AFC Bournemouth v Middlesbrough: Winger Cooke's memories of 1987 title showdown

GOALSCORER: Trevor Aylott netted from the penalty spot against Boro in 1987

GOALSCORER: Trevor Aylott netted from the penalty spot against Boro in 1987

First published in Sport by

IN every season of success there are watershed moments.

Some just happen, a match on which the tide gets turned before a push for unparalleled glory, but Cherries’ date with destiny in 1987 was more obvious – everyone had the sense something special could happen on Tuesday, March 3.

Having clambered to the Division Three summit with a 3-0 success over York City three days previously, Harry Redknapp’s title-chasing charges were faced with the league’s big guns, Middlesbrough.

While more than 300 miles separate the two towns, the gap was a mere three points heading into the pivotal Dean Court clash which attracted in excess of 13,000 paying punters.

Ninety fraught minutes later, Cherries had taken a giant stride towards the second tier as Mark Newson’s powerful far post finish, Sean O’Driscoll’s thundering effort via the underside of the crossbar and Trevor Aylott’s coolly converted penalty sealed a 3-1 victory.

Cherries moved six points clear and never relinquished top spot on their way to the championship.

Wing wizard Richard Cooke had joined the party from Tottenham Hotspur in January. He netted the opener in a 3-0 win over another promotion rival, Notts County, on his debut, but the Boro match was always the one which stuck in his mind.

“It was one of the biggest crowds Dean Court had seen for many years,” recalled Cooke. “I remember thinking before the game that we were really moving on to another level.

“Middlesbrough were doing well at the time and had some outstanding talent like Gary Pallister and Tony Mowbray at the back, Colin Cooper as well.

“Traditionally, Bournemouth was not considered a big club like Middlesbrough and for us to beat a high-profile team with their top players was really good for our confidence.

“We did really get at them from the off. Night games were always great at Dean Court and with that sort of crowd it just felt like no one could stop us, we were heading in the right direction and that was that.”

How apt, then, that Cherries could make more history against the very same opponents tomorrow afternoon.

On the back of three straight victories with clean sheets, a fourth against Boro would break the club’s second tier record with Cooke adamant the current crop are destined for bigger things.

Cooke, now a 48-year-old black cab driver, took in Cherries’ 5-0 hammering of Doncaster Rovers 13 days ago and added: “There were so many similarities to our side in terms of the determination. They probably had more flair than we did but collectively, they looked very good.

“I can really see Bournemouth pushing for the Premier League within the next five years. With the backing the club has now, if the players can stick together there is no reason why they can’t push on.”

Comments (16)

Please log in to enable comment sorting

7:06pm Fri 14 Mar 14

abc100 says...

Loved Cookie, a proper winger, got the ball skint the fullback got to the line and put in good crosses, scored a few too,
Loved Cookie, a proper winger, got the ball skint the fullback got to the line and put in good crosses, scored a few too, abc100
  • Score: 14

7:46pm Fri 14 Mar 14

steve518 says...

Remember that game as if it was only last year.
Remember that game as if it was only last year. steve518
  • Score: 9

8:59pm Fri 14 Mar 14

r&bman says...

Night games at DC in the new stand magic Willo and Cookie and the team LEGENDS .
Night games at DC in the new stand magic Willo and Cookie and the team LEGENDS . r&bman
  • Score: 12

9:45pm Fri 14 Mar 14

wiltshireboy says...

What a game watched it from the South End with My son Kevin and His mate Dave H, Who still has got a season ticket at The Goldsands.
What a game watched it from the South End with My son Kevin and His mate Dave H, Who still has got a season ticket at The Goldsands. wiltshireboy
  • Score: 6

9:47pm Fri 14 Mar 14

Verwoodcherrry says...

