Even among the regulars in Bruce Rioch's famous team of 1986, the name of Pears stands out. Agile and a brilliant shot-stopper, he is arguably the club's greatest-ever goalkeeper.

Initially brought in on loan for the 1983/84 season by Malcolm Allison after struggling to make an impression at Manchester United, Boro fans were desperate to have him permanently but the club couldn't afford the £80,000 deal.

It was always going to be hard for the County Durham lad to get a regular place at Old Trafford, and Willie Maddren - by then manager - finally got his man back to Teesside in the summer of 1985.

Even the storming displays of Pears in the doomed season of 1985/86 could not save the club from relegation.

But the double-promotion-winning effort that followed under Rioch owed a great deal to his superlative displays between the sticks, and he set a then-club record of seven consecutive clean sheets in 1987/88.

A wonder display in the FA Cup against Everton, a return after injury against Leicester in a performance he dedicated to his late father - memories of this great shot stopper are legendary.

Probably at his best in one-on-one situations with opposing forwards, Pears battled back from a freak injury sustained in 1991 in a game of beach football. He was exemplary in Boro's promotion to the inaugural Premier League, winning North East Player of the Year.

The keeper gained an England call-up in 1992 but sadly missed out on a cap due to breaking a cheekbone in a collision with Dion Dublin.

He was released in 1995, but not before a sell-out testimonial match where he notched the last-ever goal at Ayresome Park, scoring from the penalty spot.

Pears returned to Boro as a coach with our Academy, moving up to first team goalkeeping coach in 2007 - a role he held until 2013. He has since worked with Hartlepool United and Gateshead. His son Aynsley is part of our Under-23 development team.