Workington Reds’ Groundhoppers Day proved a big success, and the club plans to repeat it later in the season.
Football enthusiasts had travelled from as far afield as Southend, Brighton, Gretna and Lancaster to look round Borough Park and learn about the club’s history.
One of the longest travellers was actually no stranger to the ground having played for the reserves in the1970s.
Bruce Aitken received an extra special welcome as he is the son of a Workington legend, George Aitken who played 277 League and Cup games for the Reds before serving them as trainer and later manager.
He said: “Workington was a major part of his football life, For 17 years of the 26 seasons they were in the League dad was involved in some capacity,” says Workington-born Bruce.
“I can’t remember much about him playing at Reds, as I was only a few months old when he played the famous game with Manchester United and he retired the following year.
“But I can remember my mother telling the story of how we were in a club house on Frostoms Road near the manager, Bill Shankly. On a Sunday morning he would knock for dad for him to go for a kickabout with some kids.
“We moved to Watford when Ken Furphy took him there but of course we came back to Workington when dad got the manager’s job and that’s when I started playing for the reserves.
“I have some good memories of that experience playing in the team with the likes of Ronnie Hughes, Kevin Parker and Alan Ashbridge.
“Later we followed dad down to Brighton and I had a good spell in non-League with Worthing, playing 12 years. We had a good FA Cup run one year before losing to Oxford United.
“I’m a season ticket holder with Brighton these days and enjoying the football being produced by Graham Potter.”
Kerry Fairless had travelled from Southend, where he has himself produced a splendid Youtube contribution on his love of his local club and it’s sad decline into non-league.
After his visit to Borough Park he tweeted: “What a place. What a club. Tremendous day. One of the best footballing days I’ve had.”
Reds director Les Byers and Community director Richard Lewthwaite entertained the Groundhoppers and are already planning several follow-ups for the remainder of the season.
“It was especially good to see Bruce Aitken as we were at Workington Grammar School together up until 1974 so hadn’t seen each other for 47 years.
“Overall it was a great pleasure showing everyone around our iconic old football stadium,” said Byers.