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Season 1984-85


Ozz
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In the summer of 1984, my dad showed me a scrapbook he had made as a young man. As a born and bred Wiganer, he loved his rugby. He had created a scrap book detailing a full season of events and matches involving the Wigan RL club. I think it was from around the mid fifties, when legendary Welshman Billy Boston was in his prime. The photos had been been hand coloured, and the cherry hoops of the Wigan shirt gave the photos almost a 3D effect.

Inspired by this, as a Rovers fan I thought that the tradition had to be upheld, and went to get a scrap book. I found an A4 John Dickinson Cuttings book, ring bound with thick pinkish cartridge paper pages. So I was ready for the season!

I was in my second year of college then, at Runshaw in Leyland. I was studying three A levels, Maths, Geography and Computer Science. When I say studying, most of the time was spent playing 5-a-side in the gym and thinking of excuses to give to Mr Hankin the maths lecturer for my non-attendance each week. The other two were a good laugh, Steve Bagshaw was a pussy cat in geography and computer science was great as you could just play on the CBM PET computers-very rudimentary versions of Pacman, Pong and Space Invaders.

The season started I think at Crystal Palace, a draw 1-1. I didn't go, and there is no report or mention of it in the book. I was doing the numbers in the score box at Chorley Cricket club that week, and had to settle for a transistor radio in the box, with Jack Holden summing things up with his usual one-eyed view for me.

A week later a home game against Carlisle. I remember us dominating the match, and winning 4-0 in an easy romp. I stood on the Blackburn End, near the old bar at the back. Seems a bit bizarre now looking back, the BBE having a little cafe type thing tucked up at the rear of terrace, selling beer! It had women and kids serving in it, and service was a little poor. Pies and crisps also sold, not much changes really does it. I didn't drive, and used to get either the Tom Jackson coach from Chorley market, or sometimes the Cliff Owen coach-can't remember if they operated at the same time or if one replaced the other, but again it does seem a little odd today that a coach firm would operate a service from Chorley to Ewood just for the match, a journey of around 7 1/2 miles! Used to get quite full some days too.

Anyone remember any of these games so far?

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OK, according to "The BOOK", the next two matches were away at Huddersfield on a Tuesday night, and away at Fulham on the Saturday. I say according to as I have no recollection of the games at all, and there is no cutting out of the report stuck in there either. It does say that we got a 1-1 draw at London Road, and lost by the odd goal in five at the Cottage. This was early September time, so it was quite possible that I was actually trying a bit a college at this stage, in the misguided hope that I could actually do well in my A levels and get good grades and go to University. I actually went to an open day at the University of North London. I was hoping to do a Geology degree, and at the time this looked the most likely destination for me (easiest grades, good reputation for Geology courses, near Spurs and Arsenal... ). I got the Inter City down for the day, but predictably ended up in a Uni common room, watching England v Turkey in a world cup qualifier I think, drinking cheap cans of lager. Looked a bit like a scene left out of The Young Ones. I would think it was probably around this time that I went actually, maybe I went to the Fulham game but blocked it from my memory so as to avoid mental scarring for life (If this is true, it didn't work).

Anyway, next match was Grimsby at home on 15th September. A good game I recall, as Rovers started to get into their stride. Always have been slow starters Rovers, but I think Chris Thompson got at least one maybe two and we set off on an amazing winning streak now that ran for 6 matches. Cardiff at home midweek (2-1) and Notts County away (3-0) saw Rovers climb to third by late September with Wimbledon up next at Ewood.

By now college work was definitely taking a back seat as interest getting to Ewood became #1 priority.

Here is the Lancs Evening Posts Neil Farnworths match report.

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Edited by ozziejones
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Ok-league progress was improving, and late September saw our 2nd round tie in the League Cup. Our opponents were Oxford United, managed by ex-Ewood boss Jim Smith. Oxford were on the verge of a real purple period, and at the time were the form team in the 2nd division. Some of the players they had went onto bigger and better things, some had acheived better and bigger things, as they say, including Dave Langan, John Trewick, Malcolm Shotton, John Aldridge, Trevor Hebberd and former dingle Billy Hamilton. We ended up playing Oxford five times this season, more to follow on further encounters.

