Continuing our 'Remembering Saltergate' series to mark the tenth anniversary of the last league match at our former home, Emma Tooley tells us that some seats from the old ground are now proudly installed in her garden...
Saltergate holds a special place in my heart – as it does for thousands of us. The guts of the tired, shabby, stadium were injected with love, excitement and passion for decades. Watching the boys in blue is a family affair. At Saltergate, Mum and I sat in the wooden seats adjacent to the press area whilst Dad squashed his knees in the not so glamourous press box. We would look longingly at the Directors Area; smooth plastic seats, some even had cushioned bottoms. Such luxury!
Knowing that there was an opportunity to buy our own little piece of Saltergate filled me with great excitement. It was THE seats that made the top of my list! The auction was scheduled and I was away for the weekend! Typical! Dad was there to participate in the bidding and he successfully bought four smooth, plastic Directors seats!
They arrived at their new home, a little tattered and tired. At the time, our garden was jungle-like with no viable options for positioning the seats. So for some time they lived in the yard attached to a make shift wooden stand. They looked OK, but not at all what they deserved. A year or so passed and they moved further up into our jungle. They even spent a few years separated into ‘backs’ and ‘bums’ as the string of seats collapsed miserably. One bonus, they helped to hold the weed membrane down!
As our garden has progressed (a major landscaping project) we found the perfect spot to officially re home our little bit of CFC history. The challenge was set, restore and install the seats by May 8, 2020!
Problem, they were now full of rust, dirt and broken parts. Totally unfit for use. A huge restoration project was required. Aaron, my partner, was the man for the job! He has worked tirelessly to remove every ounce of rust and old paint. Re painted all of the metalwork, fabricated new fixings and reconstructed the whole seating unit. The seats have been scrubbed (a smaller job for me!), numbers replaced and new life injected.
Using a sleeper, Postcrete and very long screws, the smooth, plastic Directors seats are now in situ for decades of use. They are still sports seats, not always for football but for shows from our daughter on her climbing frame.
Saltergate always had a family feel and this legacy will continue in our garden!