As a young lad I was a significantly more inquisitive than’s been the case in adulthood. Free from adult distractions of paying a mortgage, working shifts in a job I wasn’t fond of and providing for a family of four, my fledgling inquiring mind was given carte blanche to roam, learn and expand.
For instance, when my parents first moved us from Leeds to Gateshead, in the late 1960’s, it baffled me why all the other kids seemed to be called Ben, even the girls. It took a period of investigation, head scratching and (more importantly) asking someone, before I sussed the adults were actually calling their children bairns not Ben……….. Well apart from the lad in the next street who was actually called Ben.
As a young boy, before sport took centre stage in GJ Strachan’s existence, I’d an interest in cars. My brother Ian and his elder sibling’s fledgling curiosity surrounding motor vehicles spawning from witnessing the movie Chitty Chitty Bang Bang.
This tarry to the cinema inspiring my sibling and me to ask dad, as we left the theatre, to add wings to his Ford Consul. A vehicle adaption allowing our brood to fly around Europe just as Caratacus Potts, his kids and heiress Truly Scrumptious indulged in upon the silver screen.
Unfortunately, dad refused, citing what our kid and me deemed some lame excuse about a Consul’s weight ratios not being conducive to the car’s suitability for flight.
After we’d badgered him for days, in a fit of pique the old man did organise a visit from the Chitty Chitty Bang Bang child catcher who subsequently abducted our Ian. He promptly returned him two days later, after my brother had smashed all his ornaments playing indoor football!
Ian and my love of cars was never the same after that. Our main interests becoming football, cricket, fighting each other and hiding from mum after we’d broke another ornament playing indoor footy.
Instead we procured a decent knowledge of football clubs, players and stats – Details we’d regularly bore the a**e off people with. …….. Look, how the hell was I to know my uncle Bernard wasn’t interested in what 1970’s Leeds striker Allan Clarke ate for his breakfast?!
Allan Clarke (below) – My uncle Bernard couldn’t give a shiny s***e what he had for breakfast in the early 1970’s …… Or indeed now!
Yes, I learned a great deal as a kid from being inquisitive. However, there were episodes which played out which still remain inexplicable. Events remaining unanswered no matter how much energy went into seeking an answer.
One of these enigmas was what the hell Leeds Utd’s goalkeeper David Harvey’s barber’s was thinking when crimping the Scottish internationals hair prior to the 1972 FA Cup Final?!
Like the real killer of JFK, along with who ate most of my brother’s Terry’s Chocolate Orange when he was asleep on Boxing Day morning, 1971 (cough, cough), a mystery I’d venture that’ll never be answered in my lifetime.
My real problem with Harvey’s haircut was not just the terrible fringe, which made him look like Jim Carrey’s character in Dumb and Dumber, but the fact he was walking out for the Centenary cup final at Wembley representing Leeds United looking as though he’d undergone a lobotomy.
Jim Carrey in Dumb and Dumber -Was it inspired by the legendary Leeds goalkeeper’s crime against crimping?
When Leeds were presented to the Queen prior to the game they wouldn’t have looked out of place wearing white coats next to Harvey, instead of their all white football kit …… On witnessing the pre-game formalities I couldn’t help picture a scene where, once Abide With Me and the National Anthem are out of the way, those ten men in white coats would (Benny Hill-like) chase Harvey around Wembley with fishing nets.
Ironically, Harvey might have looked simple but it was the goalkeeper he replaced for the game, Gary Sprake, who generally played in big games as though he was wearing a straight jacket!
David Harvey (far right in green top) celebrating winning the 1972 FA Cup with his Leeds team mates……….. Yes, believe it or not, he actually paid for that haircut!
David Harvey’s haircut in that game left childhood scars. For much of our fledgling years, my mum oft utilised the threat “If you two don’t behave I’ll get your hair cut like David Harvey!” as an effective tool to keep us both in line.
Our Ian said he’d rather be abducted a second time by the child catcher from Chitty Chitty Bang Bang than adorn a haircut like Harvey. As the child catcher had no ornaments left to break, that tells you a lot about how much the haircut freaked out our kid.
As an aside, I’ve a cousin who scored a goal for his amateur team against Harvey in a 1980’s pre-season friendly – Some achievement when you bear in mind, through fear of catching sight of the keeper’s dodgy barnet, he was hidden behind a sofa at the time.