A Day Watching United as a Kid in the Late 80's

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Bladepicker

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I was having a good old reminisce with a friend last week about watching football as a youngster in the late 80’s/early 90’s and how much it has changed. I enjoyed our recollection so much I wrote a little piece about a typical Saturday watching United for young Bladepicker, circa about 1988/89. Have a read if you fancy – it’s a bit long, but it’s the fond memories for me that show how United became a such a massive part of my life.....

Saturday morning. School out of the way for another two days; the homework given on Friday that I fully intended to do to get ‘out of the way’ last night is now firmly lodged at the bottom of my bag with only a slim chance that this will see light of day before a last minute dash on Monday morning. An early morning sun shines into my bedroom over the rooftops of Sharrow and I am immediately filled with excitement – it’s a match day at the lane.

Breakfast is skipped for a morning lying in bed, reading the football section of the Daily Mirror that I ran downstairs to get when I heard it delivered. I read it cover to cover, absorbing every bit of knowledge about every league in England in the way my science teacher only wishes I could about Chemistry. I read the small section previewing United’s match, even though I know their predicted line up and view of our formation is bollocks; Ian Bryson up front and Agana on the wing? – are you having a laugh?

Then it’s up, a wash and downstairs as mum and dad get back in with fixed odds football coupons and Saturday lunch – always either chop suey roll or sausage and chips from the Chinese on Abbeydale Road, or a Pork Sandwich, resplendent with crackling, stuffing and dip from the butchers at the top of the road, complete with chips wrapped in newspaper from the Blades fan’s chippy on Club Garden Road. Tomato Ketchup and Henderson’s Relish a must on both, as I eat in the front room while watching first Saint and Greavsie with Division 1 goals from last week and then switching over for Grandstand and football focus.

Then I hear 2 dongs on the dining room clock, time to get ready to go; a t-shirt, a jacket and then a Blades shirt worn over my jacket for the top layer. If my brother was coming with us he would be ready to go to and invariably we would be left waiting for my dad who was making one last check of tickets, gloves, money and mints before the 15 minute walk to the lane commences. We would go past Mount Pleasant, out past the old Midland Bank which was now an Italian restaurant called Rossis and down Woodhead Road. Here you would start to see other walking too, excitedly talking about the match and what would happen, I’d be totally optimistic every week – the blissful ignorance of negativity that comes with youth – whereas others would be moaning and pondering how many we would lose by.

The smells that will always be football to me start to fill the nostrils; a heady mix of diesel, fried onions and horse shit that somehow combine into a wonderful aroma that always takes me back to the Lane every time I think of it. Past the bloke in the sun hat touting ‘Programmes one pound, come and get your match day programmes’ and down Cherry street towards the Kop, walking down the Arnold Laver side of the road cause we lost last week when walking on the ground side. Into the Kop and quickly up to get on the barrier above the middle walkway – it was pretty much filled by about 2.30 but we had our spot where we stood every week. High enough up for a 10 year old me to see as we were above the gangway, but not too far forward to have a bad view of the pitch or have to watch through the fences.

The same faces were stood around you; we would talk about your week, the midweek win/draw/loss away from home and how the game went if you or they had been. You’d not know the team in days pre mobiles and instant news, so you’d try to work out from who had what shirt/tracksuit combination on the pitch warming up as to who was starting before the teams flashed up on the scoreboard. The ground fills up, I join in with the songs but just whisper the swear words as I am next to my old man. “Oh we’ll never be mastered, by those Wednesday bastards, we’ll keep the red flag…” etc. Then the roar as the game starts.

What follows is something that for me, is something that does wane in time, constant excitement. Never as a 10 year old did I ever think it was a rubbish match, I was never bored or disillusioned as I am at times now as I always invested so much in the match, so much in United that I was constantly gripped; whether joy as we scored, disappointment as the opposition hit the net and the away fans cheer in the distance or, probably the worst emotion of the lot, the sheer nerves when you are winning by only one goal at twenty to five. My Casio watch says there are 3 minutes of normal time remaining but the whistling has started. There is no fourth official, no time added on is x minutes, only the ref knew how long to prolong the agony. Quarter to comes - “we’ve played two minutes over ref, what are you playing at?” “it’s that dickhead Roger Milford, we’ll be here till they chuffing score” I still bite my nails to this day – no prizes for guessing where I started.

