Growing up, I was never a huge football fan whereas my brother was a season ticket holder for Boro and I have some quite hay memories of him coming home from the match on a Saturday afternoon being unable to speak as he’d shouted that much at the match.
But then, in the mid nineties, Bryan Robson came to the Boro as Manager and he changed the club forever in my eyes – he signed players who no-one ever would have expected to have come to a small club like Middlesbrough. Players like Juninho, Emerson and Ravanelli suddenly had the world talking about the club and it was an exciting time to follow the team.
I started going to matches, both home and away, with my brother and I was pretty surprised when I began to feel the passion for the team that everyone else in the crowd felt. We didn’t always win matches and there were just as many lows at there were highs but the team played some pretty good football and I have some great memories of those days.
It was the day I went into hospital to have Miss Frugal that my lovely brother went for some tests. Not long after that, he found out he had cancer and I don’t think he went to another Boro match after that which meant that I didn’t go either. The year he died, Boro won the Carling Cup final but he wasn’t well enough to travel to Cardiff which meant he had to watch it from home instead of from the Millennium Stadium where he no doubt would have been if things had been different.
After he died, my passion for the game died too and even though I still followed the team (Mr Frugal was still a huge fan) I could never really get into it like I had before.
Then ten years on, Master Frugal suddenly developed a love of the Boro which seemed to come out of nowhere. He literally went from not being bothered at all about the football to loving anything to do with it, especially if it was Boro related.
Mr Frugal couldn’t have been happier as he’d been unsuccessfully trying to get him into football since he was old enough to walk and capitalised on this new found thing they had in common by taking him to matches when he could, playing Fifa frequently and talking endlessly about all aspects of the game.
Together they followed the team to Wembley last year after they got to the play-off finals….
Unfortunately, that’s where Master Frugal (and his sister) saw them lose the match and learned the hard way what their Dad already knew – that being a Boro fan is never easy….
Master Frugal soon bounced back though and for Christmas last year, we made his dreams come true by presenting him with the signed ball and a letter telling him he was going to be leading the team out as a mascot this year….
It was on that night that I realised that my love of the game was back!
And what a time for it to return with the last few months of the season being so touch and go as far as promotion to the Premier League was concerned. I desperately wanted the team to be promoted, for both Mr and Master Frugal, but for me too – and more than a little for my brother as well.
It all came down to yesterday’s match with the Boro needing just a draw to guarantee promotion and it was touch and go for most of the match. Master Frugal went to watch it at my Dad’s but I chose to listen to it on the radio because the commentators on the local station are so passionate about the team and make it more enjoyable to listen to than to watch on Sky.
I couldn’t even sit down by the end of the match – it was so nerve wracking and I actually felt sick for the last twenty minutes. Then the whistle blew confirming that the Boro would be playing in the Premier League next season and the commentators went loopy – as did I.
Being a Boro supporter is, as always, an emotional rollercoaster but I’m back on for the ride!
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