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  1. As the thread has developed from my original post I thought I might share my earliest memory of the BBG November 1955 at the age of seven is my first memory. Remember in those days there was no such thing as football on the television. We had BBC in black and white and that was it. I was aware My Dad went to watch Derby County play. Who they were, what division they played in , why he went was all a mystery. Dad always worked on Saturday mornings and then went to the pub after finishing. Usually he would roll in about 3.00p.m and go to sleep . Occasionally though he went to a football match, and this particular day he came in about six o’ clock and put his bag on the handle inside the door as usual. Mam asked him how they had gone on and I distinctly remember him saying lost 6-1 to Boston , I must have shown some interest because that Christmas I got my very first Charles Buchan annual from my Dad. This was to become his present for me for at least the next six years. It cost 10 shillings and sixpence ( 53p) in today’s money and was always a prized possession as it was full of stories and glossy pictures of footballers. January 22cnd 1956 I got my first taste of what it was all about. Dad took me to the Baseball Ground to watch Derby play a team called Bradford City. We went by train from Burton Station , catching the 1.18p.m to Derby accompanied by two of Dad’s brothers Stan and Ken. On arrival at Derby I was led up Midland Rd. only for Dad and Stan to go into the Midland Hotel for a pint while uncle Ken took me for a walk somewhere. Sometime later having met up again we went along London Rd. turning right up Bateman St. on to Osmaston Rd. For the first time I saw a green trolley bus and was in complete awe as to how those poles coming out the roof of the bus managed to stay on the wires which hung over the road .It was here I first became aware that we were approaching our destination . People wearing black and white scarves and waving noisy rattles , a man shouting all the latest team news as he sold his newspapers and another man selling a little grey booklet called a programme. Dad bought one for 3d ( 1.5p) and gave it to me- my first of many (whatever happened to all them?). The noise and babble would have grown as we turned right into Shaftesbury St. up the slight incline and then gently down to the place where there were lots of people milling about which Dad said was the Baseball Ground. there was alweays smoke in the air from the nmerous chimneys and cigarettes. We turned left and queued to go into the Osmaston Upper stand which cost the princely sum of 4/6d (22.5p) to sit down. Through the click of the turnstile,into the building, up three flights of stairs wide enough to take six people and then at the top up a further couple of steps back into the cold January daylight. Wow ! so this is the Baseball Ground football pitch - with a diamond of rolled brown mud and four green corners all marked out with white lines the purpose of which I didn't yet understand . Looking down and around I could see the crowds coming in at the far end of what was the Popular side and making their way to their favourite standing spot under the roof which was painted with the sign OFFILERS ALES in large white letters. At the opposite end, stood a three tiered stand called the Normanton end with a small area called the boys pen under the scoreboard ,and on our right was the single tier main stand stretching the length of the pitch where the directors and rich people sat with a small terrace area in front. In the middle of that was an opening which led under the stand . This Dad said was where the players came out just before kick off at 3.00p.m. A man dressed in black and white top hat and tails walked around path on the perimeter of the pitch with his rattle . encouraging the crowd to use theirs and boys with baskets over their shoulders moved slowly along the path around the pitch selling peanuts and sweets . Of the game I can remember absolutely nothing. I know that Derby won 4-1 and 15285 people were there but that’s it. The important thing was that from that day on I was hooked and my love affair with the game of football and Derby County had begun. That programme was read from back to front over and over taking in the names of players – fixtures and results so far. I learned Derby were in the Third Division North and the league table showed me they were currently lying second. I looked on a map to see where Bradford was and also some of the other teams Derby had played. Workington, Barrow and Carlisle it all sounded very romantic. I never went to another game that season , but Derby stayed second scoring over 100 goals but just missed out on promotion (no play offs in those days) but I now had my heroes and I started to read reports of the games in the papers and cut out the pictures of the players as they appeared in print. I watched my first Cup Final in 1956 a match played between Manchester City and Birmingham City. It was i think, the only game televised that season and was memorable in that Manchester City who won 3-1 had a German ex prisoner of war called Bert Trautmann in goal. He had the misfortune to get hurt in a collision and played on holding his neck for the rest of the game (there were no substitutions in those days). Later X-rays showed that he had broken his neck. The FA Cup was the competition all footballers most wanted to win and all boys dreamed one day of playing on the hallowed turf at Wembley. The final in front of 100,000 spectators was always a tremendous occasion on the first Saturday in May at 3.00p.m. It was showed on BBC television and watched by millions. There were no prying cameras on coaches or in dressing rooms, no pundits offering inane pearls of wisdom for hours on end, no adverts to distract the viewer. The brass band played and the crowd, with supporters of both teams standing side by side with no segregation, sang Abide with Me before the teams came out to a mighty roar. The long walk from the tunnel to the half way line on a pristine pitch mowed in contrasting stripes before presentation to a Royal dignitary increased the anticipation of the fantastic game to come. And the final whistle then usually signalled the end of the football season and kids started to play cricket. That was the way it always was The following season 1956-57 I went to Derby more often, watching nine games in all. Each time Dad paid for me to sit in the Osmaston end at 4/6d per time. I would have gone to more but I think he found the extra expense a bit draining. I have very good memories of this season as Derby was now my favourite team and I started to hang on every spoken and written word about them. I had my favourite players – Jack Parry ,Tommy Powell and Geoff Barrowcliffe- when the latter did something good I can still here Dad saying Good old Barrer! I picked up the magic of the FA Cup as Derby beat Bradford City in the first round and I was able to see the goals replayed on television for the very first time but what the programme was I don’t remember at all. In the second round I saw them knocked out by New Brighton (non league) and the dreams were over for another year. Dad didn’t miss a home game that season and went to several away as well. My programme collection grew, supplemented by ones from places like Hull, Bradford and Doncaster and all read from cover to cover. Derby won the Third Division North at a canter that year setting up records that still hold today. Most team goals in a season and most goals in a season by one player (Ray Straw). One game that really sticks in the mind was against Barrow- Derby were 0-2 down at half time and for the first time I became aware of the amount of noise that could be generated by the Baseball Ground crowd as the Rams fought back to draw 3-3. It was an eye opener but fell way short of the cacophony of sound that would be created ten to fifteen years later.
  2. thanks for the replies everyone- the concensus seems to be the season we got promoted - so we had only two seasons of seating on the Pop side before we moved to Pride Park.
  3. I was asked the question today " when did the Rams install pop side seating" ?. My view was around 1994 but someone else said earlier. Can anyone answer definitively please ?.
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