Team Romford. As much a philosophy as it is a collection of people, a way of life for a group of people brought together through friendship, loyalty, nonsense and general bollocks.
If anything, the best guess at a focal point would be Steve, or Beardo as he’s affectionately known. The place, possibly would be Games Workshop in Romford. Now, we’re dating things here as he have to go back in time to a period when Romford still had metal nights such as Freak in Hollywoods where you could get a pint for a quid and come out of the pit bloodied but smiling.
As anyone from that period could tell you, the worlds of Games Workshop and Metal crossed over in a bizarre, incestuous fashion and so it came that the store full of geeks and nerds would become a meeting point for Metallers of various ages to nurse a hangover and talk about the previous nights drunken revelry over a game of toy soldiers and a brew…. At this point, the young Steven was working in the store, and into his life came an even younger Rich & Lamby (and Rich‘s younger brother Ugmo), two young whippersnappers who had been schoolmates since ‘95 – it was now about the year 2000 in our fuddled timeline.
Also a regular in the store at this time was Chris, who was later to go on and become a part time worker at the store, and frequent harasser or staff and regular customers alike, both verbally and physically. In about a year or so Rich & Lamby would find themselves blagging their way into clubs thus continuing the stores old tradition of mixing it up in the Metal world (something that had been going on even back in my mid teen years when GW was staffed by the legendary Ray Mallet, through the likes of such greats as Darren Mcaninch, Baz Stevens & Tommy the Nose).
Eventually, Rich would go on to also become a fully fledged member of staff at the store at around 2002, the point when the Team Romford ball really got rolling and Drunkenness, Sluttery, Metal, Pranks and “Antics” become ever more the norm. To the core of Steve, Chris, Rich & Lamby would join newer folk – the first being Grant Stacey, at the time filling the angry teen role but bringing a surreal but always entertaining sense of humour and always new words to fill out the Teams vocabulary. A year or so later would come myself, Marc “JC” Griggs, a transfer from GW Oxford St (where, it would turn out Rich had previously worked also).
Despite being 5 years older, and being the quieter of the two (relatively speaking), a sense of destiny was about my joining with Mr Dansie and so the infamous Team Ego was born, a two-man subset of Team Romford. At this time, Steve had left to work only part time so myself and Rich were the face of the store so to speak, with members of the team, now including Steves friend Dave Coughlin coming to the store and continuing the post hangover tradition, with Grant a frequent and welcome sight keeping things random and more often than not, loud, in the store.
Other people would come and go, hang around and join in on our ways, but the core had rapidly become established and ever more loyal and stubborn in following their own lead. Nights out in Hollywoods were still fairly commonplace until it stopped playing Metal, post work piss-ups in the Goose were frequent as well as the occasional trip to other pubs and Metal nights around Romford Town.
If not there, then there’d be nights round at Rich’s or Steve’s, drinking, playing Xbox, watching Family Guy, eating crap, listening to Metal and shooting the shit about who did what when and who had done what with which bird.
Also brought into the fold was “Don” George, the respected and highly liked elder statesmen in the golden years of his life. Regaling the Team with wild and explicit stories of his younger years, as well as bringing Rich and JC biscuits he became the hero of Team Ego, and icon for the Team as a whole.
Eventually, all good things had to end, and this golden era in GW finished when myself and Rich had had too much of the company and decided to go on to other jobs, taking with us our sarcasm, sexiness and sense of fun…. Davey would eventually move away, Chris is now a father & married, Grant the dedicated singer of awesome metal band GraVil, Rich completed a Graphic Design degree at University, followed by achieving Qualified Teacher Status which he puts to use teaching Art & Photography in an Aldershot secondary school, Steve & Lamby are working in London Town as Model Makers. Ugmo moved to Norwich to spend almost every weekend Wrestling and touching men, and finally, I’m working in SW London looking to eventually move out to London Bridge (being the furthest team member from Romford already),
Unfortunately, the Team is no longer constantly spending time together, a sad side effect of growing up I suppose, but the spirit and loyalty is still there, and when we do manage to get together for nights out or even nights in all the old ways and easy familiarity kick back in, all the jokes and regular insults come back and the sense of having the best friends anyone could wish for has clearly never left.
And it’s this, this very essence that is the definition of Team Romford, which means we’ll always be the same and never have it any other way. No matter how far we get from each other, no matter the circumstance or obligations we’ll always be the Team, willing to play Xbox, listen to Metal, get drunk and prank call each other like it wasn’t a day past 2002.
We may grow up, but we’ll never outgrow the Team