Beat from the law for police music fan

Bruce Springsteen at Bramall Lane, July 1988
Bruce Springsteen at Bramall Lane, July 1988

One of the police officers at the ground was Stuart Basford whose usual beat was Burngreave.

Then a sergeant, he is now retired from the force and an occasional music promoter, who has seen Springsteen scores of times across Europe and America.

“I was a Springsteen fan and I had already seen him a few times when my boss said there’s an American coming to Bramall Lane. You’re the music man, can you sort it out? When he said it was Bruce Springsteen, I thought he was having me on.”

It was one of the earliest concerts in a football stadium, and Stuart found himself using the latest technology.

He carried the force’s first mobile phone - “like a house brick” - and used a fax machine for the first time to receive information from promoter Harvey Goldsmith.

It was a golden opportunity to meet Springsteen and the rest of the band.

“I can remember buying (sax player) Clarence Clemons a pint of Guinness. He said I could fancy a pint and I fetched him one from the supporters’ club.

“There were rumours Roy Orbison would turn up on the second night, but he didn’t come.”

Faced with residents’ worries about the noise, the promoter paid £200 for a coach to take some to the seaside to get away from the area.

Even so, there were complaints about noise, litter and people urinating on any piece of spare ground.

One householder said their dormer window was shattered by a blast of sound.

Shoreham Street Action Group urged the council not to grant any more entertainment licences for Bramall Lane. Only seven arrests were made, mainly for drunken behaviour, although St John Ambulance dealt with 300 collapses, again, mainly the result of drink.

No alcohol was allowed inside the ground.