Friday, 30 September 2005

Helen the bell

Now this will probably mean nowt to anyone who hasn't been to a Manchester City home game but since when was I interested in amusing the masses? :-)

When I was a good deal smaller and younger my father took me to watch football at Maine Road. In those days football was also young and naive - the minimum wage had just been dropped but players still took the bus to the ground and lived in B&Bs close to the ground. We went to Maine Rd because dad was a Blue and he was a Blue because he was born and brought up within 200 yards of the hallowed turf on which I saw King Colin, Lee 1 (pen), Buzzer and others play. During my difficult growing up years (in contrast to my difficult adult years!) there was a lady who would sit in the North Stand, behind the goal, with a handbell and she would ring this at significant times during the game. When City moved to the new stadium she moved with them and for many City fans that bell was simply part of the game and part of the experience. Her name was Helen Turner.

Yesterday was Helen's funeral and the club have agreed that they will do something to celebrate her life before the next home game on Sunday. I'm not posting this to be mawkish but simply to show that every now and then (not often enough in my book) big business (and that's what football is these days) does the right thing and recognises the people who pay the wages of the megastars like Beckham. Read the comments after that news item to see what she meant to City fans :-)

10 careful considerations:

Rob Spence said...

I have to say though - Gawd bless 'er and all that - that bell really used to irritate me after a bit.
Did you have a rattle though?

Nogbad said...

The bell would get mny back up at times too but it was there and she was there and that was part of Maine Road wasn't it? I didn't have a rattle - I'm not sure you'd get one into a game now would you??

Echo Mouse said...

She sounds like a very cool woman :)

You know, what she did reminds me of the movie Bull Durham and the Susan Sarandon character. Wouldn't it be interesting if she really was the inspiration for that character? So sorry she's gone. It's nice to see that her tradition was eventually valued and honoured :)

Rob Spence said...

I think I can say with some authority that Helen the bell was NOT the inspiration for the Bull Durham character. She was the kind of person who is determined to be known as an eccentric. It always sems to me that true eccentrics aren't aware that they are eccentric.

Morning-Loves-It said...

I want to be like her when I'm eighty five. Perhaps I already am?

Nogbad said...

Oh I think you'd know if you were 85 Morning! :-)

Perhaps the problem is analysis - when Rob and I went to Maine Road I'm sure we didn't try to work out the meaning of the lady behind the goal ringing her bell - she was simply there; it was. To unpick who she was and what she did starts to lend meaning where there wasn't really any meaning - Helen went to watch City, she rang a bell. End of?

Bluefluff said...

So, did the fans ring bells in tribute today?

Morning-Loves-It said...

I'm so glad your don't mark my TMAs and ECAs Nigel. You are so literal ;-)

Nogbad said...

Oh Morning - I think the chances of us bumping into each other in that way are slim :-)

Dunno Lynne - no mention on the radio or TV but I get an email fanzine and that may make mention, I'll let you know when it arrives tonight

Bluefluff said...

There doesn't seem to be anything on the manchesteronline site. Now that you've whetted our appetite, you can't leave us dangling! (Is that a mixed metaphor?!)