Was in the South end that nigh like Sardinedsin a tin 14k at DC. Been to many grounds over the years inclyding st. Bridge, Highbury etc and even camp nou, would still say that was the best atmosphere of the lot.
Was in the South end that nigh like Sardinedsin a tin 14k at DC. Been to many grounds over the years inclyding st. Bridge, Highbury etc and even camp nou, would still say that was the best atmosphere of the lot. Verwoodcherrry
  • Score: 4

9:49pm Fri 14 Mar 14

Verwoodcherrry says...

Verwoodcherrry wrote:
Was in the South end that nigh like Sardinedsin a tin 14k at DC. Been to many grounds over the years inclyding st. Bridge, Highbury etc and even camp nou, would still say that was the best atmosphere of the lot.
Ps. Excuse the grammar, lol.
[quote][p][bold]Verwoodcherrry[/bold] wrote: Was in the South end that nigh like Sardinedsin a tin 14k at DC. Been to many grounds over the years inclyding st. Bridge, Highbury etc and even camp nou, would still say that was the best atmosphere of the lot.[/p][/quote]Ps. Excuse the grammar, lol. Verwoodcherrry
  • Score: 0

6:56am Sat 15 Mar 14

Wilkie says...

Nice to hear from cookie. There was always a buzz when he received the ball.
Nice to hear from cookie. There was always a buzz when he received the ball. Wilkie
  • Score: 3

7:21am Sat 15 Mar 14

Nat1234 says...

Wilkie wrote:
Nice to hear from cookie. There was always a buzz when he received the ball.
Cookie was a good signing from spurs . And wasn't it a good cross from morrel to make the winning goal . Also wasn't palister playing for them ? Good luck for today lads ..
[quote][p][bold]Wilkie[/bold] wrote: Nice to hear from cookie. There was always a buzz when he received the ball.[/p][/quote]Cookie was a good signing from spurs . And wasn't it a good cross from morrel to make the winning goal . Also wasn't palister playing for them ? Good luck for today lads .. Nat1234
  • Score: -2

9:27am Sat 15 Mar 14

matt68 says...

Verwoodcherrry wrote:
Was in the South end that nigh like Sardinedsin a tin 14k at DC. Been to many grounds over the years inclyding st. Bridge, Highbury etc and even camp nou, would still say that was the best atmosphere of the lot.
totally agree met a boro fan at euro88 he went to the game and said the atmosphere was electric their fans could not believe it he said it was best atmosphere at any ground that season, they were still queing at hallf time they let them in for free at brighton beach end which was all home fans packed i think the crowd was more like 17000
[quote][p][bold]Verwoodcherrry[/bold] wrote: Was in the South end that nigh like Sardinedsin a tin 14k at DC. Been to many grounds over the years inclyding st. Bridge, Highbury etc and even camp nou, would still say that was the best atmosphere of the lot.[/p][/quote]totally agree met a boro fan at euro88 he went to the game and said the atmosphere was electric their fans could not believe it he said it was best atmosphere at any ground that season, they were still queing at hallf time they let them in for free at brighton beach end which was all home fans packed i think the crowd was more like 17000 matt68
  • Score: 2

9:56am Sat 15 Mar 14

rednblack37 says...

Loved watching Cookie flying down the wing, so strong for such a little bloke! Meat and drink crosses for the man mountain Trevor Aylott.
Loved watching Cookie flying down the wing, so strong for such a little bloke! Meat and drink crosses for the man mountain Trevor Aylott. rednblack37
  • Score: 0

9:58am Sat 15 Mar 14

rednblack37 says...

