For the second time in the last year I have the pleasure of reviewing a book written by one of me mates. The last time it was Muza (Paul Gladwell) and on this occasion it is Phil “Teece” Thomson. Firstly, I’ve never known anyone to call him Phil, and also it’s Thomson, not Thompson.
Right, that is the formalities out of the way and by way of introduction, the actual title of the book is The Holy Trinity and Beyond (a collection of yarns and observations from an unbiased Evertonian) and there is a misnomer right from the off as, if Teece I anything he is a proper Toffee. Staunch and Home and Away, but unbiased is one point Imma take the 5th upon. Teece of course has already featured 3 pieces from the book on footyscene.com previously so regulars may be au fait with his work. The tome contains 8 essay type pieces (3 of which are Geordie focused and thus connected) which act as an anthology for his experiences and observations as a young and now middle aged Blue.
The Holy Trinity and Beyond begins with the first of Teece’ Toffee interactions with Newcastle United fans. I feel I must make two small admissions at this point, firstly as many know my own children have grown up there and I actually went to some tough grounds with the Geordies in the 80’s and those Lads are my mates to this day, however the Barcode thing gets on my tits as well, in addition, while I know Teece now (we go on the same bus and share an interest or two) I did not know him nor his mates during any of the tales involved despite being present at many.
The triumverate of North-East focused pieces are collectively titled “No Way The Lads” and the first instalment is “Geordie Bore”. The initial occasion he cites, the so termed Bad Friday (played on Good Friday 1976) game at St. James’ Park. I was not present though have been told by a mutual friend of both myself and Teece, Kenny McKenna as to the verocity of the reception committee both inside and outside the ground that day allied to my having a similar though slightly more personal experience whilst having to exit the escort at Manors Station and being chased all the way to the central bus station on my own in September 1984 as I was living up there at the time and met another mutual Mucka of myself and Teece Nipper Hayes when Andy Gray won it for us 2-3 in the rain. I also went the following year on New Year’ Day as mentioned in the book, so yeah I remember those days. I too recall their ground being like a 3rd division outfit and again Teece is correct in stating that it was the only part of St. James’ without a roof and what with it invariably pissin’ down up there then you can imagine that it may have become a problem now and again.
Spurs Away 1979 is perhaps the piece that I most empathise with within The Holy Trinity and Beyond, primarily as I was there as a 15 year old with Lads I only knew from the Match and it was kinna eventful as far as final nothing-on-them away games of the campaign go and the game would come to be termed “The Tottenham Jeweller’s Heist”. As Teece depicts it was a hot Saturday in the Capital and we hadn’t visited Spurs since they went down two seasons earlier and while I don’t remember mad numbers I do recall that there were some tasty Lads present. He is also correct about our complete lack of technological gadgets of any description and our collective status of being effectively incommunicado from the second you walked out the front door. Big up to Teece on the “Lenny Letdown’s” shout though as it was often cited by last minute swervers in such cases. I had also forgotten that the Jeweller’s was called Bravington’s though I had not forgotten the pandemonium nor the amount of scattered “Tom” nor indeed the Police- and it was at this point that my own and Teece’s afternoons diverged as while I would spend the remainder of the day in the Boozer upstairs in Euston, Me Boy Teece’s personal comedy of errors was just beginning.
I remember gazing at the Police line of arrestees that day from the other side of the road, I too was inexperienced and kinna scared-excited, but alas for Teece even this would prove the highpoint of his visit to the Capital as his next destination was not White Hart Lane but rather a local Plod Shop and 7-10 to a cell (I’ve done that before as well) and to sit out the game with none-too-pleased Bizzies as your only source of information, however and far be it from me to spoiler but his day was still to go downhill even from this seeming nadir, but you’ll have to read the book for the rest.
Luton Away 1983 is another episode of the Chronicles Of Teece Thomson though this one I wasn’t at I did attend there in the day and it was indeed a horrible nest of Thatcherism in and around the ground as a sitting Tory MP was their Chairman. It begins as he notes like any other away-day, similar to his Spurs story (though somewhat less officious) but soon meanders into a typical random odyssey as anybody attending games in similar fashion at the time would empathise with. See.. Teece is a driver and thus mechanically minded and I am most definitely not so whilst I do recall automobiles generally being of shite quality growing up and following the Toffees I never really started travelling regularly by car with the Lads until the mid-90’s, nor do I know to this day what a £1.25 condenser looks like (nor, aside from presumably condensing something, what it actually does tbh Lad) but these tales and others’ experiences along similar lines were indeed the staple of many Blues #OfAnAge and I can certainly relate to them on a generic level.
Another aspect I never really went through personally though was certainly aware of its existence so I guess I would be in Teece’s #TheUnder25s category, furthermore as I am the uny one (if Brother Mullin isn’t present) whom actually eats on the rear of El Autobus Loco (though I bring me own nosebag) I can’t even say I’m feelin Teece here either but I reiterate that I definitely relate to the characters he notes.
As for the remainder of the pieces, I have a cunning plan, Do you have a little present for me??? and the Geordie stories, footyscene.co readers are fortunate in having the at the click of a search button ergo rather than me review them I would suggest that you check for yourselves as me mate describes his experiences on trips to the Santiago Bernabeu and to Metallist Kharkiv.
The rear cover (illustrated) shows not only Teece’s (now sadly deceased) mate Bud in Rotterdam in what is a belter shot but given the context makes it all the more poignant, he also states that he entered the doors of The Old Lady as a kid whereupon he witnessed the majesty of The Holy Trinity and in particular a little ginger and well, simply fell in love, and which, from a personal perspective is basically where I myself came in and we both remain to this day allied to both yself and THT taking our nomes de plume from Harvey, Kendall and Ball.
I enjoyed The Holy Trinity and Beyond, perhaps cause Teece is me mate and I can totally relate to the Generation-X thing but I believe it ore due to the author’ eye at spotting stuff, noting it in hi long-arse memory and reciting it later. One again it is something I do meself. One small criticism, or nudge would be that he should have included his Son Jack, another proper Caramelo and an all-round nice Lad (I ain’t sayin about outside West Ham last week like..) That aside Teece is in St. Luke’s every matchday around 12 noon (for a 3pm kick off) and can even be seen like a 55 year old Kanye West (uny from the Sandbrook Estate) sans back-pack at away games with a small number of copies. Yous should give it a go as at £5 it is a perfect Toffee stocking filler (not as perfect as say, Rachael Stirling but nevertheless prescient for the presents … <<<#Damn)
The Holy Trinity and Beyond (A collection of yarns and observations from an unbiased Toffee) by Phil “Teece” Thomson, check it out. #ByThatIMeanBuyIt <<< #Obv <<< ..