When I was a youngster - and I am talking about two or three seasons some time around 1970 - I had a season ticket at Huddersfield Town. Every fortnight, my father, brother and myself went to Leeds Road to cheer on Jimmy Nicholson's "Terriers". And there was a lot to cheer about - Second Division (what's now the Championship) champions, and two seasons in the First (Premiership).
So I couldn't even think of missing today's match at the Emirates, - my son's team against the team I supported when I was his age.
And a fantastic game it was. As we walked in, there was a wall of blue and white. 5,000 Huddersfield fans had made the journey down. They outsang the home fans. And in the later part of the game, their team outplayed their rivals too.
It took Huddersfeiled about half-an-hour to settle and to lose their awe of Arsenal and the Emirates stadium. By then, they were a goal down. The Terriers' equaliser in the second half was golden. I was sitting next to my red-and-white bedecked son amid the home fans - repeatedly warned by him not to cheer the visitors. When Town scored, I beamed quietly with delight amid ranks of silent, stunned Arsenal supporters. It didn't last - Arsenal won with a Fabergas penalty in the closing minutes. But that's football.
Nice of Arsenal to put Herbert Chapman, a legendary inter-war football manager with Huddersfield and then Arsenal, on the programme cover, and on the big screen before kick-off. The Gunners know their pedigree. I seem to remember that Chapman attracted controversy by watering the pitch at half time, ostensibly to make the ground safer but more because the soft going helped his side. And at half time today, you've got it, the sprinklers were on at the Emirates. Some things don't change.
I've blogged quite a few times about Shoreditch, its Town Hall, the Arnold Circus bandstand and the Boundary Street area. Jean Locker has responded to some of my blogs, and I'm posting her comments:
The Shoreditch Town Hall was only saved from private development due a huge community effort 12 years ago. It took 3 years for the community to prove to Hackney Council that it could run the building and The Trust, made up of local people, (employing a Chief Exec and staff team) have been running it ever since.
The Friends of Arnold Circus have been ‘highlighting’ the bandstand for many years by using it for bands, summer events, educational and artistic projects. Tower Hamlets were finally forced into restoring this historic site with the input of The Friends of Arnold Circus and the work was finally completed in 2010. The events are all run by volunteers. We have a gardener and volunteers to care for the plants and keep the garden looking at its best.
Despite the nightlife and the artists that appear to give this area an appeal there is the struggle by local people to at least retain some of the historic past that made Shoreditch great. The Church, The Regenerating station (now Circus Space), Passmore Library (Kingsland Rd) now flats. The Town Hall could have gone the way of the Gainsborough Studios……..no longer in existence….. if it was not for the patience, persistence and determination of local people.
The first of an occasional series.
I walk past this wonderful Wisden tiled relief every day on my way to work.
But I'd been walking past it for years before I noticed it - while staring out from a coffee shop opposite.
A nice touch to a central London street.
But where? You may think this looks like old fashioned Tube station tiling. If so, which tube station is adjoining.
Answers as 'comments' please.
It's a Battlefield is not Graham Greene's most distinguished novel - but it is perhaps the one with the keenest sense of London. The storyline is about whether a communist bus driver, Jim Drover, should be reprieved from a death sentence awarded for stabbing a policeman at a political rally. It's set mainly in Soho and Westminster, with occasional excursions to Battersea where the Drover family live.
Wandering down Cecil Court the other day, I saw a first edition in a shop window, with a really impressive dust jacket. It showed the outline of London on a map in menacing fashion. Memorable. I popped in to enquire the price. £2,650.
It does seem that the dust jacket is much rarer than the first edition - which you can pick up at quite modest prices from second hand dealers. Indeed the dust jacket seems to be so rare, I can't find a single rendition of it on the 'net.
I have a mission - to bring you a copy of that dust jacket. Watch this space!
It was portrayed at the time as Churchill against a bunch of alien anarchists. Monday (3rd Jan) marks the centenary of the 'siege of Sidney Street' in Stepney. This was when Churchill, as home secretary, deployed the army against a group of armed robbers tracked down to a room in the East End. The gang had, the previous month, shot dead three policemen whil trying to rob a jeweller's shop in Houndsditch.
Churchill went along to Sidney Street, replete with top hat, to see for himself. Two of the armed men, Latvian revolutionaries, were founded dead in the burnt out embers of the house at 100 Sidney Street. A third man, 'Peter the Painter', disappeared - and has been the stuff of legend and conspiracy ever since.
The excellent Museum in Docklands is holding a small but very appropriate exhibition linked to the centenary. It has items related to the siege and recovered from the aftermath, and a sensitive account of the political background to the incident.
Sidney Street was commemorated in a huge number of postcards - the few years between the siege and the Easter Rising in Dublin, a similar bonanza for the postcard trade, represented the high water mark of the political postcard. There's a couple of examples below.
Anarchists were blamed for Sidney Street - largely because they were a powerful force among recent Jewish migrants settled in the East End. The anarchist club was at Jubilee Street, close by the scene of what was described as the 'battle of Stepney'. I once interviewed a then very elderly woman, born Naomi Ploschansky, who as a youngster was active in the Jubilee Street club and met the men involved in Sidney Street. They wanted her to teach them English - but her mother said there was no way that Naomi could go round to the men's rooms unchaperoned. Mum knows best!
A century on, the Observer reports - rather approvingly (26 Dec, annoyingly not available online) - 'the return of anarchy'. Whatever next.
Andrew Whitehead's blog
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