Oxford Mail

From football messageboards – stories of our times.

  Aberdeen

“I found out my now-wife was at the game, as a Bankies fan, with her dad and sister (he obviously wanted sons). She excitedly burst out ‘I was at that game too!’ She thought I might say ‘how romantic’ or ‘funny old world’, but I just said ‘4-3: get it up you!’ ”

  Arsenal

“The coach toilet didn’t have a light and I was mid-slash when the driver decided to cut down a slip road on to a roundabout and back up on to the motorway. I was thrown all over the place, and came back out through the door backwards with a damp patch down one leg.”

  Aston Villa

“Got dropped off late by the coach, and when I asked a copper where the coaches would be after the game he simply turned his lapel over to show a West Ham badge and said “Do you think I am going to f*****g tell you?”

  Barnsley

“The station was pretty tense, with us trying to look like we’re just on our way home from work or something. Even when we got on the train and breathed a sigh of relief, a Brummie stuck his head in the window and shouted ‘fat bastard’ at my mate.”

“Millwall fans right next to us, fortunately behind railings. Wearing surgical masks. Stared at us all game – and hissed. Spooky.”

  Blackburn Rovers

“I remember being in the bogs behind the terrace at Huddersfield with a few other Rovers fans, trying to warm our hands around the solitary lightbulb.”

  Blackpool

“I got chucked in the back of a police van at Gigg Lane for what I can only think was being a ‘Pool fan and having a mullet.”

  Bolton Wanderers

I was in the stand at the Den. The guy next to me had to be over 80 years old. Millwall had Man City’s old centre forward Alf Wood who almost broke the net with a cracking goal. Me: ‘That was some goal’. Old boy: ‘What’s it got to do with you, you norvern cant?’

“I went on the League Liner to Bournemouth, it had a disco carriage at the back. Boiling hot when we got there and I remember walking through a park to the ground where we saw men playing a strange game with sticks. Later found out it was hockey.”

  Brentford

“Anyone used the loaf of bread tactic walking to or from an away ground? Carry a small loaf of bread with you all all times. If approached by some local no-gooders just say “What game? I’ve just been asked to pop out and get a loaf of bread, we’re visiting my Nan.”

“I went to Roots Hall in about 1978 with my friend. We were 14. This boy about 2 years older than us came over and started hassling us and tried to take my mate’s scarf. There was a really pathetic struggle and then he said ‘sorry’ and let go and walked off.”

  Brighton & Hove Albion

“We were at a petrol station and some Ipswich fans started singing ‘Going down’. Angered by this I – resplendent in my nun’s habits – stormed across the forecourt to issue a volley of abuse through the driver’s window. I often wonder what anyone watching made of it.”

  Bristol City

“The police at Millwall were brilliant but scary – ‘All Bristol supporters stay in the light, don’t stray from the path’ – it was like a cross between An American Werewolf In London and Jurassic Park.”

  Bristol Rovers

“Never really understood the point in beating up other fellow working class lads just because they follow a different football team. I’d fight to overthrow the monarchy or government or something, but not someone who is basically the same as me over nothing.”

  Burnley

“I asked a copper at Millwall what the safest way was back to my car, to which he replied ‘there isn’t one'”.

“I always remember walking up to the Longside and trying not to breathe in going past the bogs on the left hand side.”

“Remember playing at Wigan in winter, it had snowed and gone all slushy. We were freezing and it was shitty and my mate got charged £1.70 for a cheese burger. The lass simply chucked on a Kraft slice and it wasn’t melted or owt, 20p extra.”

  Burton Albion

“A youth asked if I wanted a tea and a pie. Naively I said yes, and he proceeded to tip the tea all over me, pushed the pie in my face and head butted me.”

  Cardiff City

“I recall sitting on the terraces at Springfield Park, surrounded by weeds and falling asleep as I’d had too much beer and the match was a dull 0-0.”

“We were marched around and around Eastville by the police before a new years fixture with Bristol Rovers in 1978, as the special was so early.”

   Carlisle United

“Very first league game l went to was Barnet away. Didn’t know where l was going, so I followed a bloke in a Barnet shirt-to the cash machine.”

  Celtic

“Standing at the pie stall and using 2 circular foil pie holders to make a ‘speccy bastard’ gesture at a fella in the Rangers end. He was (un)surprisingly raging at this.”

“We were behind the Mount Florida goal, which was not such a good idea as that end was split half and half with a fence down the middle and we were showered with bottles and cans by the Aberdeen fans. My dad had a tin leg which made it hard for him to dodge missiles.”

