Author Topic: The History of The Boys' Pen at Anfield  (Read 25745 times)

Offline kriss

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The History of The Boys' Pen at Anfield
« on: February 8, 2013, 01:17:44 AM »
Mods, Please move this to the History Board if you think this is where it should go. Thank you.


It is not known exactly when a boys’ enclosure was first opened at Liverpool’s Anfield stadium, although it probably wasn’t until after the First World War. It was definitely in place throughout most of the 1920s and 1930s, when it was located in the Paddock of the old Kemlyn Road Stand and ran from around the halfway line on that side of the stadium up to where the Kemlyn Road Stand joined the Anfield Road Enclosure.

It seems to have been a popular area for youngsters to congregate and watch the team from and there doesn’t seem to be any record of bad behaviour until Leeds United came to Anfield for a First Division fixture on Saturday 5 February 1938. Apparently on this day kids inside the boys' enclosure threw orange peel onto the pitch, which might or might not have been directed at visiting players, nobody seems to be sure. But the club was warned and was ordered to have a policeman patrol this area of the stadium at future home matches.

A similar incident occurred almost exactly a year later (Saturday 25 February 1939) when Wolverhampton Wanders visited Anfield for a League match only two weeks after convincingly knocking Liverpool out of the F.A. cup at Molineux. Whether that defeat affected the general mood of the crowd towards the visitors is open to question but what is not in doubt is that there was again a “throwing incident” which this time seemed to involve whole pieces of fruit not just peel. The Football Association threatened to close the stadium (or at least the part of it that had been responsible) unless the club took action to prevent it happening again. To be fair to the lads in the Boys’ Pen, they might have just been copying what they had seen adults doing because in the home programmes for the matches against Leicester City (4 March) and Birmingham City (5 April) there was a very firm warning printed addressed as an open letter to “Very Good Friends, The Kopites” reminding them about the possible consequences of repeating this behaviour, that the club might be forced to play its home matches elsewhere or behind closed doors and that the culprits would be dealt with if caught. The Birmingham programme announced that “Finally, after much consideration, it has been decided to post a large number of plain-clothes police officers on the Kop every home match, and they have authority to arrest the man who dares throw another orange.” Perhaps the club was mainly targeting adults on the Kop but children often mimic what they see adults doing so effectively the whole of Liverpool’s home support, including the children, knew what the situation was wherever in the stadium they stood or sat.

Only two home matches remained in the 1938/39 season after that warning in the Birmingham programme. Within weeks of the end of the season the nation was caught up in another World War and competitive football had to take a back seat for several years.

By the time The Football League was able to resume its programme in the 1946/47 season, the kids’ enclosure in the front of the Kemlyn Road Stand had been moved to a raised area of the Kop with its own entrance in Lake Street on the Main Stand side of the stadium. It was a wise decision, perhaps made in the aftermath of the death of 33 spectators at a horribly overcrowded Burnden Park, Bolton earlier in the year with the move endorsed by another bad incident of overcrowding in Liverpool’s second home First Division match of the season against Chelsea on 7 September 1946 which forced hundreds of dehydrated spectators to seek refuge on the track around the pitch on an almost unbearably hot day for both playing and watching.

So the boys who attended Liverpool’s home matches finally had a place they could call home. But it was far from a welcoming home and the kids who supported visiting teams knew better than to go in there. Robbie Ashcroft, who spent many a match watching his team from this vantage points recalls : “The kids who went on the Boys’ Pen were hard. You had to be a survivor even to queue up. You could not show fear. Fear would be pounced on. There were no away fans but the number of scraps before, during and after the match was scary. The Kop was warm and friendly - the Boys’ Pen was angry, aggressive and mean.” Neal Dunkin, author of “Anfield of Dreams” which recounted his life as a Liverpool supporter as both boy and man, described it as a “nest of vipers”. Musician and big LFC fan Peter Hooton remembers that while “The Kop was an all-welcoming society, The Pen – a caged jungle - was a holding ground for frustrated juveniles and sometimes a lonely place for newcomers”. The Pen was also once described as “a horrible place and the inspiration for ‘Lord of the Flies’”. Robbie Ashcroft describes the Pen as “a transit camp to Heaven” and “a rite of passage for any Liverpool kid in the 60s”. He also recalls that “The tradition in the Boys’ Pen was to get in early, try to get to the front and then, if you were hard enough, try to escape. All that effort to get in and all we wanted was to make an escape bid. The Kop was our freedom. . As the Kop filled up the boys in the Pen got braver and braver. One by one kids would make a dash for freedom. Some would climb the railings to the point where they almost met the rafters. They would sway on the top risking broken limbs or being impaled on rusty metal – just because you had to. Sometimes an official would pull the child’s leg to stop him jumping – that always seemed the more dangerous option. The Kop would cheer and chant, a fireman’s blanket of fans would gather to catch the kid and it was all over in seconds. The urchin would leap, the Kop would catch, and the kid would fall to the ground and, like a rat up a sewer, would disappear from view in the blink of an eye. The Kop would let out a mighty roar, the Boys’ Pen would let out a mighty squeal and the next escapee would line up, as the next decoy scrap would begin.”

