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Published 5th Apr 2012

Back from the Brink

The final whilst is set to blow on a football exhibition that has attracted thousands of Boro fans to Middlesbrough’s Dorman Museum over the past three months.

Back from the Brink, an exhibition supported by the Heritage Lottery Fund, will close its doors for the last time on April 15 – so time is running out for supporters to see an exhibition that has already attracted well over 20,000 visitors.

Celebrating the ups and downs of Boro’s history, Back from the Brink has already been hailed as one the Dorman Museum’s most popular exhibitions in many years.

A number seven Boro shirt from goalkeeper Jim Platt’s 1981 testimonial game, which has been signed by the legendary George Best, proved to be one of the biggest attractions when it was added to the displays last month.

Fans have flocked to see Back from the Brink from the start, with Boro manager Tony Mowbray, former stars Gary Pallister, Bernie Slaven, Alan Peacock, Gordon Jones and Steve Vickers plus Boro fan and rock star Paul Smith all taking trips down Memory Lane.

Visitors from as far afield as Aberdeen, Brighton and London have taken a tour of the ‘memborobilia’, which features rare and unique Boro items, many loaned by fans, former players and Middlesbrough FC.

The exhibition is part of Middlesbrough 86, an exciting heritage, theatre and education project that is supported by a £42,900 grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF), with additional backing from MFC and Middlesbrough Council.

A series of activities has previously been held as part of the project, including the current Up the Boro exhibition at mima, exploring artists’ representations of the beautiful game. Other events taking place include the Middlesbrough 86 Roadshow paying visits to schools, youth clubs and community centres, plus author events, family activity days and a celebration football match.

Middlesbrough 86 Project coordinator Alan Spence said: “People’s passion for all things Boro has encouraged so many to contribute to Back from the Brink in so many different ways, helping to make it one of the most successful locally-based exhibitions the Dorman has ever had.”

Along with an England international cap awarded to the world’s first £1,000 footballer Alf Common, the display also includes Juninho’s match-worn boots, a Papal blessing for the great Wilf Mannion and an Ayresome Park turnstile.

Bernie Slaven’s seven match balls with which he scored Boro hat-tricks and Steve Vickers’ three cup final runners-up medals and a 1995 Football League championship medal also feature alongside artefacts dating back to the 19th Century.

The project is collecting fans’ Boro memories and volunteers will be at the museum to ask visitors to recollect tales from the club’s past, while supporters are encouraged to send their memories to the Middlesbrough 86 website at

Back from the Brink is open six days a week, 9.30am-5pm, closed Mondays, through to April 15. Entry is free.

Key supporters for the project include Middlesbrough FC, Middlesbrough Council, Teesside University, Fly Me to the Moon, the Co-operative Membership and Brian Debnam Associates.

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