Only the Strong Survived: Remembering the Brutal Boys’ Pen at Goodison Park in the 1960s

11/05/2023 63comments  |  Jump to last

Paul McParlan recounts his harrowing brush with the infamous enclosure by the Gwladys Street End, a relic of a bygone age but a reflection of the socio-economic tapestry of Liverpool at the time

» Read the full article at These Football Times

Reader Comments (63)

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Dermot O'Brien
1 Posted 12/05/2023 at 08:02:52
Tough times indeed - a very good article. I'm surprised Bill hasn't written something like this before.
Mike Hayes
2 Posted 12/05/2023 at 08:47:03
Dermot O’Brien - did they have a boys pen at analfield 🤷
John Keating
3 Posted 12/05/2023 at 08:50:58
Had a good laugh reading Paul's piece, brought back so many memories.
Have to say coming from Everton and still living there after most of the City had moved out to the "posh" areas maybe the Pen lads could tell by your appearance you were "OK" so personally never had any trouble - though saw lots!
I was never a regular in the Pen. Me and my dad would start off at the Brown Cow at the end of Greatie and he'd stop at almost every pub on the way to Goodison - and there were hundreds!
Depending on how much money he had when we reached Goodison determined whether I went into Goodison Road or the Pen!
Surprisingly, even though he was so skint I'd have to go in the Pen he always seemed to have enough money to stop at every alehouse on the was home!
Russelll Smith
4 Posted 12/05/2023 at 08:54:57
I used to go in the boys pen with my best mate at the time Gerard Vann (sadly lost to us at a very early age) He was a red. The following week I would go in the pen at Anfield with him. Despite this unusual set-up neither of us wavered on who we really supported. Neither of us were “hard” but we had enough streetwise sense to keep away from most of the trouble that kicked off in both grounds every week, but we did witness every one of the tales recounted above.
The single policeman just watched the game while mayhem was going on all around. Regardless it was still the start of my Everton passion. Never saw Bill in there though!!!!
One other thing I remember from that time (after we had evolved into full season ticket holders) was the first mid-week derby. We both skipped the last lessons at school to get to the ground as the gates opened. Ged was stood in the middle of the kop shouting “Liverpool Liverpool” and I was in the Anfield Road End shouting “Everton Everton” back at him. A 1-1 draw in pissing rain. Great memories
Dermot O'Brien
5 Posted 12/05/2023 at 09:05:47
Mike, Bill's version would have him knocking out a few bigger lads and saving some smaller ones, or pawning his bike to pay for some poorer kids to get in.
Peter Carpenter
6 Posted 12/05/2023 at 09:10:03
Great article. Was it really still there as late as 1977? I thought it had gone long before that. Thankfully, I was never put in it. Can't imagine the teary-eyed thespian being in there either.
John Raftery
7 Posted 12/05/2023 at 09:19:11
My only appearance in the Boys Pen was for the 5-4 game v West Brom in 1966. Never again. There were more fights than in a full bill at the Liverpool Stadium. I think the Pen must have nurtured many of our most notorious hooligans of that era.
Alan McGuffog
8 Posted 12/05/2023 at 09:25:28
I remember standing in the Street End when if it were a quietish atmosphere, the Pen would strike up a chant or song. Was just like the Vienna Boys Choir. Or maybe not.
Peter Carpenter
9 Posted 12/05/2023 at 09:27:55
Dermot, then he organised a half-time cabaret and was carried out by the hordes of cheering, happy, admiring boys at the end.
Brian Harrison
10 Posted 12/05/2023 at 09:31:43
I first went in the boys pen for my only time in about 1956/57 and it was full of kids not interested in football just running round like lunatics. Thinking back it was almost barbaric, a wire fence floor to ceiling even prisoners are kept in more humane conditions, and I think many Dads stuck their kids in there thinking they were safe. As I say only went in there once after that I said to my Dad and elder brother who took me to the match if I have to go in there for any more games then I am not going. The following home game I was sat on a barrier in Gwladys street, were I stayed for another 10 years before moving to different stands with a season ticket.
Peter Carpenter
11 Posted 12/05/2023 at 09:34:09
I have a vague memory of my Dad pointing at it and saying, 'If you don't behave, I'll put you in there.'
Brent Stephens
12 Posted 12/05/2023 at 09:35:06
Vivid memories of the Boys' Pen. As a short-arse, I was out of my depth in there. Didn't take me long to decide to save to buy a season ticket for the Gwladys Street.

