* Warning – may contain Santa Claus spoiler

ONE Christmas when I was about 12 – before I’d discovered punk rock, beer and girls – all I wanted for Christmas was a tracksuit and a pair of hiking boots.

My mum, quite rightly, was distraught.
Ambushed by visions of me spending Christmas Day clomping around the house in sporting attire and a pair of clodhoppers while the other kids in the neighbourhood spent their waking hours gleefully gallivanting outside with their new bikes, skateboards and remote controlled racing cars, she took matters into her own hands.
Only a few short years later it became a lot easier – all I wanted was a few quid to invest in the latest punk ‘must have’ accessories like studs, bondage trousers and UK Subs T-shirts.
But I was 12 back then, remember – long greasy hair was considered cool, lasagne was an exotic dish and a mobile was a couple of coat hangers covered in tinsel in the Blue Peter studio and not a hand-held communication device.
So the tracksuit duly appeared in my stocking (I’d rumbled the Santa Claus myth some years earlier when I left my autograph book out with a mince pie and a carrot on Christmas Eve and noticed the following morning that his signature bore more than a striking resemblance to my dad’s) but the hiking boots never did.
There were the obvious pangs of disappointment (the fact that I did very little hiking was irrelevant) but, to be fair, I also rather unexpectedly had a Scalextric to play with that Christmas.
It wasn’t a present I’d even considered but Mum and Dad knew best and it kept me occupied for years as I meticulously reconstructed Brands Hatch, Silverstone and the like on my bedroom floor and pretended to be Emerson Fittipaldi.
And the whole what we want and what we get scenario of Christmas directly mirrors that of the close season transfer process.
We’ve all got our own wish list for the Speedway Santa – or Brian as he’s more commonly known – to bring us, especially after the season we’ve just had.
There are riders out there who – like that tracksuit of mine all those years ago – will be safely delivered to South Tees Motorsports Park after being pencilled in at the top of our list since the end of September.
And some – like the hiking boots – will be destined to be plucked from the shelf and taken elsewhere, leaving us to enjoy a replacement instead.
Hopefully, however, there will no equivalent of the unfeasibly tight yet long-armed yellow sweater that Nana knitted and wrapped up for you, which had novelty value for a short while but soon fell out of favour before being declared unwanted.
Happily Christmas has come early on Teesside and this weekend we had four presents to unwrap – namely Adam Roynon, Aaron Summers, Havvy and Robert Branford.
All great additions in my opinion, and worthy of raising a festive glass of plonk to in celebration. Not a knitted jumper from Nana in sight!


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