Friday, 3 July 2009

Middle England Despairs.

The braying Pimm's drinkers from the Home Counties will have to wait another year before their next opportunity to scream and lose their cool in public.

Andy Murray came away second best in this evenings greatly anticipated semi final against Andy Roddick.
The crowd gave Roddick generous applause but it was clear that he had somewhat pooped the party as far as most of those present were concerned.

As it happens, I only caught the final few minutes of the match having been stuck at work but I saw enough to realise the correct Andy had won.

In recent years, I haven't watched much tennis.
Of the many matches televised already from this years Wimbledon tournament, I've seen highlights of 3 or 4 and only watched one game from start to finish.

Unfortunately for those in SW19, "Wimbledon" doesn't instantly mean tennis to me,- it holds memories of damp afternoons standing on the terraces at Plough Lane.

In the late 80's, the group of friends I hung around with would often drive over to Wimbledon to see 'top division' football. There was no need to buy tickets in advance in those days and we would often only decide where we were going on the Saturday morning.
We visited Loftus Road fairly frequently, sometimes Highbury but more often than not it would be Plough Lane Wimbledon.
It was also at this time I had my first Charlton experiences. We would sometimes decide to go to Selhurst Park while Charlton were playing at 'home'.
We always knew we would have few problems accessing the stadium and we could arrive with only 5 minutes to spare and still get a reasonable view of the game. Crowd congestion wasn't really a problem at Ron's place.

My lack of enthusiasm for tennis hasn't always been the case.
At one time I was completely and utterly absorbed by the game.

I had posters of Mats Wilander on my wall and I became something of a Davis Cup fanatic.
I went to see an encounter between Italy and Great Britain at the Brighton Centre with my family and you couldn't have met a more enthusiastic schoolboy.

In 1980, my parents had gone to the Wimbledon tennis tournament and brought me back a programme.
I was now smitten.
Soon I knew players records, favourite shots, country of origin and place of residence.
But what really hooked me was the clothing.

While most tennis fans would have been quite happy to pour out the statistics of wins, losses and draws, I was compelled to share my knowledge of the clothing brands each player wore.
example: Bjorn Borg = Fila with Diadora footwear.
John McEnroe = Sergio Tacchini with Nike footwear
Ivan Lendl = all Adidas
Stefan Edberg = also all Adidas.

Even after all this time, the information is still easy for me to recall.
I became obsessed.
A simple walk to the shops was now an opportunity for 'trainer spotting'.
I walked around sizing up other people and grading them with my internal 'meter' with reference to their relative ability to pick out decent sportswear.

If I saw someone with a top drawer pair of trainers such as the Nike Wimbledon or Adidas Forest Hills I would smile the smile of one who 'knew'. If they had teamed it with something such as an Ellesse 'tennis shirt' or a Cerruti 1881 sweater then I knew I was in the presence of someone who really cared about their appearance.

When my family sat down to watch the final of the 1981 Wimbledon tournament, between the Swedish cool sensation Bjorn Borg and the American loudmouth John McEnroe, I didn't see the rivalry known as 'Fire and Ice'.

Throughout the 80's, I spent a ridiculous amount of Saturday job, paper round or milk round money on Tacchini and other 'casual' clothing.
I still wear Fila and Tacchini today.
I blame John McEnroe and Bjorn Borg for looking so fantastic throughout that period.

I can't help noticing that Andy Murray champions Fred Perry tennis wear.
I already own many Fred Perry garments.

I wonder if the youth of today are being influenced by Murray in the way the players of the 80's influenced me?


Anonymous said...

There are some mint re issue Sergio T pieces around now. If you have originals get on eBay and make a fortune.

Anonymous said...

around the early to mid 80s I was a huge fan of puma states and patrick kagoules. i saw a kid of around 16 dressed like we did the other day. the influence of films like 'awaydays' and 'the business' is bringing a casual revival. bring back gabicci!