On Monday 11th Jan 2016,I woke up to a text message which read ” Sorry to start the day with bad news but I just heard that Bowie has passed away after battling cancer. ”
I was genuinely devastated to hear that ‘The Thin White Duke’ had passed away.
David Bowie was the man who got me into music.I was aged 11 when I heard Life On Mars after that I was hooked.
I recall jumping regularly on the local bus from my council estate in Castlemilk to a record shop near Hampden Park to purchase Bowie vinyl, single and albums.The first single I recall purchasing was Young Americans,as soon as the release date was out I would be there on the day to pick up my copy.
The excitement on the way to collect it was unbearable and all the way back I would be scrutinising the sleeve cover and checking that there were no scratches on the vinyl . When I got back to my room, once it was on the turntable it stayed there until I knew every lyric and note.My late father was forever shouting change that record will you.
From a tender age I was intrigued, fascinated and hypnotised by Bowie. The fact that he wore makeup and at times dressed lady like added to the fascination.
My only regret was I never saw Ziggy Stardust and The Spiders from Mars live although the that was my first album I bought,back in 1972.
I did travel to Edinburgh in 83 to the Serious Moonlight tour,held at Murrayfield Stadiumn.
My memories of Bowie on that day were blonde hair and blue suit,he sang some of his classics like Star, Heroes, Golden Years, Life on Mars, Rebel Rebel, Cracked Actor, Space Oddity and Jean Genies.
I remember going with the school to Innsbruck in Austria skiing and getting snowed in one night,our only source of entertainment was a duke box.That is when I discovered the b side of Space Oddity which was a song called Velvet Goldmine, I must have wore the record thin the amount of times a played it.
I had every Bowie vinyl album when I moved to join Middlesbrough as a player,I left them all at my parents house and many years later I discovered that my parents had given them away.If I’m being honest they would have been scratched and abused due to the amount of times I played them and left them out of their covers,on the turntable collecting dust.
We all know that irrespective of fame and fortune our destiny is the same, but I have always believed that icons like David Bowie should live forever.
His music certainly will.

Book Launch to celebrate 3 decades on Teesside.

My new book titled November Spawned a Monster will be launched at 11am on 29th October 2015 in Debenhams in the Hill Street Centre Middlesbrough.

During my 30 years on Teesside as a player, on the radio and in my Evening Gazette column I’ve always had strong opinions about everything and everybody. But this is me talking about myself and my life, being as honest and hard-hitting as I am with my football opinions.

The book reveals the truth about a rollercoaster three decades on Teesside and my public and private life after football. It is forthright about bust ups with bosses and rows with some senior figures at Middlesbrough FC and in the media.

But it also goes into my private life and talks about my divorce, my bankruptcy and my battle with depression. But it is not all self pity and bleak there are a lot of funny tales in there too and as many ups and downs.

I hope Boro fans will find it honest interesting and entertaining.

Get a peek of Bum and Book in Debenhams.

My new book November Spawned a Monster will be launched on the 29th October 2015 from Debenhams in the Hillstreet shopping centre Middlesbrough.

In my latest publication I talk about my own trials and tribulations in general,my truculent behaviour towards my former managers, also my inner struggles with life in general and my confrontations with so-called influential people.Its a warts and all account of my last 30 years on Teesside.

As Middlesbrough take on Manchester United at Old Trafford in the league cup the night before the launch I’m willing to repeat showing off my rear in Debenhams window ahead of the book signing.I have had confirmation today from Debenhams that the dirty deed can take place providing we can get the required result.

Let’s hope they have a window big enough. UTB

Great to see Adomah back

It was great to see Albert Adomah return to first team action against Brentford on Tuesday night after a spell in the wilderness. He showed coming off the bench what an important player he is, for me his introduction changed the course of the game, creating one and scoring one, he also proved that being isolated had not effected him.

Having verbal ding dongs with managers is something I have witnessed many times as a player and I have been involved in many myself. Of course all managers have different styles.

When playing under Bruce Rioch I recall at half time telling him that I was out of position, on the left wing, I had not had a kick and that I wasn’t going out for the second half. In fact I bawled you might as well get a dummy to play out there. On the back of this outburst he went for me and we had a set to. I did go out for the second half, I eventually got switched to up the middle and responded with a goal. As the ball hit the net I recall turning towards the bench and putting one arm under the other and shouting up yours. Straight after the game he came over and shook my hand and that was the end of it. I was selected for the following game.

There were many verbal bust ups with Bruce but I was never dropped because of my antics.

