IN the words of that big geezer who once reckoned he supported Hartlepool – two out of three ain’t bad.
“Passion, pride and parmos” proclaimed the words on the giant Union Jack unfurled before Redcar Cubs’ crucial Conference League play-off clash against Boston – and two thirds of that combination warmed us to the very cockles of our heart on a chilly autumn evening in East Anglia.
All that was missing were the parmos – and the Istanbul Kebab Shop in King’s Lynn provided a pretty decent substitute.
Pride and passion? If there had been any more, we’d have struggled to fit it through the turnstiles.
Conference League speedway hasn’t been greatly received at the concrete jungle known as the Norfolk Arena (if anyone can spot a blade of grass there, send it to me and I’ll buy you a pint next time in in town), but to the Teesside barmy army that made the long trek down for Tuesday’s second and decisive leg of the Cubs’ play-off semi-final, the entire universe began and ended at the perimiter walls of the stadium.
They banged the drum, they sang their hearts out and they dressed up in silly costumes.
They brought a bit of glamour to place too. . . well, borrowed it to be fair, thanks to the girls from Mildenhall who were captivated by the unholy racket coming from the first bend and became honorary Teessiders for the night.
And when Aaron Summers dropped a chain without even getting off the line for the final, season-shaping heat, you’d have thought the bomb had been dropped. From ecstasy to despair in a split second.
You had to feel for Jason Pipe and the lads in the team. Losing by one point on aggregate thanks to a mechanical failure? Losing by 20 would have been less painful
Benji Compton made a brief appearance in the bar as the post-match fat-chewing gained its momentum and Teesside-Fenland relations grew to even greater heights.
There were handshakes and backslaps all round before Benji, one of the nicest guys you could ever meet, turned and paused as as he made his exit. “Thanks for your support,” he told the Redcar faithful.
No, thank YOU Benji. Thank you and your team-mates for giving us the opportunity to take our pride and passion, if not parmos, all over the country. Redcar Speedway is not yet three years old but, like a babe in its mother’s arms, it already means so much to so many.
Workington is the next date on the tour schedule. Bring it on.