Tag Archives: Bryan Robson

Premier League Files: Rob Earnshaw

Premier League Career: West Bromwich Albion (2004-2006), Derby County (2007-2008)

Rob Earnshaw remains the only player to have scored a hat-trick in the Premier League, all three divisions of the Football League, the FA Cup, the League Cup and at international level for Wales. Earnshaw enjoyed goalscoring royalty at Cardiff City and his goals were crucial to West Bromwich Albion avoiding relegation in dramatic fashion in 2004-2005.

Although he played for Wales at international level, Earnshaw was born in Zambia. His mother was a professional footballer and later became a boxer whilst his father worked in the mines. The family moved to Malawi when Rob was five but in 1990, his father contracted typhoid fever and suddenly died. His mother, Rita, decided to move the family to a small Welsh town in the south of the country where her sister lived. Growing up in school, he supported Manchester United and excelled at PE, especially at gymnastics, basketball and football.

Earnshaw joined Cardiff City’s YTS scheme in 1997 and a year later, he turned professional. After making his debut in the first-team at the age of just 16, Earnshaw was loaned out to Scottish side Morton in January 2000 by the Cardiff boss at the time, Frank Burrows. Earnshaw later admitted the experience of going out on-loan made him a better player and showed him he needed to work hard.

From 2000 to 2004, Earnshaw broke several club records as he became a prolific goalscorer for Cardiff. He scored a number of hat-tricks in Division Three, Division Two and Division One and made the Football League PFA Team of the Year in two successive years. His prominence in finding the back of the net meant he received plenty of attention from numerous clubs in the summer of 2004. Interest came from Aston Villa, Charlton Athletic and Scottish giants Celtic. Cardiff owner Sam Hammam even went on to say if he was sold: “They would hang me in the city centre.” However, he was eventually sold to West Bromwich Albion for £3.5 million. In fact, after leaving Cardiff in 2004, Earnshaw’s total transfer fees came to a figure of £12.65 million.

It took some time for Rob to adjust to the higher level of football. He didn’t score for the club until his seventh appearance which was a brace in a 2-2 draw away at Southampton. However, he regularly found the back of the net once he’d broken his duck for the Baggies. Among the 14 goals he did net in 2004-2005 were vital goals to earn draws for West Brom away at Arsenal and Manchester United. In March 2005, he arrived into the game at The Valley against Charlton Athletic with an hour gone and the scoreline locked at 1-1. Earnshaw completed his feat of scoring a hat-trick in all major professional football levels in 30 minutes and also became the first Albion player to score a treble in the Premier League era.

Despite helping the club retain their Premier League status, manager Bryan Robson often used him as a substitute, much to his chagrin. In December 2005, he submitted two transfer requests which were both rejected but eventually, he left The Hawthorns to seek first-team opportunities elsewhere. Championship club Norwich City signed him on transfer deadline day in January 2006 as a replacement for Dean Ashton, who’d gone to West Ham United. After scoring 19 times in the 2006-2007 campaign for the Canaries, Derby County broke their transfer record to sign him in June 2007 for £3.5 million following their promotion back to the Premier League.

His season at Pride Park was a nightmare, just like the team. He was in-and-out of the side and didn’t score for the club until an FA Cup defeat to Preston North End in January 2008. His sole Premier League goal for the Rams came in a 6-2 defeat to Arsenal and was left out of the squad on the final day of the season as Derby accepted bids from Nottingham Forest and Sheffield United for his services. His Premier League career was over.

It was Forest who won the race to sign Earnshaw that summer and his figures of 35 goals in 98 league appearances between 2008 and 2011 were decent, though nowhere near the figures he enjoyed in his fruitful first spell at Cardiff. He returned to the Bluebirds for a less productive second spell in 2011 before winding down his career with periods at Maccabi Tel-Aviv, Toronto FC, Blackpool, Chicago Fire and Vancouver Whitecaps.

After retirement in 2016, Earnshaw stayed on in Vancouver as a youth coach before being announced as an assistant coach for USL side Fresno FC ahead of their first-ever season. As a player for Wales, he scored 16 goals, winning 59 caps. Currently, he is the seventh-highest all-time goalscorer in Wales’ international history.


Seasonal Stories: Middlesbrough (1995-1996)

The Riverside years start

After two seasons away, Middlesbrough were back in the Premier League for the 1995-1996 season and also, set to welcome a new home with the state-of-the-art Riverside Stadium ready for action. This was an opportunity for Boro to go and become an established force under the guidance of ex-Manchester United midfield marvel, Bryan Robson.

Middlesbrough finished in 12th position despite an alarming run in the winter months and settled in well into their new surroundings. The signing of the Brazilian Player of the Year, Juninho also attracted plenty of attention from the supporters on Teeside.

