A week before the Liverpool-Charlton match, I started to get nervous. The tickets hadn’t arrived by post, and I hadn’t a clue what to do. All I could think of was that somewhere out there was a postman who was looking forward to watching the game with his transsexual mistress. The bastard!
Anyway, I called the ticket office to explain my predicament, and she informed me that sometimes tickets would only reach the destination a few days before the scheduled match. I asked her what do I do if they don’t arrive? She told me not to worry, and that in the event of the tickets not arriving by matchday, then I should just haul my ass to Anfield and present my credit card at the ticket office and they’ll print out replacement tickets immediately.
My credit card.
When I replaced the phone back on the hook, my hands were so sweaty I could have flooded the whole of Nottinghamshire by waving my hands in the air.
I know what you’re thinking. “Hey, no problemo. Just borrow your friend’s card and present it at the ticket office like it’s yours!” Well, it’s not that easy. See, my friend happens to be Chinese and, as it so often happens, he posseses a Chinese name which, of course, is printed in bold, capital letters on the card.
Now, I’ve been mistaken for different races and even different species, but I’ve never been mistaken for a Chinese guy. Ever. So how on Earth am I going to convince someone that a credit card with a Chinese name printed on it was mine?
Well, first things first. I contacted the fellow Liverpool supporter who was going to buy the other ticket and informed him of the situation, and at the same time assuring him I’d be able to handle any problems that might crop up.
Then I checked with my friend, the possessor of the mystical and all-powerful credit card, and asked whether I could borrow the card in case the tickets don’t arrive by post. Amazingly enough, he agreed. Although I suspect it was probably because he wanted to see how I’d be able to get away with it.
On the eve of the match, I checked my mail box and found nothing except dust and brochures about European porn (I’ll blog about that some other time). So I placed another call to the ticket office and informed them of my situation. The person on the line (a male voice, this time) repeated pretty much what his female colleague had told me the last time I called them. I just need to present my credit card at the ticket office at Anfield on matchday (i.e. tomorrow), sign a piece of paper so that they can match it with the signature on the card, and they’ll print out the replacement tickets at no extra charge. “Great”, I told them, “I’ll see you guys there then! Cheers!”
I went over to my friend’s place and reminded him that he agreed to lend me the card. I also paid him for the tickets (£20.50 per ticket x 2 = £41) and promised him that I would not purchase anything with his precioussss. With the card in my hands (yet with nary a clue on how I’m going to present it as mine at Anfield) I called my fellow Liverpool supporter and told him that the tickets hadn’t arrived, but not to worry, because I had a plan.
I had no plan, of course, but given that I was likely to commit fraud here, what’s a small lie in the larger scheme of things, eh?
The next day rolled around quickly (too quickly) and I got ready to head down to the railway station to catch the morning train to Liverpool (Lime St Station, if I remember correctly). While waiting at the station for the train to arrive, I carefully analysed the credit card in my hands (which I now realise was a STUPID thing to do – NEVER expose your credit card in a public area!) and discovered that my friend’s signature seemed rather… err… copy-able. Ahem.
On the 3-hours-or-so train journey, I tried scribbling the signature several times on a piece of paper before giving up. It wasn’t as easy as I first thought.
The train pulled into the station sometime after 1 pm, and I alighted on to the platform and scanned the crowd for anybody looking like a Liverpool supporter (yes, I was looking for a Liverpool supporter IN Liverpool… in my defence I was a pretty stoopid person then…).
Fortunately, the good fellow himself (whom I shall refer to as DN for this point onwards) came up to me and introduced himself. We left the station and headed to a fish-and-chip shop nearby (I was very, very hungry – trying to forge a signature on a moving train is hard work!).
After a typical British meal (read that however you wish), DN and I considered our options. There really was no other choice but for us to go to the ticket office and present the credit card and hope like hell that they don’t figure out the name on the card should belong to a Chinese person.
Which also meant that there was something else I had to do. I had to get that signature down perfect.
And I had less than two hours for practice.