GLF 29: I Was There

Last updated : 14 August 2017 By GLF

I Was There


I Was There

Recently I had to write an essay in English as part of my revision for my forthcoming exams. Imagine my delight when I found a title that let me write about Motherwell winning the cup.

I hope this brings back as many of your memories as mine.

It started when I was four. It was my dad's fault really. He took me to Fir Park when I was big enough to peer over the wall and I've had Motherwell in my blood ever since.

At first I wasn't too bothered about the results but by the time Motherwell reached the cup final I was as obsessed as the rest of my family. In the weeks leading up to the 18th of May I was convinced of Motherwell's impending victory by the nation's tabloids which I cut to shreds every morning, looking for a memento of my day. My dad and his father had been let down too many times by Motherwell to be swept away in euphoric anticipation like me and they were positively concerned at my naivety.

Their warnings had little effect though and at 7:37am on Saturday the 18th of May I was certain that Motherwell would win the cup.

On the morning of the final, my mother was in her element. She gleefully organised food, leaving times and when we would reach Hampden. Throughout all this though, she managed to feed her enthusiasm for photography by snapping everything that moved. At this time my dad and I were useless; human beings reduced to bundles of flesh and bones incapable of constructing a sentence. On the way to the stadium we travelled in a fleet of cars and buses bedecked in claret and amber. Once inside the famous old ground I looked around in awe. I stood in a mesmerised trance until 2:55pm when 57,319 (think I had to look that up? Ha!) spectators erupted to form a wall of noise to greet the emergence of the players.

The game was a mixed bag of emotions for me. When the first goal went in I remember raising my arms in jubilation and looking around in satisfaction as Motherwell fans on the West Terrace exploded with joy. At half-time, my grandfather told me that if we held on for another ten minutes we would win. I feverishly counted the minutes and bang on the tenth minute, they equalised.

The silence around me was deafening. Fortunately the players had a better response than the fans. They scored twice. The silence was shattered, 3-1, we were going to win! A couple of minutes later Dundee United got one back, but no-one cared about that. To me, and 30,000 others, this was a futile, token gesture. What a mistake that was. Two minutes into injury time Darren Jackson equalised. I stared at the fans at the opposite end of the ground as they jumped around, in convulsions of delight. There were depressed murmurings around me before one lone voice shouted; "C'mon the 'Well!". That was the catalyst that inspired a huge roar from behind the goal. Thirty minutes would decide the cup but I knew we were going to win. And we did. At exactly 5:22pm half of Hampden felt a feeling of ecstasy never before experienced. The other half applauded their defeated heroes and turned to make their long journey East. I almost felt sorry for them, but I was too busy revelling in our success to think of anyone else.

I still remember the delight in the players' faces as they celebrated on the track before us. After the party at the ground we drove back to Fir Park to join in the party. Thousands were already there and we danced and sang while we waited for the return of our triumphant heroes. Shares in champagne companies must have doubled that night.

It has been seven long years since Motherwell won the cup. I remember it vividly, as if it was almost yesterday. I still dream of more success and at the start of every season I am bubbling with the eternal optimism that burns inside every provincial fan. Even in Motherwell's current dark spell I still look back with pride to the 18th of May because I can say; "When the 'Well went up, to lift the Scottish Cup, I was there."

Derek Wilson

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