Ayresome Park Road, Middlesbrough, TS1 4PA, United Kingdom
Red and White
Ayresome Park was a football stadium located in Middlesbrough, England. It was the home of Middlesbrough Football Club from its opening in 1903 until the club moved to the Riverside Stadium in 1995. During its 92-year history, Ayresome Park hosted many memorable matches and was the site of many triumphs and heartbreaks for Middlesbrough fans.
The stadium was named after the nearby Ayresome Gardens, which were a popular public park in the early 20th century. The site was originally a gravel pit, but it was transformed into a football ground by the local council and the club. The first match at Ayresome Park was played on September 12, 1903, and Middlesbrough defeated Sunderland 2-1 in front of over 30,000 spectators.
What was the capacity of Ayresome Park?
Over the years, Ayresome Park underwent many changes and renovations to keep up with the club’s and its fans’ changing needs. The stadium was expanded several times, and its capacity grew from around 7,000 in the early years to over 50,000 in the 1950s. The ground was also equipped with floodlights in 1953, which allowed for evening matches to be played.
Ayresome Park was the site of many memorable matches, including several FA Cup quarter-finals and semi-finals. One of the most famous matches was the 1975 FA Cup quarter-final replay between Middlesbrough and Manchester City, which was played in front of a capacity crowd of over 42,000. Middlesbrough won the match 1-0, thanks to a goal from David Mills, and reached the competition’s final for the first time in their history.
1966 World Cup at Ayresome Park
Middlesbrough’s home ground was deemed outstanding enough to be a host stadium during England’s 1966 World Cup. This photo shows the match between North Korea and Italy.
Why did Middlesbrough leave Ayresome Park?
Despite its many successes, Ayresome Park was not without its problems. The stadium suffered from poor drainage and was often waterlogged during the winter months. This led to many matches being postponed or cancelled, much to the frustration of fans and players alike. The stadium was also showing its age by the 1990s, and it was clear that a new ground was needed to take the club forward.
The Taylor Report was the real trigger for a stadium move. Delivered after the Hillsborough Disaster, the report demanded all English football grounds convert to all-seater stadia. Space to expand at Ayresome Park was limited and converting the ground to all-seater would have limited the capacity to just 20,000. A new site was required.
Where did Middlesbrough move?
Middlesbrough were offered a site at Middlehaven by the Teesside Development Corporation, and they took it. A 30,000-seater stadium was built at a cost of £16m. The full construction took only nine months, allowing Boro to move in for the 1995/96 season.
The name Riverside Stadium was chosen by fans at the final game at Ayresome Park. The rejected choices were Middlehaven Stadium, Erimus Stadium and Teesside Stadium.
The Riverside’s first game saw Middlesbrough defeat Chelsea 2-0, the goals from Craig Hignett and Jan Age Fjortoft.
Ayrsesome Park was known for its distinctive design, with a large main stand and a clock tower that became an iconic feature of the Middlesbrough skyline.
What happened to Ayresome Park?
The site of Ayresome Park is now home to a housing development, however, while the stadium might be gone, the spirit of Ayresome Park still lives on for some Boro fans.
Middlesbrough 9-0 Brighton & Hove Albion, 23 August 1958
Middlesbrough ran out easy winners against Brighton & Hove Albion in this English Division Two match. A certain Brian Clough scored five goals that game, with Bill Harris scoring two penalties and Alan Peacock adding two more to complete the rout in front of a crowd of 32,367. Ernest Walley debuted for the club after his transfer from Tottenham Hotspur.
Middlesbrough 8-0 Huddersfield Town, 30 September,1950
Middlesbrough ran out 8-0 winners against Yorkshire side Huddersfield Town. What was particularly impressive about this win was that not only one, but both Alex McCrae and Wilf Mannion scored hat-tricks. Johnny Spuhler and Geoff Walker scored the other two goals in front of a crowd of 32,401.
Middlesbrough 5-4 Stoke City, 7 September 1946
In one of the most exciting games of the 1946 season, Middlesbrough just edged out Stoke City in a thrilling 5-4 win in which Michael Fenton scored four goals for Boro. The other goal was scored in the game was scored by Wilf Mannion. The attendance that day was 43,685.
Ayresome Park was the first stadium in the country to have a turnstile specifically for women.
The ground was used as a venue for greyhound racing from 1928 to 1966.
In 1913, Ayresome Park hosted a charity match between a team of British footballers and a team of German footballers, which raised funds for the families of miners who had died in a disaster.
Ayresome Park was known for having a distinctive smell due to the nearby factories and chemical works, leading to the nickname The Stink.
Highest Ever Attendance
53,802 v Newcastle United in the FA Cup in 1953
Lowest Ever Attendance
1,671 vs Chesterfield in the League Cup in 1983
Highest Scoring Match
8-0 victory over Brighton & Hove Albion in 1959
Top Goal Scorer at Ayresome Park
George Camell, 345 goals
George Camsell, who achieved the feat for Middlesbrough in a 4-0 win over Port Vale on September 7, 1903.