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How I Became A Pirates Fan

By Landlubber
December 31 2011

Landlubber’s Story is the third in a number of stories sent in by Pirates Supporters and contributors to the board.......  In coming weeks look out for Part 2 from Landlubber, Pastitref’s story and hopefully others, maybe yours?

Landlubber’s Story

Part 1: How I became a Pirates fan.  

Chapter 1: A pre-pirates history:  

Back in the sixties (nineteen sixties, before you make any comments), I was a mere whipper-snapper of a lad still in possession of my teeth and hair (but now I do a more than fair impression of a certain Steve Tomlin!).

I lived in Woburn, Bedfordshire attending the Cedars Grammar School in Leighton Buzzard where, because I was a very big lad for my age (now I’m a very big bloke but age has nothing to do with it – that’s down to too many pints, pasties, pies and cakes!), I was selected by the sports teacher to play rugby!  

Oh, how I hated him for that – I dearly wanted to play football, knowing that my dad would be proud of me if I could follow in his footsteps (he once had trials for Oldham Athletic, so he knew how to kick the old Wendy ball – laces and all!).

Sadly, I had two left feet thus giving me no chance of playing footie, so it was off to learn rugby instead!

Owing to my size I was put at left prop but, because one of my two left feet worked pretty well, I was fairly good at kicking the old egg shaped pill (well, my memory tells me I was!) so I also often took the conversion and penalty kicks, scoring numerous points for our school junior team!

I think I may even have scored a few tries too! (You can’t prove I didn’t, so there – I really was that awesome!)  

However, I wasn’t going to play for much longer owing to an incident, in my second year, whereby the rugby teacher (can’t remember his name owing to psychological scarring) booted me up the jacksie for not training properly (I’d handed off a limp tackle against me which annoyed him (teacher) because the lad who’d tackled me lay there crying owing to his missed tackle and, also, from the imprint of my right fist hand still visible on his face).

The kick, to my backside, was quite painful causing me to react exactly like the lad who’d tried to tackle me - I fell to the ground crying my eyes out too! What a pair of cry-baby’s we were (with that qualification I should have played football after all!) and I was told to go away, so, thinking he meant this - I went home!  

Arriving home early my mum asked me why, so I told her, she then went off to find my dad (who was working, handily, just up the road) and he came home, fired up the Quattro, sorry that was Gene Hunt in ‘Life on Mars’ (a work of fiction, unlike most of my story), I meant his Austin A30 and off we went, back to school, so that he could find out what happened.

Austin A30 and off we went, back to school

On arrival, and finding Mr. Bullyboy rugby teacher, my dad asked “Did you kick my son?”“Yes” came the reply!

One punch later, from my dad, and teacher was doing an impression of that other lad and me – lying on the ground crying! (Poetic licence allows me to remember him crying – to help heal the scars of the aforementioned psychological scarring!)  

That was when I was twelve years old and I never played rugby at school again and it’s because of this that I never went on to play for England or my local team, Bedford! Just think; if it hadn’t been for that bully, there could be a David White stand at Twickenham instead of Bill Beaumont’s!

Still, I wasn’t bothered about that as I really wasn’t interested in rugby at that young age owing to still wanting to be a Wendy ball player!  

Chapter 2: 1974  

Six years later and a swarthy eighteen year old lad (me, if you’re wondering who) joined the Royal Navy. During basic training all the recruits played various sports to see if they had any natural talent so, I, once again, put on my rugby boots – and boy did they hurt my feet because they’d grown a couple of sizes since my school days (my feet, not the boots)!

Borrowing a better fitting pair (boots, not feet) I took to the field and this time played at number five – a different set of skills required now to my schooldays but, to my amazement, I couldn’t believe how much I enjoyed the game! Was the seed of liking rugby germinating in my brain?

Not just yet as I only played a couple of games before finishing basic training and moving out into the big bad world, never to play again owing to other interests (foreign travel, foreign ladies, foreign beer and, in 1976 golf)!

Chapter 3: 1976

Still no signs of any rugby liking seeds germinating but, because I didn’t like long walks, I took up golf!  

Chapter 4: 1985 – The seed germinates!

I was sent to work alongside the RAF at RAF Wyton, based near Huntingdon in Cambridgeshire, on 360 Canberra aircraft squadron where one of the pilots (in his day-job) was a certain Leicester and England player by the name of Rory Underwood and his notoriety got me interested in watching the game on TV.