matt68 wrote:
Verwoodcherrry wrote:
Was in the South end that nigh like Sardinedsin a tin 14k at DC. Been to many grounds over the years inclyding st. Bridge, Highbury etc and even camp nou, would still say that was the best atmosphere of the lot.
totally agree met a boro fan at euro88 he went to the game and said the atmosphere was electric their fans could not believe it he said it was best atmosphere at any ground that season, they were still queing at hallf time they let them in for free at brighton beach end which was all home fans packed i think the crowd was more like 17000
These days they'd would lock them out and say 'tough' rather than let them in for free!
[quote][p][bold]matt68[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]Verwoodcherrry[/bold] wrote: Was in the South end that nigh like Sardinedsin a tin 14k at DC. Been to many grounds over the years inclyding st. Bridge, Highbury etc and even camp nou, would still say that was the best atmosphere of the lot.[/p][/quote]totally agree met a boro fan at euro88 he went to the game and said the atmosphere was electric their fans could not believe it he said it was best atmosphere at any ground that season, they were still queing at hallf time they let them in for free at brighton beach end which was all home fans packed i think the crowd was more like 17000[/p][/quote]These days they'd would lock them out and say 'tough' rather than let them in for free! rednblack37
  • Score: 2

10:51am Sat 15 Mar 14

stevobath says...

matt68 wrote:
Verwoodcherrry wrote:
Was in the South end that nigh like Sardinedsin a tin 14k at DC. Been to many grounds over the years inclyding st. Bridge, Highbury etc and even camp nou, would still say that was the best atmosphere of the lot.
totally agree met a boro fan at euro88 he went to the game and said the atmosphere was electric their fans could not believe it he said it was best atmosphere at any ground that season, they were still queing at hallf time they let them in for free at brighton beach end which was all home fans packed i think the crowd was more like 17000
Definitely more than 14,000!
Best atmosphere for a match at DC, I've ever been to. Better than the Man Spew FA Cup game even.
I lost my voice!
[quote][p][bold]matt68[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]Verwoodcherrry[/bold] wrote: Was in the South end that nigh like Sardinedsin a tin 14k at DC. Been to many grounds over the years inclyding st. Bridge, Highbury etc and even camp nou, would still say that was the best atmosphere of the lot.[/p][/quote]totally agree met a boro fan at euro88 he went to the game and said the atmosphere was electric their fans could not believe it he said it was best atmosphere at any ground that season, they were still queing at hallf time they let them in for free at brighton beach end which was all home fans packed i think the crowd was more like 17000[/p][/quote]Definitely more than 14,000! Best atmosphere for a match at DC, I've ever been to. Better than the Man Spew FA Cup game even. I lost my voice! stevobath
  • Score: 2

11:23am Sat 15 Mar 14

mossy 1 says...

stevobath wrote:
matt68 wrote:
Verwoodcherrry wrote:
Was in the South end that nigh like Sardinedsin a tin 14k at DC. Been to many grounds over the years inclyding st. Bridge, Highbury etc and even camp nou, would still say that was the best atmosphere of the lot.
totally agree met a boro fan at euro88 he went to the game and said the atmosphere was electric their fans could not believe it he said it was best atmosphere at any ground that season, they were still queing at hallf time they let them in for free at brighton beach end which was all home fans packed i think the crowd was more like 17000
Definitely more than 14,000!
Best atmosphere for a match at DC, I've ever been to. Better than the Man Spew FA Cup game even.
I lost my voice!
It seemed everyone and their dog went to this game,people who hadn`t been for years and many first timers amongst my workmates.If I remember the kick-off was delayed by 15mins and definately opened the gates to allow fans stuck outside to get in for free so attendance much higher than the official one.Certainly one of the best atmospheres at DC especially after the third `killer` goal.
[quote][p][bold]stevobath[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]matt68[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]Verwoodcherrry[/bold] wrote: Was in the South end that nigh like Sardinedsin a tin 14k at DC. Been to many grounds over the years inclyding st. Bridge, Highbury etc and even camp nou, would still say that was the best atmosphere of the lot.[/p][/quote]totally agree met a boro fan at euro88 he went to the game and said the atmosphere was electric their fans could not believe it he said it was best atmosphere at any ground that season, they were still queing at hallf time they let them in for free at brighton beach end which was all home fans packed i think the crowd was more like 17000[/p][/quote]Definitely more than 14,000! Best atmosphere for a match at DC, I've ever been to. Better than the Man Spew FA Cup game even. I lost my voice![/p][/quote]It seemed everyone and their dog went to this game,people who hadn`t been for years and many first timers amongst my workmates.If I remember the kick-off was delayed by 15mins and definately opened the gates to allow fans stuck outside to get in for free so attendance much higher than the official one.Certainly one of the best atmospheres at DC especially after the third `killer` goal. mossy 1
  • Score: 1

