Ayresome Memories

What memories do you have of Ayresome Park, is there a particular game that sticks in your mind, anything funny happen or any strange incidents occurred. Anything at all, please send it in to Ayresome Memories, and we'll try to use it.

Here are a few memories we have received so far:

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.

Magnus Roche

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 Best. 
If anyone is interested in sharing memories of that 70/71 season, I would like to hear from them. My email address is stokesvalley1@paradise.net.nz 
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.

Richard White, New Zealand

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.

John Poulter

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 day.
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.

Harry Catterson

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......

Martin Khan

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 pre-match drink.
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 Road.
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 last 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 toilets.
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 Boro. However, Ayresome Park is still an important part of the town's and the football club's history.

Alan Thompson, Saltburn

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.
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 you ask?

John Crossling, Redcar

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 than Bremner".
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 next season.

Nigel Moore, Marton


Don't forget, if you have any memories of your own that you would be willing to share please send them to the Ayresome Memories.

    
                  
    
      
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