Ah, Jubbly! Lovely Jubbly - and lethal for the reasons given.

Colin Glassar
13 Posted 12/05/2023 at 09:41:09
Great article and brought back memories even though I was not allowed into the “pen” as they were considered below my station.

I take issue with the “suburban softies” thing though. If you’ve ever been in a fight with some of those lads from Kirkby, cannibal farm, Skem etc… you’d soon realise there was nothing soft about them.

Christine Foster
14 Posted 12/05/2023 at 09:58:11
I went in the Boys(?) Pen a few times with a few local lads from Vauxhall road and Burlie who must have taken good care of me..was it sixpence or a shilling to get in? I remember little to be honest, just the bars which didn't have a mesh fence on top then I think the next season it did.. Have to say I hated it... Couldn't see a bloody thing, my Uncle Jimmy would be on the other side of the fence keeping an eye on me.. but the next season saw me in the ground sitting on a bar.. thank god.. can't remember the year they fully fenced the pen in.. but that would just age me anyways!
Dave Abrahams
15 Posted 12/05/2023 at 11:00:09
I went into the Boys Pen as a seven year old, 1948, it seems it was a more civilised one than the late fifty early sixty years version,I went with a few lad from the Everton area and was entranced by what was happening on the field, saw a few fights but that was nothing different from the fights on the streets or in school, the same with the Boys Pen at the back of the Kop at Anfield and there was loads of quiet kids who lived in town who never looked for “ bother” and plenty of lads from the outskirts who knew how to look after themselves.

Christine (14) it was nine pence to get in when I first went and after going for a while I got used to paying half that cost with the two in a turnstyle move and splitting the difference with your mate.

There was no difference in the size of the inmates of the Pen though, there was loads of hairy arsed “ young kids “ there!!

David France
16 Posted 12/05/2023 at 11:01:56
These are my husband’s references to the Boys’ Pen, extracted from ‘Everton Crazy’ …

My most abiding impressions (during my Goodison baptism) were the royal blue of the shirts, the emerald, olive, bottle and jade patchwork of the manicured turf and the screeching from the choir imprisoned in a metal cage known officially as the Boys’ Pen. It was eardrum piercing. As the excitement grew, their voices were audible only to dogs in and around Bootle. My experience involved more than sights and sounds. The air was full of unwavering faith and confirmed my father’s claim that Goodison was the most evocative, intimate and atmospheric place on earth.

Old fans romanticize about the Boys’ Pen as the best place to discover what it means to be a Blue but I was no advocate of confined spaces or young Blues screaming like they had been imprisoned against their will. Even as an 11-year old, it seemed to me that the purpose of the Pen hadn’t changed since the day it opened in 1925 - the incarcerated boys were cheerleaders expected to re-ignite the rest of the Goodison crowd when it had gone too quiet. Even then, I concluded that the adult fans only joined in to drown out the ear-splitting screeching.

My aversion had nothing to do with claustrophobia associated with being trapped in a small cage possessing the mood of an asylum. I could never come to terms with the fact that some Blues liked to fight other Blues. I witnessed regular clashes between the juvenile delinquents from Scotland Road and those from Dingle’s Holy Lands. Oddly, the fighting started when Everton were leading by a couple of goals. Whereas, if the home side was losing the fists were unclenched and the inmates would unite in song.

At sixpence, it was by far the most economical place to watch matches. I survived by avoiding eye contact and never giving the slightest impression that I had my bus fare or a programme in my pockets. In truth, the experience stood you in good stead if later in life you found yourself locked up abroad. After a dozen or so games, I preferred to exit the Pen on the hour mark and loiter in Goodison Road before slipping into the Ground when the gates opened to let out the early-leavers. As for the missing minutes? I had experienced them through a crescendo of oohs and aahs. My heart would rise and fall on the waves of sound. Eventually, I graduated to the Ground where Woolybacks (from Widnes) were viewed with less suspicion by those living closer to the Liver Building.

