Tuesday, October 13, 2009

It's been a fun ride of reminiscence but this is where the journey comes to an end - at least for now....

(12) Sweetie and Crisp Trays:

Food glorious food. Well maybe not so glorious when you’re talking about the munchies on offer at the football. Last time we looked at the disappearing old fashioned pie hut and the new food that has become the staple half time fare for the younger football watching generation coming through.

There were two kinds of "food" that we didn’t mention though - sweets and crisps. Chocolates, hard candies, chews, crisps galore of all flavours. Nothing too extraordinary there to merit a "Disappearing World" feature all to themselves you’re probably thinking, but it’s not the food itself we want to talk about, it’s how many older fans remember being able to get hold of them at old Bayview and other football grounds across the UK.

For years, it was commonplace to see kids wandering around the pitch selling sweets and crisps from the plastic trays tied round their necks. Considering it was at a time when there was a lot of incidents on the terraces and with things getting thrown on the pitch, the sweetie boys got off relatively unscathed, on the whole, especially from the away fans. There was kind of an amnesty for them, most probably due to the pity factor from the fact that it wasn’t the best way a kid could spend a Saturday afternoon at the football. Also, their fellow kids loved them!

They then disappeared without trace at East Fife, but did make an albeit brief resurgence at new Bayview in the early years. Their reappearance came about as an attempt to try and reduce the terrible queues and waiting times at the home pie stall (hard to imagine such a thing I know!). The idea being that all kids want at the game is to munch on chocolate, so, get some other kids to act as pushers and they’ll be mobbed, freeing up valuable space for the grown ups that want the healthier option of pies! Of course, this didn’t factor in some female fans and certain more rotund supporters from getting to the trays first - you know who you are!

These kids also soon disappeared but I never knew why. It actually seemed like a great idea and I was known to partake in their goods myself. Was it health and safety gone mad? Was it the Club acknowledging Scotland’s obesity problem and wanting to play their part? Or did the kids complain about chunkier grown ups in lumberjack coats trying to pay for their wares with Burger King vouchers? We’ll probably never know.

They really should make a return to football matches throughout the country as they do provide a worthwhile service. Scotland is pretty far behind countries like the United States and Canada when it comes to feeding the fans at sporting events mind you.

Go to any sport in the US, whether it be football, throwball, baseball or whatever, and you get a lot of your food brought to you! Pizzas, burgers, hotdogs, peanuts, water, candy floss and beer, to name a few. They sell the stuff out of plastic trays tied round their necks too. Old school!

Part of the reason for this door to door service is that a lot of Americans tend to be too fat and lazy to actually move around much, but it does mean you don’t have to miss the action on the pitch to feed your fat face.

Of course the other American tradition is of passing your money along your row to the vendor and then getting your food passed back to you. I can’t really see this catching on in Scotland on two counts. First of all, the chances of your money making it to the tray guy in certain parts of Scotland would be slim. The second being the chances of the food making it back to you in one piece would be similarly slim, especially if there happened to be a guy wearing a lumberjack coat in your row.

We don’t want to get like the Americans anyway. Where would it all end? We’ll be calling it soccer next. Nope, just bring back the kids with the sweet and crisps trays and then we’ll be happy. If nothing else, it might make that half time trip to the pie stall move all that little bit quicker.

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