1984-what happened elsewhere round the world.

Jimmy Connors was in the Wimbledon Final!

As usual, the league cup was over two legs, Rovers at home in the first leg. As I recall, we fairly battered them and went in front, scorer unknown. Oxford scored a late-ish equalizer, that left a bad taste in the mouth. As I walked up the LBR, I said to Big Bill Gornall, who had driven us in his Ford Escort to the match, that I vowed to go to the second leg at Oxford and we would batter them on and off the park. I was furious we hadn't sewn the tie up on the night.

I didn't go in the end, no money and no transport being the usual sticking points on a long midweek away trip. We lost the second leg 3-1 I think, but it was in extra time. Billy bloody Hamilton got at least two, maybe even a hat trick. Billy had been playing in the World cup in 1982 in Spain, I think he laid on the cross for Armstrongs winner against the hosts. Noel Brotherstone was there too though, as a Rovers representative.

October 6th saw a regulation 3-1 home win over Shrewsbury, a team we seemed to play about 4 times a season in them days.

"Who do we play next week?"

"Shrewsbury again."

"Crap."

Then on the 13th October, a trip to St Andrews to take on the top of the table side, Birmingham City. Birmingham had been relegated in the previous season from top flight, the newly sponsored Canon League Division One. They were on the slide big time, but were still generally thought of as a big club, and had some decent players. Dave Seaman, Mick Harford, Martin Kuhl-all household names at the time (well maybe in Birmingham) and Ron Saunders had been in charge since 1982.

Again, lack of funds wouldn't allow me to go to Birmingham-it was a choice between paying Paul Astley travel services a few quid and probably getting me head kicked in by the Zulus or finally coughing up for the Smiths first album. Either way I was likely to end up in tears, so chose the musical option and listened to the match on the radio. Birmingham did well in the end this season, but it will spoil the ending if I tell you that they finished above us.

I will allow the reports below to fill in the details.

Cyril Chapman from The Guardian

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As you can see, even back then the papers were less than complimentary about Rovers. Getting a report in a major national broadsheet was highly unusual, and I was dead chuffed on the Monday morning to see our game in print in a proper paper.

A Sunday redtop report.

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The 2-0 win meant Rovers were now second in the league, heading into November. Things were getting quite interesting now. Readers who may find the first part of the season boring, don't give up-it gets really exciting later on.

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The next match was on October 10th 1984. What was the significance of that exact date I hear you ask?

Well, none actually. Other than we played Oldham at home. And drew 1-1. I have absolutely no recollection of the day, the match or even what I had for dinner, (which is unusual, although it was probably a bunch of meat pies from the pie shop on Gillibrand Street in Chorley, SW confectioners, still there and sells fantastic pies and bread, as well as sandwiches too at very low prices. If you go in at around 1pm(don't leave it any later, they sell out by then and close by 2pm) they will virtually give you stuff for free rather than see it wasted-three pies for under 90p I think is my personal best, I may even have got a cake thrown in (my memory is not what it used to be (it used to better, and before that I can't recall))(see I told you ). My dad used to do the shopping on a Saturday morning and bring us pies to eat for lunch (I say us I mean me and my dad) and the meat ones were great-none of this BSE scaremongering then, meat certainly did not harm your brain, or even your memory( my memory is not what it used to be you know..) back then. I scoffed them whilst watching football focus, and inevitably the hot jelly would run out and make a mess in my hands (ooerr.).

So as my mind seems to have scratched the day from the memory banks, and The Book offers nowt, let's make something up. It won't matter because nobody reads this stuff, I'm only doing it because my therapist said it would help.The last time I went for a session, all I could think of was meat pies. Eventually when I looked up at her, she had turned into a meat pie, sat in the chair with a note book and pen held in her pastry arms, and she/it/Ms Pie was wearing a pair of bifocal glasses, over which she seemed to stare at me disdainfully. Like it was all my fault that I needed therapy, and if she/it/Ms Pie didn't want people coming in asking for help, why the hell did she go to medical school, and place the adverts to which I replied in the copy of Lancett in first place?

