I was a right scoundrel as a kid, we all were because we lived in poverty we got our fun where we could. One of those ways was sneaking into football grounds, and in Brum we had 3 to choose from. So I got pulled into that routine, although I hadn’t really had much interest in football. Dads normally do that sort of thing at a very early age, but I had got to the age of about ten and for me football was something that was simply an option, not a passion. That all changed one day at St Andrews the ground of Birmingham City, although by then I was already an West Brom fan as I say it wasn’t a passion. As a gang of kids somewhere between two and twenty of us would travel to the ground of Albion, Villa or The Blues to sneak in between the legs of people paying at the turnstiles. On this day it was Blue and once in the ground someone somehow got a football programme, and we started seeing who we knew in the team. These were names we knew off the TV of course, but at the Blues we also knew Gary Pendry because his parents lived down the road from us and at least once we knocked on the door for a signature.
We didn’t know the name Trevor Francis, but someone around us said he was making his debut and he was only 16 years old. Blimey I thought, something clicked in my head then, not that much older than me. In fact, Trevor was less than five year older than me and he already had made it. I followed his career and always looked out for his goals. In fact football for me then did become a big part of my life, soon I was in the school team, and also playing in the street and for a team at the weekend, training on a Wednesday. Pity it didn’t last but as I said before, no one to guild me, no one to push me or even take me to places. Other things took my interest, but I never forgot Trevor Francis.
So I thank you, Trevor Francis, thank you for what you gave me, and also thank you for being a nice person.