The only way to read this post in FULL along with 23 others from 2014/15 is to buy my season review eBook in the Kindle store. It’s less than £3 and over 300 pages of my daft adventures. Pick it up, enjoy it and you’ll be supporting my travels next season. Feel free to tell anyone you might know about it too! Thank you so much!
…My main footballing memory of Middlesbrough FC harks back to the late 1990s and their fine side that Leicester somehow beat over a replay in the 1997 League Cup final. That team had two of the best players I’ve ever seen play in their starting eleven: The diminutive genius that was Juninho (who still looks like a twelve year old) and the “White Feather” himself, Italian striker and Just For Men refuser Fabrizio Ravanelli. They were terrifying to see in full flight, and the rest of the side wasn’t too bad either, with current Leicester boss Nigel Pearson in their back four.
I went to both of those final games. We massively got out of jail in the first game thanks to Emile Heskey (I won’t hear a bad word about that lad. Scored loads for us, made us a load of money and then when we went bust helped out. He’s a proper legend. And the same school year as me, so had him destroy me at Sunday League football as a kid), and then in the replay I popped to the loo and heard a massive cheer as Ravanelli had a goal disallowed. My shoes were splashed.
I’d not been to the Riverside since that era though, sat high up in the away end on a very cold winters day. Now was my time to return, with a gig in Scarborough on the Saturday night I had an excuse to go along. Also, with Brentford as the opponents it would be nice to check out a game with two sides playing good passing football in the Championship.
That’s not my sole reason for going to the Riverside though. As a former BBC employee I know when you’re meant to declare a personal interest in a story, so here is mine: Middlesbrough are owned by Steve Gibson, a man that most football fans look at and think “I wouldn’t mind him owning my club”. And for good reason: He’s been super generous as a chairman, helping Middlesbrough to great heights during his tenure. He’s a local lad, owning the club he loves rather than choosing one to turn a profit. And best of all, he once wrote to a chap who applied for the vacant manager’s job with his Football Manager CV by politely turning him down because his record said he was over-qualified. Brilliant…