Newspaper article Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)

Farewell Ayresome; FANS' VIEWS Mannion, Spuhler, Robinson, Bell.And Oxo

Newspaper article Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)

Farewell Ayresome; FANS' VIEWS Mannion, Spuhler, Robinson, Bell.And Oxo

Article excerpt

Byline: Anthony Vickers Sports reporter

MIKE MATSON, now in, Pickering previously from Stockton: My father, Albert, was a keen supporter and season ticket holder from the late 1930s (West Stand). I was first taken along in 1948 and remember Fenton (I was named Michael after him), Mannion, Spuhler, Robinson, Bell and many others in the old First Division. My strongest memory, as only a young lad, is of the scalding Oxo half time drinks served in paper cups that required asbestos fingers to carry them back up to the stand seats from the 'restaurant' level below. Brian Clough, below, hit the scene in the '50s and was a great hero.

Never a graceful outfield player but that didn't matter - he was lethal with both feet, and his head, from anywhere within range of goal. Oh for a Cloughie now!

DAN, Linthorpe: I remember being around 10 years old when they knocked it down. I recall going round to find a memento, and ended up coming away with a small piece of white brickwork.

Still got that today. Maybe worth something in a few years....

JOHN Burton, from Stokesley: I started to attend Boro matches in 1946 as a 14-yearold and stood behind the goal about halfway up the vast 'Bob' End. Good sized crowds, importantly a great atmosphere both for spectators and players. Of course our great Wilf Mannion and I will never forget the likes of Billy Liddell, Neil Franklin, Lofthouse, Carter, to mention just a few. The first view of all those great players running out on to the pitch I will always treasure. I certainly was sad to see Ayresome Park demolished BUT happy memories will not fade.

THE RIVERSIDE was rocking with foam-fingered full houses roaring on Juninho, Ravanelli and Emerson through a pulsating period of scintillating football.

This week back in 1996 Bryan Robson's team just ripped apart West Ham 4-1. Coventry were crushed soon after and then Hereford were ruthlessly dismantled 7-0 in the League Cup.

It was a time of unbridled joy and unlimited horizons. The future was bright.

Meanwhile, a few miles away, the past was being demolished.

The bulldozers and wrecking ball had moved into Ayresome Park to carry out an architectural euthanasia on the much loved but crumbling structure at the end of its useful life.

In a poignant post-script to the story of Boro's Brave New World, our spiritual home for almost a century, the scene of agony and ecstacy (mainly agony) was being physically removed.

Ayresome was the venue for generations of dreams and the stage on which all our heroes - Camsell, Fenton, Hardwick, Mannion, Clough, Peacock, Hickton, Souness, Slaven, take your pick - had excelled.

t It was central to Teesside's cultural life and sense of identity and a key part of the Dad and Lad rite of passage. …

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