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Herbie6590

Old Blackburnian's View - Pt 16 - Feelgood Factor Soon Fades Away

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A slightly longer version of this week's Accrington Observer column

Feelgood Factor Soon Fades Away

Well that didn’t last long did it? Any residual goodwill after the late, late show at Ewood last week soon dissipated and you might say “normal service” was resumed at Elland Road. This was always going to be a tough fixture but the reality of Saturday’s display demonstrated that whilst Leeds Utd are technically, extremely competent and well-drilled they are by no means unassailable, it's just that Rovers failed to prove the point.

I first set foot in Elland Road as a small boy when, on the way home after a Sunday afternoon trip out to Knaresborough, York or somewhere roundabouts, we stopped off at the ground on the off chance that we might possibly be able to go in and take a peek. It was a fetish of mine back then and in truth still is; I love looking at empty football grounds. Even more so if you can sneak in to look behind the scenes. I once had the great fortune to work in an office block overlooking Benfica’s Estadio da Luz and struggled to concentrate if I sat next to the window. Holidays with me are also an absolute blast when I see a floodlight pylon or a cantilevered stand in the distance.

Unimaginable today, but a gate was open, some routine maintenance was taking place and I could wander onto the actual turf that saw the likes of Bremner, Giles, Lorimer, Gray and Charlton J. perform every fortnight on their way to Championship and FA Cup successes.

From that moment on, I took close interest in the fortunes of Leeds United, lured in further by that glorious Admiral away strip which launched the modern era of replica kit manufacture and marketing. All yellow with white & blue stripes and the infamous “smiley” badge. I loved it, but despite repeatedly dropping hints, it was never to be mine. I would steam up the windows of Gibsons, David Lloyd Sports and EJ Riley each in turn when out and about in Accrington, pointing and insisting on its suitability as a Christmas or birthday present. 

As an aside, there were three (count ‘em..!) mainstream sports shops in Accrington in those days; all selling actual sports equipment and kit; bats, rackets, spare studs even jockstraps - not knock off jeans, tea mugs and enormous “bags for life”. That’s possibly worthy of a column in its own right. Leave that thought with me...

Back to Saturday, Rovers started reasonably brightly in fairness. They looked comfortable but the passing accuracy was awry all too often and the speed at which the ball was shifted from back to front was too slow even to threaten to cause Leeds any real damage. Lots of froth and bubble but little substance nor cutting edge. Leeds by contrast were the epitome of ruthless efficiency, the first two shots on target that Rovers allowed, delivered their opponents a two-nil lead. One characteristic that we have in common with Manchester City this past weekend.

The opener coming from the penalty spot was certainly “soft” but despite many protestations on the terraces and social media, by the letter of  the laws, it was awarded correctly. My benchmark for these sorts of decisions is; “Would I expect it to be awarded to us if the roles were reversed?” and had it been Gallagher blocked off in that manner by a Leeds defender, then yes, I would have expected to receive a penalty kick.

Adarabioyo's challenge was clumsy, though undertaken with no malice intended, he looked rather like a man trying to shoo away a wasp at a picnic with his foot in order to protect his sandwiches. With Adarabioyo missing the ball completely, Ayling took advantage of the situation, emphasising the contact and falling dramatically in instalments to ensure that the referee had spotted the infringement.

In fairness, the second Leeds goal was a thing of beauty and demonstrated the influence of Bielsa on this side. Rovers lose possession from their own throw-in near the half way line, Leeds sweep the ball back to their keeper, from left to right and back again. Phillips emerges centrally just outside his own penalty area and strides forward, unchallenged for the length of half the pitch. A long ball into the area is controlled with balletic grace by Bamford and laid on a plate for Harrison to curl one into the bottom corner. Eleven passes with nothing approximating pressure on the ball from Rovers until Bamford became involved. Had Rovers scored it, the away fans would possibly still be celebrating now. Two nil and fears of an impending mauling rise.

