Discussion Forum

A history of Boro s...
 

A history of Boro strikers

58 Posts
12 Users
145 Likes
951 Views
Philip of Huddersfield
Member
Joined: 2 years ago
Posts: 211
 

This is the era I remember most. I always thought that Peacock never got the recognition he deserved playing with Clough but when Clough left , Peacock came into his own and proved a very good goal scorer. 
He played a crucial role in Leeds being promoted but then developed knee problems at Leeds and only played a season and a half.

Philip of Huddersfield 


Liked by Ken Smith
ReplyQuote
Selwynoz
Member
Joined: 2 years ago
Posts: 395
 

it must be about sixty years ago but I remember my older brother and I hitch-hiking somewhere around Middlesbrough - Marton I think but I could be wrong- and we were given a lift by Alan peacock. I was relegated to the back seat and i can still remember his amazing neck muscles. It certainly explained why he was such a good header of the ball.

Funny what sticks in the mind.

This post was modified 2 years ago by Ken Smith

Liked by 4 people: Ken Smith, Powmill-Naemore, jarkko and Andy R
 
ReplyQuote
jarkko
Member
Joined: 2 years ago
Posts: 1298
 

@ken A big thank you, Ken. Always looking forward to these.

A mint quatation: "Boro finished 5th with Peacock scoring 13, 4 of what were at Derby in a 7-1 win. Despite Clough failing to score in that match, he still found the net on 40 occasions and Boro repeated that 5th position."

Those were the days, think Assombalonga scoring 40 goals a season and then not scoring in a 7-1 win. Nice detail.

Anyway, I have always admired Peacock from the Boro past. First for all I have read about him and I liked his name when read about Boro history in the late 1980's.

Thank you again for sharing these with us, Ken. Up the Boro!


ReplyQuote
Original Fat Bob
Member
Joined: 2 years ago
Posts: 1704
 

I remember Alan playing and often used to see him as a youngster as I lived close to his house on Ormesby Bank. He had a BMW coupe with APO 1 as the registration plate.

The last few years when I and my wife used to attend the Fenton Lounge every home game Alan used to act as a match day host. We often used to chat and he always promised to do an In2View but always dropped out at the last minute. I told him that his BMW that he had had was now considered a very rare car and was valued at a considerable sum these days. He just shook his head in somewhat despair. Always immaculately dressed and willing to talk he still goes to games (COVID allowing) 

 

OFB


Liked by lenmasterman and jarkko
ReplyQuote
Original Fat Bob
Member
Joined: 2 years ago
Posts: 1704
 

BMW Batmobile like Alan Peacock’s on sale at present for £140k !


ReplyQuote
Ken Smith
Mr
Joined: 2 years ago
Posts: 1768
Topic starter  
Posted by: @jarkko

@ken Apparently I have started to read his biography two days ago. He starts his story by telling how he got a new lever at a hospital in Newcastle. And he stopped drinking.

I am sure I will get more to footballing side in due course.

The name of the book is Cloughie - walking on water.

Up the Boro!

BRIAN CLOUGH

I see that you are reading a biography of Brian Clough, and maybe I might embellish some facts and some rumours about his time at Boro for anyone else who might be interested. Although he was one of Boro’s greatest goalscorers and we all worshipped him at the time he was never an easy colleague to play with. Often described as arrogant, he was very single-minded with a headstrong approach which didn’t endear himself to several of his colleagues in the dressing-room. His main source of annoyment and  constant irritation was with the defenders, some of whom he accused of betting against their own club and deliberatelyr conceding goals and he  often came to blows with some of them. He may well have good cause, as remember all first players were on the same wage in those days of £18 per week plus £2 appearance bonus, but nothing extra if they won a match. The truth of Clough’s allegations may never be known, but several high-profile stars of that period were jailed for arranging to throw games and several ex-Boro players hinted that some of Clough’s charges were in fact correct.