Bringing Barmby in

Middlesbrough had dominated the First Division in 1994-1995 and won the title with plenty to spare. Manager Bryan Robson brought in three new signings. He used his contacts from his Manchester United days to bring in Gary Walsh, who had become frustrated playing second-fiddle to Peter Schmeichel at Old Trafford.

The big deal though was a club-record fee that was paid to Tottenham Hotspur to bring in midfielder Nick Barmby. His £5.25 million transfer surprised many considering how important he had been to Tottenham’s improvement in the previous season.

Middlesbrough top-flight return began with the first live Sky Sports fixture of the season away at Highbury against Arsenal. There was plenty of attention on the two major Arsenal signings, David Platt and Dennis Bergkamp but neither got much of a look-in and it was Middlesbrough’s new recruit who stole the show. On his return to north London, Barmby opened the scoring and although Ian Wright equalised before half-time, the 1-1 draw was a fair result.

A Riverside carnival

The Taylor Report, which required all stadiums in the top division to become all-seater meant Ayresome Park, Middlesbrough’s home couldn’t be expanded further due to its location in a residential area.

Work started on a new stadium in the autumn of 1994 and The Riverside Stadium (the name chosen by the fans) was ready for the start of the new season. 28,286 spectators were there for its first match and the first goalscorer in the new stadium was Craig Hignett after being set-up by Barmby. Jan Aage Fjortoft scored the second as Middlesbrough beat Chelsea 2-0 to make the perfect start in their new home.

In fact, Middlesbrough made a seriously good start to their Premier League return. They lost just one of their opening 10 matches and that was a narrow 1-0 loss on Tyneside to local rivals and early pacesetters, Newcastle United.

That run also included a five-game winning sequence. Hignett was proving to be a real focal point and matchwinning penalties were enough for 1-0 wins over Sheffield Wednesday and Queens Park Rangers. The win over the latter took Middlesbrough into the dizzying heights of fourth position in the table and another carnival was set to take place days later with the introduction of a new Brazilian.


1 Newcastle United 10 9 0 1 26 7 +19 27
2 Manchester United 10 7 2 1 21 11 +10 23
3 Arsenal 10 6 3 1 15 5 +10 21
4 MIDDLESBROUGH 10 6 3 1 11 4 +7 21
5 Liverpool FC 10 6 2 2 18 8 +10 20
6 Nottingham Forest 10 5 5 0 18 11 +7 20

Welcome Juninho

Brazilian midfielder Juninho was being tracked by numerous European clubs after his performances in the international team. So, it was a major surprise to see Middlesbrough win the race to his signature. Boro paid Sao Paulo £4.75 million for his services. He was welcomed to the club in a carnival atmosphere where a piece of Brazil seemed to have landed in Teeside.

There was plenty of hype around Juninho’s debut which came in early November. The match with Leeds United finished in a 1-1 draw and Juninho made an instant impact by setting up the opening goal in the 11th minute for Fjortoft to convert. His skills, tricks and pace wowed the supporters and he scored his first goal in his sixth appearance for the club in a 4-1 home win over Manchester City.

Although Middlesbrough’s unbeaten home record did end in November with a 1-0 defeat to Tottenham Hotspur, they toppled Liverpool FC days later 2-1, thanks to goals by Neil Cox and Barmby who continued to justify the price tag Robson had paid for him in the summer.

By Christmas, Middlesbrough had lost just four times in the Premier League and were in the shakeup for a UEFA Cup qualifying position alongside the likes of Arsenal, Aston Villa and Nottingham Forest.

Boxing Day brought about a reality check and a real shock with a poor display on Merseyside – losing 4-0 to Everton. It started a horrendous run of form that saw the Teesiders plummet down the table.

A painful winter

The Everton defeat began a worrying run of 13 matches without a victory. There was a real lack of a goalscoring touch too with Boro scoring just five times in this period and one of those was an own goal from Newcastle United defender John Beresford.

In that period was a run of eight successive defeats which was among one of the worst sequences of the entire Premier League season. The nadir was a horrendous performance at Stamford Bridge in early February, losing 5-0 to Chelsea with Gavin Peacock scoring a hat-trick. By mid-March, Middlesbrough had dropped to 13th in the table. Luckily, the form of the teams below them was not great so there was still a nine-point cushion to the bottom three.

36 points had been garnered already and a 1-0 victory at the end of March over Leeds United thanks to a spot-kick by Graham Kavanagh eased any lasting concerns. A week later, Fjortoft scored twice in a 3-1 Good Friday win at home to Sheffield Wednesday and Middlesbrough finished in 12th place which was a respectable position on their return to the top-flight.