So these were the little Kopites of the future, the kids who dreamed of the day when they would be old enough, big enough and strong enough to join the adults on the other side of the barbed wire that kept them in their own little corner. Robbie Ashcroft didn’t realise until he had claimed his own ‘spec’ on the Kop that the boys in the Pen were “producing an ear-splitting cacophony of screeching that was painful”.  Another supporter with many years experience of watching Liverpool at Anfield, Christopher Wood, recalls a momentous occasion when that screeching was not just tolerable but effective. It happened at the home derby with defending champions Everton on 21 November 1970, shortly after the visitors had taken a two-goal lead. Chris was standing in the Paddock in front of The Main Stand  : “I was alerted by a sound coming from somewhere to my right. Treble voices from the Boys’ Pen started to chant “No Surrender”, faintly at first and then louder with each repetition as others joined in. Within seconds adult voices from the main terrace were chanting too, drowning out the rallying cry that those lads in the Pen had started. It boomed out in defiance from twenty thousand plus throats young and old. People remember the comeback of November 1970; they remember the goals. But how many remember, as I do, how a bunch of kids refused to allow their blind faith to waver in the face of adversity and began a call to arms that resulted in a famous and emotional victory. The players won the match but the comeback began in the Boys’ Pen and created a wall of sound that has rarely been matched or bettered at any other home fixture.”

A large percentage of the Pen kids graduated to the Kop in time as they outgrew the small enclosure. Another high percentage tried to find ingenious ways of getting into the Kop from the Pen. It was a security nightmare on match-days and one regular in the Pen in the 1970s recalls that his father, who was an Anfield Steward, even wrote to club Secretary (later Chief Executive) Peter Robinson urging him to close the Pen permanently. Another youngster from the same period recalls : “There was only one objective in the Boys' Pen. And that was to get out. Every kid wanted to bunk into the Kop - it was like an obsession. I probably missed some great moments on the pitch because I was so busy trying to get out. There were many routes - some of them more precarious than others. I think we sometimes annoyed the older fellas on the Kop but they must have been impressed by our determination."

The Boys’ Pen died a natural death as the 1970s became the 1980s. In a way, considering all the mayhem that went on in there, it was perhaps fortunate to survive for as long as it did. But it would have had to disappear post-Hillsborough anyway. Perhaps some older supporters recalling the time they spent in there have more bad memories than good. But it was still an important part of their upbringing. Respected journalist Brian Reade would get into the Kop at ‘three-quarter time’ when the gates were opened rather than spend the whole match in the Boys’ Pen : "I'd rather have waited until then than go in the Boys' Pen. It seemed like alien territory to me. When you're a kid, territory is everything,. It's not a nice feeling when you're an outsider. There was no ranking if you went in at three-quarter time because you charged in and found whatever space you could get." Brian concedes that he “missed out by not standing in the Pen. I did feel later on that I missed out on an apprenticeship.” Thousands of Liverpool youngsters finished that apprenticeship and graduated to the Kop and other parts of the stadium. Phil Thompson did more than that though. He got to live the dream by playing in front of the Kop as well : “My aim was to watch football regularly from the most famous terrace in world football. To get there, a fan would have to progress through the Boys' Pen. I was desperate to stand on the Kop.  I used to get to the ground really early and do a runner. The earlier you got in, the easier it was because there were fewer stewards around. We used to call them guards. I frequently managed to get to the game for about 1 p.m. so I could maximise my chance of escaping the Pen. I was a good climber and nifty on foot so I have to say, quite proudly, that I was a prolific escapee." Terry McDermott and John Aldridge also graduated from the Boys’ Pen to the Kop and then, like Phil Thompson, on to the famous turf as well. Thompson remembers that after he first got into the first team : “When I looked up at the Pen during matches, it always felt strange. That was where it really started for me.”

The Boys’ Pen in the Kop was a strange place. It was often a dangerous place. It was a place where you had to grow up fast, a place you entered as a boy and then, when your apprenticeship had been served, you left it as a man.
« Last Edit: February 8, 2013, 01:19:15 AM by kriss »

Offline Bigly Red Richie

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Re: The History of The Boys' Pen at Anfield
« Reply #1 on: February 8, 2013, 02:25:38 AM »
Nice little read.

