Middlesbrough FC, known to all and sundry around their area as the Boro, have been regulars in the top two divisions of English football for a long time.
Situated in the north-east, Boro has a healthy rivalry with Newcastle United, Sunderland and even Leeds United. Although crowd numbers have dwindled quickly over the past decade or so.
Middlesbrough Football Club was formed back in 1876, quickly winning the FA Amateur Cup twice. The team then turned professional in 1889 for a time, then permanently from 1899.
By 1902 Middlesbrough had achieved promotion to the First Division. They stayed there for over 20 years, though did not win a major trophy. Eventually, bouncing around the top two to three divisions in the country for a long period in their history.
After a financial crisis threatened the club’s very future, they were able to sell some top players to raise funds. This meant they were ultimately promoted and began the new Premier League era as a top-flight club in 1992.
Under Bryan Robson from 1994 to 2001 and again under Steve McLaren from 2001-2006, Boro enjoyed cup finals and a European run. In 2017, relegation came again to what is now the Championship.
Middlesbrough FC’s Home Stadium
The Riverside Stadium, aptly named as it sits right on the banks of the River Tees on the edge of town, has been the home of Middlesbrough FC since it first opened back in 1995.
The Riverside has a capacity of 34,700 which is more than enough for the club’s current requirements, though permission remains in place to increase that to 42,000 should it be needed in the future.
Boro’s home from 1903 until the Riverside opened was Ayresome Park, however after the Taylor Report put forward a requirement for all top-end football stadiums to be all-seater it had to be expanded or replaced. Ayresome Park’s location meant this wasn’t possible, and so the Riverside Stadium project was started.
While thought of as one of English football’s “new” stadia, the Riverside already feels like it was designed and built in a bygone era.
Construction on the stadium began in autumn 1994 and it was ready to open for the 1995-96 season, costing £16million in total. That figure is around £31million in today’s money, so contrast that with the three years and the £1billion needed to build the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium and you see how things have changed!
Boro’s first game at their new home was also their first back in the Premier League following promotion, the hosts beating Chelsea 2-0 in front of 28,000 people and the Riverside has been the team’s home now for the past 25 years.
Boro’s Most Famous Players
Whether playing under Bryan Robson in the late-90’s or under Steve McClaren on their European adventure sometime later, Boro has had some impressive stars over the years.
Players of the calibre of George Boateng, Alen Boksic, Stewart Downing, Ugo Ehiogu, Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink, Paul Ince, Juninho, Massimo Maccarone, Fabrizio Ravanelli, Mark Schwarzer, Gareth Southgate, Mark Viduka and Bolo Zenden have all represented the club with great distinction.
Older fans will remember the likes of:
- Brian Clough
- Colin Cooper
- Wilf Mannion
- Tony Mowbray
- Robbie Mustoe
- Gary Pallister
- Nigel Pearson
- Stuart Ripley
- Bernie Slaven
While in recent years Britt Assombalonga, George Friend, Martin Braithwaite, Ben Gibson and Adama Traore have all been valuable to the club.
By far and away Middlesbrough’s biggest success was their League Cup win in 2004, the club’s only major trophy.
A 2-1 win for Steve McLaren’s side at the Millennium Stadium in Cardiff over Bolton Wanderers not only handed them the cup but also led to them competing in the UEFA Cup in 2004/05. Even reaching the final of the same competition a year later when beaten 4-0 by Sevilla in the final in Eindhoven.
Boro has never been champions in England. Their domestic league success having come by way of winning the second-tier title in 1927, 1929, 1974. In 1995 they were promoted to the top level.
The club has also filled the runners-up spot at the same level in 1998 and 2016, in the third tier in 1967 and 1987 as well as in the FA Cup in 1997 at the old Wembley.
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