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This used to be my playground

6 years ago

I remember sunny (rose-tinted glasses maybe) days, stood in ‘The Corner’ fenced in, or maybe a better description would be caged in.

Having a singing competition with the scoreboard and generally having a laugh, mostly at the expense of ourselves, or whistling Laurel and Hardy at the patrolling police.

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Just to elaborate, they would walk round the outside of the pitch in pairs, and they hated it.

I remember once being at the front and the Laurel and Hardy started up, the two surly police officers saying ‘stop that or you’ll be arrested’. A voice from the back shouts ‘howay in and get us then!’ which then started a wave of raucous laughter from all around, plus it made the whistling ten times worse!

I remember what seemed like a million steps just to get up from the turnstiles, the view from the top of those steps, over the Strawberry and far away.

It was a magical place to experience a game of football and we had crap football then too! We cared more about the experience and less about the result.

So I guess the whole point of my trip down memory lane is twofold.

Firstly, standing, are you for or against it?

I think the official term is now ‘Safe Standing’, and as used widely in Germany, the ‘Railed Seating’ being the most popular system used. With seats that can be easily converted from seating to standing and vice-versa, with a bolt used to secure the seat in either an upright or sitting position.

The SE Corner (Strawberry corner) would be a good place to try this, or the bottom half of the whole Gallowgate (up to the first walkway), what are your thoughts?

Obviously provision would need to be made for those who could not stand to have an unobscured view (infirm, disabled etc.) but how would you feel about it?

Secondly, in this time of ineptitude and despair, where NUFC and laughter seem to have parted ways, and the only thing lately to laugh at is our predicament (if it wasn’t so precarious!) – what memories do you have of match day?

When you genuinely enjoyed yourself and looked forward to being at SJP on match day?

Finally the title (of the article), Madonna had a song out, in 1992, about the time they started to renovate the ground, there is a verse which goes:

This used to be our playground

This used to be our great escape

This used to be the place we ran to

This used to be our hiding place!

I am always reminded of the OLD Gallowgate by this song, what song reminds you of HAPPY Toon memories and why?


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