1. ITV Report

Tributes paid to former Boro striker John O’Rourke

Photo: Richard Sellers/EMPICS Sport

Tributes have been paid to former Boro striker John O’Rourke who died on Thursday night aged 71.

Former Middlesbrough FC captain Gordon Jones said O'Rourke told him his happiest time was at Middlesbrough.

O’Rourke is best remembered by Boro supporters for the 30 goals he scored to help the club win promotion from the old Division Three in 1966-67 just 12 months after relegation.

He continued to score goals in Division Two before moving to IpswichTown. He later had spells with Coventry City, QPR, Bournemouth, RangersJohannesburg and Weymouth.

O’Rourke died in a hospital in Dorset after battling liver cancer.

Former Middlesbrough FC captain Gordon Jones, treasurer of Middlesbrough Former Players Association said:

I remember John coming to Middlesbrough and the impact he had. Raich Carter had been manager and signed a lot of Scottish players, a bit like Gordon Strachan did a few years ago.

“John was a great goalscorer. He wasn’t the sort who would run around all over the place, but he was very quick and had an eye for goal.

“He was also probably one of the first lads in football who was a male model. He used to do the catwalk, modelling men’s suits for the likes of Cecil Gee’s, a local menswear store, so we used to give him some unbelievable stick in the dressing room. But he was a good lad and took it all well.

“As many of us have from that era, we’d kept in touch all this time. He came up for a Middlesbrough game as my guest two years ago and it was just like old times. He said to me that of all the clubs he was at Middlesbrough was probably his happiest time.

“Everyone at Middlesbrough Former Players Association send their sympathies to John’s wife and family.”

– Former Middlesbrough FC captain Gordon Jones