In2views: Doug Weatherall

The latest in a series of profiles and interviews, Orginal Fat Bob gives his personal view on the life and career of a footballing guest, before sitting down for a chat and asking a few questions. Our Diasboro special guest this week is Doug Weatherall.

1. The Overview – the man and his career

I met up with Seaham born Doug Weatherall down at the Riverside on a match day, where he was still indulging in his favourite pastime of watching football. He is still looking good and as sharp as a tack at the ripe old age of 85. Now well retired, he was an award-winning journalist, who reported all sports coverage in the North East of England for most of his career. I used to read his match reports and see him on Television when he was a broadcaster for the BBC. Mike Neville, the well-known host on the Look North programme, once asked him on air if he was a Sunderland supporter and he said vaguely “they WERE my original team!”

Don’t say it too loudly on a Boro blog site, but he is a self-confessed Sunderland fan. He obviously has better memories of the club in their past than can be enjoyed by him today. Doug edited the Army newspaper in Austria whilst on National Service before returning to the Sunderland Echo where he’d joined as a 16-year-old. He moved onwards and upwards to the Daily Herald and then to the Daily Mail, where his work was read by all those who loved football.

I remember travelling down to London many years ago and by chance we sat opposite each other on the train and I recognised him from his TV appearances. We spent the next two and a half hours talking about football non-stop. Having a chat with Doug now in the present day, he thinks that all those years ago that he was going down to Wembley to report on an England game. Like most things, it’s all lost in the sands of time now.

A generous man and an admirer of all North East football legends, irrespective of which team they played for. He loved Jackie Milburn and when these great footballers played many years ago they didn’t earn a lot of money. Milburn’s last game for Newcastle was in 1957. But, 10 years later, a testimonial for the “people’s gentleman” drew a crowd of 46,000, earning him £7,000. To Doug who had initiated the event, Jackie Milburn gratefully said: “You’ve just paid for my house.” A house that he could say was his and had never owned one in his life before.

Doug Wetherall

One of Doug’s most treasured possessions is a silver salver (pictured above) with the inscription: “To Doug with everlasting gratitude for Your Journalistic Approach in Starting my Testimonial Match”. There, too, in gold lettering, is Jackie Milburn’s signature.

Today Doug says quite emphatically that he is not a fan of midfield players, who play the ball sideways or backwards. He also doesn’t like the way that some free kicks are taken, which results in a back pass to the goalkeeper, as he strongly feels that the game is to attack. I think most of us on this blog would agree with him as we all like to see goals and that is what we pay to see.

2. The Interview – a quick chat

OFB: Did you play football before going to watch it as a spectator and what position did you play?

DW: At Deneside Junior School I organised many matches and around that time I, being right-footed, taught myself to be far more proficient with my left foot. When I passed the 11-plus to attend Ryhope Grammar School, I hoped to make my mark as a scoring forward. The mistake I made was to play in goal for Seaham House juniors. I meant it to be a one-off until the house captain found a regular keeper. It was with amazement that after that first house match I, a first-former, was included as a keeper in a trial game for the whole junior years. Third-former Kenny Allen, another Seaham lad, was the other keeper and he was to be preferred. In any event, when I told the sports master I wasn’t a goalie, he ruled with emphasis I’d play where he picked me!

I never missed an appearance, as a keeper, in any of our matches whilst I was in second and third years at school. In that third year, I played for Sunderland and District under-14s and I was proud to turn out at Roker and Goodison parks. In that year, too, our school established a Northumberland and Durham record which still stands. We won seven of the eight competitions we entered, and I was an ever-present, our photo is still on the wall at Durham F.A. headquarters.

The next year I won another trophy as the keeper for Silksworth Independent Order of Good Templars. Yes this ale drinker admits that was a temperance outfit and the following season, for Dawdon Colliery Juniors, I picked up another trophy

OFB: What was the first football match you remember going to see?

DW: I’ve been wrapped up in sport, particularly football and cricket, for almost as long as I can remember. Football boots and a size one ball, were gifts from Santa for my fifth Christmas. My first viewing of a football game was at Seaham Colliery Welfare.

My memory of my first visit to a “big” ground was going to see Sunderland v Leeds United at Roker Park. I was aged nine and went with lads I played with on the Deneside estate where I lived. It was a memorable October day for me during World War II, since Raich Carter who was my idol was home and I’d heard so much about him from my Dad. Raich was on leave from the RAF and starred that day. He struck a hat-trick in a 7-2 win and even to this day I can still see one of his goals. It was a left-foot drive from the angle of the Fulwell End penalty area which thudded inside the far post. This was recalled years later when he was managing Middlesbrough and I was earning a living as a sports writer and we talked about it.

