Events of 2011.

Events of 2011

Legends contract.

Signed a new 2 year contract on Real Radio Legends show, its now into its 11th year on the air waves from 6-8 every weekday evening, the show has gone from strength to strength and the listening figures are unbelievable, North East radio stations have tried and failed to match our show and audience figures. Our show is real, its not scripted, callers are not vetted and we are not frightened of upsetting people at football clubs. That is the main reason, I lost the commentary job after 500 games, put it this way I would rather have no job than be somebodies puppet. I have always believed if you are working in radio you are the listeners eyes, and if you are not prepared to say what you see, you shouldn’t be in the job.

Ronnie Coyle.

Ronnie Coyle played with Middlesbrough back in 1987 and instantly myself and Pally struck up a friendship with him.Out of the blue I got a phone call from Pally saying Ronnie wasn’t to well and they had pencilled in a benefit game to be held on 27th march 2011 It was at   Starks Park in Kirkcaldy, Raith Rovers 94 v Celtic 94. Myself and Pally travelled north as we approached the dressing room Ronnie was there to welcome each and every one of us . He was as well built as ever smartly dressed and smiling, after exchanging a few words he pointed Pally towards the home dressing room along with his ex man united team mate Dennis Irwin. He looked at me and said you have always wanted to play for them and pointed to the Celtic dressing room. Paul McStay had travelled all the way from Australia, to take part in the game that’s an indication how highly regarded he was. After the game, I headed straight back down south. A few days later I received a text from Ronnie thanking me for my support, I in return invited him to the Parky dinner as he was part of that era. Fourteen days later he passed away. His funeral was on 19th and was attended by some of Scottish footballs biggest names including Ally McCoist and Billy McNeil. I still think of Ronnie and pray for his wife and family.

Gary Parkinson dinner.

After a visit to the Priory in Bury to see my ex team mate Gary Parkinson, I decided to hold a dinner on his behalf. Parky back in September 2010 suffered a stroke and was left with locked in syndrome  and needed all our support to help him remain strong and get better, also his lovely family needed our support as well. For the dinner to be successful I needed all the 86 team and managers to attend.I also had to persuade x midfielder Gary Hamilton to fly from America after numerous phone calls and discussions without any hesitation everyone of them had agreed to attend. Next job was to publicise the dinner and my thanks have to go to Real Radio and the Evening Gazette alongside my own website the tickets sold like hotcakes. Initially I was told 800 tickets maximum for the Tall Trees venue a month before the event we were sold out and our final number on the evening was 1000, its the biggest attendance the room has ever had and caused some worries for the Tall Trees management whom I must also thank for making it possible. I think the numbers that attended shows how highly Parky and the 86 team were regarded. The night itself was very emotional. Parkys wife along with Bruce Rioch made speeches and Parky sent a message that we showed via text on the big screens. At the end of the night we raised around £30,000. Three days later the former players held a game a the Riverside which raised a further £35,000. Massive thanks to all who turned up and helped to arrange these events. Right now Parky is still improving and continues to need our support and prayers his website is WWW.GARYPARKY.CO.UK.

Morrissey.

Without a doubt Morrissey playing in Middlesbrough town hall was one of the highlights of my year. I have always admired his songs, lyrics and opinions, he is a one off, unique and someone who goes totally against the grain.I have witnessed his on stage antics in Newcsatle, Sunderland, Manchester and Paris. But for Mozza to be playing in my adopted home town Middlesbrough was very special.His opening line as he walked onto the stage was                          ‘ Middlesbrough take this right in the Mush’, followed by his song Panic. The quiff-ed Mancunian has only ever made two appearances in the boro, no doubt this will be his last. I was just delighted to be part of it.

Keith Lamb.

Chief executive Keith Lamb stepped down after 25 years at the helm, there is no doubt Lamb played a key role alongside chairman Steve Gibson, dragging the club from the ashes, to enjoy the clubs most successful period winning Carling cup and reaching the UEFA cup final, they also developed Hurworth fantastic training facilities, the Riverside and attracted international stars. Months previous to Mr Lambs departure I said publicly its time for a change at the top, everything at the club had changed apart from the autocratic partnership at the top, well it finally happened. for me both were too comfy in there roles, bullet proof and never accountable. the split was well overdue and inevitable.