I have to say, my dad took me when I was a toddler, and when old enough to find the ground on my own, I was always a three quarter time urchin myself.

Kriss, is there a point to this?  What I mean is that is it an extract from a book or other publication, or just a collection of anecdotes?




HaHaHa. those were the days.   Hanging around outside waiting for the stewards to open the gates.


Try explaining 'three quarter time' to a yound footy fan of today.   HaHaHa, they'd never understand it.

Offline kriss

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Re: The History of The Boys' Pen at Anfield
« Reply #2 on: February 8, 2013, 02:42:16 AM »
Nice little read.

I have to say, my dad took me when I was a toddler, and when old enough to find the ground on my own, I was always a three quarter time urchin myself.

Kriss, is there a point to this?  What I mean is that is it an extract from a book or other publication, or just a collection of anecdotes?






HaHaHa. those were the days.   Hanging around outside waiting for the stewards to open the gates.


Try explaining 'three quarter time' to a yound footy fan of today.   HaHaHa, they'd never understand it.

Richie, I think the point is that I feel it is important that people know because in another generation's time a lot of supporters won't even remember the Boys' pen in the Kop, never mind that it used to be in the old Kemlyn Road Stand. Personal testimony is important but the number of people who can give those testimonies/personal memories is decreasing all the time. I just think it is important to get some sort of record down now so that supporters of today can realise what it was like in a different era. Some of this might go in a book and it might not. I just want it recorded and here is as good a place as any other.

Offline Bigly Red Richie

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Re: The History of The Boys' Pen at Anfield
« Reply #3 on: February 8, 2013, 02:46:59 AM »
Richie, I think the point is that I feel it is important that people know because in another generation's time a lot of supporters won't even remember the Boys' pen in the Kop, never mind that it used to be in the old Kemlyn Road Stand. Personal testimony is important but the number of people who can give those testimonies/personal memories is decreasing all the time. I just think it is important to get some sort of record down now so that supporters of today can realise what it was like in a different era. Some of this might go in a book and it might not. I just want it recorded and here is as good a place as any other.
And thats as good an excuse as any.  :wave


http://thekop.liverpoolfc.com/_TALES-FROM-THE-BOYS39-PEN/blog/6156655/173471.html

Offline Xabier Alonso Olano

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Re: The History of The Boys' Pen at Anfield
« Reply #4 on: February 8, 2013, 06:38:15 AM »
Good write up, enjoyed it.

Be lovely if the club truly embraced our vast history and traditions, would love the idea of a specifically named kids section in the ground, a boys and girls Pen so to speak. Nostalgic possibly but it would continue the legacy of the auld boys pen, which you have managed to portray as well as the many many other pieces I've read about the good old days.

Offline rednose54

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Re: The History of The Boys' Pen at Anfield
« Reply #5 on: February 8, 2013, 11:59:43 AM »
I know a lad who only ever went in the boys pen once, he became an Evertonian after his experience, it was a rough gaff if you were on your own and timid. Whenever I went on my own it was advisable to stay close to the old fella who was similar to todays stewards, once you got recognised you were accepted. One thing hasn`t  been mentioned it was still all ticket for the derbies, some of the  bigger kids that got in for derbies were in their 40`s.
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Offline Theoldkopite

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Re: The History of The Boys' Pen at Anfield
« Reply #6 on: February 8, 2013, 12:35:04 PM »
My first game in the Boy’s Pen was against West Brom in October 1963. Gordon Milne scored the only goal and from then on LFC was my first love (until I met my wife of course!).
I went on my own as all of my mates supported the Millionaires Club over the Park. I was a skinny little runt with NHS specs and I will never understand how I didn’t get beaten up every week cos I must have been a bully’s dream!
Our kid eventually joined us and a lad I got to know who lived by the Clarence Pub in Utting Avenue used to stand with us together with his sister. Now that was a rarity – a female in the Boy’s Pen. An attractive one too!
Apart from someone trying to pinch my programme once and someone trying to pick my pocket, I can only recall getting punched once by my fellow supporters (!). It was a very scary place to be in. The Bobby on duty was never really interested in what was going on in the Pen so you had to try really hard not to catch the eye of the tough lads!
There was no way I would have tried to climb out of the Pen – just not hard enough! It was quite astonishing to see the way some of the lads got out. Climbing up on to the girders which could only have been about a foot wide, high above the crowd. How nobody fell to their death is a bit of a miracle.
The best two games I watched from there were the game against Arsenal when we won the league in 1963/4 and the best game of all for me v Inter Milan in 1965. That was the best atmosphere I have ever experienced in my life. I dropped my school bag off at home and legged it up to the ground and still had to queue up for ages but it was well worth the wait!
I graduated up to the Annie Road end in 1965/6 and then spent time in the Paddock before moving in to the Kop where I have been ever since.
I can’t say I am a better person for having spent time in the Boy’s Pen – I’m just fortunate that I survived the experience - hence the comment by my avatar!

