Welcome to this, the first issue of FMTTM. The title was going to be Over the Moon but after much discussion this was thought to be almost as corny as ‘Ayresome Angels’. Our name hails from the occasion Brucie expressed a desire to take Tony (Mogga) Mowbray with him to the moon, should he ever have occasion to visit said satellite.
The aim of our venture is quite simple, to give a punters eye view of happenings in football and at the Boro in particular. It is hoped that you find our approach, to what we consider to be important matters, both interesting and refreshing. This ‘fanzine’ as you may term it, is not in competition with the outrageously expensive official programme. The information we both hold will appeal to a totally different type of supporter.
We currently have a nucleus of three main writers, each of whom have their own views and style. All of our writers are free to express their joy, vent their anger and point the finger without fear of editorial constraints.
So read on with our sometimes serious, often irreverent view of football life…
In a recent newspaper article, Bruce Rioch revealed the purpose of his early season visits to the continent. I had hoped a Heine Otto type signing was in the offing, but it was actually a fact finding mission. The kind a few more first division managers and coaches might do well to follow. The national side perfectly illustrates the stagnation of English football during our club sides continued absence from European competition. Whilst the continentals learn from each others successes and mistakes we are left simply looking at each other.
Brucie has obviously decided to do something about this, not only by analysing foreign games but also their training methods. Just one useful piece of knowledge will have made his trip worthwhile; in fact we are already starting to see the benefits with Boro showing a certain amount of continental flair.
How many times have we seen Gary Parkinson popping up at centre forward and put it down to over enthusiasm? But if we look to right back we should see a midfielder covering for him and thus we have fluidity in our team. This will allow us to move our players freely about the pitch without the constraints of set footballing positions, the result of this will be to cause confusion to the opposition, making for better football not only to watch but also to play.
The system would seem at present, to be in its infancy but with a young team Brucie has the ideal material to work with. If progress can continue at the same rate over the next two or three years then we may see the best and most entertaining Boro side ever, perhaps one capable of winning titles?
So pay no heed the next time the bloke behind you starts moaning that some player is at the wrong end of the park.
Colourful Hughie McIlmoyle was at the centre of a controversy that raged through Carlisle and Middlesbrough when he left the Cumbrian club in September 1969 for £55000.
Carlisle manager Bob Stokoe was criticised for selling his star asset, whilst Boro boss Stan Anderson was not congratulated for paying such a large sum of money for a player in the later stages of his career.
But it was McIlmoyle who shot holes in this argument as he proceeded to carve out gaps in opposing defences. To his credit Anderson had already decided how to get the maximum benefit from his new forward. Working on the principal that it was easier to round an opponent than go through him, McIlmoyle would often drift towards the wing. With this in mind Anderson asked him to hold the ball up and help create goals as well as score them. A tactic that was tailor made for McIlmoyle’s talents.
He formed a lethal twin-spearhead with the now legendary John Hickton, who, despite his own potency in front of goal was never slow to heap praise on his experienced team mate. He would often highlight the hard working yet elegant contribution Hughie made to Boro’s unsuccessful promotion campaigns of the early 70′s.
McIlmoyle went on to play 70 games for Boro, scoring 19 goals, before finishing his career with Preston North End, Carlisle (for a third time) and finally Greenock Morton.
Congratulations must be in order to the MFC bosses both on and off the field. The image of Ayresome Park, together with the people that work within its walls is improving rapidly and is better now than for many years.
Several recent examples bring this to mind. First off, can anyone remember the last time all of the windows to the rear of the South Stand were fully glazed? No, me neither. But it has come as a welcome relief that we no longer give the impression of a Fourth Division Football Club. Also, the no nonsense approach to Guisborough Towns request to borrow our ground, windows and all, would have (hopefully) also happened pre 1986, although our loaning the Victoria Ground probably influenced this decision to a large degree.
The accommodation of wheel chairs in the East End of the ground is commendable but could be improved further by providing cover. Nevertheless it is still a move in the right direction. The opening of all turnstiles into the Holgate is also to be applauded. The immediate and obvious benefit gained is that it allows for that extra pint of… pre-match shandy… honest officer.
What ever next… Duracel batteries for the North Stand clock!?!?