Noel Blake, a Jamaican born football player, at one time or another played for Aston Villa, Shrewsbury Town, Birmingham City, Portsmouth, Leeds United, Stoke City, Bradford City, Exeter City & Dundee.
How I met Noel Blake.
I met Noel Blake back in the late 1980s, but when I met him I didn't realise who he was. I have always been a lifelong Arsenal fan, most of my friends in Fareham where I used to live were staunch Portsmouth fans. One Saturday after a long hard drinking session the night before they all decided to go to see the Portsmouth game at Fratton Park. They dragged me along as they were going to have a drink before the game & carry on after the game when they were going to go on a pub crawl around Southsea.
Before the game, about eight of us were all standing in the pub next to Fratton Park which was called the Fratton Arms. At the time, part of it was used as an office for the football club. The downstairs area was split between a public bar & a private lounge bar. Before home games, Pompey fans would meet in the public bar for a drink to loosen up their vocal cords. If you stood at the bar & looked along it, you could see whoever was in the private lounge bar & my friend's had all seen a good looking blonde girl in the private bar they all fancied. I looked at her & told them I could get her to buy me a beer.
They all told me I had no chance & as we were all looking at her Noel Blake arrived in the private bar & began talking to her, although at this time I didn't know who he was. Whilst all my friends watched I waved to her & politely asked her if she'd like to buy me a drink. She smiled at me & whispered something to Noel Blake & pointed at me. All my friend's started laughing at me, telling me I had no chance as Blakey would sort me out. Whilst they were laughing at me, a door between the private bar & the lounge bar opened & Noel came through & asked me to come through to the private bar with him. Whilst my mates all looked at me amazed, I followed him through to the private bar.
Once in the private bar, Noel led me to the bar & the pretty blonde girl. He asked the girl if this was the man she meant & she said it was. He then turned round to me, shook me by the hand & bought me a pint & the girl a drink. I then turned to the girl & gave her a big hug & thanked her for winning me a bet.
I then explained to the girl, who was actually my sister Karen, that nobody who I was with knew who she was & that I had bet them all, I could get the pretty blonde to buy me a beer. She cracked up laughing & then introduced me to her friend who had come through to collect me, Alan this is Noel, Noel this is my brother Alan. We stood talking for a short while before Karen said she had to leave & departed. After finishing our drinks, Noel then bought us both another drink & we stood chatting about football, with me telling him I actually supported Arsenal but was supporting Portsmouth today & was with a group of friends behind the goal in the Fratton End. After chatting for a while he said he had to go & left me at the bar. I walked back through to the public bar to be greeted by my friends.
It was then that my friends told me who the big guy that had been buying me the beer was, it was Noel Blake, Portsmouth´s centre forward. I told them I didn't know who he was but explained the pretty blonde girl was a friend of Noel's & was in fact, my sister. They told me what a great player he was & I told them that he wouldn't be playing today as he had two beers with me in the short time I had been with him. After finishing our drinks we all left the pub & went to the ground just before kick-off.
As the game kicked off, I was amazed when my friends pointed out who was playing up front for Portsmouth. It was Noel Blake, who literally minutes before kick-off I had been stood in the Fratton Arms drinking beer with. I can't remember anything about the game other than he didn't score & all my mates cursing me for winning the bet.
I don't think many people will believe this story, but it did happen, I did meet him & he was drinking at the bar, minutes before kick-off.