Clough was also accused of influencing the manger’s team selections by nominating his preferred partners in the Boro forward line. So determined was he to score at every opportunity that he sometimes barged his own team-mates off the ball. Nine of his colleagues issued an infamous ‘round-robin’ to have him removed from the captaincy citing his harsh words on the pitch to his colleagues and sulking if Boro lost or if he didn’t score. When he did score, often some of his colleagues didn’t acknowledge him. The ‘round-robin was dismissed by the Board of Directors and Clough kept the captaincy but only for the remainder of the season. He put in several transfer requests which were all rejected, but the turning point came after the 6-6 draw with Charlton when the Board of Directors accepted his latest transfer request at the end of the season.


ReplyQuote
Plato
Member
Joined: 2 years ago
Posts: 491
 

@ken

It was said that he walked into the dressing room at full time after the Charlton match, flung the ball down at full force and said, ' do you think we might win if we scored seven goals next time.?' I believe that at least two boro players were charged with throwing games during that era, including going to prison etc. And general opinion was that several were observably at it, to coin a phrase. Just to add to that, we had one full back with the deplorable habit of thrusting his arm up in the air and connecting with the ball, in the box, it was said to be a reflex action which he could not control. True but strange! 


ReplyQuote
Ken Smith
Mr
Joined: 2 years ago
Posts: 1768
Topic starter  

WILLIAM CHARLES HARRIS 1953/65 

Bill Harris as he was commonly known was born in Swansea in 1928 but certainly not a striker although he had a long association with Boro and made 378 appearances for them scoring 72 goals in all competitions of which 20 were from the penalty spot. His first club was Swansea, but he never actually made a first team appearance, but signed for Llanelli and eventually for Hull City where he stayed for 4 years before Boro signed him in 1953 for the not inconsiderable amount of £15,000 for his talents as an attacking wing half. His debut was in March of that year in a 3-3 draw against Chelsea playing 9 matches in that season. He was an ever-present in the next season and made captain the following season, but handed the reins over to Ronnie Dicks in the next season. He became a regular as a wing half for several seasons scoring only a handful of goals until the late 1950’s and early 1960’s when he started playing as an inside forward during which he scored a total of 52 goals in 227 appearances although all his 20 penalties came during that period.

His one and only hat trick was scored away to Newcastle on Boxing Day in a 4-3 win none of which were penalties, and in the following month in an FA  Cup 4th Round replay against Shrewsbury Town he opened the scoring after a mere 11 seconds as Boro went on to win 5-1 before a crowd of 34,751, such was attraction that Cup matches engendered at that time even against lowly opposition. So not really a striker, but his total of 72 goals has only been beaten by 14 other Boro players in the history of the club. His 20 penalties started after Lindy Delapenha and ended after the purchase of little Arthur Kaye from Blackpool in 1962.

Bill Harris earned 6 international caps for Wales and left Boro to become player/manager of Bradford City in 1965 but only played a handful of games for the Bantams before he was advised to stop playing after an injury sustained in a 1-7 defeat to Crewe Alexandra. He was manager of Stockton for a couple of seasons, but then worked for an insurance firm in Middlesbrough where he died aged 61 in 1989 after having suffered several strokes.

This post was modified 2 years ago 2 times by Ken Smith

ReplyQuote
Ken Smith
Mr
Joined: 2 years ago
Posts: 1768
Topic starter  

JOHN HICKTON 1966/78

John Hickton was born in Brimington, near Chesterfield in September 1944 and started his career with Sheffield Wednesday in 1963 and making his debut in the following March. He went on to score 21 goals in 56 appearances as a centre half for the Owls, quite a record for a defender. However after being omitted from the Owls FA Cup Final side in 1966 he was determined to leave Hillsborough. Stan Anderson, the Boro manager, snapped him up for £20,000 in September 1966 and he  made his debut at centre half against Workington scoring from the penalty spot after Boro had found themselves 0-2 behind. Boro went on to win that match 3-2 with a couple of Arthur Horsfield goals in the last 18 minutes. That win was certainly welcome as Boro were 2nd from bottom of the Third Division going into that match.

