When my sister came to visit me from America, we were reminisced about the old days. She told me that back in the early eighties; she was in a well-known nightclub in Manchester. Going downstairs to the ladies, she saw a private function room with a party going on. Venturing inside to look, she immediately spotted Mohammed Ali, who, she found out later, was there for Henry Cooper’s birthday.
Feeling brave, she wandered inside, but was stopped by a man telling her that it was a private party. Now, my sister was always the cheeky one, and putting on her confident voice, she tested him out by telling him she was with the party. Immediately, he apologised apologised and let her through.
Joanne couldn’t believe her luck, and even joined a queue where Ali seated at a desk, signed autographs. His manager stood beside him. Joanne picked up a nearby menu and the manager asked her what her family name was. “You probably don’t know it,” she said. He grinned, tapped the side of his nose, and said, “I bet I know your parents, though.” She grinned back and under her breath muttered, ‘I bet you don’t! ‘
Ali signed the menu, and she left. Her biggest regret was losing it somewhere over the following years.
Back in 2002 my dad was very ill with septicaemia and in the High Dependency Unit at Salford Royal Hospital. On my way to visit him, I noticed there was a glass lift which went up just one floor. As I entered the building, I saw it descending and it was full of men in suits.
Anxious to see my dad – who did eventually recovered, I thought, Oh good, as soon as I get there, they will have disembarked and I can jump in. It was save me rushing up the stairs and arriving in a fluster.
Turning the corner, most of them filtered out except, two. They were deep in conversation. Not being a rude person by nature, but eager to see my dad, I said, “Are you getting out, or what?”
One of them jumped forward, startled, not realising they had even come to a stop. “Oh sorry,” he exclaimed, in a broad Scottish accent. I noticed the other man’s amused expression, and realised just who it was that I had ordered out of the lift. The then Manchester United football manager, Alex Ferguson. Graciously, he accepted my apology and I shook his hand.
The last story goes back to the early seventies when I a joy in a stories toy department. I worked with a girl called Gay. One morning she came into work and said, “You’ll never believe what happened to me last night?”
I shrugged, “No, what?”
“I was standing at the side of the road waiting for my date when a car with black windows drew up beside her. The window came down and a young man said, “Don’t look so worried, it might never happen.” And he immediately drove off.
It took her a moment to realise it was none other than Rod Stewart!