12:46pm Sat 15 Mar 14

abc100 says...

mossy 1 wrote:
stevobath wrote:
matt68 wrote:
Verwoodcherrry wrote:
Was in the South end that nigh like Sardinedsin a tin 14k at DC. Been to many grounds over the years inclyding st. Bridge, Highbury etc and even camp nou, would still say that was the best atmosphere of the lot.
totally agree met a boro fan at euro88 he went to the game and said the atmosphere was electric their fans could not believe it he said it was best atmosphere at any ground that season, they were still queing at hallf time they let them in for free at brighton beach end which was all home fans packed i think the crowd was more like 17000
Definitely more than 14,000!
Best atmosphere for a match at DC, I've ever been to. Better than the Man Spew FA Cup game even.
I lost my voice!
It seemed everyone and their dog went to this game,people who hadn`t been for years and many first timers amongst my workmates.If I remember the kick-off was delayed by 15mins and definately opened the gates to allow fans stuck outside to get in for free so attendance much higher than the official one.Certainly one of the best atmospheres at DC especially after the third `killer` goal.
There were some very dubious official attendances at old dean court, cash on the gates and no matter what it was always 4500, we all still say it now when someone says how many you reckon are here today "4500"!!!!!!
[quote][p][bold]mossy 1[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]stevobath[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]matt68[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]Verwoodcherrry[/bold] wrote: Was in the South end that nigh like Sardinedsin a tin 14k at DC. Been to many grounds over the years inclyding st. Bridge, Highbury etc and even camp nou, would still say that was the best atmosphere of the lot.[/p][/quote]totally agree met a boro fan at euro88 he went to the game and said the atmosphere was electric their fans could not believe it he said it was best atmosphere at any ground that season, they were still queing at hallf time they let them in for free at brighton beach end which was all home fans packed i think the crowd was more like 17000[/p][/quote]Definitely more than 14,000! Best atmosphere for a match at DC, I've ever been to. Better than the Man Spew FA Cup game even. I lost my voice![/p][/quote]It seemed everyone and their dog went to this game,people who hadn`t been for years and many first timers amongst my workmates.If I remember the kick-off was delayed by 15mins and definately opened the gates to allow fans stuck outside to get in for free so attendance much higher than the official one.Certainly one of the best atmospheres at DC especially after the third `killer` goal.[/p][/quote]There were some very dubious official attendances at old dean court, cash on the gates and no matter what it was always 4500, we all still say it now when someone says how many you reckon are here today "4500"!!!!!! abc100
  • Score: 1

1:23pm Sat 15 Mar 14

twynhamob says...

That was one very good night, and yes there was definitely many more than the official attendance, however, (maybe cos I am a little older) the best atmosphere ever generated at DC was the 3-0 win over Villa back in the very early 1970's. As for the real turning point in that memorable '87 season, I think the holiday games versus Fulham & Swindon playing & winning with all our strikers out. Only get to watch AFCB on the highlight show now but I do have the sense that this current team has many of the same qualities of Harry's memorable team. Good luck for the remainder of the season, safety is assured. I'm off to watch Thiery Henry & Tim Cahill as the New York Red Bulls are now my local team (120miles each way) but real football is scarce here. Cheers to the many friends I made in the old South-End from 69-93.
That was one very good night, and yes there was definitely many more than the official attendance, however, (maybe cos I am a little older) the best atmosphere ever generated at DC was the 3-0 win over Villa back in the very early 1970's. As for the real turning point in that memorable '87 season, I think the holiday games versus Fulham & Swindon playing & winning with all our strikers out. Only get to watch AFCB on the highlight show now but I do have the sense that this current team has many of the same qualities of Harry's memorable team. Good luck for the remainder of the season, safety is assured. I'm off to watch Thiery Henry & Tim Cahill as the New York Red Bulls are now my local team (120miles each way) but real football is scarce here. Cheers to the many friends I made in the old South-End from 69-93. twynhamob
  • Score: 2

