April 12 2018: spirit in the sky

John Butterfield’s funeral all-but overflows Guisborough’s very large parish church. Some wear Guisborough Town scarves, others Dr Feelgood T-shirts.  Town PA man Chris Wood sports the GTFC blazer that his grandfather wore when the team reached the Vase final in 1980 – as a Northern Alliance side – and looks very smart in it.

Feelgood, football and family were among John’s passions. In the wrestling world he was Johnny Green, a sometimes vulnerable MC charged with sorting out the likes of Goliath – Goliath of Trimdon, not Goliath of Gath – and the orientally attired Tokyo Joe.

Tokyo Joe was from North Ormesby.

He’d been Gubsorough’s secretary and later an enthusiastic and highly effective press officer. Among the good things about the funeral – there are often good things about funerals – is the number of past and present players in attendance.

Who says that they only turn up for the little brown envelopes?

The eulogy’s delivered by the Rev Jacqeline Purvis, apparently known as Feelgood Jack, who John had met at a Dr Feelgood convention at Butlin’s (where else?) and with whom he remained close friends.

John, she says, had a very full life. He’d even been a member of the Magic Circle. “As they might say in football, I can only offer edited highlights.” He was 59, had three children with his wife Joanne, and was diagnosed with a brain tumour earlier this year.

The cortege leaves the church to Spirit in the Sky, which wasn’t Dr Feelgood at all, but a 1969 hit for Norman Greenbaum, an observant Jew who, happily, remains on terra firma.

His song The Eggplant That Ate Chicago appears to be rather less well remembered.

The wake’s in the Quoits Club, a huge place, several wrongly supposing that I’ll be headed straight for Marske United’s match thereafter. For one thing it’s started pouring down right on cue and for another I’ve an audience tonight with the President of the Supreme Court. That’s another story.

*A service to remember Sam Gordon, Tow Law’s mascot in the 1998 FA Vase final, will be held at Consett Rugby Club next Tuesday at 12 45 – not 1 45 as the blog the other day said.