The Fan Who Tried To Get His Gate Money Back

Last updated : 22 January 2007 By James Lodge
On match days there is a lot of money taken at the turnstiles and life at Boothferry Park was no exception. Like most clubs, this is quickly accounted for and was spirited away to a bank very quickly, long before the game ended.

As always, especially when you have a number of teams all playing on a Saturday, some of them away from home, there are injuries which need treating and Sunday morning was the time for this so the physio, Jimmy Lodge would be on hand to deal with an assortment of players with knocks, bruises, pulls and cuts. It was also when the "skips" would be emptied, washing sorted etc.

Now, anyone who knew the original layout of BP would know that the club office was next to gents toilets at the south end of the West Stand, beside the last staircase up to the seating. The Home Team Dressing Room was the other side of the toilets. Both were actually set under the rake of the seating structure and there were voids above ceiling level.

The fan who wanted his money back actually wanted to relieve the club of all other gate money as well - which he expected to find in the office.

He accessed the void in the roof under the seating by prising off one of the metal cladding sheets at the end of the stand and made his way to the location of the office, with a view to breaking in through the ceiling. Unfortunately he stepped on a part of the ceiling which was not structurally strong and fell through landing on top of the safe which he planned to rob.

So Sunday morning arrives and Jimmy Lodge, Johnny Mahon, Fred Smith and the other members of the coaching staff arrive about 10-ish to begin clearing up and sorting out injuries. I tag along for something to do and got an old ball out to kick around in the walkway area at the rear of the stand. Some one was with me, but who I am not sure as lots of members of staff often had their kids with them. Obviously the noise of the ball banging against the wall alerted the injured robber and he began shouting for help. Off we ran to the dressing room to report our discovery only to be told that Mr Lee (Cyril Lee, the club secretary) would not be working... but we insisted we had heard shouts for help.

Off goes Jimmy Lodge to investigate and, sure enough, he hears shouts for help but no obvious sign of a break in. Now Jimmy had a bunch of Master Keys for the whole of the ground which was enormous and, as he rarely used them it took ages to find the right ones to open the office doors, each of which had both mortise and Yale locks.

Unluckily for him, the robber had badly fractured his ankle and lower legs when he landed and he had been unable to move for several hours.

By the time the police and ambulance arrived and accessed the ground (remember that gates have to be opened to get vehicles in) the robber was splinted and strapped rather professionally.

When it was finally reported that he had appeared in court, all it said was that he was injured whilst breaking and entering the ground - nothing about why he had been breaking and entering or what part of the ground was involved.