Robson knew though work was required in the forward line. Only Southampton and relegated Manchester City scored fewer goals than Middlesbrough in 1995-1996 and he began to search for a new forward that summer. A flamboyant Italian would arrive and the next 12 months were going to be among the most dramatic and heartbreaking in the club’s history.

FINAL 1995-1996 TABLE – 11TH TO 16TH

11 Chelsea 38 12 14 12 46 44 +2 50
12 MIDDLESBROUGH 38 11 10 17 35 50 -15 43
13 Leeds United 38 12 7 19 40 57 -17 43
14 Wimbledon 38 10 11 17 55 70 -15 41
15 Sheffield Wednesday 38 10 10 18 48 61 -13 40
16 Coventry City 38 8 14 16 42 60 -18 38

Seasonal Stories: West Bromwich Albion (2004-2005)

Defying history  

The 2004-2005 Premier League campaign saw a fascinating battle to preserve top-flight status. On Christmas Day 2004, West Bromwich Albion were bottom of the table and looking in dire straits. No side before them had escaped relegation from this perilous situation. However, the Baggies made history and survived on an epic last day.

Megson departs

West Bromwich Albion were about to embark on their second Premier League campaign in the summer of 2004. Relegated in their debut season, the Baggies had made an instant return, finishing runners-up to Norwich City in the First Division. Once again, it was Gary Megson who would be in-charge of the men from The Hawthorns.

£5 million was invested into the squad in the summer transfer window. Rob Earnshaw came in for £3 million from Cardiff City, whilst former Nigerian international Kanu bolstered the striking options further, joining after his contract had expired at Arsenal.

The season started solidly enough with three successive 1-1 draws against Blackburn Rovers, Aston Villa and Tottenham Hotspur. However, it wasn’t until early October until a maiden victory in the season arrived. High-flying Bolton Wanderers arrived in the Midlands sitting in fourth position but they were beaten 2-1 after a week where the first signs of rifts within the dressing room and the manager had been reported in the press. Summer arrivals Kanu and Zoltan Gera got the goals in the victory over the Trotters. It ensured West Brom were the first newly-promoted club to win in the campaign.

Despite the win, relations between Megson and owner Jeremy Peace were straining towards breaking point. Shortly after the Bolton victory, Megson announced that he would not sign a new deal if offered one by the club and he would leave his post as manager at the end of the season. Three days after a 3-0 away defeat to relegation rivals Crystal Palace, he left the club by mutual consent.

After Frank Burrows steered the club through a couple of games in caretaker charge, Bryan Robson was appointed as Megson’s permanent successor, taking the post on 9th November.

Giving, not receiving

Robson’s first game in charge was against one of his former clubs in Middlesbrough. After scoring his first two goals in the 2-2 draw away at Southampton, Earnshaw scored his first home Premier League goal for the club. However, Kanu’s unbelievable miss from virtually a couple of yards out in the closing stages meant Middlesbrough went away from the Midlands with all three points.

Earnshaw was in a purple patch of form and he found the target again a week later in a very respectable 1-1 draw away at champions Arsenal. That hard-fought point at Highbury though was followed by five successive defeats, beginning with a 3-0 home defeat to Manchester United. With other sides near the bottom finding some form, West Brom plummeted to the foot of the table.

The festive season performances were the stuff of nightmares. A demoralising 4-0 loss to local rivals Birmingham City ensured West Brom would go into Christmas Day propping up the table. That result was followed by a shambolic display at home to a Liverpool FC side on Boxing Day that had won only once on the road all season. John Arne Riise scored twice and Florent Sinama-Pongolle achieved a rare Premier League goal as Liverpool left The Hawthorns with a 5-0 victory and kept the hosts marooned to the bottom of the league.

Although Richard Dunne’s late own goal earned a point at Manchester City to finish 2004, Robson was yet to win a game at the helm as manager. They were bottom of the table going into 2005 and with no club previously having avoided relegation after being bottom on Christmas Day, the club’s Premier League future looked very bleak.


15 Blackburn Rovers 20 3 10 7 19 32 -13 19
16 Fulham 20 5 3 12 22 35 -13 18
17 Crystal Palace 20 3 6 11 20 31 -11 15
18 Norwich City 20 2 9 9 17 36 -19 15
19 Southampton 20 2 8 10 18 32 -14 14
20 WEST BROMWICH ALBION 20 1 8 11 16 42 -26 11

Market moves

The opening of the January transfer window saw the chance for Robson to strengthen his squad. He brought in the experience of Kevin Campbell from Everton. His goals had saved the Toffees from relegation in 1999 and he certainly knew how to find the back of the net from his Arsenal days.