Rovers raced into a two-goal lead at Deepdale of course only to see it drift away like the scent of a Hollands Pie in the breeze; would Leeds fall victim similarly? A corner saw Derek Williams meet the cross with a bullet header and so just before half-time, Rovers were very much back in the game. The second half sadly just seemed to peter out. The anxiety felt by Leeds players and their fans grew as the clock ticked but frankly, it’s hard to recall anything remotely resembling a clear-cut chance for Rovers in that 2nd half.

Tony Mowbray once more threw on Danny Graham to try and make the ball stick up top. A few minutes later, John Buckley entered the fray as his wild card to try and make something unpredictable happen. “It worked against Wednesday, why not here?” seemed to be the logic. With his final substitution, rather than the erratic but often impactful Rothwell, Mowbray deployed Evans. A puzzling choice at the time. A baffling one with the benefit of mature reflection. 

In the aftermath, Mowbray chose to focus his ire (in public at least) on the award of the soft penalty. This was not entirely surprising although somewhat dispiriting, predictable and already this season, tediously repetitive. A solitary attempt on target across 90 minutes, all that Rovers were able to create is most definitely not the fault of the match officials.

The failings of this squad are starting to accumulate. Talk of the play-offs has moved from being optimistic/ambitious to fanciful/ludicrous and in reality, the league table these days is studied from the bottom up. There’s a long way to go, but moving into another international break on the back of another defeat was the last thing this increasingly beleaguered team needed.

Anyhow, back to those old sports shops in Accrington... 

 

 

Screenshot 2019-11-09 at 15.00.21pm.jpeg

Screenshot 2019-11-09 at 17.08.43pm.jpeg

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13 hours ago, Herbie6590 said:

A slightly longer version of this week's Accrington Observer column

Feelgood Factor Soon Fades Away

Well that didn’t last long did it? Any residual goodwill after the late, late show at Ewood last week soon dissipated and you might say “normal service” was resumed at Elland Road. This was always going to be a tough fixture but the reality of Saturday’s display demonstrated that whilst Leeds Utd are technically, extremely competent and well-drilled they are by no means unassailable, it's just that Rovers failed to prove the point.

I first set foot in Elland Road as a small boy when, on the way home after a Sunday afternoon trip out to Knaresborough, York or somewhere roundabouts, we stopped off at the ground on the off chance that we might possibly be able to go in and take a peek. It was a fetish of mine back then and in truth still is; I love looking at empty football grounds. Even more so if you can sneak in to look behind the scenes. I once had the great fortune to work in an office block overlooking Benfica’s Estadio da Luz and struggled to concentrate if I sat next to the window. Holidays with me are also an absolute blast when I see a floodlight pylon or a cantilevered stand in the distance.

Unimaginable today, but a gate was open, some routine maintenance was taking place and I could wander onto the actual turf that saw the likes of Bremner, Giles, Lorimer, Gray and Charlton J. perform every fortnight on their way to Championship and FA Cup successes.

From that moment on, I took close interest in the fortunes of Leeds United, lured in further by that glorious Admiral away strip which launched the modern era of replica kit manufacture and marketing. All yellow with white & blue stripes and the infamous “smiley” badge. I loved it, but despite repeatedly dropping hints, it was never to be mine. I would steam up the windows of Gibsons, David Lloyd Sports and EJ Riley each in turn when out and about in Accrington, pointing and insisting on its suitability as a Christmas or birthday present. 

As an aside, there were three (count ‘em..!) mainstream sports shops in Accrington in those days; all selling actual sports equipment and kit; bats, rackets, spare studs even jockstraps - not knock off jeans, tea mugs and enormous “bags for life”. That’s possibly worthy of a column in its own right. Leave that thought with me...

Back to Saturday, Rovers started reasonably brightly in fairness. They looked comfortable but the passing accuracy was awry all too often and the speed at which the ball was shifted from back to front was too slow even to threaten to cause Leeds any real damage. Lots of froth and bubble but little substance nor cutting edge. Leeds by contrast were the epitome of ruthless efficiency, the first two shots on target that Rovers allowed, delivered their opponents a two-nil lead. One characteristic that we have in common with Manchester City this past weekend.