But, I digress. One all draw, let's say Keeley for Rovers from a corner by Barker. Arthur Norman Other for the Mumps.

Has anyone else ever used the collective noun "Bunch" when referring to more than one pie? Another first for the Rovers.

Next match, was away at Maine Road. I was up for this one, a proper big ground and a big crowd likely. To use away travel, there was I think an official supporters club, run by East Lancs travel overlord Paul Astley. To sign up, you had to go to the Townley Arms on Park Road in Chorley, pay you £2 or whatever and you were on the bus. Not unusual really but this gives em the opportunity to recall the Townley Arms. Now closed, I think it was a Matthew Brown pub (bring back Slalom D), but the best thing about it was that you buy a pint of milk on draught. Seriously, one of the pumps was attached to a milk barrel and they would hand pull a pint of milk for you. And every room had what seemed like a 500 watt Osram bulb in, no ambient lighting here.

So anyway, on the Saturday the coach arrives in Moss Side. The away section was about quarter of the Kippax, and a bit of the open terrace that ran round toward the Platt Lane end. And there was the rather fearful walk along the back of the Platt Lane down a narrow alley way which, if I didn't know better, and to be honest I don't, appeared to be tailor made by the local hooligans to allow easy access to the travelling army of visiting supporters. Quite a nervy stretch that was.

As was the case most years, the atmosphere in the Kippax was excellent, if a little malevolent. Missiles were regularly thrown over the thin bit of no mans land, and the Police never bothered at all. During the match , City went ahead via a John Lowey own goal. Lowey, a decent enough 2nd division pro, was in a terrible run of form and this really didn't help. He had only just accepted the role of crowd scapegoat, (from Kevin Stonehouse) and it was definitely affecting his game.

Two nil down in half an hour and it looked possible that the previous years 6-0 tubbing could be repeated. But immediately we got one back. Noel Brotherston notching from the edge of the box. The rest of the match saw us huff and puff, Lowey doing the huffing and Garner the puffing, but there was to be no equalizer. At full time, the only two challenges that remained were to get out o the Kippax via the worlds smallest exit door, without getting squashed to death and then the 400 metre dash down the back alley to the coaches, hopefully which would still be in one piece, or least drivable awayable.

The defeat saw us slip out of the top three, and into fourth. I got home and dreamt of pie.

Here is the match report from Neil Farnworth of the Lancs Evening Post.

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Tune in next week, or in a bit as we see the return of Huddersfields finest Elvis-o-Gram, Frankie Worthington to Ewood Park, and a rare sighting of the Match Of The Day cameras.

Edited by ozziejones
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In the summer of 1984, my dad showed me a scrapbook he had made as a young man. As a born and bred Wiganer, he loved his rugby. He had created a scrap book detailing a full season of events and matches involving the Wigan RL club. I think it was from around the mid fifties, when legendary Welshman Billy Boston was in his prime. The photos had been been hand coloured, and the cherry hoops of the Wigan shirt gave the photos almost a 3D effect.

Inspired by this, as a Rovers fan I thought that the tradition had to be upheld, and went to get a scrap book. I found an A4 John Dickinson Cuttings book, ring bound with thick pinkish cartridge paper pages. So I was ready for the season!

I was in my second year of college then, at Runshaw in Leyland. I was studying three A levels, Maths, Geography and Computer Science. When I say studying, most of the time was spent playing 5-a-side in the gym and thinking of excuses to give to Mr Hankin the maths lecturer for my non-attendance each week. The other two were a good laugh, Steve Bagshaw was a pussy cat in geography and computer science was great as you could just play on the CBM PET computers-very rudimentary versions of Pacman, Pong and Space Invaders.

The season started I think at Crystal Palace, a draw 1-1. I didn't go, and there is no report or mention of it in the book. I was doing the numbers in the score box at Chorley Cricket club that week, and had to settle for a transistor radio in the box, with Jack Holden summing things up with his usual one-eyed view for me.