  Charlton Athletic

“Me and a mate sat next to two elderly gentleman, which saved us from a kicking when some Millwall entered our carriage. They made a comment that they would leave us alone as we were with our granddads.”

“The maniac hanging on to the emergency exit whilst yelling about his dislike for people from London was a bit of an experience, especially when he fell off, got back up and chased the bus down the road.”

“During the second half a copper was nattering to us. I mentioned that the natives seemed a tad hostile, he assured me that it was the 3000 outside without tickets that were the problem.”

  Chelsea

“Walking round the allotments in ’87, Watford jumping out trying to look scary and someone from the Chelsea lot – heavily outnumbered – just laughing and saying loudly ‘Is that it then?’ and the Watford looking at each other, shrugging and walking off dejected.”

  Chesterfield

“I went on the special train to Glasgow. It pulled into Carlisle station and stopped, and one bright spark jumped off and ran into the bar to get some cans, emerging with his arms full just as the train pulled out. He chased the train down the platform but missed it.”

  Coventry City

“I remember being at the Old Den and seeing Ronnie Farmer miss a penalty. I’m still convinced he did it on purpose to save our fans a battering.”

   Crewe Alexandra

“Tranmere, Friday night, walking back to the station on my own, followed by twelve year-olds on bikes going ‘Youse are crap, you are’ and trying to kick my arse, and having that thing where you’re a grown man and can’t hit kids but four of them might well take you down.”

   Crystal Palace

“Walking past a church in Stoke and their boys were hiding behind the gravestones. It was like being set upon by the dead. Even the congregation steamed in.”

“As we sat at the station we were bombarded by coins thrown by Watford fans on the other platform. My mate cottoned onto the fact they were throwing 10s and 50s at us, so we took it in turns to shout abuse and then duck as another shower of cash flew our way.”

   Darlington

“I threw a coke bottle at some York fans, which missed them and broke someone’s front window. I got arrested and gave a false name, but my parents’ telephone number. Their confusion turned into a lot of angry words and me not being allowed out to bathe in the noteriety.”

   Derby County

“I once had a sausage roll at Goodison that said ‘this product is at least 20% pork’ on the wrapper.”

  Doncaster Rovers

“Inside Vicarage Road we found ourselves being chased by various fans of other teams whose games had been called off, as well as Watford. I vaguely remember us forming an uneasy alliance with another bunch of fans (possibly Luton) to try and get out of there unscathed.”

  Dundee United

“The copper wifie was chatting to fans. Of course I said ‘What are you doing after the game?’ only to be told ‘Getting Tayside police to raid your buses on the way home.’ ”

  Everton

“I’ve worked as a steward at Man United on numerous occasions. The time I got crowd surfed by a load of Leeds fans lives long in the memory.”

  Exeter City

“Millwall 1980. We scored, I kept quiet, we won and I left the ground in an orderly fashion. Got onto the tube and made my way back to Finchley where I lived at the time. Left the train, left the station, checked behind me and then shouted; GOOOOAAAAAAAALL!”

  Fulham

“Fulham fans were never into violence. We had enough on our hands at just getting through 90 minutes without killing ourselves, let alone anybody else.”

  Grimsby Town

“On my last trip to Highfield Road they welcomed us with a low level firework display, free pint glasses and a selection of pool table accessories.”

  Halifax Town

“I like the idea of football hooligans having a reading circle. I think A Clockwork Orange described what was already there rather than causing a new phenomenon. If it had any influence they’d have probably been wearing mascara and saying ‘yarbles’ instead of ‘bollocks.'”

  Heart of Midlothian

“I heard a story from a referee that a certain linesman emptied out his kit for washing after doing a game at Cliftonhill, and a rat jumped out of the bag.”

“At a Blue Brazil-Stirling game, I was in the roofless and pitch-dark bog trying not to pish on any unseen fellow pishers when a low flying plane went over with lights flashing. A voice from the dark shouts “Don’t worry lads, its just a Red Cross parachute drop”.

“I remember as a boy being enthralled that Clydebank had an all seater stadium. It sounded impressive to me at the time. Then we got there and the seats were like wooden planks laid down on a muddy hill.”

“Mid 70’s at Stirling Albion, time of Monty Python and the Holy Grail, about 150 Hearts fans riding down the road on invisible horses singing Brave, Brave Sir Robin. At one house the guy came out waving a shotgun because some of them were pissing in his garden.”