The opener coming from the penalty spot was certainly “soft” but despite many protestations on the terraces and social media, by the letter of  the laws, it was awarded correctly. My benchmark for these sorts of decisions is; “Would I expect it to be awarded to us if the roles were reversed?” and had it been Gallagher blocked off in that manner by a Leeds defender, then yes, I would have expected to receive a penalty kick.

Adarabioyo's challenge was clumsy, though undertaken with no malice intended, he looked rather like a man trying to shoo away a wasp at a picnic with his foot in order to protect his sandwiches. With Adarabioyo missing the ball completely, Ayling took advantage of the situation, emphasising the contact and falling dramatically in instalments to ensure that the referee had spotted the infringement.

In fairness, the second Leeds goal was a thing of beauty and demonstrated the influence of Bielsa on this side. Rovers lose possession from their own throw-in near the half way line, Leeds sweep the ball back to their keeper, from left to right and back again. Phillips emerges centrally just outside his own penalty area and strides forward, unchallenged for the length of half the pitch. A long ball into the area is controlled with balletic grace by Bamford and laid on a plate for Harrison to curl one into the bottom corner. Eleven passes with nothing approximating pressure on the ball from Rovers until Bamford became involved. Had Rovers scored it, the away fans would possibly still be celebrating now. Two nil and fears of an impending mauling rise.

Rovers raced into a two-goal lead at Deepdale of course only to see it drift away like the scent of a Hollands Pie in the breeze; would Leeds fall victim similarly? A corner saw Derek Williams meet the cross with a bullet header and so just before half-time, Rovers were very much back in the game. The second half sadly just seemed to peter out. The anxiety felt by Leeds players and their fans grew as the clock ticked but frankly, it’s hard to recall anything remotely resembling a clear-cut chance for Rovers in that 2nd half.

Tony Mowbray once more threw on Danny Graham to try and make the ball stick up top. A few minutes later, John Buckley entered the fray as his wild card to try and make something unpredictable happen. “It worked against Wednesday, why not here?” seemed to be the logic. With his final substitution, rather than the erratic but often impactful Rothwell, Mowbray deployed Evans. A puzzling choice at the time. A baffling one with the benefit of mature reflection. 

In the aftermath, Mowbray chose to focus his ire (in public at least) on the award of the soft penalty. This was not entirely surprising although somewhat dispiriting, predictable and already this season, tediously repetitive. A solitary attempt on target across 90 minutes, all that Rovers were able to create is most definitely not the fault of the match officials.

The failings of this squad are starting to accumulate. Talk of the play-offs has moved from being optimistic/ambitious to fanciful/ludicrous and in reality, the league table these days is studied from the bottom up. There’s a long way to go, but moving into another international break on the back of another defeat was the last thing this increasingly beleaguered team needed.

Anyhow, back to those old sports shops in Accrington... 

 

 

Screenshot 2019-11-09 at 15.00.21pm.jpeg

Screenshot 2019-11-09 at 17.08.43pm.jpeg

IMG_6421.jpeg

Thanks for the report Ian. It's pretty much his I saw it.

Pretty much the last bastion of authentic sports shops I remember was David Pratt in Mill Hill. If he didn't have what you wanted he would go his best to get it for you.

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Indeed...I posted something on Twitter to that effect - as this is for the Accy Observer I focused on Accy sports shops but I spent a fair amount of pocket money at Pratt’s in the 70’s. @arbitro

I was involved in a lovely thread on Twitter a few years back reminiscing about traditional sports shop & they joined in, I think they major on cricket kit these days unless locals know better ?

When I lived in Birmingham there was a fabulous shop run by a Harry Parkes at the top end of Corporation St, I didn’t realise for years that he was a former Villa player. When he died the shop disappeared and a part of me died as well.

https://www.birminghammail.co.uk/news/local-news/aston-villa-legend-harry-parkes-86711

 

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Just now, Herbie6590 said:

Indeed...I posted something on Twitter to that effect - as this is for the Accy Observer I focused on Accy sports shops but I spent a fair amount of pocket money at Pratt’s in the 70’s.