A week later a home game against Carlisle. I remember us dominating the match, and winning 4-0 in an easy romp. I stood on the Blackburn End, near the old bar at the back. Seems a bit bizarre now looking back, the BBE having a little cafe type thing tucked up at the rear of terrace, selling beer! It had women and kids serving in it, and service was a little poor. Pies and crisps also sold, not much changes really does it. I didn't drive, and used to get either the Tom Jackson coach from Chorley market, or sometimes the Cliff Owen coach-can't remember if they operated at the same time or if one replaced the other, but again it does seem a little odd today that a coach firm would operate a service from Chorley to Ewood just for the match, a journey of around 7 1/2 miles! Used to get quite full some days too.

Anyone remember any of these games so far?

I remember Bagshaw from Runshaw. What a legend, he always had a "gig" on the Friday night and if we were off on a trip to see some sand dunes or similat, he'd always say "Now please make cheques payable to Runshaw College and Not Stevie B's one way ticket to the Bahamas fund"

LEGEND

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Cheers Ozzie, good stuff.

A question -

You mentioned Big Bill Gornall – I don’t know him but are his parents called Peter & Kate & used to have the Rose & Crown in Farington?

I remember going to Brum & Man.City.

Brum was a good day & a great result but a bit dodgy afterwards.

We drove from the ground, down to a roundabout. There were at least a couple of hundred yobs swarming around ready for action.

Time to activate the ‘escape routine’ - hide colours, lock doors, foot down and no stopping for the next 50 miles. It worked a treat. :rover:

You're right about the Man City fans bazzing missiles at us all the time. The favourite projectiles were tin cans, flattened so they had sharp, jagged edges.

One zapped within a whisker of my lughole and hit the bloke behind me.

And that narrow cobbled alley at the Platt Lane end was just a minefield of dog turds.

By the way, the Rovers scorer in the 1-1 draw with Oldham was in the unlikely form of full back, Jim Branagan against his former club.

Slalom D, strongish brew - knew you'd had a pint.

I've always been told Joe Hall sells the best pies in Chaaarley.

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You mentioned Big Bill Gornall – I don’t know him but are his parents called Peter & Kate & used to have the Rose & Crown in Farington?

Not too sure WB, I remember they were big into the Asda at Clayton Green at the time. Bill got me a part time job one Christmas stacking shelves there. It was when they had just invented Whisper chocolate bars, and I was not sure if they were any good. So one late shift I ate one straight off the shelf, and was quite impressed. So I had another 3 or 4. Felt sick. I also remember seeing Ian Rush score a super volley for Liverpool at Villa Park on a rare BBC1 live match of the day on friday night, on a telly that Asda had on sale in the store.

By the way, the Rovers scorer in the 1-1 draw with Oldham was in the unlikely form of full back, Jim Branagan against his former club.

Slalom D, strongish brew - knew you'd had a pint.

I've always been told Joe Hall sells the best pies in Chaaarley.

Thanks for the info- rare goal scorer was Jim, more concerned with acts of violence than shooting usually!

Joe Halls-Eaves lane so too far out of town for dinner time pie. But Halls (which still trades as a Spar also to this day) used to be the only shop in the whole of Chorley that would be open on a Sunday. If you ran out of bread, or milk or Whispers on a Sunday then the cry would go up "Just nipping to Joe Halls!" . I reckon me dad used it as a metaphor for "Just going for a pint".

Bleedin hell, it's like all my yesterdays on here!

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Not too sure WB, I remember they were big into the Asda at Clayton Green at the time.

Yep. That sounds familiar.

Bleedin hell, it's like all my yesterdays on here!

Now't wrong wi' that mate.

How empty would life be without memories?

Pub time. bye for now.

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Sadly, for those of you thinking I would have given this up by now, I haven't. I have just one more payment to make on the HP for this laptop then it goes back, so I need to crack on and get this crap out of my system quickly. So buckle up grapple fans, get the kettle on and settle down for another 5 minutes of wasted time that you will never get back.

