People On The Pitch #12: Blackburn Rovers away to Swindon Town, FA Cup Fourth Round, 28/01/1984

The last time we featured Blackburn Rovers it was for a match against Blackpool in 1978, also a People On The Pitch episode. In that installment it was their hosts’ fans that made it onto the grass, but for the most innocent invasion reason of all: pure joy, and it is to this theme that we once again turn. Sort of.

Background:

Going into the early 80s, Blackburn had just made it out of the Third Division, with the likes of Howard Kendall in his final playing years contributing both to promotion in 79/80 and a mid-table finish in the Second Division in 80/81.


Ewood Park celebrates a Kendall goal in the Second Division, Blackburn Rovers vs Sheffield Wednesday, March 1981.

Off the pitch, Blackburn had a hooligan presence since the mid-60, with a fan running on at Ewood Park and attacked the goalkeeper of hated rivals Burnley in 65/66. Preston North End were another fierce enemy. Local Hell’s Angels led the main mob in the late 60s, replaced by skinheads in the 70s, both contributing to the town and ground’s growing fearsome reputation.

At its height there were firms in the Darwen End, Blackburn End AND Riverside Terrace of the stadium, but by the late 70s Blackburn’s credit had cooled a bit. By this stage the casual culture was about to kick-off, however, including at Blackburn, and a new generation of hooligan in the 80s with the group “Youth.”

Swindon Town in the Fourth Division were further down the pecking order in both football and “lads”, but also had an active group in the “Swindon Town Aggro Boys” – STAB – since the 1970s. STAB and other Swindon supporters had been responsible for pelting a Wrexham goalkeeper with darts, concrete, golf balls and other missiles in 1978, while Oxford United was considered the hot local derby.


Home fans are searched outside Swindon's County Ground and it's glamorous environs, Swindon Town vs Rochdale, Division Four, January 1983.

In January 1984 Swindon and Blackburn were paired together in that seasons FA Cup fourth round, to be held at the County Ground. The former had progressed thanks to a defeat of Carlisle, with letter claiming the slightly bigger scalp of Chelsea in the last stage.

The Match:

28/01/1984, Swindon: Before going to the stadium, we get a great graphic featuring the two teams’ badges. Notable is Swindon’s amazing “traffic sign” crest, which presumably is infamous within the club:

From that to the action, with 11,143 in attendance at the County Ground in England’s southwest:

At one end is an open terrace with home supporters:

At the other is a smaller, but more densely packed and roofed terrace, housing the club’s “hardcore” support:

Along the main side, the stand is supporter by a brick structure that encompasses a small dwelling with a window:

Beside this, and behind the four policemen, is a scene which suggests the stand is currently a building site also:

But from the Swindon-Rochdale game (referenced above) over a year earlier, we can see that nothing has changed since then:

Opposite this is the sizeable Blackburn support, crammed into a section at the corner of the other grandstand:

Of course the pitch is in a satisfyingly bad state, as you would hope for:

And there are substitutions, early 80s style:

In the first half the home side score, to send open terrace behind into elation:

The lead is almost doubled after the break, triggering vintage crown heaves all over the enclosure:

But it is the visitors who score next, electrifying the traveling fans from the north:

Now we come to the reason for the inclusion of this match in People On The Pitch. As Blackburn play in a corner, keep your eyes peeled to the left for the individuals that casually appear, walking up the touchline:

Breaking Swindon hearts, the ball is headed into the goal to give Blackburn what would turn out to be the win. From the celebrations that follow around the goal, it becomes clear that the walkers are young away fans who have evidentially not been in the correct section for the game:

No doubt members of the “Youth”, some joyously make their way past the line, onto the playing surface and around the goal, as the players congratulate each other:

Keeping your eyes on the left again, ones last lad who had been left behind appears at the last second to catch up with his mates:

With a range of classic jumpers, jeans and trainers in show, the casuals frolic off into the night, and into the Fifth Round of the FA Cup:

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YouTube link:

Blackburn Rovers vs Sheffield Wednesday, 1981
Swindon Town vs Rochdale, 1983
Swindon Town vs Blackburn Rovers, 1984

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StickeRound-Up #2: Málaga Special

Previously in StickeRound-Up, this “modern” series launched with a look at ultras, hooligans and general fan stickers located close to POTPHQ. If you follow our social media pages then you’ll be aware that we were recently in Málaga, Spain, and it is from there we have compiled installment number two with pictures of every possible sticker in the city (well, there was one exception – MK Dons).

