How an air-conditioning mechanic in Sydney Australia became an award winning broadcaster in Britain; Part 95.


I’m not sure Julie was fully prepared for the experience of going to her first English Premier League football match.

Julie and I grew up on opposite sides of the world. We met in her home town of Whangarei, New Zealand which at the time had a population of around 40,000. Julie came from a suburb called Tikipunga. We’d been married for ten years before I took her to where I grew up.

After living in Australia for seven years, in February 1997, we moved to Bournemouth on England’s South Coast because I got an on-air job at 2CRFM. The following October, we made our first trip together to Liverpool and stayed for the weekend. The highlight was going to watch Liverpool play Derby County at Anfield on the Saturday.

I hadn’t been to the match since Boxing Day 1984 when on a trip home to Britain, my uncle Peter had taken me to see us get beat 2-1 by Leicester City. I hadn’t lived in England since I was 18 and had never driven myself to the match. I’m pretty sure that’s the reason why on Saturday 25th October 1997, we miss-calculated how bad the traffic would be and how early you had to get there to park.

With time running out, I found a school near the stadium where you could park on the playground but only if you had a pre-paid permit. I drove up to the parking attendant, wound down the window, raised my eyebrows at him, reached out and placed a ten pound note in his hand. He responded by having a quick look round, then waved me in.

We locked the car and as we walked to the gate, Julie noticed something. She said, “Hey, all of the other cars have got parking stickers in their windows!” Out of the corner of my mouth I said, “That’s because they’ve all paid for them and we haven’t”. Julie raised her voice and said, “What do you mean, we haven’t paid? I just saw you give that man ten pounds!”

I leaned in her ear, “Will you be quiet, you’re not in Tikipunga any more!”

Craic on!

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