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.


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:


YouTube link:

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


What Football Is Supposed To Look Like #11 – Stadion Special I (Gallery)

We do like a good mini-series within a series here at and while compiling the latest What Football Is Supposed To Look Like special on heroic stadia of the past, it quickly became apparent that this too would be a multi-parter. Don’t expect the “best” or biggest grounds alone (or some of sort of all-time greats list), as we of course try and focus on all levels, but rather enjoy a specially prepared photo-collection (thanks as always to the original video uploaders, links at the bottom) of the features that made a few of our favourite archaic arenas legendary.

Goodison Park in the 70s, Everton vs Coventry City, Football League Division One, 26/11/1977:

65,000 in Estadio Centenario, Montevideo, watching the home side take a 2-0 lead en route to championship victory, Uruguay vs Brazil, Copa America final-1st leg, 27/10/1983:

Hebrew advertisements in Paris (and a French Adidas equipment shirt sans-Equipment logo), France vs Israel, World Cup qualifier, 13/10/1993:

The Irish Garda Band (police force) entertain the caged and walled crowd in Lansdowne Road ahead of the match, Republic of Ireland vs Northern Ireland, Euro qualifier, 20/09/1978:

Opening ceremony and away fans in Rheinstadion, Düsseldorf, ahead of West Germany vs Italy, European Championships group stage, 10/06/1988:

Dutch banners visible from space on the running track in Munich’s Olympiastadion, Netherlands vs USSR (neautral), European Championships final, 25/06/1988:

The sinister white fences of Westfalenstadion, Dortmund, West Germany vs Netherlands, friendly, 14/05/1986:

Cages around the dugout and German 80s bench fashion, Borussia Dortmund vs Schalke 04, Bundesliga, 01/12/1984:

Cars zip past on local infrastructure behind Eastville Stadium, Bristol Rovers vs Millwall, Football League Division Three, 08/05/1984:

Streamers fill the behind-goal no mans land during a famous European win for the home side (having already knocked Manchester United in the first round), Widzew Łódź vs Juventus, UEFA Cup second round-1st leg, 22/10/1980:

Classic East German scoreboard at the Bruno-Plache-Stadion, 1.FC Lokomotive Leipzig vs Bordeaux, UEFA Cup first round-2nd leg, 28/09/1983:

The weird and wonderful architecture, and police dogs, of Stadion Galgenwaard, FC Utrecht vs Ajax Amsterdam, Eredivisie, 02/03/1980:

The beauty of bare terraces in Ullevi Stadium, Gothenburg, Sweden vs England, Womens’ European Championship final-1st leg, 12/05/1984:

The strangely shaped grandstand of the aforementioned Ullevi, Gothenburg, CIS vs Netherlands (neutral), European Championships group stage, 12/06/1992:

Quintessential eastern block bowl, Nepstadion of Budapest, Hungary vs Romania, World Cup qualifier, 13/05/1981:

The inner-city dog-racing ground of Harold’s Cross, Dublin, Shelbourne vs St. Patrick’s Athletic, League of Ireland, 1987/88:

The terraces, fences, and police of the not very Olympic Olympiastadion of Club Brugge vs Royal Antwerp, Belgian First Division, 26/01/1992:

Tranway End, Dalymount Park, St. Patrick’s Athletic vs Waterford FC (neutral), FAI Cup final, 20/04/1980:

The majesty of the old Mestalla, Valencia CF vs Real Madrid, La Liga, 05/01/1986:

Scenes from a snowy De Kuip (The Tub), Feyenoord Rotterdam vs Ajax Amsterdam, Eredivisie, 07/12/1980:

A football match on a building site as renovations take place at Stadio Luigi Ferraris in preparation for Italia 90, Genoa vs Lecce, Serie B, 01/05/1988:

Antique analog scoreboard still around years after it’s time, Vojvodina Stadium, Novi Sad, Yugoslavia vs Greece, friendly, 20/09/1989:

Great aerial shot of the Mambourg stadium surrounded by city, Royal Charleroi Sporting Club vs Anderlecht, Belgian First Division, 19/04/1994:

One more eastern block bowl, Vasil Levski National Stadium (named after a Bulgarian 19th century patriot and revolutionary, as also referenced by tenant club PFC Levski Sofia), Sofia, Bulgaria vs Switzerland, Euro qualifier, 01/05/1991:

