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Booze, Brawls, Sex and Scandal - the Autobiography of the Wild Man of Rugby League
By Sean Long, Nick Appleyard
John Blake Publishing LtdCopyright © 2010 Sean Long and Nick Appleyard
All rights reserved.
I've been on a few jolly boys' outings with the St Helens lads over the years and there's not enough space in one book to tell you about them all. But there are two that really stand out and, you'll be pleased to learn, they're both particularly embarrassing for yours truly.
The one I still get shit for happened in July 2005. We'd just hammered Wigan 40-18 on the Friday and we were having a few drinks to celebrate. It was really sunny and warm and the forecast was the same for the weekend so, over a few pints, we decided we'd go for a bike ride on the Saturday. Mark 'Edmo' Edmondson lived in Lancaster and said: 'Come up to mine, there's loads of scenic country roads and nice pubs where we can have a couple of pints along the way.' A good, wholesome way to spend the weekend, bonding with your team-mates while getting some fresh air and exercise. Yeah, right, as if it was ever going to turn out like that!
There were five of us: me, Edmo, Jon 'Wilko' Wilkin, Darren 'Alby' Albert and Ady Gardner, and we all had bikes provided by Edmo's uncle, who was mad into his cycling. We got up there on the Saturday lunchtime and Edmo got the BBQ going in his garden. We had a few beers (not too many, just about six bottles each) and ate the odd burger and chicken leg before setting off on the bikes.
After a couple of miles in the sweltering sun, we stopped off at the Station pub in a village called Caton for a drink to cool down. We each had a pint and then I bought another round for the road. We were all a bit merry but it was relatively sensible until Wilko disappeared to an off licence round the corner and came back with a bottle of Jack Daniels! But no one was complaining and we all passed it round, taking a swig or two each between sups of lager. Once that bottle was empty, Wilko went and bought another one and we drank that bugger, too. It was about 3 o'clock and we'd each had half a dozen bottles of lager, two pints and about five treble JDs. We were all pissed but we weren't going to let that get in the way of our wholesome bike ride. And so we got back on the bikes and continued our tour of the country roads around Lancaster, swerving from side to side like four-year-olds on their first go without stabilisers. We cycled – or, rather, wobbled – back in the direction of Edmo's house, but took a different route in order to take in the lovely countryside. A scene that would have been an awful lot lovelier had it not been blighted by us dickheads.
We cycled for a mile or so, cheating death with every car that came by, until we came to a bridge over the River Lune (what an appropriate name!). There was a hill up ahead and Edmo said there was a pub at the top where we could have another rest and a pint (like we needed more booze). By now, the alcohol and blazing sun had really started to take their toll and it took all my concentration to stay on two wheels. But as we crossed the bridge, I noticed Wilko get off his bike, yell 'fuck off' at it and throw the bastard in the river! He'd seen the hill coming up and decided he couldn't be arsed any more. Next minute, Alby followed suit and threw his bike over the bridge, too. I was laughing so much I almost fell off my bike, but I kept my balance and followed Edmo up the hill, leaving those two nutters behind.
I was about halfway up the hill, sweating cobs and out of breath when I heard a 'BEEP! BEEP!' coming from behind me. Before I had a chance to look round, Wilko, grinning like a maniac, came alongside me in a bloody tractor! 'Do you want a lift, Longy?' he asked across the farmer who was driving. 'No, you're alright, I'll see you at the top,' I said, wondering if I was seeing things. He gave me a drunken smile, stuck his thumbs up, then pointed ahead to instruct his chauffeur where to take him.
When I got to the pub – the Greyhound in Halton – about 10 minutes later, Edmo, Ady and Wilko were already there. Alby – who'd walked up the hill after ditching his bike – arrived as I brought the second round of drinks out to the beer garden where we were sat with the three remaining bikes. Then some bright spark said it would be funny to push the bikes down a steep hill round the side of the pub to see which one went furthest. We watched them tumble down and I think Edmo's bike won, but he wasn't there to enjoy his victory because he'd gone into the pub to use the toilet. Oddly enough, when he got back and saw what we'd done, he didn't seem too happy. In fact, he was fuming. He said: 'They are my uncle's bikes, my uncle's fucking bikes. Losing two's bad enough but all FIVE?' He was nearly in tears. But thankfully, he was drunk enough to listen to reason and accepted the argument that if we continued cycling in such pissed-up states, someone would end up dead.
