We arrived, in Melbourne, Forzas (all three) and GKW mid afternoon on Saturday, the day before the South Mlebourne - Marconi game, and after dropping off our bags at our city hotel, went in search of refreshment, for some customary pre match refreshments.
Yes, I know the game was over 24 hours away, but it was STILL pre match wasn't it? .
Well GKW and I did.
The memory bank starts to get a bit faded from this point on, so any historical innacuracies are not deliberate.
Crown Casino was an obvious target, but as we made our way there we spied a female fire station.... you know, one of those places where women come down the silver pole like firemen...and called in to check it out.
NO female fireladies due to the early time, but a couple of drinks and promise of entertainment later and we were off to Crown Casino.
A few more beers, back to the hotel changed, and all 4 off to Crown for dinner, more beer and some wine.
Now, Mrs Forza (non drinker) decided to stay in Crown while Forza Jnr, GKW and I decided to check out the entertainment on offer at the fire station.
By this time GKW and I had consumed much refreshment, possibly much more than we needed.
However, we valiantly soldiered on, and when we entered the fire station, one of the proponents was draped semi naked (or totally even) round the pole.
I immediately went to the bar, ordered two pints and a bourbon, got served fairly quickly, turned around to hand out the drinks and noticed tht GKW was no longer with us.
I assumed he had popped off for a quick piddle, but no...he had been ejected!
In world record time!
Two burly security guards had apparently taken umbrage at his antics in the 45 to 60 seconds he was there, issued him with the equivalent of yellow card, and escorted him up the stairs in less than in a minute flat when the warning was not heeded!!
Now that is some record that had to be beaten, .........and I tried very hard later on....!
Twenty minutes later (well I couldn;t leave TWO pints undrunk!) when we exited the lap dancing premises, we found GKW semi comatose in a nearby McDonalds, and made it, just. back to the hotel for some rest.
The wrm up for the next days game had gone pretty much according to plan then, and tomorrow was another day!
Speaking of plans..Mrs Forza tried to devise one that would keep us two out of the pub for a while, the next day, and day of the match, but as they say..the best laid plans o mice and men aften gang agley....~ (or soemthing like that anyway)
An early morning permabulation around the city, a visit to some shops and then a compromise was reached.
We were allowed ot go to the pub, provided we met at lunch time and actually eat something.
Now, let me tell you that this seemed a common sense approach at the time, but it was to prove utterly disastrous some twelve hours later!
Many pints, one Indian vindaloo and several hours later, we were joined by members of the Oz branch of the HIbs supporters club, who were congregating that night to watch a telecast of the Hibs v Livingston CIS Final (brought at a cost of $8000 no less) and who were temporarily enlisted in the Stallions army, and togetherr with fellow listee Gilbert, it was off to Bob Jane!
But not before a quantity of silly Marconi blue hats had been bought and distributed!
A few more beers in the Champions Bar at Bob Jane were partaken of, and Eddie Krencevic popped over to say hello, as did former Marconi centre half Mike Smith who is now domiciled in Melbourne.
I agree with Alan, even in my state, I reckoned there was circa 10,000 people in attendance.
Unfortunately, that figure included two 'supporters' who any club could do without.
One was a deformed ugly dwarf, and the other was a guy in his early thirties, who hurled abuse at us as soon as we arrived.
Now abuse-banter I can quite happikly accept and give as good as I get, but when the non dwarf shouted out (they always are a long way away these heroes aren;t they) that they "were going to "get" us after the game," I took umbrage and sought to climb the wooden seats to give him the opportunity to do it immediatley rather than wait.
Probably, luckily for me, as the moron ws considerably younger and fitter than me, I was restrained, and told by my CEO in no uncertain terms that if I didn;t settle down we would all be leaving immediately.
A pat on the back to those South Melbourne supporters who turned on these two morons and castigated them for thier behaviour.
Howefver, the odd missile still came down, and "security" (an oxymoron at Bob Jane I later discovered) did nowt.
BUt, not worry, the game was on!
Marconi really should have scored on three occasions before South Melbourne did, and once we went down, it just seemed to get harder and harder.
HIghlight of the first half, which resulted in applause from the entire behind the goals section, was GKW's futile attempt to carry six beers from the bar in one of those, as he discovered, 'collapsable' cardboard containers.
I reckon out of the six, we managed to salvage about three quarters of a plastic cup, with much banter being offered!
Second half, we didn;t penetrate as much as we did in the first half, and in truth, it was really no surprise when the second goal was duly delivered.
Having said that we never gave up, and very nerly scored in the last few minutes, but for an incredible save from our mate in goals, Eugene, who, remembering us from last week, gave us a wave.
