OPINION: I dream of a return to Central Avenue

I heard the tale recently of a young boy watching football on TV with his father, writes Steve Jarvis.

Saturday, 27th March 2021, 11:17 am
Central Avenue in the 1950s. Photo: Tony Taylor

After a while he said: “Dad, why are there all those old plastic seats round the football field?”

“A long time ago, before Covid, people used to go to the football field to watch the matches,” the father replied.

“Oh” says the lad, “how strange, why?”

Why indeed? A question to which, we may all have a different answer.

For myself, I have been dreaming lately of going to watch Worksop Town. In the way of such dreams, it is not at the superbly revamped Sandy Lane, or even at the older shabbier version, or the 900 seater with cover on all four sides when we were in Conference North.

No, it is the old Central Avenue Ground, when you trudged down a muddy track, just after Woolworths on Bridge Place, past an old derelict house, Netherholme, and then through a narrow entrance between the corrugated iron fence and a huge tree trunk, quaintly marked as the ‘boys’ entrance.

The purchase of a match programme, printed in black on faded yellow paper, quickly followed, and then my dad would point that we were behind the wooden grandstand, and every so often as we walked along, there would be very old tiny pay boxes where stand patrons would pay the extra to sit down in the days when 3,000 fans would surge along to enter the Canal End Covered Terrace from the rear, or turn left to the open Terrace at the Ryton End.

There was some rough banking higher than the concrete steps,

and many would hurriedly bag a high spot there.

I remember odd things from my early visits, elderly ladies knitting in the stand, the sun glinting off the cricket pavilion clock on the far side from the stand, a Referee called Fussey who was very exact and would run, bringing his knees up to waist height, to point out the exact spot for a free kick, and then run off in the same manner before blowing his whistle.

Happy days indeed for me, but how would you convince the youngsters today to turn out. One for the marketing men, I think.