I ended my last post, mentioning that Gayle would be coming back on the scene. She’d split up with the bloke that wouldn’t work, or more to the point, she’d become so exasperated with him that the love she had had for him had been suffocated and she’d chucked him out. I was still all about fun. At first, that’s all that Gayle was after. She’d just come out of a destructive situation and didn’t want anything heavy. I told her that I was still seeing Bryanné and she wasn’t bothered about it. I didn’t tell Bryanné about the new arrangement of course. After all, I was just after fun. Like I’ve mentioned before, in these situations, you expect the people nearest to you to just go along with what you do. I should’ve really come with my very own government health warning. I was a wolf in sheep’s clothing. A charming, smiling wolf, but still a wolf. The house we’d found in Malinslee was one that I wish I could’ve picked up and taken with me everywhere I was to go. The rent that we were covering easily as a trio, became a massive problem when one of the trio created a financial gap by moving out to live with his brother Dan. It was amicable but in reality, I can’t say I was overly enamored by the new arrangement. It had only been 6 months since me and Les had initially stretched our finances to the limit so we could move to a bigger place and now his eldest was basically dropping us in that huge hole he’d created. We even made an appointment to see a finance adviser at the branch I banked with, in the hope we could get a mortgage. Enough said about that the better. To put it mildly, to say the wind was taken out of our sails, replaced by a chronic asthmatic with a straw, is a gross underestimate. The finances we’d stretched, snapped. I’ve stated before, that I’m an opportunist. That opportunity was to reveal itself by Gayle. The detectives amongst you, won’t be at all surprised to hear that Gayle offered to put Les up, just as long as I moved in with her. It was an arrangement that was actually beneficial to both me and Gayle, as because of her layabout, work shy ex boyfriend, she was in a bit of a financial ‘black hole’ of her own. She’d been seriously contemplating selling her house and moving down to Cornwall to cheaper accommodation. The poor thing had also fallen in love with me. There was only one catch to moving in with Gayle, I was to have to finish it with Bryanné. Now I haven’t an earthly of an idea how I managed this, but if I could actually figure out how I did it, I would write it down in instruction form, patent it, and charge people to use it. I honestly wouldn’t need to work again. I told Bryanné that I was moving in with Gayle, and that I needed to finish it with her. Somehow, I managed to manoeuvre myself into a situation where, Bryanné now knew about Gayle, and was ok about it, and Gayle thought I had finished it with Bryanné and so believed that me and her were now exclusive. Obviously, I wasn’t entirely honest in the proceedings, but how I managed to go from one knowing about the other and being ok with it, but the other not knowing a thing, to a complete ‘mirror image’ of the situation, is pure genius. it is of course, nothing to be truly proud of, but in a life of hardly any official awards, I look back with a certain warped sense of achievement. I may indeed been able to make my fortune from it, but I would be sat here morally bankrupt. It wasn’t an ideal situation for Les, as he was having to sleep on the sofa at the weekend because I was still having John. Coupled with his youngest Liam wanting to come to live with him, he managed to cobble together enough money, to move to a place in Market Drayton. John never really took to Gayle, which was really a shame as she worked ridiculously hard at being a step-Mom. Probably too hard. John had now reached that ‘interesting’ age. Adolescence gripped him like it does every single one of us. Like previously stated, I’d struggled with the whole parent thing up until this point. I know this is going to sound totally unfeeling, but other than the unconditional love I had for him as my son, I found him inane. If I’m being completely honest, I found the whole constant craving for my attention and the continuing need and want for things as a normal pre-pubescent does, extremely draining and boring. Adolescence brought mood swings and feistiness. It brought a clamour for independence and a need for privacy. He was growing into his tastes and opinions. I loved it. I had something I could finally relate to. I had someone I could argue with, laugh along with. His character and personality were bursting out of him. In so many ways, I saw myself. It’s probably why his Mom struggled with this period in time, and I found it a stroll in the park. He reminded her of me. Although on the same line at work, I was being shifted round it. Not because I was useless but exactly the opposite, they’d worked out I