Finally the whistle goes and the cheer goes up. We’ve won and the weekend is made. Players clap the Kop, I wait for the crowd to disperse as the full time results come up on the scoreboard. Wednesday lose, even bigger cheer to accompany it as it was 0 0 on some old blokes transistor radio when our game finished. Then the walk home following victory, back to my mum doing sandwiches for tea, praise and grumble on in the back ground and checking the results and then table on the new-fangled teletext television to see if they had updated it yet, invariably missing the hold on ¼ and having to wait for it to cycle round again. As we won I would walk to the newsagents on Chippinghouse Road and wait for the Green Un to be delivered and read it cover to cover. Then watch Match of the Day, Goals on Sunday and read all match reports and scores from the Sunday papers, to such an extent that I could tell you on Monday morning every score and probably scorer in the football league.

If we lost then it would not be much different. Only I would be so down that I wouldn’t get a Green Un and want nothing more to do with football for the rest of Saturday. My dad would get a Green Un from the club on a Saturday night and by Sunday morning, I would have come round enough to bring myself to read it, and then I’d be back, filled with optimism again for the next game. Oh how I love United, I do.

I’m not resistant to change – indeed I’m in awe at social media and the internet age and how much information we have instantly at our fingertips. However it saddens me that I was probably amongst the last generation (pre Taylor report and the internet age) to have an upbringing watching football like that. And I am really glad that I was. It is no wonder football and, specifically Sheffield United are part of my DNA. Up the Blades.
 

JJBlade

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It's not that different really

The club is still the worst run club on the planet, and it still causes fights in the stadium occasionally because of the differing opinions of those that can see it and those that refuse too.
 

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Great read that. I read it all and could see me sen on mi mind doing a lot of things that you mention. Mine might have included a few sips of the ale in Fannies though, with mi old man in attendance and the older brother tying his lace and going for a strategic piss when it was his shout at the bar. Mind you...electronic scoreboard....telling u the team news...i remember trying to find out who was playing from trying to recognise who was on the pitch at kick off time when they all lookes like 70s german porn stars with long hair and tash.
 

Bladepicker

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Great read that. I read it all and could see me sen on mi mind doing a lot of things that you mention. Mine might have included a few sips of the ale in Fannies though, with mi old man in attendance and the older brother tying his lace and going for a strategic piss when it was his shout at the bar. Mind you...electronic scoreboard....telling u the team news...i remember trying to find out who was playing from trying to recognise who was on the pitch at kick off time when they all lookes like 70s german porn stars with long hair and tash.

There was also the A to Z scoreboard which was still in use at lots of away grounds when I was younger but stopped at the Lane about 1988 I reckon?
 

sitwell

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Very similar to me but we lived at Brincliffe Edge so an extra 20 minute walk ,and a few years earlier. My Grandad made me a wooden stool to stand on , imagine getting that in a ground now ,and my Dad mumped all day about carrying it.
Bet you used to go to Michel angelos for a hair cut.
 

Bladepicker

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Michel angelos for a hair cut.

I did! Michael Angelos or Nicollo Ciccerelo on London Road. And used to get rental videos from Vegas Video on Abbeydale Road and fruit and veg from Wards. Like a different world!
 

Weasel

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There was also the A to Z scoreboard which was still in use at lots of away grounds when I was younger but stopped at the Lane about 1988 I reckon?

Remember it well. Match A on the scoreboard was always the pigs away. So if a number went on the first part of A the crowd suddenly went very happy. The other letters related to matches printed in the mqtch day program so me and mi brother always pestered the old man to buy one so that we could tell him who was winning and losing during the afternoon. We took it in turns who got possession of the program. The green un on a saturday night was always the holy grail if Utd had won. If they did i used to go for it and then when i got back the old man would swipe it off me and sit there smugly reading it from cover to cover before chucking it on the settee and getting ready to go out for a celebratory few more ales at the local, leaving his young uns to fight over the green un. He knew what he was doing and loved to see the anticipation and desperation that i had on mi face whilst waiting to get mi hands on it. My missus is like that most saturday nights mind...;)
 

sitwell

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I did! Michael Angelos or Nicollo Ciccerelo on London Road. And used to get rental videos from Vegas Video on Abbeydale Road and fruit and veg from Wards. Like a different world!
I couldn't afford Michel angelos ,plus it was full of wankers who thought they were it. I went with my Dad to Hinchcliffes at Broomhill ,proper 'something for the weekend?' type barbers. Videos from Meadowhead. Loads from our school lived round Chippinghouse though ,many friends still in touch now.
 

LYDON

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What was the name of the chip shop on London Road that the away teams, on midweek visits to BDTBL, used to order from for their post match meal on the charabanc? Above The Cremorne, about half way up on the Post Office side.
 

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Bladepicker great read! Some good nostalgia in there. My Saturday always used to involve getting the 240 into Sheffield and meeting up with the lads some a couple of years older, then a few years later some younger lads would join.

