Now then Fly Me to the Mooners, another week goes by and against all the odds we are here, in print, despite the demands of doing 3 issues in as many weeks. Our task has been made easier thanks to the growing readership, whose efforts have been appreciated by all and sundry here in FMTTM buildings. Things appear to be taking off in a big way.
Nice to see Pearsy put paid to some scurrilous accusations questioning his manhood last week, on two counts. There had been a whisper among the Boro legions about our amiable gardener, not being quite the man he ought to have been over the last few seasons. Rumour had it that he was to be seen in full Village People regalia downing halves in the infamous ’53 Club on Newport Road (don’t say you don’t know it). In fact he was said to be very much ‘going for a thong’. Anyway the perpetrators of these vile rumours were tight-lipped last week when Pearsy was seen to a) violently threaten to rip Fenwicks lungs out b) get married c) abscond from the reception, leaving his blushing bride so that he could catch the last stripper in the Acklam Garden City.
Speaking of our defence, isn’t it crazy that Colin Cooper won the regional Young Eagle of the month award for December when he would be the first to admit that it was personally the worst month of his career (form-wise). Just goes to show the amount of thought that was put into choosing a representative from the North East. With all respect to Tommy, he was merely chosen on the strength of his previous form and luckily for him will probably be North Eastern young player of the season without having to deliver another decent performance. Still, a goal to savour against Spurs Tommy lad. Cheers.
Deano arrived to us from Aston Villa in the close season; the crowd eagerly awaited the new boy’s debut. What sort of player would he be? We had Hammo the ball winner and Kerr with his dribbling skills, so Glover must be the midfield playmaker then.
Against Millwall it was obviously a settling in game, a bit anonymous, one or two nice passes and some tough tackles for good measure. Now at this point Deano must have had a look around and thought that there were one or two heroes about. There was Bernie, the goal scorer, Mogga and Pally the colossus centre backs and of course Pearsy, Englands number one. Knowing how Teesside crowds loved their heroes Deano must have wondered how he could even begin to rival their popularity.
The next match was against Sunderland which offered the perfect stage, a derby match against the Jokermen, now what could Deano do to make himself the biggest hero possible? Well after only 15 minutes Deano had already attained immortality and adulation but what had he done, put Boro in the lead? Scored a hat-trick? No, even better, he’d been sent off for elbowing Blunderland skipper Gary Bennett square in the face… DEANO-DEANO-DEANO-DEANO!
The ‘Great Post War Boro Centre Forwards’ article in Issue 5 made for interesting reading but it left out more fascinating characters than it included. I reckon ‘Schmultz’ must have been in his pram when we Golden Oldies were enduring the pre-Clough Fifties when nothing much was happening.
But the late Forties were electric enough, graced by one of the best, Micky Fenton. I remember him smacking two past Frank Swift one Saturday afternoon; also delivering a cracking uppercut to one of the Moss Bros, a defender in the (then) true Aston Villa mould. There was never a better striker of a sodden casey in the sleet of a January afternoon than Mick.
Boro tried hard for years to replace him. There was Harold Dobbie, a local lad who laboured for many years in the reserves before leaving for pastures new. George Stobart too, in fact he left for quite a successful spell with Newcastle. They even tried with two Haggis Internationals, Neil Mochan and Alex Linwood, but they couldn’t knock Mick off his perch.
Between him and Cloughie there were a variety of talents. My favourite was Ma’ Ba’ McKennan – the nickname Peter McKeenan was known by in his previous existence at Partick Thistle. Apparently when he played there he was in the habit of loafing about for most of the game, coming through in the last quarter like Roy of the Rovers to win the game on his own by knocking in as many goals as were necessary. One day he left it a little late and they only drew, whereupon the manager clocked him in the tunnel as he came off. Hard on the jaw, but good for Middlesbrough, where he played with distinction till he was laid low by an awful knee injury. What an inside trio Mannion, McCrae and McKennan. That was when attendances were 30,000 to 40,000 and you could get a Football Special Bus from outside the Welly to the Bob End.
Charlie Wayman came for a short spell where he did the necessary by scoring enough goals to keep us in the First Division (or was it out of the Third? I can’t remember which). Although I do remember one game where he made a monkey out of a promising young centre half called John Charles. Then there was Cecil McCormack who occasionally played centre forward, a great ghost like player who glided past all and sundry before cracking them in.
Who could forget Andy Donaldson though? Surely invented by Barlow Clowes? He was supposed to be pushing ‘Wor Jackie’ out of the Newcastle first team when we paid a fortune for him. Or how about Arthur Horsfield… in the Bob End they used to sing “Ay ay ay-ay, Horsfield is better than Pele…” which was typical of the graveyard humour of those days. Not a bad trier though.
All from a different era, more classy than whiz bang (those sodden footballs in winter must have weighed a ton). Wilf master minding the W formation. George bringing the ball up from the back (once or twice) “like a polished half back” as the News of the World described one of his international appearances (then nipping back to give his waves and moustache a quick comb). Jimmy Gordon picking them up with a smile after he’d hacked them down and the elegant Whittaker clearing his lines.
Not to forget Johnny Spuhler, who once “cut inside and shat fiercely against the bar” as the Sports Gazette once misprinted it. Which reminds me of E.L.T’s best football headline… ‘From Helsinki to Hutton Road’ but that’s another story..
I don’t think Gary Gill holds much esteem in the eyes of the Boro fans, i must admit that on more than one occasion he has shown himself to be below the standard we as spectators hope for in our players and as a paying customer we have the right to criticise. But Gilly is a Boro boy, there is no doubting where his heart is – just as much as Mogga – he is true to Boro.
In our Third Division days Gilly did his job for us and helped us win promotion, but since then with a larger staff Gilly’s role has been as reserve team captain. As a professional footballer you have a career of perhaps 15 years, if you’re lucky, and i don’t think anyone would have argued if Gilly had hopped it and looked for a bit of glory elsewhere. Instead he stayed at the Boro – I don’t know whether he feels he can press for a first team place or not – I think a regular spot is beyond him – but i wouldn’t knock him for trying or believing in himself.
Even if he doesn’t get into the firsts i applaud what he has done for the club in his role as 2nd team skipper. He is a 100% pro, a tryer and a good organizer, using his experience to help the Mohan’s of this world up the ladder. I hope at the end of the season Gilly can look back with satisfaction at both the promotion of the reserves into the Central League Division 1 and perhaps a few first team appearances for the best Boro side in recent history
Congratulations on Fly Me To The Moon. It makes a refreshing change from the overpriced official programme. What a pity then, that you had to resort to the tasteless and anti-semitic ‘humour’ on the front cover of Issue 6. Most decent fans regard racism – as exemplified by your cover and Mark Burke’s nick name – as offensive. It would be nice if you could use the influence of FMTTM to stamp out this sort of thing at football matches and instead present a more positive image of the club. I wish you good luck with the ‘fanzine’ but urge you not to confuse insults for humour in the future. – Signed – M.Lee
It is never the intention of FMTTM to be deliberately racist (or sexist – better to own up) but in our efforts to be light hearted we do occasionally fall from grace on both these issues. We do, however reserve the right to parody certain scenarios within the framework of the footballing arena, occasionally but rarely, at the expense of taboo causes. With hindsight, the cover of issue 6 was possibly ill conceived and certainly uninspired, we wish to apologise to anyone it may have offended. You will however have noticed a degree of self ridicule in many of our published articles and concede we are just as able to laugh at ourselves as we are of others. Thanks for your correspondence. – Ed
Could you please tell me when we are due to play Spurs again?
- Signed – The sweet shop owner near the ground.