If I hear tht word “abide” I think of football, the one played wih the round ball. I took the photo from the TV. It was the UEFA Cup Final, the ending when Manchester United beat Chelsea 6:5 in 2008 and my favourite goalie of the day, Erwin van der Saar was playing for Manchester: one of the reasons I took a few photos.
So what does all this have to do with “Abide”. Once a year the British have a cup final and as most things British, it is anchored in tradition. If you are lucky the Queen will be there in person, or Prince Philip. to give the medals afterwards. There is usally some member of the Royals that has to sit through 90 minutes of a football match, even if they would prefer polo, but now and again they have to put up a brave face.
Before the British cup final begins they do the national anthem and all that, and everyone sings the hymn “Abide with me”. It seems over the past years, they now have a well known singer leading the crowds, but to my time it was just the spectators that sang along, accompanied by a brass band. It is custom. After this the referee blows the whistle and the game begins. That is all I really have to say about “abide”.
What I do remember is that in our little street of houses we were one of the first families to have a TV. Imagine, there were days when no-one had a TV. It was no big deal, everyhing in Black and white and a small screen. In May the FC Cup final would be transmitted live, during the afternoon. Mum and I would disappear to go shopping leaving dad together with 2 or 3 male neighbours watching the TV at our place. It became custom. In the East End of London visiting neighbours in their home was not really the done thing. “An Englishman’s home is his castle” and all that, and it remained your own kingdom but the english cup final it became an open house. At last the football supporters could actually watch the game on the TV and not only listen to it on the radio.
Neighbour’s husbands, who you rarely otherwise saw because we were all working class, would suddenly be seated around our small television and excitement would reign. I believe a glass or two of beer was also offered as refreshment. They abided with us until the match was finished.
I was then a kid, it must have been in the fifties. Dad was still watching the cup final at the age of 100 in his care home, such are the traditions continued throughout the years. I have a memory of our team, West Ham United, winning the cup in 1964. They did not often win it, so it was a memorable occasion. If only the digital camera had existed in those days.
I was a football fan and when dad said that on Sunday morning, the day after the winning match, the West Ham team would be driving through the streets of East London on a coach, showing the cup, and whether I wanted to go with him, I was there. We were off, me proudly wearing my West Ham United scarf, and joined the throngs of people and yes I saw the late Bobby Moore, the captain of the team, holding the cup as the coach passed by. Afterwards the winning team stood on the town hall balony and we were cheering and clapping. I was 18 years old at the time. Dad grew up in Stratford, still had some old friends there, and so we made our way to the local pub afterwards where he had a reunion with his mates that he had not seen for many years. It was a never to be forgotten day fo me and I can still see the triumpful team in that coach holding up the FA cup.
Daily Prompt: Abide with Me