Offline The 92A

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Re: The History of The Boys' Pen at Anfield
« Reply #7 on: February 8, 2013, 09:59:19 PM »
Richie, I think the point is that I feel it is important that people know because in another generation's time a lot of supporters won't even remember the Boys' pen in the Kop, never mind that it used to be in the old Kemlyn Road Stand. Personal testimony is important but the number of people who can give those testimonies/personal memories is decreasing all the time. I just think it is important to get some sort of record down now so that supporters of today can realise what it was like in a different era. Some of this might go in a book and it might not. I just want it recorded and here is as good a place as any other.
Spot on Kriss, that's exactly why we started the history thread, I'll leave this in here to get some attention then move it across, thanks for taking the time.

Offline redgriffin73

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Re: The History of The Boys' Pen at Anfield
« Reply #8 on: February 8, 2013, 10:10:56 PM »
Enjoyed reading the OP and look forward to other people's memories in here too. :)
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Offline Mooncat

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Re: The History of The Boys' Pen at Anfield
« Reply #9 on: February 8, 2013, 10:25:57 PM »
You do remember that Everton had a boys pen too. In fact it was the first boys pen.

Both horrid places.

Offline Theoldkopite

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Re: The History of The Boys' Pen at Anfield
« Reply #10 on: February 8, 2013, 10:32:00 PM »
You do remember that Everton had a boys pen too. In fact it was the first boys pen.

Both horrid places.


Yeah - I used to go in there with my mates who were all Blues fans - before I went to Anfield on a regular basis . Was at the back of Gwladys Street? Imagine what it was like having to jump up and down when they scored and pretending I was happy when they won (again)! Can't remember it being as scary as our Boy's Pen though!

Offline The 92A

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Re: The History of The Boys' Pen at Anfield
« Reply #11 on: February 8, 2013, 10:42:55 PM »
I went the pen but never served apprenticeship in the pen,  we went straight the middle of the Kop as a little mob from about twelve onwards. We'd all get the bus together, as  there was safety in numbers, I used to have a little scam where I'd throw the fella on one of the three season tickets turnies a few bob and jump the turnstile. It started out as a way of avoiding the queues at busy games but saved me the full admission and I got in this way most league games, from about twelve we never went the pen as we thought we'd outgrown it.


My experience of the pen was at an earlier age. At that time I'd go with my Dad and if it was a lockout and we couldn't get in The Anny Road or The paddock he'd give me a tanner or two and a half new pence and I'd go in the pen as he tried to get in elsewhere or went the betting shop and would meet me outside The King Harry after the game. I was on my own and was scared because the minute you got in it was if you had a big sign on your head because there where always little groups in there a few years older who'd start 'who you looking at', 'Where do you come from, Have you got any money?' And you couldn't get away from them. It wasn't like that every time but after a few times of going through that I'd rather miss the game than go the pen but it took a few times before I plucked up the courage to tell my Dad I didn't like the pen because there were too many older kids in there who picked on you.  But as I said by the time I was twelve I'd outgrown going the match with my Dad and was going with my mates and was a proper Bootboy hanging around with fourteen and fifteen year olds and the pen was for kids, I was a Kopite and wouldn't have been seen dead in the pen with all the bin lids.












Offline sirKennyDaggers

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Re: The History of The Boys' Pen at Anfield
« Reply #12 on: February 8, 2013, 10:49:07 PM »
First time in the boys pen was good friday 1963 v Spurs,lad stood by me was about 6 feet and had a moustache,one scary lad remember him to this day.
you had to strain to see three quarters of the pitch,but when youre 10 years of age and watching the mighty reds who cared?
happy days indeed.

Offline Hinesy

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Re: The History of The Boys' Pen at Anfield
« Reply #13 on: February 9, 2013, 04:06:38 PM »
Spot on Kriss, that's exactly why we started the history thread, I'll leave this in here to get some attention then move it across, thanks for taking the time.

Exactly. It'd be good to get some younger generations read this first.
Yep.

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Re: The History of The Boys' Pen at Anfield
« Reply #14 on: February 9, 2013, 04:15:47 PM »
(I actually think new members should only have access to the History Board for the first week to make sure they've read it!)
Yep.