  Hibernian

“Once, many years ago, my mate Eddie Whoriskey and I left our scarves on the bus and went to the main stand at Ibrox ‘where all the old men go’ to avoid trouble. Aye, auld men with razor scars and bits of ear missing. Never felt hatred in the air like it.”

  Huddersfield Town

“Somerton Park was never anything but a hell-hole. They only had 3,000 or so fans but they were nearly all nutters.”

  Leeds United

“They put that LS9 flag behind the stage at the Duchess for the first Farm gig in Leeds. First thing Hooton did when he came on was tear it off and throw it into the crowd. Electric atmosphere that night. The management turned off the power and they just kept on playing,”

“There was that time at Plymouth when we all went back to Torquay, and by the time the police had shut down all the pubs a motley crew had set themselves adrift on someone else’s yacht and they had to get rescued by the lifeboat people.”

“Left the pub in the middle of Wolverhampton carnival, so thought it a good idea to jump on the back of a float giving it a loud rendition of ‘We are Leeds’. Locals took great offence and caught us in BHS where we took a bit of a beating.”

  Leicester City

“Peterborough away a few years ago, I lost my shoe down a manhole. Looked a right twat.”

    Liverpool

“Elland Road in the Shankly days. Picking me way back to the station, no colours, got stoned by Leeds fans, got out of that then immediately afterwards stoned by Liverpool fans. It was like a scene out of the bible. Or a Monty Python sketch.”

“The Boys’ Pen at Anfield. Got robbed of everything the first time I was there. Those fellas had beards, that’s how old they were.”

  Manchester City

“Typical West Midlands police stopped the fun by deflating Frankenstein.”

“The old Kippax bogs had a shallow end and a deep end.”

“I ended up in the players lounge after the game and Keith Curle kept mithering me for cigs. I bumped into him at Wilmslow station about 15 years later and asked him if he had the packet of B & H he owed me. Just gave me a strange look and rapidly did one.”

“We were so excited we got to the game at about 1pm and hung around eating chips. That was until a mob of about a hundred Scousers turned up and proceeded to batter anyone in sight. Never ran so fast in my life but remember not dropping any chips.”

“As a kid, falling backwards from the white wall onto the running track and landing on my head after Bobby McDonald made it 3-1 in the ‘81 FA Cup quarter-final replay against Everton. A big fat rozzer of the old school picked me up, gave me a shake and shouted ‘We’re going to Wembley this year, lad’ before casually plonking me back on the wall like a fisherman chucking one back in because it was too small.”

“A mad Scottish fan we stood with used to say things like ‘I’ve been stabbed and slashed for this club’ and ‘I remember when Maine Road was a fortress, a bastion of invincibility’.”

  Manchester United

“There was a crowd of Stretty girls that sang Bay City Rollers songs. Always well made up with Ben Sherman shirts, jeans and monkey boots. The one I fancied had a fur-lined denim jacket, still remember her stomping to Dave & Ansell Collins’ ‘I am the Magnificent.'”

“Imagine being on the Kippax in the 70s wearing a half-and-half. You’d get your head kicked in by both sides.”

“Never understood the coppers at Forest lining us up in columns of 3 when only 2 would fit on the pavement, then smashing us with their truncheons or ramming us with their horses when we stepped on the road.”

  Middlesbrough

“Saw a scuffle in Albert Park where a Spurs fan thought he was hard and took his shirt off for a scrap. Some young Boro fan lifted it and the bloke had to sit through the game without a top on, bit cold that in November.”

  Millwall

“I was taking a pee in the toilet in the Ilderton Rd end in the early eighties when Millwall scored a goal, and the bloke standing near me at the urinal went running back to the stand with his old Hampton still in his hand and was nicked by a waiting copper for indecent exposure.”

  Newcastle United

“The first football memory I have is the Mackems being on the telly and my dad wanting the opposition to win. I said to him ‘You’d support them if they were playing in Europe though, wouldn’t you?’ to which he replied “You’ll never have to worry about that, son.’ ”

“I was at the Celtic friendly in the 60s, After the game I went to the Miners’ Welfare in Wallsend and a bus from a Fife branch of the Celtic supporters club was there. I ended up on the bus and was fed bottles of Broon in return for singing the Blaydon Races.”

  Norwich City

“Handlebars was a nasty so and so. Nearly 7′ tall with a wonderful handlebar moustache, so he stood out when he was sorting out hooligans. He was still only a PC when he retired because of the unconventional violent ways he used to deal with persons committing offences.”

