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Norman Bainbridge – A Saints Tale

Hi everyone, my name is Norman Bainbridge and I will be sharing some of my Saints stories and photographs with you all.

My lovely wife, Yvonne, worked as a Tour Guide at the Dell, then in the Visitors Centre as the St Marys stadium was being built.
Then employed as a Receptionist in the main entrance, as it was then.

My wife Yvonne at the St Marys visitors centre

Yvonne and I started to go to the Dell and away matches from age 16 (both born in April of same year). We grew up with the players from our youth and continued to support Saints for many years and it was the older ex Saints players that we enjoyed seeing on match days.

Working on reception and older than the other receptionists, she knew most, if not all of the ex Saints players by name as they arrived. She was never fazed or impressed by famous players, only impressed by those that were nice to her. Yvonne met 1000’s of players/Managers/Referees and celebrities during her time at SFC. Among her Saints favourites, Gordon Strachan, Lawrie Mc and MLT.

A story re Wee Gord. I was fortunate enough to be allowed to use Yvonnes complimentary match day ticket, whilst she worked. I would go to sit in reception at half time, enjoy a cuppa but always told to keep myself to myself and don’t speak unless spoken to (nearly impossible for me!). During Gordon’s time as Manager, on a home game, he would spend the first half in the Directors Box, make his way down to the players changing room just as the HT whistle was a few minutes away. It was a strict policy that nobody spoke to him as he made his way down in the lift, walked through reception and into see the team. I started to take our grandson Harry with me to games from age 4. Harry was about 4 and half on this particular day and Gordon had just exited the lift and was about to make his way across, when young Harry ran up to him and said, “I love you Gordon Strachan”.   Everyone froze but to to his credit, Gordon replied, “I love you too Boy!”  Carrying on to the changing rooms. With all that he had on his mind to say/shout at the players, he was genuinely lovely to a young fan!

During the training sessions at the Stadium, before Marchwood was the place to train, the players would have sandwiches and drinks delivered to the small room next to reception and on many occasions, Gordon would take out a plate for Yvonne. Just nice gestures from a lovely man.

Another great memory is that my wife was fairly instrumental in organising the gifting by Terry Paine of his first England cap to the club, it’s a lovely thing for the club to have

First England cap Sir
Terry and his first England cap

That’s it for this first instalment. I really hope these stories and pictures will be of interest & I enjoyed writing them. Sadly, Yvonne is very ill in a care home these past 8 months but I know she would enjoy knowing our memories are being shared with the best football fans around

Regards,
Norm

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