The promising midfielder Richard Chaplow was added from Burnley and Kieran Richardson joined on-loan from Manchester United. All three would play a part in this great escape. After 13 games without a win, Robson’s side recorded a 2-0 home win against Manchester City, with Campbell scoring on his home debut and Ronnie Wallwork getting a vital second in the closing stages.

Wins followed over Birmingham City and Charlton Athletic in March. At The Valley, Earnshaw scored a tremendous second half hat-trick to become the first player to score trebles in all four English divisions, the FA Cup, the League Cup and at international level for Wales. The 4-1 away victory at Charlton would turn out to be West Brom’s solitary away win of the season. However, this was the day when their fans really started to believe they could pull off the impossible.

Another win came at the start of April. Gera’s second half header steered the Baggies to a 1-0 win over Everton and took them off the foot of the table with Norwich replacing them as the basement club.

Survival Sunday

Defeats away to Middlesbrough and at home against Arsenal put Albion on the brink again as the final month of the season approached. Form continued to fluctuate between the Baggies, Crystal Palace, Norwich and Southampton. The Canaries put together a run of four wins and a draw in six games to lift themselves out of the relegation zone going into the final round of games.

Danny Higginbotham’s stoppage-time equaliser for Southampton ensured the points were shared at Selhurst Park with Crystal Palace. Later that evening, Earnshaw’s 11th Premier League goal of the season from the penalty spot earned Robson and West Brom a precious point at Old Trafford against Manchester United. For the first time in Premier League history, no side had been relegated before the final day of the season. ‘Survival Sunday’ was on.

Only Norwich had control of their situation. A win for them at Craven Cottage would relegate the other sides but they were beaten 6-0 by Fulham. That made relegation a certainty for the Canaries. Defeat at home to Manchester United meant Southampton would join them so that meant it was a straight shootout for survival between West Brom and Crystal Palace.

Albion had a winnable game at home to Portsmouth and after a nervy first half; they got the win they needed to have any chance of staying up. Seconds after arriving as a substitute, Geoff Horsfield scored the opening goal before Richardson ensured a 2-0 victory. They now needed a favour from Charlton at The Valley against Crystal Palace. With eight minutes left, Jonathan Fortune scored a dramatic equaliser for Charlton to make the scoreline 2-2 and push Palace into the drop zone. Despite their best efforts, the visitors’ couldn’t find the crucial winner they required.


15 Blackburn Rovers 38 9 15 14 32 43 -11 42
16 Portsmouth 38 10 9 19 43 59 -16 39
17 WEST BROMWICH ALBION 38 6 16 16 36 61 -25 34
18 Crystal Palace 38 7 12 19 41 62 -21 33
19 Norwich City 38 7 12 19 42 77 -35 33
20 Southampton 38 6 14 18 45 66 -21 32

When the full-time whistle went in London, the party could begin at The Hawthorns with memorable scenes as fans invaded the pitch to greet and carry their heroes off the field. Robson had achieved a remarkable feat. No team in history before had been bottom on Christmas Day and survived.

Relegation would follow the following season and again in 2009 under Tony Mowbray. It was only when Roy Hodgson succeeded Roberto Di Matteo in February 2011 that their reputation as a yo-yo club ended. West Brom enjoyed an eight-year spell in the Premier League before suffering a fourth Premier League relegation in 2018. Whatever West Bromwich Albion will achieve in their future, it will have to go some to beat this remarkable tale of survival achieved in 2004-2005.

The Clubs: Middlesbrough

All-Time Premier League Record

Played Won Drew Lost Scored Conceded Goal Difference Points No of Seasons
574 165 169 240 648 794 -146 661 14


Most Premier League Appearances

Player Appearances Total
Mark Schwarzer 332
Stewart Downing 211
Robbie Mustoe 197
George Boateng 181
Gareth Southgate 160
Colin Cooper 159
Steve Vickers 155
Franck Queudrue 150
Curtis Fleming 146
Ugo Ehiogu 126


Most Premier League Goals

Player Goals Total
Juninho 30
Hamilton Ricard 30
Mark Viduka 26
Yakubu 24
Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink 23
Szilard Nemeth 23
Alen Boksic 22
Brian Deane 18
Stewart Downing 18
Massimo Maccarone 18


