BACK in the day when joeys roamed the steets with those silly taches and daft haircuts, I had a dream.
It was the late 1980s, rap music was the hip new thing, the gates of Ayresome Park were locked by by the receivers then dramatically opened again and you could fill your car up with petrol for a fiver.
I was slim and full of youth back then, dodgy demi-wave, little black stud in my ear and electric blue suit to boot.
The dream I had was that Annabella Lewin from BowWowWow came over to me wearing. . . no sorry, you don’t want to know about that one.
No, I had a dream that I’d line up in the same team as Havvy at Cleveland Park.
I was still a whelk-quaffing, shandy-supping M25 botherer back then. But from the moment I saw him battle from the back row of an eight-rider grid to win the Grand Slam final, he became an instant hero. I think I knew then he could be a world champion and I followed his career with interest from then on.
The meeting had been as dull as a February night in Darlo with as many passes as Steven Hawking on Are You Smarter Than a Ten-year-old and then – bang – along came Havvy.
The travelling Bears fans were a wonderfully loud and barmy bunch of flag-waving lunatics and it was probably from that moment that the seeds of my love affair with speedway on Teesside were sewn.
So last Sunday my dream finally came true – I was in the same side as Havvy at Cleveland Park.
OK the speedway track has long gone and we were playing football – but never let the facts get in the way of a good story, as they say.
It was a marvellous occasion and raised the thick end of ÃÂ£800 for the very worthwhile Tico Barnett Memorial Fund.
Havvy, Josh an Arlo all gave up their time along with Cubs rider Jitendra Duffill, and a host of fans, track traff and well-wishers. In how many others would you see three star performers do that less than a week before their biggest match of the season? There are some marvellous people in speedway.
Josh plays football like he rides speedway – full on, in the thick of the action, always looking to take someone on – while Havvy was, as ever, the inspirational skipper and the Italian blood in Arlo has clearly blessed him with some Zola-esque flair.
Our team of Bears personnel came out 8-3 on top but the real winner was the charity.
You have to feel sorry for poor Mark Shaw though. He’d only just replaced Drac on the fans’ team to add a bit of pace the big man was lacking when – crack – he broke his ankle. We all expected Gareth to magically appear and tell the paramedics to get a move on. All the best for a quick recovery, fella.
Next up is a charity pool match. That’s got to be safer. . . hasn’t it?