The previous season saw Oxford united promoted to the second division, storming to the old division three title with 95 points, and along the way giving the big boys a good game in the cups. Indeed, arguably the most successful team of the mid 1980s often refer to their lucky escape at the Manor Ground in a cup match as the turning point in their history. Everton needed a late equalizer to take the U’s back to Goodison, from which the scousers went on to win, leading to a true purple patch in their history.

Saturday 3rd of November we were away at the Manor Ground to take on the league leaders.

I didn’t go to the match, reason unknown-probably suffering from Rovers syndrome-one defeat and supporters turn their back on the club for letting them down again, never to return till they win the European Cup or similar. I ended up playing snooker at a Liverpool supporting friend’s house, Keith Riley on Walgarth Drive. Sounds impressive , but the snooker table was a 5 foot by 2 foot midgets table, and if the cue ball was anywhere near the edge, you had to unscrew the cues and use the front half only as the walls were too close to the table. Plus he had a little yappy dog that used round around the house all the time and bark like mad when the radio Lancs reporter came on to give updates on Rovers and you couldn’t hear what he said! I wouldn’t be surprised if the dog did those white turds that you never see anymore too.

Anyway, after a marathon break of nearly nine (IE eight, one red and a black that was hanging over the middle pocket) we hear Oxford are one up. Well that’s what we thought as The Turd Machine barked again. So reason number two for going to Keith’s house (number one being luxurious Olympic sized Snooker table) was his Finlandia colour TV had teletext on. But the updates had not got up to today’s super slick speeds, so we were still a little in the dark. We had to wait till the 70 h minute for an update, when we clearly heard Garner has equalized from the edge of the box. That would have done me, 1-1 at Oxford would be a decent result. But typically of this season, that man Billy Hamilton, who scored the opener notched a last minute winner. Once a Dingle, always a Dingle.

The report reckons we were worth a point, and only three league matches ended up in anything other than a win for Oxford at home that season. So we were doing alright.

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Something rather unusual happened next week. Can you guess what it was?

Rovers were on Match Of The Day. Did anyone guess that?

Oh, you did. Well done sir at the back. Above the Nuttall Street stand (Now the Jack Walker stand) was a little shed. Most of the time this shed was closed. But the Brighton match was different, the shed doors were open! This meant the cameras were here, and we would be on the telly! There were very few games on TV in those days, and it was a real privilege to be featured. At the time, the thought was that the BBC must think we were a decent proposition to put on, doing well in the league, playing some decent football and so on. But looking back, with a de rigueur Blackburn fans now fully developed sense of paranoia and no-one likes us mentality it is obvious that they only came to see the Brighton. And more specifically Frank Worthington who was contracted to the seagulls at the time.

I was stood in my usual spot on the Blackburn End, watching a fairly tame affair when I witnessed one of the best goals of the season. A Rovers attack saw I think Garner see his first shot saved by Graham Moseley in the Brighton goal, and the rebound went out wide on the left of the goal from were I was stood. Garner raced round onto the ball, and with it looking like it may even go out of play for a corner the number 10 flashed his left foot at it and it flew into the back of the net. It actually never touched the back of the net, just the inside the side netting the angle was so tight. Bobby Saxtons comments in the report below further reflect the finishers quality. The matched was sealed by Colin Randells late second and Rovers were back on to winning ways.

I wonder how many stunning goals like this were never seen by anyone but the crowd on the day? TV coverage of today means you never miss a minute of any game, although the merits of this I for one are not 100% convinced by.

This win was the beginning of another superb run of results, a sequence that saw us win 7 out of eight games, taking us right into Christmas and right into title contention.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Who else here went to Middlesbrough away? Remember, this was Saturday 17th November 1984. What do you mean I wasn't even born then? Good grief, please go and get your Dad on so he can relate to all this guff.

Go on, I'm not wasting my time with kiddies you know!

