THE ‘TRANNY MAN’ (or person in possession of a transistor radio)

Steve Mitchell’s latest addition to the ‘Got. Not Got’ blog…

A couple of weeks ago whilst I gazed out of the window in the ticket office at Oxford United I saw an image across the car park that immediately transported me back  in time, of going to the match when I was a wee nipper. It was how the late autumn sun reflected off the 2 foot aerial that gave it away as there not more than 20 feet away, stood Tranny Man.

vintage-transistor-radioEvery kop, enclosure, paddock and main stand at every ground had one, he was the source for finding out what was happening at grounds around the country as Sport on 2 on Radio 2 brought us second-half commentary from the game of the day and kept the nation up to date with scores from elsewhere.

Up to half-time, no-one was interested in Tranny Man, we could wait until half-time to catch the latest because we knew that the barely audible PA system would tell us what was happening whilst we queued for pie and Bovril or we’d look at the programme and match up the A-M of “today’s other matches” as they were slotted into place on the makeshift scoreboard (OK so the scoreboard paddock at Old Trafford contained an electronic version but most of the time the LED lights were knackered).

The second-half was a different story however, as the minutes ticked by there was only one place to be and that was in the vicinity of Tranny Man. He (very rarely she) revelled in the role of being Frank Bough or Dickie Davies as more and more questions were thrown at him. Here’s how a typical Saturday afternoon conversation would go:

Fan – How’s Wolves getting on mate?

TM – Losing 2-1 last I heard.

Fan – And the scousers?

TM – Which one?

Fan – Both.

TM – Well, Liverpool are winning at Derby, Dalglish has got ‘em both, Everton drawing 0-0 and Latchford has gone off injured.

Fan – Cheers mate

TM – 3-0 Arsenal now by the way.

Fan  – Ta

Contact had been made, once Tranny Man knew you were interested he wouldn’t leave you alone. You could hear the crackle from the radio pressed right up against his ear and although you pretended not to care you desperately wanted to know more.

As the match ended, you now had a choice; you could either wait until the PA announcer had got the scores in (although this would usually take about 15 minutes to sort out) or you could file out of the ground alongside Tranny Man who would now take the radio from his ear and hold it out in front of him so the classified check would echo around the streets of (insert city/town here). Wherever Tranny Man was going, you were going too. It was just not plausible to catch the bus home and find out the full-time scores from your old man when you got in or worse still, overhear a conversation from someone who’d seen the results by looking through the window of Dixons.

The introduction of smart phones has sounded the death knell for Tranny Man. Occasionally, as in my case, you still see the odd one inside or outside a football stadium but they’ve mainly been confined to an era when we didn’t have round the clock sports news and Match of the Day was still half decent.

‘The Lost World of Football’ is available now in branches of WH Smiths and Waterstones or can be ordered online here…  

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About thefoxfanzine

Editor of The FOX Fanzine - covering Leicester City for 23 years... it seems longer.
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2 Responses to THE ‘TRANNY MAN’ (or person in possession of a transistor radio)

  1. scherben says:

    Location: Old Trafford
    Date: 1980s (probably mid)

    “How’s Liverpool doing, mate?”
    “Drawing 1-1”
    “Yes” (United are winning 1-0 or something like that)
    Cue lare equaliser for the away team, and finding out Ian Rush had scored a 90th minute winner when you got on the bus)

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