How I met Alf 


 There's something about Saturday mornings in South West London, that remind
me of far off halcyon days, being about eight years of age, walking back up
past Chelsea Barracks with an empty ink stained newspaper sack over me
shoulder, to our local newsagents, to pick up me wages after doing my early
morning paper round.

Whilst the newsagent counted out me hard earned cash, I was eagerly eying
the counter for the latest bright gaudy copies of: The Hornet, Hotspur or
Victor. I can still smell the wet printing ink on that cheap off white
newsprint! The latest tales of Wilson, Alf Tupper, the tough of the track or
Bernard Briggs the goalie were all that I was interested in.

After returning some of the cash that, he, the newsagent had given me, as
payment for me comics. I would sit in the doorway of the shop next door and
read, only, the most captivating stories, right away, the rest I'd save for
later. No point in going home, too many distractions, me mum might want me
to run some errands for her or something!

A couple of seconds into the story you'd pick up where Alf Tupper had left
you, in suspense, last week, as he overcame all sorts of mishaps and
underhand deeds to win the day and the race right on the line or how Wilson,
in those weird looking black running suits, seemed to spook you into avidly
turning the pages to find out what he was up to.

Then there was Bernard Briggs, like Alf Tupper, a true bona-fide working
class hero, to kids like me, who came from nothing and went on to become a
great goalie, whilst still holding on to his values. Fame never ever changed
such hero's.

From comic idols like these, I honestly believe, hundreds of kids like me,
got true inspiration to try and become competitive, to get on and to give it
our best shot in football, running, swimming or whatever our chosen sport
was at that time.

Week in week out we spoke excitedly amongst our selves of the terrific
stories, did you read what Alf was up to and what a diabolical liberty, it
was, that the snooty local harriers wouldn't let him run for them for
whatever reason?

Yes. Early Saturday mornings in South West London, will forever remind me,
of how truly fortunate we were and what an exciting time it was, for us, as
kids growing up in those far off days of 1961.


kevin raymond