Pally and the Middlesbrough Symphony
By Robert Nichols
Wednesday 07 Sep 2011 09:15:00
Browse all Interviews articles

I met up with former Boro star Gary Pallister at the launch of the Middlesbrough Symphony down by the 100 year old Transporter Bridge. Gary donned a new Boro shirt and picked up a flute to get in tune with David Golightly’s classical tribute to Middlesbrough FC. The symphony will be played for the first time at Middlesbrough Town Hall on Thursday 15th September. Do go along.


Fly: So, are you a bit of a classical music fan yourself?

GP: (smiles) I’ve got a bit partial to a little bit over the years but I’m not a huge fan. I don’t think I’ve got any CDs in my car but I’m not averse to it.


Fly: You were playing a flute for the photos.

GP: I had a flute yes..


Fly: Was that your first time.

GP: Err yes, I didn’t have a clue how to play it..


Fly: But you had a go..

GP: I did yes. I tried to pay the guitar once which is as close as I’ve got to playing a musical instrument but I wasn’t very good at that at all. Fingers and thumbs. I’ll stick with the sport.


Fly: Well, you did play for England after all…

GP: (Laughs)


Fly: Are you enjoying Middlesbrough’s start to the season?

GP: I am. I didn’t really know what to expect. I know we had a terrific end to the season, confidence was high but we had to sell players and had not been able to bring too many in and pre-season going not very well you started to wonder if the good work was unravelling but Tony said judge me when the season starts and it is so far so good I think.


The football that they are playing is fantastic. I think he will be disappointed that we’ve thrown away 4 points at home. We could quite easily be sitting on maximum points and that would have been a helluva start. But I think the fans are enjoying it and I think there is a positive vibe about the place and hopefully we’ll start getting a few more bums on seats in the stadium.


Fly: Yes hopefully so. Going back to that season 1986 when you and Tony were playing side by side it took a while before the crowds came back and that built into something special didn’t it?

GP: Yes the season before we were playing in front of crowds of maybe 3000 at Ayresome Park and they were dire times. We came out of liquidation and word got round that there were some good young kids coming through and they were playing a brand of football that excited the fans. And they started coming, not in their droves at first but by the end of the season we had decent crowds and I think everyone was carried away on the wave of emotion the way the club had battled back from the brink of extinction and went on to produce some fine football times at Ayresome Park.


Fly: Everyone felt part of something then as there was a real connection between the players and fans then and I’m getting the impression that is coming round to that again.

GP: There are echoes of 86 aren’t there? It is not quite as desperate times in terms of wage structure or where the club is at present. But you’ve got to rely a lot on youth and that was the case in 86, a lot of the senior pros, Don O’Riordan,, Gary Rowell, Pat Heard, people like that left the club and we had no option but to play the kids and fortunately Willie Maddren had brought some great kids in to the club. They came to fruition under Bruce Rioch who wanted to play a style of football that was entertaining. I think Tony’s taken his lead from that. He is following Bruce’s philosophy and he knows that the fans will be excited by the kind of football that he is bringing them at the moment.


Fly: As you say the fans are excited by the quality of football but you can be successful and play good football can’t you?

GP: Of course you can. I played for Middlesbrough and we were attractive footballing side and I played for United and we were attractive footballing side. I think that is the way to play the game. Some managers might differ, in discipline and physicality but I think football fans would rather go and see a team like Arsenal or Manchester United or Middlesbrough at present and be entertained on a Saturday afternoon. You might not always win the game but if you are playing that style of football then they are not going to go away from the ground thinking it was a waste of money. At least they had a go and played some good football. If they win they win, if they lose they are still getting entertained.


Fly: Do you think we can sustain it this season?
I’m sure Tony will want to bring in more players. It is not the biggest squad in the world and you are relying a lot on youth. But managers always want to bring in another player or two and I’m sure he’ll be looking to do that. But the way they are playing and the confidence that is in the side, if they can keep that going and steer away from injuries or bad injuries then the future’s bright.


·         The Transporter Bridge Centenary Concert, Middlesbrough Town Hall, Thursday 15 September. 7.45pm. Northern Sinfonia. Conductor: Tim Redmond. Including: David F. Golightly (Middlesbrough Symphony), Stravinsky (The Firebird Suite), Elgar (Cello Concerto in E minor, Op.85). Tickets: £25.00 / £22.50 concs. Box Office: 01642 729729.


 Photos - Tracy Hyman




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