After 3 matches Anderson moved Hickton to full back although he did play up front to partner John O’Rourke on several occasions and finished with 18 goals in his first season as Boro, having never been higher than 4th all season, finished 2nd and promotion in their final match with a 4-1 win against Oxford United before a crowd of 39,683. He followed that with 26 goals in his second season, and with both O’Rourke and Horsfield both having fallen out with Anderson and having left for Preston and Newcastle respectively, ‘Big’ John was moved more of less permanently up front to support new signing Hugh McIlmoyle from Carlisle United, and thereafter he became Boro’s top scorer for 6 successive seasons.

Hickton gave one of his reasons for signing for Boro was that he considered Ayresome Park to be one of the best playing surfaces in the Country kept immaculate by head groundsman Wilf Atkinson. Another reason was that they played attractive football and were expected to be promotion contenders in the forthcoming seasons, but as it happened Boro couldn’t hang on to strikers to support him and his ambition to play in the First Division whilst Anderson was manager was thwarted. After Jack Charlton was appointed Boro’s manager, Hickton continued to play for Boro so his ambition was accomplished, though he wasn’t as effective under Charlton’s tenure as it probably came too late in his career. Nevertheless  ‘Big’ John did become Boro’s 4th highest scorer of all time with 193 goals in 499 appearances of which 26 were from the substitute’s bench. His goals included 4 hat tricks as well as 4 in a 5-3 win against Hull City in March 1969, and also included 33 penalties for which his long run and blast he was noted for. I don’t recall his missing a spot kick, but maybe someone can put me right on that. 

In 1972 he was sent on loan to Hull City for whom he made 6 appearances,  and then made 3 appearances for Fort Lauderdale Strikers before returning to the UK to play for Whitby Town. For £20,000 I consider him to have been one of Boro’s best bargains ever, if not THE best, and certainly the type that hopefully Neil Warnock will be looking for this Summer.

This post was modified 2 years ago 2 times by Ken Smith

ReplyQuote
jarkko
Member
Joined: 2 years ago
Posts: 1298
 

Not only to Ken but others, too I would like to remind that a book is about to be written about George Camsell by Teesside historian and author Paul Menzies. https://www.thenorthernecho.co.uk/sport/19155680.search-george-camsell-boros-hero-heroes/

“Now, on the 55th anniversary of his death, I would like to ask if anyone has any contribution they would like to share and have included in this book.

“It can be in the form of personal recollections or the memories of a family member or any other memorabilia. Full recognition will be given to anyone who contributes.”

If you can shed light on any aspect of George’s amazing story, please email Paul at m.menzies1@ntlworld.com

Up the Boro!

 


ReplyQuote
Forever Dormo
Member
Joined: 2 years ago
Posts: 302
 

@ken:  I think Big John Hickton missed only one penalty in his career.  I remember going to that Oxford United 4-1 game in 1967 and everyone there swears that the 39+ thousand crowd announced was "for the taxman only" as many more were squeezed into a ground which was full to bursting.  Big John was certainly value for money and gave 100%.  Loved him.  He wouldn't so much squeeze into our current team as barge his way in, and burst the net with his first shot.....

At the same time, but not for much longer, we had John O'Rourke at centre-forward.  "Give us a goal; give us a goal, John O'Rourke, John O'Rourke....".


ReplyQuote
Ken Smith
Mr
Joined: 2 years ago
Posts: 1768
Topic starter  

DAVID JOHN MILLS 1968/78 & 1984/85

David Mills was born in Whitby in 1951 but spent most of his childhood in Thornaby, but aged just 14 underwent major surgery for a twisted and fractured vertebrae. He was an excellent sporting all-rounder having starred at Football for England Schoolboys whilst playing as a junior on Boro’s books. Following his operation his development was held up for a full year as he was in a plaster cast for three months and then a corset for another three months. Even then it was in the lap of the Gods as to whether he’d make a full recovery. Harold Shepherdson kept tabs on his progress throughout that year and ensured he stayed involved with the club.   

