For his creative and combative displays in the heart of our midfield, it’s no surprise that Sam McMahon became a big favourite with Boro’ fans. Joining in 1999 from Cambridge United, Macca made his debut in a 1-0 away win at Altrincham. Over the four years that followed, he’d easily bring up his century of appearances. But it could (and should) have been so much more had it not been for chronic injuries.
Macca was unlike many other midfielders we’d become used to during that particular era. His ability to put his foot on the ball and calmly pick out a pass was on another level. And it did much to win the hearts of the Boro’ faithful. Add tough tackling and a ‘never-say-die’ attitude to this vision and you can see why he remains in such high regard. It seemed he never gave less than 100% when wearing a Boro’ shirt.
So, it was a no-brainer to make him captain.
Sam McMahon: The Injuries
Unfortunately, he picked up two big injuries in his time with us. The second, ultimately, saw him head for the exit with his contract paid up. After tearing his cruciate ligament in his left knee during a game at Hereford, his time out was a long one and it wasn’t until the closing stages of the 2002-3 season that he could make a comeback. As is the case with this type of injury, it was a question of whether we’d get the old Sam back.
And we did. In fact, he proved his critics wrong with some storming displays in the middle of the park; playing his part in keeping us in the Conference. Some even say it was some of the best that many had ever seen him play in red and white. But this dedication would again lead to his downfall again; repeating the same injury on his right knee and forcing him out of first team contention until November 2003 at the earliest.
With fans already talking of his return to the team, Graham Westley shocked us all when he swiped his axe through the team; releasing Sam and three others from the club.
Sam McMahon: After Boro’
The departure of Sam McMahon in dubious circumstances where no-one really knows what happened left a sour taste in the mouth. The official “report” told us nothing about why he had been released and it wasn’t even deemed worthy of a page to itself; instead, fans were told officially that he had left in an ‘aside’ at the bottom of another story.
After his time with us, Macca went on to play for Burton Albion – although injuries again stopped the Brewers from getting the best out of him. Hinckley United, King’s Lynn and Stamford also felt the benefit of his talents before the curtain fell on his career.
With thanks to Thora