LIKE 9,260 others, I was there for the last league game played at Wilderspool.

The place, beyond tired and seemingly accepting of its fate to be demolished, meant so much to so many people and it continues to do so through the memories that have been banked and cherished.

For me, it had been a gladiatorial arena, a stage, a night out, a workplace – as a lifelong supporter, as a schoolboy player and as a working man with Warrington Guardian. In fact, it had been a second home until well into my 30s.

Now, as I close my eyes and reflect, I see heroes. John Bevan’s salute after one of his 201 Warrington tries, Steve Hesford kicking a goal from inside his own half and Les Boyd smashing into Kurt Sorensen.

Growing up they were my Batman, Superman, Spiderman and one naughty villain, while referees like Billy Thompson and Fred Lindop must have been creatures from The Muppet Show.

Thinking back to the 70s, it was the crowd that intrigued me as a youngster as I gained a viewing advantage by standing on a stool while leaning on the wall close to the players’ tunnel.

Familiar faces from week to week would flip between anger with gritted teeth to elation with pumping clenched fists as the twisting rollercoaster of supporter emotions hit me between the eyes. It was hard not to get involved, to be swept up by the passion.

I close my eyes again. Now I see my Uncle Brian and Uncle John, my mum’s cousin Billy – all sadly no longer with us. Near them is Frank Hawley, the former Rugby Football League official and Cardinal Newman High School teacher who used to stand with us and also joined the legions of Wire fans in the sky last March.

I don’t want to open my eyes again now, because they’re welling up.

Hang on. There’s Tommy Martyn offloading in a tackle, Ken Kelly and Bob Eccles combining for a wonder score, Mike Gregory giving his all for the cause and Paul Cullen putting himself about both physically and skilfully.

I recall playing in the Miller Sevens for St James’ School against Sacred Heart and Bruche, trying to emulate my idols, while at the Saturday morning kids’ club it was gym training with John Bevan and field practice with coach Kevin Ashcroft. I was in my element.

There are fans on the pitch, changing ends at half time so that they can be close to the tries.

I’m in Legends, the nightclub in the leisure centre built along the touchline to save The Wire from ruin in 1971. It’s the end-of-school party I helped to organise, and I’m back there in a vicar’s outfit for the Priestley College fancy dress Christmas party a few months later.

A huge roar. It’s coming from the Fletcher Street End after a Dessie Drummond special. And I’m losing my balance as the crowd falls like a wave from top to bottom of the stand on the night Warrington famously destroyed world champions Widnes in a Lancashire Cup semi final in front of a locked house.

After a winning Sunday I can hear Kevin Ellis singing ‘Here We Go’ on the karaoke in the Touchdown Club, where I can then recall cutting the cake with my bride Catherine at our wedding reception.

The fans are belting out ‘Brian Johnson’s Barmy Army’ for the entire second half against Sheffield Eagles when Warrington became champions for 19 hours and the pitch was invaded.

Now I’m in the steamy changing rooms, conducting an interview with rising star Iestyn Harris and move on to have a chat with Jonathan Davies, so that I can relay their thoughts and emotions to the supporters through the sports pages of the Guardian.

I’m playing snooker with Kelly Shelford in the leisure centre, while Duane Mann and Gary Mercer are battling it out on the neighbouring table. Mike Nicholas shows me how to train on the punch bag during an afternoon’s workout in the Wilderspool gym.

> READ MORE WILDERSPOOL: 66 things you might not know about Wire's old ground

I dare to breathe now, because I'm so squashed on the terraces on the night The Wire famously defeated the touring Australians in 1978.

Now there’s tears – not mine this time, but Brian Johnson’s in his Wilderspool office. He’s just resigned as coach because of the previous night’s 80-0 hammering by St Helens in the Regal Trophy semi final. I’m the last man he wants to see, a reporter seeking his final words by way of a goodbye story in the paper.

Now what do I see! The gluepot pitch of wintertime becomes something of a dust bath as Super League’s summer rugby era arrives in 1996.

Richard Henare’s just set the stadium alight by going full length, Allan Langer’s delivered a sublime pass to Lee Briers and Tawera Nikau’s nearly knocked someone’s head off, the crowd goes wild after one of hometown hero Mark Forster's great tries.

The memories end as I visualise there hardly being a dry eye in the house when Wolves’ first team played their final league game at Wilderspool on September 21, 2003 – 20 years ago today.

That’s my Wilderspool, some of it at least. Like so many others, I’ll never forget it.