5:08pm Sat 15 Mar 14

stevobath says...

mossy 1 wrote:
stevobath wrote:
matt68 wrote:
Verwoodcherrry wrote:
Was in the South end that nigh like Sardinedsin a tin 14k at DC. Been to many grounds over the years inclyding st. Bridge, Highbury etc and even camp nou, would still say that was the best atmosphere of the lot.
totally agree met a boro fan at euro88 he went to the game and said the atmosphere was electric their fans could not believe it he said it was best atmosphere at any ground that season, they were still queing at hallf time they let them in for free at brighton beach end which was all home fans packed i think the crowd was more like 17000
Definitely more than 14,000!
Best atmosphere for a match at DC, I've ever been to. Better than the Man Spew FA Cup game even.
I lost my voice!
It seemed everyone and their dog went to this game,people who hadn`t been for years and many first timers amongst my workmates.If I remember the kick-off was delayed by 15mins and definately opened the gates to allow fans stuck outside to get in for free so attendance much higher than the official one.Certainly one of the best atmospheres at DC especially after the third `killer` goal.
That game sticks out as my favourite at DC with Fulham away as a fantastic day out, the same season!
I also loved the last home game against Sheffield Utd, when we were promoted from the old 4th Div, when Dave Webb was manager in '83.
I'm sure that season we had the best defence in all 4 Divisions but due to lots of draws, we went up only in 4th place.

Well hopefully we will be challenging for promotion within the next few seasons? UTCIAD
[quote][p][bold]mossy 1[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]stevobath[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]matt68[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]Verwoodcherrry[/bold] wrote: Was in the South end that nigh like Sardinedsin a tin 14k at DC. Been to many grounds over the years inclyding st. Bridge, Highbury etc and even camp nou, would still say that was the best atmosphere of the lot.[/p][/quote]totally agree met a boro fan at euro88 he went to the game and said the atmosphere was electric their fans could not believe it he said it was best atmosphere at any ground that season, they were still queing at hallf time they let them in for free at brighton beach end which was all home fans packed i think the crowd was more like 17000[/p][/quote]Definitely more than 14,000! Best atmosphere for a match at DC, I've ever been to. Better than the Man Spew FA Cup game even. I lost my voice![/p][/quote]It seemed everyone and their dog went to this game,people who hadn`t been for years and many first timers amongst my workmates.If I remember the kick-off was delayed by 15mins and definately opened the gates to allow fans stuck outside to get in for free so attendance much higher than the official one.Certainly one of the best atmospheres at DC especially after the third `killer` goal.[/p][/quote]That game sticks out as my favourite at DC with Fulham away as a fantastic day out, the same season! I also loved the last home game against Sheffield Utd, when we were promoted from the old 4th Div, when Dave Webb was manager in '83. I'm sure that season we had the best defence in all 4 Divisions but due to lots of draws, we went up only in 4th place. Well hopefully we will be challenging for promotion within the next few seasons? UTCIAD stevobath
  • Score: 1

Comments are closed on this article.

Send us your news, pictures and videos

Most read stories

Local Info

Enter your postcode, town or place name

About cookies

We want you to enjoy your visit to our website. That's why we use cookies to enhance your experience. By staying on our website you agree to our use of cookies. Find out more about the cookies we use.

I agree