Ninian Park Characters

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Jimmytaff

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I was being ironic but, in reality, he'd be about early to mid 70's now. He used to go running in Eric Morecambe shorts, an old vest, and daps.
I remember he always used to wear a really old city shirt [from the early / mid 80s 10/15 years after the team wore it. Think it was the Influence one with thin stripes. Wore that, shorts and daps everywhere. Used to have massive calves.
 

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Can anyone remember a steward with white hair like Kavanagh? What a jobsworth he was.

We played against Shrewsbury on Boxing Day 1998. It was hammering down this day, and it was before we were given seats and seat numbers. We got there late, and the only seats left on the Bob Bank were right down the front under the guttering. The Canton End was half empty. White Hair Steward opens the Canton End gate and fans start leaving the Bob Bank and heading over to the Canton. I'd only been in the Canton as a 4 year old, and I was getting drenched, so I went down too.

Just as I got there, he closed the gate. There were still seats. I asked if I could go in. No he said. I said but there are still seats there, and the Bob is full. No, safety won't allow it. But, you just let in a load of fans. No I didn't he said. I saw you. No, I didn't let any fans in. I ended up back in the Bob Bank, sat under the guttering, and the zip on my coat had got stuck so it was half open.

Had a long walk back to the car, absolutely drenched that day.
 

Jimmytaff

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Can anyone remember a steward with white hair like Kavanagh? What a jobsworth he was.

We played against Shrewsbury on Boxing Day 1998. It was hammering down this day, and it was before we were given seats and seat numbers. We got there late, and the only seats left on the Bob Bank were right down the front under the guttering. The Canton End was half empty. White Hair Steward opens the Canton End gate and fans start leaving the Bob Bank and heading over to the Canton. I'd only been in the Canton as a 4 year old, and I was getting drenched, so I went down too.

Just as I got there, he closed the gate. There were still seats. I asked if I could go in. No he said. I said but there are still seats there, and the Bob is full. No, safety won't allow it. But, you just let in a load of fans. No I didn't he said. I saw you. No, I didn't let any fans in. I ended up back in the Bob Bank, sat under the guttering, and the zip on my coat had got stuck so it was half open.

Had a long walk back to the car, absolutely drenched that day.
He was alright. I used to sell match day draw tickets and get free entry and he'd often be the one sorting out. Nice enough but got the impression he thought he was a tough nut despite not being particularly big. Haven't seen him for a while but has been with the club a long time.
 

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He was alright. I used to sell match day draw tickets and get free entry and he'd often be the one sorting out. Nice enough but got the impression he thought he was a tough nut despite not being particularly big. Haven't seen him for a while but has been with the club a long time.

I haven't been down for years, but can't remember seeing him at the new stadium.

I used to like the short black steward though, he was quite funny. I talked to him when the Jehovah's Witnesses were using NP for a conference, he was over the moon at the extra shifts.
 

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I haven't been down for years, but can't remember seeing him at the new stadium.

I used to like the short black steward though, he was quite funny. I talked to him when the Jehovah's Witnesses were using NP for a conference, he was over the moon at the extra shifts.
Aye, he was a nice lad. I also remember a husband and wife who I'm pretty sure were terrible stewards though they were very nice people.

The stewards these days are generally awful so thankfully our fans are much better behaved. Boys scared to say boo to a goose or dumpy women. Not many of them any use if there was mass misbehaviour.
 

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Aye, he was a nice lad. I also remember a husband and wife who I'm pretty sure were terrible stewards though they were very nice people.

The stewards these days are generally awful so thankfully our fans are much better behaved. Boys scared to say boo to a goose or dumpy women. Not many of them any use if there was mass misbehaviour.

I remember one lady steward. She was nice, but one day we got there late and parked in the car park. She came along and told us we had to move because Peter Ridsdale's son was going to park there. My father couldn't walk very far, and I explained this to her and pointed out that Ridsdale's son could probably walk fine. I also pointed out we spent £100 on the parking ticket and had Ridsdale's son paid anything. She burst into tears, mainly because one of the stewards had died that week. I felt a bit bad, but told her we weren't moving for anyone, and we got out of the car and went to the game. Next time I saw her I apologised, said it was not anything personal but I was annoyed that the club were getting her to do that job and it wasn't fair on her. She was absolutely fine but I still cringe when I think of it.
 

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Can anyone remember a steward with white hair like Kavanagh? What a jobsworth he was.