Lennie Lawrence was the total opposite, a spat with him and I would be banished to the reserves and made to train with them, totally isolated from the first team.

From the outside looking in it appears that Aitor Karanka has a philosophy of his way or the high way, an autocratic style that if you step out of line you are left out or shipped out. I personally think that this style of management is a dangerous one, when the results are going your way you can get away with it.

I am all for discipline there was no bigger disciplinarian than Bruce Rioch. If you were late for training you were fined, unshaven you were fined, if you weren’t smartly dressed you were fined. But he never held a grudge and would always select you on merit not on his personal feelings towards you.

Whatever has gone on between Karanka and Adomah it was put to bed when Adomah ran fifty yards to give his manager a cuddle.
I personally can’t recall cuddling any manager even when we gained promotion into the top flight, let alone cuddling a manager after a spat.
Good luck to Boro on Saturday against Nottingham Forest.

Strikers will bring success

Some people via the social network, have accused me of showing no interest In our pre season games and our summer signings.Regarding friendly games and that’s all the are, the results are not important and are designed for the players to get their fitness levels up, polish their first touch and to get to know your new team mates.

With 7 days to the big kick off I suppose it’s time to get involved.
While writing this post I’m sitting in a outdoor cafe watching a speed boat race taking place the F1H2O on the Rio Douro, while sipping a bottle of mineral water called Luso. The resort is in Porto, Portugal, where of course Atior Karankas mentor Jose Mourinho managed.
Since Atior took over the hot seat at The Riverside Jose has given us a host of loan signings with the most productive being Patrick Bamford who was last seasons top scorer and player of the year. Up until now we only have one signing from Chelsea Tomas Kalas. Lets hope there is more to follow.

So what have I made of the summer signings?

When we signed Stu Downing my gut instinct was that is a statement of intent from our club. I have always been a fan of Stu he very seldom gives the ball away, he is a good crosser of the ball, he creates things and chips In with a few goals. Was I surprised we got him, without a doubt for me he is good enough to still be playing in the Premier league. Last seasons displays at West Ham proved that irrespective of where he played he put in a shift and caught the eye. He is very seldom injured, England international, vastly experienced and a excellent role model.

Jonathan Woodgate if I’m being brutally honest I’m very surprised that Woody has been given another contract I’m sure Woody is himself. When he plays he is top drawer elegant,stylish and he cruises through games at this level. But unfortunately as predicted when we signed him he hasn’t played enough,nine appearances last season confirmed that. The manager has been quoted as saying that he is important in the dressing room, a good person and a good lad.The manager obviously sees something other than his football too reward him with a new contract.

Alex Baptiste had the worst possible start getting a bad injury against York, I can only wish him well and lets hope he has a speedy recovery.
Tomas Kalas is a steady away defender, reads the game well and has good engines.

Diego Fabbrini the Italian under twenty one midfielder has sampled life in the championship and has yet to set the heather alight, lets hope he ignites his career here at Boro.

Christian Stuani I’m excited to see the Uruguay international at twenty eight years of age he is at the peak of his career,he is vastly experienced and hopefully he will bring more goals to the team.

Jordan Rhodes for me would be a terrific signing he has got the goal scoring pedigree we require. I hear people questioning his price tag but I’m confident if we got him that he would be more successful than twelve million pound signing Afonso Alves and eight million pound signing Massimo Maccarone. Rhodes for me would certainly fill the void left by Bamford.

For me we need two more strikers and this is easier said than done. Last season our lack of fire power was costly, we can’t allow this to happen again this season.

Speculation is rife regarding Lee Tomlins departure I would personally be sad to see him go.
Good luck to all at Middlesbrough Football Club and the fans lets hope we have a great season.

Wembley Woes.

On Monday I was proud to be a former player and a fan of Middlesbrough Football Club.
The atmosphere,scenes and noise amongst a sea of red and white was incredible, it made me immensely proud to live on Teesside.
The game itself unfortunately passed us by.
The phrase used by every Boro fan I met after the game was, “We didn’t turn up.”
Since the final whistle, I have not read a paper or listened to national radio.
I was absolutely gutted, not for the team or myself, or the fair weather fans, that made their first away trip of the season to Wembley. I was gutted for all our loyal hardcore fans including my two sons and Chairman Steve Gibson.
When the second goal went in I felt like crying for them.
On the day we had no zip or zest, we looked lethargic and heavy legged. There was a lack of spark throughout the team. The amount of square balls we played was infuriating it looked like we had half a dozen Ray Wilkins in the team.Every time Lee Tomlin picked the ball up he was in his own half and he either played it square or gave it away. Bamford barely got a touch and looked way off pace due to injury, the gamble of playing him never paid off.
The first goal conceded was schoolboy stuff.
Ayala got robbed of the ball,stood complaining instead of continuing to defend and then Dimi left a gap as big as The Thames between himself and the right hand post.

