Malcolm Allen: My first international match



Friday, 3 Jun 2016, 07:00

Wales 4-1 England, 17 May, 1980, The Racecourse, Wrexham

My first international game as a supporter was Wales 4-1 England at the Racecourse in 1980.

We went over as a family from Deiniolen to Wrexham – Mum went to see the family as she came from the area and my Grandfather, my Father and I went to the game.

As we walked up to the ground in the middle of the huge crowds of people, I spotted a five-pound note on the floor and picked it up – it was a lot of money for me at the time as I only got £1.40 a week for doing my paper round!

I remember going into the Racecourse and I couldn’t believe how many people were in the crowd, filling the whole ground.

I was standing behind the goal on the Kop and when the first goal went in, I was pushed right to the front of the stand and got so stuck amongst the people that I couldn’t even see the players celebrating!

Maybe the safest place in the ground was on the pitch that day, but I still remember the emotion and excitement filling the stadium, the whole crowd singing together as one.

It was always my dream to play for Wales, but after watching that game on the Racecourse and feeling the passion for our country filling the ground, that’s the moment it turned into more than a dream. I had to play for Wales.

The dream came true six years later, in Saudi Arabia.

The atmosphere was totally different on that day – there weren’t many people in the stadium but that didn’t bother me at all.

There was a running track around the pitch and when we walked out from the dressing rooms from behind the goal, I tripped on the running track and fell straight on my face!

I nearly fell onto Mickey Thomas, who was walking in front of me, and Mickey turned around and nearly fell over laughing himself!
I must have been more nervous than I thought.

I didn’t think I was going to get my first cap in that game, but Mike England turned to me on the bench in the second half and said “go warm up.” The next thing I knew, that little boy’s dream on the Racecourse had come true.

Malcolm Allen is part of S4C’s commentary team at UEFA Euro 2016 where all of Wales’ matches will be shown live on S4C.