Now, we were about 12 in number, loud, happy, all wearing silly hats, and one was wearing a kilt even, but I thought it rather ironic that a security guard should position himself 5 yards in front of us, staring directly at us, while thirty yards away a group of 60 or so South supporters were letting off flare after flare with impunity
As is my habit, I discreetly pointed out this apparent anomaly to the security guard, but he could offer no logical reqson why a large group of supporters should be allowed to flaunt NSL regulations, while he zoned in on us.
He eventually got fed up of being unable to logivcally answer my questionsn and removed himself AWAY from the flare throwers...who would later breach yet another NSL regualtaion by invading the park at full time.
I wait with baited breath to see what action the club and the NSL take .....yeah right
Full time, and the pitch invasion, and resulting safety concerns meant that the Marconi players were unable to come over to us to acknowleedge our presence and say goodbye, with the exception of Gibbo, who was at the wrong side of the mob, on the pitch, when they invaded, and he came over to say thanks for the support.
It would have been nice to say goodbye on the park, but as I say, the behaviour of the flare throwers prvented this.
Marconi supporters are used to disappointments however, and there were no tears shed, and what was called for ..........was to see the 'wake' through to an appropriate end!
The Champions bar was accomodating once more, where we met up with several listees, including Davey Bhoy.
Songs were sung, bad jokes were told, and it guess it was apt that we hould have seen possibly our last Marcon iin game in the company of fellow NSL supporters who understood the meaning of history and tradition,' as opposed to those who may have followed a club cobbled together with all the passion of a baker making a Big Ben pie.
So that was it.
I should explain also though, that disappointed as I indeed was, GKW was DOUBLY disappointed.
This was because in his somewhat euphoric state he mistook the half time whistle originally for the full time whistle, so he suffered, in effect, TWO defeats on the night.
As it turned out, I was to also suffer from this.
Next stop was more beer at PJ O'Brien's (we really needed some more) and then back to the hotel for two hours sleep, prior to visiting the Celtic club for a 3am screening of the HIbs v Livingston CIS final.
Now i won;t bore you with the deatils of how we managed to get this telecast, but it involved, a lot of work by dedicated chappies...and No I wasn't one of them this time...other than to threaten to blacken the name forever of the Celtic club when the duty manager some 9 hours before the telecast, said he knew nothing about the arrangements and that they woudl not be opening to show it!!
Gilbert, who had been afforded hospitality on our hotel room floor and was watching the de,olition of Man U, woke me up at circa 2-30am to make the journey to the Celtic club.
GKW ( a modern day Hun if the truth be known) was so comaotose by this time, that it was not even considred worthy of attempting to wake him...and I hae to be honest and say that I was only 'just' persuaded to rise...
Off we went, and I was very pleased to meet up with just under 30 fellow HIbbies who had made the effort to get there..from Albury, Queensland Tasmania etc..
It was a veritable sea of green
Pleasantries were exchanged etc, when I became aware that my body was starting to tell me that something was amiss!
I paid my 50 bucks, and went in search of a suitable toilet!
Now, before I go any further I should say that the telecast was a dleayed one by one hour, and everyone who entered was asked to turn off their mobile phones.
I didn't, as I had no intention of sitting up all night if things were going the wrong way..I just wanted to know if we won or not.
so, while upstairs my fellow HIbbies watched the telly in ignorant bliss, just as my third full chunder of beef vindaloo was being deposited in what must surely be one of the oldest WC's in Australia, Tom Anderson text messaged me from Hampden with the news that we were 0-1 down.
This only caused my body to convulse further, and nver befoer were Hughuie and Ralph so called for!
No sooner, had I yelled RALPHHHHH for the last time, than a second message came through to confirm that, a second goal had been conceded and just like GKW, I had two disappointements to get over.
I made my excuses about being unwell, and we made our way back to the hotel...my body was telling me in no uncertain terms that sleep was urgently needed!
So, I guess I paid fifty bucks to be sick in a toilet, while getting text messages form Scotland, and never saw more than a minute of the tv coverage!
Dunno if GKW or my recod (referred to earlier) or mine is the most noteworthy.
I awoke today, to dark loooks from my CEO, who muttered somehting about we (GKW and I ) were ' total embarrassments' but as GKW and I said to each ohter..we weren't embarrassed by each other in any way!!
Perhaps its just as well that our season is over as I'm not sure the liver can take many more of these 'road trips'
As to the future, well who knows if we have one, and if we don;t, at least I can say I was there when the referee blew final whistle on us.