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FA Carling Premiership, 4/12/99
Tall tales
By Pete Fincham

My real memories of Wimbledon came in the FA Cup replay away to them a few years back, and another altercation with my Metropolitan legal friends. Such was the perversity of this ejection it still remains one for the dinner party circuit even four years on.

I had come straight from work to get the coach down to Selhurst, and I think every man and his dog turned up for this game having had a few beers. Me, I was sober as a judge as coming straight from work and battling through London meant we got to the ground about ten minutes before kick off. We got into the ground and the atmosphere was all Watford, as there were about two thousand Hornets and only three thousand Wimbledon fans. Five thousand for a Premiership v Division 1 FA Cup clash - pathetic! Anyhow, we sang and sang and as half time approached, the Police just gave up trying to get people to sit down, instead making a few token arrests and not listening to anything anyone had to say.

One guy sitting quite near me was nicked, and his mate went over to have a go. He was going to get himself nicked as well, and I knew this guy Andy from my brief spell as a postgraduate postman. Andy was really winding the copper up. So I went and pulled him away and sat down to watch the game. The game was really poor. Typical Roeder era! Anyhow, half time arrived and I started to walk out to get a burger.

All of a sudden this copper just jumped on me and said "You're going out!".

Oh god, here we go. The last thing I needed was a night in the cells, not with work in the morning! I had only been at the job for a month or so, and it was my first real job since I graduated the summer before. Doesn't look good telling the boss you are late because you got nicked.

A couple of my mates started trying to find out what was going on, and apparently I was drunk! Yes, the only guy in the whole bloody place who had not had a drink was drunk! No breath test, just ejection. I stood outside waiting for one of the lads to go and get my coat; meanwhile, the copper just stood there watching me. He was inside and I was in the street. He told me to get over to the other side of the road, a suggestion which was not only impractical seeing as I was waiting for my coat but also a bit perplexing. It mattered not where I stood as it was all public property and I was entitled to stand where I wanted.

My coat duly arrived and a few of my mates started singing "One Peter Fincham" from inside the gates. As I was walking off, the copper came running out and demanded "Tell them to stop singing, go back and tell them to stop!". I just carried on walking away and this copper, who was clearly under the impression that I would assist him with every irrational whim that he had, just carried on yelling at everyone to stop singing and me to help him! On that note I did go and have a few drinks, and only briefly acknowledged the murmur from Selhurst when Wimbledon scored, eventually winning 1-0.

Thought: South London is simply a horrible place to be!