Biggest Premier League Victories

Match Date Season
Middlesbrough 8-1 Manchester City 11th May 2008 2007-2008
Middlesbrough 6-1 Derby County 5th March 1997 1996-1997
Middlesbrough 5-1 Derby County 3rd November 2001 2001-2002
Middlesbrough 5-1 Tottenham Hotspur 3rd May 2003 2002-2003
Middlesbrough 5-1 Bolton Wanderers 20th January 2007 2006-2007
Middlesbrough 4-0 Coventry City 7th September 1996 1996-1997
Middlesbrough 4-0 Sheffield Wednesday 3rd October 1998 1998-1999
Middlesbrough 4-0 Derby County 13th January 2001 2000-2001
Blackburn Rovers 0-4 Middlesbrough 16th October 2004 2004-2005
Middlesbrough 4-0 West Bromwich Albion 23rd April 2005 2004-2005


Worst Premier League Defeats

Match Date Season
Arsenal 7-0 Middlesbrough 14th January 2006 2005-2006
Middlesbrough 1-6 Arsenal 24th April 1999 1998-1999
Chelsea 5-0 Middlesbrough 5th February 1996 1995-1996
Everton 5-0 Middlesbrough 17th February 1999 1998-1999
Middlesbrough 0-5 Chelsea 18th October 2008 2008-2009
Aston Villa 5-1 Middlesbrough 17th January 1993 1992-1993
Liverpool FC 5-1 Middlesbrough 14th December 1996 1996-1997
Arsenal 5-1 Middlesbrough 20th November 1999 1999-2000
Portsmouth 5-1 Middlesbrough 15th May 2004 2003-2004
Chelsea 4-0 Middlesbrough 3rd April 1993 1992-1993



Manager No of Seasons managed Left the Club
Lennie Lawrence 1 19th May 1994
Bryan Robson 5 6th December 2000
Terry Venables 1 12th June 2001
Steve McClaren 5 11th May 2006
Gareth Southgate 3 20th October 2009
Aitor Karanka 1 16th March 2017
Steve Agnew 1 9th June 2017


Highest Home Attendances

Match Date Attendance Figure Season
Middlesbrough 0-0 Liverpool FC 22nd November 2003 35,100 2003-2004
Middlesbrough 2-0 Norwich City 28th December 2004 34,836 2004-2005
Middlesbrough 1-0 Newcastle United 5th March 2003 34,814 2002-2003
Middlesbrough 0-0 Leeds United 26th February 2000 34,800 1999-2000
Middlesbrough 1-1 Sunderland 6th November 1999 34,793 1999-2000
Middlesbrough 1-0 Liverpool FC 21st August 1999 34,783 1999-2000
Middlesbrough 3-4 Manchester United 10th April 2000 34,775 1999-2000
Middlesbrough 1-0 Tottenham Hotspur 7th May 2005 34,766 2004-2005
Middlesbrough 2-0 Liverpool FC 20th November 2004 34,751 2004-2005
Middlesbrough 1-0 Liverpool FC 9th November 2002 34,747 2002-2003



Middlesbrough have featured in 14 Premier League seasons and have often been an entertaining side. Their debut season was at Ayresome Park which ended with relegation but moving into The Riverside Stadium in August 1995 gave them the platform to become a regular mid-table team. A controversial relegation in 1997 did set them back but Boro bounced back quickly and remained in the elite until 2009. The fans have had the likes of Juninho, Fabrizio Ravanelli, Gazika Mendieta and Yakubu to enjoy during the Premier League Years.



Middlesbrough had won promotion in the previous season to become among the 22 founder members of the Premier League. They started well, winning four of their first seven games including a 4-1 victory over reigning champions Leeds United. A 1-0 loss to Crystal Palace just before the New Year though saw the club go into freefall from a mid-table position. They won just three matches after the turn of the year, collecting a meagre 10 points from 54. They were relegated on the penultimate weekend and finished second-bottom, five points adrift of safety.



This was a record-breaking season for Middlesbrough off-the-pitch. They moved into their new state-of-the-art Riverside Stadium and beat Chelsea in their first match at the ground in August 1995. Two months later, player-manager Bryan Robson managed to persuade the Brazilian Footballer of the Year Juninho to join the club which briefly turned the town into scenes that matched the colourful Rio carnival!

In late October, Middlesbrough peaked in fourth place after beating Queens Park Rangers 1-0 but they couldn’t keep up with their early tempo. An eight-game losing sequence saw Robson’s side plunge down the table but they still finished a creditable 12th, five points above safety.



In the summer of 1996, Middlesbrough recruited heavily as they signed Brazilian midfielder Emerson and Champions League winning-forward Fabrizio Ravanelli. Ravanelli sparkled instantly with a hat-trick on his debut against Liverpool FC in a 3-3 draw. Boro lost just twice in the opening two months and sat fourth but a 12-game winless sequence followed which would be very damaging for the club’s survival prospects.

In deep relegation trouble before Christmas, Middlesbrough failed to fulfil a fixture away at Blackburn Rovers due to a severe injury and illness crisis. Blackburn were incensed at the postponement at such short notice and the FA sided with them. In January, Middlesbrough were docked three points and fell seven points adrift of safety.

