I don’t know if I have the right attitude to money or if my attitude to money has always let me down or held me back, but I’ve never really cared about how much money I have, whether it’s a little or a lot, I’ve never really put any importance on it.
I actually remember the only time I put the lure of money over doing something I really liked. It was 1980 and I was 15, and only bothered to go to school when it was P.E. day, specifically football day. The school football team was crammed full of boys who came from affluent families and had a ‘I’m better than you’ attitude. Some of the boys in the team weren’t very good, (sorry lads) but they enjoyed playing for the school and I didn’t begrudge them because I didn’t really care. At 15 years old I was already playing Sunday league football for a local pub (The pub team bent the rules (Lied) so I could play) so I believed playing for the school was a step down. I was probably wrong about that, probably a little bit arrogant on my part, but I thought playing with and against grown men was far more difficult and important than playing with and against boys my own age.
One P.E. Afternoon, we were all getting changed into our football gear in a smelly wooden cabin at the side of the school playing fields when the P.E. teacher informed everyone that our P.E. lesson would actually be a practice match for the school team against 11 boys who wanted to try and give them a game. I jumped at the chance and quickly pulled one of the blue shirts over my head and ran onto the pitch laughing and joking with my best friend at school at the time, Anthony Canning. I won’t talk you through the game but I think the idea was to give the superior players in the school team some much needed shooting practice. It didn’t turn out that way. Our ramshackle, hastily glued together team soundly thrashed the school team by 7 goals to 3. I was like a kid in a sweet shop and scored 4, Anthony got the other 3.
At the final whistle, myself and Tony made a rugby style dive for the ball and played keepy uppy between us until the P.E. teacher came up to both of us and informed us we would be playing for the school the following week. One of the boys in the school team heard what the teacher told us and he was waiting for me when we were walking through a corridor in the main building. He (Johnathon O’Malley, told me there and then that the team didn’t want me to play and offered me £5 to not turn up for the team. I snatched his hand off and didn’t even ask him why the team didn’t want me, I was just interested in taking the money off him.
I wanted to buy a record that was in the charts at the time but didn’t have the money. It was a song called Reward by Teardrop Explodes. I think it cost me about 90p. My mum didn’t have much money because of dad’s alcohol problem so I gave her £3 and spent what I had left on the record and a few chocolate bars. Heaven.
That was the only time that I can recall ever putting any value on money.