Elizabeth France

Mike Morgan
17 Posted 12/05/2023 at 11:12:53
My first season at Goodison was 69/70. What a season what a team. I was 11. I went to to the matches with my mate Phil and his slightly older brother Pete. Unbelievably we travelled from West Kirby by train and then caught a bus to the ground. We pushed our way to the front of the paddock, just to the left of the managers dugout. We carried a small step ladder, which all 3 of us balanced on ( one foot only, we changed position at half time to give our feet a rest) so we could see over the wall. Could you imagine kids that age being allowed that freedom now ? We saw lots of trouble but thankfully never got involved. Never ventured to the boys pen, the half way line was our home. We had a fantastic time, great memories and I think the best Everton team. Abiding memory is the very seargent major looking policeman who used to patrol the line. Any kid mis behaving on the wall would get their knuckles hit with the shinny wooden stick he carried !!
Dave Abrahams
18 Posted 12/05/2023 at 11:25:14
Elizabeth, reading David’s version of the Boys Pen reminded me that why I never noticed much of the bedlam that was going on was I was part of that bedlam regarding the singing and cheering part of the madness and if David had been from town he would have known when to leave the Pen and get out at “three quarter time” when the gates opened and go right into the Upper Bullens Road stand and sit amongst all the crowd and the many priests who sat there, much better by far than the Pen but far too expensive.
Trevor Powell
19 Posted 12/05/2023 at 11:39:15
Brilliant article. Somehow I survived the Pen twice and still cannot believe that I do not carry any literal scars. My Dad in the sixties would occasionally take me to a match and we would stand in the back half of the Paddock, [later to become the Lower Bullens Stand] near the halfway line.

My Uncle Harry had a season ticket in the Upper Bullens stand, front row overlooking the infamous pen. Twice he could not go and so gave my Dad his seat which meant we got separated and I was banished to the Boys Pen.

What comes back to me was that my Dad thought that this was a "SAFER" option than the Gwladys Street End??????

Trevor Powell
20 Posted 12/05/2023 at 11:59:04
Russell Smith @4 Was that the game when Howard kendall blasted in a disallowed winning goal from the semi-circle at the Kop End. It was disallowed for Jimmy Husband being ruled offside as he was positioned on the right touchline. There was no "not interfering with play mitigation" rule at that time!
Rob Halligan
21 Posted 12/05/2023 at 12:19:22
Mike # 17………….I remember a rather mean looking policeman who was nicknamed “Blackbeard”, for obvious reasons, who everyone was petrified of. Jeez, he was one
Policeman who you wouldn’t argue with.
Barry Rathbone
22 Posted 12/05/2023 at 12:43:04
Dreadful place.

Unless clutching monkey-like to the mesh fencing at the front you couldn't see a thing.

You wandered around the menacing darkness getting the odd glimpse of the action trying to concentrate but distracted by the knowledge such environs where the preferred work place of ne'er do wells like Jack the Ripper.

If he had offspring they attended when I was there prowling the fence and hiding in the rafters like vampires revelling in the dark. It was a medieval dungeon that should have been called the black hole of Calcutta.

Mike Morgan
23 Posted 12/05/2023 at 12:48:51
Rob #21 Yes the police in those days had a lot of power. Our policeman had a very smart moustache, his uniform was immaculate, buttons and shoes shinny. He marched up and down the touchline, with his wooden batton tucked under his arm. Just waiting for an opportunity to use it. Definitely not to be messed with.

Out spot was next to the managers dugout I once shouted to Sandy Brown to watch an overlapping full back. He actually stopped and looked right at me. Must have thought it was an order from the dugout. Very funny. Great Times.

Paul Tran
24 Posted 12/05/2023 at 13:02:11
Wonderful memories of cheap football and casual violence in The Pen in the early 70s. The cry of 'the gates are open!' as we surged into the Street End to see, er, very little. The falsetto cry of 'Boys Pen aggro' during a dull game. Top value for 15p!
John Keating
25 Posted 12/05/2023 at 13:03:32
Brian 10
Bloody hell Brian what a star. A definite candidate for the Guinness Book of Records
Mind you your arse must have been sore after sitting on that Gwladys Street barrier for 10 years
I used to get off them at the end of each match and go home
Colin Glassar
26 Posted 12/05/2023 at 13:13:27
Is it true that Chairman Bill lost his virginity in the boys pen?
Martin Mason
27 Posted 12/05/2023 at 13:19:45
Colin, probably just his marbles.
Mike Doyle
28 Posted 12/05/2023 at 13:23:26
Rob # 21] I remember Blackbeard too. I recall a game vs Spurs when away fans used the unsegregated Park End. A fight kicked off in the middle and Blackbeard was over the wall in an instant and wading in. Didn’t wait for back up - straight in to sort it out himself. Certainly a chap not to be messed with. Wonder what ever happened to him?
Danny O’Neill
29 Posted 12/05/2023 at 14:02:06
Some strong emotions and great words from Elizabeth on behalf of David.