They went on a decent run afterwards but a fixtures pile-up saw them run out of steam in the closing weeks, despite going unbeaten in their last four matches. A 1-1 draw on the final day against Leeds United condemned them to relegation, despite herculean efforts from Juninho. Had those three points not been docked, they would have survived.

Two cup final defeats added to the agony for the supporters in what was a rollercoaster season that ended with a very nasty bump.



After one season away, Middlesbrough returned to the Premier League in 1998-1999 and achieved their highest top-flight finish in over 20 years. Bryan Robson’s side started very well and even enjoyed a 3-2 victory at Old Trafford over Manchester United in December which meant they were sitting in fourth place on Christmas Day. They lost just three games at The Riverside Stadium all season and claimed a final finishing position of ninth, drawing 15 of their 38 matches.



Although Middlesbrough fell three positions in the final standings compared to 1998-1999, they achieved one more point to finish with a new Premier League high of 52 points. Three wins from their first four games had Boro into the dizzy heights of second spot. They couldn’t quite maintain that position and even fell as low as 16th after a 4-0 loss on Valentine’s Day 2000 to Aston Villa.

A strong run of just two losses from their final 12 matches took the Teesiders clear of any relegation danger. For the second successive season, Hamilton Ricard was the top goalscorer for the club, scoring 12 times.



The 2000-2001 season was a frustrating one for Bryan Robson, Steve Gibson and everyone connected with Middlesbrough. Eight defeats in nine games saw Boro hit bottom spot in the table in mid-December and Gibson decided to act. He brought in former England boss Terry Venables to joint-manage the team alongside Robson. It worked as Middlesbrough recovered to finish 14th, despite just four home victories all season. A 3-0 away victory over Arsenal was the highlight of the campaign – a result that handed the 2000-2001 championship to Manchester United.



This was Steve McClaren’s first season in-charge of Middlesbrough after he left his post as Sir Alex Ferguson’s assistant at Manchester United. Things didn’t start well as the club lost their first four Premier League matches. However, a 2-0 home victory over West Ham United started a much better run of form. Just two defeats in their next 11 games took the Teesiders away from danger. McClaren’s side beat Manchester United at Old Trafford on their way to a final finishing position of 12th.



In early October, Middlesbrough peaked in third place in the table. Early victories included a 3-0 triumph at White Hart Lane against Tottenham Hotspur. The summer arrivals of Geremi, George Boateng and Massimo Maccarone had made the team harder to beat. However, a 1-0 loss at Charlton started a dreadful run of form away from home, which saw them lose eight successive away matches without scoring.

A 5-2 home defeat to Aston Villa in late January saw McClaren go on a deadline day splurge, signing Michael Ricketts from Bolton Wanderers and the Derby County pair of Malcolm Christie and Chris Riggott. Middlesbrough eventually finished in 11th and beat Manchester United and Liverpool FC during the campaign. However, it was a slightly disappointing result given their bright start.



Middlesbrough made an appalling start to the 2003-2004 campaign, losing four of their first five matches and collecting just one point in that period. It looked like a patchy season ahead but an unbeaten eight-game sequence in the winter months took them away from danger. For the second successive season, Boro finished in 11th place so it was another mediocre league campaign.

It was a historic season though for the club. For the first time in their 128-year history, they claimed silverware, beating Bolton Wanderers 2-1 in the League Cup final.



With Middlesbrough about to embark on a European campaign, there was plenty of experienced arrivals with Ray Parlour, Mark Viduka and Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink among the summer acquisitions. The club enjoyed their best-ever Premier League season, finishing in seventh position.

They found themselves up against Manchester City on the final day of the season with a point required to secure European qualification via the league. In stoppage-time, City won a penalty but Mark Schwarzer saved the spot-kick from Robbie Fowler to seal the point required that earned the club another season in the UEFA Cup.



After five years and 250 matches’ in-charge in all competitions, Steve McClaren left his position as manager at the end of the season to fill the vacancy as boss of the England national team. His final game saw the team compete in their first-ever European final, losing 4-0 in the UEFA Cup final to Spanish club Sevilla.

The league season was a major disappointment, finishing in a lowly 14th position, hurt by a succession of injuries and deep runs in three cup competitions. There were home victories against Arsenal, Manchester United and Chelsea but also defeats to the three newly-promoted clubs.



Club captain Gareth Southgate was appointed as McClaren’s successor for his first job in club management. His first home match in-charge was a memorable 2-1 victory over Chelsea whilst one of their most impressive displays came in January as top-four contenders Bolton Wanderers were well-beaten 5-1. However, poor away form hampered the ability for the club to escape the reaches of mid-table. Boro achieved just two away successes and finished 12th, eight points off the European positions and also eight points clear of any relegation danger.



