A remarkable Celtic Story – To Lisbon and back on a Fiver by Jerry Woods

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Jerry Woods, in 1967 a 23 year old Celtic supporter who made a remarkable road trip to Lisbon to see Celtic beat Inter Milan in the European Cup Final….

Saturday 20 May – To Be or Not to Be with God’s Help

I awoke early. I really didn’t sleep well contemplating the upcoming Lisbon trip. After further discussion with Helen, I decided to go ahead and see what transpired. Big problem – the car!

I arrived at the Sullivans’ house about 8.30 am to pick up Danny. At 9.00 am we were first in the queue at the Labour Exchange, Shorehead, Leven (the Dole or “Buroo”), now called the Job Centre. All that was required for a passport in 1967 was a recent photograph, birth certificate and payment (perhaps £2.50 or £3.00). Danny kindly paid. The passport was called a “British Visitors Passport”. It was valid for 1 year, had 3 pages and was made from paper.

After obtaining the passport at around 10.00 am, I drove to a garage in Buckhaven that had been recommended by the person who had repaired the damage to my car in April with the exception of the radiator. On arrival, I started chatting to the owner and explained the Lisbon trip, my radiator problem and that this was the only day to have the radiator repaired.

Danny kindly offered him a couple of pounds extra and he happily agreed to conduct the repairs immediately. In order to carry out the repair properly, the mechanic had to remove the radiator to deal with some of the brass fins that were damaged and causing the leak. He also fitted two new top and bottom radiator hoses. After the repair test, the mechanic stated that everything was in order, but he expressed his doubts regarding the car – in particular the age of the car and whether getting to Lisbon and back with 5 adults was actually possible. Danny paid and thanked the garage owner.

Please note – About this time in Glasgow, the Celtic Cavalcade was leaving Celtic Park.

To Lisbon and Back on a Fiver author Jerry Woods

1 pm. We drove to my Insurance Broker in Beatty Crescent, Kirkcaldy to obtain the Green card Insurance for European travel. I explained to the Broker that I was anxious to obtain the Insurance due to the impending Lisbon trip.

Unfortunately, the Broker advised me that he was unable to issue this type of cover note for European travel and it would take at least 10 days by return post from the Prudential Head Office in London to receive the Green card.

He noticed how disappointed we were with this news and he suggested the only and quickest way to obtain the Green card insurance was to visit the Prudential Head Office in person. The Office was in Holborn Bar, Central London and would not open until Monday morning.

The broker also explained that he had previously driven in Europe on a couple of occasions, and it was also necessary for me to obtain the AA International Driving Licence Permit. The quickest way to obtain this was to visit the AA Head Office at Leicester Square in London. I’d have therefore not only to visit the Prudential Head Office but also the AA Offices. Additionally he advised that for driving in France, the regulations required yellow light bulbs, and head light beam deflectors would be required to be fitted to the vehicle. I also required a GB plate.

The broker’s advice was to cancel the trip because of our shortage of time and because forward planning was necessary for this type of journey. Not being deterred, I asked him for a letter to give the Prudential staff and a small sketch with directions to their London office. He obliged, I thanked him for his valuable help and left Kirkcaldy en route for Methil.

 

I stopped at the Toll Bar Garage, Methilhill to see if they had the necessary yellow light bulbs for driving in France. By luck they had them and kindly fitted two new yellow headlight bulbs. Danny generously paid once again.

When dropping Danny off at his house, Martin Sullivan informed me that he’d met up with his two friends (whom I’d never met) and he told them the Lisbon trip might be back on and if it was, he’d give them all the details that evening. After a brief discussion with Danny to re-iterate the assurances given by him regarding the necessary funding of the trip, I made the decision to take the trip on.

I therefore informed Martin to advise his friends that I’d pick them up on Methilhaven Road, Buckhaven where one of his friends lived. I decided to collect them the next day, Sunday 21 May at 1 pm with clear instructions to be packed ready to leave.

Finally, I returned to Glenrothes in order to prepare for the journey and to ensure I had all the correct documents required for this trip, as without one vital piece of information, there would be no Lisbon!

I discussed the day’s events with Helen and we agreed that the trip was now possible. I arranged to take Helen and Pauline to Dunfermline Bus Station the next day (Sunday 21 May) to catch the 11.30 am bus to her parents’ house in Tullibody.

Jerry Woods

TO LISBON AND BACK ON A FIVER CONTINUES ON NEXT PAGE

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About Author

The Celtic Star founder and editor, who has edited numerous Celtic books over the past decade or so including several from Lisbon Lions, Willie Wallace, Tommy Gemmell and Jim Craig. Earliest Celtic memories include a win over East Fife at Celtic Park and the 4-1 League Cup loss to Partick Thistle as a 6 year old. Best game? Easy 4-2, 1979 when Ten Men Won the League. Email editor@thecelticstar.co.uk

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