Before Ayresome

Middlesbrough Football Club was formed in 1876 by members of Middlesbrough Amatuer Cricket Club who were looking for a way of keeping fit in the winter months. At a meeting in the towns Albert Park Hotel they duly formed a team known as Middlesbrough Association. Middlesbrough's first match was played on the Archery Ground in Albert Park against Tees Wanderers, a team of local rugby players. The match ended in a 1-1 draw, with Jackson Ewbank scoring the club's first ever goal.

Play Up Boro In 1878 the first recorded three-figure gate was achieved against the Tyne Association, when 150 spectators were present and, by the end of the season, Middlesbrough were attracting crowds of around 200. No gate money was taken in those days and the players had to pay their own expenses. Fearing for the state of the turf the Parks Department decided that it was time that the club should move on and they were forced to look for an alternative playing field. In 1879 the club rented a field from a Mr. Kemp in Breckon Hill Road and began to charge spectators, 3d for adults and 1d for boys.
No gate exceeded £3 for the season. The move to Breckon Hill Road lasted less than a season. After a dispute with the landlord Middlesbrough moved to the home of Middlesbrough Cricket Club in Linthorpe Road. Middlesbrough were to occupy the Linthorpe Road Ground for over a decade, from 1879 to 1903, and while they were in residence they built a small stand on the north side of the ground, which would later be transported to Ayresome Park. During this turbulent time the breakaway Middlesbrough Ironopolis were founded, by members of the Middlesbrough club who wanted to turn professional. Both clubs turned professional in 1889.
Professionalism was short lived for both clubs, Middlesbrough reverted to amateur status in 1892, while the ambitious Ironopolis were elected to Division Two of the Football League in 1893, however they folded due to financial problems after just one season. Middlesbrough went on to have several successful years in the Northern League, winning the title three times in four seasons between 1893 and 1897. They also lifted the the Amateur Cup twice, in 1895 and 1898.  Amateur Cup Winners 1895
The Linthorpe Road Ground had to wait until 1899 to see league football, when Middlesbrough were elected to Division Two of the Football League. The first game in front of 10,000 fans saw Middlesbrough lose 3-1 to Small Heath. With the lease due for renewal on the Linthorpe Road Ground in 1903 Middlesbrough made plans to move to a new ground on a site adjacent to Ironopolis' old ground, at Paradise Field.
    
                  
    
      
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