  Nottingham Forest

“Swansea at home, an announcement over the PA ‘Mr Smith, your wife has given birth to a baby boy’, and the man behind me says ‘Poor bloke, he’s had to sit through this rubbish and now he’s got to get his own tea.’ ”

“I made the “Mucking Fagic” banner for the League Cup final v Liverpool. I got the idea from a T shirt I won at Goose Fair. It was a picture of Selwyn Froggitt with thumbs up saying ‘Mucking Fagic our Maurice’.”

“Against Liverpool Brian Moore was conducting an interview from a makeshift studio built on scaffolding at the back of the Bridgford End. Some scally climbed up, and you could see and hear him shouting ‘Hey Brian Moooure, can you hear me, you twat?’ “

“Crossing the road outside The Hawthorns many years ago after a tense match with the Albion, Gary Newbon drove his car across my foot. The git didn’t even realize and just kept on going.”

  Notts County

“A group of us were taken to Stratford by the English Department in ‘96. Just so happened to be Scotland’s Euro 96 training base. Closest I got to understanding Macbeth was watching Colin Hendry kicking people in training matches.”

  Partick Thistle

“We found a stash of scuddy books in the ball-boys’ room and a huge argument took place about whether we should divvy them up equally, in preference of age, or leave them be in case they belonged to someone important and we got sacked or someone scary and we got a doin’.”

“Remember beating Dundee 3-0 1979 approx, and singing Rupert the Bear at a Dundee fan in tartan trousers as the Dundee fans headed off.”

“Someone threw a pie onto the pitch and a seagull swooped down and grabbed it up in one movement and the Shed sang ‘SEAGULL, SEAGULL.’ ”

“I met John Workman in town after a midweek victory in the dark days and he asked me and my mate if we wanted to go up the dancin’ with him and a couple of burds.”

  Plymouth Argyle

“Wally Arnold coaches used to leave Bretonside at midnight and we’d arrive at about 8.30am with nothing to do until the pubs opened. I remember stopping at Gordano and watching all the sandwiches and snacks disappear as if a plague of locusts had just arrived.”

“Lost my Grandad at the Everton game in 1975. My Dad and I found him standing on a bank of grass, watching the scrapping going on in Central Park.”

“On the way to Charlton a pheasant smashed through the coach window and landed on a screaming girl’s lap. Evening match and we had to travel the rest of the way in freezing conditions. We lost as well.”

  Queens Park Rangers

“I’d dragged three non-QPR mates who weren’t even that in to football along to Saltergate with me. They hated me for taking them to stand in the rain with a couple of hundred other miserable men.”

“When it was all going a bit mental outside and the Vale fans had locked themselves in their bar, a teenage QPR fan got bitten by a police dog. Brian Rowe came over to stop the lad getting arrested, and one of the horses bit his ear.”

“Brunton Park must have been the only ground in the country where you could stare out at scenery complete with cows and haystacks while watching your team play at the highest level in English football.”

   Rangers

“Albertz taking shots in at the Copland. One sails just over the bar, heading for a boy coming down the stairs on crutches. Swings crutch at ball, misses, gets hit full in the face and falls backward into a boy carrying wee towers of pies and bovril. Carnage.”

“Took about 6 hours to get to Chesterfield on the train, to be marched up to the ground by police with dogs on one side and horses on the other. Coming back two older bears drunk and growling at me to shut the fucking windae, which is really hard to do when there’s no glass in it.”

“We didn’t get back into Queen Street until 3am. At first people were just pulling the cord because they were pissed off at the defeat, but then as we got closer to Glasgow they started pulling it when the train was nearest to where they lived.”

  Reading

“I remember some guy getting turfed out in the early ’80’s, being carried past the South Bank by two coppers with another one behind them carrying the bloke’s false leg.”

“In the early Seventies we played Hartlepool on a wet Saturday afternoon, they had just two fans behind the Reading end and one of them got thrown out by the police for threatening the Reading fans on the South Bank.”

“Gatasaray fans were even polite as I texted a mate to find the Reading score while some tuneless dirge played over the tannoy. I later realised I’d sat, texting, during the Turkish national anthem.”

  St Mirren

“First away game I can really remember was the Motherwell cup match in ’77 with about 20 people in the back of Alan McCaw’s transit van that he delivered the rolls in from the bakery.”