could not only learn things quickly, I adapted to make the job easier and quicker. My presentation was neat and tidy, I was organised. I may live in a mess at home, but it’s an organised mess. If you were to watch how I work and then see my habitat, you wouldn’t believe they belonged to the same person. One seems to belong to a total slob, the other to someone with acute O.C.D. The main driving force behind moving in with Gayle, and although I was actually extremely fond of her, was so I could still afford, and go to watch Blues home and away. It’s an addiction that I have struggled with in these days of Coronavirus. Back to Blues in 2006/07 season. There had been a mass exodus of all the high earning, big named players, such as Emile Heskey, Jermaine Pennant and Mario Melchiot after relegation and 3 kids out of the Arsenal academy had arrived on loan. Steven Clemence had been made a worthy captain. I liked Clem, he had a good left foot, led the team well, didn’t go hiding, a ‘proper’ captain. His right foot however, was only really for standing on. We were progressing well in the division. As a football fan, you demand a reaction after relegation, expect to walk the league and get promoted. It’s natural. it shouldn’t be, it shows a lack of respect. An arrogance that isn’t deserved. After all, you got relegated because you were rubbish. Own it. No club has a Devine right to get promotion in the first season down. That goes for players and supporters alike. After discovering the benefits of a family railcard, I was making hay with it. The coach was very much an afterthought now. I had drifted back into the need to look good at a game, and had started buying designer clothes. With John growing up, I started to influence what he wore. Well I couldn’t look presentable and have him look a tramp, now could I? He was a mini me in many different ways anyway, his clothes were just an extension of that. I was now living in Ketley Telford and me and John caught the train from Wellington, changing at Wolverhampton, we headed up north to Burnley. I had done my research, which in those days meant visiting the train station a few days before to find out what connections I needed to get where I needed to and then back again. We touched down just after 11, and did the usual thing of finding a pub with a pool table. I’ve since discovered on a later trip to Burnley, that the pub has now closed. As it was early, and the pub had not long opened its doors for the days business, the pool table was available, John preceded to play beyond his years and even when someone was next in line to play, either he beat them, or I did. We were giving an impressive account of ourselves. We were dressed well, topped off by our gold Blues emblems on chains and nobody could knock us off the table. We left for the ground, ducking into a minicab office to hire a taxi, only to be informed that the ground was only just round the bend of the road we were on. Life has a habit of putting you back in your place and not letting you get above your station.
Like I’ve said, Blues were chugging along quite nicely, not setting the division on fire, but doing enough. Bruce had weathered an earlier nasty run of bad results, and we had settled down. This was still pre Sean Dyche years at Burnley, and they weren’t the Premier League club they are now. Turf Moor wasn’t an easy place to go, but we were forecast to win, so it was a bit of a shock to go 1:0 down, thankfully, one of the on loan Arsenal players, Nicolas Bendtner equalised not long afterwards. it wasn’t the worst game but wasn’t a great game either. It looked to be heading for a draw, when DJ Campbell reacted quickest with a rebound from a corner, and hit the winner. The three points were heading back to the Midlands with us.
There’s two stations in Burnley, we were using the impressively named Burnley Central, though the unimpressively named Burnley Manchester Road is actually a bigger station. Had I realised, I would have got the train to and from Manchester Road. Central has only one platform. The first train that arrived was late, and was heading in the wrong direction. That didn’t bode well for ours to be on time, it wasn’t. It did arrive though, and we made the trip back to Telford.
FOOTNOTE:- Blues did indeed make it back up to the Premier League at the end of the season. The goal that sealed it, was actually scored by Clinton Morrison for Crystal Palace versus Derby. All we needed to do to win the championship itself was to beat Preston away in our last game of the season. We lost. Sunderland were more professional, and got the job done. The trophy ended up on Wearside.
Mine and John’s relationship became closer and closer. One that Gayle was never to be part of, though she carried on trying. The more she tried, the more John mentally pushed her away.
There was a massive change on my horizon and that was going to take my legs from under me.