Football in the Old Days : Derby County v Middlesbrough

In the early 1970s, I used to watch Derby County who, at that time, were a highly successful team in what was then still called “The First Division”. I saw Derby win the Championship of that First Division on two occasions, in 1972 and 1975. In later years, I took my camera with me a couple of times, to take a few photographs, even though, at the time, this was actually illegal and club stewards kept a careful watch in case anybody did it.  Derby, of course, did not play in their current modern stadium, but in the old Baseball Ground, built in the middle of square miles of terraced houses in one of the poorest areas of Derby. It has now, alas, been demolished, although I do have a box of mud from the pitch, and a fair quantity of bricks from the stands.

I keep them in the cellar, but the very best one I had concreted underneath my Dad’s gravestone. He was a Derby fan from 1931, when Newcastle United came to Derby and won by 5-1, until the last game at the Baseball Ground, a 1-3 defeat against Arsenal. Fred was to watch Derby County for almost seventy years, until his very, very last game, at the new Pride Park Stadium, a defeat by 0-2 to Charlton Athletic. Nobody said supporting a football team was going to be easy.

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My camera was a Voigtländer Vito B (I think) equipped with a rather handy Zeiss lens:


Here are the match stewards just before the match begins:

A four more police horses - photo 2

Today, the opponents are Middlesbrough, recently promoted to the First Division, and relying on tenacious defence to stay there. Here they are warming up before the match begins. The spectators at the back are in the Ley Stand, sitting upstairs, as it were, but standing in their thousands underneath. The “standees”, what a wonderful new word, are the away supporters from Middlesbrough:

B four more police horses photo 4

Middlesbrough played in all red with a white chest band:


Derby played in white and dark blue:


Middlesbrough have already come out for the game, but here come Derby, resplendent in their white shirts with a darker collar and cuffs,

C four more police horses photo 1

Here is the moment just before Derby kick off to start the game. At the far end is the packed Normanton Stand:

D football x four - C photo 2

Hooliganism was rife in the 1970s, and here the supporters next to me in the Osmaston Stand, Lower Tier, are obviously bored by the game, so they concentrate on a threatened pitch invasion by the Middlesbrough  fans:

E photo 1

Here Derby attack, and their best player, Kevin Hector, has a shot at goal:

football x four - photo 1

He shoots, he scores!

photo 2

I thought the result of this game was Derby County 3 Middlesbrough 2 but apparently, when I checked my reference books, it actually finished Derby County 2 Middlesbrough 3. They are useless books and I may throw them away.



Filed under Derby County, Football, History, Personal

12 responses to “Football in the Old Days : Derby County v Middlesbrough

  1. Great photos John, of what I am sure are some fond memories, and a great tribute to your Dad.

  2. The stamina of these players has always amazed me!

  3. They certainly were volatile times with pitch invasions and running street battles. There were also some great British players. How things have changed!

  4. I’m not fond of football John, but upon reading your post it brings back the real essence of football from the past to now. Thank you!

  5. Great memories. For all the hooliganism I miss the football grounds where I spent much of my youth. Maine Road might have seen better days but I still remember it fondly and even though I’ve seen my team win several trophies in the last few years it isn’t the same.
    The Baseball Ground always seemed to have a heavy pitch back in the 70s. My memory may be playing tricks but didn’t they once have to bring out a pot of white paint to mark the spot so a penalty could be taken?

    • I was there! It was a brilliant day for Derby. They had a lot of injuries and had to play Archie Gemmill as a centre forward. City couldn’t deal with him and Derby eventually won 4-0. I think City had Brian Kidd sent off and yes, it was so muddy that they had to bring out a bucket of white paint and a tape measure when a penalty was awarded. All to please Big Joe Corrigan who, to be fair, should have had a lot more caps than he actually got. It was around then that Derby bought Franny Lee from City…what a player he was, he exuded confidence and skill. And I saw him smack Norman Hunter a few times as well in a game against Leeds. Golden days and golden players!

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