Alan Pattullo's Euro 2020 diary: Boro legend Bernie Slaven's spat with local farmer

I can tell you there are not many Saltires flying in downtown Darlington in bars such as the Old English Gentleman. But there are some ties to Scotland to help the Scottish players, based at nearby Rockliffe Park , feel a lot more at home. Local club Middlesbrough have, for example, just rel...

Alan Pattullo's Euro 2020 diary: Boro legend Bernie Slaven's spat with local farmer

I can tell you there are not many Saltires flying in downtown Darlington in bars such as the Old English Gentleman. But there are some ties to Scotland to help the Scottish players, based at nearby Rockliffe Park, feel a lot more at home.

Local club Middlesbrough have, for example, just released their new kit. It has an imprint of the Transporter Bridge in the pattern. Despite Middlesbrough being known as a steel and bridges town, this particular structure was made by William Arrol of Glasgow – and also Tay and Forth Bridge fame - using Aberdeen granite for the foundations.

Bernie’s bust-up

Bernie Slaven: Him and the farmerBernie Slaven: Him and the farmer
Bernie Slaven: Him and the farmer

On the subject of Teesside icons with Scottish roots, it led the Diary to wonder what Boro legend Bernie Slaven is up to these days? A quick bit of research revealed the great man, who grew up in Glasgow but did of course win seven caps for Republic of Ireland, is currently in the local news for….having an ongoing spat with a local farmer. Yes of course he is.

Said farmer has ordered the former striker to stay off his land after claiming Slaven has been letting his two Red Setters run wild in a field of wheat. He has since put up a sign: “Bernie Slaven Private Land Keep Out”. It adds, cruelly: “If you’re in here, you’re offside – but that’s nothing new.” Seems a bit harsh on Bernie, who scored over 147 goals for Boro in a seven-year-spell at the club after signing from Albion Rovers.

Barnard Castle eyesight test

One option for an image of a local landmark to weave into the Darlington FC strip, should they wish to follow Middlesbrough’s lead, could be the nearby Barnard Castle of Dominic Cummings’ fame. You’ll recall the Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s former Chief of Staff took an unadvised trip there after being struck down by Covid-19 last summer. Thankfully there have been no reports to date of Scotland goalkeeper David Marshall having been spotted driving towards the market town, which takes its name from the castle, in order “to test my eyesight”.

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