Two goals conceded in a five minute period knocked the stuffing out of us and even the most ardent,blinkered sycophantic Boro fan could not see a way back.

I was quoted months ago in my Gazette article saying that goals would get us promoted as opposed to our defensive qualities and so it has proved.
Bournemouth, Watford and Norwich have confirmed that.

Bringing in two defenders, a midfielder in the month of January and no forwards for me was a massive gamble and a big mistake. We were linked with Jordan Rhodes of course but it did not materialise.
I have said all season fortune favours the brave, but we weren’t brave enough on the big occasion as we witnessed on Monday.

So what now?
The squad will be dismantled
Loanees will head off, a couple may be sold.
So what do we need to be a success next season?
We need Karanka to stay, we need a creative central midfielder,we need a injection of pace and goal scorers that you can hang your hat on this is easier said than done.
We simply have to pick the pieces up and start again.

Enjoy the summer, get ready for next season.

A Wembley victory would put us on the map for the right reasons.

For me Friday nights battle against Brentford was the biggest game played at The Riverside to date and what a fantastic game and spectacle it was.We totally dominated and dictated the pace of the game and we were driven on by a capacity crowd.
The atmosphere was electric and the Boro players from the off looked in a possessed state of mind. There was only going to be one winner and outcome. Scenes at the end were eye watering and the pitch invasion rightly or wrongly added to the occasion. If I could have ran onto the pitch myself without being recognised I would have joined the jubilant thousands.
We can now only hope and pray that we can finish the job off with a victory over Norwich City and a return to the premier league.
We as fans have certainly gone through the emotional wringer in recent weeks.But spare a thought for our loyal Chairman, owner and ardent Boro fan Steve Gibson. He is one game away from an estimated £100 million for the football club. How on earth does he sleep at night? It’s difficult enough for us fans without any responsibilities, if anyone deserves it he does.
To clinch promotion would also be fantastic for the area,it would put us on the map for the right reasons and boost the local economy.
We as a town over recent years have been exploited and ridiculed in the national newspapers and surveys as one of the worst places to live. Outsiders have constantly knocked the town, area and people.
Benefits street on national TV recently exposed the vulnerable and the poor and painted inaccurate pictures of our area. I have always believed that certain people out there regard us up here in the North East as the arsehole of Britain.
Well until they have lived here they will never be able to give a true assessment or judgement. I have been here a total of 30 years so I would like to think I’m in a position to judge. The countryside side is magnificent there are some lovely eateries, the people are warm friendly and passionate and those that are fortunate enough to have jobs are ‘working class heroes’ so to win promotion would not just be profitable for the football club but for the town, area and its down to earth people.

Apologies for very little activity on the site over the last few months. The reason for this is I have been writing my next book about my last 30 years on Teesside it’s a no nonsense hard hitting,warts and all autobiography due out September/ October.

Signed personalised limited edition canvas.

Signed and personalised by Bernie a great Easter gift available in the shop for £30 plus postage. 72cm x 61cm

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Celebrating 30 years on Teesside(who would have believed it?)

On March 20th 2015, I am celebrating 30 years on Teesside with a night at The Riverside Stadium in the Legends Lounge.
A host of my former team mates will be present.
Former Middlesbrough captain and manager Tony Mowbray returns to The Riverside for the first time since his departure.
On the evening there will be a meal.
I will be doing the guest speaking followed by a no holds barred question and answer session.
100 of my goals will be shown on the big screen.
There will be an auction.
Pictures and autographs with the lads (my former team mates will be welcome).

Arrival 6.30-7pm

Tickets are £40 per person or £360 for a table of 10.

To book please click here for single tickets or here for a table of 10.
Or Email seven.enterprises@hotmail.co.uk

Celebrating 30 years on Teesside.

Celebrating 30 years on Teesside.
I’m holding a dinner in the Legends lounge at The Riverside Stadium on Friday March 20th.
I will be the guest speaker and a host of my former team mates will be present on the night.

Tickets are £40 each or a table of 10 for £360.
For booking please email seven.enterprises@hotmail.co.uk.