Sepp Blatter.

FIFA president Sepp Blatter put his foot in it when he said ‘ football does not have a problem with racism on the field and any incidents should be settled by a hand shake.’ In a perverse way I could see what he was trying to say, in his defence he is 75 years of age, English is his third language and he has been leading the battle against racism in football along with the FIFA campaign say no to racism in football. I personally thought Blatters comment got blown out of proportion, it was interesting that France, Spain,Germany and Italy never got involved in Blatter bashing it was only England.Of course the timing of his comments were awful. The same afternoon the FA charged Uruguayan striker Luis Suarez of Liverpool with racially abusing Man United’s Patrice Evra.

Mean while the FA were investigating the alleged racial abuse by England and Chelsea striker John Terry towards queen park rangers Anton Ferdinand. There is no doubting racism is a problem and anyone found guilty should be driven out of the game.As a Glaswegian, the colour of someones skin is not a problem, the biggest problem is bigotry(religion) and its rife, has been for over 100 years, who is sorting that problem out?

Gary Speed.

One of the saddest days of the year was while book signing at Debenhams in the Metro Centre, along with Micky Horswill and Malcolm Macdonald. A stranger approached us and asked if we had heard the news? Whats the news we asked? Gary Speed is dead. The three of us looked at each other in disbelief, shell-shocked, we couldn’t believe it. As the hours progressed it became public knowledge. I had the pleasure of playing against Gary while he was at Leeds United and had chatted briefly to him on a couple of occasions at the Riverside while doing commentary.On the face of it Gary had it all, but underneath the exterior we don’t know what is going on with anyone. God rest him.

Tony Mowbray.

When Tony Mogga Mowbray took over the reigns at Middlesbrough after a disastrous spell under Gordon Strachans leadership the club was in a state on and off the park and we were languishing in the relegation zone. Moggas first job was to save his home town club from the drop and he achieved that finishing 12th. The target going into this campaign? I don’t really know but Mogga along with the team have been punching above their weight. Don’t forget his hands have been tied since taking over. He has had to reduce the wage bill dramatically to please the owner and has trimmed the squad with a machete. I have always said that Mogga should have  had the job years ago and it was important that the chairman got it right after the failures of Southgate and Strachan. Mogga seems to be enjoying the pressures of been involved with his home town club.

Happy New year to everyone, sorry I haven’t updated the site for a while my computer has been down and leading up to Christmas I was busy with Malcolm and Micky signing Books and DVDs in Debenhams metro centre, I have to say a massive thanks to everyone at Debenhams. my North East Bernies About book sold out so I hope everyone that got it enjoys it, it will be available on Kindle in the next month in case anyone else wants it.Thanks also to everyone who has supported my website over the last year and also everyone that has helped and supported events for Gary Parkinson.

As it stands today  we are sitting fourth, but since the turn of the year, the last two league performances have been way below par, gubbed 3-0 at Blackpool, followed by a 2-0 home defeat against Burnley. Sandwiched in between of course was the FA Cup victory over Shrewsbury and that sets us up nicely for our visit to The Stadium Of Light to meet Sunderland.My fear throughout the season and I was forever stating it, was having a small squad, winter months approaching, injuries and suspensions.In the last few games this has been evident, Bailey and Robson have been solely missed, the goal keeping problem continues to haunt us, in fact we have still never replaced Schwarzer. Great to see the Chairman backing Tony Mowbray and allowing him the funds to sign Coventry striker Lukas Jutkiewicz, hopefully there will be at least another one addition before the window closes, but there is no doubting there will be outgoings, McManus and Kink are favorites to depart. If I am honest neither have set the heather alight during their time on Teesside, but the one player that is attracting a lot of attention is Rhys Williams, Newcastle, West Brom and Aston Villa have all shown interest. Manager Tony Mowbray has been quoted as saying ‘ I am pretty sure that anyone we don’t want to lose wont be leaving’. I hope this is the case regarding the Australian international but I remember Gordon Strachan saying late on in the January transfer window, that Adam Johnson would be staying, a couple of days later he had disappeared in a puff of smoke.If we are serious about returning to the top flight, we must keep players like Williams, no matter what amount of money is offered.

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