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Boro heroes reunite 40 years on

Middlesbrough supporters can enjoy a night of nostalgia when they join a reunion of the Boro players who starred under former manager John Neal including Stuart Boam, Terry Cochrane, David Hodgson, John Craggs and David Armstrong.

Middlesbrough Former Players Association is organising the event that will mark the 40th anniversary of Neal succeeding Jack Charlton in 1977.

Under Neal, Boro enjoyed four seasons of top flight football and twice reached the quarter-final of the FA Cup, with the softly-spoken former Wrexham boss building a side fondly remembered by fans as one of the most exciting in the club’s history.

Neal’s side came from behind to beat Chelsea 7-2, while also handing out heavy defeats to Arsenal (5-0) and Norwich (6-1), whilst also winning 5-0 at Swansea in the FA Cup.

Although Neal passed away in November 2014 aged 82, many of his former players will be attending the reunion dinner including captain Stuart Boam and his successor Tony McAndrew.

Other well-known stars who have agreed to attend include two of Neal’s then club record signings, Billy Ashcroft and Terry Cochrane, plus David Hodgson, Mark Proctor, John Craggs, David Armstrong, David Mills and Ian Bailey.

Goalkeepers Jim Platt, Pat Cuff and Jim Stewart will be joined by squad players Graeme Hedley, Billy Askew, Billy Woof, Peter Johnson and Colin Ross.

McAndrew, who is now a member of the Former Players committee after recently returning to live on Teesside, said: “We’re all looking forward to what should be a great night. I haven’t seen some of these guys for many years so it will be pretty special for me.

“It was an exciting time because we had a nucleus of experienced players and then brought through fresh young players such as Hodgson, Johnson and Proctor who played without feared, which was so refreshing.

“It was just a shame that side was broken up too soon because I think we could have challenged for silverware. Unfortunately, the club decided to sell those exciting players for a few quid.”

While Hodgson and Johnston followed Souness to then mighty Liverpool, Mills moved to West Bromwich Albion for a then record £500,000, Armstrong joined Southampton and Proctor was sold to Brian Clough’s Nottingham Forest.

The event will include a raffle and auction for money-can’t-buy prizes.

All profits from the dinner will go to the Former Players Association, which helps ex-Boro players who fall on hard times.

Tickets for the 40th Anniversary Reunion Dinner on Friday October 20th, priced £50 each or £500 for a table of 10, are available by calling Middlesbrough FC on 01642 757672 or email events@mfc.co.uk.  The price includes a three-course meal.

By admin