Our carriage arrives at the Freemasons Tavern, Great Queen Street, Covent Garden.
“They must have known?”, says Henry Smith pointing to the street sign.
David Wotherspoon and I fall about laughing.
“This is the centre of London’s footballing world.”, I explain.
“I thought they were the English Football Association?”, David asks.
“No, this is the London Football Association. The people of Sheffield, Cambridge and Nottingham have their own associations and rulebooks.”
We walk into the tavern, where Charles Alcock stands to greet Queens Park of Glasgow.
“Welcome to the place where Football was founded.”, Charles Alcock proclaims.
“You would be wise to look up the Carterhaugh ball game.”, I explode uncontrollably.
The rest of the team arrives and Alcock moves on to greet them.
“What was that about?”, David asks.
“The game was held in 1815 at the Carterhaugh peninsular between Selkirk and Yarrow. Sir Walter Scott was one of the organisers.”, explains Henry, who begins to recite Scott’s poem.
‘There are worse things in life than a tumble on heather,
And life is itself but a game at foot-ball.
In sport we’ll attend her, in battle defend her,
With heart and with hand, like our fathers before.’
At the end of the magnificent banquet, we disperse with our minds firmly set on tomorrow’s fixture.
Tick Tock. Tick Tock.
———————————- © Graeme Brown 2019 ————————————-