Newspaper article Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)

THANKS SO MUCH; Seasiders Are Indebted to Tragic Brooks

Newspaper article Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)

THANKS SO MUCH; Seasiders Are Indebted to Tragic Brooks

Article excerpt

WHEN the league-wide minute's silence in memory of Brooks Mileson is observed tomorrow, Marske United will have more reason than most for respect.

Sunderland-born insurance giant Mileson died at his Cumbria home this week aged 60 after a long illness.

The pony-tailed philanthropist came to national prominence as he bank-rolled tiny Gretna's spectacular charge up the Scottish pyramid to the Premier League, Scottish FA Cup final at Hampden and a brief spell in the UEFA Cup, before suffering a tragic brain infection last year from which he never fully recovered.

His memory and his 11-year spell as the generous main Northern League sponsor in which he pumped in over pounds 500,000 will be rightly be honoured with poignant tributes at games this week.

But as Marske take on Thornaby in a Division Two derby clash, former chairman John Hodgson says the loss will be felt more sharply at Mount Pleasant than elsewhere.

"Without Brooks this club simply would not be where it is now," he insisted.

"Before he even got involved with the Northern League he was there for us and he played a massive part in the development of this club.

"He sponsored us for 12 years and in that time we went from being an average Wearside League team to being the top team on Teesside.

We won 15 or 16 trophies, got into the Northern League, promoted to the first division and had that FA Vase run. It was a brilliant era and a lot of it was down to Brooks.

"We teamed up with him by accident when our then manager got talking to him in a builder's yard in Stockton and invited him down to a game.

"After that he quickly became a great friend of the club. He put money into the team and facilities, he put sponsors and advertisers our way, he sorted out jobs to help swing deals with players, he offered the use of his solicitors when we were battling for planning permission for the floodlights and he stumped up when we fell pounds 7,000 short to pay for them.

"He never asked for anything in return, never interfered, never asked what money was for. If he liked you, he would back you and there were some here he liked a lot. He loved Charlie Bell for instance. …

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