We got taxis back to Edmo's house and all had showers, got changed and headed out into Lancaster city centre for a pub crawl. In the cab on the way there, I asked Edmo for his address in case we all got split up – a strong likelihood given the fact we were going to be mortally hammered by the end of the night. 'It's Number 4, Coronation Street,' he replied. I thought: 'Sweet, I'm not going to forget Coronation Street.'
So, we hit Lancaster at about 7 o'clock and went from pub to pub necking about eight pints to go with the shitload of booze we'd consumed in the afternoon. At around midnight, I was blotto and decided to leave the lads and go back to Edmo's house on my own to get my head down. I got a kebab, then jumped in a taxi. 'Coronation Street, please mate,' I told the driver. I'd remembered his address but if it hadn't been the title of a TV show I doubt I would have!
I sat in the passenger seat, talking gibberish to the driver, as you do, and after a few minutes we pulled into Edmo's terraced street. 'Which house is it?' asked the cabbie as he drove along. I didn't know but I was sure I'd recognise it when I saw it so I just got him to drop me off halfway down the road. I got out and thought: 'These all look the bloody same to me.' Then I remembered it was Number 4, so I walked to the end, counted two down on each side and worked out which one looked most familiar. I was in luck; the one on the left was Edmo's house. I staggered to the front door and realised I didn't have a bloody key. Jesus, I manage to find the house after all that booze and then I can't get in! I knocked on the door, just in case one of the lads had somehow arrived back before me but, predictably, there was no answer. So I sat on Edmo's doorstep, unwrapped my now-cold kebab (which I ate like a caveman), and waited. The rest of them were just as hammered as me so I didn't imagine they'd be far behind. But half an hour went by, then 45 minutes, and still no sign. Then the drunken Longy logic kicked in: 'Right, you're really tired and you need to lie down. Kick the door in and deal with it in the morning.' Sound thinking.
I tried shoulder-barging the door at first but it was doing nothing so I took a few steps back and booted it. It must have been a good kick because the bottom half of the door just caved in. It was hanging like a big cat flap so I crept through and crawled up the stairs on all fours. Once I was on the landing, I fell through the first door I came to and onto a bed. It was blissful and I was sound asleep in seconds.
At about half four, I woke up desperate for a pee and staggered to the loo. When I'd finished I went back into the bedroom and noticed I'd been asleep on the bottom of a bunk bed. 'I didn't know Edmo had kids?' I thought to myself. But then I didn't know everything about him. I went back out onto the landing and checked Edmo's bedroom and it was empty. Half past four in the morning and the lads were still going strong. Good stats!
Anyway, I took advantage of having the double bed to myself and got in. It was getting light and I lay there wondering what the boys were up to. I didn't think there was anywhere in Lancaster open that late so they must have gone to a party or maybe they'd been arrested. It would be funny if they'd all got into bother after I'd gone home early. That would make a refreshing change!
As I wondered what I'd missed out on, I looked around the room and began thinking something was up. I'd got ready in that room before we went out and things didn't look right. 'Those fucking curtains are different,' I thought. 'And I don't remember that flowery wallpaper ...' Then it hit me like a sledgehammer and I sat bolt upright in bed. 'I'M IN THE WRONG FUCKING HOUSE!'