  Sheffield United

“In the 1980 match at Cleethorpes there was a lot of bother. A pub was smashed up and I remember skirmishes on the road to Blundell Park. I also remember watching two old ladies sitting on a bus in packamacs, pointing at the fighting and laughing at it all.”

  Sheffield Wednesday

“Losing 3-0 to Leeds and stupidly going for a drink in the Waggon and Horses, followed by being chased up the hard shoulder of the M621. We ended up heading towards Hull on foot and Rodney ran into a branch.”

  Shrewsbury Town

“A load of us bunked off to go to Aldershot after convincing our parents to write sick notes, then posed with our flags and scarves for the Shrewsbury Chronicle as we boarded the coaches. About 30 copped detentions for a week and were branded ‘The Aldershot Squad.’ ”

  Stoke City

“The St. John’s went into the crowd with a stretcher, and a couple of minutes later folks were clapping and laughing at this huge Wolves skinhead sitting upright on the stretcher wearing a St. John’s hat at a jaunty angle. He was paraded about until the Old Bill got him.”

  Southampton

“Violent intimidation from female Brummie skinheads could be many a man’s fantasy. Not mine.”

   Southend United

“It was our first visit to Vicarage Road. A bit lost on the outskirts, we asked a milkman wearing a Watford scarf for directions. He kindly outlined a route for us which promptly took us out of Watford in the opposite direction.”

  Sunderland

“We used to hire removal vans ‘cos they were cheaper than a minibus. The lads in the back would set up a card table, lights and music. They’d urinate by pulling up the roller-door and hanging to the top with one hand.”

“At Barnsley coming out of the ground the locals tried the old what’s the time routine, only to have my then wife give them a mouthful in Welsh which confused the shit out of them.”

  Swindon Town

“100 skins came running at us near the old bus station shouting …. I thought we were dead, but they were shouting at us to help them turn a minibus over on its side. It went over and we carried on to the station unscathed.”

“Coming out of Carlisle’s ground my brother fell down a grass bank into a big puddle, and then my best mate walked into a lamp post as we were being herded back to the station.”

  Swansea City

“Trip to Blackpool after losing at Deepdale in 86 was a memorable day. Arrived home with a 6 foot tall cuddly elephant called Ivor, won on the pleasure beach, which I had to carry in front on me on my Yamaha YB100 as I drove home at 5 o clock in the morning.”

  Torquay United

“At the 1979 pre-season friendly against Oxford United, the Oxford fans took the Torquay end simply by turning up early and chasing the dozen Torquay fans out of it. The Oxford hoolies were wearing t-shirts with ‘London border’ written on them.”

  Tottenham Hotspur

“It kicked off with Arsenal fans and I ran into the nearest toilets for cover. Never forget being wedged inside a cubicle with (among other randoms) the burger guy. He had the foresight to park his burger trolley in the cubicle next door.”

“The Spurs Supporters’ Club brought in a four cans each rule for away trips, so we showed up with four Party Sevens each at Kings Cross for the next game. Even the police were laughing (they did in those days).”

“They were selling raffle tickets for Johnny Pratt’s testimonial and our carriage won. It was a bottle of Johnnie Walker’s that had the label up the wrong way. We emptied the contents between Euston and Burnley and staggered off into town drunk as skunks.”

  Tranmere Rovers

“I went to watch Rovers at Spotland in ’84 with a carrier bag of fruit from Rochdale market. I was jumped after the match, dropped the bag and was pelted with the fruit as I legged it.”

“About 12 of us, all knackered. Coventry bounce up and start quizzing us. Kevin says, ‘There’s a dozen of us here, but there’s a thousand boys with shotguns on the next train.’ ”

  West Bromwich Albion

“I remember going to Derby on a football special and my mate getting bit by a police dog, poor sod missed the game (my mate not the dog).”

   Wolverhampton Wanderers

“Before the match I saw a Chelsea fan attempt to insert a hot dog into a police horse’s anus.”

“Went to Bolton on a Special. We hadn’t left the station and our table collapsed, the interconnecting door came off its hinges and when someone used the toilet it flooded and ran all along the carriage floor.”

  Wrexham

“Feb 16 1974, Southampton 0 Wrexham 1. I met up with some friends from home at the ground, one thing led to another, and come midnight I was knocking on my parents door in Mold with a wife in London thinking I’d been abducted by aliens. When I got back I wished I had.”

  Wycombe Wanderers

” I can still remember the Goole crew, stood behind us, singing ‘we will, we will stab you’ to the tune of Queen’s ‘We will rock you’ (which, at the time, was little more than an obscure B side).”