I was involved in a lovely thread on Twitter a few years back reminiscing about traditional sports shop & they joined in, I think they major on cricket kit these days unless locals know better ?

When I lived in Birmingham there was a fabulous shop run by a Harry Parkes at the top end of Corporation St, I didn’t realise for years that he was a former Villa player. When he died the shop disappeared and a part of me died as well.

I don't know if you are old enough to remember Johnny Forbes' shop in Blackburn. They had stock in dark brown wooden drawers all neatly labelled. I remember my parents buying my first Rovers out for me from there. Being in the shop and getting that kit was something that has stuck with me. There was a similar shop in Darwen called County Sports which sold pretty much anything from fishing tackle to Airfix models.

Mick Heaton was a partner in a sports shop in Darwen too. It traded under the name of John Harrison Sports but Mick was a sleeping partner.

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Just now, arbitro said:

I don't know if you are old enough to remember Johnny Forbes' shop in Blackburn. They had stock in dark brown wooden drawers all neatly labelled. I remember my parents buying my first Rovers out for me from there. Being in the shop and getting that kit was something that has stuck with me. There was a similar shop in Darwen called County Sports which sold pretty much anything from fishing tackle to Airfix models.

Mick Heaton was a partner in a sports shop in Darwen too. It traded under the name of John Harrison Sports but Mick was a sleeping partner.

I don’t remember Forbes TBH. I bought my school uniform from Grays (next to Reidy’s ?) & spent a lot of time in Gibson’s - both Accrington & Blackburn incarnations. Those were indeed the days...

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25 minutes ago, Herbie6590 said:

I don’t remember Forbes TBH. I bought my school uniform from Grays (next to Reidy’s ?) & spent a lot of time in Gibson’s - both Accrington & Blackburn incarnations. Those were indeed the days...

Gibson's in Accy was next to the railway arches on Blackburn Road. Mick Heaton later ran Mick Heaton Sports at Brownhill.

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24 minutes ago, arbitro said:

I don't know if you are old enough to remember Johnny Forbes' shop in Blackburn. They had stock in dark brown wooden drawers all neatly labelled. I remember my parents buying my first Rovers out for me from there. Being in the shop and getting that kit was something that has stuck with me. There was a similar shop in Darwen called County Sports which sold pretty much anything from fishing tackle to Airfix models.

Mick Heaton was a partner in a sports shop in Darwen too. It traded under the name of John Harrison Sports but Mick was a sleeping partner.

I got my first Rovers shirt from Forbes as a Xmas present when I was about 12.

 

 

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Nice memories of those small and personal sports shops,bought my first pair of Adidas Trimm Trab from Pratts with saved up pocket money..the dogs bollox to a mid 80s teen!

Edited by SIMON GARNERS 194

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I've told this story before on another thread. When I was about 15 I decided I had to get a really good pair of boots. The ones I wanted were " Puma ", just like the ones that Keith Newton and a few other Rovers players were wearing at the time. My local sports shop didn't stock " Puma " so I had to go to Manchester. There was a shop on John Dalton Street run by an ex City player that I knew stocked " Puma ". I saw the ones I wanted but they were £5-0-0 and I'd only saved up £4-10-0, I was ten shillings short.

The guy could see how disappointed I was so he said " I'll tell you what son, take the boots and bring me the ten bob next week. Which I did.

Can you see that happening today ?

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1 hour ago, Tyrone Shoelaces said:

I've told this story before on another thread. When I was about 15 I decided I had to get a really good pair of boots. The ones I wanted were " Puma ", just like the ones that Keith Newton and a few other Rovers players were wearing at the time. My local sports shop didn't stock " Puma " so I had to go to Manchester. There was a shop on John Dalton Street run by an ex City player that I knew stocked " Puma ". I saw the ones I wanted but they were £5-0-0 and I'd only saved up £4-10-0, I was ten shillings short.

The guy could see how disappointed I was so he said " I'll tell you what son, take the boots and bring me the ten bob next week. Which I did.

Can you see that happening today ?

That’s how we paid for players in the Kendall/Saxton era isn’t it ? 😉

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6 hours ago, arbitro said:

I don't know if you are old enough to remember Johnny Forbes' shop in Blackburn.

