A genuine hard man

A genuine hard man

Scanning the obituaries the other day (you know; we check the dates of birth to see whether our generation is starting to die off), I saw that Chris Finnegan had died. Who he? you ask. He was a British boxer who won the middleweight gold medal at the 1968 Mexico Olympics and, strange as it may seem, I occasionally drank a pint with him and his brother, Kevin, in the pubs on Uxbridge High Street. Like many a place at the end of the London underground, Uxbridge was once a sleepy village. I used to get the Met out there as a youngster and then, in my late teens, we would sometimes head out that way for parties. As a student, I’d get the bus up to Oxford from there and it still had that sleepy feel to it. One way or another, I spent quite a bit of time in the pubs on the High Street, and that’s where I met the Finnegan brothers.¬†At first, it was just a nodding acquaintance, but over time we got talking and, mainly, joking. They had a reputation as being hard men and you surely wouldn’t have wanted to get on the wrong side of them. My long hair did not go down a bundle with Chris but he liked nothing better than a drink and a joke. I like to think that, at the time, I was pretty good at both of those. The funny thing is, though, that I had completely forgotten about that passing acquaintance and, I am sure, if I hadn’t happened to see the obituary I would never have thought of Chris and the Finnegan brothers ever again.