HE WAS THE TOPS, says Gordon Jones of Stan Anderson RIP
By Dave Allan
Wednesday 13 Jun 2018 09:45:00
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Former Middlesbrough captain Gordon Jones has described Stan Anderson, who died on Sunday, as his mentor, while hailing his success in signing several Boro legends.

Former England international Anderson, who was 85 when he passed away, was the only player to captain Newcastle, Sunderland and Middlesbrough.

During a seven-year spell as Boro manager between 1966 and 1973, he led Boro to promotion from Division Three but narrowly missed out on promotion to the top flight on several occasions before seeing the team he built run away with the Second Division title under Jack Charlton.

Jones, who is now treasurer of Middlesbrough Former Players Association, having made more appearances for Boro than other post-war player, appeared alongside Anderson before serving as his captain for several years.

“As a player, manager and all round person, Stan Anderson was the absolute tops,” said Jones. “I’m absolutely certain that we won’t see the likes of him again. I’m genuinely upset.

“I can’t speak highly enough of him. He’s a Newcastle legend, a Sunderland legend and, for me, a Boro legend too.

“He was my mentor. He taught me so much, not just about football but about life. He knew how to treat people on and off the field.

“I feel privileged that he made me captain. He taught me so much about being a captain and playing football.”

Jones recalled: “I played against Stan a few times before he came to Middlesbrough, and he had few equals. We were very lucky to get him to come to Middlesbrough.

“Being manager came as something new to him but he realised the team we had – and I agreed – was not good enough and he went about clearing it out.

“Over the years he brought through some great young players such as Geoff Butler, Don Masson, John Hickton, Frank Spraggon, Dave Chadwick and then later Stuart Boam, Willie Maddren, David Armstrong, Jim Platt, John Craggs, David Mills, Alan Foggon and Graeme Souness.

“Virtually all of them became club legends, so I don’t think we’ve had a maanger who could equal that.”

“He was unlucky not to win promotion but I know why he didn’t win it. At the time, we were winning most of our games at home and just the odd game away.

“I said to him that maybe we should put defensive system up when we go away. But he told me, ‘The day we have to go away to put a defensive show is the day that I’ll pack the game in.’

“He wanted entertaining football all the time, to entertain the supporters. Of course, Jack Charlton came along and they walked promotion with virtually the same players but not playing such attacking football.”

Recalling a conversation he shared with Anderson in more recent years, Jones added: “I mentioned to Stan all those players he brought through but he said he didn’t agree with modern academies. He didn’t like the fact that they can’t play rugby, athletics, cricket or whatever else from the age of 11, and felt it was taking a lot away from the kids. He said, ‘We took them from 15 and we taught them to display the skills they had, and to play good football for the public.’

“He also disagreed with modern day football’s focus on passing it backwards and square as long as possession is maintained. He admitted the modern game often bored him.”

Another former Boro legend, centre-forward Alan Peacock – chairman of Middlesbrough Former Players Association - roomed with Anderson when the pair were part of the England squad at the 1962 World Cup in Chile.

“Stan and I spoke the same language,” said Peacock. “He was a great bloke and became a good friend of mine. He was a typical North East bloke – he liked football and that was it!

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