History of Ayresome

Introduction

The name Ayresome can be traced back to Viking times. It is derived from the Old Norse 'ar husum', which means the houses near the river. Perhaps Viking settlers established houses here, in easy reach of the Tees, where they moored their longships or fishing boats.

Over the years the name of Ayresome has changed slightly from Arushum in 1129 to Arsum in the thirteenth century and is marked as Ars-ham on Saxton's map of 1577, but this spelling was probably a less accurate interpretation of the pronunciation than the modern form, Ayresome.

Saxton's map of Yorkshire (part), published 1577.

History of Ayresome Park Year-By-Year

1901

Work began to drain the site around Oldgate Farm and the Paradise Field (home of Middlesbrough Ironopolis from 1889-94), the area was low lying and prone to flooding during wet weather. A group of gypsies were moved from the site and legend has it that they put a 'curse' on the football club, which restricted Boro from winning a major trophy while they were in residence.

1902

The club directors announced that the lease on the Linthorpe Road Ground would not be renewed and the club would move to a new stadium.

1903

With a budget of £1,750 tenders were invited for a new stand to seat 2,000 spectators and the directors approached Glasgow architect Archibald Leitch to design a new stand.

Leitch produced a design that was within budget and its impressive features were just what the Boro directors were looking for. They gave Leitch the go-ahead and work began on the 274ft long stand on the north side of Ayresome Park.

Keen to have a ground befitting of their league status the directors decided that the old main stand from the Linthorpe Road Ground should be moved to Ayresome Park, so work began to dismantle the stand and re-erect it on the south side of Ayresome Park.

Tons of earth was moved by horse-drawn wagons to build embankments at the east and west ends of Ayresome Park, providing terracing for thousands. The ends were initially known as the Linthorpe Road End and the Workhouse End.

Work continued throughout the summer of 1903 with the ground being enclosed by a wooden fence, bringing the total cost of the build to £11,957, a sum that was largely financed by loans.

Although not 100% complete, the first paying customers were admitted to Ayresome Park for a friendly game against Glasgow Celtic on Tuesday 1st September. The match attracted a crowd of around 7,000 spectators.

Eleven days later, on Saturday 12th September, Boro played their first league game at Ayresome Park against local rivals Sunderland, in front of approximately 30,000 spectators. With general admission set a 6d and transfers to the stands an extra 9d Boro took record receipts of around £1,000.

Boro’s Joe Cassidy scored the first goal at Ayresome Park, but Sunderland spoilt the party by running-out 3-2 winners on the day.

1903-04

After a eventful season Boro finished their first season at Ayresome Park in 10th position. Boro were settled in their new home and could have had an even better finish, but for their away record, where they failed to win one single game.

1904-05

Boro shocked the football world by paying £1,000 for Sunderland's Alf Common, but the gamble paid off as Boro avoided the drop to the Second Division.

Work in progress. . .

     
     
     
     
    
     
     
    
     
     
     
    
    
     
    
                  
    
      
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