Offline Bakez0151

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Re: The History of The Boys' Pen at Anfield
« Reply #15 on: February 9, 2013, 04:24:10 PM »
That's great that, thanks for sharing

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Re: The History of The Boys' Pen at Anfield
« Reply #16 on: February 9, 2013, 04:57:33 PM »
Unfortunately just before my time attending the match at Anfield
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Offline macca007

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Re: The History of The Boys' Pen at Anfield
« Reply #17 on: February 9, 2013, 05:02:14 PM »
Remember the auld fella telling me a story when he was in there. When he was really young he was just small enough to sneak through a gap in the pen and used to go into the kop. One time he ended up in the middle of a crush and ended up having to be crowd surfed to the front and resuscitated. He then watched the rest of the match at the front but never left the pen until the time was right again!

Offline The 92A

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Re: The History of The Boys' Pen at Anfield
« Reply #18 on: February 9, 2013, 07:43:48 PM »
Remember the auld fella telling me a story when he was in there. When he was really young he was just small enough to sneak through a gap in the pen and used to go into the kop. One time he ended up in the middle of a crush and ended up having to be crowd surfed to the front and resuscitated. He then watched the rest of the match at the front but never left the pen until the time was right again!

It was a regular occurrence at big matches like Leeds or Everton to see people being passed down over the top of the crowd, it was one of the things that fascinated you when you first went, the green pitch, the steam coming of The Kop people being passed down and the sweet sellers throwing sweets and change into the crowd, you never watched the match your first match, there was so much going on in the crowd.


The minute I went at five or six with my Dad I knew I was going to end up in the Kop. From about twelve I was going right in the middle where the songs started, slightly to the left between the posts, just down from the walkway that went across the middle. You soon became proficient in the crowd, you knew where the barriers where how to sidestep so you didn't go flying down the steps when we sung 'Those were the Days'  or when we had a chance by the time I was thirteen or fourteen I was a veteran who could handle myself in any crowd, knowing when to give and when to resist, it was rammed in there but football fans were used to it, this was normality for us. Just have to add as an aside, Hillsborough was totally different, that was gross neglect forcing in too many at semi finals, remember one of my mates in the late Seventies when Everton got to a league Cup Semi there coming back an telling us about  nearly passing out in the crush and he'd grown up on the Street End. That was gross neglect.


Offline Spongebob Redpants

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Re: The History of The Boys' Pen at Anfield
« Reply #19 on: February 9, 2013, 07:57:46 PM »
I went in the boys pen for every home game for about 3 seasons . Was a scary place , but apart from having my scarf pinched once , never had too much aggravation . Probably because I was so young when I started going there , there was a certain element of ignorance is bliss .

Always felt a bit sorry for the policemen who would stand at the fence next to the Kop . A constant stream of spit would head his way the whole game - back was absolutely covered. Bet they all dreaded who would be getting Boys Pen duty .

Used to go in the boys pen at Goodison as well for the derby - always a few reds in there so again never any bother. . That was a miserable fuckin place though - it seemd like the roof of the pen was only about a foot above your head , so very claustrophobic .
« Last Edit: February 9, 2013, 08:01:13 PM by Spongebob Redpants »
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Re: The History of The Boys' Pen at Anfield
« Reply #20 on: February 9, 2013, 08:05:22 PM »
Was at the back of Gwladys Street?

Was at the back of the Street End on the far left side facing the pitch.
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Offline FlashingBlade

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Re: The History of The Boys' Pen at Anfield
« Reply #21 on: February 9, 2013, 08:19:03 PM »
Early Seventies...Saturday..Put scarf around neck...run down street...meet mates...get football special bus from Lodge Lane to Anfield...queue up in massive line...get near turnstile...tie scarf under jumper...get in boys pen..buy crisps from food bar...be at centre of known universe..be scared and excited....be with Liverpools future international drug dealers and gangsters....scare away fans in corner of main stand who are soft enough to be there....try to climb into Kop...fail....Liverpool win.....cheer....leave boys pen ....put scarf back around neck..get bus home with mates...talk about Liverpool on bus...go to chippy...home.....life is good!
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Offline The 92A

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Re: The History of The Boys' Pen at Anfield
« Reply #22 on: February 9, 2013, 08:19:41 PM »
Was at the back of the Street End on the far left side facing the pitch.


Never went in there but went in The Street End a few times and it was more of a cage than our pen, our pen had no roof so the roof was the Kop roof the pen just had a fence that curved inward at the very top, Everton,s pen had it's own roof over it and just looked like a cage in an old Zoo, the type animal rights protesters would kick up murder over today.