By coincidence, for the first Football League game at Roker after the war, Derby County were the visitors and again I was thrilled to see my hero in action. Raich Carter was playing for Derby by then, but I wasn’t too upset as Sunderland won 3-2. What did Boro do that day? Oh, they won 1-0 at Aston Villa.

OFB: Why did you decide to be a journalist?

DW: On the afternoon of the night my club Dawdon won that Cup I’d learned what l’d be doing when I left school. Via a prefect I was summoned to the headmaster’s office. I wondered what I’d done wrong, but Mr. S.B. Graham wanted to know my post-school intentions. Only three weeks earlier my Dad had read a Daily Herald article about how to become a cub reporter and he reckoned my English and interest in current affairs made me a candidate. Mr. Graham explained that Mr. Browne, the Seaham office reporter for The Sunderland Echo, wanted his first junior. I met Mr. Browne that night, the Echo’s editor the next day. I knew then what I’d be doing on leaving school: journalism.

Doug Soldier Team

I have so loved my life as a journalist from the age of 16 that if I’d had private means, I’d have done the job for nowt. Most lads of my age were called up for National Service. My two years were served in the Army (pictured above as the centre-forward with his army football team). After basic infantry training with the Highland Brigade, I somehow passed a three-month Royal Army Educational Corps course. I thought I’d be teaching as I headed for Austria; I’d have been hopeless, but, good fortune again, my task for 18 months was to produce the BTA Weekly Journal. My most glamorous assignment was to report Austria 2, England 3 from the Prater Stadium, the game in which Bolton’s Nat Lofthouse, though valiantly scoring the winner, earned his “Lion of Vienna” nickname.

Back in Civvy Street, I returned to The Sunderland Echo but soon developed itchy feet. I wanted to cover bigger stories, so I travelled to Manchester, which was known as the Fleet Street of the North, in the hope of landing a national paper job. The first and only office I visited was the Daily Herald’s, I then became, two months after my 22nd birthday, the country’s youngest national newspaper reporter.

I revelled in the variety of work, murders, train crashes, human interest stories, but bosses knew of my sporting interests. I scored goals and hit runs for the Herald football and Cricket Teams. I talked with great sports writers like George Follows (a victim of the Munich air crash). I was asked to be the paper’s first full-time sports reporter back in my native North East. I said I’d give the job a six-month try and the try lasted all those years until my retirement.

I still played football and cricket with clubs in Seaham, Ryhope, Murton and Spennymoor until I was too old to play anymore.

OFB: Who was your favourite player then and others that you have watched over the years?

DW: My work has naturally meant my getting to know well some wonderful sportsmen. It was a joy for the North-East branch of the Football Writers’ Association to honour at our first dinner, three all-time greats. I was the chairman, and the celebrated guests that we had were; Jackie Milburn, of Newcastle and England, Raich Carter, of Sunderland and England, and Wilf Mannion, of Boro, England and Great Britain.

Clough and Wetherall 2

My favourite Boro player of all time has to be Brian Clough (Doug and Brian pictured above in Majorca). My first viewing of him was at a midweek game at Ayresome Park against Grimsby in 1956. I wrote in the Herald the next day that he was the most exciting player to enter a penalty area I’d seen in years, yet Doug Cooper had been Boro’s No. 9 at the start of the season.

I still think the Boro attacking forward line Brian led is one of the best I’ve known. I have difficulty these days remembering forwards I saw a fortnight ago, but I have no bother with remembering Billy Day, Derek McLean, Brian Clough, Alan Pecock and Eddie Holliday even though they never played together in the top division. It’s one of the best forward lines I ever saw.

OFB: What has been your most memorable games and your best experiences with the clubs?

DW: My happiest football occasions? Certainly, Newcastle’s Inter-Cities Fairs Cup win in 1969 and Sunderland’s 1973 FA Cup triumph over Leeds. The parties afterwards couldn’t have been better. How could I ever forget the hug manager Joe Harvey gave me in the Budapest dressing-room.

I will also always remember the smiles of Bob Stokoe, as we downed champagne from the trophy in Wembley’s dressing room.

Middlesbrough’s League Cup win and European campaign came after my retirement from full-time work. But I was so delighted for them – and particularly for Boro John who drinks in my local club.

OFB: Was your job as a sports reporter as glamorous as it sounds?