Great recollections and memories of the Grand Old Lady from many others.

As the day comes closer there are going to be a lot of emotions. It's going to break my heart, but I know we have to do it. We are leaving Goodison. Let me pause, because every time I think of that, it upsets me.

I don't remember a boys pen. I think I am too young. My first recollection was a friendly against Home Farm in the Enclosure. Probably not the same match, but I still have a picture of me in some dodgy 70s clothes, with an equally dodgy 70s style hairstyle outside the players' entrance with George Wood. I wanted Duncan McKenzie but I still couldn't speak in the big Keeper's presence.

I travelled religiously for seasons, queueing outside the Gwladys Street to wait for the gates to open so we could get our favourite speck right behind the goal just above the ledge I tied my brother to with a scalf, checking on him at half time. Paying £1.50 before I secured my season ticket that my mother paid for. God knows how.

Getting crushed in the sway and movement of the crowd, often not being able to see much of the match as I was a bit smaller back then. But absorbing the atmosphere just as I do now.

At 51, I still get the same buzz as I did when I was 15 (reverse figures). Even though it takes me longer to travel from Euston than it did on the 81D or from Hunts Cross to Kirkdale. I often get questioned was it worth it? There is only one answer. Always.

The same people still serve me in the Goodison Supper Bar even though we are all a bit older.

I don't know how I'm going to feel next year. Happy we are moving to the next chapter. But then. I should stop their. My emotions will run away with themselves.

Here's one to think about, that I keep deliberating over and have mentioned previously. Should we take Dixie and the Holy Trinity Statues with us or leave them where they arguable belong? Close to the ground they graced. I am totally torn.

I will give credit to Chris W, who today commented on my remark that it is time for a Kevin Sheedy statue. There is my Kevin Sheedy shout for the day.

He suggested the 4 Evangelists. Sheedy, Reid, Steven and Bracewell. I know that is a generation thing. It was unfortunate we didn't see more of Bracewell.

Graeme Sharp may have made it five. But he appears to have sold his Everton soul or put his cards on the Kenwright deck.

Just don't name a stand after the obvious.

Everyday is like Sunday as Morrisey sang. Sunday is coming.

Apologies. I think I have just about come down from Monday, but more importantly, it is nearly Sunday, so I am still running on adrenalin. I don't think I will stop until late May and we are safe.

Dale Self
30 Posted 12/05/2023 at 14:04:44
I’ll read the article later but these TW contributors are brilliant. Thanks for putting this up Lyndon!

Trevor Powell
31 Posted 12/05/2023 at 14:11:40
Colin @ 26, Not only his virginity and marbles but also his bottle as well!
Mark Murphy
32 Posted 12/05/2023 at 14:14:16
I remember the boys pen very well but as a wool I would never have dared go in there. They would have torn me to pieces!
Eric Myles
33 Posted 12/05/2023 at 14:40:59
Mike #17, must have seen you there. Me and my mate used to be at the right of the dugout, on a beer crate we brought along. I remember lads with stepladders and one lot with 'swings' with hooks on the end of the rope that they could hook over the wall and stand on the seat.

Me Mam wouldn't let me go in the Boy's Pen, I know why now after reading this thread!

She wouldn't let me go to night matches either since I was only 9 at the time so missed the final game against WBA

