Home Fan Memories FANS’ MEMORIES: A best friend, a bed sheet and the story of Vern
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FANS’ MEMORIES: A best friend, a bed sheet and the story of Vern


By Rob Gowland

Swindon Town 3-0 Millwall – Division One (February 13, 1993)

On March 1, 2016 my good friend Dave Wheeler died suddenly and unexpectedly from a brain haemorrhage.

Dave had been many things to me – a school friend, a drinking partner, fellow Swindon town supporter, reliable source of Jungle & DnB knowledge and companion to England games, home and away. As well as being the only man I have ever trusted to have a look at my laptop when it needed to be fixed!

I was thinking over all the things we had done together and about how so many were to do with football, watching Swindon Town play, all over the country, and England home and away.

Would I write about the time I was sick on his mum’s sofa after a long coach journey back from a 1-0 victory away at Sunderland in early 1993? How about the superb 1-0 victory away at West Ham in 1992? (I carried a George Harris Panini sticker in my wallet for several years after that encounter.) Watching England beat Argentina in Geneva in 2006, the infamous Oxford away game in 2012, or the great days out we had in London despite repeated poor performances at the new Wembley?

I thought I’d tell you about a 3-0 victory at home to Millwall in 1993, and why the other week at Dave’s wake, I apologised to his Mum about an indecent involving some paint, a stolen bed sheet and her driveway.

On the face of it this was a pretty straightforward victory at home to lesser opposition, but if you watch the coverage you might notice the banner.

That’s because on a sunny February afternoon prior to the match, me, Dave and few other mates painted ‘HELLO VERN’ on a bed sheet, on his mum and dad’s driveway in Wootton Bassett.

Another mate’s dad had misheard someone’s name when calling their landline (this was well before mobile phones, remember) which led to all of us pretending to be called Vern when phoning him up.

When it was announced the Millwall game would be televised we decided to do the banner as a surprise.

We never considered that the paint might go straight through the bed sheet and onto the driveway as well.

RIP Dave Wheeler 1977 – 2016

Swindon: Digby, Kerslake, Bodin, Hoddle, Calderwood, Taylor, Summerbee, MacLaren, Mitchell, Ling, White

Subs not used: Close, Horlock

Millwall: Keller, Holsgrove (Allen 64), Dawes, May, Cooper, Stevens, Roberts, Moralee, Bogie (McLeary 64), Goodman, Barber

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