Offline 81a

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Re: The History of The Boys' Pen at Anfield
« Reply #23 on: February 9, 2013, 09:14:06 PM »
The Boys Pen - It was the UFC of the 1960's.

Nothing good about childrens caged fights.
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Offline andrewd3

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Re: The History of The Boys' Pen at Anfield
« Reply #24 on: February 9, 2013, 10:18:59 PM »
I have a large sign "Danger do not climb" which was liberated from near the Boys pen area on the day of the last match on the Kop.
The boys pen was far too scary to go into! The slightly cheaper admission price was a false economy!
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Offline gazzam1963

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Re: The History of The Boys' Pen at Anfield
« Reply #25 on: February 9, 2013, 10:54:49 PM »
I threw this question out in the arlarses section a few years ago and never got an answer then but when did the boys pen close ? .

Offline Andy82lfc

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Re: The History of The Boys' Pen at Anfield
« Reply #26 on: February 9, 2013, 11:13:06 PM »
Thanks Kriss that was a fantastic read, actually the best thing I have read on Rawk since I joined not too long ago. I like reading posts by rawk writers but posts like this that show a very interesting part of our past that you would not otherwise know too much about is just great.

Only born in th 80's I'm far too young to remember any of this but the whole story about it and escaping into the kop etc is brilliant, as brutal as it sounds I wish I could of experienced that myself. What a difference a few decades make!

Offline Andy82lfc

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Re: The History of The Boys' Pen at Anfield
« Reply #27 on: February 9, 2013, 11:22:08 PM »
I threw this question out in the arlarses section a few years ago and never got an answer then but when did the boys pen close ? .

Just been looking for this myself mate after this interesting post. Found this thread on this very forum from 2005 with someone asking the same question:
 
http://www.redandwhitekop.com/forum/index.php?topic=48631.0

No real answer I don't think though I've not read it all. Most people think it was around 78'ish but others say a bit later. Amazing there is not more info out there.

Offline gazzam1963

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Re: The History of The Boys' Pen at Anfield
« Reply #28 on: February 9, 2013, 11:27:44 PM »
Just been looking for this myself mate after this interesting post. Found this thread on this very forum from 2005 with someone asking the same question:
 
http://www.redandwhitekop.com/forum/index.php?topic=48631.0

No real answer I don't think though I've not read it all. Most people think it was around 78'ish but others say a bit later. Amazing there is not more info out there.


I know it's wierd all the lads I ask and who all have been in there cant remember it closing ,doesn't seem to have a definitive date . Obviously closed end of one season and wasn't there at the beginning of the next

Offline The 92A

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Re: The History of The Boys' Pen at Anfield
« Reply #29 on: February 10, 2013, 09:41:44 AM »
The Boys Pen - It was the UFC of the 1960's.

Nothing good about childrens caged fights.

More like the wrestling on World of Sport, plenty of menace but rarely any real fights  ;D


Offline TheLeftSide

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Re: The History of The Boys' Pen at Anfield
« Reply #30 on: February 10, 2013, 12:15:44 PM »
When we won the championship in 65/66 I watched every home game from the pen. It cost 9d to get in. That's less than 4 pence. At the time the KOP was 3/6 (Just under 18 pence). It was affordable football for kids and it was a major contribution in making me a match going red for life.
If the pen was still here today we would be charging kids a tenner to get in. It shoudn't just be confined to history but be revived with a view to the future.

Offline pooley

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Re: The History of The Boys' Pen at Anfield
« Reply #31 on: February 13, 2013, 04:03:32 PM »
My dad started taking me to reserve games when I was about 2 years old we used to go in the Kop. A bit later when I was about 4 years old he started taking me to first team games this would be in about 1959 when we were still in the second division. He used to take me in old Kemlyn road terrace, before they built the stand.
By the time I was about 9, he started dropping me off in the boys pen while he went in the Kop. I remember I used to get out of the pen a couple of minutes before the final whistle and wait for him by the big gate next to the Albert. When the final whistle went, it was like a herd of wilderbeest had come tumbling down the Kop steps, an amazing and scary sight for a nine year old!
My memories of the pen, is that the lads in there were no different to the lads in the streets where I grew up(top end of Breck Rd ) I am sure I would have been frisked a few times, but I never had anything to rob anyway so wasn't bothered.I cant ever remember getting  a hiding off anyone, but I can remember older lads having a few skirmishes. Apart from the football, the 2 major things in the pen were as stated previously, climbing out and spitting. My spec was at the back against the little wall that was over the entrance, a much sought after spec for spitting on the heads of everybody coming in. At that time I was too young for climbing in the Kop, but definately served my apprenticeship in there and during reserve games you could practice all the various escape routes at your leisure as there was usually only one steward on, and he was about ninety.
I remember the game against Celtic in the Cup Winners Cup. I was queing up for the pen and was surrounded by Jocks who all looked older than me dad. I remember one of them had a ring with a picture a a topless woman in it which he took great delight in showing to all us kids. When I got in and ran to me usual spec, I was hemmed in on all sides by Jocks, who unfurled a big Celtic flag.It was that packed I couldn't get out to have a piss and had to pee against the wall where i stood.
As i got older and joined the escape comittee I had sussed out that the easiest escape route was a drain pipe right at the back by the railings in to the kop, up the pipe on to a ledge accross the girders then down another pipe on the kop side.If you got into the pen handy enough, (as soon as it opened) the copper wouldn't be in there yet so it was the ideal time to get out.
I probably had about five years in the pen before graduating on to the Kop when I was about 14. No doubt there were some right scallies in there but  for me it was great.
I wish I could still climb up the drain-pipe that used to be at the back of the toilet that was outside the kop.