We played against Shrewsbury on Boxing Day 1998. It was hammering down this day, and it was before we were given seats and seat numbers. We got there late, and the only seats left on the Bob Bank were right down the front under the guttering. The Canton End was half empty. White Hair Steward opens the Canton End gate and fans start leaving the Bob Bank and heading over to the Canton. I'd only been in the Canton as a 4 year old, and I was getting drenched, so I went down too.

Just as I got there, he closed the gate. There were still seats. I asked if I could go in. No he said. I said but there are still seats there, and the Bob is full. No, safety won't allow it. But, you just let in a load of fans. No I didn't he said. I saw you. No, I didn't let any fans in. I ended up back in the Bob Bank, sat under the guttering, and the zip on my coat had got stuck so it was half open.

Had a long walk back to the car, absolutely drenched that day.

Ravanelli?
 

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This chap I remember from the seventies....usually wore a toy policeman's helmet.
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His name was Terry. As has been said already a small plastic policeman’s helmet was his usual headwear. He lived in accommodation in Ely. He was a very gentle individual and, at times, was subject to some terrible abuse. The stories of the police looking out for him are true. They would pick him up and give him a lift home. I remember working on the gate at the Searchlight Tattoo at the Castle (that dates me) and he would come and stand with us and tell us how he liked going down the City and chat very aimiably. The police on duty that day knew him and would say hello. One of life’s innocents.
 
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Also, the short black guy is called Keith. He'd worked with a mate of mine so we always stopped for a chat.

The tall steward who'd been down there for years who died and was mentioned above was Jeff but I can't think of his surname. Turns out he was the father of someone I knew a while back and so I went to his funeral and the wake at Ninian Park.
 

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Can anyone remember a steward with white hair like Kavanagh? What a jobsworth he was.

We played against Shrewsbury on Boxing Day 1998. It was hammering down this day, and it was before we were given seats and seat numbers. We got there late, and the only seats left on the Bob Bank were right down the front under the guttering. The Canton End was half empty. White Hair Steward opens the Canton End gate and fans start leaving the Bob Bank and heading over to the Canton. I'd only been in the Canton as a 4 year old, and I was getting drenched, so I went down too.

Just as I got there, he closed the gate. There were still seats. I asked if I could go in. No he said. I said but there are still seats there, and the Bob is full. No, safety won't allow it. But, you just let in a load of fans. No I didn't he said. I saw you. No, I didn't let any fans in. I ended up back in the Bob Bank, sat under the guttering, and the zip on my coat had got stuck so it was half open.

Had a long walk back to the car, absolutely drenched that day.

I was on the then open Grange end that day, drenched I was :hehe:
 

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Everytime one of these back in time threads comes up it takes me to a post I read by a Man Utd fan years ago. His report on a story I was part of, but his version is much more entertaining than anything I could write.

Written by The Cockney Reds

I remember arriving from Paddington (see we had plenty of Cockney followers in those crap Div.2 days.) I was just a schoolboy and although I'd been to plenty of games at Old Trafford with my old fella I'd only been to a few tame aways at the time.

The Cardiff game was unlike anything I think I have ever seen before or since. We expected an 'interesting' day to say the least but nothing prepared 2 spotty kids for an afternoon of absolute mayhem, the likes of which, (I'm sure anyone who was there will heartily agree) has never been seen since, with perhaps the exception of Luton v Millwall or other such ground-breaking occasions.

United fans were largely untouchable in those days, sheer weight of numbers plus a ferocious bravado that wouldn't allow them to back down from any resistance, even the southern counterparts - Chelsea, West Ham and to some extent Millwall were still lagging behind in both exploits and organisation.

So it was with that air of self confidence we alighted the station. "Manchester la la la" rang out all around as we sauntered and swaggered our way towards Ninian Park, our Summer Holiday homework problems left aside as we strutted our stuff with the big boys, the exhiliration of being surrounded by 100 or so ' grown men' of 18!

There we spotted a group of about 100 lads. A cheer went up, these were more of our own we assumed. To this day I'll never forget the scene. A handful of our 'comrades' from across the road ambled over, a reuniting embrace was no doubt to follow as these old friends joined the throng. Suddenly I noticed the crazed grin on the face of the approaching stranger and even with my limited knowledge of Football away trips, I had a feeling all was not well.

