On Sunday, Boro’ will be hosting a very important benefit game for a very important player – superstar striker Martin Gittings. You can almost ignore the visit of Swindon Town the day before. Based on our recent form and head-to-head against the Robins, that might be wise. Either way, the Martin Gittings Benefit Match will pit a Paul Fairclough XI versus Barry Fry’s Barnet All-Stars (ahem, XI). If that isn’t enough to whet the appetite, here’s why you should get yourself to the Lamex on Sunday…
Who is Martin Gittings?
Are you kidding?
OK, we know not all Boro’ fans were blessed to see Gitts in action. Even our editor didn’t start supporting the club until after the forward had moved on. But the name ‘Martin Gittings’ really should be etched into your minds. This is the man who turned out more than 380 times for us. That doesn’t quite put him in Ronnie Henry’s ranks. What does stand him apart, however, is the fact that he scored 217 goals in his time with us.
That obviously puts him top of the club’s all-time goalscorer list. Easily. Gitts has nearly scored more goals for Boro’ than Steve Morison, Carl Alford, and Barry Hayles put together. You could argue that he had more opportunities to do so because of the number of games he played for the club. Even if you want to choose that hill to die on, his return is still more than one goal in every two appearances. And to do that over 380-odd outings is mad.
And don’t forget that Gitts played for Boro’ when we constantly broke new boundaries. He was bagging goals even when we were first starting out in the Isthmian League (1984); as we went up a level in the Isthmian League (1986); as we rose through the Diadora League (1991, 1992, and 1993); and our debut Conference campaign. Boro’ constantly upped their game. And Gitts kept banging them in; a driving force behind our climb up the pyramid.
Now, you remember?
Who will be turning out in the benefit match?
This’ll be like a who’s who for both Boro’ and Bees fans.
Many of Martin’s team mates and contemporaries will be lining up under Cloughie’s all-knowing eye. You’ve got the likes of Richard Wilmot, Scott Cretton, Rob Trott, and Mark Smith keeping the Bees at bay. Up front, there’s Neil Trebble, Barry Hayles, and Gary Crawshaw to name three guys who know where the goal is. There are a couple of other stalwart names turning out. But it ain’t our place to spoil the surprise.
Plus the official site has the full lowdown if you want it.
Oh, we almost forgot Venners. How could we!
On the opposition side, there will be yet more familiar faces to delight you. The Nugents – Ben and Richard – for example. And there are a good few others who have turned out for both us and the Bees over the years.
Finally, keeping things in the family, Sam and Alan Gittings are also confirmed.
What is the benefit match in aid of?
Earlier this year, news emerged that Martin was suffering from an incurable, irremediable medical condition known as Multiple System Atrophy (MSA). It’s a condition that causes cells in the brain to deteriorate, which ultimately goes on to affect almost every part of the body. Martin now requires 24-hour care at home. And that’s why this game is taking place; to raise money for both caring for our record goalscorer and an MSA charity too.
How can I buy tickets?
Now, why wouldn’t you want to be there if you can be? It’s a tenner into the West Stand for the adults among you. For the U18s, it’s a fiver. Get your tickets from www.borotickets.co.uk today. As per the offy site, we should say that season ticket holders’ seats aren’t reserved for this. But that doesn’t matter, does it? It’s a celebration of a great man; a name who will never be budged from the top of the goalscoring tree. If he is, we’ll eat our hat.
And we have a large hat.
Keep up to date with developments via the Gitts Is Up Facebook page.