As I return from my first weekend of A-League fixtures in Australia my thoughts turn to my first ever professional match. I say professional as I spent the first 10 years of my life watching my old man turn out for Whitby Town and Billingham amongst others. However from the age of about six this was interweaved with various ‘treat visits’ to watch The Boro.
I read many threads of FMTTM, a forum I visit regularly where people can recall their first game, the score, the smells and the sounds. I however don’t and can’t.
What I remember: it was at Ayresome Park with my Dad and it was freezing. I learnt some incredible life skills that night at the age of five/six. First how to tie a scarf around my face and more importantly that the teams switched ends at half time. Something that my Dad assumed a mature toddler knew.
I also have vague memories of asking to go home during the second half as I was cold (something I cringe about now). Despite this apparently my Dad persevered with taking me, however despite my mothers insistence and claims of dozens of trips (away days and the last game at Ayresome) I don’t remember a game until Ravanelli rattled home his debut hat trick against Liverpool when I was 9 in my first match as a season ticket holder.
It’s a funny old game.