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Posts Tagged ‘Saint Patricks Athletic F.C’

Gordon Banks, World Cup Winner.

Much more than that actually. *That* save against Pele will go down in football history, in fact in 2002 he remarked to FourFourTwo magazine that “It’s something that people will always remember me for. They won’t remember me for winning the World Cup, it’ll be for that save. That’s how a big a thing it is. People just want to talk about that save.” In another interview, with The Observer Sport Monthly, he commented that “As I got to my feet I tried to look as nonchalant as possible, as if to say that I make that sort of save all the time.”

Gordon Banks defended more nets than just the English national one however. A quick glance at his C.V shows Stoke City, Leicester City , Chesterfield , The Fort Lauderdale Strikers, Cleveland Stokers and, believe it or not, Saint Patrick’s Athletic.

Banks played one game for the Saints, a home match against Dublin rivals Shamrock Rovers. Barry Bridges was managing the Saints at the time, as player manager. The year previously, in 1976, Pats had gained some attention by picking up Neil Martin, a former Hibernan F.C, Sunderland and Nottingham Forest striker, among other clubs. In fact, English player manager Bridges had an impresive record himself, including but not limited to spells at Chelsea, Milwall and QPR.

Barry Bridges

The Irish Times of October 1st 1977 noted that Barry Bridges stated there was a “fifty fifty” chance Banks would line out the next night in Richmond Park. Picked up from Fort Lauderdale, it all depended on clearance from the American F.A. The paper noted that

“The signing, which is likely to extract a sharp response from St. Patrick’s first choice goalkeeper, Mick O’ Brien, represents the Dubliners’ most entreprising move since Neil Martin joined the club last seaon”

Amazingly, Gordon Banks had returned to goalkeeping despite losing sight in one eye following a car crash. It was common enough at the time for English players to semi-retire in the U.S game, and Banks signing to Pats was a surprise to many. In the end, he was given clearance to perform and maintained a clean seat, in a one nil home victory over Rovers. He would never grace the pitch at Richmond Park again, and returned to the United States.

Barry Bridges remained at Pats until February 1978, moving on to become player manager of Sligo Rovers. Banks remains just one former English international to briefly play in the Irish league. Geoff Hurst, Terry Venables (another Saint), Carlton Palmer and Bobby Charlton are just a small selection of others who have done the same.

 Gordon played alongside future Waterford United player Bobby Charlton in 1966.

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“Since the end of last season I have been acquiring new players: three are local lads from junior clubs- Billy Reid (Fatima Rangers) Paul McGrath (Dalkey United) and John Cleary (Ballyfermot Utd.)”

Ooh Ah Paul McGrath. With “..a bit of time and encouragement” he won’t be a half bad player. Not a bad call.

This one showed up recently, and should be of interest to not just Saints but maybe Rovers fans and League of Ireland fans in general. The team listings in the central page for example makes for interesting reading. There is so much to this though, the ad’s for local businesses, the simplicity of the match programme, the irritating game of ‘Symbol Cross’ on the last page, and the annoying fact the backcover Adidas ad features snaps of Manchester United and Ipswich Town (not many Irish Ipswich Town fans at the moment). Suppose Barstool culture goes back a bit itself.

So, from the First Round of the League Cup, at a bargain 30p, here it is. Enjoy.

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Firstly, I’ve always supported the claim by some (mainly Bohemian F.C) football supporters that Dalymount Park merits national monument status. It’s well known the national team played there of course, but beyond that- you could get a fantastic book out of this place (and I hope someone does)

Even Nazi Germany have graced the pitch. Image taken from the Facebook Group 'Dalymount Park is a National Monument'

Pele and Zidane have graced the pitch, and closer to home some English legends like Bobby Charlton and Bobby Moore. 22,000 people went along to Dalymount Park in 1959 to watch Saint Patrick’s Athletic take on Waterford in a Cup Final. That was typical enough. Some matches were a tad odder, like a bizarre charity match in 1952 (“stage artists carrying huge mallets and wearing massive fur coats”, and “Big man stretches arm, holds off midget who swings wildly at nothing” for example) between a press team and a stage team. Why even limit a discussion of Dalymount to football? Thin Lizzy, Boomtown Rats, Bob Marley,Motorhead- all have taken to the stage here.

Why then did it feel like a trip to the DDR on Tuesday night?