I don't remember ever arranging to meet people, unless I was going with my piggy mates (we used to go to the lane one week and the sty the next, it was amazing how many faces we'd see at both), but you saw the same faces on the bus and these became the lads we'd go with.

It was always a stroll down the moor after a trip into Warp Records. Occasionally picking up some poppers from pippys (if i got the name right). A stop in Macdonalds for bog roll, then down to Argos to pick up handfuls of the paper slips they had there, sometimes we had carrier bags full. We'd spend ages tearing them up into confetti!

Pick up a programme, then onto the kop almost as soon as the turnstiles opened

I don't remember ever going to the club shop before the match and it was always a pie at halftime

We had to move around the ground for a few years to find standing - JOHN st west and then kop corner, I lost interest for a while after we went all seater. Nowadays I'd rather not stand at a match
 

LYDON

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Chippy Dixon's? Or was that further up?

Name rings a bell, reckon they'll be a confirmation soon!

On another note and a question.

Anybody spend a great deal of time down at City Programmes on Shalesmoor?
An absolute Legend, was the mainman, Alan Scholey. His brother Pete was a/the United photographer in the 70's.
It was only open Thursday/Friday nights and Saturday mornings, unless he went away with United.
 

Bladepicker

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I couldn't afford Michel angelos ,plus it was full of wankers who thought they were it. I went with my Dad to Hinchcliffes at Broomhill ,proper 'something for the weekend?' type barbers. Videos from Meadowhead. Loads from our school lived round Chippinghouse though ,many friends still in touch now.

Ah - Hence why I used to get sent to Niccolo Ciccerelo who was a proper sweeny todd barber. What ever you asked for you came out with a American flat top!

What was the name of the chip shop on London Road that the away teams, on midweek visits to BDTBL, used to order from for their post match meal on the charabanc? Above The Cremorne, about half way up on the Post Office side.

Chippy Dixon's? Or was that further up?

I was thinking Dixons. Did good fish cakes.

We lived on South View and Chippy's I remember going to at different times (they had good and bad spells) - Club Garden Road, Dixons, Lakes on Abbeydale, Wolsley Road and when most of them shut down it ended up being Two Steps or the Abbey Friar.
 

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Ah - Hence why I used to get sent to Niccolo Ciccerelo who was a proper sweeny todd barber. What ever you asked for you came out with a American flat top!





I was thinking Dixons. Did good fish cakes.

We lived on South View and Chippy's I remember going to at different times (they had good and bad spells) - Club Garden Road, Dixons, Lakes on Abbeydale, Wolsley Road and when most of them shut down it ended up being Two Steps or the Abbey Friar.

I was looking for the Lakes chippy last week when I drove past (don't usually go on that bit as I turn up Carterknowle Road).
 

Wapping Blade

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My best memories like this are from 81-83, playing rugby for High Storrs up at Common Lane on a Saturday morning, going in the Hammer & Pincers for a pint/lunch then getting the 82 down to the Lane.
 

brownie

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I was having a good old reminisce with a friend last week about watching football as a youngster in the late 80’s/early 90’s and how much it has changed. I enjoyed our recollection so much I wrote a little piece about a typical Saturday watching United for young Bladepicker, circa about 1988/89. Have a read if you fancy – it’s a bit long, but it’s the fond memories for me that show how United became a such a massive part of my life.....

Saturday morning. School out of the way for another two days; the homework given on Friday that I fully intended to do to get ‘out of the way’ last night is now firmly lodged at the bottom of my bag with only a slim chance that this will see light of day before a last minute dash on Monday morning. An early morning sun shines into my bedroom over the rooftops of Sharrow and I am immediately filled with excitement – it’s a match day at the lane.

Breakfast is skipped for a morning lying in bed, reading the football section of the Daily Mirror that I ran downstairs to get when I heard it delivered. I read it cover to cover, absorbing every bit of knowledge about every league in England in the way my science teacher only wishes I could about Chemistry. I read the small section previewing United’s match, even though I know their predicted line up and view of our formation is bollocks; Ian Bryson up front and Agana on the wing? – are you having a laugh?

Then it’s up, a wash and downstairs as mum and dad get back in with fixed odds football coupons and Saturday lunch – always either chop suey roll or sausage and chips from the Chinese on Abbeydale Road, or a Pork Sandwich, resplendent with crackling, stuffing and dip from the butchers at the top of the road, complete with chips wrapped in newspaper from the Blades fan’s chippy on Club Garden Road. Tomato Ketchup and Henderson’s Relish a must on both, as I eat in the front room while watching first Saint and Greavsie with Division 1 goals from last week and then switching over for Grandstand and football focus.

