Nick Stanhope, Tigers fan since the 1980s chats with Peter Reeves, a fan since the 1940s
Last week the Historypin Team was in Leicester with Soft Touch Arts and the University of Leicester collecting sporting memories from Leicester Tigers fans. We ran a drop in event, inviting fans to come bring in their memorabilia and share their memories about the annual rugby match between the Tigers and the Barbarians.
Before the event we’d already had some fun memories shared on Facebook, including the identification of Pete Curtis, famous for getting drunk and climbing things from cross bars to lamposts – anyone remember him? The hunt is still on for a photo of one of his escapades.
We also found out the story behind this image:
Fans at the Barbarians Game, Dec 1988 (Image courtesy of Leicester Mercury at the University of Leicester)
Word of mouth spread the photo through a chain of Tigers fans and reunited this photo to with the gentleman depicted, Bob Nicholas, who was able to shed light on the ridiculous hats:
A friend has sent me the link to the Tigers website and the Leicester Mercury photo of my family at the match in the 1980’s. I no longer live in UK but have very fond memories of the matches during the latter part of the amateur era. The photo was probably from 1987 and came about because, in those days, if you dressed up in something extraordinary there was every chance the press would record it for posterity! I wore a “Rudolph-the-Red-Nosed-Reindeer” hat and my children wore Moosehats I had found on a trip to the USA. The policeman who was patrolling the touchline before kick-off stopped as he passed us by and I asked him if, as it was Christmas, he wanted to swap his party hat for mine. His response was “I’m not sure which one of us would look more stupid, Sir” and just at that moment a photographer took the picture.
My theory of getting press coverage did work. Rugby Special showed recorded highlights of the match and panned onto us in the crowd. On another occasion we were interviewed by Jonathan Agnew who had recently joined Radio Leicester, just because we were wearing the hats, and after the match he broadcast that it was his first visit to a BaaBaas match and the first time he’d met Rudolph-the-Red-Nosed-Reindeer. I’ve dined out on the story a few times, but still miss the sheer joy of watching two sides playing for the pure love of the game.
It was definitely worth waiting in the queue for the gates to open in order to get a good position in the front of the Enclosure – all before season tickets were introduced.
At the event we were joined by people from across the Tiger family, including fans, retired players, the club historian, ex-captains and volunteers who had run the catering. They brought in a wealth of memorabilia – ticket stubs, newspaper articles, programmes and even a sock signed by David Campese!
Sock signed by Barbarians player David Campese, brought in by Angela Murphy who volunteered with the catering dept at Welford Rd (Image courtesy of LFC)
Rob Ross also brought in his impressive collection of Tigers vs Barbarian programmes which included every one since World War Two and one from 1910:
Tigers vs Barbarians Programme, 1910 shared by Rob Ross (Image courtesy of LFC)
And as luck would have it, Mike Harrison, Tigers player from 1962-1971 and captain from 1964, was on hand to sign the 1964 programme.
Mike Harrison, retired Tigers captain, signs Rob Cross' programme
You can listen here to Mike speaking about how special the annual Barbarians game was and the unique atmosphere of the ground and watch here to see former Tigers player and match commentator Bleddyn Jones speak about how he joined the Tigers team after casually joining their training one evening.
It was a great event with loads of materials and memories shared and some great stories unearthed. You can see everything that was gathered, alongside 100s of photos from the Leicester Mercury newspaper archive here. And if you’d like to know more about our work with Leicester Tigers, or have materials and memories to share, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Programme Tigers vs Barbarians 1960 (Image courtesy of LFC)