Meet Stoke City FC’s 1970s superfans

They’re football crazy, they’re football mad…

Paul O’Callaghan

Footage from Media Archive for Central England

In this 1975 episode of the ATV series Jaywalking, presenter Sue Jay spends time with Stoke City FC’s most devoted fans and interviews some of the team’s most popular players.

1. This pair of ebullient Stoke fans are unwilling to repeat their favourite terrace chants in front of the camera: “It’s dirty language. There’s a policeman there… tell that policeman to turn his back.”

Shouts for City! (1975)

2. This may look like a White Stripes album cover, but it is in fact the home of superfan Rosemary Bough, known locally as ‘red and white Rosemary’.

Shouts for City! (1975)

3. It’s fair to say that she’s succeeded in inspiring similar devotion to the team among her family.

Shouts for City! (1975)

4. Jay asks Rosemary’s youngest daughter what she would wish for if granted a single wish: “To be a boy… because I want to be a footballer.”

Shouts for City! (1975)

5. Jay somewhat startles star goalkeeper Peter Shilton with her direct opening gambit: “Not to be rude, but a lot of people would think that a footballer’s brains are in his feet, that really you’re not a very bright lot.”

Shouts for City! (1975)

6. Outside the Victoria Ground, the club’s home from 1878 until 1997. At the time of demolition it was the Football League’s oldest operational ground.

Shouts for City! (1975)

7. Jay (right) interviews John Bayley (middle), the originator of the ‘Zigger Zagger’ chant, and as such one of the team’s best-known fans.

Shouts for City! (1975)

8. Assistant manager Alan A’Court discusses keeping the players in check: “If they’ve been abusing themselves, in drink or sex or what have you, they’ve got to work that little bit harder. We try to bring them down to earth a bit, if we feel they’re getting a bit too confident.”

Shouts for City! (1975)

9. Lifelong fan Fred explains what his wife makes of his hobby: “She says when I die she’s going to shove a ball in the coffin, in case there’s no football wherever I go, either up or down!”

Shouts for City! (1975)

10. Manager Tony Waddington pays close attention to what fans like Fred, who always sits next to the director’s box on match days, are saying: “Believe me, if I should be bringing a substitute on at a certain point of the game, Freddy lets me know, in no uncertain manner!”

Shouts for City! (1975)

11. Former centre forward Freddie Steele thinks today’s players are too pampered. Back in his day, the club facilities consisted of a wooden room with a toilet in the corner: “They used to call it the chamber of horrors.”

Shouts for City! (1975)

12. Jay visits a local sports shop, noting: “Obviously there’s a lot of money to be made in football, not only by players but by traders.”

Shouts for City! (1975)

13. Our presenter gets herself kitted out in preparation for a trip to a match with the Bough family.

Shouts for City! (1975)

14. At a time when organised football hooliganism was on the rise, the film offers a look at the more wholesome side of fan culture.

Shouts for City! (1975)

15. However, elsewhere in the ground, the threat of violence lurks. One of the fans we met earlier explains that he came back from a recent trip to Birmingham with his arm in a sling: “Somebody’s gonna go back with a broken neck, never mind a broken arm.”

Shouts for City! (1975)

16. But despite these darker elements, Waddington remains inspired by the passion of the team’s fans: “Some people seem to think that it’s only for the players, but the game is for spectators; there’s no question about that.”

Shouts for City! (1975)

The film and stills on this page are taken from Britain on Film, a digital archive of UK places that mean the world to you. 10,000 film and TV titles from 1895 to now will be digitised and can be watched for free on BFI Player.

Britain on Film is funded by the National Lottery funding and the Esmée Fairbairn Foundation.

 

The Media Archive for Central England is the public screen archive for the East and West Midlands. An independent charity and company based at the University of Lincoln, MACE acquires, catalogues, preserves and makes widely available moving image materials that inform our understanding of the diverse cultures and histories of communities between the Lincolnshire coast and the Welsh border.

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    Britain on Film

    1,000s of films, beautifully preserved. 120 years of British life, unseen until now.

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