Offline kriss

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Re: The History of The Boys' Pen at Anfield
« Reply #32 on: February 13, 2013, 05:20:17 PM »
My dad started taking me to reserve games when I was about 2 years old we used to go in the Kop. A bit later when I was about 4 years old he started taking me to first team games this would be in about 1959 when we were still in the second division. He used to take me in old Kemlyn road terrace, before they built the stand.
By the time I was about 9, he started dropping me off in the boys pen while he went in the Kop. I remember I used to get out of the pen a couple of minutes before the final whistle and wait for him by the big gate next to the Albert. When the final whistle went, it was like a herd of wilderbeest had come tumbling down the Kop steps, an amazing and scary sight for a nine year old!
My memories of the pen, is that the lads in there were no different to the lads in the streets where I grew up(top end of Breck Rd ) I am sure I would have been frisked a few times, but I never had anything to rob anyway so wasn't bothered.I cant ever remember getting  a hiding off anyone, but I can remember older lads having a few skirmishes. Apart from the football, the 2 major things in the pen were as stated previously, climbing out and spitting. My spec was at the back against the little wall that was over the entrance, a much sought after spec for spitting on the heads of everybody coming in. At that time I was too young for climbing in the Kop, but definately served my apprenticeship in there and during reserve games you could practice all the various escape routes at your leisure as there was usually only one steward on, and he was about ninety.
I remember the game against Celtic in the Cup Winners Cup. I was queing up for the pen and was surrounded by Jocks who all looked older than me dad. I remember one of them had a ring with a picture a a topless woman in it which he took great delight in showing to all us kids. When I got in and ran to me usual spec, I was hemmed in on all sides by Jocks, who unfurled a big Celtic flag.It was that packed I couldn't get out to have a piss and had to pee against the wall where i stood.
As i got older and joined the escape comittee I had sussed out that the easiest escape route was a drain pipe right at the back by the railings in to the kop, up the pipe on to a ledge accross the girders then down another pipe on the kop side.If you got into the pen handy enough, (as soon as it opened) the copper wouldn't be in there yet so it was the ideal time to get out.
I probably had about five years in the pen before graduating on to the Kop when I was about 14. No doubt there were some right scallies in there but  for me it was great.

A lovely read that was. Thank you. It's just the sort of reaction/response I was hoping for when I put my original post up.

Offline hoppyLFC

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Re: The History of The Boys' Pen at Anfield
« Reply #33 on: March 16, 2013, 09:33:05 AM »
Great thread this, some really great tales.
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Offline AJL

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Re: The History of The Boys' Pen at Anfield
« Reply #34 on: March 25, 2013, 05:57:11 PM »
The Boys Pen was just before my time, got all the stories off my cousins though and it seems that this article http://www.liverpoolfc.com/news/latest-news/from-the-boys-pen-to-academy-director might be through rose tinted specs !  ;D
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Offline rusty-la

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Re: The History of The Boys' Pen at Anfield
« Reply #35 on: March 25, 2013, 06:22:17 PM »
What a great thread, some really interesting memories.

Offline paisley to god

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Re: The History of The Boys' Pen at Anfield
« Reply #36 on: January 5, 2014, 11:42:45 AM »
My memories of the BP are very different from other Arl Arses on here. I went to my first matches in the BP age 10-13 between 1974-77, and I don't remember any violence or thuggery at all. My friend's big brother would take us to the ground and shepherd us through the BP turnstile before going into the Kop.

We always got there 2 hours early in case of a sell out, so we always got to the front of the cage and never lost our speck. I don't recall anyone escaping into the Kop, maybe that was a 60s phenomenon.