Arms and banners of Granata Ultras, Stadio Comunale Vittorio Pozzo, Torino vs Ascoli, Serie A 04/06/1989:

A sophisticated enclosure at the Constant Vanden Stock Stadium, Anderlecht vs Ballymena United, Cup Winners’ Cup first round-1st leg, 13/09/1989:

Time for athletics, Flamurtari Stadium, Albania vs Romania, Euro qualifier, 28/10/1987:


YouTube Links:

Everton vs Coventry City, 1977
Uruguay vs Brazil, 1983
France vs Israel, 1993
Republic of Ireland vs Northern Ireland, 1978 (BBC)
West Germany vs Italy, 1988
Netherlands vs USSR, 1988
West Germany vs Netherlands, 1986
Borussia Dortmund vs Schalke 04, 1984
Bristol Rovers vs Millwall, 1984
1.FC Lokomotive Leipzig vs Bordeaux, 1983
FC Utrecht vs Ajax Amsterdam, 1980
Sweden vs England, 1984
CIS vs Netherlands, 1992
Hungary vs Romania 1981
Shelbourne vs St. Patrick’s Athletic, 1987/88
Club Brugge vs Royal Antwerp, 1992
St. Patrick’s Athletic vs Waterford FC, 1980
Valencia vs Real Madrid, 1986
Feyenoord Rotterdam vs Ajax Amsterdam, 1980
Genoa vs Lecce, 1988
Bulgaria vs Switzerland, 1991
Torino vs Ascoli, 1989
Anderlecht vs Ballymena United, 1989
Albania vs Romania, 1987



Heroic Hang Jobs #6 (Gallery)

As the name suggests, this is the series where we pay homage to our favourite flag-hanging displays throughout the years, ranging from an entire end covered in colour to as little as one single banner. And of course, from any club or country. Click here for the all entries.

Catanzaro vs Bari, Serie B, 23/10/1988:

Bayern Munich vs Hamburger SV, Bundesliga, 24/04/1982:

SG Wattenscheid 09 vs Borussia Dortmund, DFB-Pokal 1st round, 11/08/1996:

East Germany vs Soviet Union, World Cup qualifier, 08/10/1989:

East Germany vs Soviet Union, World Cup qualifier, 08/10/1989:

Watford vs Chelsea, FA Cup 4th round, 01/02/1987:

Portugal vs Italy, World Cup qualifier, 24/02/1993:

Netherlands vs San Marino, World Cup qualifier, 24/03/1993:

Real Madrid vs Napoli, European Cup 1st round-1st leg, 16/09/1987 – Match played behind closed doors after crowd trouble at Real’s semi final with Bayern Munich the year before, but the banished home fans still make their presence felt through huge message-banners:
With public or without public…
“…The Real Madrid is unique.”

More time than ever…

“…Go Madrid!”

Scotland vs Faroe Islands, Euro qualifier, 14/10/1998:

Red Star Belgrade vs Portadown, Champions League 1st round-1st leg, 17/09/1991:

Portadown vs Red Star Belgrade, Champions League 1st round-2nd leg, 02/10/1991:

Sligo Rovers vs Club Brugge, Cup Winners’ Cup 2nd round-1st leg, 15/09/1994:

Sligo Rovers vs Club Brugge, Cup Winners’ Cup 2nd round-1st leg, 15/09/1994:

Mexico vs West Germany, World Cup quarter final, 21/06/1986:

Czechoslovakia vs Faroe Islands, World Cup qualifier, 23/09/1992:


YouTube links:
Catanzaro vs Bari 1988
Bayern Munich vs Hamburger SV 1982
SG Wattenscheid 09 vs Borussia Dortmund 1996
East Germany vs Soviet Union 1988
Watford vs Chelsea 1987
Portugal vs Italy 1993
Netherlands vs San Marino 1993
Real Madrid vs Napoli, 1987
Real Madrid vs Napoli, 1987
Scotland vs Faroe Islands, 1998
Red Star Belgrade vs Portadown 1991
Portadown vs Red Star Belgrade 1991
Portadown vs Red Star Belgrade 1991
Sligo Rovers vs Club Brugge 1994
Mexico vs West Germany 1986
Czechoslovakia vs Faroe Islands, 1992