Our mate with the mental mug simply smashed his fist into the face of one of our lads. "Bloody hell, they're Cardiff bastards" came the cry. The lone assailant then began wading in to at least ten of the United group, bodies were going down all around. His 99 or so mates did very little to assist this lone kamikaze mission - either they were terrified of the situation or maybe knew his capabilities. Maybe this was Frank the Legend from the newspaper stories on this board - perhaps Bluebirds on here will enlighten me.

Finally, the two groups snapped out of their frozen apathy and charged into each other with a manic relish. Now when people say 200 fans were fighting 'toe-to-toe' they usually mean half a dozen at most, with the rest milling about looking stupid, but this was as it sounded, with scenes reminiscent of a gargantuan scale WWF tag match.

My friend and I stood there dumbstruck. It was over 25 years ago and I would love to have been able to recall how I joined in the scene of carnage, downing all-comers, but as a young boy I was horror-stricken and frozen with terror. I remember one Policeman ambling by and peering round the corner to see what all the noise was. He took one look at the scene and carried on walking. Classic!

By this time most of our group had been split into small factions and the walk to the ground was quite simply a journey into some apocyliptic nightmare. It was as if my mate and I had just emerged from the Tardis into some post-nuclear wasteland. Yet there was no Jon Pertwee to close those bloody Police-Box doors and I guess most of the Coppers would have been in there hiding if he could have!

On every street corner the sight were the same, people scurrying around in all directions, I saw one outlandish figure - a United fan in a white boiler-suit and black bowler hat giving out instructions looking like an extra from A Clockwork Orange. All around were cries of "here they are" "don't run" "I've got one". A whirl of confusion, a tidal wave of thundering red Doctor Marten boots and tartan scarves.

We arrived outside the ground and met up again with some faces from the train. Some looked dazed and confused, others bloodied but belligerent. "See this", said one half-caste Londoner with a bloody nose. "The next Taff I see, I'm going to give him three of these." We all laughed loudly at the ridiculous statement, though from some of the characters I had seen at the Station encounter, a guy with three noses was highly likely.

With about an hour to go before kick-off we decided to opt for some sustainance to re-fuel our adrenalin loss. A pink, undercooked 'Spamburger' did the trick for 30p. We started queing at the rather oddly named 'Bob-Bank' whatever that was. Suddenly a group of Reds walked past us, full of contempt that we were planning to go into our own end. "Not in here you arseholes, it's all down "The Grange". Intimidated by their ridicule we followed our heroes and paid in at the "Grange".

As we prepared to pay our (70p was it) I noticed some of the lads around us were tying their scarves around their waists out of sight. I now realised that occupying the home end was more of a military operation than a consumer choice.

We gathered "inconspicuosly" at a point close to the fence which had a huge no-man's land separating the rival fans. Insults were traded for half an hour, a few blood curdling screams of bravado followed by a couple of half-hearted charges by either side at the fence. A fat Cardiff fan with a scarf round his wrist, and tomato sauce stains around his chin, shouted something indistinguishable and launced a wooden stake, like a mini telegraph pole into the baying United mob.

A few cheers rang out as it hit an unseen target. Instantly a piece of concrete was hurled into the Cardiff boys to my right and I could see a small group of people huddled round a fallen comrade. The reality that someone really could die here today (possibly even me) hit home, and I wondered how my parent's would react if they knew that I wasn't actually on the 'day trip to Barry Island' that I was supposed to be on with my mate's 'caring Dad'.

As if it wasn't bad enough, things were about to take a turn for the worse. A small group of Bluebirds began to take an unhealthy interest in the dozen or so lads to their left (us). One hideous freak with a severely scarred face wandered over. "Not singing boys? We all sing in here, you're all a bit quiet today. You are all 'Care-diff ' I hope". My heart sank. Rumbled, and we knew they weren't going to go away now their suspicions were aroused.

The scout ambled back to the main group to report his findings. After a brief chin-wag amongst themselves, three or four more came over for an 'interview'. The "Head of Personnel" was none other than the fearsome one-man war machine we had seen in action near the station. I wanted to cry and explain that I had a note from my Mum that said on no account was I to have my head kicked in as I had a cold.

I guess that a rat, when cornered, will strike out and I found that I was surrounded by a few heavy-duty rodents. "You want a song do you?" piped up a ginger-haired Northerner. "Yooooh-niiiiii-ted" he bellowed in a slow ponderous scream like Hitler addressing the Nuremberg Rally.