I think we used to get school uniform from Johnny Forbes - I seem to remember some pictures in the shop of JF in Rovers strip? Also remember getting a free key ring every time you bought something

Edited by Crimpshrine

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8 hours ago, Crimpshrine said:

I think we used to get school uniform from Johnny Forbes - I seem to remember some pictures in the shop of JF in Rovers strip? Also remember getting a free key ring every time you bought something

I think Johnny Forbes was a Rovers director. There was a J Forbes listed in the programme and I always assumed it was him.

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Gibson’s on Northgate was a great sport shop to go into when I was a kid.

From memory, you had regular stuff downstairs, but racks of specialist equipment like cricket whites, pads etc upstairs.

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13 minutes ago, arbitro said:

I think the Rovers director was perhaps his son. The one in your link died in 1928.

A quick search indicates that Johnny Forbes Sports Outfitters closed in 1972 when the town was being redeveloped ruined.

Corrected for you.

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11 hours ago, arbitro said:

I think the Rovers director was perhaps his son. The one in your link died in 1928.

A quick search indicates that Johnny Forbes Sports Outfitters closed in 1972 when the town was bring redeveloped.

http://www.blackburnpast.com/2010/12/john-forbes-cup-winner-businessman.html

sorry for derailing a match report thread but I found this link. Includes a picture of a 'Johnny Forbes biscuit tin'! almost as rare as Joy Division oven gloves.

I also remember a  shoe shop called Holts where the kids department was below street level and you had the choice of using the stairs or a slide. Remember buying some Clarks Commandos in there.

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22 hours ago, MCMC1875 said:

Corrected for you.

So true. Absolute vandalism. Many of the old buildings in Blackburn Town Centre were a joy to behold. I can see them now. Absolute vandalism.

My favourite---the old Victorian Arcade, 2- tier shops, original tiled floor, one of the finest in the country.

You don't know what you've lost till its gone and all that.

Edited by 47er

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On 15/11/2019 at 01:32, arbitro said:

I don't know if you are old enough to remember Johnny Forbes' shop in Blackburn. They had stock in dark brown wooden drawers all neatly labelled. I remember my parents buying my first Rovers out for me from there. Being in the shop and getting that kit was something that has stuck with me. There was a similar shop in Darwen called County Sports which sold pretty much anything from fishing tackle to Airfix models.

Mick Heaton was a partner in a sports shop in Darwen too. It traded under the name of John Harrison Sports but Mick was a sleeping partner.

I remember County Sports! Wasn't it records in the front half and toys at the back as well?

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9 hours ago, 47er said:

I remember County Sports! Wasn't it records in the front half and toys at the back as well?

If a shop existed today that had sports stuff, records and toys under the same roof I think I’d move in TBH 😆

I don’t remember it myself but it sounds like heaven.

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9 hours ago, 47er said:

I remember County Sports! Wasn't it records in the front half and toys at the back as well?

I don't remember them selling records but only a couple of shops away was Tony Charles Records. I played for a football team he started called Charles Athletic and he bought us track suits with the name on the back. He also bought us the full Admiral England kit. This made us targets and we usually got kicked from pillar to post. He also played cricket for one of the Darwen teams and was equally generous there.

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52 minutes ago, arbitro said:

I don't remember them selling records but only a couple of shops away was Tony Charles Records. I played for a football team he started called Charles Athletic and he bought us track suits with the name on the back. He also bought us the full Admiral England kit. This made us targets and we usually got kicked from pillar to post. He also played cricket for one of the Darwen teams and was equally generous there.

I'm thinking early 1960's. Don't know of Tony Charles. 

Edited by 47er

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19 hours ago, 47er said:

So true. Absolute vandalism. Many of the old buildings in Blackburn Town Centre were a joy to behold. I can see them now. Absolute vandalism.

My favourite---the old Victorian Arcade, 2- tier shops, original tiled floor, one of the finest in the country.

You don't know what you've lost till its gone and all that.

Not sure we ever actually had yellow taxis in the town lol

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