Miscellany

A number of interesting articles which I came across whilst scouring the record books, newspapers and other sources for the history of Ayresome Park.


Swatters Carr was an area of Middlesbrough bounded by Linthorpe Road, Southfield Road, Woodlands Road and Park Lane North. Following the development of the area, in the late 1870's, The Swatters Carr Hotel was opened. The hotel was reputedly used as changing rooms for the Boro team when they played at the Linthorpe Road ground, towards the end of the 19th century.


No text messages or emails in the 1940's, as post cards were the favoured communication mode of the day. John 'Jack' Dent found out he had been selected to play for Boro in a WWII fixture, after receiving a post card from Boro manager Wilf Gillow and was requested to "bring your own football boots".


Taken from The Book of Football, first published by Amalgamated Press in 1906. The article gives a fascinating look at the trials and tribulations of a football club at the start of the 20th century. It charts Boro's early history, from their foundation in 1876 to their struggles with relegation in the early years at Ayresome Park.


In the 1989/90 season the Boro manager Bruce Rioch introduced a number of measures to clean up the chanting and encouraging Boro fans to get behind the team. These included the 'Bruce Requests . . . " signs and the Boro Bugler, who played whenever Boro won a corner.


Ayresome Park was an evolving stadium, never more so than during 1957 when floodlights were installed. To celebrate Boro played a series of friendlies against teams from England, Scotland & Europe.


Radio Ayresome went live at the start of the 1966-67 season and was hosted by Bernard Gent from a 'studio' in the South Terrace. Bernard will be fondly remembered for introducing Boro's well known run-out theme, The Power Game, which greeted the players onto the pitch for nearly 30 years.


More recent, but again this article gives an absorbing view of life as a Boro fan in the mid 1960's when a group called the Ayresome Angels introduced organised chanting at Boro games, both home and away.


In 1978 Ayresome Park hosted three days of Jazz when the world famous Newport Jazz Festival came to town. In a preview it was billed as the greatest gathering of Jazz talent ever in Britain and was headlined by Ella Fitzgerald and Oscar Peterson. There were also performances by Buddy Rich, Lionel Hampton, Dizzy Gillespie and Art Blakey, to name just a few. A festival review highlighted the vast appeal of Jazz music, even to the youth of the day.


Many have heard of the legend about a group of gypsies, who placed a curse on Ayresome Park, after they were removed from the site, which restricted Boro from winning a major trophy while they were in residence. But, there is also the tale of Ayresome Park being haunted by a young spirit called Ned, who would appear at the gates of Ayresome Park if Boro were going to win.


It's always refreshing to read an away program to see how Boro fare without the rose-tinted glasses on. This extract from the Liverpool program in 1950 shows how respected Boro were at the time. Who knows, failing the 'curse' in the previous article, where Boro would be now?


Boro have never been strangers to controversy over the years, from playing illegal players to not playing at all, from dodgy dealings by club officials to liquidation in 1986. One such event revolved around the transfer of Alf Common from Sunderland in 1905 when Boro were investigated by the football authorities.


 

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