SCHALKE 04 1 CITY 0
European Cup Winners Cup Semi-Final 1st Leg
1st April 1970
City Corrigan, Book, Pardoe, Doyle, Booth, Oakes, Jeffries, Bell, Lee, Young, Summerbee – named subs Dowd, Towers, Bowyer, Glennon, Mann
Arthur and his wife Sandra picked me up to take me to the airport in their Morris Minor Clubman. I got in the front and Val was in the back with Arthur. I glanced at Sandra and she shook her head, so I knew there was something wasn’t quite right.
I asked Arthur if he was okay and he said he was fine, but … just before we arrived at the airport Arthur pulled out a bottle of pills from his jacket, he shook two into his hand and then reached into the back of the car for a half bottle of whiskey which he used to wash the tablets down.
I asked Susan what the matter was and she said that Joe was absolutely petrified of flying. I told Arthur he couldn’t mix the pills with whiskey, but he’d already polished off half the bottle.
As we pulled up at the departure lounge he got out of the car and finished the rest of the bottle, his nerves were shot, and there was no stopping him.
… We met up with the lads and a few of them asked Arthur why he was white as a ghost and I explained what the problem was. I then went off to the toilet and while I was away, somebody went to the bar and came back with a double shot of brandy to calm him down.
…The flight was called and I saw Arthur at the bar with an empty tumbler in front of him.
…One of the lads said they’d bought him a double to give him dutch courage. “You can’t do that!” I yelled. “He’s on bloody tranquilisers and he’s already had half a bottle.” It was too late though, and I had to support him all the way to the plane because he was completely wrecked by this time.
We boarded the plane and I asked a stewardess if there were any seats at the back where Arthur could have a bit of peace and quiet and she said that there were.
Just before we were due to take off I heard this almighty racket coming from the back of the aircraft. Everyone turned around to see what it was and unfortunately it was Arthur violently banging his head against the fuselage. The valium and the alcohol had begun to react and he was in a terrible state, so much so that an ambulance was called to take him for treatment.
…Moments later the medics Came on board to take Arthur off.
We watched through the windows as Arthur lay on a stretcher, just to the side of the plane. Then as one of the ambulancemen leaned over to see if he was okay, Arthur rose up slightly and butted him.
The medic slumped next to him on the stretcher. It was a like a scene from Monty Python, totally surreal.
It was a complete one off as far as Arthur was concerned because he was neither a drinker nor a violent man…
An excerpt from Big Joe: The Joe Corrigan Story by Joe Corrigan & David Clayton