Werder Bremen:

AIK, Sol Invictus:

FC Viktoria Plzeň:

AIK:

Hertha BSC, HauptstadtmafiaKarlsruhe SC, Wildboys, and Pyro On The Pitch:

Shelbourne FC and Hannover 96:
1. FC Kaiserslautern:
Arka Gdynia; IFK Göteborg, Supras; Allerta Fedayn:
SC Austria Lustenau and Paris St. Germain, PSG Malaka:
Hertha BSC, Hauptstadtmafia:
PEC Zwolle, Zwolle Hooligans:
Eintracht Frankfurt, Droogs 20 years, and Marseille:
Śląsk Wrocław:
1. FC Magdeburg:
Eintracht Frankfurt, Droogs:
Paris St. Germain, Independants VA91:
AIK, Norra Ståplats (Northern Stand) and AS Roma:
AC Perugia:
SG Dynamo Dresden:
Rot Weiss Ahlen, Werse Stadt:
Chelsea FC:
AIK covering Djurgårdens IF:
Śląsk Wrocław:
FC St. Pauli, Hinchas:
Switzerand:
Eintracht Frankfurt, Droogs:
Pyro On The Pitch and FC Sion:
Legia Warsaw:
IH Samurai Iserlohn (ice hockey), Ultras Iserlohn:
iserlohn
At Estadion La Roselada, FC Utrecht; Tranmere Rovers; Malaga; Shelbourne; West Bromich Albion; Crystal Palace, among others:
Hamburger SV:
Austria Salzburg, Tough Guys:
Spartak Moscow covering CSKA Sofia, Ultras; ???; Arka Gdynia:
FC Zürich, Bulldogs, and Tranmere Rovers, Planet Prentonia:
Eintracht Frankfurt, Droogs:
Atlético Madrid:
Coventry City:
1. FC Union Berlin covering FC Basel:
Eintracht Frankfurt:
AIK:
Hamburger SV, Burghem Blues:
Pyro On The Pitch and Shelbourne:
RC Lens, Youth Lens:
Austria Salzburg:
IFK Göteborg:
Marseille:
Eintacht Frankfurt, Droogs:
Paris St. Germain, Nautecia Paris, and RC Lens, Youth Lens:
Paris St. Germain, PSG Malaka:
Real Madrid:
CSKA Sofia, Hooligans Army, and Paris St. Germain, PSG Malaka:
psg-malaka-cska-sofia
Standard Liège, Ultras Inferno:
Swindon Town:
Brescia:
FC Copenhagen:
Nissa FC:
Eintracht Frankfurt:
CD Castellón, Frente Orellut:
Glasgow Celtic:
Marseille:
AIK:

FC Barcelona, Maresme Crew:

Antifa Casuals:
Ipswich Town:
Lecco, Ultras Lecco Ovunque (Everywhere):
Standard Liège, Ultras Inferno:
Wacker Innsbruck, Verrückte Köpfe (Crazy Heads):
UC Ceares, Metro Troop:
??? covering Hansa Rostock:
Red Star Belgrade:
Willem II:
Silkeborg IF:

Eintracht Frankfurt, Droogs:
AIK:
Eintracht Frankfurt, Ultras:
FC United of Manchester:
Örebro SK:
 

Eintracht Frankfurt:
Spartak Moscow:
BFC Dynamo, East Company Ultras:
RC Lens, Youth Lens:
Love Football, Hate Racism:
Willem II:
Paris St. Germain, Nautecia:
Extremadura UD:
FC Cartagena, Black and White Army:
Bradford City:
Marseille:
???:
FC Sion, Red Tigers:
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Football Special Report #10 – Early Modern Part 3: Stadium Disasters (Shelbourne Fanzine Special/Preview)

For the fifth time, Pyro On The Pitch has adorned the pages of the illustrious Red Inc. – the longest running fanzine in the League of Ireland, produced by the supporter group Reds Independent of Shelbourne FC. Click here for our now-online debut in RI, with a Shels-focused installment of Pyro On The Pitch (the series), and here for our second outing where Retro Shirt Reviews breaks down some amazing Auld Reds’s kits from the late 70s to the early 90s.

In Early Modern #1, which you can now also find online by clicking here, we looked at the “early modern” periods of certain well known kit features. For part 2 (soon to appear online), we turned our attention to the fascinating, cross-pollinating worlds of hooligans and ultras, and the origins of these fan cultures. And in the latest issue, RI67 – September 2019 edition, the grim subject of stadium disasters (leading up to the most famous ones in the 80s) gets a look.

For now, here is a small extract, some preview pics (not featuring images in the article itself out of respect for the dead) plus the brilliant front and back covers of the fanzine.

As football grounds with bad reputations go, Glasgow Rangers’ Ibrox in particular stands out as having a particularly dark history. The “curse” even stretches back before the first iteration of the current Ibrox Stadium, to the original, smaller Ibrox Park that existed from 1887-1899. Having already struggled to accommodate 30,000 that showed up for the 1892 Scottish Cup final, two weeks later a stand collapsed in the venue during a Scotland vs England international resulting in the deaths of two spectators.

There were also problems of another sort the following year for the 1893 cup final, when the match had to be abandoned and replayed due to the poor quality of the pitch. With the building of the superior Celtic Park in 1892, which would soon be the preferred hosting facility internationals and cup finals, combined with an inability to expand Ibrox in it’s current location, Rangers took out a lease on an adjacent plot of land and set about constructing a new and improved stadium to take them across the turn of the century.

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