The coach pulls up and the driver kills the engine. Scott shakes himself awake, alert, ready for the day. He looks to Lee and Kev for a lead, they are taking their time. Lee folds his newspaper into a tight square, small enough to fit into his back pocket.
Scott tries to hide his excitement, but he cant help a little bounce of anticipation
“so, what happens next ?” he’s aiming for cool, even a little bored but supects he misses it by a mile.
Lee grins at him
“stand about, freeze our knackers off, find a boozer that will serve us, stand about a bit more”
“breakfast beer – nice one” – he hefts his army surplus rucksack over his shoulder
“come on then, we’re wasting valuable drinking time”
The coach is parked at the edge of a big recreation ground, close to a line of all weather football pitches, Scott knows that on anyother Saturday morning they woud be heaving with players, but today they are deserted.
The only signs of life are the line of police officers blocking the entrance at the park gates and the 20, maybe even 30 police vans parked up, filling the car park.
Once again Scott gets that feeling of power, he has caused this.
He has disrupted the rhythmn of Saturday morning for guys he’s never even met, for a second he wonders how they feel about that – was today a vital match? but then Kev shouts over to him
” Oi – dickhead, get yourself over here, – these guys know a good pub” and the thought is lost as he jogs over, pleased that they are still including him.
There are more police at the entrance to the car park, they look as if they have been standing there for some time, their arms are folded across their chests – they dont look intimidating, just fed up and cold.
Lee and Kev and these other blokes nod at the police but keep moving, purposefully , the other guys stride out & Scott has to trot to keep up.
They walk up the towards the town centre, its mad – they are on this big wide road and there’s no traffic – they can walk right in the middle of the road, so they do, 6 abreast, it reminds Scott of that film he watched with his dad, the one where the guy gets his ear cut off – thats the best bit of course – but there’s this bit at the start when Michael Madsen [Scott knows his name cos Scotts’ mum likes him] and the others are all walking in a line and it just looks really cool. Thats what Scott thinks they look like, him and Lee and Kev and the others – they look like they’re in a movie, gunslingers from some old cowboy film, coming in to clean up the town.
Scotts’ really glad now that he had his head shaved, he looks just like the others. Kev’s right, it makes them look like soldiers, makes them look hard.
The pub is heaving, Scott has never seen so many men in a pub at 10.30 in the morning, never seen so many people drinking at that time of the day.
Lee doesn’t ask what anyone wants, just goes to the bar and comes back with 6 pints of lager
“cheers ” he says ” needed this”
there is a silence while the men drink, Scott manages to take a good swallow, he’s never had a pint this early in the day, but its slipping down easily enough.
He looks around , the only people in the pub are EDL – he’s never been with so many brothers before, the England flag is everywhere, on banners and placards, painted onto faces, there’s even a couple of dogs with tiny t-shirts on. Scott wishes he’d ignored his mum and brought Tyson, Tyson would have liked it here and maybe Scott could have used him to talk to the girls on the bus, break the ice like.
The TV screen is huge and loud but its not showing football or snooker or rugby, it tuned to some local TV thing, lots of footage of the empty town centre, the police preparation, suddenly the room erupts with cheers and whistles – Tommy is being interviewed – everyone goes mental, you cant really hear anything he says. Its just good to see him up there, saying all the stuff that everyone in this room knows to be the truth.
Somehow one pint has become 2 maybe 3, Scott is feeling great, he’s never been much of a drinker before, but here today, with these guys it all seems to be falling into place for him. He feels almost a rush of love, but he knows enough to keep that to himself.
There’s a movement towards the exits, it’s time to go, time to show Leicester whats what.
Scott knocks back his pint, straightens his shoulders and takes a deep breath
“bring it on” say Kev and Scott nods – he’s ready.