January 6, 2001 is a day that will live long in the memory of all Morecambe FC fans.
Ipswich Town, who finished fifth in the Premier League that season, came to Christie Park for a third round FA Cup tie. The ground was packed, the electric atmosphere made the hairs on the back of your neck stand on end, Morecambe gave it everything they had but in the end the Tractor Boys’ speed, guile and know-how were enough to give them a 3-0 win.
Two things stand out from that day 16 years ago. Firstly, the Ipswich players looked like giants. Centre-half Titus Bramble, pictured, (who Newcastle paid £6m for a year later) looked about nine feet tall and keeper Richard Wright (who signed for Arsenal that July) seemed like he could touch both posts with his fingertips while standing on his line.
Their line-up, which was a lot more impressive than it sounds today, included seasoned internationals such as Matt Holland and Hermann Hreidarsson, along with goal machine Marcus Stewart, who was the second highest scorer in the Premier League that season and was sold to Sunderland the following year for £3.25m.
The second thing that stands out is three hours before kick-off, daughter #1, aged 14 months, took her first steps to the absolute amazement of everybody in the room.
We even have the magic moment on video, you can hear actual gasps and the boss saying “Wow!” over and over again as she marched into the lounge with her arms outstretched for balance. All in all, a momentous day.
Back then she only knew one or two words, which is more than her and daughter #2 manage to say to us these days – unless they want something – but even then that’s not much now. She can drive and has her own money from a part-time job that pays more than my first wage packet in newspapers.
The point of this week’s column is that it only took 16 years from first steps in first shoes to picking up her sister in the car after her shift had finished at 9pm and driving to McDonald’s for some food and something to drink – in the dark, on their own.
Time marches on too fast and I don’t like it.