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sparrow
11 Apr 20 09:45
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Date Joined: 20 Jul 02
| Topic/replies: 36,191 | Blogger: sparrow's blog
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Report Ell April 13, 2020 12:46 AM BST
Used to be my second home 1980-85. Saw a lot of good dogs and many good nights there.
All the best London tracks gone thanks to the GRA.
Haven't been for years, Romford & Crayford about as enticing as a spin of roulette and about as predictable.
Report HGS April 13, 2020 10:48 AM BST
Never seen that before with the price 'clocks'. Assume they were tote clocks? Fascinating.
Report sparrow April 13, 2020 1:25 PM BST
They were tote clocks, HGS.
Report sparrow April 13, 2020 1:28 PM BST
All tracks had Totalisator boards of one type or another.
Report HGS April 13, 2020 1:39 PM BST
Yeah, I remember toteboards, just not in a clock fashion. Cheers sparrow.
Report the bairn April 13, 2020 3:09 PM BST
Powderhall and Shawfield had them, sparrow, it's good to see you bringing up stories about all the old days at greyhound stadiums, must be heartbreaking for the younger guys to find out what it was really like back in the day, good on you,cheers.
Report sparrow April 13, 2020 4:36 PM BST
Thanks, the bairn. A good time for the old stories and photos and I will post some more in the coming weeks.
Report Ell April 13, 2020 7:41 PM BST
Does anyone know if there are videos available of dogs running at Harringay.
I've seen youtubes of Scurlogue Champ & Ballyregan Bob and wondering if there's anywhere to find others.
Would be good to see the likes of Salina, Hong Kong Mike, Yankee Express, Ballybeg Sport again.
Report sparrow April 13, 2020 9:31 PM BST
I think there are a few Ell.


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sjSvAlBONbE

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UXrDDBNIZyQ


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5Wl2YanIu3k
Report Ell April 13, 2020 10:08 PM BST
I remember the Donnas Dixie race must have screwed everyones ITV 7.
Seemed to win a lot of 670m races at Bristol Bags.

It was funny to see both sides open as i only remember that when going stock car racing with my dad.
Always used to be easy bunking over the wall to get in for the dogs.
Report sparrow April 13, 2020 10:15 PM BST
I went there mostly in the 60s and stood on the cheap side which was very busy in those days. I remember when they banked the bends which was a great help to wide runners and my best memory was seeing that great bitch Cranog Bet win the Oaks there in 1964 having already won it the previous year.
Report Ell April 13, 2020 10:25 PM BST
Of all the tracks i ever went to only Romford & Brighton are left.
I was always at the dogs and used to hate Sundays and alternate Wednesdays/Thursdays.
Report sparrow April 13, 2020 10:32 PM BST
Of my regular tracks in the 60s and 70s none are left. These were Clapton, Harringay, Hackney and occasionally Walthamstow, Park Royal in the 60s. Then the 70s after I moved to Yorkshire it was Leeds.
Report seaside April 14, 2020 10:52 AM BST
Cranog Bet win the Oaks there in 1964 I was there as well that night.

Ell I was a face those years 1980-85 All the faces would stand on the winning line just by the stairs.

It was my second income at that time.

Another face was the sweet man we all knew each other.
Report the bairn April 14, 2020 3:51 PM BST
I can remember standing outside the local bookies waiting on the results from each race at Park Royal and Dagenham dogs, cheers.Sad
Report sparrow April 14, 2020 4:44 PM BST
the bairn.......Do you remember coming out of Harringay dogs at night and on reaching Manor House you would see many people buying the next days Morning Star from newspaper sellers so as to study the race cards.
Report the.mad.dog.man April 14, 2020 6:13 PM BST
i remember. and a stall selling kebabs and very nice they were
Report RothmanMike April 14, 2020 9:31 PM BST
Saw Balliniska Band go 20 lengths clear one night at the Manor House track and it became the only dog
I ever backed ante-post for  the Derby, which it won.
Saturday afternoons when horseracing was cancelled, were memorable.
Report the bairn April 15, 2020 5:59 PM BST
sparrow, only visited Harringay once, it was to visit a show of greyhound products and there were different classes of old stud dogs and retired ones, it was on a sunday must have been around 1974-5, i don't know if it was still racing at the time, but i drove dowm from Falkirk with my wife and two children, with the promise i would take them back to Blackpool on the way home and spend a night there, must have been mad. cheers.
Report sparrow April 15, 2020 6:14 PM BST
the bairn, Harringay stopped racing in 1987 but that was quite a long haul from Falkirk to Harringay and back via Blackpool.
Report the bairn April 16, 2020 3:20 PM BST
yeah your right sparrow, my eyes were almost shut on the way up, but i was young and nothing was a bother then, another time i drove down to London, i had bet a dog ante-post parked the car at swiss cottage, took the tube to Wimbledon, took about an hour, it was the semi-final, can't remember the dogs name, it was like, long something it was in trap 3 , it stumbled and nearly fell coming out the traps, never stood a chance, i'm sure it had a litter brother in the other semi, can't remember how it got on, can't even remember what won it that year, but i did get to see the Concorde flying above me as i walked back to the station, now that was a sight. cheers.
Report Ell April 17, 2020 12:08 AM BST
Longcross Jim 87 Greyhond Derby ?
Report the bairn April 17, 2020 1:10 AM BST
E11, how brilliant are you, that was the dog, never in a million years would i have got it,you can imagine how i felt travelling back up the road. i gave it a good chance of qualifying but the race was over within a second. a long way to go for a second. by the way do you know how the dog got on after that, maybe asking too much. cheers and thanks.
Report sparrow April 17, 2020 9:25 AM BST
All the details of the 1987 Derby can be seen on this website link.


