A devoted Boro fan and keen amateur photographer, Tom Collins took his camera to home games in the 1980s hoping that one day he would become a press photographer.
Eventually, Collins was taken on by the Hartlepool Mail and made the move to the other side of the ‘Chicken Run'. From there he snapped the highs and lows at Middlesbrough Football Club just as he had done from the stands.
In Art of Ayresome, Collins’ photographs transport us back to the mid-1980s and the years either side of the padlocking of the Warwick Street gates. The focus goes beyond the match action however, as Collins turns the camera on supporters in the stands. His photographs include jubilant fans during a pitch invasion and two Teesside schoolboys fulfilling their dreams in the half-time penalty competition. Although the 4-0 home win over Shrewsbury Town in 1987 is not one of Ayresome’s iconic matches, Collins has immortalised a magical moment in the lives of the penalty taker and goalkeeper.