DW: I’d be a liar if I said I didn’t enjoy the glamour of my work. To this day it’s heart-warming when readers, television viewers and radio listeners recall my observations and writing. I was so pleased when my close friend, Charlie Summerbell of the Daily Mirror, told a gathering of journalists I was “a born reporter.”

DW: Did you travel to within Europe and the rest of the world during your career.

DW: I travelled abroad to see Newcastle win the Fairs Cup and also to watch England Youths play. I regret that I was retired by the time when the Boro went on their great runs playing in Europe.

OFB: What was your worst football game or experience and why?

DW: I never had any worst football experiences.

OFB: Who was in your opinion the best manager that North East Football has ever had and why?

DW: Bob Stokoe, was the most successful North-East-based manager I have known. He won the Division II championship as well as winning the F.A.Cup in that memorable Wembley final against Leeds United.

The most consistently happy five years of my career were those of Kevin Keegan’s reign at Newcastle. The Geordies’ fabulous football brought back all my boyish enthusiasm. Let me tell you, I couldn’t wait for the next game to come around, it was great to see them in action.

OFB: Who was in your opinion the best manager that North East Football should have had and why?

DW: Brian Clough. He was only 20 when I first met him, but I believe he could have managed a team even then. His views never changed all through his managerial career. As he told me after his first few months when he had taken over as the manager, at Hartlepool,

“Management is about judgement of players; those that you have, also know those you want.”

He and his assistant, Peter Taylor (the former Boro keeper), were brilliant judges of footballers.

By the way, I think I’m a good one! (brilliant judge of a footballer OFB)

OFB: Who was the greatest influence on your career and why?

DW: Charlie Summerbell, of the Daily Mirror he was the greatest sports writer of them all.

OFB: How do you think the match day has changed, from the time that you started watching and being involved with it and how it is played in the present day?

DW: Current football writers tell me I still get worked up at matches even though football has changed so much from when I used to watch it and write about it for a living. Today football can be very boring and uninteresting to watch, with all its square and sideways passing and free kicks back to the goalkeeper. When I watched football, it was exciting, now it isn’t as entertaining as it used to be.

OFB: Do you have any regrets in your career, or missed opportunities?

DW: My greatest footballing regret is that Brian Clough never managed one of the North-East’s three main clubs. Three times I set it up for Sunderland to appoint him as the manager; three times they turned him down. By the time they wanted him to take over the club as their manager it was too late. Early in his trophy-winning years the chairmen of Newcastle, Sunderland and Boro told me they wouldn’t appoint him. The word prejudice occurs…

OFB: Whom have you made a lifelong friend through football?

DW: Bobby Mitchell, Newcastle’s brilliant Scottish International left-winger, was my closest friend in football. My late wife, Edna, and I holidayed with Mitch and his lovely wife, Belle.  I later delivered the eulogy of my late friend at his funeral. I also did the eulogies at the ceremonies for Jackie Milburn Bob Stokoe, Bobby Cowell, Billy Elliott and Ian Porterfield.

Brian Clough was also my treasured friend and I was very moved when I attended his memorial service at Derby’s Pride Park, as well as at the later unveiling of Brian’s statues at Albert Park in Middlesbrough and the one near Nottingham’ s city centre.

OFB: Whereabouts do you live these days, what are you doing in your retirement?

DW: I live in Northumberland and these days in my retirement I still go and watch football. It was great, to come to Middlesbrough Riverside Stadium and meet up with Peach Peacock this season and talk about old times. I thank him for sending me a photo of him and Brian when they were dashing young men.

OFB: Is it nice for you to think that you acted as an ambassador for the North East area and its people?

DW: Yes, I was very proud of my roots and where I came from and remember it was always said that North East football was the hotbed of soccer.

OFB: Finally, if you hadn’t had the career that you have had, what do you think you would have done as a profession?

DW: I couldn’t imagine what I’d have done if I hadn’t been a reporter, it was the only thing I wanted to do.

OFB: A huge thank you Doug for taking the time to talk to Diasboro and all our readers, posters and bloggers.

89 thoughts on “In2views: Doug Weatherall

  1. OFB

    Brilliant interview, a man in touch with the roots. It doesn’t matter they were NE roots. He would have been the same wherever he came from.

    Tomorrow we will get an article in 10 3 paragraphs preceded by the same video on the Gazette site. Poor journalism.

    Have you noticed that articles provide a link to pre match articles. The irony is some are to matches 12-18 months ago.

    Pitiful is generous.