Fortunately the operation was successful and although many clubs were keeping an eye on him, he felt he owed Boro loyalty for looking after him throughout his recuperation so he signed as an apprentice once he had fully recovered. Within 6 months he had signed professional forms with Boro and made his first team debut as a substitute against Birmingham City in the final match of the 1968/69 season. Within the next two years he became an established member of the first team squad although sometimes coming on as a substitute. His best season was in the 1976/77 season when he was Boro’s top scorer with 18 goals including a hat trick in a 4-1 FA Cup win at home to Arsenal in February. In his first period with Boro he scored 93 goals in 365 appearances including Cup matches, but in his 8 appearances for England’s under 23 side he scored 3 times in his 8 appearances.

Although not a prolific goalscorer averaging slightly more than a goal every 4 matches, West Bromich Albion who were 3rd in the League at that time came calling, and a fee of £518,000 was agreed for his transfer, the first ever transfer fee over half a million pounds at that time. Strangely though the Baggies played him in midfield resulting in his scoring only 6 times in 59 appearances in the two seasons he was there before being sent out on loan to Newcastle. In 1982 he was transferred to Sheffield Wednesday for a knock down fee of £30,000, but only played 15 matches, and eventually returned to Newcastle on a permanent transfer where he made only 16 appearances before Willie Maddren signed him for his second stint at Boro which however almost ended in relegation, although Mills was top scorer with 14 goals in 31 matches and despite spending part of the season injured with an achillles heel injury and a broken arm. In his two stints with Boro, David Mills made a total of 398 appearances of which 20 were as a substitute, and scored 111 goals in all competitions which makes him Boro’s 8 highest goalscorer of all time.

He also made 17 appearances for Darlington and finished his playing career with Whitby Town, whilst also having a coaching career with Boro and once being Assistant Chief Scout at Newcastle. Tragically though he was involved in a serious road accident on Tyneside which he survived but lost his father.

This post was modified 2 years ago 2 times by Ken Smith

ReplyQuote
Powmill-Naemore
Member
Joined: 2 years ago
Posts: 692
 

I recall watching David Mills play and admiring that unlike other more household names playing in the First Division he would stay on his feet when challenged and not deliberately take a tumble. 

I remember that Arsenal game  but for me it was him winning two penalties against Sunderland in the mud at Ayresome Park that sticks in my minds eye. John Hickton, of course dispatched both with his usual aplomb.

 


ReplyQuote
jarkko
Member
Joined: 2 years ago
Posts: 1298
 

Is Millsy still at Leicester doing some scouting work? Or even a Chief Scout. I think he was there when they won the League. 

A always liked him and was very proud when he made the record transfer to West Brom. Good that he came back but have to wonder that he hasn't done any scouting for Boro.

Up the Boro!


Liked by lenmasterman
ReplyQuote
lenmasterman
Member
Joined: 2 years ago
Posts: 427
 

Thanks, Ken, some evocative memories there.

David Mills was a model professional who was not only a potent goal scorer, but had an elegance, pace and a degree of skill in his play that put him way ahead of most strikers.

The contemporary player he most reminds me of is Patrick Bamford.

Mills was a team player, whose selfless running, intelligent movement, stamina and speed made as many opportunities for his team-mates as they did for himself.

He always gave 100%, and played the game in the proper spirit. The Boro crowd loved him.

When one picture's him with his blonde hair, pitting his skills, courage and slight physical vulnerability against bigger and uncompromising centre backs, the comparison with Bamford is certainly striking.

 

 

 

 

This post was modified 2 years ago by lenmasterman

ReplyQuote
Powmill-Naemore
Member
Joined: 2 years ago
Posts: 692
 
Posted by: @lenmasterman

... the comparison with Bamford is certainly striking.

I hadn't thought of that Len, but you are right.

All said, slightly built, skilful, agile and guileful strikers have been a success and have been popular at Boro down the years.

Is there, perhaps, also a hint that Watmore is in a similar vein too?

Let's not upset RR any more on that Bamford topic 😉


ReplyQuote
Original Fat Bob
Member
Joined: 2 years ago
Posts: 1704
 

@lenmasterman

David is a nice guy and got to know him quite well as our sons went to school together and our paths crossed in business some years later.