Then I hear 2 dongs on the dining room clock, time to get ready to go; a t-shirt, a jacket and then a Blades shirt worn over my jacket for the top layer. If my brother was coming with us he would be ready to go to and invariably we would be left waiting for my dad who was making one last check of tickets, gloves, money and mints before the 15 minute walk to the lane commences. We would go past Mount Pleasant, out past the old Midland Bank which was now an Italian restaurant called Rossis and down Woodhead Road. Here you would start to see other walking too, excitedly talking about the match and what would happen, I’d be totally optimistic every week – the blissful ignorance of negativity that comes with youth – whereas others would be moaning and pondering how many we would lose by.

The smells that will always be football to me start to fill the nostrils; a heady mix of diesel, fried onions and horse shit that somehow combine into a wonderful aroma that always takes me back to the Lane every time I think of it. Past the bloke in the sun hat touting ‘Programmes one pound, come and get your match day programmes’ and down Cherry street towards the Kop, walking down the Arnold Laver side of the road cause we lost last week when walking on the ground side. Into the Kop and quickly up to get on the barrier above the middle walkway – it was pretty much filled by about 2.30 but we had our spot where we stood every week. High enough up for a 10 year old me to see as we were above the gangway, but not too far forward to have a bad view of the pitch or have to watch through the fences.

The same faces were stood around you; we would talk about your week, the midweek win/draw/loss away from home and how the game went if you or they had been. You’d not know the team in days pre mobiles and instant news, so you’d try to work out from who had what shirt/tracksuit combination on the pitch warming up as to who was starting before the teams flashed up on the scoreboard. The ground fills up, I join in with the songs but just whisper the swear words as I am next to my old man. “Oh we’ll never be mastered, by those Wednesday bastards, we’ll keep the red flag…” etc. Then the roar as the game starts.

What follows is something that for me, is something that does wane in time, constant excitement. Never as a 10 year old did I ever think it was a rubbish match, I was never bored or disillusioned as I am at times now as I always invested so much in the match, so much in United that I was constantly gripped; whether joy as we scored, disappointment as the opposition hit the net and the away fans cheer in the distance or, probably the worst emotion of the lot, the sheer nerves when you are winning by only one goal at twenty to five. My Casio watch says there are 3 minutes of normal time remaining but the whistling has started. There is no fourth official, no time added on is x minutes, only the ref knew how long to prolong the agony. Quarter to comes - “we’ve played two minutes over ref, what are you playing at?” “it’s that dickhead Roger Milford, we’ll be here till they chuffing score” I still bite my nails to this day – no prizes for guessing where I started.

Finally the whistle goes and the cheer goes up. We’ve won and the weekend is made. Players clap the Kop, I wait for the crowd to disperse as the full time results come up on the scoreboard. Wednesday lose, even bigger cheer to accompany it as it was 0 0 on some old blokes transistor radio when our game finished. Then the walk home following victory, back to my mum doing sandwiches for tea, praise and grumble on in the back ground and checking the results and then table on the new-fangled teletext television to see if they had updated it yet, invariably missing the hold on ¼ and having to wait for it to cycle round again. As we won I would walk to the newsagents on Chippinghouse Road and wait for the Green Un to be delivered and read it cover to cover. Then watch Match of the Day, Goals on Sunday and read all match reports and scores from the Sunday papers, to such an extent that I could tell you on Monday morning every score and probably scorer in the football league.

If we lost then it would not be much different. Only I would be so down that I wouldn’t get a Green Un and want nothing more to do with football for the rest of Saturday. My dad would get a Green Un from the club on a Saturday night and by Sunday morning, I would have come round enough to bring myself to read it, and then I’d be back, filled with optimism again for the next game. Oh how I love United, I do.

I’m not resistant to change – indeed I’m in awe at social media and the internet age and how much information we have instantly at our fingertips. However it saddens me that I was probably amongst the last generation (pre Taylor report and the internet age) to have an upbringing watching football like that. And I am really glad that I was. It is no wonder football and, specifically Sheffield United are part of my DNA. Up the Blades.

Sounds very very similar to my own childhood experiences. Absolutely buzzing all week about going to the match on a saturday. Between 1988 and 1990 it seemed we would win nearly every week with goals a plenty from Deane and Agana. Hours stood outside the pub whilst the adults drank inside, with loads of other kids in the same predicament and it always ended up with a game of football, usually with a discarded plastic drink boot, or crushed can being used as a makeshift football.

