The Celtic Game
I was 18 at the time. I used to work a turnstile at the Turf- you got paid (£4.50 I think), and unless you drew the short straw and had to keep open until half-time, you could go anywhere in the ground to watch the game from 20 mins after kick-off onwards.
Celtic fans had begun arriving in dribs and drabs the day before, but by the evening of the match they were there in their thousands- most of them were stupendously p*ssed and they were mean, aggressive and spoiling for a scrap.
Outside the Turf it was chaos, with no segregation between fans as the police were hopelessly outnumbered, and hundreds of Celtic fans were simply jumping over the turnstiles. By the time I'd closed up and climbed up to the top of the Beehole End, the ground was packed and there were battles everywhere- on the terraces, on the Beehole steps, outside the pie stall, behind the Longside- everywhere. The air was full of flying plastic glasses and the odd coin and real glass bottle. After a few fruitless minutes trying to find my mates and a vantage point from where I could (a) actually see the match, (b) not have to spend my time watching where the next charge was coming from, and (c) dodge the missiles, I gave up and went in the Bob Lord, standing in one of the gangways (you could get away with that sort of thing in those days). I thus had a bird's eye view of Steve Kindon's goal and the tumult which followed- and as I said above, I've never seen anything like it before or since. There was a pitch invasion which in my recollection was actually begun by the few hundred remaining Clarets in the Longside, surrounded on three sides by the barbarian hordes, realising that the game was up and it was a case of "flee, or die", with the pitch offering the only escape route. The Jocks followed, having broken down the fencing that theoretically should have separated the two sets of fans on the Longside. There was then a massive running battle on the pitch, and it was getting very nasty indeed.
All around me were Clarets and some older, but enraged Celtic fans.
"See tha' ? See tha' ?" said one. "Tha's whut happens when ye treat these guys like animals. It's no' fair. They've been on coaches all day, no' allowed to stop for a drink, or a bite tae eat, or even a pee."
A Lancashire voice said: "If they've had nowt to eat or drink all day, how come they're all p*ssed?"
And that's how the fighting spread to the Bob Lord.
Edited 2 time(s). Last edit at 04/07/2008 12:41 by CheshireExile.