I’ve asked him to do an interview many times and he’s always agree with a smile but never has because he’s basically a very shy man and doesn’t like to boast about his career.

He has been the chief scout for Leicester City for quite a few years and we used to stop and have a chat and a cup of tea when he was visiting the Riverside to look at players. Most notably when Bamford, Traore and Gibson were in the team.

When he went to Sheffield Wednesday for a UK record fee of @£850k he bought a large house in Sheffield which was the envy of his former Boro club mates. It was this move which encouraged Souness to move on in his career and you cannot blame players who wish to improve their life.

It wasn’t  Pulis who wanted to sell Bamford as Redcar Red and I know. He went  due to financial pressure to sell him for a ridiculously small fee which makes an England call up more the hard to bear.

OFB


ReplyQuote
jarkko
Member
Joined: 2 years ago
Posts: 1298
 

Bernie Slaven was the last player to score 20-plus league goals in a season for Middlesbrough according to the Gazette.

Even someone who managed 15 goals would have likely made a big difference - but since the turn of the millennium only two have achieved that feat (Patrick Bamford in 2014-15 and Britt Assombalonga in 2017-18). That's twice in 21 years!

I wonder how many goals Hamilton Ricard scored in a season at best.

Is there a link for best goal scorers at Boro in every season sice Bernie? I wouldn't like to ask Ken just jet.

Up the Boro! 


ReplyQuote
Ken Smith
Mr
Joined: 2 years ago
Posts: 1768
Topic starter  

@jarkko 

1992/93 Paul Wilkinson 14 + 1 in Cups    
1993/94 Paul Wilkinson 15 + 4 in Cups                                                  
1994/95 John Hendrie 15 + 2 in Cups                  
1995/96 Nick Barmby 7 + 2 in Cups        
1996/97 Fabrizio Ravanelli 16 + 15 in Cups          
1997/98 Paul Merson 12 + 4 in Cups       
1998/99 Hamilton Ricard 15 + 3 in Cups                            
1999/2000 Hamilton Ricard 12 + 2 in Cups            
2000/01 Alen Boksic 12               
2001/02 Alen Boksic 8            
2002/03 Massimo Maccarone 9         
2003/04 Szilard Nemeth 9 & Juninho 8 + 1 in Cups       
2004/05 Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink 13 +3 in Cups                                        2005/06 Yakubu 13 + 2 in Cups                                                               
2006/07 Mark Viduka 14 + 5 in Cups            
2007/08 Stewart Downing 9 + 1 in Cups              
2008/09 Tuncay Sanli 7 + 1 in Cups         
2009/10 Adam Johnson 11 + 1 in Cups         
2010/11 Scott McDonald 12 + 2 in Cups         
2011/12 Marvin Emnes 14 + 2 in Cups          
2012/13 Scott McDonald 12 +1 in Cups          
2013/14 Albert Adomah 12        
2014/15 Patrick Bamford 17 + 2 in Cups         
2015/16 Christhian Stuani 10            
2016/17 Alvaro Negredo 9 + 1 in Cups          
2017/18 Britt Assombalonga 15              
2018/19 Britt Assombalonga 14 + 2 in Cups         
2019/20 Ashley Fletcher 11 + 2 in Cups 


Liked by 4 people: Forever Dormo, lenmasterman, jarkko and Andy R
 
ReplyQuote
Ken Smith
Mr
Joined: 2 years ago
Posts: 1768
Topic starter  

DAVID ARMSTRONG 1971/81

David Armstrong was born in Durham in 1954 and joined Boro at the age of 9 before signing apprenticeship forms at the age of 16. Despite confessing to being a Sunderland fan as a child, he became a professional with Boro in January 1972. Later in life he was nicknamed ‘Spike’ by Boro fans and holds the record of playing 358 consecutive matches for Boro between March 1972 to August 1980 including 305 League matches. For that astonishing record he was awarded a testimonial aged only 25. As a left-sided midfield player he made 431 appearances including 3 as a substitute and scored 77 goals in all competitions 59 of which were in League matches. His best season goalscoring-wise was in the 1979/80 season under John Neal’s tenure as manager when he scored 14 times in 48 League and Cup matches making him Boro’s top scorer for the season and earning him 3 international caps. Unfortunately this was a transitional stage for Boro and the break up of a fine team and he was transferred to Southampton where playing alongside Kevin Keegan he scored 15 times in his first season with the Saints who were top of the table for much of the first 3 months of the season.

