The Curse of Ewood Park
During car park resurfacing at Ewood Park, a secret tunnel was found. This prompted an investigation into possible asbestos dangers. But it seems this tunnel was much older than everybody thought. Ewood Park was used during the last world war as a POW camp. Some things never change. This discovery was really a German escape tunnel.
In August 1943, during the height of World War II, Hans and Fritz are locked in their cell planning an escape.
“Zis Stallag Ewood Park is such a depressing place mein freund,” said Hans.
“Ja” said Fritz. “They must be breaking ze Geneva Convention with zis overcrowding.”
“Don’t you think it is about time we escaped and returned to ze Fatherland?” asked Hans.
“Jawohl mein Herr! But how do we get out of such a secure prison?” his cellmate replied.
The three years Hans spent at Ewood Park had not been wasted. He was an avid reader, taking in all the numerous leaflets dropped at his workbench and he had come up with a daring plan of escape. He explained his idea to Fritz:
“Ve are going to dig a tunnel.”
“What do you mean mein freund?” Zat is ze oldest trick in ze buch. Tommy is not ein dumkopf. He must have read ze Count of Monte Christo – I have.”
“I know” said Hans, “My last attempt found me ending up in ze smoke room. Listen to me Fritz, I now have a stolen map. Ve can dig a tunnel down to ze River Darwen, then stow away on board a ship to Germany. We will then be as free as a vogel.”
Later in the evening Hans and Fritz are on washing-up duty after their tea. Both secrete spoons, forks and knives about their person and try not to rattle. After locking-up time they begin to remove a slab from their cell floor. To their utter joy, underneath it the ground is soft. They begin their task of digging an escape tunnel.
Over the next few weeks things go to plan. The tunnel makes progress. They dig thirty feet under Ewood Park’s car park. Getting rid of the soil is their hardest job. Goose-stepping on the car park gives other prisoners cause for concern. Hans and Fritz look like they have chronic diarrhoea. But the hot weather helps their trail of soil blow away. The two Germans are pleased with their progress. They dream of lager and lederhosen.
One afternoon though, it all goes terribly wrong for the two POWs. In a moment of madness Fritz sees a wooden vaulting horse. He cannot resist diving over it then hiding inside, he had seen this in a German propoganda film. A prison officer sees this happen. When the top of the wooden horse is taken off Hans is found to be lying there, with soil streaming out of his trousers. He and Fritz are immediately sent to the cooler – a secret secure prison block in Blackburn town centre called the Town Hall. Despite intensive interrogation, the Germans do not talk. Nobody ever found their escape tunnel. After the war Hans and Fritz decide to stay on in Britain. Their extravagent plans for a channel tunnel are eventually accepted.
Meanwhile back at Ewood Park, rumours of a German escape tunnel are soon forgotten. Britain joins the Common Market and old enmities are brushed aside. But the sands of time cannot cover the past for ever. A trade union health & safety rep asks awkward questions about asbestos in an old boiler room. After an investigation, the tunnel is found.
It is a sensation, like the discovery of Tutankhamen’s tomb. But as with the boy Pharoh’s lost secrets a century ago, a curse goes with it. People working here soon go through a strange metamorphosis. They start smearing themselves in tomato sauce, then they turn into sardines. It becomes known as ‘The Curse of Ewood Park’. Scientists are baffled. The football club has no answer either. They decide to make the best of the situation by resurfacing the car park and painting the walls blue and white. The paint used contains a mild halucinogen. Successful experiments with Napoleon Bonapart on St Helena proved useful. Management anticipate similar results at Ewood Park.
As for the tunnel. Management decide not to look a gift horse in the mouth. It is now going to be used for storing old away kits. This is after they are sure there are no traces of asbestos remaining, and its walls won’t collapse.