  2. Thanks OFB that’s the best in2view to date, and I feel as if I am in good company as I think the best forward line up in my time is Day McLean Clough Peacock Holiday. Peacock was our football captain at Lawson Secondary Modern school and he played for England school boys at the time. And I used to deliver morning and evening news papers to his parents home in Doggy at the time. I and a lot more boys from that school looked up to him as a hero and I still do.

  3. Another chunter.

    Watching Manu v Sevilla and the ref gave a free kick. The commentators watched it a couple of times and said it wasn’t a free kick.

    The defender tackled with the ‘wrong’ leg and caught the attacker on his knee before touching the ball.

    I defer to refereeing posters but isn’t the danger with tackling with the wrong foot, you nearly always make contact with the player before the ball?

    I stand to be corrected.

  4. This is great. I don’t know Doug as my supporting days and his reporting days barely intersect, but his passion and support of the area and it’s teams clearly shines through.

    On Ian’s topic, today is the day I finally gave up on the Gazette for good. The website is woeful, and the videos terrible enough, were it not for the fact that they repeatedly crashed my browser. Trying to scroll through an article for 5min and getting no where is annoying.

    Anyone have any replacemnent places to go for Boro news, apart from DiasBoro of course.

  5. Great interview OFB.
    His views on the way the game should be played chime with the majority of Diasboro contributors. It’s an age thing of course.

  6. OFB,

    A great interview, what I would call an under-the-skin interview. The man wears his heart on his sleeve, no parochial loyalties just a love of North East football. The sort of man you’d like two or three pints with and a good chat. Excellent.



  7. What a great read OFB. I recall reading Doug’s reports. Never could have told you he was Sunderland man, but so good to read his passion was for the game at Roker, at St James, at Ayresome… wherever, with no hint of unnecessary local animosity. Just the love of the game and the way it ought to be played.
    Well done OFB and well done Doug.

  8. Thanks for the nice comments for an In2View that I really enjoyed doing.

    Sometimes it’s hard work getting interviewees to talk and to be honest it’s reflected in a rather stilted talk.

    That is in no way a reflection on the person interviewed but more probably my lack of skill in getting the right answers!

    But hey even Parky couldn’t get some of his guests to talk and he was a great Imterviewer. Anyone remember the Meg Ryan Interview that Parky did.,

    Doug still being the consummate professional was keen to reflect on his past career in football journalism and I’ve just sent him the post over to see it in its final draft with the photographs which he so kindly provided.

    A word of thanks also goes to Werder for putting my sometimes unnecessary wrong notes into the right order. (With a nod to the great Eric Morecambe)


  9. OFB

    A great read and a shed load of memories watching Doug and Mike Neville on the telly. A man with pride and passion for the area he’s from, in the career that he obviously worked hard at and loved doing. I wouldn’t mind having a few pints and a chat with him about football and life in general.

  10. OFB, you go from strength to strength, this was up there with the Dave Roberts interview, both were very, very readable. More please.

    Mr. Weatherall has obviously got a leaning towards the Makems and I can’t blame him, but he sounds like one of the few from up there that truly had the north east’s interest at heart. Like other have mentioned, a pint and a matter would both go down nicely in his company. Mike Neville and his sidekick George House, on the other hand, laboured to pour any recognition down our way, anything in stripes was always flavour of the day.

    As for Shoot with George Taylor on a Sunday afternoon, his map finished at Sedgefield. Many’s the time I’ve had the urge to put my boot through the screen when he burbled on about anything and everything other than the Boro, he was about as exciting as a wet weekend in a caravan in Warrenby. Apologies to those from Warrenby, but my recollection from there was a scrapyard and a football pitch that no longer exists, can’t remember any houses.

    The one totally impartial and eminently listenable commentators of all time, was the marvellous Bill Mclaren. Regardless of which teams or players were on the park he was totally neutral, he commentated from his love of the game and not bias in any way. His only failing in regards to bias was his beloved Hawick, but I always forgave him that one.

    I’m sorry if I digressed too far away from the subject but there was a thread there, even though it was the thinest of thin.

  11. PPinPerth

    I always thought of the commercial TV channel as Tyne Wear Television and Mike Neville hosted Look North of Teesside!

    On to the table after last nights matches and there appears to be four mini grouping.

    Wolves and Cardiff well clear with upper 70.s in terms of points.

    Villa and Fulham looking comfortable with upper 60’s.

    Boro and Derby with possession of a play off place with low 60’s

    A chasing pack with upper 50’s.

    Much can change in nine matches and we have a tough run in but it is in our hands.

