Stewart Downing Inspired By Alastair Brownlee
By Robert Nichols
Saturday 04 Nov 2017 17:56:00
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One Boro player spans the years between Ali Brownlee’s famous Boro victory speech and the present promotion hunting side. I chatted with winger Stewart Downing as we stood beneath the new mural on the side of Shepherdson Way. Like everyone else present we were somewhat in awe of the hand painted words of wisdom. What a wonderful tribute it is to the Voice of the Boro. Stewart shared his thoughts on the mural and pondered on whether Ali’s speech could inspire players and fans v Sunderland and in the years ahead.

Fly: Fantastic to see this. You were responsible for the cross from which Maccarone scored the winner. That was why Ali said this. It is amazing to think about, isn’t it?

SD: Unreal. I was saying earlier to Ali’s dad and daughter that I remember it as if it was yesterday. How could you forget probably the greatest comeback the club has ever had. The state of the game, needing 3 goals to get it back. We were down and out really. The full night was unbelievable. We probably didn’t take it all in or celebrate as much as we should have, looking back. Because you were young you just think it is another game and we take it in and move on to the next one. But looking back it was unbelievable night and unbelievable memories and we can never forget the words he said. Only Ali could come out with that, couldn’t he?

Fly: It is really apt that he is being remembered for his words, isn’t it?

SD: Yes.. I mean, who could come out with those words at the time. Imagine the full stadium is bouncing and everyone is speechless and Ali comes out with all this. That just summed him up he was brilliant, off the cuff. His commentary was obviously really good.  I am glad he is being remembered for it. He should be. It has taken a lot of years to get it up there but I think it looks brilliant. I am sure that a lot of fans on their way to the game will be having their photos taken here. Even if you just look at the words you just remember that night and you think back to his commentary and the last minute goal etc etc. I think it is good memories for the club and as I say I am glad he has been remembered for it.

Fly: It is fantastic to remember Alastair and hopefully his words will inspire a new generation of fans that are maybe too young to remember what happened in 2006.

SD: I am sure you will get a lot of kids walking to the game now with their mams and dads and they will be asking what is this all about? Or even who is Alastair Brownlee? A lot of kids may not remember but if they youtube him etc they can hear the famous words from that night.

He should be remembered, he was a massive Boro fan. He only saw the good in us as a club and as players. I think it is a really good gesture from the club and everyone involved.

Fly: Lovely that the first match that people see this will be the Sunderland derby which would have been important for Alastair and for everyone else too.

SD: Yes massive. It is good timing; all the fans will be here in their numbers they will see it this weekend. Speaking to his dad and daughter they are obviously quite emotional seeing that. That is his son’s words there, he is probably proud as punch. I think we are all proud to be honest. I am glad he is being remembered for this.

Fly: Good that we are unveiling this now when we have had two very good results.

SD: Yes, it wouldn’t have been so good if we were doing it in August. No, I think the timing is perfect, we have a derby coming up off the back of two wins and two good performances. Hopefully, if the players are driving in they might be inspired and we can get a derby win. We are due a home win and we need a good performance as well. Am sure the fans will be here in numbers so it would be nice to get three wins before the international break.

Fly: It looks like a really good blend of experience and youth at the moment. You must get a buzz off Marcus Tavernier.

SD: Oh brilliant. How old was he when we beat Steaua? It is great for us older lads seeing the young lads coming through. We were like that at one time, you need a chance in the team.

Fly: You were young in the Steaua match?

SD: Exactly and that is why I say I didn’t really take in at the time but looking back it is unbelievable.

The team at the moment, we have got a mix, a good blend. I think it is helping us at the minute. I think you need that sometimes, the older heads that have been there and done it winning promotion. And the young lads like Tav who are coming in and thinking what is this all about, all this fuss about promotion. They just want to play. Unbelievable for him, if he gets games and we get promoted this season, what an experience for him at 18 years old.

Fly: Absolutely. What age were you versus Steaua in 2006?

SD: I will have been 21.

Fly: We are talking about the Sunderland game and you kick started your career there didn’t you?

SD: Yes, I did I had a loan, just a couple of years before that.

Fly: And the experience of playing first team football?

SD: Oh brilliant. I was on loan at Tav’s age and he is playing in our first team at a similar age. I had a good time there, but I won’t get the reward for it from the Sunderland fans on Sunday, I am sure I will get a lot of stick. But it was a good time and a good time for a loan at my age to play. It set me up for getting in the team for these types of nights and memories.

Fly: And let’s hope we get some of these memories again and we will always remember Ali won’t we?

SD: Unbelievable. It took a few years to do it but it looks really good and he will always be remembered and I remember that game like it was yesterday. Am sure we will remember it in another 20 years time as well.

 mural

 

 



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