A TOUR around the Riverside Stadium brought back memories for a Teesside veteran and former footballer.
John Kelly, 86, was one of several residents from Briarwood Care Home, in Eston, taken on a VIP tour around Middlesbrough FC’s grounds.
The once avid football player said the tour reminded him of playing during his national service with the Royal Engineers.
After leaving the army, John played centre forward for both Shildon and Whitby Town football clubs.
He said: “During my army days, when I played, I used to let the Sergeant score. A happy sergeant meant a happy life.
“It was great to see the stadium. They have all the mod cons these days.”
During the tour, the residents were shown the home and away teams’ changing rooms, the press suite, fan zone and pitch side team benches.
Staff from Briarwood Care Home, operated by the Hill Care Group, also had a go on the exercise bikes players use to warm up before matches.
Claire Streeter, social inclusion manager at the MFC Foundation, arranged the tour for the residents as a thank you for the care home company’s work with their National Citizen Service students throughout the year.
She said: “After another fantastic NCS programme visiting the Hill Care’s care homes, it was a wonderful opportunity to invite the residents over to the Riverside Stadium and show them where we are based.”
Back at Briarwood Care Home, the football themed day continued with everyone dressed in their favourite teams’ shirts to take part in a quiz and other games.
Home manager Mark Culley said: “Everyone thoroughly enjoyed our footie Friday event, with the highlight of the day being an outing to the Middlesbrough FC Riverside Stadium.
“A massive thank you to Claire Streeter and the rest of the team at the MFC Foundation for inviting us and showing us around.”