My first game was Man Utd at St. Andrews March 3rd, 61/62season. Ken Leek scored, snow on the pitch. I was sat in main stand as a 10 year old and fell in love with that team. Manager was Gil Merrick, favourite player Bertie Auld who became Celtic legend. Great players in that side but we were always near foot of the table, but it was nucleus of 1963 league cup winning team when we beat that Aston lot over two legs which me and my younger bro Sean got to see both legs. We were on the pitch at their place to see Trevor Smith lift the Cup, I was 12, my bro 8 and we went on our own! ‘Keep Right On’ echoed around the Holte- I still remember it well. My little bro Sean, sadly no longer with us, flew home from Oz for the 2001 Liverpool final at Cardiff. He couldn’t get time off work, so he left Oz Friday then flew back Monday. He was a proper singing sixties years Tilton Roader!
I started going to local away games and went to Liverpool with school mates in Feb 1964. What an experience the kop was! We were on the side terrace of the old barrel roof main stand, Kop was like thunder scary never heard noise like it. We left before the end and when we got back to Lime Street Station, St. John had scored the winner, gutted.
The singing at grounds started in early sixties. Stretford end and Kop were brilliant. I was in awe of the older lads who went away with Blues, they were the first singers grouped together on the Tilton. I used to stand on the ledge which separated the top and bottom of the Kop and hearing singing from the Tilton in 62/63 I had to make my way over to be part of it and stood on the ledge above the older lads. Those lads went everywhere and me too. I got to know their names, Albert and Co. were legends, I could name so many of them still. About 2-45 you could see them walking from the old small single tier railway end along the middle kop gangway hundreds of them making their way to the Tilton after being in the pub . Some wore donkey jackets , sky blue Jeans, winkle pickers, others Parkas, beginning of the mods, so it was Greasers , Bikers, Rockers, Mods but it didn’t matter they were all Blues fanatics. Trevor Hockey was a Tilton idol and even sang at the Town hall with Harvey Andrews who wrote Blues songs- Good old Brummagem and Home and away. Other Brum groups played and it was full of Blue and white scarves- imagine that happening now. We all went to Derby next day thousands on their Pop side.
As the Sixties progressed, Stan Cullis became manager and the Coombs family bought Blues. We had great Cup runs from 67 and 68, losing to Albion in the Semi Final at Vile Park. Fred Pickering was amazing that day we were so unlucky but Cullis picked the wrong team. Blues had amazing Cup crowds. March 68 away at Arseanal in the Cup and nearly filled the North Bank, unheard of at the time .
During this time on the Tilton, the Vietnam war was raging and chants of Hey Hey LBJ how many Kids have you killed today were chanted during Games, LBJ was President Johnson, Some Tilton lads had Ban the the Bomb emblems on their Parkas etc.
A few of my Tilton mates became DJ.S and played the Swan Yardley, Bulls Head, clubs in town, one Alan Bradshaw used to say this ones for Jimmy Greenhoff its Keep on Runnin by Brum group Spencer Davis with the great Stevie Winwood. Alan Bradshaw was Blues Nuts and passed away a few days after we played at Bournemouth when we lost 4-2 not so long ago. He was a hero of mine on the early Tilton singing days.
So believe me, the Tilton was amazing back then, a few teams did get on the Tilton. One Easter Monday in 67, Hull City had hundreds at the back, they had brill support then, great team, Houghton, Wagstaffe etc. Of Course Chelsea 68 in the Cup, the battle of the Tilton-but Albert and Co stood their ground. Millwall were at the back. In the late sixties my mate was nearly blinded. I was not a hard case, just loved the singing and the life long mates I made from following the club we all love. I have lived in Dorset for years, so don’t get up much these days but I was a true Blue and knew so many Tilton lads .
Since Chris Houghton, (what a brill manager) and his team, we have been a disaster. From Carson Yeung’s arrival and present owners who have no transparency at all, but until some one comes in we are stuck with them for sure. David Sullivan had enough and no idea how to liase with fans, but David Gold wanted to stay and I think he was great for Blues as was 90% of their ownership.
So Tilton Roaders and all Blues lovers , KEEP RIGHT ON and huge respect to the Tilton Talk Show boys-Best in the Biz!
Joe Donohoe Dorset Blue.