My First, My Last, My Everything
By Chris Bartley
Thursday 30 Apr 2020 11:56:00
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This afternoon at 3pm many of us will be tuning in together to watch together the final league game at Ayresome Park. That was a day of real emotion. The end of an era but also a vitally important promotion decider (or pretty much so). It was saying goodbye to our home of nearly a century but also we could not forget a must-win game for the Robson Revolution to take us onwards and upwards into the Premier League in our brand new Riverside home.

Chris Bartley has written his memories of not only that day but also his first game at the old ground. The day he first fell for Boro was beneath the four corner floodlights standing proud between the four individual stand roofs of old Ayresome Park.

Take it away Chris.

Memories of my first and last ever game at Ayresome Park

1st game progMy first

Boro v Spurs, Tuesday 3rd October 1972, League Cup

In 1972, I was eight years old and a pupil at South Eston Primary School and this was the momentous day that my Dad took me to my first ever game. I remember it all so much. The pulse-quickening wait for the 263 bus at Normanby. The nervous anticipation of the journey. The thrill of seeing the retina blasting radiance of those amazing cosmic floodlights. They shone upon World Cup medal winning hero Nobby Stiles like a Hollywood searchlight. And the pitch.

WOW that beautiful pitch. It was the most vivid colour I’ve ever witnessed.

Every blade of green grass seemed to glisten and sparkle. I was mesmerised. We drew 1-1 thanks to a goal from King John Hickton. I was hooked forever.

My last

Boro v Luton, Sunday 30th April 1995, Division 1

issue 136The final game. From the parade of legendary ex-players including Wilf Mannion and Bernie Slaven before the game to the emotional rendition of ‘You’ll never walk alone,’ from fellow Normanby resident Suzannah Clarke with 24 000 fans singing in unison, scarves aloft, it was an unbelievably emotional day. The stakes were high. We needed to win to make sure that Boro’s first game at its new state of the art Riverside Stadium would be in the Premier League not Division 1. John Hendrie scored before the interval but we were nervy after half time and Luton equalised in the 63 rd minute. I had fears that we were going to blow it like Leicester in 1988, when we lost the last game to miss out on automatic promotion. Hendrie scored 11 minutes later to score and secure a fantastic win and we secured promotion one week later.

My everything

UTB

Chris Bartley



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