If, at the turn of the final decade of the twentieth century, you were to find yourself in or around the Bradford area and in need of somebody to spin some tunes you could have done no better than hiring D.J. Ray Tate and his ‘Disco Sounds’. How do I know this? Because his advertisement in the programme for the match between Wrose Albion F.C. and Fairweather Gr. (whose attendances were always predictably awful due to them having.. wait for it.. fairweather fans *rimshot*) billed him as “Yorkshires Leading Mobile Discotheque” and “the Ultimate in Mobile Entertainment”. I’m not sure what the mobile discotheque turf war was like in Yorkshire back in those heady days of October 1990 but it was still a pretty ballsy move by Ray to position himself as disco king. Perhaps one of the reasons for his confidence was the “24 hour answering service” he had in operation. That’s quite the commitment to bad music! One can imagine a Batman style light in the shape of a glitter ball beaming brightly into a mournfully coloured sky above the Salts Mill at five in the morning as Ray pulls on his flares and grabs his Norma Jean twelve inches before jumping into his Funkmobile to race over and provide Ultimate Entertainment at a moments notice.
The cover of the programme for this District Cup clash features a cartoon of an unshaven, overweight hooligan looking type holding a ball and giving a thumbs up in front of an optimistically full and happy stand. Is this an honest impression of the type of player plying their trade at Wrose at the time? Beside him on the pitch sit a shield commemorating their previous season as 1st division champions and, more excitedly, the prestigious “Vera Cookson cup” (even after extensive research I am none the wiser as to who Vera Cookson was but did at least uncover this amazing photograph of former winners Grafton Garage that appears to show a young Phil Jupitus and a player who apparently preferred to sport of-it’s-time knitwear rather than the actual kit).
As is often the case with match literature this far down the football ladder (and by the time you reach clubs in the Wharfdale League Premier Division you have departed the ladder altogether and are now digging feverishly at the soil with your fingernails) the product is rather flimsy at a meagre 14 pages and eighty percent of that is taken up with advertisements. Luckily local advertising is one of our favourite things here at Classic Programmes and there are a couple of gems to satiate our appetite. Aside from Mr. Tate and his non stop disco madness there is a Fisheries that is rarely open, a print & design studio that boastfully promises to deliver “on time!” as if the minimum requirement for a business is a major selling point, and the unappealingly titled ‘Millionhairs Body Complex’ where “you don’t have to be a millionaire to come to millionhairs”. With all due respect to Shipley it’s hardly the Millionaires’ Mile so I doubt that really needed pointing out and also.. Millionhairs? Really? Is this a beauty studio designed specifically with Chewbacca in mind?
As for non commercial content we get the staple half-hearted sports and music quizes and the usual array of statistics nobody really cares about and yet with a closer inspection shows that from the first twenty seven games the ten teams in the league had managed an impressive 124 goals between them. That’s an average of about four and a half goals each match. Bizarre then to find K. Attenborough sitting atop the goal scorers table with a mere five strikes to his name. Only two other players had scored more than one goal! By my calculations it appears that one hundred and thirteen other players shared a solitary goal between them. Either that or the person tasked with recording statistics had a very tenuous grasp on the truth.
The highlight of the programme, however, is the ‘Pick of the Past’ section which features a match report from the esteemed Shipley Times & Express from 1978. The game in question is a cup tie between Wrose Albion and Junction and features a description of a 50 yard punt being headed home as “picture-book” (presumably the artist of that particular book was Sam Allardyce) and makes mention of a “cheeky ball” being chipped in for Albion’s fifth which raises the surreal philosophical question as to how a ball can possibly be cheeky?
Of more interest than all that, however, is the revelation that this game was the first match of the season for young Ray Tate. Yes, that’s right, the Tadcaster Travolta himself was involved in a game where he managed to concede a penalty and later be substituted after cutting his eye. Not the greatest of debuts then. Just as well the world of Disco awaited him.
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