• Mark Davies

Boro Stories | Why Boro Matters Even More Right Now

Updated: Feb 12, 2021

Middlesbrough Football Club has always been a big part of my life. It’s never been more important to me than now.

My first game was as a six-year-old in 1973. My mum took me to see the team Jack Charlton was moulding into champions beat Hull City 1-0 and a lifelong love affair began.

Former Boro Boss and Footballing Legend Jack Charlton. Image rights: Mirrorpix - See full image here.

Almost 50 years later I remain as committed to following my club as ever. And now that cancer has rudely interrupted things for me, Boro are one of the things keeping me going in the fight of my life.

It’s all about the connection. I grew up on Teesside but left for university and then work when I was 18. But a part of me will always be in an area I am incredibly proud of and passionate about. And of course, the football club is the most visible symbol of that.

But it’s more than that. Boro is in my blood. My mum took me to that match because she’d been taken by her dad when they lived in Ormesby. She often talks of seeing Mannion play, and her favourite, the full-back Dickie Robinson. Her dad went to Ayresome before she was born. The Teesside football connections go back even further - my great-grandfather was even involved in the creation of the Ironopolis club back in the late 1800s.

I’ve followed Boro through thick and thin, and a bit thinner, ever since that Hull game in 1973. There are few things that make me happier than walking towards the Riverside on match day. I feel like it’s a precious place on earth where I completely belong.

Like I say, Boro is in my blood.

Now my blood has an invader. I have myeloma, a rare blood cancer, and am currently in my fourth month of chemotherapy. If that is successful I will have a stem cell transplant. Then, who knows? It’s a hard slog but I am determined, positive and in very good hands thanks to the NHS.

At times like this, you fall back on the things that really matter. Family, of course, and friends. But also, for me, football. I feel a greater need than ever to have that sense of closeness to something I’ve always loved, hard of course thanks to Coronavirus, but still possible thanks to social media, Boro Mag and the Boro Breakdown. And Boro have just been a joy since our revival under Neil Warnock, who has been an absolute revelation to me.

The fellowship and support I’ve had in my struggle, from Boro fans and the club itself, has been wonderful and makes a world of difference. But even without that, I have a well of memories to fall back on which make the down days easier to handle. Whatever happens over the next few years I have so many happy memories from Ayresome and the Riverside (and beyond) to fall back on, golden moments which I will always cherish.

I think it is the way that in troubled times we reach for the things we love the most. And for me there will always be a thrill about seeing a team in Boro red, a special bond that goes deeper than just a game.

It’s a connection that matters more than ever to me at the moment.

Up the Boro.

Find out more about Myeloma here.

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