Former Boro striker Jaime Moreno, a US Major League legend, is the latest name to commit to playing in the Gary Parkinson Benefit Match at the Riverside Stadium on Sunday May 15 (4pm).
Celebrities and sports stars will join former Boro players and the club’s shirt sponsor Ramsdens in support of former Boro defender Parkinson.
And Bolivian Moreno, whose wife Louise is from Parkinson’s Thornaby hometown, will cross the Atlantic to take part in the big game just a few months after hanging up his boots as the US Major League’s all-time top scorer.
Moreno played 35 times for Boro during two spells under Bryan Robson, helping the club to promotion on both occasions in 1995 and 1998, but it was with DC United in Washington that he became a Major League legend as the first player to achieve both 100 goals and 100 assists.
Curtis Fleming, who was a team-mate of both Parkinson and Moreno during his long career with Boro, said: “It is a fantastic gesture that Jaime is coming across to take part in the match in support of Parky.
“He is looking forward to seeing everyone again and is naturally excited that he’ll play at the Riverside for the first time in 13 years. We’re hoping that the involvement of so many former players will encourage the fans to turn out in force to support Parky.”
Others who have confirmed that will take part in the game include another of Parkinson’s former Ayresome Park team-mates, Alan Kernaghan, while his former Boro boss Bruce Rioch will manage the team.
The event will raise funds for Parkinson, who had a stroke last year and has been left with a condition called “Locked-in Syndrome”, which means he can only communicate through blinking his eyes.
The devastating condition leaves the sufferer in a state where he or she is aware and awake, but cannot move, speak or swallow, due to paralysis of the muscles.
Also taking part in the game will be several members from the Boro team of 1986, in which Parkinson starred, including Bernie Slaven, Colin Cooper, Stuart Ripley and Paul Kerr.
The match will also feature Riverside favourites Craig Hignett, John Hendrie, Steve Vickers, Curtis Fleming, Dean Gordon, Marlon Beresford, Alan Moore, Graham Kavanagh, Neil Maddison and Jason Euell, together with Ayresome Park stars Mark Proctor, Billy Ashcroft and Terry Cochrane. Gary's son, Luke, is set to wear his dad’s No 2 shirt.
A Boro XI will face a Ramsdens Celebrity XI, and full line-ups will be announced in the coming weeks.
Other team-mates from the side that won back-to-back promotions in 1987 and 1988 will also be there to show their support on the day, including Boro boss Tony Mowbray, keeper coach Stephen Pears, former England and Manchester United star Gary Pallister and Boro commentator Gary Gill.
The match is being organised by Middlesbrough Former Players Association and Boro fan Carl O’Hara in conjunction Middlesbrough FC and club sponsors Ramsdens.
Ramsdens CEO Peter Kenyon said the company was delighted to be able to support such a worthy cause.
“We are honoured to be involved with this event and would urge all fans to come along,” he added.
Tickets, priced £10 adults and £1 for Under-16s, are available now from the Riverside Stadium ticket office, MFC Official in Captain Cook Square, the nine Ramsdens shops across Teesside or by calling 0844 499 1234. Seats can also be purchased online.*
All profits from the match will go towards Gary’s family and the Gary Parkinson Trust Fund.
*Please note that it is initially planned for only the Riverside’s West Stand to be open, so Season Card holders are not able to book their usual matchday seats for the benefit match.