(GROUND NUMBER 45)
Date of First Visit: 19th AUGUST 1978
THE DEN, NEW CROSS, LONDON
NEWCASTLE UNITED 1 (David Barton)
(OLD) DIVISION TWO
ATTENDANCE: 12,105 (2,000 Toon fans) (plus 3 daft c***s in the Millwaall end!)
"WHERE'S JACK THE RIPPER?"
|Somewhere doon 'Cold Blow Lane'!|
This was Newcastle's forst game back in the aad Second Division since 1965 after relegation from the top flight in May, and a more intimidatin' place tih gan for wor return tih 'the abyss' is hard to imagine!.
Both Millwaall and the Toon had hard core hooligans (Millwaall still dee of course!) and the reputation of both sets of fans was notorious tih say the least!. Aall the taalk at the time was aboot what would happen when the rival fans met. The Toon fans had aalready caused mayhem in the Berwick Rangers 'friendly'? the week before (a trial run perhaps?) and the Millwaall radgies notoriety spoke for itself.
The Newcastle fans were really 'up for it', as the Friday midneet train tih Kings Cross departed from the 'Central', and one fan full of drink, who was shootin' his mouth off, made it clear just what he was gannih dee tih 'The 'F' Troop' and 'Harry The Dog' in particular (One of the Millwaall gangs and their leader!) .
By the time wi'd reached 'The Smoke', he'd just aboot sobered up, after sleepin' aall the way doon, but had completely changed his tune by nuw, when the realisation of what he was lettin' himself in for, finally dawned on him, and he was shakin' like a leaf! as the train pulled into Kings Cross. (This was at five in the mornin'!)
By midday he'd completely lost his bottle!, and decided not tih gan tih the match after aall, and telt everybody that 'as it was a hot sunny day', he was gannin 'on the drink' instead!.
Aboot an hour later, a dozen more fans decided it was safer tih get a 'sun tan' in Piccadilly than a 'tannin' in New Cross, (where Millwaall play) and said that THEY were'nt gannin' tih the match either!.
Ah could'nt believe it!, ah mean, what's the f*****' point of gannin aal the way tih London and not gan tih the match!?. ("bloody 'yellow bellied 'turncoats'"!)
This left meesel, Geoff from Nottingham and another fan, (who's name ah can't remember) tih mek wih own way tih The Den!. Wih did'nt have a clue how tih get there, so wih flagged a 'black cab' doon and telt the driver where we were gannin.
As soon as wih mentioned the 'M' word, he was off like a shot!. After several more fruitless attempts at gettin' a taxi tih gan there, ah asked a cabbie the 'deadly question'!: "Why the hell will neebody tek us
He just looked at iz in amazement (as though he'd been asked tih gan tih Beirut!) and said in a thick Cockney accent, MILLWAWLL!?---yoo've gotta be jowkin' mayte!--- aa dawnt want ma f******mawtaah wrecked!"
(Translation: "MILLWALL!? ---you've got to be joking mate!, I don't want my f****** motor wrecked!")
Time was gettin' on, and there was nowt else for it but tih try and find wor way on the tube. Tih cut a lang story short, wih got completely lost!, and did'nt get tih New Cross Gate tube station 'til qwaata past three!, it was panic stations by nuw as wi'd aalready missed the kick off, so wih quickly asked the way tih the groond, and were pointed in the direction of some old railway bridges and a couple of 'Steptoe & Son' style scrapyards!.
The place looked a 'bit dodgy' tih say the least, as wih hurried alang the *labyrinth of 'easy tih get lost' Victorian cobbled streets, towards the roar of the crowd. (*aa divvint naa wot 'labyrinth' means---but it soonds good!)
The onimouslee named 'Cold Blow Lane', (which leads tih Millwaall's groond) even on a hot sunny day, is (definately) NOT! a place for the faint hearted!, and a feelin' of 'dread' suddenly came ower iz!, as aa could'nt help wonderin' if 'Jack The Ripper'! would suddenly jump oot from behind one of the railway arches brandishin' a meat cleaver!, or!---worse still!---wi'd be ambushed by a posse of 'F' Troop' radgies, and get brayed ower the heed with their infamous 'Millwaall bricks'. (a rolled up newspapers, knotted at the end tih form heavy clubs!)
But mee fears were unfounded, (for nuw at least!) and wih (finally) got tih The Den at 'half three bells', and ah asked the gadgie on the tornstile if this was the Newcastle end.
"Noocarsel?---Yeah mayte---straight in!", he said, so wih paid wor money and hurried in.
Wi'd aalready missed half an hour of the game, but at least nuw we were safe and soond in the Newcastle end.----ER!---WRANG!---The b*****d tornstile operator had sent wih into the f*****' MILLWAALL END instead!---and their fans were gannin mental!---hittin' the 'Dibbles' and tryin' tih tear the fence doon tih get at the Toon fans behind the far goal!.
Luckily for us, we were'nt wearin' any colours, so wih did a VERY! stupid thing, by tryin' tih get tih the 'Newcastle end' by waalkin' THROUGH! the Millwaall radgies, (not even the S.A.S. would be mad enough tih try this!)
Az 'Geoff from Nottingham' had more of a 'southern accent' than me and the otha lad, aa said tih him, that if anybody spoke tih us, HE! would dee the taalkin' and WE! would pretent tih be deef and dumb!
BUT!--- wih couldn't get past the fence as 'The Dibble',who had their truncheons drawn and snarlin' alsation dogs 'at the ready', had formed an impenetrable line to stop 'The 'F' Troop' radgies in their tracks and so wih decided that wih had nee choice but tih stay put in the Millwaall section of the groond.
We waalked tih the corner of the terraces tih try and keep oot the way, and as wih did the Toon scored, when David Barton met a Jim Pearson cross tih heed the baall past the Millwaall keeper!.
We were in two minds whether tih celebrate wor goal, but soon had second thoughts, when the Millwaall fans started gannin' 'off it' again, ---so!--- (wih sensibly!) kept wor mooths shut, as wih did'nt fancy bein' carried oot the groond in body bags!. (This was the forst time in mee life, that ah hadn't celebrated a Toon goal!)
Just after the goal the whistle went for half time, however wor lead did'nt last for lang, and 'The Lions' equalised seven minutes after the restart. A few minutes later Millwaall got their second and the Toon were deed and buried. (But thankfully, not us!)
There was more fightin' after the final whistle and a 'Dibblette' was hit by a brick thrown by a Millwaall fan, (a hoose brick, NOT! a Millwaall brick!) and as wih left the groond wih wisely decided tih keep a low profile on the journey back tih Central London as we were 'on our own' again as the Toon fans in 'the proper end' were locked in for a good hour after the game!. (ie: Act deef and dumb!---again!) (sign language at the ready!)
However!---wih got tih Piccadilly in 'one piece' and heeded for the pre-arranged meetin' point at 'Snows' (pub) where the 'yellow bellied turncoats' were drinkin'---And didn't we have a story tih tell THEM!----Wi'd been in the Millwaall end and (somehow!) got oot alive!
HOW MANY CAN HONESTLY SAY THAT!???
©Fink™ (the mad-sad gr☺undh☺pper!)