  12. The Tyne Wear TV bias has never changed. Mind you, football apart, I’ve never had any affinity with those areas. I’m happy to be “a small town in Yorkshire”.

  13. Sorry to read the ( unintentional ) sidetrack replies to the quite brilliant interview with Doug wetherall.
    To read it was to be in the company of a gentleman, and a mine of information about the great game, his admiration of Clough and Tayler shines from the page.
    His efforts to get him installed as the boss of any north east club, bring a cynical smile to the lips.
    A great man, and a lovely interview.

  14. No internet here for a few days so just catching up with events. However just caught the end of Brentford v Cardiff, and by all accounts Brentford outplayed Cardiff until not given a stonewall penalty when leading. The Bees play had 67% possession and had 24 attempts at goal against Cardiff’s 14, but only 6 on target against Cardiff’s 9, and that appears to be the difference.
    Brentford play the game at speed, and as Cardiff play similarly to Boro, this match will be a hard test for Boro. Perhaps though the Bees may not be buzzing as much on Saturday after their midweek game. However I’d take a point now if offered one.

  15. No internet here for a few days so just catching up with events. However just caught the end of Brentford v Cardiff, and by all accounts Brentford outplayed Cardiff until not given a stonewall penalty when leading.

    1. Sorry for the almost duplicate posting, but the WiFi is so unpredictable on this site with strong wind interference and too much internet traffic.

      Doug Weatherall made an excellent interviewee and raconteur and an ‘old school’ journalist whose reports on northeast football were always fair and unbiased which manifested itself amongst the fans of Boro, Sunderland and Newcastle at the time; all football fans who just happened to support rival teams. I certainly agree with his thoughts (and Borobrie’s) about the Clough-led Boro forward being so exciting and that much of today’s football is boring in comparison.

      His command of the English language was much better than many of today’s reporters. Quoted example:- ‘My work has naturally meant MY getting to know some wonderful sportsmen’ (possessive pronoun before the present participle). The Gazette reporters would have written ‘me getting’ and probably would have failed GCE English Language at Sir William Turner’s School.

      I remember the Daily Mirror football journalist Charlie Summerbell and of course Arthur Appleton who wrote ‘Hotbed of Soccer’ which not only gave historical information of the northeast’s big three clubs, but also brief facts about Hartlepool, Darlington and Gateshead. I certainly would have enjoyed meeting Doug to reminisce over old times (we old octogenarians together), but you Bob have done the next best thing in enticing him to open up about his career.
      Well done, your best interview to date.

      1. Many thanks Ken it would have been great if you had met him

        If you would like to get in touch with him then ask Werder to forward me your email address and I’ll see if Doug would contact you directly to talk over the old days.


  16. A great read, OFB.

    It’s fascinating partly because not being a player he has no axe to grind or friends to protect and can offer a more rounded view of football as a whole.

    But mostly I’m intrigued by his role in trying to put Clough into a management position.
    I would dearly love to more of the machinations involved.
    If a contemporary journalist were to make a claim today, e.g. Claiming to be involved in moving a manager to Boro, I’d be incredibly alarmed at the state of the Club involved.

  17. What a lovely interview that was to read and what a really nice unbiased opinion he has of North East football, my Mam used to give my Dad grief for having a soft spot for Newcastle, she would be always calling him a closet Geordie when he mentioned them. But my Dad liked Newcastle because his uncle Eric (Garbutt) used to play in goal for them in the late 40’s till 50’s but had to retire because of injury. But he was a hero to my Dad and I can remember being young and him telling us stories on a New Years Eve. I don’t ever find myself with hatred for other North East teams I always like to see them doing well and I enjoy watching local lads break through and achieving… maybe that has something to do with me sticking up for my Dad without even knowing it ha ha

    1. Thank you all for your kind comments.

      I’ve said this before but I’m a Geordie and only moved down here at school age. My father a dyed in the wool magpie supporter tried to get me to support his team and even took me up to Newcastle to watch a reserve game when George Eastham made his debut. I can also remember rooting for Sunderland in the 73 cup final against Leeds watching with my dad again. So we were both NE football supporters he Newcastle and I Boro. So I can understand why Doug was proud to represent NE football.

      He’s enjoyed reading it and thanks you for the nice comments but slapped my wrist for a couple of mistakes (Werder corrected thank you) but I really enjoyed it and more importantly so did all Diasboro bloggers.


