Newspaper article Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)

Latest in Long Line of Homegrown Heroes

Newspaper article Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)

Latest in Long Line of Homegrown Heroes

Article excerpt


BEN Gibson is on course to become the latest in a long line of legendary Teessideborn Middlesbrough defenders.

If he stays with the club until his new deal lapses in July 2022, he will have spent his peak years with his beloved Boro.

And, as a consequence, he'll have earned himself iconic status if he continues the steady, impressive development he's achieved so far.

Over the past half century, Teesside has produced a steady stream of outstanding central defenders.

Going back to the 1970s, Jack Charlton's 1973/74 promotion winning side was built on rock solid foundations provided by Willie Maddren and Stuart Boam.

Maddren, born and raised in Billingham, has long been regarded as one of the best English players never to have been capped at a senior level for his country.

Capable of playing just about anywhere on the pitch, he established himself in central defence and made almost 350 appearances for the club.

However, as a result on an ongoing knee problem, he was forced to retire at the desperately young age of 26 in 1977.

Tony Mowbray may not have boasted Maddren's footballing skills but his leadership qualities and will to win were second to none.

Mogga was the bedrock of the team that overcame liquidation in 1986 to win back-to-back promotions from the third tier to the top flight.

His partner during that remarkable period was Gary Pallister, who was born in the deep south but grew up on Teesside.

Signed from Billingham Town, Pally developed into a strapping, talented defender who earned an England call-up before moving to Manchester United in a record-breaking PS2.3m move in 1989.

After winning countless medals at Old Trafford and more than 20 England caps, Pallister returned to Middlesbrough in 1998. …

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