I kicked off the covers and jumped out of bed. I was bollock-naked and there was a car alarm going off in the street, which only added to my state of confusion. My hands were on my head and I was thinking: 'Shit, shit, what do I do? What if the people come home and find me starkers in their house? They'll think I'm some kind of fucking pervert!' I didn't wait for my brain to answer my questions and sprinted downstairs and into the front room. It was definitely not Edmo's place. There were photos everywhere of people who had nothing to do with him, the TV was in a different place and there wasn't an empty lager bottle to be seen. Oh, and another thing – the fucking house alarm was going off! It wasn't a car alarm outside at all. I must have activated it when I broke in, but I was so drunk I didn't realise and slept through it.
My head was going: 'No, no, no!' I had to get out of the house before the cops arrived so I frantically looked round for something to wear and found an ironing board in the kitchen with a stack of clothes on it. I grabbed the first item of clothing I could find and said to myself: 'You're naked, you're in someone else's house. Just get out of here, quick.' I ran back through the house and to the door I'd smashed in four hours earlier. I pulled on the clothes I'd grabbed from the kitchen – a pair of black women's tights – and scurried back out of the gap I'd booted through.
I got to my feet outside the house, wearing nothing on my top half and with my meat and two veg on clear display through the tights. 'Should I go back in and get my own clothes?' I asked myself. But I didn't have time. It was getting lighter by the minute and I had to clear off. I ran down the street, looking like I'd just escaped from an asylum for deranged trannies. As I sprinted barefoot down Coronation Street, I heard voices. It was Alby and Wilko, stood on Edmo's lawn swigging bottles of lager. 'What the fuck are you doing in a pair of tights?' Wilko asked, as though the rest of the situation was perfectly normal. I explained what had happened and they were in stitches. Alby was almost sick at one point, he was laughing that much. 'That alarm has been going off all fucking night,' Wilko chuckled.
They gave me a beer and I took them down the street to show them what had happened. 'What am I going to do, lads?' I asked. Wilko was crouched down at the door, peering through the hole, laughing his head off. Alby was looking me up and down, shaking his head and texting people to share the funny news. While the lads were busy enjoying themselves, I crawled back through my homemade cat flap and ran upstairs to change into my clothes.
We went back to Edmo's and I said: 'Right, I'm phoning the police. I need to come clean before they come to me.' The cops had my fingerprints on file from an incident I'd been involved with when I was 18, so I was bang to rights. And even if they didn't catch up with me, I felt well guilty about trashing some stranger's front door and sleeping in their beds. I told the police what had happened, that I'd thought it was my mate's house and that I felt really bad. They said they'd send someone round.
While we waited for the police to arrive, one of the lads proudly announced that he'd thought of a new nickname for me: 'Goldilocks'. It went down a storm. A patrol car arrived within a few minutes and two coppers – both in their forties – came into Edmo's front room. 'Okay, what's the story then?' one of them asked. I told them exactly what happened, from the kebab and the taxi, to kicking the door in and falling asleep naked. At first I thought I was going to get done but with each step of the story, the coppers just laughed harder. They were both rugby fans and they knew who I was. It was obvious my story was true and I offered to pay for any damage.
The officers said not to worry about it and to just be thankful that the owners of the house were away. If I'd broken in, stripped naked, then hopped into bed with some woman it would be a different story altogether! They'd checked with the neighbours and discovered the people who owned the house were on holiday. The police also said they'd get the doorway boarded up and would let the residents know what had happened and that it was an accident. They were really good guys, those cops. As they left, I said: 'Tell them my address and phone number and as soon as they get back I'll sort it all out, I'll pay for everything.'
It was well after 5am by the time they'd gone and it was daylight outside so we decided we might as well stay up and drink beer. But after about 20 minutes, there was another knock on the door. 'Here we go,' I thought. 'They've come back from their holiday and it's going to kick off.' I looked out of the window and it was another Panda car outside. I went to the door and there were two more policemen stood there. 'Hiya Sean, sorry to bother you,' one of them said with a smile. 'We just wanted to check it was true.' Apparently, my drunken incident was buzz of every walkie-talkie in Lancaster and the coppers all thought it was hilarious.
We stayed at Edmo's for a few more hours, watching rugby DVDs and having a bit of banter, and then we all made our way home. When I got in, I told my wife Claire what had happened and she just shrugged her shoulders and said: 'I wonder if you'll ever return from a weekend away with the lads and just say you've had a normal time?'