His strike rate at Southampton was quite impressive for a winger with 59 goals in 222 First Division appearances and having been voted as their player of the season in 1983/84, he later played 9 times for Bournemouth, but his playing career was cut short by an ankle injury requiring six operations. He had ambitions to be a football manager but his injury was so severe that he had to curtail activities playing an active role on the training field and he even contemplated amputation. After a huge divorce settlement he went into football fundraising and administration working for several non-league clubs in Hampshire. He also became a soft drinks salesman as well as a director of a stationery supply company. He also draws Industrial Accident Benefit to supplement his income and his second marriage. 

He can be heard as a summariser on Radio Hampshire, but what a sad end to what had been a great career with Boro and the Saints! He is now considerably overweight and his career and misfortune can all be reviewed in his autobiography “The Bald Facts”.


ReplyQuote
jarkko
Member
Joined: 2 years ago
Posts: 1298
 

@ken Thank you for the complete list of top scorers above. I remembered Ricard scoring 20 a season but 15 goal a season at Boro is always a good achievement.

In the history, Boro have had a plenty of top scorers as Ken has written like Clough or Hickton. Why it has been so difficult since Bernie Slaven?  The Gazette wrote that the Boro fans have had the longest wait for a 20-goals-a-season strikers in the whole EFL.

Up the Boro! 


Liked by lenmasterman
ReplyQuote
jarkko
Member
Joined: 2 years ago
Posts: 1298
 

David Amstrong was one of my all time favourites. I have met his mother and sister in the early 1980's after a match with a cuppa of tea. I have also met him about five years ago in a former players meeting. And yes, he was limping.

A very talented player and a nice chap. I wish there were more players like him. A club legend. Up the Boro! 


ReplyQuote
jarkko
Member
Joined: 2 years ago
Posts: 1298
 

And one more thing about the top scorers at Boro.

Britt has a good - even excellent considering Boro - record at Boro for the first two seasons. One wonders what went wrong after that. Last season and this have been a disaster for him. First Woodgate - attack, attact - and then more high balls under Warnock. Mind, Britt is a goal scorer like his history shows!

Secondly, I didn't remember that Marvin Emnes was a top scorer for a season with 14 (+2 in Cups) in 2011/12 season. Not bad compared to anyone this or last season.

Up the Boro!


ReplyQuote
Ken Smith
Mr
Joined: 2 years ago
Posts: 1768
Topic starter  

Of all Boro players who have hit hard times, the historical stories that have touched my heart the most have been those of Wilf Mannion and David Armstrong. The former was born in the wrong age, today he would have been a multimillionaire. I used to bump into him in Roseberry Square, Redcar as we both bought our morning papers. He used to ask after my father, utterly confused as I’m fairly certain he was confusing my father with someone else as my father had been killed in a car crash many years ago, and he wouldn’t have known me at all. I used to think at the time that he might also be suffering from dementia.

As for Spike, he showed no bitterness towards the likes of Gareth Bale on earning that huge contract with Real Madrid, or his first wife whose solicitor left him with less than half of his assets, but that ankle injury must have left him so traumatised and in such pain that his ambitions of staying in football in some capacity were torn to shreds. Even players with less than half the talent of Wilf and Spike need never work again once they retire. 

I’ve nearly reached the end of the road of Boro’s finest strikers, with only Bernie Slaven to write about. Yes we’ve had Ravanelli, Ricard, Boksic, Yakubu, Viduka and Hasselbaink but if one adds all their Boro goals together, they wouldn’t match Brian Clough’s total, so I won’t be reviewing that sextet because none of them were with Boro for any length of time.