The 2007-2008 season saw Middlesbrough play in their 4000th league game when they played Reading in March. They broke their transfer record in January to sign Afonso Alves for £12 million. Middlesbrough finished in 13th position and unrest seemed to be around the camp with three permanent captains appointed during the season. George Boateng, Julio Arca and Emanuel Pogatetz all took it in turns to wear the armband in a fairly unremarkable campaign for results.



Middlesbrough started the 2008-2009 season with their first opening day victory in eight years as they defeated Tottenham Hotspur 2-1. Two wins from their first three games hinted at a more positive season in the Premier League. In mid-November, the club were sitting in the mid-table positions but a 2-1 away victory at Aston Villa was their last success in 14 games. A shock 2-0 win over title challengers Liverpool FC stopped that sequence at the end of February. However, relegation was looking more likely as the season developed and just one more victory was achieved with the club’s 11-year Premier League tenure ending on the final day of the season.



After several seasons in the doldrums in the Championship, Middlesbrough managed to win promotion back to the top-flight in 2016. However, it would turn out to be a very tricky and ultimately, unsuccessful return to the Premier League. Despite having a strong defensive record, the attacking line-up was blunted by a lack of creativity. Middlesbrough scored just 27 goals in 38 matches which was the fewest of any of the 20 clubs in the campaign.

A run of 10 games without a win saw Aitor Karanka sacked as manager in early March after a 2-0 defeat to Stoke. Steve Agnew took interim charge until the end of the season but he couldn’t revive their fortunes. Relegation back to the Championship was confirmed by a 3-0 loss to eventual champions Chelsea on 8th May 2017.

Premier League Files: Ronnie Wallwork

Premier League Career: Manchester United (1997-2001), West Bromwich Albion (2002-2003, 2004-2006)

Ronnie Wallwork is one of the fortunate players to have a Premier League title winners’ medal to his name. He made 12 appearances in the 2000-2001 season which meant he qualified for a medal as Manchester United cantered to their seventh league championship in nine seasons.

Having been capped four times by England’s Under-20 side in 1997, Wallwork was a player who did have the potential to go further but his career would take a dramatic fall from grace.

A lifelong Manchester United supporter, he joined the club as a trainee in July 1994 and signed professional forms less than a year later. He helped the Red Devils win the FA Youth Cup in 1995 and in 1996, was voted the club’s Young Player of the Year. Things were looking good for further progression.

By the start of the 1997-1998 season, Ronnie was a regular in the reserve teams at Old Trafford but needed to make a first-team breakthrough. He got his first experience of Premier League football in October 1997, replacing Gary Pallister as a 64th minute substitute in United’s 7-0 thumping of Barnsley. To further advance his education, he had loan spells over the next 18 months at Carlisle United, Stockport County and Manchester United’s feeder Belgian side, Royal Antwerp. It was whilst he was in Belgium that his first sign of a short temper became known.

After Antwerp lost a match to La Louviere which ended their hopes of promotion, Wallwork grabbed referee Amand Ancion by the throat. In the same incident, fellow United youth player and Antwerp colleague, Danny Higginbotham insulted the official. The Belgian FA took a dim view to both actions. Higginbotham was banned from football for a year whilst unbelievably; Wallwork was banned from playing in all FIFA-affiliated nations for life!  Antwerp secretary Rene Snelders was quoted as saying: “This is the equivalent of the death penalty.”

Whilst both actions were unacceptable, the sentencing was exceptionally harsh and after numerous appeals, both sentences were dropped down in length with Wallwork’s final penalty being a 12-month ban from all competitions in Belgium. After this messy incident, he got back to business with his parent club and made a breakthrough in the 1999-2000 season. Used largely as a defensive midfielder, he made seven appearances in the Premier League, just missing out on a title winners’ medal. The following season, he achieved the magical number required to get recognised for medals, finishing with 12 appearances but they were to be his last Premier League efforts. The signings of Juan Sebastian Veron and Laurent Blanc pushed Wallwork further down the pecking order and in the summer of 2002, he was released by his boyhood club.

In July 2002, he moved to West Bromwich Albion, becoming Gary Megson’s first signing after promotion to the Premier League. Sir Alex Ferguson had given his own high recommendation, saying Wallwork was the “best Bosman of the summer.” He played in 27 of Albion’s 38 Premier League matches in 2002-2003 which was a tough year personally for him after his mother passed away at the start of 2003. West Brom were relegated and after falling out of favour under Megson when the club were back in the First Division, he was loaned out to Bradford City in January 2004.

