Home About the Association Become a Member Register for Newsletters/Updates Contact Us
Tell a Neighbour/Friend
Community Links
Association Rules
Privacy Policy - Terms & Conditions
End in sight for Eden Park's terraces
Saturday December 2, 2006
By Derek Cheng

Eden Park's eastern terraces are not just the cheap seats. They are the boisterous centre of Eden Park debauchery, the launchpad of bottles targeting Shane Warne, the starting block for streakers wanting to impose their wobbly bits on a sporting event.

Indeed, those terraces - first on the list to go in the upgrading plans - are more than just a symbol of fond memories for Eden Park regulars.

They are the catalyst for the park's rowdy fans, the spark that blazed a trail for the more memorable - or regrettable - moments.

One fan remembers, in the Pakistan v New Zealand cricket series in 1985, "watching potatoes being fired at outfielders from rocket launchers made from beer cans, their ends removed and filled with lighter gas".

Another recalls "scoreboard ratings for scantily clad females, whole watermelons injected with vodka going skywards in the Mexican wave, [Australian] Greg Matthews - the first outwardly gay/feminine cricketer - playing up to the terraces crowd and turning to tears ... so many memories".

According to Peter Bradley, secretary of the Auckland Cricket Association in the late 1960s and early 1970s, the terraces saw the beginnings of the angry cricket fan.

"I was there for the start of the bottle and can throwing, and I had to go with police to the terraces, witness someone throwing the can, point him out and get him arrested. That's how formalised it was."

The procedure is a far cry from these days, when standing up with so much as a pack of lollies is likely to get you eye-balled by security.

The terrace area started humbly as a grass bank before it was redeveloped into concrete terraces, which was replaced with wooden benches. Today it is populated with individual plastic seats. The future points to a new East Stand, likely to be less accommodating to fans who are inclined to drink from the start of play at 11am until the sun descends.

"In the old days, characters sat and drank extensively, then lined up all the beer cans in a great pyramid before knocking them down in a great clatter," says park community liaison officer Graham Walton.

As well as amplifying drinking exploits, the terraces enhanced cries of "Had-lee, cha, cha, cha" in the late 1970s, accompanied by the sounds of beer cans smashing on concrete.

Terrace characters such as Lord Ted were in their element among such crowds.

"All we knew was his name was Ted. He used to walk around in short shorts and stir up the crowd and it was all good fun," said Auckland Rugby chairman Ken Baguley.

Ted, who died in 2003, became famous for yelling out advice to players in the 1970s. As the contents of his chillybin dropped his Derbyshire accent became broader.

And the terrace was often the best platform to witness sporting history, such as All Black legend John Kirwan's dance through the Italian team in the Rugby World Cup pool game in 1987.

Mr Walton can add to that. "I was first at the terraces as a 9-year-old boy in 1950 when [Lions winger] Ken Jones ran away to score by the West Stand next to the setting sun."

Another memorable moment was when a flour bomb, dropped from a light plane buzzing the ground, felled All Black prop Gary Knight during the Springbok tour of 1981.

Mr Baguley hoped there would be an upper deck in the new stand to keep alive the terrace tradition of rowdiness. But he would not be sad once the terrace days were numbered.

"The terraces are a pigsty, really ... The new stand will give a far better experience for everyone."