25 years ago this week, City travelled to Bavaria and became the first (and only) English side to win in the Olympicstadion. Ivan Adcock went with them. This is his story.
When I look back at that Norwich City win in Munich 25 years ago, it's with nostalgia, not celebration. It involved more than a little trepidation and it's a minor miracle I ever got to see it.
It had started with a trip to Vitesse Arnhem, one of such significance to both me and Norwich City that I felt I had to go via the official club organised expedition.
I made a flag, a St Georges flag with ‘NCFC’ in a nice typeface in the white rectangles and European stars around a silhouette of Ruel Fox in the centre. It got nicked but you can see it briefly if you ever feel the urge to YouTube Efan Ekoku’s miss.
I felt I’d done it though; I'd seen city in Europe. I wonder who we’ll get in the next round? Ah! Shit, it’s Bayern Munich. I’ll have to go to that!
The problem was that the official coaches were returning straight after the game. The game which was in Munich, Germany. Sod that.
On October 11th I made sure I bought tickets for me, mate Tony ‘the pony‘ and work colleague Dickie Davies (no, not THE…). In between times Norwich played Coventry (h), 1 nil (Fox) and that evening there were ‘strangers’ handing out leaflets (in a crap typeface):
‘TRAVEL TO BAYERN MUNICH...STAY IN A HOTEL, etc... UF TOURS’.
Well, I always did get carried away after a City win so it was that we (I) booked up our coach tickets via a phone call with ‘Geoff’ who had a funny accent that suggested that he was from the other side of Swaffham. Later, when I saw him walk I realised he was from Manchester.
No paperwork. No receipts. ‘Just turn up, lads’. Just typing this I’m screaming to my younger self ‘just get the train’. Nevertheless, ‘our kid’ phoned (on a proper telephone you could only speak on and was attached to a wall). ‘Get there 2 hours earlier lads we have got an earlier ferry’.
So we all turned up outside Bonds, 2 hours earlier at 6:30 pm, except one. Let’s call him Palmer. The problem was that ‘monkey walk’ (let’s just call him Geoff) hadn’t told him because in those days he didn’t have a phone which wasn’t attached to a wall. We were all loosely checked onto the coach. ‘No smoking downstairs, lads and no shitting in the bog’. So, of course we were upstairs in a scene resembling a bookies.
The other punters included fanzine writers and a group of lads from Swaffham who boarded with cases of lager and bottles of vodka and whiskey. When Palmer hadn’t arrived after an hour we all poured into the pub. People were very drunk before departing and we were going to Munich, Germany. Palmer arrived to choruses of abuse. He’d been in the Woolpack all that time (but didn’t have a phone that didn’t have to be attached to a wall). The only positive was that he was as pissed as everyone else. The negative was that we’d already missed our ferry before we’d even departed. ‘Right lads, what VHS do you want to watch’? Geoff apparently had a mic. Of course he was downstairs where it didn’t resemble a bookies. What VHS we had to watch was Roy ‘Chubby’ Brown. We were off. An optimistic chorus of ‘We’re all going on a European tour’ rang out.
Tony had a ‘rule’ where no one sleeps. Tony, despite being a pony has an arse of a bovine. Where it seems impossible for him to stick to a rigid diet he did rigidly enforce his stupid bloody rule. With all the fag smoke and no sleep I was starting to look like Marty Feldman or an Axel Scheffler cartoon.
Geoff appeared up the stairs, with a mic.
‘Anyone got any skunk’?
Everyone looked blankly at each other.
‘Anyone want some’?
Everyone: ‘What the...’?
Geoff reappeared and handed what looked like my old rubber from school to the lads in front of us. They never moved again until Munich. I was passively as high as a kite for a week.
The lads from Swaffham swigged Smirnoff and swore, fell asleep and started to look like boxers. ‘Planes, Trains and Automobiles’ screened on the crap telly. John Candy turned into the devil in the film but it was looking like a metaphor. Someone was sick on the stairs but, at least he didn’t shit in the bog. He was on medication apparently and had to get off at Dover. I still feel for him.
Geoff reassured the passengers who assumed he’d bought them a match ticket ‘I haven’t actually got any tickets, lads, but don’t worry there’ll be plenty of room; you can pay at the gate’.
Right lads everyone buy a raffle ticket. We did and won £92 which we agreed to split three ways.
Finally we arrived at Dover. Getting off the bus the fresh air hit us in the face like acid. I’d never been so relieved to stand outside in the dark, doing nothing except eating crisps. Finally on the ferry at 2:30 am, we sat in a closed bar to escape. They opened the bar. It was 4:00 am but, as we’d won a raffle we felt compelled. It wasn’t too early for a little sharpener was it?
The German police were waiting for us on the back of a bit of trouble at the recent Holland (2) v England (0) game. We were down as the ‘trouble’ bus full of what youngsters may refer to as ‘casuals’. They hadn’t observed that Tony was reading Tolstoy.
The toilet was by now blocked as someone, possibly Palmer had tried a sneaky shit. Geoff advised us to ‘piss in bottles and chuck it out the window, lads’ which soon was downgraded to ‘keep it in this bin bag’ as our escorts weren’t keen. Everyone obliged until bottles of wee rolled around the floor. The driver spontaneously pulled into a services. Unmarked police cars sped by and surrounded the bus. A man in uniform ran across the grass verge with a rifle. ‘WE’RE ALL GOING TO DIE, TONY’ I blubbed. We survived. We were allowed a toilet stop only. I had to negotiate a second visit as I couldn’t pee with so many men standing next to me.
We had an official stop at Stiegerwald where we were met by a massive police / army presence and expectancy from the rest of the Yellow Army who’d travelled more conventionally and comfortably. Expecting a glimpse of a load of criminals they were greeted with a waft of dope, whiskey and farts and two boys craving a box of Jaffa Cakes.
We were escorted to the ground along with Club Canary fans. Desperate for a shower Geoff appeared on mic; ‘Change on the bus, lads’. I did, into the exact same clothes I wore at Forest away months before (0-3, Robins, Power, Crook).
We strolled into the Olympic stadium and freezing cold we wandered into the swimming pool arena, went and bought a T-shirt and ate meat and drink lager beer, had some more lager beer and meat and finally somehow arrived at our seat freezing, drunk and burping meat. I remember saying to Tony ‘we may get thrashed but at least we can say we played here’.
Barry from work was so drunk that he took a wrong turn leaving the toilet and for the second half sat in with the home fans.
Most NCFC fans remember the Goss volley as the TV cameras recorded it. I remember his tiny far away body smacking it and the net glistening and a notable pause as the city fans realised, ‘shit we’ve actually scored’.
By Bowen’s second I was properly in a dream world. I vaguely remember lots of players celebrating in front of us but I was a boy who had been allowed to stay up late after eating loads of sweets. I threw my flag, that didn’t get nicked, over a TV camera and joined in with the loudest rendition of On The Ball City I’d ever heard (we were under a metal canopy which enhanced it).
Finally we booked into the Hotel Tor which I’m convinced that Geoff had booked during the match, drank everything they had and went to bed at 1.20 am. (Tony’s thorough diary noted).
At some point I decided to wash my arse in the sink. There was a loud crack under, well, my crack and I still have the broken porcelain as a momento.
So then came the hangover and the slow coach ride back to normality. It wasn’t too long before the wheel came off, metaphorically.
I still don’t know why I tried to wash my arse in the sink.