I DO remember the dirty big post that went right across the Kop goal, and my dismay when they put the price up from 30p to 60p on European nights (the robbers!).

Though I was there for some great games (Ipswich 2-1 on the way to winning the League stands out), my best memory is the 76 UEFA Cup Final against Bruges. 2-0 down in 15 minutes, I was heartbroken. At half time my moaning got some angry rebuffs from the 6ft tall "boys". "Shut yer gob, yer whining little get" etc. But the unbridled joy when we knocked in 3 second half goals at the Kop end was my most ecstatic time at any football match.

After that my own brother would take me on the Annie Road before graduating to the Kop in the 80s, and I don't recall when the BP closed down, but I have magical memories of that special cage.





Offline howes hound

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Re: The History of The Boys' Pen at Anfield
« Reply #37 on: January 15, 2014, 06:48:54 PM »
I was a regular Penner from 1956 to the early 60s. I’d get there early to eat the sausage butty mum had packed me for lunch, before the place got jammed. Dad would drop me there, take off to his seat in the stands and pick me up outside afterwards to catch the bus to the Pierhead.

Yes it was rough, there were fights but I only had two lousy personal incidents: once when I had the scarf whipped off my neck when I was jammed into the avalanche down the exit steps after the game. Must have been a close match because I usually edged out a few minutes before final whistle.

The other time I had my pocket slit and lost my bus fare. My dad wasn’t with me that time and I didn’t find out until I was on bus. I stared out the window when the bus conductor got to my seat and he moved on. Phew! Then he came back, ‘Fares please!’ I rummaged in all my pockets for the non-existent coins to reappear, felt like I was outside the headmaster’s study. The clippie just smiled. “Broke, eh? Never mind,” and moved on.
To me, that has always summed up the best and worst of Liverpool. Pocket picked one minute, someone offers you a helping hand the next.

Scariest time of the season in the Pen was around Bonfire Night. Bangers being tossed everywhere and they weren’t the feeble efforts you’d get a few years later. We put a twopenny banger in an old couch once and it blew the fabric and stuffing off the entire back. Lots of kids wore duffle coats then and the popular trick was to drop a lit one in someone’s hood.

Most vivid memory was Liddell’s famous disallowed goal in the 1956 Man City Cup replay. It’s strange. My memory tells me he put it into the Kop goal. I remember him shooting, but didn’t see it go in because everyone surged forward and as you old farts know, your whole concentration when that happened was directed at staying alive. Since then, I’ve had people argue with me that he scored at the Anfield Road end, though I’ve yet to hear from anyone who was actually there. And no way am I going to claim my memory is foolproof. I was also at Goodison for the equally-famous Sandy Brown own goal, on the side terraces with a perfect view. Yet my memory tells me the cross came from the other wing and the video proves me wrong.

The Pen was a freezing-cold place, seemed to gather the wind straight off the Mersey on January Saturdays. The view was shitty. But it was 9d for a first-team game, 6d for the reserves. Use to see kids in their mid-teens trying to get in, going through the turnstiles with their knees bent double and to daring to speak. I was happy to graduate to the Kop, Shangri-la in comparison.
"Ders fuck'n arms goin in, ders fuck'n legs goin in, ders de 'ole fuck'n yuman fuck'n body goin in."  - expression of admiration from kopite behind me, Leeds v. L'pool, late '60s.

Offline longtimered

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Re: The History of The Boys' Pen at Anfield
« Reply #38 on: January 17, 2014, 08:36:08 AM »
Nice to see you Howes Hound!
I missed the experience of the boys pen and stood in front of the stand until I was old enough to go on the kop!When I did I well remember all the scallies trying to escape onto the kop-and the high pitched singing/chanting.
Cant help you with the Liddell goal. Do you remember Dave Hickson's debut?

Offline howes hound

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Re: The History of The Boys' Pen at Anfield
« Reply #39 on: January 18, 2014, 09:04:24 PM »
Same here, Steve.
I can't remember whether I was actually at Hickson's debut but did see him in a red shirt. I think that was the year the old man had cancelled his season ticket and I didn't attend so many games. The old feller was one for big gestures, cheesed off with finishing 3rd or 4th season after season it was his idea of making a statement, take that LFC, I'm going to sit at home looking miserable every Saturday afternoon. Of course, that was when we'd just brought in Shankly and never looked back. Until more recently.
"Ders fuck'n arms goin in, ders fuck'n legs goin in, ders de 'ole fuck'n yuman fuck'n body goin in."  - expression of admiration from kopite behind me, Leeds v. L'pool, late '60s.