The Bobby Moore stuff (allegation of stealing jewellery) had all happened before we went out there. Read about it in the papers at home. That was all done-and-dusted by the time we got out there.
We were kept on the plane for one, maybe two hours when we arrived in Guadalajara. I think the police took Mrs. Moore from the aircraft to question her about the alleged theft by her husband (Bobby Moore) of some jewellery from the Hotel where the England Squad had been staying.
We were in low spirits when we arrived in Guadalajara… I was as close to Bobby Moore as anyone in the England party. We always roomed together. I still couldn’t believe what was happening to him. Now my shock was turning to anger. How dare they treat Mooro like that!
I didn’t take too much notice of it at the time. You know, why would he steal a watch or whatever. Anyway, I was confident it would all work out in the end.
We were given no explanation – all we knew was that Tina (Moore) had been taken off the plane and we were not happy-bunnies. Nobody told us what was going on. We certainly weren’t given champagne and bacon sandwiches. We were just told we’d have to wait until it was sorted out – whatever that meant. It was almost the only unsettling time we had. But, I do remember a big cheer went up when she (Tina Moore) came back onto the plane to collect her stuff.
We were each given a quarter bottle of tequila as a sort-of ‘welcome’. They wouldn’t do that now of course. More likely they’d take it off you! It was a bit chaotic at the airport. Luggage arrangements were a shambles. There was no carousel – just a pile of baggage off the plane. We sorted it out ourselves.
When we landed I was wearing a cotton shirt, and you could literally see the sweat popping out of every pore. And I thought to myself – Jesus, we must be behind the engine of the plane. But the farther we got away from the plane, the hotter it got.
We were put onto mini-buses or coaches to take us to our accommodation. All the fans were going to different places. But we were in the town itself though. We weren’t out in the ‘sticks’.
We were taken to our motel by coach. We never had to look around for transport.
We headed to our hotel. And right by the highway you look out and it’s all shanty towns. And then you look the other side – up the hill – and it’s all lovely houses and flats. They’d had the Olympic games a couple of years before, and those in the shanty towns were supposed to be moving into the new places after it had finished. And what happened? The affluent bought-up all the new houses. That was the first thing I noticed in Mexico. The poor by the motorway and the rich up there [on the hills]. They [developers] always make promises to ‘Tom, Dick & Harry…’ Same with Surrey Docks. It all goes to people who’ve got money. Unbelievable. Out in the suburb where we stayed, we never saw any poor out there.
The England team was staying at the Hilton. We had booked the whole of the fourteenth floor. There were a lot of England fans in the hotel and, of course, the Press. They (were) with us through the whole build-up period. We saw them every day and it was never a problem.
We met people we sort-of knew. Charlie Lowry, and a character called Cornelius Delay. He had this deep, booming voice. We must have stopped at the England hotel to drop-off some people because we could see the England players getting off another coach and going in. Anyway, some of the (players) wives had just flown out as well. So, Cornelius spots Geoff Hurst and as Hurst is getting off his coach, Cornelius calls out – in his deep, booming voice, “Geoffrey… Geoffrey… Your wife has landed. She is well-safe.” So Geoff Hurst, he looks round puzzled – like ‘Who the hell is that!?’
We stayed at a good motel on the outskirts of Guadalajara. Called Loma Bonita – Bonita means ‘well’ or ‘good’. Loma might be ‘home’. It was family run and I think the owner was a Mexican. This owner once gave a fellow fan – Brian Napier – a lift one day in Guadalajara. There was a bit of ‘road rage’ at a junction. The owner told Brian that he wasn’t worried. With that he opened the glove compartment to reveal a pistol. Apparently it was the norm.
Our place was on the outskirts of Guadalajara, in the suburbs. Just basic, you know. Nothing outstanding. Not 5-Star or anything. We shared rooms. You had a shower. But it was air-conditioned. That was the main thing.
A doctor who was an obstetrician owned the motel we were staying at. It was family-run I think. There was a swimming pool there and we were made very welcome and well looked after. There was also a television in the communal room. We didn’t have any in our own rooms.
