The Dorman Museum, Middlesbrough Football Club 86 Project, Bernie Slaven & The Queen Is Dead

“There is a light that never goes out…….”

In the Summer/Autumn of 86 two major events happened in Middlesbrough. Firstly the football club went bust. Gates were locked, players were sacked and the team had to try to fight their way out of the old Third division playing games at Hartlepools Victoria Park. Secondly, Morrissey and The Smiths visited the Town hall for the third time on October 14th to allow the good people of the town the chance to hear the greatest album ever made, The Queen is Dead. Now what connects these two events? Bernie Slaven, thats what. Now I have no knowledge of whether or not Middlesbroughs young striker of the time went to the Town Hall but I do know he was there for Morrisseys solo date in 2011. So I assume he may have had a passing interest in The Smiths of 86. He also had more than a passing interest in the fortunes of the football team. He was top scorer for five seasons in a row helping the club climb out of the third in 86/87 and then straight up to the First division the following season. So what does all this have to do with me?

Well, yesterday I visited the Dorman Museum next to Albert Park in Middlesbrough to see a display of football memoribilia. The collection is to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the “Spirit of 86″. When the club rose from the ashes of liquidation to the top division in two seasons. At the helm was Bruce Rioch, Captain was Tony Mowbray and of course Bernie Slaven banging in the goals. It was his picture that made me think back to seeing him outside the Town hall last year. His quiff was not quite as good as in the picture below but he still had the look of a Smiths fan. So I wondered if he had time in 86 to tear himself away from the turmoil at his club to see the boys perform? I hope he did as it was one of the finest performances by the greatest band in the world. If he missed it I am sure he regrets it still.

On display are shirts, programmes, medals and a collection of fanzines. The excellent “Fly me to the Moon” which itself has been going since those dark days. It even takes its title from a Bruce Rioch quote about Tony Mowbray. Also some great photographs spanning the whole of Middlesbroughs history. A great pic of Jack Charlton sat next to a young Graeme Souness who looks like he has just stepped off stage with the Yardbirds! A turnstile from Ayresome Park, some great oil paintings by Nigel Downey and a Papal Blessing for the great Wilf Mannion.

The display is there until the 15th of April and its well worth a visit. Not just from fans of Middlesbrough but all football fans would appreciate the artefacts on display. As well as this there is a whole museum of stuff as well. I took my six year old daughter and she loved the whole place. Plenty to see, as well as things to do. Take a look at all the pictures on our Facebook page to see the wealth of things on offer. And its FREE to get in so a cheap day out for all you parents wondering where to take your offspring during the Easter holidays.

And if you read this Bernie can you let us know the answer?




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By peter on February 17, 2012

Check out all the pics

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