Haydock Park Raceday 1999
- by Pat Jennings -
  Photos: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25  
  As I earn the same as Roy Keane (Note: when he played for Cobh Ramblers
;-))) I was fortunate enough to be able to go the Haydock Park Raceday
last Sunday, not in the cheap seats either, but in the dinner in honour
of our esteemed manager.

As there was free champagne and wine on offer, none of us wanted to
drive so we went up in a minibus. It was like entering the Oscar
ceremony as we entered the Park Suite as loads of fans were waiting at
the doors to see if they could spot any players. I got asked for my
autograph several times and even my phone number from a couple of birds

As we entered the main suite we were given our one free glass of
champagne (or that's what they intended) and made our way to our table.
I'd been nagging the organisers for weeks to make sure we were in a good
place and not stuck in a corner somewhere. They hadn't let us down and
of the 40 tables there, we must have been on one of the best. We joined
up with the rest of our group, which included Pete Hargreaves and wife
Cathy, Dr. Mark and his Mum, so there were now myself, wife Jayne,
sister Sarah, Ian (son-and-heir) and Mr. and Mrs Sausage ;-))

Our glorious Treble was there in the flesh, without any glass to stop us
from mauling them, although the SPS (bastard) next to them looked a bit
menacing. We immediately went over before it got too busy and had
several photographs taken. I'm sure they would have had to have got the
Pledge out after we'd been there as I had to touch the European Cup
(several times).

Back at the table, we'd started to do the rubber necking to see who was
there yet. Before long Fergie came in and immediately spotted some
friends of his on the table below us, he made a bee-line (where does
that saying come from??) for them and was stood only a couple of feet
from me. The next minute Giggs was spotted next to the entrance, then
Gazza Neville.

We'd *intended* to be quite calm and blasé about the whole thing and not
show ourselves up, but that plan lasted about 2 seconds as we had the
chance of a lifetime to meet with our heroes.

I'd taken with me 2 A4 prints of nephews Daniel and Joseph holding a
blow up version of the European Cup and one of my (then) 18 month old
son William, taken on St. Patrick's Day wearing his Keano shirt. Alex
was walking passed our table and I stepped over to him, at the same time
about 30 other people did the same and I thought my opportunity had
gone. I waited (im)patiently and stepped towards him, thrusting my
pictures and pen in front of him. Whilst he was signing them I thanked
him for the wonderful season he'd given us all, I then shook his hand.
I then looked for Jayne to see if she'd got my picture with him and she
said she had. Not trusting her, I looked on the LCD to see that she had
taken 2 cracking pictures of me with him.

Full of confidence and spotting Giggsy still at the door chatting we
barged our way over there for his autograph too. As I stood shaking his
hand, Jayne stood in front of us trembling with nerves and jabbering on
about not knowing if she'd taken his picture or not. "Come on Jayne" I
said "Ryan's a busy man". As I looked at the pictures I realised that
Jayne hadn't zoomed out, from the last picture I'd taken. If anyone
wants to know how many nasal hairs Ryan's got, please e-mail me

We grabbed some more champagne and went back to the table. Before long
we could see various players in the corridor outside and were nearly
wetting ourselves with excitement. As they came in there was some
announcement or other and they seemed to take a route passed our table
that made it look like they were trying to avoid us or something ;-)))
The next minute the compare made the announcement that Fergie was to
make his entrance and we all stood and applauded the great man into the
room. As the room settled, the players made their way to the tables and
we nearly died as Giggs and the Nevilles came and sat on the table next
to us. Remembering that I'd been brought up being told 'its rude to
stare' we tried not to get too excited, but the words gibber and wibble
wibble were much in evidence as we mumbled to ourselves.
The compare started his patter and must've thought he was still in a
working mens club when he opened his patter with some crap joke about
the yorkshire ripper.

He soon turned his attention to the people sat on Alex's table, who
mainly seemed to be his horsy mates, along with the bookie Fred Done
(who paid out on us winning the league when the 'arse won it) and his
wife. He said "poor old Fred, he spent all morning doing his hair, then
went and left it at home!!" boom boom!!

Alex said a few words that went something like: "I'd like to thank
everybody, but I'm not naming names as I'll forget someone, so I'd just
like to thank everyone" and sat down again.

Hugh McIlvanney, who was also at Alex's table then got up and said a few
(not) words about Alex as a player and manager. I dozed of during this
so I can't remember everything he said, but he took a great swipe at
arseole wanker after his 'lucky' comments about us winning the Treble.
He said "well arseole's only got to win another four Premiership Titles,
Two Doubles, 4 FA Cups, The League Cup, The European Cup Winners Cup and
The European Cup and..........(I can't remember what he said) and the
room erupted with applause.