I’d just turned 30 but felt too old and knackered (from too much of the foreign travel, foreign ladies and foreign beer experienced in chapter 2) to play any more – now one of my regrets really (the not playing bit - I’ve no regrets about the travel, women and beer!), but watching was very entertaining and I got to recognise the big name players.

The squadron, by luck, had its own social area including a private bar, named The Ginger Ferret, and there were regular social events, one of which was when Rory brought a few of the England squad to have a few drinks with us.

Those I remember turning up were his brother Tony, Will Carling a couple of others (whose names I can’t recall) plus a certain Rob Andrew! Chatting to him I found him to be a pretty nice bloke and, as a player, had a good reputation of a fairly reliable kick (to bring this to the present, for a moment, it seems strange to me how he’s the now the centre of rugby attention for all the wrong reasons).

Thinking back, if it hadn’t been for Mr. Bullyboy, back in my schooldays, I could have still been there (the ginger Ferret, not school!) but, instead, as an England player (whose name you can’t recall!).

However, I think it must have been then that the rugby fan seed was germinated but it was going to be a slow grower!  Chapter 5: 2003 – The seed grows! I was, and still am, working alongside the R.N. at RNAS Culdrose, now as a civilian (I left the R.N. in 1996) and in the early part of 2003 the germinated seed was still lying dormant as, since moving on from RAF Wyton in 1986, I had had no interest in rugby at all.

However, this was all to change during the then forthcoming world cup. In my job I worked alone in an isolated store which made me lucky enough to be able to get away with watching TV (in quieter times - honest) and I often left it switched on whilst I worked simply for background noise, if nothing more than to keep me sane from the isolation!

When the world cup came along a lot of the matches were shown ‘live’ during the daytime so I used to tune in to keep abreast of the scores, which I would later pass on the my R.N. counterparts. One of these navy lads asked if he could watch a match and, having said he could, he came to my store but brought a couple of mates with him.

The next day they came to watch another match, but this time there were several people – the word had obviously got out about my TV!

Eventually there were about a dozen people (skiving off) watching the games and my love of the game was starting to grow despite my lack of knowledge of a lot of, to me, new rules (in my schooldays lifting in the lineout was not heard of!).

Jan Rendal
Jan Rendal

One of those people watching was a man known by the name of Jan Rendall – you may have heard of him – and, seeing that I’d become quite keen on rugby (especially because England went on to win the cup!) he spoke about the then Penzance & Newlyn. “Who?” I asked, having never heard of them!

Being a decent man he took the time to tell me all about them and, in thanks for the teas and coffees I’d supplied during those cup games, he gave me a ticket for the next home game – Pirates v Bedford!  

This was the first ever game that I’d gone a the ground to watch and I sat in the main stand, by chance, alongside Mr. Robin Turner who, after explaining that this was my first game, made me feel very welcome – like Jan, what a decent man he was too(still is)!  

The teams ran out onto the pitch and, because they were my childhood local side, I thought “Come on you Blues!”

Thankfully that was the first and last time I’ve ever thought that because, during the game the Pirates played some good rugby and that turned me into a fan of the Pirates. Oh, by the way, that game finished 20 – 20.

The hook was definitely in now, the seed fully grown and I’ve been a Pirates fan ever since!  

NEXT - Part 2: My life as a Pirates fan.  

Now, that’s another story!

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How I Became A Pirates Fan
Unofficial Pirates (IP Logged)
31/12/2011 13:35
What do you think? You can have your say by posting below.
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Re: How I Became A Pirates Fan
Cowship Pirate (IP Logged)
31/12/2011 14:46
Mine was very simple--father took me down to the mennaye when I was 7 or 8---late 40's----been hooked ever since.

Re: How I Became A Pirates Fan
Caradon Pirate (IP Logged)
31/12/2011 16:11
Born in Sennen, mother's family from Penzance so when i became interested in rugby in my early 20's ( as i was an avid wendyball fan / player up till then) it was only natural i became a Pirates fan even though i lived in Bodmin then Liskeard.

Re: How I Became A Pirates Fan
Sawtry Pirate (IP Logged)
31/12/2011 17:01
Back in the mid 90`s, stayed in one of the B&B`s right opposite the Mennaye. Ever since then, and at the time a wendy ball follower, have followed the progress of the Pirates. Moreso in recent years, an avid follower. No interest in the round ball anymore. What a fantastic team and supporters we have!

Re: How I Became A Pirates Fan
old prop steve (IP Logged)
31/12/2011 20:08
When I was seven the dear old nuns at St.Josephs Infants School in Hayle thought I was getting rather too rough and 'he really ought to go to a boys school'.

