15 April 2016


Middlesbrough Football Club, better known as the Boro or just plain Boro, have played at 3 grounds since turning professional in 1889, some 13 years after their initial formation.

Grounds prior to professionalism

Brian Clough statue in Albert Park
Middlesbrough FC were formed in 1876 and played their early matches at Albert Park in the town (see image). Sadly, only after 2 years after damage had been inflicted to the grounds by players and supporters alike, the park committee insisted the club find alternative accommodation.

They moved to Breckon Hill where again they only stayed for 2 years, deciding to move when the owner decided to increase the rent. Breckon Hill was located behind the present-day Middlesbrough College campus.

Their next home, from 1882 was at the Lindthorpe Road Ground, which at the time was also the home of the Middlesbrough Cricket Club. The cricket club however decided to move out a year or so into the joint tenancy, ironically to the Breckon Hill ground, leaving the football club as the sole users of the facility.

In 1903, upon entry to the Football League and the fact that the club was attracting higher numbers of supporters requiring a more substantial venue, they moved to Ayresome Park where they were to remain for 92 years.

Ayresome Park

Designed and constructed by legendary Scottish football stadium architect Archibald Leitch, Ayresome Park was built at Paradise Field, adjacent to the stadium of Middlesbrough Ironopolis, who had been members of the Football League back in the 1890’s.

The highest attendance at the ground was set in 1949 when 53,802 crammed into the stadium for a match against local rivals Newcastle United.

Ayresome Park was also used as one of the venues for the World Cup Finals held in England in 1966, hosting 3 matches involving the USSR, North Korea, Italy and Chile. The attendances for these games were however the lowest in the tournament, with just 15,887 people attending the match between North Korea and Chile.

Aerial shot of Ayresome Park in 1982
By the early 1990’s the stadium was beginning to look quite dated and it was clear that high amounts of money and work would be required to bring it up to the standards required by the Taylor report when all stadia would need to be all-seated.

In 1994, plans were released for a new stadium to be located at the Middlehaven site, on the banks of the River Tees. Construction began that autumn, with the facility being completed in time for the start of the 1995-6 season.

Ayresome Park remained in use as a training facility up until 1997, when it was demolished to make way for a housing estate, which still covers the site of the old ground.

The Riverside Stadium

Constructed by Taylor Woodrow at a cost of £16 million, the Riverside Stadium was built in a period of 32 weeks. Holding a current capacity of 35,100 the club has the permission of the local council to increase this limit by approx 7,000 should it be so required.

In 2005, the club resurrected the old Ayresome Park gates which were famously locked when the club briefly went into liquidation in 1986 (see images).

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