Belfast Telegraph

Friday 22 August 2014

Farewell ISN, you’ll be missed

No more ISNs from the end of July? When I heard the news, memories of reading Ireland’s Saturday Night since the late 1950s came flooding back.

It brought to mind the many football heroes I watched as a boy with dad on a Saturday afternoon and later read about in the ISN.

To see the players’ names in print and read the match report was very exciting. The reports mentioned the great players of the day and vividly described how the goals had been scored, the near misses, great saves and gruelling tackles.

On big match occasions it gave the gate receipts, which on a good day could be £1,000. At a two shilling entrance fee, this represented a crowd of 10,000, plus those who had been ‘lifted over’.

The ISN was delivered to the door and lifted from the hall immediately and duly read from cover to cover.

I have probably read more than 2,000 issues and my dad, still attending matches at 87, has probably read a further 1,000 and still looks forward to receiving his copy.

The main match reporter was usually Malcolm Brodie, who had a tremendous way of describing the action and could make the game live again, even when one had been at the game earlier.

My sons, John and Richard, read the ‘Ulster’ during their teen age days and when Richard was at university in Scotland, the paper was posted to him on a Monday morning.

It also made journeys to Spain and France at other times to keep him up to date.

In the summer, cricket and bowls scores were scrutinised and the local athletics articles read.

Great coverage was given also to junior soccer and it was always interesting to see how the club I played for, Willowfield Parish, performed in later years.

Such detail no doubt required a lot of input from a great many people and the Belfast Telegraph is to be congratulated for the resultant success of this endeavour over many decades.

Well done to all of those involved and may they enjoy their Saturdays off in the future.

Jackie Patterson, Belfast

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