Football travels with Ross

Welcome to my website where I have put together details of my travels following football around the world.

My adventures began some time ago when my father took me to East End Park, home of Dunfermline Athletic to my first game. Memories of that game have faded but I am sure it was a night game and we went to the chip shop after, and I could swear now it was with curry sauce, on the way home.

After that my next footballing experience was at Aberdeen where I had my first season ticket, watching Aberdeen with the team that I can still remember. It included the Scotland goalkeeper Bobby Clark, Martin Buchan, Willie Young, Joe Harper and Arthur Graham, who I was delighted followed me down to Leeds. I knew all about these players at the time but only recently did I find out about Zoltan Varga a Hungarian who was also at Aberdeen. It wouldn’t seem out of place today a Hungarian at Aberdeen, but back then…1972!

I also remember being locked out of a friendly match as Aberdeen took on Manchester United in front of 36,000. (It finished 5-2, to Aberdeen of course). I didn’t visualise that the next time I would be in a similar situation that it would be in The United Arab Emirates for a match between Iraq and Bahrain.

My fathers work meant a nomadic lifestyle and we settled in York although I did attend Bootham Crescent (once) my memories are of sitting in my father’s car on a Saturday afternoon whilst he was travelling round working, listening to commentary of Leeds United.

Next stop was Nottingham where we settled. At school everyone asked if I supported Forest or County, but my mind was made up. I supported Leeds United. The long match day TV marathon that was the FA Cup Final in 1973, set me up for what was to come in the future. I can also vividly remember watching the 1975 European Cup Semi Final 1st leg against Barcelona. Watching the game in colour, now I can see why Joe Jordan got his place in the Scotland squad.

Whilst still at school I would watch Arnold, Notts County and Nottingham Forest. Bitterly disappointed that I did not get a ticket for a cup tie to watch Leeds at Notts County in 1975 my dad made it up to me with trips to Sheffield United to see a Tony Currie inspired Leeds win 4-1 and then a trip to Anfield on the Kop to see Scotland beat Wales 2-0 (“A handball if ever there was one. The referee perfectly correct.”) and qualify for the World Cup in Argentina.

Nottingham Forest won promotion to the First Division and I had a season ticket for the Trent End as they kept going beating opponent after opponent, during this time I went to some of their away games and began to find my way around the country. I was there when they clinched the title at Coventry.

After leaving school and getting a job I started to go to Leeds regularly and got my first season ticket in the Kop for season 1980-81. I have held one ever since and indeed at the moment have one for the next 10 years unless Uncle Ken gets his hands on it!

During the 80’s I attended the majority of our games and due to various bans on supporters ended up holding membership cards for the likes of Manchester United, Milwall and Luton to ensure I could get tickets for our games.

I also took my brother to the likes of Halifax, Hartlepool, Rochdale and Northampton (don’t ask him the score of this one!) to see his team Bristol City. This helped me complete my visit round the 92 clubs which ended at Plainmoor in 1987.

One of my first trips abroad was to Spain where I managed to see Gary Lineker score twice for Barcelona, whilst also visiting Real Madrid, Sporting Gijon. Sabadell and Athletico Madridleño (Yes Athletico Madrid’s B team).

In 1989 I arranged to go behind the Iron Curtain, after painstakingly acquiring visas from the various embassies I went to see Steau Bucharest in the game after they lost to AC Milan in the European Cup Final (The players Including Hagi and Lacatus came out for the warm up with their AC Milan gear on), Red Star Belgrade, Partizan Belgrade, Honved, Ujpest Dosza, CSKA Sofia, Bohemians and Dukla Prague…away!

Whilst in Bulgaria I met Gretien Slavov an enthusiastic Leeds fan who I am still in touch with to this day (although not as often as I should be….sorry Greti). Greti is the one responsible for playing Marching on Together at half time in his teams stadium (Levski Sofia) when Spartak Moscow played Leeds in Sofia.

It was only in 2002 that I acquired a computer (mainly to help sort out my trip to Japan/Korea for 2002 World Cup) and then in 2004 I bought my first camera.

When Philip Beech at Soccerphile, heard of my travels he asked if I would be willing to write for them. I declined the offer but sent him pictures from my first trip to see the Copa America in Peru. He didn’t give up and I started to write, (not about the football, you have journalists that do that and can watch the highlights to see what happened), but about my travels.

Aside | Posted on by | Leave a comment