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Staff steal anniversary match

Middlesbrough Football Club’s Riverside Stadium was the venue for a special match to celebrate Teesside University’s 80th anniversary.

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Play on the ParkPlay on the Park

The 90-minute Play on the Park football match saw a team of Teesside University staff take on a team of graduates.

The 32 players were selected in a random draw after a call went out for potential team members.

The first player to hit the back of the net was Josh Bonathan from the staff team, who scored the first goal 22 minutes into the game.

Josh, a school assistant in the School of Health & Social Care, said: 'I’ve been a Boro season ticket holder for eight years, since the age of 11, so I was really pleased to play at the Riverside. It felt great to score the first goal and I’m going to display the shirt I wore up on my wall at home.'

Fellow staff team member Gerry Burton, a technician in the School of Science & Engineering, said: 'I’ve been a Middlesbrough supporter since 1968 when Stan Anderson was the manager. It’s been a fantastic experience playing this match. It’s something I’d always dreamed of doing.'

The final score was 4-3 to the staff team. Ian Vaughan, goalkeeper from the staff team, was named Man of the Match.

Ian, who works in Campus Facilities, is a lifelong Boro fan. He said: 'I started going to games in 1970 and I’ve always dreamed of being able to put on a Boro shirt. I’ve taken part in the half-time penalty competition at the old Ayresome Park ground before, but it’s been really special to be able to play in this match.'

The staff team, who wore the red Boro home kit, was managed by Richard Bowden, who works in the University’s sports and recreation unit. The graduate team, wearing the light blue Boro away kit, was managed by Tony Clapham, student activities officer in the Student’s Union.

Among graduate team players was David O’Connell, originally from Great Broughton, who graduated with a BA (Hons) Marketing in 2002. He went on to set up a recruitment company with his brother Edward. He said: 'It’s not every day that you get the opportunity to have a kick-about at the Riverside Stadium. It’s been awesome playing on this pitch.'

Abingdon Primary School pupils Aleeza Mansha and Faizan Hussain were the team mascots. Abingdon is a participating school in the University’s Meteor programme, which aims to inspire pupils to think about further and higher education.

Each player received a personalised official Middlesbrough FC strip, a certificate and DVD of match highlights. The University’s Vice-Chancellor Professor Graham Henderson presented medals and a trophy to the winning team.

The match was organised by the University’s alumni relations team. Proceeds from the event will go to the University’s 80th Anniversary annual fund.

Raffle winners
The raffle winners from the Play on the Park raffle were:
1st prize (signed Middlesbrough FC pennant) William Robertson, ticket no. 0347
2nd prize (tour of Riverside Stadium) Dawn Kennedy, ticket no. 0362
3rd prize (signed Middlesbrough FC ball), Janet Smith, ticket no. 1168
4th prize (signed Middlesbrough FC home shirt), Zen Lenton, ticket no. 1073
Bonus prize (Teesside University neck tie), Katrina Savage, ticket no. 1074
Bonus prize (Teesside University tie), Janet Smith, ticket no. 1170

19 May 2010

In the News

What a score!
Evening Gazette, 05/06/2010, p.35
Teesside University staff and former students were given an opportunity to play on the pitch at Middlesbrough Football Club's Riverside Stadium. The match was organised as part of celebrations to mark