Date of First Visit: 22nd NOVEMBER 1969
HIGHFIELD ROAD, COVENTRY
COVENTRY CITY 1
NEWCASTLE UNITED 0
(OLD) DIVISION ONE
ATTENDANCE: 31,825 (2,000 Toon fans)
"MERRILY WE ROLL ALONG!"
This was at the time of the 'Jimmy Hill revolution' at Highfield Road and when Coventry was a 'boom town'.
City's average gates were aroond aboot the 35,000 mark, and their city centre groond was considered tih be one of the best in the land.
Whey!---it even had an electronic scoreboard!, (see above!) while most other clubs like Newcastle had tih mek de with a 'manual' scoreboard at the back of the Gallowgate End. (Which!---was operated by an aad gadgie, who put the half time scores up by hand!) Progress indeed for the 'Sky Blues!'.
Fower of wih travelled doon tih the Midlands for this game by the supporters club from Morden Street in the Haymarket, namely, 'Billy the Skin', <(the forst kid on the block to get a skinheed haircut!—braces-boots 'n' aall! ) 'Dylan' and 'Crazy Collie' (plus meesel of course!) and we had plenty of 'the broon stuff' to keep us gannin and smuggled it onto the bus. (in them days it was OK to tek drink onto busses, but WE were slightleee underage at the time (15!) so we had to 'sneak it on'!)
We were 'clammin' by the time wih got there, as we hadn't took any 'bait' to gan with the 'liquid lubrication', so wih went to a 'chippy' in the city centre for some 'Desperate Dan'.
As we were waalkin' doon a side street scranin wor 'scabby eyes' 'n' 'jockeys whips', wih saw aboot a hundred or so kiddas runnin' wor way in the distance.
Wih didn't think anything of it at forst, but the fact that we were wearin' Toon scarfs should iv rang the 'alarm bells'!.
The followin' conversation went sommik like this:
Billy: "Wonder where thih gannin---like?".
Collie: "Looks like thih heedin' this way!".
Dylan: "Thiv got Coventry scarfs on!".
Me: "F*****' HELL!---Thih after US!---LEG IT!---QUICK!".
And LEG IT!, wih did!.
Wih hoyed wor 'scabby eyes' at them (mine was meat and taatty!, and was freezin' caad anyway!) and scarpered doon the nearest back alley!. We were lucky!, and managed tih give them the slip, but it was a close caall and (thankfully!) we were still in one piece!
Still shakin', wih headed for the match and the 'safety'? of Highfield Road. Aall the Toon fans were gannin in the 'West End', which was the Coventry 'hard end' where aall their 'fruit 'n' nut cases' went!---SO!---that's where wih heeded!.
(We were gluttons for punishment in them days!)
The Coventry fans were in full voice as wih made for centre of the said 'West End' where they were congregated, and they were singin' their favorite song---which went sommik like!:
"Merrily we roll along, roll along, roll along,
merrily we roll along, up the Football League!"
"As we go we sing this song, sing this song, sing this song,
as we go we sing this song, sing this song for you!"
"Ci-ty!", (clap-clap-clap) "Ci-ty!", (clap-clap-clap) "Ci-ty!", etc.
The Toon fans on hearin' this, decided tih de their aan version, and substituted 'United' for 'City'. The Coventry fans were NOT! amused, and before lang a full scale battle was tekin place between the rival fans!. (there were ne segregation fences back in them days!)
At forst, the Toon 'radgies' were gettin' the upper hand, and charged at them with boots and fists flyin'!, and the Coventry fans 'legged it'. But!---they re-grouped and charged back at us!---and so it went on!.
In between aall this, ah was tryin' tih watch the game!, (Honest!) but with loads of coins 'clemmies' and 'half wollas' bein' hoyed aboot as well, this was'nt easy!.
The local 'Dibble' were havin' a field day, and quite a few Toon and City fans got 'collared', an' ended up in the cells for the neet!. (But not us!)
OH!---and the match itself!?---Well!---From warra could see?, (in between dodgin' the 'shrapnel'!)----
Match (and fight!) Report here!
The Toon came into this game following a very useful goalless draa away to Porto in the Inter Cities Fairs Cup (now The Europa League) and made a couple of changes from the European tie.
After the match it was back to the city centre for sommik to eat as we were clammin' again (we'd hoyed wor last meals at the Coventry fans--remember!) before heedin' back to the supporters club coach for the lang trip yem
"Merrily we roll along, roll along, roll along,
merrily we roll along, DOON! the Football League!"
Highfield Road was demolished in 2005 to be replaced by a crappy hoosin' estate but their 'savin' grace'? was to leave the pitch area alone and re-grass it so fans could relive their memories of bygone matches (and fights) in 'The West End'!
"Where's 'The West End' gone--like?"
Geordie Glossary of Terms and Phrases
(for the benefit of 'non Geordie' readers)
(as the words appear)
the broon stuff=beer
desperate dan=scran=food (glorious food!)
jockeys whips=chips (nicked from 'cockney rhymin' slang!')
(the)toon=Newcastle United FC
20 bottles of dog=20 bottles of Newcastle brown ale
©Fink™ (the mad-sad gr☺undh☺pper!)