Once again the mode of transport featured the official Rovers coach. In November it gets dark quite early. We arrived at around 2 O'clock and it had already got dark in Teeside. I guess it's like the North Pole where some days the sun never gets up. Or is that the South Pole, I always get them mixed up. Summat to do with one has Penguins, the other has KitKats. Either way in was dark. Ayresome Park was the venue, (See if the kids were still watching this they would say ' Oh Middlesbrough play at the Riverside Grandad so you got that bit wrong thicko`). Glad we got rid of them, dumb know-it-alls.As I was saying, Ayresome Park-NOT SUITABLE FOR GIRLS it should have been called. It was a bit rough up there.

It was raining at the ground. A kind of light misty rain, infused with 30 years of pollution from the North Easts industrial endevours. We were supposed to sit in the VEE shaped open terrace between the end and the side. A wonderful image here from around the time of the match.

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But as there were a lot of us traveling up, and the fat they felt sorry for us they let us under the roofed bit that ran behind the goal. It was seated, not terraced too-it was a luxury back then (says Grandad) .

The roof gave wonderful acoustics, a bit like the Darwen End used to and made for a wonderful atmosphere. The match report, which is located below alludes to this too. Rovers went two goals in front, Tommo and an own goal by the wonderfully named Irving Natrass. David Mills got one back for them, but we hung on to the 2-1 win. The best bit though for me was the Noel Brotherstone incident, as it became known. Noel was red carded afer two bookables, and as he left the pitch he got a load og jip from the home supporters. So as he goes down the tunnel, Broth-Head gives them the Vees! Classic work from the Irish ginger nut/semi slaphead. I loved Noel, he was my hero for a time (When Garner was crap). The away match programmes ALWAYS described him as the "Mercurial Irishman". Terry Gennoe was always referred to as The Intelligent one as I think he had got a degree with the open University.

So Saxton does his nut, and accompanies him to Lancaster Gate for the disciplinary hearing. Bob gets him off by telling the FA he was merely indicating the score at the time!

I think I traveled up with Mick Ingram, from Brinscall-used to be a handy footballer and also played Cricket for Chorley and Brinscall too I recall. Got back to Chorley in reasonable time, and ended up very drunk, supping pints of sass in the Swann With Two Knecks till late. Sass made you puke. And the puke would be purple. Excellent!

With Pompey and Oxford drawing, the win put us back to 2nd spot.

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  • 1 month later...
Here is the Lancs Evening Posts Neil Farnworths match report.

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Cracking OJ cracking.

Could you remember beforehand or after reading the articles as I can hardly remember any games post 86/87 even though I know I was definitely at the Brighton game.

Anyway this made me chuckle from the report

'Two players were booked by referee Key who found himself in trouble with the crowd on more than one occasion'

Looks like things haven't changed and it was actually Wimbledon players that got booked then!! :P

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I can pretty much remember all the goals at the games I went to, including the goal from Garner against Brighton. It was on that ESPN football olden days thing channel on SKY t'other week too, couldn't beleive my eyes when that came on! As for how the match actually panned out, it is a little hazy at times, but the scrap book helps me out!

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what a fantastic read Ozz and os so many memories flooding back.

1984 saw my second year of service in HM Royal Navy so the Rovers games were a bit hit and miss for me due to me travelling the globe.

This season saw me only get to 4 home games and maybe 3 away games.

Oxford away when we lost 2-1 with George Warren (Ozz you remember him he married Alice Leonard)

Brighton home Boro away Charlton home Pompy away and then Sheff United at home before a 9 month tour of The West Indies.

Pompy away was the game for me, a 2-2 draw and right good old ruck in the mucky duck pub with some nobhead southerns before a night in Joannas in Southsea ! The Wheelton Lads had a fantastic night !

Hope to read more Ozz

:rolleyes:

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I was contemplating doing a this next bit in French, just to annoy people, and to add a little, certain something. If only there was a mot juste, or a phrase I could use to demonstrate this. Ah well, c'est la vie.