That was the signal for all out attack. The dozen or so infiltrators charged upwards at the massed ranks of blue-scarved savages in a suicidal attack. Fists flew and a sea parted between the fans as the visitors gained some amazing ground. I cowered behind a mouth-foaming long-haired Red with the most enormous baggy trousers I have ever seen, confidant that they wouldn't see me behind the expanse of bottle green material. The very trousers that must have inspired Suggs' Madness hit some years later.

Suddenly the 'Red Sea' in front of me became just a pond, as the Cardiff boys realised the small numbers involved in the kamikaze charge. Then it dried up like a Midsummer's day in the Serengetti as the United boys were now charging back down the same stairs that they had scaled so heroically a few moments earlier.

I just wanted the concrete to open up and swallow me, yet most of the concrete in Ninian Park was of the airborne variety. It was now clear that we were in serious trouble and we seized the chance to make for a gap in the faltering fencing, weakened by numerous charges. We raced towards the safety of our fellow fans, who, to our horror, on seeing the onrushing mob charged into us, and a number of fists flew before our identity was established.

We were then welcomed like a band of soldiers returning from a daring mission behind enemy lines, which I guess it had been. I was by now feeling almost traumatised, as huge lumps of brick, concrete and wood were flying over from both sides, the Police were desparately trying to contain the two fearsome mobs who charged continually at the horror-stricken thin blue line and at several points it looked as though the fence would give way.

As a veteran of away trips at home and abroad throughout the 70's, 80's and to a lesser extent the 21st Century, I can honestly say I couldn't imagine the carnage that would have taken place had that wilting police line given way on that day.

Mercifully it held, and despite sickening chants of "Munich" and occasionally even "Aberfan" and about enough flying ballast to build a high-rise block, the body count was surprisingly low. People were being carried out from both side on stretchers, many with horrifying head wounds, struggling yobs were being plucked from both ranks by those Policemen plucky enough to try. Others were met with a volley of missiles and feet.

Every so often a small group of United fans would emerge in the home section and the same scenario would be played out - a suicidal charge followed by submersion beneath a frenzy of kicks, stamps and punches.

By now, I had retreated to the safety of a piece of grass next to the stinking cesspit of that passed for the "Gentleman's Toilets". Still numb with the day's events and relieved to know I definitely wasn't dead, I rested against a small wall. A small group of boys made their way past, having just come through the turnstiles. Latecomers, they've missed all the action, I thought. Suddenly I recognised one of the faces. Missed the action? They were the action!

That same horrible mush, that messed-up mug. It was our old friend the Welsh war-machine. He was now amongst us! Totally un-noticed he made his way to the top of the stairs. I wanted to scream, to yell pantomime style "he's behind you!" but to no avail.

Without even a glance to ensure his six mates were in tow, he just proceeded to steam into all and sundry, a whirling, devastating threshing machine that took about a dozen boys to suppress. Even then he seemed to be unscathed, just made his point and then made a sensible but dignified retreat. To this day I wonder who he was and just what kind of legend he was around Grangetown or the like.

The match was played out in a kind of surreal haze, and on the final whistle, both sides burst from the terraces into the street where ingenious Police plans ensured the two armies took separate routes home and were kept apart for all of two minutes.

Just as before, during the game, it had seemed that I had an awful knack of arriving just as major disorder was breaking out, so it was to be the pattern on the journey back to the station.

Sporadic bottles and missiles flew but no major incidents occurred until the station was in sight. Suddenly this was to be the major convergence of both main mobs, and hundreds of Cardiff and Manchester boys tore into each other. There was none of this poofy bouncing about of the modern 'offs' as they became known. No pushing the bloke in front of you into action in order to hide behind him. Just a demented, almost surreal, spontaneous orgy of physical butchery, where everybody seemed to know their role.

I have to say that I have rarely seen violent disorder on that scale in any walk of life since and I when I finally reached the safety of the London-bound train I mused to myself as to whether any mentally stable people did actually attend Football matches in 1974. It then occurred to me that amidst all the carnage, I didn't even know who won - the game had become completely immaterial. 1-0 to United, someone advised us - it seemed that most of those at the Station didn't know either as it transpired.

Manchester United fans continued their status as a fearsome football gang, but whereas so few modern 'hoolie' books ever actually tell the truth where opponent's successes are concerned, they had certainly met their match that day.

The sheer frenzied hatred of the Cardiff City fans as they came head to head with England's largest hooligan gang on that day was something to tell my grandchildren (if I ever have any) about.

