Sunday, 25 December 2011

GROUND NUMBER 015 (NOT!) LEEDS AWAY BOXIN' DAY 1970

Ground Zero!
Date of first visit: Boxin' Day 1970!
Elland Road, Leeds (not!) (would have been groond number 15 if a'd actually seen the match!)

Leeds United 3
Newcastle United 0

(Old) Division 1
Attendance: 46,758 (includin' ME and a few others who were 'carted off' to hospital before the match!)


"WELCOME TO ST JAMES'----HOSPITAL!"

It's takin me 41 years to write this, az Elland Road iz a nightmare groond az far az a'm concorned, mainly due to the fact that aalthough aa was in the groond TWO HOURS before the kick off aall those years ago, aa never actually saw the match!---lerriz explain!

Mee memoreez a bit faded nuw through the passage of time, but a'v been reliably informed by an old mate Dylan, that the bus left Scarfell Gardens in Lobley Hill full to the brim with 'Lobleyhillbillies' and full to the brim with drink, even though most of us were underage on this ill fated Boxin' Day outin' to Yorkshire (me and Dylan were sixteen at the time----we're nearly SIXTY! now!)

The bus was an aad wreck and was aboot forty years old as we set off doon the old 'A1' towards Leeds. On arrival we parked up near 'The Tama Shanter' pub in the city centre and (literally!) fell off the busand into the bar!

The intention was to 'take' 'The Geldherd End' which was the notorious Leeds 'hard end' and after a few 'liquid refreshments' to 'get us in the mood' we heeded for the groond with otha Toon fans who we met off the train @ '12:30 bells' and by one 'o' clock aroond aboot 300 of us had took up wor places reet in the middle of 'The Geldherd'.

Not suprizingly there were ne Leeds fans there at this time and we sang the old 'Leazes End boot boy songs' to pass the time as there was still nearly two hours to kick off.

Then it aall 'kicked off'---NOT the match I may add, but the fightin', as within half an hour of us infiltratin' 'their end' the Leeds 'nutters' torned up and in a 'pincer movement' from both sides they suddenly charged at us causin' mayhem as they ootnumbered us by at least 'three to one' and we 'scattered doon the terraces'!

 People were gettin' 'a good bootin' just behind me and in the crush aa got mee left leg stuck behind a metal crash barrier, and then!----aall of a sudden mee leg bent roond the barrier and the barrier collapsed breakin' mee leg between me knee and mee ankle (it still makes me 'wince' today, thinkin' aboot it!)
Mee leg was numb and aa even tried to stand up on it, but it gave way and aa collapsed in agony on the terraces! Alang with a few otha Toon fans aa was 'carted off' on a stretcher to an ambulance which took me to ST JAMES' HOSPITAL in Leeds, of aall places! where a full length plaster cast was put on mee leg after aa was 'knocked oot' with anaesthetic!

aa missed the match of course, which we lost 3-0! and the next day mee faatha and uncle Norman came doon in his 'jam jar' to take me yem and this remains the ANLY groond that a'v actually been to and NOT seen the match!

I was an apprentice sign maker with 'Pearce Signs' on the Team Valley at the time and when the plaster finally came off after SIX MONTHS! (it was a very bad break!) aa went back to work but was 'paid off' because a'd missed so much trainin' and was telt by mee gaffer that oot of the three apprentices who had been taken on, I, unfortunatally was 'gettin the bullet' coz work was a bit slack!

The next game after mee leg break was against Ipswich at home in the FA Cup and mee dad managed to gerriz a ticket for the old 'West Stand' an' aa sat there in an aisle seat with mee full length plaster as aa watched us win 1-0.
For the rest of the season aa stood in the old 'Leazes End' on crutches and aa never missed a game! (how daft iz that!?)

It wasn't until 'the Hillsborough disaster' nineteen years later, when aall those Liverpool fans were seriously injured or crushed to death that aa realised when the crush barriers collapsed, that aa realised just how lucky aa actually was not to suffer the same fate!

The wreck of a bus, incedently, broke doon on the way back from Leeds and they had to get oot and give it a push as the driver tried to 'bumb start' it!---they JUST! made it back!---unlike me of course!

'Fink' (the mad-sad groundhopper!)

Footnote:
'Pearce Signs' who aa'd lost mee job with, made the new 'Newcastle United' sign for the main entrance of the rebuilt West Stand in 1988!
("If only!")   




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