Dad sent me to St.Erbyns where you could work out all your aggression on something called.... rugby.

I immediately thought it was the best thing that had ever been invented and nearly 60 years later I still do.

Going to follow the Pirates was then the most natural thing in the world. We didnt have a TV set and all we had at home was soppy ponies. Even then I was a bit too grumpy for the Pony Club.

My first heroes were Alvin Williams, Graham Paul and Geoff Vingoe. They seemed like Gods to me then and I know its daft but am still in awe of them even now.

Re: How I Became A Pirates Fan
ascloseasthis (IP Logged)
31/12/2011 20:21
My first game was in 1966 or 67. I remember Alvin Williams who seemed a colossus. Owen Barnes played at full back I think. I also seem to remember a Royal Marine band playing sometime during the day. Anyone else there?

Re: How I Became A Pirates Fan
*Stalwart (IP Logged)
31/12/2011 21:03
I was there, Rob! Can't remember which game, but remember the band.
I always associate Marching Band music with The Mennaye and The Pirates - it was always on the tannoy before the game - and sometimes an actual band would play, like that day.

Re: How I Became A Pirates Fan
ascloseasthis (IP Logged)
01/01/2012 17:52
I was 10, you must have been 23 Dave!!!!!!

Re: How I Became A Pirates Fan
Sennen Lad (IP Logged)
01/01/2012 18:06
For me it was easy, parents are from St. Just, even though I was born 'up country, and now live in West Sussex. But needless to say I fell head over heels in love with West Cornwall from a very early age, and met my future wife on the beach at Sennen Cove when I was young. On our first holiday together back in the early 90's we stayed in a B&B opposite the Mennaye, and the hotel where we stayed on our honeymoon was in Alexandra Road. We now take our son down every single year to enjoy the best part of the world for himself when we stay in Ludgvan,

Of course, Penzance & Newlyn RFC were always on our doorstep, so who better to support from those early days!!

Re: How I Became A Pirates Fan
KarlMarx (IP Logged)
02/01/2012 22:11
For those who didn't see my article in the most recent CPSC Newsletter, below is the story of how I became a Pirate. Suffice to say that I was a huge wendyball supporter (love is blind!) for many years, but supporting this wonderful club helped in no small part in eventually turning me away completely from the dark side......

A conversation with a fellow Pirates supporter or opposition fan at a game, that I have not spoken to before, is usually interjected with (once they have heard my distinct West London accent), ‘So how come you support the Pirates?’ Do you have family there?’, and my reply is normally a quite sheepish, ‘Erm, no’.
Having been born just around the corner from Rosslyn Park and brought up virtually in the shadow of Twickenham, it’s fair to assume that I should be supporting one of the many clubs in that area, but having first visited Cornwall ten years ago, subsequently falling in love with it’s beauty and culture (West Cornwall in particular), and coming back on a regular basis, I became interested in Penzance & Newlyn (as the first team was still known as at the time), by reading about the club in the local press. I wanted to get a chance to watch the Pirates, but they were never playing at home whenever I was down in the Duchy, and due to other sporting commitments at the time, I missed the club when they were playing up country closer to home. I even had a Pirates shirt that I proudly wore, but had never seen them play.....
Eventually my opportunity came when the Pirates had reached the EDF Trophy Final. Now I must admit a little embarrassment to this fact, as it makes me sound like a glory chaser, but anyone who knows my football supporting history (now a former life!), will understand that this is far from the truth. I didn’t know what to expect, but it was an amazing day, but most of all I came to see what friendly supporters the Pirates had and what a special club it was, and with a trip back down the Great Western Railway already planned for the following weekend, my first home game came against Birmingham & Solihull, and then came a trip the Saturday after to Coventry. By now, I had signed up to the forum (an essential tool for any exile to keep in touch with the goings on hundreds of miles away). I was well and truly hooked, and couldn’t wait for my first full season.
The most overwhelming thing for me, as being a non Cornishman with no links to the Duchy, is how welcome I have been made by all of the supporters I have met, and now have a good few that I proudly call my friends. Due to the cost of travel and accommodation, I may only make two or three home games a season, but I attend around 90% of away games, and my enthusiasm to making my next game never diminishes, as I look forward catching up with everyone again, and of course cheering on the Pirates, often joining in with the now famous (or is that infamous?) ‘Give us a P.........................’


I may have been born a Londoner, and it may have taken me thirty six years to discover my destiny, but one thing is certain - I was born to be a Pirate! (Sm109)

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