The Olden Days


BILL THE BIRO


In my schoolboy days of going to the Vic, along with many home fans I would go in the Town End and Pools would oblige us by always kicking towards us if they won the toss.

Then at half-time I used to follow the herd from the Town End to the Rink End from where a handful of fans would make the reverse trip.

This was in the the days before the Mill House Stand was built and before the Rink End became the segregated away fans' area due to football hooliganism having become a problem, so it was perfectly normal to see one end full and the other end empty before half-time and the reverse 45 minutes later. The half-time pedestrian traffic jam down the Mill House side could be just as dense as the one to leave the ground after the match.

However, on occasions my half-time expedition would be shorter than most as I'd stop half way to watch the second half from the Mill House terrace.

While the crowd at either end tended to be more boisterous, more vocal and fairly young - as well as being exactly the same people - the Mill House crowd tended to be older and less boisterous, and with not having a roof to amplify the singing - that they tended not to do anyway - it wasn't quite so noisy, meaning that loud, lone voices would quite easily be heard.
"Depending on where you stood, you could have a lot of laughs on the Mill House terrace."

These occasional changes of scenery not only gave a different view of the pitch, and so of the game, but they also showed me how witty some footy fans can be. Depending on where you stood, you could have a lot of laughs on the Mill House terrace.

But if you went there regularly you'd soon be able to identify the moaners who'd have it in for one particular player. It didn't matter how good he was, that one player was slagged off constantly. And if you'd been able to do an in-depth analysis of the entire terrace I'm sure you'd have found 11 different people slagging off 11 different players.

It has to be said that in those distant days of regular 'cap-in-hand' re-election applications, there were plenty of players that weren't that good, but nobody was exempt from the abuse, and to my 13-year-old ears it all seemed so random - having such a downer on one particular player. The one target I remember especially was Cliff Wright, who to me was one of the better players in a bad bunch, but not to this one moaner, who would find fault even if he scored - "You can do it when you want to, then!" or "You got lucky there, Wright!"

I haven't been on the Mill House terrace for years but perhaps it's about time I went back, to see what the wit and banter's like and, if he's still around, to see who that Cliff Wright hater is slagging off these days, because he's bound to be slagging off someone, if not quite as loudly as he used to 50 years ago!



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