Gateshead Change

Gateshead Brian Johnson

We walked there from Dunston; we didn’t have a car anyway. We walked through Dunston Park, down past the gas works, turned right up alongside the tributary that led into the Tyne from the mines, to the Gateshead stadium.

I never forget Me Dad would take us to the place where Hughie Gallacher threw himself in front of a train. "He was the greatest footballer that ever lived son." He was very reverential about that. Hughie played in the Newcastle side that won the title in 1927 and he was God-like to my father. But Gateshead was the place we went to because it was cheap. I got it for a ha’penny.

My Dad used to take us to the Park, me and my brother Morris (My youngest brother was too small) but when we got there we couldn't see over the wall so me and my brother used to stand on a cracket, each with one foot on. We didn't have a clue what was going on but it was all very exciting.

I was probably about seven or eight and it was just the most exciting thing ever with so many people there. Being born in Dunston I was used to the quiet except very early in the morning when you heard all the miners and the workers walking up to the bus stops and then at about 4.30 when you could hear all these steel bottomed boots marching down the street with all these guys with black faces and their caps, all pulled side-ways (which is why I always wore a cap as a nod to those men). They would all be walking back with their ex-army haver sacks, ex-army battle jackets and coats all looking the same. There was just this huge noise and then all quiet again.

The ones who could afford it, or didn't have any kids, went to see Newcastle. It wasn't until later on when I think I was about 13 that I first went along and stood in the Gallowgate End. But I never saw a bloody thing! I was too small and I didn't have my cracket with me!

Brian Johnson

Brian is a supporter of the Sporting Memories Network who are tackling dementia, depression and loneliness in older people

1 Comment (Add your voice)

What wonderful childhood memories. Good on you Brian!

– John Owens, March 11 2014 at 17:52

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A sculpture of a cracket - used by Miners down the pit, the wooden stools  also made their way into houses A sculpture of a cracket - used by Miners down the pit, the wooden stools also made their way into houses Brian JohnsonBrian Johnson