Football on the Roof
I went to St Patrick’s School (St Pats) which was on Marsh St. As well as the normal sort of playground we had one on the roof. At one time the football team I played in was coached up on this rooftop playground
When St Pats Boys’ Club were in the local Boys’ Club league for the 1958/59 season we were rubbish! We were getting beat by far better teams with embarrassing scores like 18-nil. We played on Hustlers playing field or the Cathedral’s ground which was near the Mandale Roundabout Thornaby.
Our Parish Priest, Fr Shanahan, was a personal friend of Arthur Fitzsimmons who was an Irish international and Boro inside right,and he arranged for Arthur to put us through our paces. He decided to do this on the flat roof of St Pats school which had 6ft railings around it,so that Arthur Fitzsimmons would be away from the prying eyes and autograph hunters of the Cannon Street kids.
He followed this by arranging for another session at Ayresome Park which we all looked forward to as we had visions of running onto the hallowed ground and having a kick about. Unfortunately he had other ideas and just ran us around the perimeter track, but we did get to use the communal bath which the Boro players used.I can’t remember who coached us at Ayresome Park, it was either Jimmy Gordon or Harold Shepherdson.
The result of all this intensive training? It had no effect on our performance at all and we continued to get beaten heavily.