Dolls, care bears and frilly dresses – that just wasn’t me, much to my mum’s
disappointment. Football, cops and robbers and going on adventures were how I
liked to spend my time. Dressed in a tracksuit and trainers, just like my younger
brother, I was always treated as one of the boys.
Once we were old enough to leave the close, a gang of us would walk around to the
field at the back of our houses. Ignoring the no ball games allowed sign and using
our coats and scarves as goal posts we would play a game of football. As I was the
only girl I would usually have to go in goal, much to my disappointment. If I was lucky
I would play rush goalie and make my move to try and score a goal against all the
boys. As the ball went through the coat goal posts I would imagine I was Bernie
Slaven celebrating at the Hallgate end.
Football was always part of my life, as a child my dad and brother would leave me at
my great auntie’s house on the way to Ayresome park. Here I would sit in the back
room with my grandma and her sisters, always with a plentiful supply of chocolate
biscuits listening for the cheers and moans drifting down the terraced streets on the
wind from the football ground.
At full time we would wait for the fans to pass the house and ask them about the
match over the garden wall. Red and white scarves and shirts surging down the road
to the pub where they would celebrate their win or drown their sorrows.