Northern Ireland news

Has the identity of mystery Troubles street been resolved?

John White asked Irish News readers to help identify the street and people featured on the front cover of his new book. Picture from Empire Publications

THE identity of a mystery street featured in a 1972 photograph may have been resolved - thanks in part to the efforts of Irish News readers.

Avid football fan John White appealed for help to establish the area pictured on the front cover of his book 'Kicking Through the Troubles, How Manchester United Helped to Heal a Divided Community.

The image shows an armed soldier on patrol close to where a young boy is playing football near several derelict houses.

Unable to identify the street or those in the photo, Mr White turned to The Irish News last week to help solve the mystery.

Dozens of suggestions were submitted by readers, with the Oldpark and New Lodge areas of north Belfast among the most popular.

One reader said: "I think that photograph of the kid playing football is Baden Powell Street, which was off the Oldpark Road. The street was in an L shape. This photo is taken from its junction of Louisa Street."

Shannon Street in the New Lodge was also suggested, while another reader said it could be Raphael Street off Cromac Street, in the Markets area of the city.

Areas of west Belfast were also mooted, including Clonard and Kane Street off the Falls Road, while others thought the houses could be in Derry - with Bishop Street and the Fountain area the answer.

Mr White last night thanked Irish News readers, broadcasters Eamonn Holmes and Mark Simpson and other media for their efforts to solve the puzzle - as well as the many people who contacted him with suggestions.

"I was in the Oldpark Road area of north Belfast over the weekend and spoke to a number of local residents," he said.

"The overwhelming opinion is that the street is Baden Powell Street, Belfast.

"The photograph stems back to 1972 so now it would be nice to conclude my search by hopefully being able to find the names of the two people in it."

Mr White's forthcoming book tells how his love of football and Manchester United helped bring together supporters from across the political divide.

He looks back at his childhood in the Short Strand in Belfast and how he set up the Carryduff supporters' club at the height of the Troubles with the aim of uniting Protestants and Catholics with a shared love of the team.

This also led him to host charity dinners in Belfast and befriend club legends, most notably former manager Sir Alex Ferguson.

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