Patrick Murray is not just any Boro fan – he is what I would describe as a superfan.
His collection of all things Boro has taken 50 years to build and now fills most of his Hemlington home and garden that he shares with his wife Dorothy.
After showing BBC Tees around his home, which is packed full of Boro paraphernalia, he offered to come into our studios in Middlesbrough with a bag full of photos and a video.
I was intrigued. His albums were packed with photos and a VHS tape he’d made documenting the end of an era. His own unique farewell to Ayresome Park - I was fascinated to see the somewhat eerie photos that Patrick had.
Please don't take my Boro away
He told me that he knew the security guards at the stadium. He says, “I knew them all. I lived in Whinney Banks so I’d just pop along and ask if I could take some photos.
“They’d let you just wander around and I’d say goodbye on the way out just to show I hadn’t taken anything. They were just there to keep an eye on things before the auction. I’d just go along and keep taking photos to show what was happening.”
His photos and video footage depict the empty stadium as it was slowly taken apart from April to July 1996. Everything of value was auctioned off but the rest was ripped up or burnt on site.
A lifelong fan
Patrick began collecting Boro and other football paraphernalia as a young boy growing up around the corner from Ayresome Park.
He says, “Football was my life. It’s all I did as a boy. All my clothes were football kit and I spent all my time kicking a ball around.
“If you were lucky you’d get in the match for nothing. I remember as a nine year old me and my mates used to say ‘give us a squeeze Mr’ at the turnstiles and you’d sometimes get let in for free.”
His first ‘job’ as a young boy was with Middlesbrough FC working on a matchday at Ayresome Park.
“All the teams used to have a letter assigned to them which were listed in the programme. When another team scored we’d dash and grab the number we were told to and climb up this ladder and pass them up to the man so everyone knew the other scores.
If you have photos of your Boro collection that you would like to share with others please get in touch and email firstname.lastname@example.org