      1. I always retweet your posts on Twitter I see you are good friends with Andy Campbell, I played with him at Boro amongst others. My brother was a professional at Middlesbrough as well but injuries and desire stopped him from fully making it..! He has some fantastic stories though

        1. I see Andy regularly ( he lives next door to me!) I’ve known him since he was 7 he lived near me then and his brother Neil went to school with my youngest son and are close friends to this day.

          I used to referee Andy and Neil when they and I were considerably younger. He even mentioned to me on Saturday when I was talking to Craig Harrison what a terrible referee I was ! He was joking I think !!!


  18. A great read thank you OFB. A true professional journalist who I remember well. He could teach some of today’s scribes a thing or two about reporting.

    Sadly his comments about the north east being a hot bed for soccer has waned somewhat!

  19. Hello, OFB. A very facinating and interestin story and interview. Even for me who has not heard about this lovely chap before.

    Shows football is an interesting sport and the chap sounds like Ali Brownlee to me. Both worked for their clubs with big heart.

    A really facinating story. And best one for now. Hardly can wait for the international break to read more!

    Up the Boro!

  20. Finally got chance to sit down and properly read OFB’s terrific and totally absorbing In2views piece with Doug Weatherall and his recollections of a life in journalism and his memories and observations on north-east football. Well done OFB on bringing us an article that you’d normally expect to read in one of the broadsheet weekend sports sections. Good to see that Doug’s also still not lost his professionalism by wanting to make a couple of minor amendments to the copy – I guess that never leaves someone of his standing. Thanks, really enjoyed reading about the stories and players some of whom were of course before my time too!

    1. Thank you Werder and grateful for the quick changes you made to the article. As you say Doug was quick to proof read the copy and get on to me to change it a bit although only very minor.

      He’s pleased that he’s still contributing to Football discussions and he still has a razor sharp mind and wit and still looks pretty good too.


      1. OFB – This could get worrying! You DID say 85 in your piece. I read it but, by the time I had started to type a reply, it was transposed in my mind to 75., so that is the number I quoted. Gulp! Mind you, he still looks good for 75.

  21. OFB you probably referee’d me as well I played for Marton as a kid even though I was from Billingham, I still talk to a lot of the people connected when I see them at the match, some great guys who made you feel 10 ft tall I remember Terry Cocharne being our coach at Middlesbrough and he had the best touch I have ever seen

    1. I probably did and Keith Sykes was a good friend and was always after referees (good or not so good !)

      My eldest son played for Marton as did my eldest grandson who moved to Shildon Juniors

      A well run club and responsible for many professional players both past and present


  22. What seems interesting about Doug , is ,he was really interested in the sport ,and genuinely cared about the people inside it,
    Not like today’s scribes who are for the most part very negative,and look to sensationalise even the most vannila story line.
    I couldn’t see Doug dig into a players private life,although I’m sure he as plenty of stories to tell.
    Excellent interview tops!

    1. GT

      Many thanks for those comments.

      Doug was interested and knowledgeable about many sports and as you say has a lot of stories which he kept private to avoid sensationalism journalism.

      Players respected him. How many players today would go on holiday with a mainstream journalist? How many would allow a journalist to arrange their testimonial?

      It shows the regard in which he was held by all of them irrespective of which club they played for.

  23. There was a good story about Shotton and his difficulties and pleasure to play behind Traore in the Echo today. Have a look.

    There was an interesting static about Bamford, too.

    “Bamford has climbed into the top ten scorers at the Riverside Stadium in its 23-year history with his recent five-goal blast on home turf.

    “He now has 19 goals at the Riverside and will have his sights set on surpassing leading Riverside scorer Mark Viduka, who scored 32 times on Teesside.

    “Bamford will be looking to overtake those above him first though. Fabrizio Ravanelli (25), Yakubu (24), Szilard Nemeth (23), Scott McDonald (21), Massimo Maccarone, Hamilton Ricard and Mikkel Beck (all 20) are all above him. Juninho, like Bamford, hit 19.”

    I never imagined that he rates that high in the goalscoring ranks at the Riverside. Also Scott MacDonald is high on the list which is not a surprice itself, but did we respect the chap high enough while he was here?

    Up the Boro!

  24. Re. Your story about the Jackie Milburn testimonial.
    It reads as though Doug decided that a super hero of such magnitude simply had to have a Testimonial match in his honour ( it should have been done as he retired) and got on with the job of arranging it.
    Quite shameful really, that a great crowd, forty six thousand, should raise only seven thousand pounds, what on earth were the great business concerns on Tyneside thinking of, not getting involved.
    Frightening that the great hero did not own his own home, and a happy ending to the story.
    Loved the piece. It shone a brilliant light on all our past’s.
    Who can blame todays players for taking care of their families first , last, and foremost.