Joe Hurst
34 Posted 12/05/2023 at 14:53:40
Was “The Iron Lung” ever mentioned?
It was dad’s favourite pub on County Road, (where the Aldi now is I think.)
Russelll Smith
35 Posted 12/05/2023 at 15:09:49
Trevor Powell@20
Yes that was another red biased decision amongst many. My abiding memory was Alan Ball breaking away along the touch line and Tommy Smith starting sliding from near the centre circle to take him and Bally off the pitch at knee high almost into Shankly with the ball 20 yards down the touchline. Don’t think he was even booked and Ball just jumped up and carried on……unlike todays prima donnas who would still be writhing in agony, and flashing an imaginary card. Both managers just ignored it as it was so prevalent back then.
John McFarlane Snr
36 Posted 12/05/2023 at 15:10:34
Hi all, my recollections of the boys pen don't match with many of the comments put forward today, like Dave Abrahams I gained entrance to the Boys Pen in the late 40s early 50s for ninepence, and I can't recall many scenes of violent behaviour. The Pen in those days was situated in what is now regarded as the lower Bullens Stand, overlooking the Paddock and in line with the corner flag and the penalty box. I can't put a date to the switch to the Gwladys Street corner but I think it was certainly in the 60s.

Could anybody confirm that there will be a ToffeeWeb get-together following Sundays game?

Bill Gall
37 Posted 12/05/2023 at 15:24:30
Lots to remember at Goodison I survived in the boys pen from around 1954,/5, after that it was Glady's Street under the stand to the left hand side of the goal looking toward the pitch, finally got a season ticket in the paddock about the 1973/4 season. until I left for Canada in 1976.
How many people remember walking out of Glady's Street after the game on the Saturday, walking around the corner onto Bullens road and start queuing up for cup tickets that went on sale the following day.
The one thing I always regretted, was missing going to the game on a Saturday and finding with my family in the middle of the Saskatchewan Prairies with no results or information in the papers I wasn't a very happy camper.But I believe I have been back home about 12 or more times and always the Sept/October weeks after checking the fixture list.
The difference today with modern technology is I can watch every game in the Premier League, But there is definitely nothing like watching a home game at Goodison Park in person.
Hoping to get back to watch a game at Goodison Park next season and later at the magnificent new stadium later.

Rob Halligan
38 Posted 12/05/2023 at 15:35:25
Mike # 28……….just in case anyone wants a mental picture of Blackbeard, just think of Geoff Capes! Deffo took no prisoners, just waded in wielding his truncheon.
Pete Gunby
39 Posted 12/05/2023 at 15:35:37
I was one of the lucky ones whose dad brought painters hooks with ropes and a plank to stand on. I easily got on to the pitch to avoid getting crushed when we clinched the league beating west Brom 2-0. At 9 years old I thought it would always be thus.
Pete Clarke
40 Posted 12/05/2023 at 16:11:02
I would have been in the boys pen a few times and being a proper little monkey back then I always managed to climb to the top of the railings where the best action of the day was going on below me inside that cage. I think ‘ pen’ was short for ‘ Penitentiary’.
I was glad when we found a very easy way to get in the top balcony or main stand for free. Being very small came in handy !
John @3 The Brown Cow pub was opposite my Mams pub but my memories of it were it being bombed out and we would be inside it playing games as we did in all of the empty bomdies around the area at the time.
When I was a kid there was only my Mams pub left In Cazneau Street but apparently there were 6 originally. There would have been a lot more on Great Homer Street so your dad must have liked his beer.
You would have had to be very rich if you did a pub crawl along Scottie before the game.
I think there were 56 pubs between Boundary Street and Byrom Street but I’m sure somebody will correct me in that.
Always remember my Mams pub being full of Hibs supporters one day after a pre season friendly. There were loads of scarfs, hats and other memorabilia of Scottish clubs hanging around our pub as there would have been in lots of other pubs between Goodison and Lime Street.
I know there’s very few pubs left down the Dock Road now but I’m looking forward to getting home next year to watch a few games at BMD and have a pint or two in the ones that are left. That area will evoke some great memories of my childhood.

Dave Abrahams
41 Posted 12/05/2023 at 16:34:24
Bill (37), yes remember queuing up a couple of times but not straight after the match, me and three of my mates went about ten o’clock on a Saturday night for tickets on sale Sunday morning for the 1953 semi-final v Bolton and another time for the game v Port Vale away which was an all ticket game, that was around 1955 or 56.
Mike Gaynes
42 Posted 12/05/2023 at 16:59:35
Elizabeth #16, thank you for posting that passage from Everton Crazy. I remembered it as I was reading this article.

Hope you and Dr. Everton are doing well, and that the Sedona vortex has protected both of you somewhat from the extraordinary stresses of this season!

