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the Norman Wisdom connection with Blackburn Rovers

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6 hours ago, redysteadygo said:

I have a book Map Addict by Mike Parker and in one chapter he describes his travel in the former Soviet bloc countries. The most feared border crossing his group expected to encounter was from Montenegro into what was called Europe's last Stalinist state, Albania. Their taxi beat a hasty retreat after dropping them off at the border checkpoint and they warily approached the border hut. A short surly looking guard emerged and gave them a beady looking over and their hearts sank a little. On taking their passports and seeing  United Kingdom and Great Britain and Northern Ireland on the cover he broke into a huge smile and exclaimed " ah Anglia, Meester Bean, Norman Wisdom, Tony Blair. The author commented "fancy coming from a country known only for these three clowns". He did a poor Wisdom impression which had the guard in fits of laughter who then called his mate who was even more amused. They went on their way and apparently had more laughs in Albania than in any other of the Balkan states.

I`ve got that and also went to Albania back in the Stalinist days and what Mike says is spot on. We got dropped off by a coach on the Yugoslav side and had to walk across `no mans land` to the Albanian checkpoint which was very unnerving at the time and felt like some sort of cold war prisoner exchange!

Lovely people and a beautiful  country though, we couldn`t have been made more welcome and even the secret police types who travelled everywhere with us were great fun. England had just played Albania at Wembley which I`d been to and their national football hero at the time, Suleiman Demollari, had a goal disallowed for offside and as soon as we said we didn`t agree with the decision they loved us for it!

Went to the Albanian Cup Final when we were there - Partisan Tirana v Dinamo Tirana. A bloody awful 0-0 but I do have photos of me there in a City shirt and also a corner flag that I somehow acquired!

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