The financial problems that had been plaguing the club since the early 1980s came to a head in 1986 after relegation to Division 3 for only the second time in the club’s history.
In May 1986, Boro fans worst fears were realised when the provisional liquidator was brought in, and the famous Ayresome Park gates were locked.
As has been well documented, a consortium including Steve Gibson, Colin Henderson (ICI), Graham Fordy, Reg Corbridge (both Scottish & Newcastle) and Henry Moszkowicz stepped in and saved the club at the eleventh hour
It was too late for Ayresome to host the first league game, which took place at Hartlepool versus Port Vale, so just over a week later, the gates were unlocked and the first home game was, ironically, played against our temporary landlords in the League Cup.
The off field trials and tribulations were overwritten by the achievements on the pitch as the young side led by manager Bruce Rioch and captain Tony Mowbray achieved promotion back to Division 2 at the first attempt.
The penultimate match of the season was against Wigan Athletic at Ayresome Park, and a draw was all that was needed after rivals Swindon Town failed to win their game.
Boro dominated on the day, and though they couldn’t find a way through Wigan to win the game, a 0-0 draw and the final whistle sparked wild celebrations at the famous old ground.