http://www.greyhoundderby.com/1987-greyhound_derby.htm
Report the bairn April 17, 2020 4:42 PM BST
thanks again sparrow, your some man. cheers.
Report Stowhound April 17, 2020 6:04 PM BST
How can seeing a picture of an old tote board suddenly fill me with burst of emotion, I nearly cried.
One of the early bets I remember having there was 20p win and place on Miss Ross when she won the 1973 Oaks (I was 14 at the time) the needle was between the 9/1 and 15/1 marks on the clock and the anticipation of the dividend as it clicked round, eventually paying out at 11/,1 was so exciting. Attended most meetings there along with my Dad from that night onwards up until it closed in 1987.
Walked home to Stoke Newington many a time with my Dad a "fun" gambler whose biggest bet was always the last race whether he fancied it a lot or not, used to see him lose his money there regularly and I think it inspired to strive to a be a winner in this game.
Report wedge1 April 17, 2020 7:19 PM BST
stowhound
lovely to see you post such a rare thing keep well and safe
Report sparrow April 17, 2020 8:48 PM BST
Stowhound......I also often walked home from Harringay to Stoke Newington at Grazebrook Road in the late 60s.
Report Stowhound April 17, 2020 10:08 PM BST
Sparrow we were on Fountayne Road N16.....its off of Cazenove and Northwold (my primary school) you were the other side of the A10 near Clissold Park .....we used to cut through the back Vartry road.....you might have also gone that way to begin with.
Report sparrow April 17, 2020 10:55 PM BST
I only lived in Stoke Newington during the late 60s stowhound as I was brought up in Hackney itself and my regular track was Clapton as well as Harringay. I recall some famous people went to Northwold such as Marc Bolan, Helen Shapiro and Alan Sugar who were all about the same age as me and in fact Sugar later went to the same school as me and in the same year. All seems a very long time ago now.
Report Stowhound April 17, 2020 11:06 PM BST
I took the same route......lived in Mount Pleasant Road Clapton before Fountayne and did go to Clapton a few times  with my Dad when I was younger...but only to see fireworks... it was an easy walk across Millfields.
I then followed yourself and Mr Sugar to Brooke House School! (tried for Parmiters first....not clever enough!)
Report sparrow April 17, 2020 11:35 PM BST
Amazing Stowhound. Me and Sugar was first at Joseph Priestley in 1958 and then they joined us up with Mount Pleasant school to become Brooke House in 1960. I got an interview at Davenant Foundation due to being borderline grammar but failed that. What a small world it is!
Report RothmanMike April 18, 2020 8:12 PM BST
One of the first tracks to have sanded bends, I believe.
Hove followed sometime later.
Report treetop April 18, 2020 8:27 PM BST
Used to go there Friday nights occasionally with a mate from Northern Polytechnic around 1960-70 and Hackney Thursday afternoons (?) never boosted my grant very much but enjoyed the track atmosphere Laugh
Report the.mad.dog.man April 18, 2020 9:39 PM BST
think the stow was sanded bends before harringay not sure
Report the.mad.dog.man April 18, 2020 9:41 PM BST
there was a owner joe booth who would only run his dogs on sanded tracks or bends
Report sparrow April 18, 2020 10:46 PM BST
I always remember the banking of the bends in the 60s and what an improvement it made to the track.
Report The Knight April 22, 2020 12:17 AM BST
Although I was a Walthamstow and Hackney man, I went to Harringay from time to time and can vividly remember having £6 to win £4 on Ballinderry Moth when she won the Oaks final in November 1976. She was a wonderful bitch with great early and nearly always ran her race.

I went to the track a few times in the 1980's and I can also recall going to the last ever meeting in 1987.

For some reason, there was trouble at the Tote windows late on and I believe the Tote building was set alight. I'd gone home by then but it always struck me as sad that it ended like that. Could anyone else there that night enlighten me further how far the trouble went?

It now seems a dream that there were so many tracks in London and a keen dog punter could have been out six nights a week without ever having to travel too far.

Indeed, one of the people I worked with in my first job on the Stratford Express (cub, or trainee, reporter) was a big punter and was out every night at the London tracks.

He knew his stuff and would make it pay most meetings but whenever he hit a losing patch his head would go and he'd start chasing. Hence, and he'd openly admit this to all and sundry, he'd show a loss on the year time and time again.

