George Hardwick (Middlesbrough, Keith Maddison, 2000)

Photograph: Ian Stubbs

Gentleman” George Hardwick is remembered as one of the finest – if not the finest – Middlesbrough defenders of all time.

Born in Saltburn, Hardwick had an inauspicious debut for his local club, scoring an own goal (echoes of Woodgate at Madrid). However, he soon got over this blip and became not only the captain of his club, but also his country (Hardwick also captained the combined Great Britain team in a 6-1 victory over the rest of Europe).

Aside from over 300 matches for Middlesbrough and Oldham, Hardwick was a wartime sergeant in the RAF, coach for the Netherlands National Team and one of the best-liked players the game has seen.

When it came time to erect statues outside the Riverside, Hardwick was a natural choice. Keith Maddison’s statue (unveiled in 2000) was cast by Black Isle Bronze and stands in front of the iconic Ayresome Park gates.

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