Narrowly Avoiding a Kicking in a Tough Old Town!

Posted on April 9, 2012

I went out on Saturday night with Diane and our friends Pete and Mandy in what turned out to be a really good laugh as we watched a band (whom we knew the members of) playing a pub gig in a strange town in deepest Hampshire. However, it was an evening that could have so easily gone wrong as I teetered on the brink of danger with a local guy who was still seething with pent up anger courtesy of a last minute equaliser scored by Portsmouth against detested rivals Southampton earlier in the day.

When we arrived at the pub, it was quite apparent that it was a tough old place as it was only 8pm and most of the regulars looked like they had been on an all day session, their leathery faces, missing teeth and nicotine coloured hair indicating years of alcohol abuse and domestic violence. After a couple of pints, the sense of not being welcome was slowly diminishing when out of the blue, a huge bloke with a skinhead came barging in to the bar before crashing in to me, causing my beer to slop out of my glass. He then grabbed me in a tight hug and screamed ” I Fucking hate interbred Pompey scum” which was nice.  He then inquired if I had been present at the game, a question to which I should have replied “Indeed I have dear boy and I have to agree with your comments and say that I too detest the strange folk from the city of Portsmouth.”

But some brainless loyalty inside me wouldn’t allow me to feign I was a Southampton supporter, I just couldn’t do it to myself, so I decided that I would inform him that actually, I supported Reading FC. However, rather cleverly I thought, I would protect myself by pretending that I also hated Portsmouth football club as much as he did, something that seemed nigh on impossible. Of course, this may have sufficed on other occasions, but the fact is that Reading and Southampton are locked head to head in a tense race to gain promotion to the Premier League, so after years of almost indifference between the two clubs, Hants and Berks hatred is on the rise, something that is rather awkward when you have a girlfriend living in the heart of Southampton supporting territory in the Test Valley

“You’ve got some front coming in here you little cunt”  He enquired politely. Oh dear, this wasn’t ideal, particularly as he was about a foot taller than me and had the look of someone who had been in lots of fights, winning most of them. “I actually quite like Southampton” I said rather pathetically, which was kind of true, especially in comparison with Leeds, West Ham and indeed, Portsmouth, even though I have been feeling rather sorry for Pompey lately and I cheered their equaliser against Southampton with some gusto, something I thought I better keep to myself. “Well I hate fucking Reading” he replied and though I couldn’t put my finger on it, I  was starting to get the feeling that a night in Southampton general hospital may be awaiting me.

His friend, thankfully, was a great help, expertly playing the part of a pacifist which began to give me a glimmer of hope that I might get out of this place alive as the mood began moderating to such an extent that I thought a plastic surgeon may not be removing glass from my face in the coming hours after all. However, the fact was this, if I had been a Portsmouth fan, I would have been kicked up and down the High Street, something that is not really my idea of a good night out. As the mood lightened further, it turned out that this maniac knew quite a few people from the village football team where Diane lives, so suddenly, out of nowhere, I was becoming his best pal, though experience tells me that a pissed up person can revert from best pal to violent enemy with one false word or quip. Fortunately, this didn’t happen on this occasion and he shook my hand before staggering in to the night as we happily joined in with the rest of the alcoholics who were by this time, very drunk, but thankfully, quite harmless and in good spirits, courtesy of the band, who were now doing rather well.

I will not name the town in question, I will allow you all to guess it, but back in the safety of Broughton yesterday I was informed by Di’s brother and brother-in-law that it was a haven of interbred maniacs with a notorious reputation for partaking in violent confrontation every Saturday night. It was, they informed me, not a place to admit that you are an outsider, especially one who comes from the Reading support base of Tadley/Basingstoke. Saying you are from Broughton is bad enough. This is a market town that I always assumed to be extremely wealthy and full of posh bistros and trendy bars, I couldn’t have been any more wrong. Small Hampshire towns can it seems, be very hostile places indeed, especially the evening after a dramatic derby match featuring Portsmouth and Southampton.

I am down at St Marys on Friday to watch the pivotal game between Reading and Southampton, if Reading score a late winner and I bump in to this guy after the game, please send all flowers and cards to:

Southampton General Hospital

Accident & Emergency Dept

Tremona Road



SO16 6YD

1 Reply to "Narrowly Avoiding a Kicking in a Tough Old Town!"

  • Nick Mabey
    April 14, 2012 (9:03 pm)

    I grew up living in a pub in the same town Bob. We once had Prince Charles in for a half of shandy. Now there’s a guy you don’t want to get on the wrong side of if the polo results haven’t gone well!

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