One day he fell asleep on a bus taking him home from Harringay and never woke up again.

Try as I might I cannot recall his full name now, but his first name was Albert. He was commonly known as Solly though and he once stopped the weekly print run of the paper by accidentally falling over an electric lead in the print shop which blew the fuseboard. He was a big clumsy s*d and used to say that he had once dropped £350 at Hackney out of his trouser pocket but then found £500 in £10 notes on the bus home!

He also lined up a dog called Bread Knife for a big bet at Romford one night but the bus taking him to the track was badly delayed when someone fell off the open-platform having ran to jump on it.

He ended up arriving at the track just as the traps sprung open and was mortified to see Bread Knife scoot in at 7/2. He was inconsolable for days afterwards and kept saying that he hoped the guy who had fallen off the bus had 'broke his effin' neck'! By an amazing coincidence it then turned out that the guy who had had the accident was his cousin, with whom he had fallen out with years before.

Looking back, Solly seemed to have quite a few adventures on the buses!

Society today seems to have stopped producing characters like him but when I was young they were everywhere, especially at the dogs and horse tracks.
Report sparrow April 22, 2020 9:13 AM BST
The Knight
21 Apr 20 23:17
Joined: 02 Sep 01
|For some reason, there was trouble at the Tote windows late on and I believe the Tote building was set alight. I'd gone home by then but it always struck me as sad that it ended like that. Could anyone else there that night enlighten me further how far the trouble went?Historical accounts paint a colourful picture of life around the stadium.




I didn't know about any trouble in the 1980s but here below are a few incidents of disorder described.


Joe Coral, the founder of Coral Bookmakers, started his business at Harringay Stadium and other similar venues. Coral is supposed to have come up against organised crime boss Darby Sabini at Harringay but held his ground by holding a gun to Sabini's stomach.

Contemporary newspaper reports suggest that the crowds at the stadium could also be prone to violent disorder. There were at least three documented incidents of serious crowd disorder between 1938 and 1957. On 14 May 1938, when speedway racing was stopped early due to an accident, a crowd of 2,000 demanded their money back. When their demands were ignored the crowd broke onto the track, smashing and damaging parts of the stadium and setting fire to the track's tractor.

Eight years later a crowd attending a greyhound racing event ran riot after a second-placed dog was disqualified. According to The Guardian, the crowd

    invaded the track and for over half an hour indulged in senseless destruction. They started bonfires which they fed with pieces of the hare trap...smashed electric lamps and arc lights, tore down telephone wires, and broke windows, wrecked the inside of the judge's box, overturned the starting trap...They also attacked the tote offices..

In June 1957 another disqualification provoked a further riot at a greyhound racing event. Similar levels of disorder as the previous riot were dealt with on this occasion by firemen from six fire appliances who turned their hoses on the crowd. Apparently the angry crowd was quickly dispersed, but they left quite a trail of destruction
Report The Knight April 22, 2020 3:41 PM BST
sparrow,

Very interesting.

When Hackney was undergoing its rebuild to become the ill-fated Embassy Stadium they carried on racing but housed the punters in the old stand opposite the one being knocked down. Naturally, it was given a bit of a face-lift first.

It wasn't Hackney as soon as that rebuild began but one hot June afternoon in 1994, someone climbed onto the track at the third bend to try to stop a race. The dogs ran past the guy anyway and the result stood, as per the new rules.

But somebody spotted the guy who had tried to stop the race trying to climb over the fence at the rear of the bend. A few punters ran up there and caught him but then some other punters went after them and a right old set-to started. They were fighting each other all over the track and on the infield. I think there were only half a dozen of us left who did not go to join in.

The guy who had tried to stop the race received a right pasting but, thankfully, it all blew over inside a couple of minutes. The racing manager, Micahel Marks I believe, came down to investigate further and I said to him 'are you going to call the police because that looked nasty'.

By then the guy who had been given the pasting was sitting in a chair provided to him holding a cloth to his bleeding nose and face. Marks told me that he had already called the police but racing then continued as if nothing had happened and, as far as I know, the police never turned up!

At the next meeting Michael Marks told me that those who had chased after the race-wrecker were simply over-excited and then the rest got caught up in it and there was no point whatsoever to the punch-up! The police had called him after he had called them but decided they had better things to do. The race-wrecker had scarpered soon after I saw him in the chair and that was the end of that.

So, we went from some pretty nasty public disorder back to normality inside 30 minutes.

What a strange crowd dog punters could be!
Report sparrow April 22, 2020 4:04 PM BST
At my local track Clapton there was a near riot in the 1960s when some of the crowd set fire to the grass on the track. This followed a terrible run by an even money favourite Woodford Alan a well known and usually consistent dog but of course greyhound people were in my view far less tolerant of any suspicious activity at that time probably due to the amount of doping and skullduggery that went on. We are after all talking about an era where thousands of people would go to a track and the betting markets were very lively.
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