Newspaper article Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)

Our Riverside Tribute to Ali, a Boro Legend

Newspaper article Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)

Our Riverside Tribute to Ali, a Boro Legend

Article excerpt

Byline: Sophie Finnegan Reporter

FANS and friends of "Voice of the Boro" Ali Brownlee have continued to pay tribute to the man who meant so much to so many.

The BBC Tees presenter and Middlesbrough FC commentator died overnight on Sunday - just months after he was diagnosed with bowel cancer. Flowers and scarves continued to be placed on the old Ayresome Park gates at the Riverside Stadium, turning them into a memorial to the Boro legend.

Former colleague and friend John Cochrane, 60, worked with Ali for several years when they helped run the Junior Reds, a volunteer-run club giving boys and girls the chance to train and compete in football leagues.

He said: "Ali was working in a bank at the time, but would still get up for free to help me get young local kids playing football.

"He was so passionate; he didn't want our kids running round in Leeds or Manchester tops - he wanted them in Boro tops.

"Ali believed that if kids were busy playing football, they'd stay out of trouble and be good sports in the game.

"We travelled all over the country with a bus full of kids, making some great memories along the way."

John and his wife Janet, from Eaglescliffe, laid flowers, visibly emotional as they recalled fond memories.

John added: "He didn't just love the club and the town, he loved the people.

"He never had a bad word to say about anyone - with the exception of a few referees!

"He was such a lovely guy and I'm so sad to hear about his passing.

"People felt like they knew him from over the radio."

Father and son Billy and Keith Adams, from Yarm, were also among those who gathered to pay their respects yesterday. Billy, 64, said: "Ali was probably the reason I supported Middlesbrough FC in the first place. If you didn't go to the match, you tuned into Ali on the radio and sometimes we still used to listen to him when we were at the match. …

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