Helping out at Simonside Hall

A winter scene at Simonside Hall.
A winter scene at Simonside Hall.

The Gazette’s recent picture spread of South Shields’ old football ground at Simonside Hall proved to be a winner, with lots of you coming up with some Premiership memories.

Take Richard Ord, for example, who lived just up the road from the ground.

Helping to keep the traffic moving in 1970.

Helping to keep the traffic moving in 1970.

He got in touch to say: “My first game was 1966 to see Sir Stanley Matthews play for Port Vale in a friendly.

“When I was 11-15 I painted the railings in the summer with my mate and his dad, helping get the ground ready in the close season.

“I hung out the players’ strips in the dressing rooms, sorted the trainer’s bucket and sponge and helped make the tea at half time. I got to sit in the dugout to watch the matches and take the board round the ground with the half-time scores on.

“During the week I got to watch training and also have a kick about with the players. I remember dribbling round Gerry Donoghue and taking penalties against Bert Garrow – I used to go home covered in mud.

“I also went to games with my dad and his brother and sat in the big stand and chatted to Dick Kirkup in the press box.

“Seen some massive games in the cup run in 69, culminating in the game at QPR in the 3rd round, and 15,000 for a schoolboy international v Germany. It was part of my life then, and was broken-hearted when the ground was dismantled and built on.

“Still go to all the games home and way with my mates in the Evostick League.”

Karen Ellis took to social media to recall: “Sitting in the back of that old wooden seated stand as bairns. It always seemed bleak, with a couple of hundred old men and the smell of tab. Oh I’ve seen over 100 games there and had a tear in my eye writing this post, thanks for a beautiful memory.”

Karen Ellis added: “The Gazette is a beautiful, thoughtful newspaper now, always Shields first and not afraid to listen, it’s quality, thank you.”

Sue Venus Curtis emailed: “I was brought up on Simonside Hall. I knew it had been a football ground many years before.

“Peter Dodds and his family grew up with me and my family. We were all good friends. I lived in the other four bedroom on the same side as his but at the top of the estate. And the Shottons lived in the next four bed along the top of the estate. Good memories and good friends! Doreen Pearson Mark Shotton.”

Jimmy Campbell told how he “used to sneak in under the old type wall (panelled) back in the early sixties. Brings back memories” while Joan James said: “I used to go with my dad, that was in the early 50s.”

Meanwhile, the recent snowy weather, which prompted us to dig out some winter-themed pictures also brought back memories.

Whatever your age, there’s no denying the appeal of the white stuff (provided you’re not having to drive in it, of course!)

So many of you recall making snowmen or having snowball battles in the street.

Sledging was also a big favourite.

Long before the days of shop-bought sledges, many of us used to make our own.

So long as you could get someone to make you a pair of runners from old bits of metal piping, the rest was easy – just planks of wood and some hefty string or rope to pull it.

Failing this, there was always the old favourite – the dustbin lid.

How many of you have gone sliding down a snowy hill within an bin lid?