Sundays morning would be spent scouring the Green Un or my old mans Sunday Express, poring over the football results and reports, following by Goals On Sunday with John Helm on Yorkshire at 12.30, and then Your match at 3 on the sunday afternoon.

Proper football......
 

sitwell

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I was looking for the Lakes chippy last week when I drove past (don't usually go on that bit as I turn up Carterknowle Road).
Which one was Lakes ,don't mean Raffos do you ? Groves was the best on Abbeydale
 

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Lakes was the one on the left of Abbeydale Road going out of town between Carterknowle Road and Woodseats Road.
 

Canterbury Blade

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Call me nostalgic and stuck in my ways, but whenever I'm back for more than a night there are two places to eat.

2 Steps and Yankees.

Though the birds in Yankees now look like grand daughters, as opposed to birds you might (stress might) be able to tempt (if they had an extreme moment of weakness) to sample your wares.. Equally in the 80's remember Seb Coe sat there and then later on John Gannon. Can't quite see the current crop tucking into the half pounder chilli burger can you?

As for Two Steps that should be an English Heritage site.. Flawless in every regard. Flawless,,
 

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Name rings a bell, reckon they'll be a confirmation soon!

On another note and a question.

Anybody spend a great deal of time down at City Programmes on Shalesmoor?
An absolute Legend, was the mainman, Alan Scholey. His brother Pete was a/the United photographer in the 70's.
It was only open Thursday/Friday nights and Saturday mornings, unless he went away with United.

Long gone now mate but he was United daft. At a time when programme collecting wasn't huge he amassed an envious and enormous Blades collection and allegedly turned down a ridiculous offer to part with it (Joe Elliott?) I was quite a bit is still with the family.
As a young collector I loved hearing the old blokes reminisce down there as I blew my spending money on some programmes. They might have been the cheaper ones but they were united ones....... And they were mine
 

sitwell

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Lakes was the one on the left of Abbeydale Road going out of town between Carterknowle Road and Woodseats Road.
That was Raffos ,before it was Lakes then. Raffo was a funny old twat with a droopy eye ,legend was he spat in your chips and mixed it with vinegar if he didn't like the look of you ,Groves near Lynmouth rd was much better. Our gathering place was the carpet steps at the bottom of Abbeydale Rd ,I did a paper round for Banhams at the bottom of Carterknowle. Great days.
 

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Used to love leaving the lane and scuttling up the Moor, crowding round Wigfalls shop window watching the results. It may have been silent but you could imagine the old blokes voice on the BBC who read the results out for years.
Bus home then the newsagents. Pay up front for the green un then 20-30 blokes stood waiting for the little van to arrive. A quick snip of the string and they were dished out like confetti. It was the Saturday night bible only putting it down for match of the day
 
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Very similar to me but we lived at Brincliffe Edge so an extra 20 minute walk ,and a few years earlier. My Grandad made me a wooden stool to stand on , imagine getting that in a ground now ,and my Dad mumped all day about carrying it.
Bet you used to go to Michel angelos for a hair cut.
I did and....
I even had job there as a "blow- waver..." - wages paid for those 15p drinks at Scamps on a Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday (if you got the cheapo vouchers from going in a Satdee....(in ur lime green suit and bigflRwd collars...them wer days...)
 

LS16Blade

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Name rings a bell, reckon they'll be a confirmation soon!

On another note and a question.

Anybody spend a great deal of time down at City Programmes on Shalesmoor?
An absolute Legend, was the mainman, Alan Scholey. His brother Pete was a/the United photographer in the 70's.
It was only open Thursday/Friday nights and Saturday mornings, unless he went away with United.

I did, Lydon. Spent plenty of pocket money in City Programmes, filling in a few gaps In the home programmes collection passed down by my Dad.

Remember getting the entire 72/73 season 'Lane Line-Up' from City Programmes. Dad had a baby on the way that season,and it seems that he made the small economy of not buying a programme when he went to the match that season (...echoes of 'Up the Junction' lyrics).

Also remember picking up a few missing issues from 77/78 season, and finding that the Blade who had donated them to the shop in the first place, had also cut out the action pictures for the match in question from the next day's Star, and slipped them in the programmes. Nice bonus because the action photos in the newspaper were invariably different to the ones in the programme.
 

Wapping Blade

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That was Raffos ,before it was Lakes then. Raffo was a funny old twat with a droopy eye ,legend was he spat in your chips and mixed it with vinegar if he didn't like the look of you ,Groves near Lynmouth rd was much better. Our gathering place was the carpet steps at the bottom of Abbeydale Rd ,I did a paper round for Banhams at the bottom of Carterknowle. Great days.

I vaguely remember it being called Raffo's, will check with my mum tomorrow.
 

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