My first live football match

Having lived in Warrington all my life, when I was a teen watching Rugby League at Wilderspool was where most of my pocket money was spent. I eventually experienced my first taste of a live football match while over in Yorkshire visiting relatives. Rotherham’s Millmoor ground was literally 100 yards down the street from my great aunt’s house.

Jan 22,1977 Rotherham United 0 Peterborough United 0

It was never going to be the first match up on any edtion of Match of the Day, but I had ‘caught the bug’. I enjoyed the atmosphere at rugby league matches, but there was something about a footie crowd that made it far more exciting. Visits to Witton Albion, Northwich Victoria and Chester soon followed in the next few weeks, all easy to get to by bus for a 14-year old. In ‘those days’ you could do stuff like that on your own, but as enjoyable as those trips were, it wasn’t Tottenham.City Programme 1977

I missed the chance to go to the Everton away game that April, but our penultimate match that season was at Maine Road. Unfortunately we were pretty dire that season, that bad we got relegated. It even could have been the day we went down, but I honestly cannot remember.

Getting to Manchester was easy enough, train straight to Oxford Road in a matter of minutes and then a short bus ride. I still remember getting on the bus, scarf tucked away under my coat, and asking the driver how much to the nearest stop to Maine Road, to which he replied

‘You’re not from round here are you?’

I looked bemused until he explained they operated a ‘rover ticket’ system whereby it was just one price no matter where you were going. So I paid my fare (20p I think it was) and followed the Sky Blue shirts to the ground when they all got off, before eventually ending up, a little scared, right at the back of the Kippax Stand with hoards of City fans.

The match itself was very much a blur, we lost 5-0, but thanks to the wonders of YouTube I have relived the action a few times since that day. Tommy Booth headed them into the lead from a Peter Barnes corner and it stayed 1-0 upto half-time. Unfortunately, the second half was just one-way traffic. Dennis Tueart made it 2-0 from another Barnes assist, before the skillful winger added the third himself.

No prizes for guessing who supplied the corner that led to Asa Hartford making it 4-0 and a dreadful backpass (sound familiar) led to Tueart setting up Brian Kidd to complete the rout. I do remember having to clap each City goal to try and avoid showing my true colours, but then getting brave with about five minutes left and cheering when we finally when a corner. Surprisingly I didn’t get a good kicking, just a load of pats on the head from the locals and a few sympathetic ‘Good lad’ and ‘Never mind son’ comments.

Luckily I was not scarred for life by that performance and the following season I got to see us draw 3-3 at Mansfield in the old 2nd Division. To finish off what I would say is, when anybody ever thinks we have been poor in recent times,have a quick search on YouTube for that match in 1977 it won’t cheer you up, but my God it makes you appreciate not matter how bad you might think we have been, it could be a whole lot worse.

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13 thoughts on “My first live football match

  1. yeah, what was it that got you in to Spurs in the first place PW? i assumed, reading the title, that your first live game would have involved Spurs as the visiting team and our irresistible style won you over despite trouncing your then favorite team :D

    good read btw

  2. Simple answer really, Pat Jennings,with I suppose that desire to be different. My parents were actually City fans..at that time,but I could not really say I had much affinity with the Sky Blues as I followed Rugby League then.

    As a youngster I was pretty much the little fat lad in PE who was one of the last to get picked and usually end up in goal, which all meant in the end I became quite a decent goalkeeper for my age, and at that time the best keeper around was this bloke with massive hands..Pat Jennings, he became one of my childhood heroes alongside most of the Warrington RL team. When I found out he played for Tottenham I decided if I was going to support a team it would be them, the majority of my schoolmates and friends followed one of the big four North West clubs so it felt right to 'Dare to be different'

    We weren't a brilliant team in the mid-70s but unlike certain people I have met in my lifetime, once you start to follow your team you can't change just because they go through rough patches. And as Spurs fans will testify, it makes the good times all the sweeter.
    FA Cup final 1981 – watched the replay upstairs in my bedroom as the parents were giving me loads when they went 2-1 up. Still remember stamping on my floor when Villa made it 3-2 and my Mum and Dad not speaking to me for 2 days! So funny.
    1984 Uefa Cup Final, 1991 Cup FInal, Etihad 2010 and the CL nights that followed, very sweet times

    People that know have much travelling we do to get to home games always ask, don't we wish we supported a more local team….SImple answer again, no!

    Thanks for the feedback by the way

  3. Lol PW well this fat kid appreciated that his PE lessons were about 15 years later so he could pretend to be Gascoigne!

    As for the travelling it's part of my match day experience and I enjoy it. Sure it is a drag trying to run up the escalator at Waterloo when trying to catch the 23.35 back to Southampton but that's what you get for being the Tottenham supporting fat kid in PE.

    Reckon we will migrate to the north at some point so may end up catching a lot of the league games up that way on future. I guess tickets are easier to come by?

  4. Another quality post from PW. One of the best posters on this forum in my opinion. Always look forward to your perspective of the game which you post when you get back home from games. It has inspired me to post my first game experience. I will get into my loft in the next couple of days and see if I can find the programme and post up my memories of the experience and game. In the last few years I have become increasingly cynical and pessimistic about Spurs and the game in general as you can probably tell from my posts but still love the buzz of walking up the High St to WHL and the build up to kick off etc.

  5. Nexus1967

    Another quality post from PW. One of the best posters on this forum in my opinion. Always look forward to your perspective of the game which you post when you get back home from games. It has inspired me to post my first game experience. I will get into my loft in the next couple of days and see if I can find the programme and post up my memories of the experience and game. In the last few years I have become increasingly cynical and pessimistic about Spurs and the game in general as you can probably tell from my posts but still love the buzz of walking up the High St to WHL and the build up to kick off etc.

    We can publish it on the blog and have a link through to a thread like we did with PW's if you would like

  6. Cheers Milo, will try and dig out the programme and will see what I can remember about the game. Mind you its a long time ago now. Everyone will see what an old fart I really am when they see how long ago it was!

  7. Nexus1967

    Cheers Milo, will try and dig out the programme and will see what I can remember about the game. Mind you its a long time ago now. Everyone will see what an old fart I really am when they see how long ago it was!

    There are plenty of old farts on here. I think that one of the things that is interesting about posts like these is the differences between people with a common interest.

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