19th Nov, 2018

New York Sky Blues fan off to Wembley after being stuck in Japan in 1987

Les Reid 30th Mar, 2017

NEW York-based Sky Blues fan Linda Brookes has a special determination to make the trip to Wembley this time round – as she never quite got over being stuck in Japan for the 1987 Cup Final.

She is a long-time member of the Coventry City London Supporters Club (CCLSC), despite residing over the pond in the Big Apple with the American husband she converted into a Sky Blue.

She told the Coventry Observer: “For most older supporters, I know, this will be revisiting Wembley (albeit at a new stadium) to watch the club in another final.

“But for both of us it will be the first time, and for me it will help obliterate that awful memory of not being there in 1987, whatever the result is (except that I’m sure we’ll win!). I’m looking forward to it very much.”

Linda, a medical writer, got help from the Sky Blues International (SBI) arm of CCLSC to secure her Wembley tickets to help becalm her 30-year anguish.

She explained: “I’d accepted a job in Japan earlier in 1987. It never crossed my mind that the team would get to the FA Cup final.

“So I ended up in a hotel in Tokyo the day of the final. I couldn’t get home leave because I hadn’t been in Japan very long and my boss was American and didn’t understand my predicament.

“I listened to the match on the short-wave radio (this was pre-internet and even pre-satellite TV) and then watched the whole thing next day on a video recording sent express from Hong Kong, at the British Club in Tokyo.

“I watched it in the company of apparently the only other CCFC fan in Tokyo – a man named Arthur and his children, who were too young to appreciate it, unfortunately.

“I think that experience scarred my life – I never got over it! Even my parents put up a flag in their garden (mum being a Villa fan!) and joined in the street party in Leamington on Cup Final day – and I wasn’t there!

“Almost immediately after returning from Japan I met my American husband and moved to New York.

“My husband became a football fan and City supporter soon after we met.

“I have to admit that I still sometimes feel guilty that he didn’t marry a supporter of a big Premier club.

“We always follow the matches online in New York – very occasionally there’s a CCFC Cup match shown on TV – and as the matches usually take place in the mornings East Coast time, the result can have a profound effect on our whole day!”

Linda, who spent her first five years in Coundon, Coventry, before the family moved to Leamington, added: “We’re very lucky as there are loads of football (soccer!) supporters in New York, local as well as from overseas.

“We live in an apartment building in Manhattan where as well as Tottenham and Chelsea supporters, there are supporters of many other European clubs including Maltese nationals, so we always know exactly what (former Sky Blues goalscorer) Michael Mifsud is up to nowadays and there is a Bosnian man who was coached in his youth by (ex-Coventry City defender) Mo Konjić.

“We occasionally go to professional games – New York Red Bulls, but never NYC FC! – and the occasional European preseason tour match.

“In summer we watch baseball, the Mets – at Citi Field whenever we can. The Mets are a bit like CCFC; they’re not glamorous and they’re nearly always the underdogs, but sometimes they surprise everyone such as in the 2015 World Series. So we can relate!”

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