Frank and I were led to believe we would be staying in a villa with local residents – Sort-of a guesthouse. But this proved to be completely wrong. We had been offered different things – accommodation-wise – and we had put that one down. Might have been a price thing. But when we got out there it was a completely different thing. We were dropped off at an apartment block in the town, which turned out to be a self-catering flat. There was something like three apartments together. Can’t remember who was in the others. They were England fans though. Anyway, I told the organisers ‘this isn’t the right place’. But they had the paper work that showed it was.
Then they told us ‘Right. Mini-bus’ll will pick you up on the day of the games at so-and-so time’. And that was it. They just left you. There was no food or anything. But luckily, apart from the food situation, everything was in working order in the flat.
We didn’t have TV’s in our rooms, though there might have been a communal one in the lounge area. I don’t really remember watching TV at all out there.
I think we might have had a telly in the apartment. It was metered. You had to put money in it.
The rooms were clean and big. I shared a room with Pat. There were large ‘carboys’ of drinking water outside the door of each room. There were no other fans apart from England fans. But some Brazilian press – photographers I think – were also staying there. There was a hypermarket within walking distance and it was open right through the night.
Food & Drink
… All our food was impounded at customs on arrival. We never saw our Angus steaks, the Mexicans had them! It’s true we had our own chef, but for a long time all he could cook us was fish fingers and chips. We got sick of it. I’ve never eaten a fish finger since!
We went to find the nearest food shop to stock up, and we found a supermarket nearby. We bought the food we recognised like bread, Cornflakes, eggs, milk, butter and cold drinks like Coca Cola. I’ve an idea we used US dollars for some things… Wouldn’t swear to it though. But I think the locals were keen for dollars.
There was a supermarket or hypermarket nearby to us but we didn’t get our daily ration of fruit or anything. I don’t think anybody really thought of doing that healthy stuff.
We probably ate out a few times but at places where you could understand what you were eating. I’m afraid my stomach is a bit finicky. I like English food. I’ve never been a great foreign food man. Some people will go away and they’ll eat anything. But I always thought that if it doesn’t look right to me, I’ll pass…
We bought a steak and chips in the first couple of days but then thought ‘hold-on… if I go on like this I’ll run out of money.’ After that, although we ate out all the time, we went for the cheap meals – bag of chips, you know, that kind of thing. We probably lived quite frugally. But it was probably true to say we had to watch the money, and food was a priority. Most people were wary of how much they had to spend. And we were, after all, there for the football! Now, I think perhaps it would be more ‘lets have a holiday with the football thrown in’.
There was a restaurant nearby – mostly American food as I remember it. And we soon learned how laid-back the Mexicans were – we never got anything in a hurry. If you went to breakfast it could be an hour-and-a-half to two-hour job. But if you weren’t in a hurry it didn’t really matter too much.
A popular place for us to eat was ‘Denny’s’, an American-owned chain. It was close to our motel. The Mexican system, I think, might have been based on an American system. For example when you built a hotel, you never built it by itself. You always built a cheap place close-by like a Burger King or whatever. It’s basically ‘room-only’ – they don’t do bed-and-breakfast because there’s always a cheap place around the corner. I think that was the same set-up. Denny’s was cheap for breakfast – waffles or something. Nothing high-class. Junk food really. Bit like McDonalds I suppose. It was quite basic and we’d probably have one big meal later. That would do us.
We were worried about stomach upsets, so we made sure we didn’t drink any of the water. So it was mainly Coca Cola. As far as food went, I think we lived off Corn Flakes and stuff like that – stuff that we knew. English sort-of food – at least for the first few days.
I certainly don’t remember coming back saying that I liked Mexican cooking or anything like that. Can’t remember even trying anything – you know, like burritos…
Acclimatizing & Relaxing…
I didn’t worry too much about acclimatisation. After all, we weren’t playing.