In subsequent years the two clubs fortunes varied drastically, Cardiff were destined for a lifetime in the lower leagues, United eventually found domestic and European glory, but they were both top of the league on that August day.

The clubs' fans have had a varied history since. Cardiff evolved (maybe from that
encounter) into one of the most notorious hooligan gangs, a stigma or accolade (depending on your viewpoint) that they hold to this day. United meanwhile have sadly been all but swallowed up by Corporate greed, their fans so often, and highly unfairly pilloried as prawn-munching replica shirt wearers from Singapore, (thanks to the incessant and somewhat successful PR campaign over the last 10 years chiefly from Manchester City's propaganda machine) yet even in those glory-less years, their nationwide support was unrivalled, highlighted on that day by a train full of 500 beer-swilling psychopaths heading back to Paddington.

So when newcomers to the game think that out-of-town Reds are a modern phenomenon created by success, I would laugh in their faces and know at an instant that they themselves are actually the very new-wave fans that they profess to despise. Whereas any clued-up match-going rivals who have been around longer than just the day after "Three Lions" made the charts will know the score.

Post Euro 96 nouveau fans brought up on a diet of Fantasy Football, 606 phone-ins, Helen Chamberlain, Baddiel and Skinner wouldn't recognise the Manchester United of 1974, yet if one wanders around Salford, or the City Centre on matchday, especially when the likes of Leeds, Liverpool or Chelsea are due then anyone expecting to glimpse the stereotypical image of a United fan would be highly mistaken. Similarly United away games are beginning to see a return to the 'active' followings of yesteryear, unrecognisable from the image portrayed by the type of United fan we all know, the office gimp who has 15 replica shirts but has never been to Old Trafford.

Cardiff fans continue to wreak havoc around the country, and unlike United have never had an alternative image to have to shake off. Cardiff still know how to offer visiting fans that unique "welcome in the hillside" but I doubt that anything would ever come close to that day in 1974. I doubt if anything could!

Awful days, etched on my mind with a kind of fondness usually only reserved for cold school showers, or a kiss from an ugly Aunt - yet strangely wonderful times, at the time it was an experience to chill the bones, yet I wouldn't have missed it for the world.

When I finally returned home, unscathed, well at least physically, my Mum asked me if I had had a nice time in Wales. (Imagining her little boy splashing around in the sea or acting the buffoon in the sand.) I said it had been 'an interesting day'. "Did you bring back any rock?" she asked. I thought back to the flying concrete at Ninian Park a few hours earlier. "No, sorry" I replied, "There's was plenty around but nothing I liked the look of." "Never mind" said Mum, "as long as you've enjoyed yourself" she said. I had been chased, spat at, terrified, traumatised, seen men knocked unconscious and kicked senseless - yet she was right... I had!

From that day on, like many Cardiff fans too, I'm sure, I was hooked, and followed United all over from that day on for over a quarter of a century. It's a funny kind of logic, but in a way, although I reviled those 70's days of lawlessness and abject violence and terror, and although it's best that they are consigned to history, I can't tell you how very glad I was that I was there. With fond memories to both Reds and Bluebirds.
Had this tab saved since you posted it and only just got around to reading it, great stuff :thumbup:
 

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The bloke with muttln chopsand the bike you're talking about is John Reynolds. He has a house on Wedtern Avenue that was left to him. I used to watch City training in the school holidays in about the 1890's and his hair 'style'was the same then - big sideboards in school. I've know him for years and he was s ball boy for Inter Cardiff in his late 50's - I don't think he pays to get in anywhere. Amused me when visiting teams would arrive at the Ninian gates and some would be saying Hello Nohn as they got off the bus.
When I was with a Welsh Premier/League team, if we wanted to tap a llayer up, John would somehow get their phone number!

I saw him last week and he was nursing an arm in plaster.

Get well soon Chops!

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Just heard this morning that Dai (Rav) has passed away. RIP Bluebird.

1631788568692.png
 

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Just heard this morning that Dai (Rav) has passed away. RIP Bluebird.

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Blydi hell, I'm a bit gutted about that which is a bit silly really. There were rumours that he was the one shoulder charged by that idiot invading the pitch too early in our promotion game but I believe they were unfounded.

RIP Rav
 

BSP

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Was mentioned at the Wales game that he was unwell. Really sad news. Probably one of the most well known people at the city, Everyone new who Ravanelli was.

RIP Rav
 
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