Although he spent less than 18 months on Teesside and left Middlesbrough more than 25 years ago, Dean Glover certainly made an impact on the North-East club.

Cult hero “Deano,” who recently came fourth in a poll for the club’s “all-time fan favourite,” was only narrowly beaten by Frank Queudrue, John Hickton and Uwe Fuchs.


Birmingham-born Glover grew up a Blues fan and was signed by rivals Aston Villa as a youngster. He made his debut in an FA Cup tie in January 1984. After six seasons and 39 appearances at Villa Park, Glover was sold by manager Graham Taylor following relegation from the First Division. He made his last appearance in a match against Manchester United, a 3-1 defeat at Old Trafford.


Glover fondly remembers his time at Villa. “I played with some cracking players,” he says. “Mark Walters and Brian McClair were in my group. It was brilliant to be part of it, even if we were on the outside looking in a bit.”


Upon joining Bruce Riochs’ Second Division, newly promoted Middlesbrough for £60,000 in the summer of 1987 and still wearing the number 2 shirt, Glover was moved from defence to midfield. He assumed the role of midfield hard man and chief penalty-taker, rarely missing. 


Glover became a crowd favourite almost immediately with his tough tackling, no-nonsense never-say-die attitude which the Boro faithful seem to love in a player.


He also endeared himself to Boro supporters after being sent off following an altercation with Sunderland Captain Gary Bennett in a cup tie at Roker Park in an early appearance.


Glover’s who sported a distinct flat-top hairstyle at the time was a virtual ever-present in his first season. It helped write his name into the history books as part of one of Boro’s favourite and most successful sides. Playing mostly in midfield, Glover broke up play alongside another crowd favourite, Scottish midfielder Gary Hamilton, sometimes reverting to defence.

This was a golden generation for Middlesbrough, local youngsters including Tony Mowbray, Gary Pallister, Colin Cooper, Stuart Ripley and Gary Parkinson all went on to play in the first team and have successful careers.

Alongside more experienced players like Bernie Slaven and Archie Stephens, Glover was a key player in an excellent Middlesbrough side that liked to play attractive football but could also mix it when necessary.


The 1987-88 season turned out to be one of the most memorable in the club’s history, following promotion and some exciting cup ties in which Glover played a part.

After a third-place finish, Middlesbrough beat Chelsea 2-1 in the playoffs over two legs. It climaxed in the now-infamous “Battle of the Bridge,” which saw Boro hang on to win on aggregate in a game marred by crowd trouble from Chelsea fans.


The season is also remembered for three great FA Cup ties against champions Everton, who took two replays to beat 2nd division Middlesbrough. Glover scored a decisive penalty at Goodison Park.


During the cup tie against Everton at Ayresome Park, an off-the-ball incident saw Glover give Everton and England tough guy Peter Reid a surprise knee to his rear end as the referee looked the other way.


The following season, with Boro back in the top flight, Glover played less regularly in a Boro shirt, with new signing Mark Brennan occupying the midfield spot alongside Hamilton.

Glover’s last league start for Boro came in a famous 1-0 victory against Manchester United at Ayresome Park in January 1989. Boro fans best remember the game for record-signing Peter Davenport scoring against his old club and a ferocious tackle from the Boro enforcer on United and England Captain Bryan Robson.

This endeared Glover to the Boro faithful even more. Chants of “Robbo’s scared of Deano” and “Deano, Deano, Deano!” echoed around Ayresome Park.


Glover’s final appearance for Boro came a week later, in a less-memorable FA Cup 3rd round “giant-killing” in a 2-1 defeat to 4th-division Grimsby Town at Ayresome Park.


After making only nine starts during the Dirst Division campaign of 1988-89, Glover was sold to Port Vale for £200,000. Glover appeared 61 times in a Boro shirt between 1987-89 scoring seven goals, before going on to achieve legendary status with his new club.


Reverting to centre back and being installed as captain, Glover was a regular for nine seasons for Vale. He helped the club to promotion through the playoffs, this time with an appearance at Wembley followed by two more visits. A football league trophy win in 1993, and defeat to Genoa in the Anglo Italian Cup in 1996. He also helped the Valiants to the club’s highest-ever finish of 8th place in the second tier of English football during the 1996-97 season.


Glover left Port Vale at the end of the 1997-98 season and was granted a testimonial match after nine years at Vale Park. A crowd of just over 5,000 gathered to watch Port Vale play his old club, Aston Villa.


After ending his career with Conference side Kidderminster Harriers and retiring at the end of the 1998-99 season, Glover returned to Port Vale as part of the first team coaching staff under Brian Horton.


Glover has also had spells as assistant manager, caretaker-manager and manager of Port Vale for the 2008-09 season. Glover recently returned to Vale as the youth team coach.

Dean Glover

Middlesbrough FC: 1987-1989


Goals: 7