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Ashton Gate: 1970/80
The start of the 70s and 80s saw Points West at Ashton Gate, but not because of Bristol City FC. It was the appearance of Sir Alf Ramsey’s England team and ten years on the arrival of floodlit cricket that drew the attention of the TV cameras.
It might be argued that the opening of Ashton Gate’s Dolman Stand in 1970 was overshadowed by the appearance in April 1970 of the England World Cup team.
Led by legendary manager Alf Ramsey, Points West filmed members of the squad, which included Bobby Moore, Alan Ball and Geoff Hurst, stepping off the coach and avoiding the autograph hunters (“we’re too busy” said Sir Alf).
We see team players Emlyn Hughes with Bobby Moore emerging from the tunnel, again avoiding the eye of the fans, and stepping on to the pitch.
And after seeing some ball action, the film concludes with shots of Ramsey leaving the pitch and, again, refusing to sign autographs!
People who were there say it was quite an occasion, even if you did go home with your autograph book empty.
After managing Ipswich Town in the mid-fifties, Ramsey was eventually made England manager in 1963.
He saw England to victory in the 1966 World Cup, seeing off Argentina, Portugal in the semi-finals before beating West Germany 4-2 in the now famous World Cup final.
Ramsey and his World Cup team came to Bristol just as their success began to waver; they lost 3-2 to Germany in the quarterfinals of the 1970 World Cup.
Sir Alf was given the footballer’s boot from the game in 1974 when he was sacked after his side failed to qualify for that year’s World Cup.
Ten years after the appearance at Ashton Gate of the England team, the stadium was caught in the glare of the media spotlight once again.
On this occasion it was the glare of its own lights that was causing the interest.
No bad light here to stop play
In September 1980, Points West reported on a game between the England cricket side and The Rest of the World played under floodlights at Ashton Gate.
In a move that saw the ground used for more than just playing football, nightime cricket came to the stadium and by all accounts was deemed a huge success by the players.
The film includes an interview with Brian Rose, the England lefthander who famously led Somerset to victory in the Gillette Cup and the John Player League the year before.
With a white ball (said to be much easier to see than the traditional red ball), coupled with the floodlit football stadium, it seems rather odd to watch a game of cricket played under such conditions, but the consensus by those involved was that the idea seemed pretty sound.
Points West also talked to the fans; one admitted he had been cynical about the whole idea of night time cricket but showed signs of being convinced after seeing the game at Ashton Gate that evening.
Certainly floodlit cricket is more popular today than it was 25 years ago when it was in part first pioneered in Bristol.
MORE FILMS FROM POINTS WEST
last updated: 18/09/07
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