"the catering (Oh Jesus!)"
This made me chuckle so much that I joined the site so I could add my memories of Maine Road.
Firstly, the reason for the chuckle... My mum, Jean Ellis (and sometimes my dad, Bob), was responsible for 'the catering'. Both my parents worked for a company called Stadia Catering (owned by Peter Coates who is now the owner of Stoke). On and off throughout the 70's my mum was the catering manager at Maine Road (at other times, Preston North End and Blackburn Rovers). Every other Saturday for me and my sister consisted of getting up at stupid o'clock to be at the ground many hours before the fans to help 'stock up' (by god but the memories are flooding back at the moment). We were also there a few hours after the match to bring the stock back to the stock rooms, because we sure as hell didn't leave beer in those little octagonal bars behind the Kippax. Then it was another hour or so to drive back to Lowton where we lived. Not exactly a typical Saturday for a kid.
I remember the North (New) stand being built and me being given the responsibility, during match time, of keeping the bars in that stand stocked. I remember having my first teenage crush on one of the girls that worked there. She was much older than me and not interested. Her name is on the tip of my tongue, which was the closest it ever got to her. She must be in her 60's now; jeez! Anne, something. I'm sure her surname was also a bloke's first name... And no, it wasn't Anne Frank.
Nicking all the pull chains from the bogs in the Kippax - just don't ask me why.
That joke shop opposite the Main Stand - Did that become the souvenir shop?
Being fascinated by the brand new electric scoreboard.
A testimonial match in which Bert Trautmann played and was still amazing.
Those slots at the ends of the advertising boards where the half time scores from the rest of the division were put.
Joe Corrigan waving back at me and a load of fans as he walked back to his net, only to realise why we were waving and shouting so frantically when the ball went past him into the net - Did he really end up playing for England?
My uncles constantly having to drown baby rats found in nests in the cash drawers.
David Cassidy playing one of the first ever UK stadium concerts, with Showaddywaddy as support. Damn but I was popular with the girls at school leading up to that.
Huge single teabags replacing loose tea in the urns, then they themselves being replaced by the revolutionary, and revolting, Maxpax cups with dried tea, coffee, or Bovril in them. Just add water.
Pie heaters... Oh, and the meat and tattie pies of course. A Bovril, a pie, and a Wagon Wheel and one was set up for the match.
My little sister and I not being allowed back into the ground on a reserve match by some officious little Jobsworth, despite him knowing exactly who we were. We had to pay 2p to get in. I remember my mum going ballistic on the little twit.
Behind the deserted Kippax early one morning and a bunch of local kids suddenly climbing over the wall. We waited till we felt we were far enough away then shouted 'we're telling our mum on you' and running like hell.
Being allowed to sit on one of those huge police horses and nearly having an inadvertent sex-change.
Watching the same police horse climbing up that embankment behind the Kippax (or was it Platt Lane) and scattering some 'nuisance causers'.
George Best being advertised as appearing at every single testimonial, and failing to turn up to every single testimonial.
The Red Devils parachutists being advertised to land on the pitch at every single testimonial, and the Red Arrows parachutists having to call it off due to high winds at every single testimonial.
Being told off by Stan Gibson, the head groundsman, for 'mooching' amongst the seating after a match. Apparently any dropped money was going to be his perk.
Those three huge flights of stairs in the main stand up which we had to carry all the deliveries to 'Bar 1'. Behind bar 1 was the nerve centre of the whole operation. We must have had calves like Sergio back then.
Ok, I can hear you all shouting 'stop already!'
There must be a thousand other memories I could bore you with, but I'll stop now. Yeah, Maine Road was ramshackled and times do and must change, and I don't even know if 'sad' is how I feel about it going; but I am glad I had my time there. Although, as I recall, back then I'd have much rather stayed at home and watch Swap Shop.
I loved reading this post.
When it comes to rats in the drawers and crisp boxes though, maybe it was time to move on.