ReplyQuote
jarkko
Member
Joined: 2 years ago
Posts: 1298
 

@ken I look forward to Bernie article (they are as good as any on newspapers, Ken).

As a defender I have even played against Bernie once in April 2015. Must admit I was quite useless against him. He turned around with the ball on his feet so sharply and quick. And he enjoyed still scoring - every goal like at Holgate. My team lost 12-3 I think.

And Bernie has been on the media since his playing days. A good mate of Gary Parkinson and his family. A top chap for helping people out, our Bernie. 

He has two dogs that he takes out to the moors near Roseberry Topping.

I have a CD with all goals scored by Bernie.

Up the Boro!

This post was modified 2 years ago by jarkko

ReplyQuote
Martin Bellamy
Member
Joined: 2 years ago
Posts: 582
 
Posted by: @ken

Of all Boro players who have hit hard times, the historical stories that have touched my heart the most have been those of Wilf Mannion and David Armstrong. The former was born in the wrong age, today he would have been a multimillionaire. I used to bump into him in Roseberry Square, Redcar as we both bought our morning papers. He used to ask after my father, utterly confused as I’m fairly certain he was confusing my father with someone else as my father had been killed in a car crash many years ago, and he wouldn’t have known me at all. I used to think at the time that he might also be suffering from dementia.

As for Spike, he showed no bitterness towards the likes of Gareth Bale on earning that huge contract with Real Madrid, or his first wife whose solicitor left him with less than half of his assets, but that ankle injury must have left him so traumatised and in such pain that his ambitions of staying in football in some capacity were torn to shreds. Even players with less than half the talent of Wilf and Spike need never work again once they retire. 

I’ve nearly reached the end of the road of Boro’s finest strikers, with only Bernie Slaven to write about. Yes we’ve had Ravanelli, Ricard, Boksic, Yakubu, Viduka and Hasselbaink but if one adds all their Boro goals together, they wouldn’t match Brian Clough’s total, so I won’t be reviewing that sextet because none of them were with Boro for any length of time.

I used to live next door but one to Spike’s first wife after they split up. Having read his autobiography he really does feel bitter towards her, but any settlement she received was her legal right I guess, and not the fault of her solicitor, who was just doing his job. I’m sure there are two sides to this story. 


ReplyQuote
Ken Smith
Mr
Joined: 2 years ago
Posts: 1768
Topic starter  

BERNIE JOSEPH SLAVEN 1985/93

Bernie Slaven was born in Paisley, Renfrewshire in November 1960, but spent most of his early life living in nearby Glasgow. He played for several Scottish youth clubs before signing for Greenock Morton in 1981 yet scoring only a single goal for the club in 21 appearances. Two years later he played a couple of games for Airdrieonions and the Dumfries club Queen of the South. His big break came when he signed for the Coatbridge club named Albion Rovers. He stayed there for two seasons scoring 31 goals in 43 appearances and also in the 1984/85 campaign he became the highest scorer in the Scottish Football League. However the pay was so poor that he needed to supplement his income by working as a corporation gardener and felt the need to play for a more ambitious club so asked for a transfer which was refused, so he refused to play for the club anymore, but felt thwarted when the club put a fee of £40,000 on his head, a considerable amount for most Scottish clubs at that time. With no agent he was aided by a ‘Scottish Post’ reporter in writing a CV for him and circulated it to 54 clubs. The only club that answered his CV was Boro who invited him for a two week trial. He impressed Willie Maddren and eventually Boro paid the Coatbridge club £25,000 for his transfer.

He made his debut at Elland Road in a 0-1 defeat to Leeds United in October 1985, and a week later scored on his home debut in a 1-1 draw with Bradford City. He scored 9 goals in 33 appearances but was unable to prevent Boro being relegated to the the Third Division. Worse than that, Maddren was sacked to be replaced by Bruce Rioch as Boro manager and the club went into liquidation. We all know the story how Boro were saved from expulsion, so I needn’t go into that, suffice to say that one of Slaven’s  closest friends was another newcomer making his debut that season, Gary Pallister. Rioch and most of the players stayed at Boro and Slaven found himself in a twin partnership with Archie Stevens up front. As we know Boro were rarely outside the top three and gained promotion in second place with a final unbeaten run of 13 matches 10 of which were won, with Slaven scoring 21 goals in all competitions and Stephens scoring 18. 
 