It was very hot and for the first couple of days – before England’s first match – we didn’t do much. Just got our bearings and drank plenty of fluids. Every time you came in you were sweating and stuff and it was always good to keep the fridge filled with Coca Cola.
Roy and me stuck to beer and cold drinks I think. But there was no excess as far as I can recall.
The very first night I woke up to find I had been bitten about 15 times by mosquitoes. Thankfully they weren’t malaria-carrying mosquitoes. I remember we bough sun lotion when we were there. We also picked-up big straw hats to keep the sun off.
It was very humid and I bought a Stetson-type hat – a straw one. I’m fair-skinned and it was one of the things we were advised to do.
Within a day or two somebody on the trip went down with a sunburnt chest. He needed an injection, which didn’t come cheap. I was pretty naïve. I never worried about sun tan lotion and all that.
I didn’t really go into Guadalajara. I stayed around the motel and the swimming pool and relaxed. I maybe went into the city once or twice but I was quite happy to sit around the swimming pool.
Guadalajara itself wasn’t a fashionable place like Mexico City or Acapulco. It was just a football centre for the World Cup. We didn’t really explore it much. One reason was cash, which had to last for a month.
Once we got our bearings it was like any holiday you go on. If you know where you are, you’re alright. There wasn’t much to see really. A few statues but we didn’t really know what the history was. One thing that really stood out though was the begging. Kids, grown-ups and what-have-you sitting on the side of the street… We stood out a mile (as tourists). Always trying to flog you beads and stuff. Mind you it’s probably just the same in a lot of places now.
Tourists rode horses around the streets. It was the first time I’d ever been on a horse and it frightened the life out of me. When you see it on TV, it looks like nothing to sit on a horse. But once you’re up there looking down… well… different thing all together. The horses were so docile though. You were better off just sitting still rather than trying to guide them. They were extremely safe. When we hired them we asked “how much?” and then they said “10 pesos and hour” or something like that. But they knew it was going to take more than an hour. We didn’t know that though, did we. So it was more than an hour. Roy fell off his. Never even been on a pony before… Fell on the pavement. He was getting off it and left one foot in the stirrup. He was hobbling around for a day-or-two afterwards. It was all good-natured though.
We did do a couple of excursions though. It’s amazing how small the world is. On one of the excursions we went to a place we called ‘Klakki-Pakki’ (Tlaquepaque), and saw a chap working with silver. A few months later I picked up my copy of National Geographic magazine and in it was an actual picture of this fellow.
Roy and me didn’t know anybody else who was going but we generally stuck with other England fans, probably because most of the Mexicans couldn’t speak English.
We didn’t really mix with locals. Kept pretty much to ourselves.
We didn’t really have that much contact with the other England fans. We didn’t all go around together and all that. Frank and me weren’t great drinkers so we didn’t really end up in bars. We probably had a drink now-and-again but half the time you didn’t know what the drinks were and we couldn’t talk the lingo sort-of-thing. Coca Cola was a universal thing, you know. There were adverts for it everywhere.
Although we didn’t know anyone else who went, we got on very well with everyone in our party. A lot of them were London people. There were two ladies who had won a trip to Mexico in a newspaper competition. They enjoyed it. They liked football by the time they came back! It was a great atmosphere among us – it really was. We sort-of formed a family – what with us all staying at the same motel. We got into a routine. All our new gang were there. There was probably about thirty of us who used to sit around the pool every night having a few drinks.
At one point Charlie Cooke (Chelsea & Scotland) came in with an American friend of his. The American fellow was brash like they usually are, although – I want to make it quite clear – I like Americans. Anyway, he says “Is it alright if we stop and have a drink with you”. Of course, Charlie was instantly recognised and one of the Londoners – one of the wags said, “Provided Charlie gets the first round in!” So he did. He bought thirty-odd drinks. They were regulars after that! Charlie was a big Alf Ramsey fan. I think he was out there just for the World Cup. I’m not sure if he was working for anybody. He was a good fella. But because he was Scottish we nailed him from the start.