Bill Griffiths
43 Posted 12/05/2023 at 17:08:41
John Mac, I thought there was a meet up after Sunday's game but Derek informs me that's not likely to happen.
I think he"s hoping for a meet up at the Harlech again before the Bournemouth fixture. Hope to see you there then.
Jay Harris
44 Posted 12/05/2023 at 17:23:51
I went in the boys pen in the early 60s for a few years and like John Keating never encountered any trouble.

The only wild celebrations were when we beat Fulham to win the league in 63 when the majority climbed over the fence and ran down onto the pitch.

As John said maybe it was because we were from town and it helped that I was a big lad.

Never saw or heard sight nor sound of Bill though nor his buddy Elvis.

Jay Harris
45 Posted 12/05/2023 at 17:33:50
Just to add to that inflation had set in by the sixties so rather than the nine old pence that DAve ABrahams had to pay it had hone up to a lofty one and six by the 60s. (One shilling and six pence equal to 8 pence in decimal money )
Bill Griffiths
46 Posted 12/05/2023 at 17:41:35
Interesting to read that The Pen was originally at the end of Bullets Road.
I started going to games in the 60"s and presumed it had always stood where it was.
It sounds like it was a real bear pit reading some of these posts.
Brent Stephens
47 Posted 12/05/2023 at 17:44:52
Jay, you might never have seen Bill in the boy's pen, but I distinctly remember this lad who used to start blubbering as he recited Shakespeare at half time - "Lord, Lord, how this world is given to lying!".

Brian Denton
48 Posted 12/05/2023 at 18:05:55
Jay (45) strictly speaking it was 7+1/2 new pence!

I went to my first couple of games as an 8 year old in the Boys Pen. Luckily I successfully persuaded my dad to top up my pocket money on match weeks so I could afford to go in the Ground, which I think was 4 bob.

John Raftery
49 Posted 12/05/2023 at 19:28:38
Mike (17) and (23).

The copper who directed policing operations at both Goodison and Anfield in the 1969-70 season was known as ‘Walrus' owing to his distinctive white moustache. He always carried a stick and was quick to intervene if any trouble broke out.

When he walked in front of the Street End, we all used to chant ‘Walrus, Walrus, Walrus' as he passed by. I think he quite enjoyed it but woe betide any miscreants caught up in a fracas.

John McFarlane Snr
50 Posted 12/05/2023 at 19:32:20
Hi Bill [43],

I was sure that the get-together was to take place on Sunday with it being a 2 o'clock kick-off.

If it is to be held at The Harlech, it would require an early attendance, the last one had us standing outside on the pavement, and unable to talk to some of those who had shown up.

It seems a shame that we may be denied the opportunity of sharing experiences at our leisure in the Bramley Moore after the Bournemouth game.

This is not a slur on Derek's efforts and I hope that he recognizes it, I have a couple of things to discuss with him and I will do my best to attend on Sunday, but the bus and train services leave a lot to be desired.

Jay Harris
51 Posted 12/05/2023 at 19:34:26
Brent so that was him. I never knew LOL.

Brian I owe you 1/2 new penny. Never could get the hang of decimalization.

Colin Glassar
52 Posted 12/05/2023 at 19:40:10
Brent, didn't he use a cape in the Boys Pen? He's always been a bit of a thespian has our Bill.
Danny O’Neill
53 Posted 12/05/2023 at 20:16:37
Just let me know where we are meeting. My start point is always the North Western at Lime Street before I head towards L4, often with away supporters I have managed to make friends with.

The Saddle, Harlech, wherever. Just let me know. On matchdays I'm a wandering nomad following my search for the holy blue grail.

Andrew Haizelden
54 Posted 12/05/2023 at 22:19:06
I remember the Boys Pen well. I was put in there every game so dad and his brothers could curse and swear whilst watching the game without me finding out they used such language –even though I did. I was well into my teens before I heard him swear, though not during a match sadly.

I had my scarf stolen by some scrote and the policeman told me to find the guy myself. I'm also surprised that no-one has mentioned the cafe in there or did I imagine that?