The following season Bernie spent much of the time as a lone striker although scoring 24 goals in all competitions in 38 appearances as Boro again earned promotion. He was never noted for his heading ability, hence the signing of Trevor Senior towards the end of the season to get Boro almost over the line for a second successive promotion at the Battle of Stamford Bridge where Slaven missed a sitter which might have made things a little easier for Boro. However Bernie was noted for a wonderful first touch to score so many of his goals, but just a shame that he often found himself in an offside position. 

Life in the First Division didn’t start too well for Boro initially with only one win in the first 5 matches, but a turning point seemed to have arrived when  Boro visited Coventry in October as Bernie scored the first hat trick by a Boro player in an away match for over 40 years.       👍 (I know that statistic sounds incredible, but the previous player to accomplish that feat was on the 29th November 1947 when Cecil McCormack scored 3 times in a 7-1 away win against Blackburn Rovers. Of course there had been several First Division hat tricks by Boro players at Ayresome Park, but none in away matches since McCormack’s, a player that few of you will have even heard of, and a feat by Bernie Slaven that was never mentioned at the time that I’m aware of. Since then I’m aware that Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink has since accomplished that feat in 2004 also away to Blackburn.)

Anyway back to Bernie Slaven and that 4-3 win at Coventry heralded a run of 4 wins in 5 matches as Boro reached 7th position in the League Table. Un fortunately Boro didn’t win for 11 matches from mid-January and were eventually relegated in the final match of the season at Hillsborough despite never ever having been in the bottom 3 since September, but it did prove the wisdom of signing Slaven as he scored 18 goals in all matches that season. Also he was the first player to score 30 or more goals in a season since Brian Clough with 21 League goals plus another 11 in Cup matches as Boro made their first Wembley appearance in the Final of the Zenith Data Systems Cup against Chelsea.

 

Bernie was top scorer in the following season with 19 goals including 3 in Cup competitions and scored another 18 in the next season and promotion in the last game of the season at Molineux which was his last full season. He finished his career with Boro having made 380 appearances of which 24 were as a substitute and scored 146 goals including 7 hat tricks and making him the 6th highest scorer for Boro behind George Camsell, George Elliott, Brian Clough, John Hickton and Micky Fenton. He opted to play for the Republic of Ireland as his grandfather was Irish and Bernie made 7 appearances but only scored once. He apparently suffered from homesickness when away from home with the Irish team and used to have conversations with his dog every night over the telephone (seriously!) He is a devout Catholic and states that one of his finest moments was meeting the Pope at the Vatican along with his Irish team mates, although technically he is Scottish by birth. He also holds the distinction of being the first Irish??? player to score in the inaugural season of the Premiership as it was called before being renamed the Premier League.

After leaving Boro he signed on a free transfer for Port Vale and then Darlington before ending his career with Billingham Synthonia in the Northern League. The death of Alistair Brownlee affected him greatly as he worked with him for Century Radio and then Radio Tees, sometimes refusing to nominate the Boro Man of the Match if he didn’t think that any player warranted it. He was noted for jumping like a caged animal at the fence in front of the Holgate end after scoring a goal for Boro, and is reputed to have part of that fence installed in his garden at home. Not only a Boro legend, but still a Boro fan who tells it as he sees it as a journalist. However still a bargain at £25,000!

 


ReplyQuote
jarkko
Member
Joined: 2 years ago
Posts: 1298
 

@ken thanks for sharing.

I wonder how Bernie (or Bernard as his real first name is) would fit in to the current Boro team under Warnock. I would imagine he had similar issues to Britt. Not a header of the ball but I cannot remember him holding the ball well either. But a lethal finisher. As Britt used to be until last season at Boro and elsewhere.

Up the


ReplyQuote
Page 2 / 2
Share: