Newspaper article Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)

Crazy Gang Gave Gilly a Day He Will Always Remember; TODAY We Bring You the Fourth Part of Our Exclusive Weekly Series. Every Monday We Talk to a Boro Legend about His Most Memorable Game for the Club. in the Latest Instalment, PHILIP TALLENTIRE Discusses with Gary Gill a Game against Wimbledon's Crazy Gang That Has a Special Significance for the Middlesbrough-Born Midfield Battler

Newspaper article Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)

Crazy Gang Gave Gilly a Day He Will Always Remember; TODAY We Bring You the Fourth Part of Our Exclusive Weekly Series. Every Monday We Talk to a Boro Legend about His Most Memorable Game for the Club. in the Latest Instalment, PHILIP TALLENTIRE Discusses with Gary Gill a Game against Wimbledon's Crazy Gang That Has a Special Significance for the Middlesbrough-Born Midfield Battler

Article excerpt

GARY Gill had a relatively long and eventful career but he didn't have to think twice before deciding on his most memorable game for Boro.

It was the day the then 24-year-old believed both he and Boro had held their own against the toughest team in the top flight.

Gill, born and bred in Middlesbrough, had worked tirelessly to establish himself in the Boro first team.

And, on March 25, 1989, he was recalled to the first team by Bruce Rioch for a clash with the Crazy Gang.

Boro had been promoted the previous May and were finding life tough in Division One.

The core of Rioch's talented team was the same group of young players that had come together in the adversity of bankruptcy in the summer of 1986. Some thought they were going to Plough Lane as lambs to the slaughter, but the Boro boys proved they were men in a battling 1-1 draw.

"Which game would I choose?", Gill asked himself. "Wimbledon away, 1-1, because it was probably the toughest game I was involved with as a player.

"That's because of what was going on off the ball.

"Vinnie Jones, big John Fashanu, they were all playing.

"It was a ropey pitch," he remembered.

"I think Bernie scored. It was an absolute and utter battle - it was an unbelievable match.

"Before the match they had a big ghetto blaster pumping music out in their dressing room.

"Somebody stuck their head in their dressing room and asked if they could turn it down - I think it was Hammy, one of his little jokes - well it didn't go down too well.

"And that set the tone for what was an unbelievably tough game of football.

"From a purist's point of view? Forget it. It wasn't that. It was about: could we compete? Would we allow them to bully us? We didn't.

"We drew 1-1 and I can remember teams like Liverpool going there and getting turned over.

"You could understand why anybody could get turned over in that environment because there was all kinds of things going on off the ball, people winding you up and doing things you just don't do, basically. …

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