The dinner now started and the players near us got theirs straight away.
I noticed that Giggs was eating meat, I thought he was a veggie? He also
didn't have any socks on. I wanted to shout across at him if he'd seen
that bastard Lee Dioxin since he'd nearly crippled him, but Jayne said
we shouldn't interrupt them when their eating. Eric Harrison was also on
their table and Steve Bruce also popped by to have a word with them.
The rest of the players: Ole, Dwight, Andy C, Stam, Bosnich, Jordi,
Jeppe, VDG, Wes were down the other end.

Ian Harvey wasn't bothered about any of the players and just kept going
on about the bird from 'Play your cards right' who was there flaunting
herself about. Jayne spotted that her dress was held together by a
safety pin, meeeeeeeeeoooooooooowwwwwwwwww, there's no solidarity with
women whatsoever is there lads???

We legged it down the other end as the players weren't circulating much.
The first thing we see is Pete Hargreaves talking to Andy Cole,
fortunately for the reputation of Internet Reds he didn't tell Andy
about any of the slaggings off that he sometimes gets.
Seeing that Dwight was free(ish) I asked him to sign my prints and said
to him "I bet you're glad you cam to play for us aren't you?" I think he
must have just had a spliff or something as he said something back to me
in Jive. "What did he say to you?" asked Jayne, "I'll be buggered if I
know" I told her.

The players were going out on their balcony and the SPS goons wouldn't
let us go out, so we went back to our table again. Passing Steve Bruce's
table I got his autograph and said to him "bet it's nice to be getting
asked for your autograph again, eh Steve?" My wife called me a cheeky
sod and punched me in the ribs. He was the only one who commented on the
picture of William. I wished him good luck with his new club and went on
our way.

Back at the table, I could see that Phil Neville was looking bored
stiff, so I showed him a picture I took at the Nou Camp of him and Gary
with the Cup, down near the corner flag. He asked if I'd taken it and I
said "yes, would you like to see the rest?" Contrary to popular belief
Phil said "yes, I'd luv it, just luv it, Pat mate" ;-)))

I quickly grabbed the full set off the table and went through them with
him quickly explaining each photo. I forgot to take the ones out of
Sid's underpants after he'd pissed his pants, so Phil saw them too
(sorry Sid, hehehehehe). I had some great ones of fans in the fountains
in the Catalunya Square on the afternoon of the match, as he looked at
these I said "you miss all the craic you know being in the team" I bet
he thought that was a funny thing to say. Feeling that I'd taken enough
of his time up, I left him as others were waiting to speak with him.
As the racing had started we wasted our time (and money) putting bets on
etc. instead of getting the other autographs. Thinking the players would
be there all day was a mistake and before we knew it, they were gone.
The next minute they were coming up the track in the carriages with the
Trophies and they never came back into the dinner sob, sob......
Alex was still in and out all the time and despite the fact that he was
continually asked for this that and the other, he never refuses and
always has a smile. What a contrast this is to the whinging whining
image the media love to promote, he really is a great man and we are
extremely lucky to have him.

We socialised amongst ourselves for the rest of the afternoon (that
means I can't remember what we did) and most of us proceeded to lose our
money. Ian still kept drooling over the 'Play your cards right' girl, I
told him that I'd love to see his Mums face if he took her home for tea
on a Sunday. Jayne forgave Keano for not turning up and backed his horse
in the Players Race, although it won we didn't know as we pronounced it
differently and it was only when she rang her Mum that we realised.
We were just about the last to leave (as usual) and watched as they put
the Trophies back into their wooden crates.

Anyway the day had come to an end all too soon and we made our way out
down the stairs to an almost empty racecourse outside. It was a great
day all round and will be remembered, like so many others this season,
for a long, long time.

Pat Jennings
(c) Not to be Used without Permission of the Author
1. Pat and Ian with the Treble!
2. 'On there own' - My current wallpaper :-)))
3. Alex signing my prints, Pete's wife Cathy also there.
4. For anyone who hasn't met me, I'm the one on the right ;-)))
5. Dr. Marks Photo of the same.
6. Steve Bruce calls by.
7. Shame this woman's head was in the way.
8. Alex gets presented with a 1958 ball from Bayern Munich
9. Pete Hargreaves with Phil Neville.
10. Phil excited about seeing Pat's Barcelona photo's
11. Dwight Yorke smiling as usual.
12. The Carriage Procession
13. Pat and Jayne in the middle, Dr. Mark and his Mum on the outer. The
table immediately behind Pete, is where Giggs et al sat.
14. It's real you know!
15. After they'd drawn the curtains
16. Who put the ball in the germans net?
17. Mark's Mum with Alex, Jordi in background.
18. Mark's Mum on a roll now!
19. Eh Andy, what's this I hear about you not scoring important goals?
20. Dr. Mark with Andy
21. The Player's Balcony
22. Martin Edwards getting Dwights autograph ;-)))
23. Cathy and Ole
24. Dr. Mark and Alan Dobson
25. Aren't the SPS nice??