We trace Mid­dles­brough’s Di­vi­sion Three run­ners-up from 1966-67

The Football League Paper - - INSIDE - By Neil Fissler

GE­OFF BUT­LER re­mem­bers the day that Mid­dles­brough’s sea­son turned around – all the play­ers were called in for a meet­ing at Ayre­some Park.

Boro, man­aged by for­mer Eng­land in­ter­na­tional Stan An­der­son, has just been rel­e­gated into the third tier of English foot­ball for the first time in their his­tory.

But af­ter win­ning their first game of the sea­son at Colch­ester, they started to strug­gle, los­ing four of the next five games, in­clud­ing a 4-0 ham­mer­ing at even­tual run­away cham­pi­ons QPR.

So the Boro di­rec­tors de­cided that ac­tion was needed with only Brighton keep­ing them off the bot­tom of the ta­ble.

“We had flown down to Cardiff for the last game of the pre­vi­ous sea­son and, de­spite a Dickie Rooks hat-trick, we lost 5-3 and got rel­e­gated,” said But­ler, who made 42 ap­pear­ances in his first full sea­son in the first team.

“Then we didn’t do bril­liantly at the start of the fol­low­ing sea­son. We had a bit of a han­gover and it was very dif­fi­cult to ad­just to an­other di­vi­sion.

“We were strug­gling and it wasn’t hap­pen­ing. The di­rec­tors just called us in. They gave us a con­fi­dence boost – they told us they thought that we could do well.

“They said how much they re­spected us and that we were good play­ers. It was only some­thing sim­ple, but from that we seemed to turn the cor­ner.

“It did us the world of good and we started to per­form and pick up some re­sults.”

Boro started to climb the league in no small part thanks to the goals of John O’Rourke (27) and Arthur Hors­field (22), while John Hick­ton chipped in with 15 and Der­rick Down­ing eight.

They ap­peared to be all set to take the run­ners-up spot be­hind Rangers, who marched to the ti­tle as well as shock­ing First Di­vi­sion West Brom to win the League Cup at Wem­b­ley.

But then Boro stum­bled in the sec­ond week of April, los­ing three times in a week. They fell to sev­enth place with games run­ning out and couldn’t af­ford any more slip-ups. Four of the last five games were at home, the only one away was at Brighton.

“We were 1-0 down at half-time at Brighton. I won’t ever for­get it – Don Mas­son gave the ball away and he was cry­ing in the dress­ing room at half-time think­ing he had cost us pro­mo­tion,” But­ler added.

“But then John O’Rourke scored in the sec­ond half so we just needed to win our last two home games against Peter­bor­ough and Ox­ford United.

“We beat Peter­bor­ough 2-1, so ev­ery­thing was set up for the Ox­ford game. They scored first which gave us a bit of a fright.

“But we equalised soon af­ter­wards and O’Rourke scored a hat-trick. We won 4-1 in front of 39,000. Af­ter the game we went into the stands to ac­knowl­edge ev­ery­one.

“The num­ber of peo­ple on the pitch caused a wall to col­lapse and a few peo­ple were in­jured. I re­mem­ber go­ing to see them in hos­pi­tal the fol­low­ing day.” 1. Ray Lugg: He has set­tled in Pom­pano Beach, Florida, where he has run soc­cer schools and a com­pany Ray Lugg Inc. 2. John Hick­ton: Set­tled in his na­tive Ch­ester­field where he worked as an agent in the in­sur­ance in­dus­try un­til re­tir­ing. 3. Des McPart­land: Af­ter set­tling in Mid­dles­brough, he be­came an elec­tri­cal en­gi­neer and then the direc­tor of an en­gi­neer­ing firm un­til his death aged 58 in 2006 from lung can­cer. 4. Wil­lie Whigham: Re­turned to live in his na­tive Air­drie where he is re­tired but reg­u­larly at­tends Mid­dles­brough func­tions. 5. Arthur Hors­field: Is now re­tired af­ter work­ing for Parcelforce, be­com­ing manager of their Thur­rock de­pot, and af­ter spend­ing seven years as a shift manager for Royal Mail. 6. Jim Irvine: He be­came a paint sprayer in his na­tive Bath­gate, Scot­land, while his son Alan went on to play for Liver­pool. 7. Dickie Rooks: Af­ter man­ag­ing Scun­thorpe and coach­ing in East Africa, he re­turned to his na­tive Sun­der­land where he started his own build­ing firm. 8. Bill Gates: The brother of Ip­swich star Eric built up a 12shop Mon­u­ment Sports chain be­fore sell­ing up and re­tir­ing to the Cay­man Is­lands. 9. Dave Chad­wick: Set­tled in the US where he signed John Hick­ton while coach­ing Fort Laud­erdale. He re­tired in 2007, af­ter 16 years coach­ing at AFC Light­ning in At­lanta. 10. Billy Horner: He man­aged Hartle­pool (twice) and Dar­ling­ton, coached at York City and then was direc­tor of the Pools’ cen­tre of ex­cel­lence. 11. Ge­off But­ler: Man­aged Sal­is­bury for 17 years and then Wey­mouth. Now lives in Shrew­ton, Wilt­shire, and has set up his own home im­prove­ment com­pany. 12. Gor­don Jones: Sec­ond on Boro’s list of all-time ap­pear­ances with 532. Be­came a shop­keeper in Stock­ton and served Boro’s for­mer play­ers’ as­so­ci­a­tion as trea­surer. 13. Jimmy Law­son: Fol­low­ing a brief spell at Hal­i­fax as play­er­man­ager, he worked as a sales­man for fork­lift trucks’ mak­ers STILL Ma­te­ri­als Han­dling Ltd. His son Ian was also a pro­fes­sional foot­baller. 14. Der­rick Down­ing: Set­tled in his na­tive Don­caster where he ran a night­club be­fore go­ing to work in a lo­cal garage. He also man­aged Non-League Hat­field Main. 15. John O’Rourke: Af­ter set­tling on the south coast in Bournemouth, he be­came a newsagent prior to go­ing to work at Bournemouth Air­port.

NOT PIC­TURED 16. Bob Ap­pleby: He worked as a wa­ter bailiff in Cum­ber­land and is now living in Reeth, North York­shire, in re­tire­ment.

17. Bobby Braithwaite: A for­mer Belfast ship­yard worker, he em­i­grated to South Africa living near Port El­iz­a­beth where he coached the Tech All Stars in East Lon­don. 18. Neville Chap­man: Boro’s first player to be sub­sti­tuted was work­ing as a tanker driver at the time of his death in Oc­to­ber 1993 in a road ac­ci­dent. He was aged 53. 19. Don Mas­son: The Scot­tish in­ter­na­tional ran a ho­tel near Trent Bridge in Not­ting­ham for well over a decade. Is now the owner of a five-star guest­house, The Grange, in the Vale of Belvoir be­tween Not­ting­ham and Gran­tham. 20. Eric McMordie: Af­ter work­ing for a builders mer­chants, he opened a cou­ple of newsagents in the Mid­dles­brough area. 21. Alex Smith: Af­ter run­ning a sports shop, he re­turned to the River­side Sta­dium in 1996 to work as the club kit manager. 22. Frank Sprag­gon: Mar­ried the daugh­ter of for­mer Eng­land trainer Harold Shep­herd­son and be­came a com­mu­nity coach for Boro. Is now a lead­ing light in their for­mer play­ers’ as­so­ci­a­tion.
















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