My first experience in finals standing room came in the 1974 Preliminary final in conditions that would even see battery hens quit laying on principle. I’d pre ordered my tickets months earlier via a Sun News Pictorial mail in coupon in the hope the Hawks could add to the 1971 prize.
Throw in a free for all on BYO packed deep into foam eskies and by quarter time the whole bay is collectively ready to sing Russian folk songs. Beer came in steel cans so be prepared for a dislocated ankle should you try flattening them.
The sound they made rolling down the terrace permeated the radio broadcast, shone through the TV replay, and became a cacophony live at the ground – especially as the game progressed. Standing room was a fortress, you could forget about struggling out for chips or more beer. In ’74, the bloke next to me silently acknowledges this by electing to toilet into his breeding collection of spent cans so as to not lose his spot. By half time he’s attracting the attention of the water authority who believe he ought to be charged rates.
It’s a knife to my heart and the crowd surge in the moment upsetting our can standing friend who momentarily loses toe contact with the refilled cans, then floats horizontally accross the air before crashing to earth amid his own cangrenades in a personal celluloid free replay of the Dambusters.