Newspaper article Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)

Mascot Ron Marks 90th Birthday in True Boro Fan Style

Newspaper article Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)

Mascot Ron Marks 90th Birthday in True Boro Fan Style

Article excerpt

Byline: Ian Johnson Reporter

IN 1936, 10-year-old Ron Davies fell in love with the Boro.

His older brother stood with him in Ayresome Park's bob end for his first game against rivals Sunderland.

It was the start of a love affair that would last a lifetime.

And yesterday, 80 years on, the club honoured that love on the eve of Ron's 90th birthday by allowing him to walk his beloved Boro onto the Riverside pitch.

Yet despite surely being Boro's oldest mascot, it couldn't match his joy at getting another early birthday surprise - his family had flown in from around the world to watch the match with him.

"It was a surprise but a delightful one," said the retired teacher before joking: "It will fall flat if the Boro do what they have so much in the past and throw it away today!" His daughter Angela Davies arranged the family reunion, with his children jetting in from Australia and the USA to be with the grandad, of Lancaster Road, Linthorpe.

Boro also played their part after catching wind of Ron's milestone.

Chairman Steve Gibson personally wrote to Angela, arranging for her dad to be wined and dined before the match.

He then organised a shirt with Ron's name and a very special number - 90.

"Getting family from across the world, and keeping it a secret from mum and dad, has been so difficult but completely worth it," said Angela.

"Everyone was very willing to come but the logistics are hard - I've had to hide my brother with me in Sheffield for the last few days."

Ron's love of the beautiful game doesn't end with the Boro. An active figure in Middlesbrough schools football, he ran teams and even took a group of children to London every year to watch an England boys' match.

But it is Boro that dominates his thoughts - and even the family phone calls to his children. …

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