On this day in 1903, Ayresome Park was officially opened for the first time with a Division One match against Sunderland. 

After a nomadic first two decades of our history, Boro's Football League ambitions at the turn of the century presented the need for a new, permanent home.

Moving from Linthorpe Road, fans were delighted with a prime town centre location of the new Ayresome Park stadium, built at Paradise Field adjacent to the old Paradise Ground of Middlesbrough Ironopolis.

Such was the success of the ground constructed by Archibald Leitch, it would be Boro's home for over 90 years.

The club unveiled the venue with a prestigious friendly match against Scottish giants Celtic on September 1 1903. Around 7,000 supporters watched as a Willie White spot kick won Boro the game.

The official opening was a week later, on September 12, when local rivals Sunderland were the first visitors in competitive league meeting.

A special gold key, which the public had been able to view the previous week in the watch shop of director Thomas Gibson-Poole on Lower Linthrope Road, was used to open the gates and James Clifton Robinson, chief executive of the town's tram company, declared the ground open. An estimated 30,000 were in attendance as the Union Flag was hoisted and a brass band played the national anthem. 

At half-time in the historic match, the Teessiders were the happier as Boro led 1-0 thanks to the first league goal from captain Joe Cassidy. But in a rollercoaster second half, Sunderland took control and went on to win 3-2.

Boro soon settled into our new home and our first league win came on September 26, beating Small Heath (later Birmingham City) 3-1.

View our Art of Ayresome exhibition

*We're grateful to Boro fan David Harnby who sent us a copy of this postcard from his private collection.

A postcard from the opening game at Ayresome Park played between the Boro and Sunderland on September 12 1903