Strangely the strongest
memory I have is green! The brightest, brightest ever green of
the wet floodlit Ayresome Park pitch as I came up the steps in
the North Stand holding my Dad's hand at my first ever night
match. The smell of wet sheepskin coats, cigarettes and Bovril
and the rhythmic vibrations coming through the floor and seats
as the Boro team ran out, in those oh so red shirts, to the
crackly tannoy of "The Power Game". Boam, Maddren, Hickton,
Mills, Craggs, Platt, McMordie and so on.
I have no videos or DVD's of those games but I can still smell
the rain soaked sheepskin, pipe tobacco and the beer breath now,
nearly 40 years later. I can taste the Bovril and feel the
roughness of my now dead father's hand on mine. I can walk that
route past the hospital round the corner and towards the ground,
I can remember the extra skip-step I'd have to throw in every
other stride to keep pace with the grown ups at full march;
hands stuffed firmly in coat pockets and collars pulled up
against the wind and rain. Stopping for a Yorkie bar at the shop
on the corner and trying to keep the rain off the programme my
Dad bought from one of those brusk sellers by the gates. Those
gates! The red wrought iron portcullis at the castle's entrance,
the crush of the turnstile and that brief moment when my 5 year
old hand lost my father only to feel his strong grip on the
sleeve of my parka as I was shepherded up the stone steps
towards that green, green vista.
When I hear people criticise our town and slate the industry
which has so scarred our region my hackles rise and I roar my
objections on behalf of those men who worked with steel and
ships and coal, whose hands were rough but whose hearts were
generous, who spent their money taking their sons to Ayresome
Park on a rainy Tuesday night so that they would have memories
like mine. These are the real Middlesbrough legends.
Richard White, New Zealand
I now live in New Zealand. Was born in southern
England. Went to NZ in 1974. Before I left I was lucky enough to
live in Middlesbrough for two special years. In the 1970-71
season I was present at all Boro home games at Ayresome Park. I
lived nearby in Linthorpe Road and later at the Thornaby estate.
My special memory is very relevant on the sad death of George
Best. The FA cup 3rd round 70/71 we were drawn away at Old
Trafford. Nobby stiles had just signed for Boro. It was a 0-0
draw and Nobby was given a guard of honour by united players as
the team ran on. The replay was even more memorable. United
included Best, Charlton and Law. The replay was the most amazing
game not just because Boro won 2-1 but the atmosphere was
amazing. It had snowed for 2 days prior and all the snow off the
pitch was pushed to the side. It was freezing cold and all the
houses around the ground were covered in snow. It was the most
amazing sight that I will always remember Ayresome Park. I still
follow Boro's games on TV at the Riverside, but it will never be
the same of my memories at Ayresome Park. Remembering the likes
of McIlmoyle, Hickton, Whigham, Laidlaw, Downing, McMordie,
Maddren, Spraggon, Gates and others. Thank you for the memories
Middlesbrough and to the opportunity to see the great George
If anyone is interested in sharing memories of that 70/71
season, I would like to hear from them. My email address is
I had two very good Boro friends - Alan Smith and Alan
Dowden, who I have not heard from since I returned.
Thank you again for those wonderful times at
Ayresome Park. They will never be forgotten.
My first memories of Ayresome were in the early
1960's, when my father took me to my first game....a 1-1 draw
with Coventry City. We lived in nearby Guisborough and I knew
all about "Boro....Ian Gibson, Eddie Conachan, Bill Gates. We
went to Middlesbrough on either the 58 or 65 United bus and then
took the Acklam bus (I think a number 11) to the park. We
left England in 1967 but I always remember Ayresome for my first
game in the old Div 2, the immaculate pitch and the 1966 World
Cup games with the surprising North Koreans.
First game was against either Preston or
Plymouth in 1968, both ended 5-0 to Boro, after that I was
hooked, I was only 8. Ayresome
Park was a truly magical place, the build up to game
started on Thursday, 'til you neared the ground then the
butterflies kicked in just watching the players run out. The
power game tune made the hairs stand up on your neck.
I used to sit with my dad in the North Stand lower seats near
the tunnel, watching big John running down the touch line was a
sight in its self.
What a player, what a goal scorer, what commitment, what a hero
and still revered as King John on Teesside to this day. Had the
pleasure of meeting him a couple of times, still a giant to this
One of the best games I've seen was against QPR in 1970, them
leading 2-0 after 5 minutes Then the Hickton and Mcilmoyle show
started with big John 3, Hughie 2 and I think the other was from
Downing. A fantastic game and one which Rodney Marsh will never
forget, he still has a chip on his shoulder to this day.
The first game I went to was the 8-0 thrashing
of Sheff Wed with my uncle, and I must of thought this
Middlesbrough must be world beaters, alas my illusions where
shattered over the next nye on thirty years.
When I think of Ayresome Park I think of the great Billy Ashcroft,
the Welsh wonder, wondering were he was supposed to be playing,
by did he get some stick! Until an F.A. cup game in the early
eighties against Crystal Palace, when we didn't realise he was
playing until he popped up and scored the all important goal!
OH FOND MEMORIES......
Alan Thompson, Saltburn
On match days the town would be full of cars and red
scarves. Throngs of fans would stream
towards Ayresome Park. The Empire, The Park, The Cleveland,
The Masham, The Trooper, The Shakespeare and many other town
pubs would all be full of bustling football supporters having a
The roar of the crowds carried for miles. Locals would avoid going out
on match days, so that they did not loose their car parking
space, including me, I lived for a while in Ayresome Park
About 30 years ago I ventured to my first Boro game, on a cold,
wet and windy day with some lads from college. It was my first and
visit to a 'live' football match. I could see no joy in watching
such a slow and un-exciting game.
The noise levels and shouting I did not enjoy, perhaps I should
have tanked up on beer first. However I did enjoy the oxo and
pork pie at half time. I also remember the hard wood seats, and the
feeling of frustration when the footballers did not perform.
The facilities were very spartan by modern day standards, especially
The fans now enjoy the Riverside stadium and a Premiership club.
I admit to being an armchair supporter as I do enjoy a bet on the
However, Ayresome Park is still an important part of the town's and
the football club's history.
I always remember one wonderful supporter in the
Holgate who constantly abused the Boro players, his comments often
brought much cheer to a 'usually' bored crowd.
John Crossling, Redcar
But the highlight has to be the final game against Luton, Hendrie
hitting the winner when it looked like petering out to a draw. The crowd
that day were fantastic, the parade by ex-players brought back memories
of past years, a glorious sunny day and the Boro winning, what more can
My first vivid memories of Ayresome
Park were at the end of our successful 1973-74 campaign. I had been to
numerous games with my Grandad in previous seasons but could vaguely
remember the teams we played, let alone the score. The final two games
of this particular season were something special.
First we thrashed Sheffield Wednesday 8-0 in the final home game in
the league then we had a memorable 4-4 draw against newly crowned
Division 1 Champions Leeds United, in Bill Gates Testimonial. I will
always remember the Holgate singing "We all agree, Souness is better
Sixteen goals in two games, I couldn't believe it. How I wished for
it to be like that every week. I got my first season ticket the very
Don't forget, if you have any memories
of your own that you would be willing to share please send them to the