Sunday, 11 January 2009

Love Will...

One of the things that I missed out on growing up was being taken to football by family. Admittedly I didn’t get into football until 1986. However there defiantly was a pang of regret at the weekend, when the mighty St Mirren played their last League game at St Mirren Park, or to give it the unofficial name, Love Street.

I must admit that I am a St Mirren fan, but I don’t feel like a St Mirren MAN. There were plenty of those at the game at the weekend. On the plus side, I think that I can have a sense of objectivity about our games, and not get teary eyed at the thought of leaving our stadium of 114 years. On the minus side, I don’t have a long and exhaustive list of I was there’s. I missed the glory years when we were challenging for the Scottish Championship, I missed us winning the Scottish Cup and I missed our European nights. However I did miss Sellik’s now legendary 5-0 win (which helped them win the Championship in 1986, Hearts 2-0 collapse at Dundee was a bigger factor that day), the turgid years in the first division and the most famous of European nights at Love Street, referred to on Blackandwhitearmy as H-Bomb.

That’s not to say that I missed out on everything since I started going regularly in 2001, I did see our 4-4 draw with Falkirk, coming back from 3-0 down at half time, I did see our 4-0 losses to the likes of Inverness Caley and Clyde. I was there when we won the Scottish League Championship, drawing with Dundee when the news came through of St Johnstone’s loss at Queen Of the South. I was there when Eddie Smith thought a Nakamura fall was worthy of a free kick, and when we beat Rangers at Love Street for the first time since April 1986. And I was there on Saturday.

I have only seen Love Street full on two other occasions before this, the game against Dundee that saw us win the Scottish League Championship, and the relegation 6 pointer against Dunfermline which we lost, but still stayed up. On Saturday, the queue for the North Bank stretched round into Shortroods, as Paisley came and paid it’s last respects to the old ground. The game itself unfortunately was not a classic. In the first half, the Bud’s had the best of the game, but were too inhibited by nervousness to fully capitalise. Motherwell were much better in the second half, but are still a shadow of the team which finished third last term.

At the end of the game, there was a parade of the St Mirren Legend’s from the Caledonia Street end to… well the centre circle, where Gordon McQueen rubbed shoulders with Barry Lavety and Billy Abercromby, our cup winning captain from 1987. This started a rousing rendition of “Aber’s Gonna Get Ye” from under the television gantry. Then came the release of Black and White balloons (as opposed to some of the balloons we’ve seen over the years on the pitch) as the strains of “Auld Lang Sine” came from the PA. Then came a bit of a fireworks display, a final send off to the place. And that, as they say, was that.

Next for the Bud’s is a Scottish Cup tie away to Brechin which was due to be played on Saturday but will go ahead this week weather permiting, and a couple of away games to Hibernian and Dundee United. Then we play our first match at the new home at Greenhill Road. Hmmm… may take a bit of time attaining some sort of a ring that one.

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for this round-up and the photos, wish I could have been there. Cheers for stopping by the blog too! The world needs more Paisley bloggers.