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Schoolmates Reunite After 51 Years At Football Match

Liverpool fans rediscover friendship in unexpected encounter

Two schoolmates who were seated together in class were reunited 51 years after losing touch when they ended up sitting next to each other at a football match.

James McCarthy and Colin McCabe, both 67, became best friends when they were made to sit beside each other on their first day of school.

The pair lost contact in 1972 when Colin moved from their hometown of Liverpool to London aged 16.

Amazingly, the pair ended up in seats next to each other as Liverpool took on LASK in the Europa League at Anfield on Thursday, November 30.

But they spent the first half oblivious of their connection until the penny dropped as they chatted during the break. 

“I came to my seat with a cup of coffee and this guy was sitting there, and he had a woolly hat on and glasses and I had the same,” said James.  

“We began to chit-chat, and I showed him my Twitter account. When he saw my surname he said, ‘Did you go to Cardinal Alan Grammar School?’

“I said yeah. And he said, ‘Jimmy? It’s me, Colin – Colin McCabe’.

“It was just like it was two days ago since we’ve last seen each other.

Colin McCabe (L) & James McCarthy (R) both 67, became best friends when they were made to sit beside each other on their first day of school. SWNS.

“There were a million things to catch up on. It still doesn’t seem real now. It was so touching and so nice to see him.”

The best buds spent six years together as Grammar school students before Colin left for work in London and James stayed on to complete his A-Levels.

Although Colin did send his pal a letter about his new life, they’d lost contact because he forgot to include a return address or phone number.

James said he’d often wondered what happened to his friend over the years but had mostly lost hope of ever tracking him down.

“Colin was the youngest kid in the year as he had an August birthday, and also the smallest. But he was a very, very good footballer,” he added.

“We both liked the same rock music, and Colin even went out with my sister. We got on really well. But Liverpool Football Club was the main thing in our lives.

“When he moved to London, he sent me a letter. But he didn’t put his bloody address, so I lost touch. But I’d often thought about him.

“We spent the whole of the second half talking away. The guys who you went to school with or university, those people know you inside out.

“We were talking about teachers that we knew and kids in our class, and all of a sudden, it was 90 minutes and time to go.”

Colin McCabe (L) & James McCarthy (R) both 67, became best friends when they were made to sit beside each other on their first day of school. SWNS.

Colin said he only knew roughly where his best bud from school lived and was unable to track him down on his return to Liverpool two years after leaving for London.

He said he’d seen James’s name underneath an article in a Liverpool FC fanzine 20 years ago, but when he rang up the publication, they didn’t have his details.

And by a quirk of fate, his usual season ticket is roughly 50 yards from James’s seat in the Sir Kenny Dalglish Stand, but he had to move due to UEFA regulations.

“I was pretty shocked, that’s not my normal seat, my season ticket is the other side of the half way line but half of our block gets evicted for European games,” Colin said.

“The fella next to me got talking to me, and he showed me something he’d seen on Twitter that day.

“I recognized the name because I actually follow him, but I knew him as Jimmy from school and I didn’t want to ask over Twitter if it’s him.

“We just picked up and started talking – well he started talking, just like the old days.

“The second half flew by, we just chatted about everything and anything. We swapped numbers, and we’ve been in touch about six times since then.”

The pair have now made plans to meet up next week where they hope to catch up on the five decades they’ve missed together.

“We swapped numbers and I rang his phone to make sure I hadn’t missed a digit – after waiting 51 years,” James added.


Produced in association with SWNS Talker

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