Boro v Barnsley
MW in Darwin
That was called the ‘Cock o’the North’ Championship and was played in the year when floodlights were installed. I seem to remember that it was an experimental competition to ascertain whether floodlights should be used in League matches.
I remember attending a match to celebrate the new floodlights, self evidently it was a new experience for all to be watching football in the dark. The opponents were Celtic, the crowd was a record, I was with my girlfriend (she got goosed). We were three down at half time, then Clough got a hat trick, so we got a draw. PS She was not pleased!
The game that I vividly recall to celebrate the new floodlights was against Celtic in December 1957.
The Scots were unbeaten that season, but they met a Boro team coached for the occasion by ex- Boro player, the Scot, Jimmy Gordon.
After falling behind, Boro played some of the most memorable football ever seen at Ayresome Park.
Clough scored four times, Delapenha converted a penalty, Joe Scott completing the 6-1 scoreline Apart from the irresistible Clough, the Boro's star was the recently signed young left-winger, Eddie Holliday, who turned out to be one of .the best we have ever had in that position.
What a night it was, freezing Baltic cold but a display to warm everyone's cockles. I remember going to a packed Rea's after the game with all of my mates from the Bob End (I wasn't yet quite old enough for the pub). We were bubbling over with enthusiasm for Clough as usual, but also Holliday in particular, when an older supporter, Harry Eccles, made a comment which I now think of as emblematic of hardened, some might say cynical, Boro fans over the years. "Give him a few weeks and he'll be the same as all of the others." It's a sentence I've used myself many times since, reserved for those occasions when people get carried away by a promising debut. Sadly it generally turns out to be all too true.
But even that touch of realism cannot taint my recall of such a memorable night from my adolescence.
One of the longer term consequences of that game was that Jimmy Gordon's methods and enthusiasm obviously made a deep impression upon Clough and Taylor, who played in goal that night. Jimmy was to become a vital part of the monumental achievements of that managerial team over the decades which followed.