    1. You got me thinking Plato, just how much was the £7000 raised by 46,000 in 1967 worth today. So I looked up the year on year inflation between then and now and applied it to the sum that Mr. Milburn was given. In round figures that would be £120,000 now. Not even the weekly basic for some playing in the top leagues today, although I acknowledge OFB’s observation that there are ex-players who have to find work after their playing days are over.

      1. Powmill

        It’s a good check but you have also to look at house prices in those days.

        I bought a brand new semi bungalow in Marton for £3,300 in 1969 and then sold it and bought a detached bungalow for £5000.00 in 1970 so Jackie Milburn will have been able to have bought a nice house on those days.


      2. Agreed OFB, but nonetheless the equivalent sum he received averages out around £2.60 (at today’s rate) per each of 46,000 souls, which does seem a little miserly on behalf of the fan base and local businesses.

      3. I would guess that back in ’67 earnings would be about £15 a week or even less in many cases. Its very difficult to compare then to now because so much has changed disproportionately, just ask any young couple trying to get on the housing ladder let along Gas and Electric bills.

        1. Might be a bit high actually, I was a junior Quanity Surveyor in 1969 and had achieved the magic £1k pa and a company car a fairly new Austin A40


      4. Powmill
        You are correct in your reasoning.
        But these are the arguments used by the club owners of those days.
        If you did not own your home then you were subject to the rental sector, with all that implied.
        Football, and I use the generic word, had managed to own and use the sublime skills of a well loved ( idolised) charismatic figure for his entire football life, and, by some quite amazing financial wizardry, left him living in a council house, needing to get a job (in a factory?) they did not give him a testimonial, they did not give him a pension, hhhm?
        Some one had been well and truly stuffed by the system.
        The house that he bought with the results of Doug’s efforts was a pitiful reward for the use of his talents.

  25. Question?.
    Are we witnessing a gradual lowering of the standards in the prem.?
    Manchester united fielded several players who would not have been on the pitch in the recent past, Spurs went out with a whimper, Chelsea were blitzed.
    None of them offer any hope of catching Man City, now or in the future.
    We will not talk about the lower half of the Prem.
    Just a thought.

  26. I think there is a valid point to that Plato. At the ripe old age I currently reach (cough, mid 30s) I am staring down the barrel of 30 more years (possibly 40 by the time I get there) until retirement age. Most professional footballers have already hung up their boots and the largest percentage of them will not find football-related employment that offers lucrative earnings.

    Therefore, either they try to earn in 15 or so years what the rest of us would earn over 45-50 years of work, or they have to find another job when their bodies break down and professional sport can no longer be an option. It’s a fascinating idea and you can’t blame your average Championship level footballer from trying to maximise his income.

    The difficulty is that they are earning significant amounts of money at a time when most people, myself included, would not be mature enough to know how to invest or look after it properly. And so you see footballers living extravagant lifestyles and many of them not properly providing for their future. The flip side is that some of them are earning such vast amounts of money that it simply isn’t possible to spend it all, and I’m sure the PFA runs courses on financial management etc to encourage young players to be sensible.

    The days of your salt of the earth centre forward opening a pub with his testimonial earnings are almost completely gone. Likewise, I can’t imagine many professional footballers of the standard of Jackie Milburn now retiring without owning their own house, but I’m sure that plenty of League 1 and League 2 players are doing just that.

    Money has changed the game, and as in life itself, there are a small percentage who see significant benefits whilst the majority continue in much the same situation as their predecessors did.

    1. Smog

      There are a lot of players that I know who played in the Premiership who are having to work after they finished playing football.

      Either in the media or hosting at their old club or many have taken up teaching.

      Most have one way or another retained an interest in football and either coach or encourage talent to emerge onto the football field.

      All of them are also involved in charity fund raising and Andy Campbell is selling one of his old Cardiff shirts today for a good cause and bidding stands at £200 at present

      A lot of the squad players today who only make fleeting appearances are also on a good wages and as you say will never have to work again.

      What Doug did for Jackie Milburn was marvellous and of course JM was Uncle to the famous Charlton brothers Bobby and our own Jack.


