THAT SUMMER PART OF ME DIED
As a Child
The summer of 1999 was not like any other it was the year we lost Springfield park.
As a child me and my friend Duncan made a pilgrimage every closed season to both Central park and Springfield Park on our push bikes from Ince we did this for about 6 years, these were the days when Latics and Riversiders Lived together in harmony.
Our first port of call was Central park we would look to see any improvements etc and then have a bit of banta about who had the best pitch then on to Springfield Park again we would sit on the town end watching the pitch being cut and people painting over the rust i remember these days well it did not seem to matter that there was no game on the place just left me with a comforting feeling like a child to its Mother
As a Adult
Me and duncan drifted apart as often does as we grow up but i never forgot our treks to the old places especially Springfield Park
i found out a few years ago that Duncan had past away overseas (Rest in peace, Mate)
I could not start to talk about the games and memories as there were so many and everybody has their own but just to say these were the best days of my life and something i really miss. The ground as a stadium was not the best but it had something Special that you could not pin down.
I always Dreamed of somebody buying the Club and spending some money on it, it was a dream that was to lead to the Destruction of the place that i called home.
The club was bought by a local business man and things were looking up as the club was on the brink, team rebuilding started but little was done to improve the ground, when the news came through that Springfield Park was to close it left me empty, the only thing that kept me going was the thought of the better things to come in the future.
Work started on the then unnamed Stadium and in the summer of 1999 Springfield Park held its last game play off first leg
against Man City it was a wet day but the Springfield Roar was still there it was strange to hear it for the last time. In the coming weeks i was hearing tales of Springfield Park being vandelised so i decided to take my camcorder and film the ground before it was gone, what i saw when i got there will live with me as a Nightmare till the day i die it looked like the centre of Bagdad in the Gulf war.
As i arrived on the car park there was a Spooky Silence in the air i walked up to the big blue gates that i had exited the ground hundered of times before, these were bent and twisted as if a car had hit them, i walked into the ground filming as i went with a sad feeling in my stomach, i walked up to the top of the terrace at the side of the Pheonix Stand, i looked down and saw nothig but rubbish all over the Concrete as if a Bomb had gone off, at the bottom off the terrace leaning against the wall was a Woman just looking at the pitch as if she was in a trance.
I went into the Pheonix Stand still filming i could hear some banging now when i got up into the seats there was two men unbolting the seats (i found out later that Magull Fc had bought the seats, well the ones that were not smashed). I looked around the Board room and Offices and Lounge everything was smashed down to the last toilet it was unreal a bad dream a really bad dream.
Near the Offices there was a Man with a white t shirt and jeans and a tan he told me he had just got back off holiday and asked
“what has happend?” i had no real answer, “Boton fans” i said as a joke (or was it) i walked around the places i had been before with him, it got to a point when he said i cant take no more i am going for a pint in the Supporters Club, i said its closed mate, i had been in there and the place was smashed with water flooding the stage and main room, “this was my local” he said. He left he said he could take no more and i never saw him again.
At this point i was getting rather upset so i decided to leave.
A few weeks later i came back with my Six months old Son, by this time the Demolition Men were there taking the roof of the Pheonix Stand I slipped through a gap in the fence and sat on the Town end terrace with my son and told him all about the great times i had there, i did this so he could say he had been on the old place.
RIP SPRINGFIELD PARK
That Summer Part of me Died
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