A few days later, the people who lived in the house rang me and I apologised for trashing their front door. They said they'd had the shock of their lives when they got home and saw the boards and the police tape. But the police had left a contact number and explained what had gone on and the owners of the house actually thought it was really funny. They got all the damage priced up and it came to £1,500 – a lot of money for a door! I think they ended up getting a new front door and new windows to boot! But who was I to argue? I'd broken into their house and slept naked in their beds. It turned out they were an older couple and the bunk beds were for their grandkids. They became quite pally with Edmo at Number 4 and they still talk about it now. I think the night a drunken rugby player lost the plot in their house is their claim to fame!
A few years earlier, in 2000, I went to Blackpool with fellow Saints Scott Barrow and Paul 'Wello' Wellens and my good mate Tank, who I knew from school. The team were playing Castleford that Saturday but I was injured and I'd been given the weekend off. Wello was crocked, too, and Scott was just a nipper back then and hadn't been picked to play.
We got the train from Wigan on Saturday morning and were having our first pint by midday. We went round all the usual sticky-carpeted boozers like the Merrie England Bar and the Tower Lounge and spent the afternoon power drinking and chatting up girls. It was the middle of summer, the place was full of hen and stag parties, and it was buzzing. We had about a dozen pints each by teatime and then staggered back to our B&B to get changed out of our shorts and T-shirts.
We were back on the sauce by seven o'clock after a swanky meal of pie, chips and gravy at a greasy spoon café. We found a nice bar, full of girls, just off the promenade and we spent the night there. We got talking to a gang of girls from Chester who were out for their mate's birthday and I ended up chatting to a particularly fit one called Jasmine. She looked like Meg Ryan in When Harry Met Sally and she was gorgeous (though, I must say, not as nice as my future wife Claire!). It was all going brilliantly; she was laughing at my jokes, both of her brothers were rugby league fans (she texted one of them and he'd heard of me!) and I knew I was in there. I'd had about five pints since our teatime break but I wasn't that pissed. I was nursing my drink, conscious that I could slip back into drunkenness at any time, so when she said she was going to the bar, I passed and said I'd nip to the loo and see her back at the same spot.
I'd been dying for a pee for ages but didn't want to release my grip on the girl. I was taking a big enough risk letting her go to the bar when the place was full of blokes on heat. I went to use the toilet but the pub was heaving so I nipped outside to relieve myself in an alleyway. At least that way I could be sure of being back before her and she wouldn't be left standing on her own surrounded by the pack of wolves.
Excerpted from Longy by Sean Long, Nick Appleyard. Copyright © 2010 Sean Long and Nick Appleyard. Excerpted by permission of John Blake Publishing Ltd.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
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Table of Contents
FOREWORD BY JOHNNY VEGAS,
CHAPTER 1: UNSAINTLY WEEKENDS,
CHAPTER 2: POACHING, SKIVING AND SMOKING – AGED 5!,
CHAPTER 3: DISCOVERING RUGBY AND GIRLS,
CHAPTER 4: WIGAN BAD LAD,
CHAPTER 5: I'M A SAINT,
CHAPTER 6: LANCE TODD AND ME,
CHAPTER 7: IN BED WITH BASIL,
CHAPTER 8: IT'S WIDE TO WEST!,
CHAPTER 9: SOZZLED IN SPAIN,
CHAPTER 10: BOOZE, BABES AND MAD MIKE,
CHAPTER 11: CALMING DOWN AND FINDING 'THE ONE',
CHAPTER 12: THAT BRADFORD BET,
CHAPTER 13: A LEAGUE OF GENTLEMEN,
CHAPTER 14: INTERNATIONAL PLAYBOYS,
CHAPTER 15: MESSED UP DOWN UNDER,
CHAPTER 16: SEAN OF THE DEAD,
CHAPTER 17: A CROCK AND HULL STORY,