Granted, it wasn’t the Connaught Stand (shudders) and the Des Kelly stand we were put in was quite nice, had a roof and was generally fine, but the turnstiles on the way in and the Gulag-like jacks are tragic at best. Imagine bringing your kids to their first League of Ireland game, at a stadium with such diverse and wonderful history, and being put in the Connaught Stand or coming through those turnstiles.

The atmosphere under that roof was electric, Mark Quigley was given a few healthy renditions of ‘White Joey Ndo, you’re just a white Joey Ndo….’ and he didn’t seem to mind the abuse as he stretched beside the away section. I don’t want to guess the away crowd, but it was very respectable and in fine voice and spirits. In truth I thought the Bohs lot were unusually quiet,the roar out of the Jodi can be thunderous on a good night, last night something was amiss over there. It happens at any ground on occasion, maybe it was a Tuesday night thing. I’ve often loved the displays that have come out of that section, like Zapata on his horse on the night of that Fahey goal.

When we got our goal (as you’ll see below in the YouTube video you’re all going to watch) our subs were STRAIGHT over to celebrate with the lads. At the end of the match the players and fans connected on a level I haven’t seen in a long time, and the chanting continued for a few minutes after the final whistle. Gold. Great to see a return to that kind of relationship.

Dalymount Park remains one of my favourite football stadiums to visit, if only for the history of it and the great pubs that you find on the street outside. In fact, I wouldn’t object to a Phibsboro pubcrawl for Come Here To Me in the nearish future. Still, Dalymount Park also remains in dire need of some sort of urgent fix-up. It is a disservice to the history of soccer in Ireland, and not just the resident Bohemian F.C, that the place is in the state it is.

All in all, for Saint Patrick’s Athletic though, a good performance on and off the pitch.

This is worth a look, on the history of Dalymount Park.

Jaycarax, who would know that kind of thing, insists The Clash never played there. They do tell you not to use Wikipedia, sometimes they’re right.

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The view here is perfect.

Those annoying pillars in the stand can see to it that for 45 minutes, you’re relying on the eyes of the person beside you to see what exactly is going on out there on the pitch. You’d want to arrive a little early (or join the veterans on the Camac) to see the game comfortably.

7.35 kick off is unusual, obviously done ‘for the telly’. Arriving at 7.45, you’d be forgiven for thinking for once you’d made kick off. Alas, you haven’t. Best just grab the first seats you spot. Straight into the first block.

Family stand. This is Monster Munch stuff. In many ways, while the youngest kids in the ground- to them this is always a big night. It’s here the half-time yoof are to be found. Lourdes and Swords Celtic as far as I recall, loads of tiny lads bracing themselves for half-time and their time on the pitch. They’re here for Saint Patricks Athletic and Sporting Fingal of course,(well eh…I don’t think anyone is here for Sporting Fingal) but they’re also here for their own bit of time. Why not? This is how you get youngsters interested of course, and how you keep kids in the game.

Paddy The Panther frowns on your vulgarity

Anyway, the ball goes out about fifteen minutes in. Oh look! It’s yer man who was playing for us last year!

OI! YOU’RE A *starts with f*ING *starts with w*KER!

Yells the brother, brilliant.

GET OFF THE PITCH YOU *starts with f*ING CLOWN!

I’m in on it now too. This is great. This is probably what I missed most about football when I got stuck working Friday nights last year. Let the steam off and all that. It might as well be Sean Fitzpatrick out there.

Then it dawns on us, this is the family stand. This is where the most hot-dogs are sold, where the most ketchup is spilled, where the most bored mammies are to be found, where the smallest of the small people go. Scarleh. A quick telling to from the father and we have to watch our mouths from here on in.

Things are different in this stand alright. It’s been years since the main stand rocked too hard (bar European nights) but up the front there are a handful of youngsters giving it loads. ‘RED ARMY!’ ‘RED ARMY!’ Parents look on in a sort of ‘awwwwh, bless’ way, but only a decade ago they wouldn’t have been alone, and it’s great to see them get into it. Granted, there are more Manchester United and Liverpool shirts in this small section than Saint Patricks Athletic ones, but once they get the bug they’ll be hooked. The idea of the family stand is a great one then.

Well into the second half, and the player me and the brother were abusing earlier is taken off.

‘BOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO’ rings out from the youngsters in the block, they’re learning quick. Some day, they’ll be bringing their kids here- and much like me, they’ll be mortified by a slip of the tongue no doubt. I’ll be back with the foul-mouthed oldies next week.

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