Essence of Norman Hunter

There is not much happening this evening in the Strachan domicile; nothing of any note anyway. If I’d to accurately describe the scene as I write, my wife is watching Corrie by candle light whilst I’m slouched on a seat at the dining table. Not the most comfortable environment in which to ply penmanship; I really need to invest in a more forgiving chair and a proper writing desk.

The wax candle that flickers on the hearth in the lounge area is that of the scented variety. I purchased it at an out of town store and is football themed from their Revie Heroes range. The one burning now apparently has the scent of 1960s/70s defender Norman Hunter.

I can’t vouch for the authenticity of this essence of the former England hardman. However, if the odour is accurate then Norm smells like a mixture of liniment rub, TCP antiseptic and gunpowder. As a result, our front room currently has the calming aromatic amalgam of football changing rooms and a firework factory.

I met Norman Hunter a few years back during an evening of footballing anecdotes at the Old Peacock pub, opposite Leeds United’s Elland Road ground. Following his tales of footballing yore, he signed me a picture of him celebrating Leeds’ winning FA Cup final goal in 1972.

During this time I don’t recall any redolence of liniment rub, TCP antiseptic and gunpowder. However, if truth be told, I didn’t get too close to big Norm. This distancing resultant of respectful fear of the uncompromising centre back. A nervousness I’ve lived with since first watching him play live at Elland Road; this childhood initiation ceremony taken with a backdrop of a 1-0 win  against Southampton in September 1970.

My wife Karen is from a north east England town adjacent to Hunter’s childhood village home of Eighton Banks. As she scares the crap out of me as well, there maybe something in the water around that former mining area!

Image result for Norman Hunter Leeds

Anyway, I thought the Revie Hero scented candles was a novel idea and as a tribute to my childhood idols I purchased a couple.

It has to be said mind you, although quirky, I’m not sure the aroma is pleasant enough to be commercially viable……. Well, unless you are partial to the aroma in your abode being underpinned with football changing rooms and a firework factory.

I haven’t lit the Jack Charlton candle yet, but according to its packaging it has a sweet aroma of John Toshack’s shinbone, Joe Royle’s chewed ear and cinnamon. I shall save that for the weekend. It should be a perfect accompaniment to Karen and my romantic M&S ‘meal for two’. This date night a monthly affection-less arrangement which I’m obliged to attend to receive a list of tasks I’ve to complete within the next four weeks.

Here, as we listen to the authoritative 1972 FA Cup final commentary of Bryon Butler and Peter Jones on vinyl LP, we’ll shout not so sweet nothings, while watching the rare steaks run as red as John Toshack’s shinbone following 90 minutes of playing against Big Jack.

Admittedly, this fusion of old school 1970’s football and the contemporary fashion of scented candles are unlikely bedfellows. But we shouldn’t forget the uncompromising heroes, moulded by the meticulous planning of manager Don Revie, were also an innovative side.

In his time as boss they changed to the iconic all-white kit, became the first team to wear numbered sock tags, embraced a smiley face influenced badge and had the accolade of being the first top flight British team to have a trainer called Cocker.

In the days of the catch all qualities of the magic sponge for on field player injuries, there was often no stretchers. The sight of the diminutive Les Cocker carrying off a player the size of Joe Jordan with a fireman’s lift is etched in my psyche as indelibly as the scars on these warriors limbs.

Right, I shall bid you farewell and bring this blog to an end.

When I say farewell I mean I’m concluding this narrative, not that I’ve had enough and I’m going to jump off the nearest tall building.

For a start, this part of Leeds doesn’t have many lofty structures, meaning I’d have to drive all the way into the city centre to find a high building…… I’m not going to all that effort to ‘escape from it all’.

The parking isn’t cheap either so if I backed out, necessitating a return to my car, I’d have a hefty parking fee or worse a £60 ticket.

Anyhow, bearing serene thoughts introduced by exposure to this scented candle evoking sweet memories. Consequently, jumping from the Town Hall roof is the furthest thing from my mind.


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