It was November 23rd 1984. It was Friday. I bought a copy of the Lancashire Evening Post. You couldn't get the Telegraph in Chorley in them days, remember rationing had only just finished round here. It is mainly a Nob End rag, but bowed to Rovers obvious greater attraction and had reports and articles in on a fairly regular basis.

The game this week was at home against Charlton Athletic. Along with Crystal Palace, we seem to have played them more than any other team.

A win would mean if other results went our way, we could be top of the league. Saxtons approach was one of caution-"It looks like it could be very tight." Bob was quoted in the paper. Now bearing in mind the state of the Ewood bank balance, or indeed the snugness of footballers shorts in the 1980s he could have been alluding to several things there. But, alas, he was merely expressing his concern over the quality of the forthcoming opposition.

But his fears were misplaced so it seems, as the Rovers outplayed the SE7 based side and ran out 3-0 winners. Sadly, no report or even scorers can be found, but what the hell nobody is actually paying me to do this so thats a bit of hard luck you're having there in tit.

Here is a copy of the LEP preview, short and probably written in about 100 seconds.

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Despite the comfortable victory for Bobby Saxtons blue-and-white army, we remained in second spot as the other results did not go our way. Tsk, nowt much has changed has it? So the following weeks match, a real promotion six pointer was at Fratton Park to take on the Sailors. By the way, it wasn't a real six pointer, we could only actually win three points-just a turn of phrase to describe the apparent importance of certain matches when all the other cliches have run out.

As I recall, I was playing football myself that afternoon for Chorley Cricket Club. But at football. I know it is a little confusing. I once even turned up for a match in batting pads. A real school-boy type error. So I had to make do with listening in to Jack Holden whilst walking back to Chorley through Astley Park. Two first half goals from Rovers, well actually two first half goals for Rovers by Portsmouth players gave us a comfy cushion to sit on at half time. A real threat, as Keeley was well known to be a sufferer of the old Johnny Giles at the time.

Sadly, the lead was to be short lived as a revitalised Pompey hit back with two goals in the second half, no doubt roared on by their biggest gate of the season so far, 16,284. And an acid casualty with a big friggin bell.

But it was enough to take us to the top of the league, but bizarrely by Alphabetical order! Typical Rovers, couldn't even be top properly! But we were at the summit, and had now played all our rivals away from home in doing so. Here is a report from a red top, which unbelievably gets away with the phrase "Coloured" when referring to Vince Hilaire.

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Thats all for this week folks, I hear the pipes-a-calling.

Todays episode was brought to you by the phrases "Nob End Rag" and "tit".

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A few memories.

Ewood Park - 20/10/1984. Weather: Gale Force 10 blowing towards the Darren End. (those were the days)

Jim Branagan cuts inside and launches a shot from just further forward than the centre circle that picks up pace on the wind and flies into the net. Rovers 1 Oldham 1

Travelled to Pompey the day after my 19th birthday, already hung over and topped up before the match. Pompey scored 2 og's in a 2 - 2 draw. And of course....

The legendary "after 40 years of peace in Europe game" in the return against Pompey....whatever would Wenger say if he had witnessed that!

Then there was the ManU cup tie when Jimmy Hills half time analysis from a garden shed between the Riverside and Darwen End was constantly interreupted by a ######-up soul chanting "Cabin End....Cabin End....Cabin End".

Where you that man? Legend.

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  • 1 month later...

Apologies to Bob F and WB as my self imposed exile from my marriage has slightly cocked things up a bit on this project. Have now received some belongings (dumped on the pavement in the rain last Sunday morning (along with my Wisdens and Rothmans books)) and have got the scrap book back in my possesion at my current squat. Will bring it to work and carry on shortly...

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  • 2 weeks later...

Vince O'Keefe, transferred listed!!

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Always going to be a frustrating being number 2 to the number 1 so to speak, as Geno was in awesome form around this time.

Vince got a bit of grief from the Ewood faithful on his rare appearances, but to be honest most of the team apart from Garner did even when we were winning! Only a few years later, the former Torquay shot stopper went on to play a man-of-the-match performance in the Full Members cup win at Wembley, which was undoubtedly his finest hour.

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