Bill Griffiths
55 Posted 13/05/2023 at 12:43:22
John Mac, the intention was to meet up at BM after the city game but it appears to have fallen by the wayside.
As far as I am aware Derek is hoping for a meet up at the Harlech prior to final game against Bournemouth.
Not sure whether Derek's going to City game but am sure he will be at theHarlech if he is. I will call at the Harlech before the City game. I agree it would have been good to go to BM but I think Derek',s been disappointed by previous responses
Alan J Thompson
56 Posted 14/05/2023 at 07:23:57
I used to go into the Boy's Pen aged about 11 starting in '61 or '62 and did half a dozen games before being spotted by an older brother at one game and he and his mates took me into the Ground section after which I never went back to the Boys Pen, the joy of being able to see the whole game.

I don't remember any wire mesh roofing which came later but there was a pole fence and one of the poles could be slid upward so you could get into the Ground behind the goal. A copper used to stand there to stop it but it was never repaired. At one game the copper, stood on the Ground side, had his helmet flipped off which saw those fans in the Ground start flipping it around over heads and as the copper tried to get it back half a dozen got through the gap. Apart from one instance, the only fights I saw in there were bigger lads pushing aside smaller ones to get through that gap.

As an aside, after spending quite a few years abroad I was back and as usual went to catch the No.4 or 5 to Penny Lane followed by the 46 but a relative offered to drive me to Goodison as it was a night game. After the game I went down to Spellow Lane but couldn't see a 46 bus stop so asked someone passing where the stop was. His reply was that it now stopped on County Road and was called the 62.

Gerard Hogg
57 Posted 14/05/2023 at 12:25:29
I survived the Boys Pen - it was grim, but I didn’t find it as bad as the writer of the article. Then again I had the aforementioned Brian Denton to protect me !!
Part of the entertainment was watching some kids inside the BP shinning up the girders towards the Gwladys St stands.
Most never made it but some ‘escaped’ continuing upwards to god knows where, never to be seen again !
Pete Jeffries
58 Posted 14/05/2023 at 21:23:53
In the Boys Pen many times in the early 60s including one memorable night v Inter Milan, first round of the European Cup. Vernon scored but ruled offside; however, we couldn't see much and at the end thought we won 1-0. No scoreboard then.

Me and mate Rob Fraser usually found sitting on a bar in the Park End in the 1963 Champions season. Also with Reds mates in the Kop boys pen where there was always fighting every match featuring big Ronnie Patto.

Great memories.

John Keating
59 Posted 15/05/2023 at 08:58:27
Pete 40

What was your mam's pub?

Our Saturdays when we were at home were pretty regular. My dad used to make up bikes from bits he got to supplement his wages as a plasterer.

When I'd go off Saturday morning to go on the altar in the Friary, he'd go over to Paddy's to sell them for a few quid, though he'd always tell my mam he only got 10 bob for them!

Anyway, I'd meet him after, first stop, the Brown Cow. A pint for him, a bottle of sarsaparilla for me, off we went!

Great memories!

Trevor Powell
60 Posted 15/05/2023 at 12:40:37
I sent this article to an old friend in his late sixties and he told me about the Arsenal Boys Pen.

Just like Everton except once you were inside, paying 1s/6d, you passed another turnstile. If there was an adult to vouch for you, you could then seek refuge at no further cost on the main terrace.

Once he got in, his first thought was to see his dad through the wire fence and off through the turnstile saving his dad two bob as well!

Dave Abrahams
61 Posted 15/05/2023 at 12:55:30
John (59),

Was the name of the pub opposite to the Brown Cow in Juvenal Street called Preston's? My mam used to go in both pubs coming out of the market selling fruit and veg off her barra.

She had a few regular customers in both pubs; she also had a couple of “lemon dashes” to help her on her way!

Brian Wilkinson
62 Posted 16/05/2023 at 20:36:45
My dad gave my brother the money to put me in the Boys Pen, for my first ever game, Derby County home 74-75 season.

My brother paid the extra and took me in the Gwladys Street, putting me right at the front, before disappearing with his mates, in the middle of the Gwladys Street.

I will never forget his words of him saying, "You will thank me one day, for not putting you in the Boys Pen."

From what I have read, I owe him my life.

Paul Burns
63 Posted 29/05/2023 at 17:55:11
My memories of the Boys Pen from the early 1970s include people spending the whole game playing footy with a paper Higson's cup, spending the whole first half trying to climb out of the hole in the top to get in the Street End, and the awful scene of someone staggering down the road before the match with blood pouring from a stab wound from the notorious Millwall cup game.

Oh, and someone snatching and running off with me silky. Still haven't got over it.

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