Ken Stockill has been on a mission. Many people set themselves tasks during lockdown. Learn a language. Paint the kitchen. Relay the patio. Yes, we all had good intentions at the onset only to fall by the way side. Ken from Scarborough had staying power; he started so he was going to finish his mission. That quest was reading all 614 issues of Fly Me To The Moon from cover to cover. Last week he text me to say, I have finished. Top marks to that Boro fan.
This is how Ken described his task.
After sorting out all my programmes during lockdown, I decided to sort out all my Fly Me To The Moon fanzines. Once I realized they were all there (I think!) I thought I might as well read them again.
What I do know is the first one I bought was Issue 2 v Millwall? (Great game)
I'm not sure but I either bought it in a pub - probably the Empire, or from a seller somewhere along Linthorpe Road.
I mainly bought them in the early days from George at Boro Programmes in his original unit in Forbes Buildings, then obviously his shop on Parliament Road.
Since the shop sadly closed down I have occasionally badgered Rob for the odd back issue.
I first started going in the 87/88 season with a couple of mates who lived in Scarborough but were originally from Grangetown and Acklam. I bought a season ticket the following season and I’ve had one virtually every season since, certainly since 94/5.
During lockdown I just started reading Fly Me To The Moon season by season to pass the time with no football or pub to go to.
I also collect programmes, but only from games I've been to - apart from subscribing to the home games this season as a one-off collection. The only other sport I'm in to is cricket and I always get a test match programme. You don't really need to ask which county I follow.
I've lost track of the number of things I'd forgotten about as a Boro fan! One thing about following the Boro is, of course, the most important game is usually the last one of the season, so nothing gets written till August!
Talking of which as good as the Brighton promotion game was I still say Wolves in 92 was better, we played 60 games that season and the squad was pushed to the limit in April with all the games in hand. On the other side of the coin I've seen us relegated on my birthday at Leeds (nightmare) and as good as at St James in the only game that Shearer won. However, on my 40th the score was Middlesbrough 8 Man City 1.....
From Fly Me To The Moon I have always enjoyed Tees Tripper, I've even had the odd mention! Thinking about my own away trips, I was on the kop at Hillsborough on the last day in 89. Following the disaster, the away end was closed and Boro only had a really small 1000 or so allocation for a match we needed to win to stay in the old First Division. Having a Yorkshire accent came in handy that day.
I came back on the train with Peter Davenport’s wife. Which was better than another train journey back from a match in London where I was slagging off Neil Cox. A bloke that was sat at our table got off at Doncaster to catch his connection to Scunthorpe… his dad!
My favourite player still is Pearsy and I was well chuffed to bump into him at New Street station after that great win at West Brom last season.
Just by chance I entered the ground at Ostrava and Eindhoven (either end of the two season European adventure) with the same person – the one and only Frankie Bam Bam. It doesn't matter if your work mates laugh at your team from time to time - not one of them has been to a European final.
Reading back through the issues you can certainly tell how 'homemade' the early issues were. What I would say is that before the internet and social media, it was the only way to hear what other fans thought of the current season or good/bad spell we were going through.
Also, before our long spell in the Premier League every season seemed to have something hanging on the last few matches - there was so much to talk about that in the fanzines.
I've also bought quite a few books I didn't have on the back of all this fanzine reading. I've just read the Class of 86 (Alastair Brownlee and Gordon Cox) and next up is Ally Brownlee (Voice of the Boro) and then Willie Maddren Extra Time (Willie Maddren/Dave Allan).
I can't wait to get back to Riverside in August. To be honest I needed a break like most fans, I was on the verge of not renewing and I love doing German games as well now (47 grounds done!) I started missing a few home matches in 18/19 and 19/20 but God I need to see some football asap!