    2. Smog
      What you say is better illustrated by the example of a middling player in the Champ. Suppose he joins a solid club with a strong supporter base.
      He is a well regarded 21 year old who becomes well loved by the fans, always gives of his best and is never disrespectful of his club.
      He is never the top man in the pay scale, and is on a solid, regular, five grand a week.
      He and his wife can easily make themselves rich, if they go for a cracking house in the best area with the best schools etc. live pleasantly, drive a good car.
      Make sure to do all the coaching courses, educate their children well.
      Put every penny that they can into the players pension fund, and invest the rest in solid securities.
      Then they should always be seen with a smile on their faces, and stay in the game in some roll.
      It is notable that the eastern Europeans are very good at this, coming from very poor countries, they do not throw their money away.

  27. Nice article and interview OFB. I always liked Doug and thought him very unbiased, not knowing that he was a Sunderland fan. Thank you for your time and effort in getting the interviews through Werder onto the blog for us all to share.

    Has anybody looked at subscribing to the Brentford site for Saturdays match?

    1. I had “Saint Hatrick’s Day” prepared and stored in the back of my mind but the chances of Paddy bagging three on Saturday will probably be slim I would think!

  28. The ex Mbro players association does a lot of work including paying for medical care.

    Talking to David (spike) Armstrong a few months ago he mentioned that they had arranged for operations on both his knees. He works as a sales representative for a stationery and office supplies company down in Southampton now.


  29. KP….sorry to be such a “dummy”…..I have this problem every time I try and subscribe. Logged in through iFollow and then subscribe. There is monthly pass, match pass and free register….how do I get to match pass page to subscribe to live stream?

    Sorry about this….I seem to be the only one that has this trouble!!!!!!

  30. When you arrive at the clubs page you sign in using one of your previous Ifollow usernames and password and your name will appear at the top of the clubs page.

    Then navigate to the fixtures and then select the boro match and then match centre. When you get there a match pass button should be somewhere on that page. When you click on it you are often asked to sign in again using your ifollow user name and password although having signed in already you are sometimes just asked for your password.

    Then you pay and wait until kick off time.

    About 10 minutes to kick off you then have to find the page with the live commentary button it and that is where the fun starts its different every time and sometimes takes me 10 minutes to find after rebooting, using different browser etc,

    But that’s another story.

    Good luck and happy navigating….

    1. I hope we get promoted this season. To get rid of this iFollow game. I know if it not a big problem to most fans but as Boro do not offer the service, one have to find a way through every clubs’ different protocol. Annoying!

      Remember, some club sites have the “play” button only available just before the broadcasting is about to start. So you cannot practice beforehand where the button is. As said no problem for the club’s regulars but we have to learn a new site every week.

      Well, nine games to navigate through. Up the Boro!

  31. For those of us in the UK the streaming of matches via club sites is irrelevant.

    I agree with Ken’s earlier sentiments, Brentford will be a tough game.

  32. Redcar Red and ofb, your earlier talk of “60’s” wages reminded myself of my first job. On the day England played West Germany in the World Cup final in 1966, I was on a train travelling from Middlesbrough to London, then onto Reading by bus, because I had been able to secure my first ever job (aged 15) as a foreman’s assistant (tea boy) in a clothing factory for the princely sum of £6 per week, which was a fortune compared to wages in Middlesbrough, so I travelled about 300 miles to achieve my fortune.

    While travelling alone on the train, a man came through the carriage proclaiming to everyone that England were winning 2 – 1, because he had one of those “magic” boxes known as a transistor radio. A little while later he came back through the carriage informing everyone that Germany had equalised late on and there was to be extra time, unfortunately I never saw him again so I didn’t get to know the result until I met up with my great uncle in Reading.

    Come on BORO.

    1. ExMill, you must have had one of the ancient mobile phones with out internet and live streaming back then. I was just five years old at the time and used complain my mother of not having an own mobile. UTB!

    2. When I started work as a junior clerk in the Borough Treasurer’s Department at Redcar in 1956 I remember that the Borough Treasurer’s annual salary was £1,202. At the time I thought I would be well satisfied if I ever earned over £1,000 per annum.
      By the early 60s one of my duties was calculating house mortgages for home buyers, and remember the first mortgage calculation of £20 a month over a 25 year period and thinking what a financial burden that seemed.

  33. Adama Traore has been named in the latest squad for Spain’s Under-21s. What are the chances of seeing him in the World Cup next season? Where do Spain play in Russia? I have a direct train connection from here to St. petersburgh.

    BTW. The Finnish Football Federation decided already well over a year ago NOT to participate in the World Cup in Russia. Do you think England will follow us?

    Up the Boro!

  34. Jarkko
    The way things are shaping up, England’s withdrawal seems a distinct possibility.
    Another of those sport versus politics arguments, although the safety of travelling supporters (and the team/officials) must be the major concern in all of this.

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