Newspaper article Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)

I Was a Fan the Day before I Was Born! There's No Boro Extra This Week Because It's Christmas, but We're Determined You Shouldn't Miss out, So All Your Favourite Features Will Appear in the Main Paper Today. We Start by Throwing the Spotlight on Boro Fan Craig Close

Newspaper article Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)

I Was a Fan the Day before I Was Born! There's No Boro Extra This Week Because It's Christmas, but We're Determined You Shouldn't Miss out, So All Your Favourite Features Will Appear in the Main Paper Today. We Start by Throwing the Spotlight on Boro Fan Craig Close

Article excerpt

What is your brief life story as a Boro fan? I was born in Middlesbrough on August 22 1973, and I always say I started supporting the Boro the day before. I first went to matches in 1980 with my dad (first game v Ipswich on March 11, 1980 - Billy Ashcroft scored in a 1-1 draw).

I lived on Kildare Street, five minutes from Ayresome Park, so having family that supported Boro and living in the shadows of the high steel frames of the floodlights, played a big part in me supporting the Boro.

My dad took me until I was old enough to go on my own or with my mates. In 1992 I moved to Scarborough for 15 years and missed a lot of games (because of work) and also the development of the Boro in 1995, though I did go to the first Riverside Stadium match against Chelsea. But I missed the best bits of that era and the aura of Ravanelli, Juninho and Emerson era, and the build ups to the FA Cup and League cup finals.

And living in Scarborough getting relegated at Leeds (as Scarborough is full of Leeds fans) hurt a lot.

While in Scarborough, I started a Middlesbrough Supporters Group. I also developed a heart murmur known as atril fibrillation which started surprisingly in 1997.

I was in the Gazette on April 15, 2009 about my problems and how I felt the AF started depending on what the Boro had done. I remember coming out of theatre having just had an abulation on the day Boro drew Basle in the UEFA Cup.

Still not fully conscious and aware of what had just happened I remember asking the nurse who Boro had got in the draw.

When I was younger I didn't go to away games, I think the first time I saw Boro away from Ayresome Park was the ZDS Cup final at Wembley but the first league ground was Cambridge, in the FA Cup. Their pitch had more sand on it than Redcar beach.

As I've got older and moved back to Middlesbrough in 2007 I have been to more away matches and there are still a lot of venues I'm still waiting to visit, and hoping some of them will be in Europe in the near future. …

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