and that final sickening realisation that we were done. I remember one bloke, with a despondent “Shit!,” kick an empty can down the terraces and as we walk from the ground I am in a dazed sense of disbelief. The very thing we'd speculated about, dreaded, dismissed as statistically unlikely! . .  This can't be happening! I drift between the cars feeling absolutely sick, almost in tears).

And now here we were again, losing 1-0, 2-0, 3-0, finally 4-1, our rivals getting points and suddenly that same desperate feeling seems oh so near again. I can't stand another ending like that.

In the evening I wrote two letters, one to Palantir, a Beat-oriented mag', and another to a bookshop in London.

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