Like of a lot of Newcastle fans of my generation, the Gallowgate End is where the St. James’ Park experience began for me. Back in the 1980s, being the only large section of terracing left in the ground, the Gallowgate was by far the noisiest and the most exciting part.
Hence it was the only place to be! Although there were actually four sections on the old terrace, the most popular two were ‘The Scoreboard’ and ‘The Corner’.
My section was always The Corner, which radiated upwards and outwards from its fulcrum of the south east corner flag, with the Strawberry pub immediately opposite its old brick turnstiles on Strawberry Place, it was invariably the place where the most drunken fans would congregate.
Argy bargy was always on the cards; sometimes good-natured, with the occupants of the rival ‘Scoreboard’ section the target of taunts – especially in winter if there was snow on the ground, in which case manic snowball fights would ensue.
Other times, the trouble could be more sinister and it would be the police and/or opposition players that bore the brunt. This could be both humorous and menacing – often at the same time – an example of which was a game against Spurs in the late eighties in which Paul Gascoigne and Chrissy Waddle were both the target of missiles thrown from the Corner – in Gazza’s case it was Mars Bars, while Waddle was narrowly missed by a large chunk of concrete!
After five or six seasons on the Gallowgate, I began a tour of the ground that included a season at the Leazes End, a handful of games in the Milburn Paddock and one year with a season ticket in the ‘Mental Benches’ in front of the East Stand.
The benches were fun, as it was taken as read that the job of their occupants was to deliver a constant stream of vitriol towards any passing opponent, as well as the linesman on that side, however none of these places were ever as good as the Gallowgate.
Quite appropriately, I spent the last season of the old Gallowgate End (1993/94) standing on the already stricken terrace. After it was completely demolished, I moved a few feet up into the sky, where I still remain, in row PP of the ‘new’ Gallowgate stand, aka… ‘The Scoreboard’.