Saturday, August 1, 2009

Attendances and changing scenery

Photos (Top to Bottom): You could be forgiven for thinking this is either Sam or Adam McIntyre of is, in fact, their father, John McIntyre, in his Croatia days (see him in action in a photo farther down); University versus White Eagles at South Hobart in the late 1960s; Olympia warm up before taking on Caledonians at South Hobart in the late 1970s; Olympic versus Rangers at South Hobart in 1963, with a good crowd in attendance; University score a penalty against Olympic at South Hobart in the early 1980s; Frank Dzelaljia of Croatia with the ball in the game against Olympia at South Hobart in the early 1980s before an almost deserted old stand; current president of FFT Sean Collins attacks for University against Croatia at KGV Park in 1987 as John McIntyre tries to shut him down and support arrives from John Basic; University versus White Eagles at South HObart in the late 1960s; KGV Park in the late 1970s and Rapid's Phil Kannegiesser takes a goal-kick (note the crowd in the stand); Olympia goalkeeper Martin Burden at South Hobart in the game against Croatia in the late 1970s [Photos by Ralph Dymond and Walter Pless]

Attendances at local matches have certainly dropped off since I started watching the game as a child in the late 1950s.

The newer of the two grandstands at South Hobart hadn't been built, and the old one was completely full for the senior triple-headers played at the venue on Saturdays in those days.

Those who couldn't fit into the stand stood around the fence surrounding the pitch.

The erection of the second stand in about 1960 meant that many more spectators could sit under cover to watch games.

The biggest crowd I have seen at South Hobart was for the George Best exhibition game in about 1990.

There were no vacant seats and scarcely any standing room and the crowd was estimated to be 2,000.

Unfortunately, the game was a bit of a farce and Best actually changed sides at one stage in order to take a penalty. Thankfully for the spectators, he scored.

When Caledonians played Launceston City in a State League match that decided the 1981 title, people were still queuing at the turnstiles as the match kicked off.

There may have been 1,000 there that day.

That's probably about the maximum that attended in the heydays of the 1950s, 60s and early 70s.

A selection of photos above gives some indication of attendances and of how the surroundings have changed at both South Hobart and KGV Park over the years.

Stories of three or four thousand attending South Hobart in the 1950s and 1960s are myths.


Brian Young said...

What a great article Walter. The myth about crowd attendances has been exposed!

Unknown said...

its a bit of an insult to the hobart public to be subjected to such a farcical match. I never attended the match, though I went to a dinner thing at the greek club I could see that Best looked like a shell of a man surrounded by sycophants from the Melbourne mob who organised the tour. They may as well of shipped over a wax model of Best's from Madam Tousauds. Bit of a shame really. The guy was a genius. I saw him play an exhibition game in glasgow to raise funds for the Ibrox disaster of 1971 when 66 rangers fans were crushed trying to leave the stadium. He glided around the field nonchalantly putting slide rule passes to his team mates He curled a 30 yard shot into the opponent's net. Tought Jimmy Johnstone had more skill than Besty though, just not the pop star looks. The teams that night were Scotland v rangers/celtic select