Bryan Robson was the Bradford manager at the time and he managed to add a few more goals to Wallwork’s game by playing him further forward in midfield. A broken toe sustained against Rotherham United cut short this period in Yorkshire but a four-goal return from seven appearances was impressive stats. So, when Robson succeeded Megson as West Brom manager in November 2004 with the club back in the top-flight, you could imagine Ronnie’s delight. He became an integral part of the team and started every single match from December onwards. In January 2005, he scored his first Albion goal to wrap up a 2-0 home victory over Manchester City which was Robson’s first victory as Baggies boss.

On the final day of the season, West Brom beat Portsmouth and with results going their way, they became the first club in Premier League history to be bottom at Christmas and still avoid relegation. He won Player of the Season recognition for his efforts and extended his contract in the process. There would be no happy ending though.

He played 31 games in the following season but West Brom were relegated for a second time in his stint with the Black Country club and he would be frozen out of proceedings when Robson left his position as manager. After surviving a stabbing incident at a Manchester nightclub in November 2006 which left him with wounds to his back, hand and stomach, he wound down his professional career with spells at Barnsley, Huddersfield Town and Sheffield Wednesday.

Wallwork’s fall from grace was complete in 2011 when he was charged with concealing criminal property in connection with offences relating to stolen cars. He was jailed for 15 months in December 2011 after pleading guilty to three counts of handling stolen cars.

It was an unsavoury end to a controversial career where a player never quite fulfilled his potential talent.

Premier League Files: Hamilton Ricard

Premier League Career: Middlesbrough (1998-2002)

Hamilton Ricard has become one of football’s globetrotters. His career has taken him across the world and he has played football in no fewer than nine different countries, including spells in Bulgaria, Japan, Ecuador, Cyprus and China.

Ricard first came to be noted for some impressive displays in the Colombian international setup, notably in the 1997 Copa America. He was the top scorer in the Colombia main club league in the same year with 36 goals. In March 1998, Middlesbrough manager Bryan Robson took a chance on him, signing him for £2 million. Ricard initially struggled to adapt to the physicality of English football and it took a while for fans to warm to him on Teeside.

However, he won them over with some impressive individual displays on Boro’s return to the Premier League in the 1998-1999 campaign. Ricard was the club’s top scorer with 15 goals. Highlights included an impressive brace in a 3-0 away win at Tottenham Hotspur in September 1998 and scoring inside 30 seconds of a 3-1 victory over Wimbledon in April 1999. That would remain the quickest goal scored by a Middlesbrough player at The Riverside Stadium for the next 11 years.

He amassed double figures again in the 1999-2000 campaign as Robson’s side comfortably established themselves as a mid-table team in the top-flight. Hamilton enjoyed playing at White Hart Lane. He added another two goals to his total on the north London ground in April 2000 as Middlesbrough won 3-2.

The 2000-2001 season was not his finest as the competition for striking places increased. The likes of Noel Whelan and Alen Boksic were now at the club and Ricard lost his automatic starting spot. There were still flashes of brilliance though. In January 2001, he scored one of the Goals of the Season in an FA Cup third round tie away at Valley Parade against Bradford City. Three months later, he scored the third goal to seal a surprising 3-0 victory over Arsenal which handed the championship title to Manchester United.

Steve McClaren’s arrival in the summer of 2001 saw Ricard fall further out of the first-team picture and he moved to CSKA Sofia on a free transfer. He scored 33 goals in 115 appearances during his four years at Middlesbrough and was crowned as the club’s Player of the Year in 1999.

Life has been tough since leaving England. In December 2002, he was involved in a car accident that killed a 17-year-old passenger and five years later, was sentenced to a prison sentence for the incident which he hasn’t served yet. He last played for Colombian club Cortulua in 2013.

The Clubs: West Bromwich Albion

All data correct upto 23rd February 2018

All-Time Premier League Record

Played Won Drew Lost Scored Conceded Goal Difference Points No of Seasons
445 109 126 210 465 680 -215 453 12


Most Premier League Appearances

Player Appearances Total
Chris Brunt 258
James Morrison 244
Gareth McAuley 203
Jonas Olsson 201
Ben Foster 198
Youssef Mulumbu 157
Claudio Yacob 157
Craig Dawson 142
Graeme Dorrans 121
Jonathan Greening 106


Most Premier League Goals

Player Goals Total
Peter Odemwingie 30
James Morrison 29
Chris Brunt 24
Saido Berahino 23
Salomon Rondon 21
Shane Long 19
Romelu Lukaku 17
Gareth McAuley 15
Youssef Mulumbu 12
Zoltan Gera 12


Biggest Premier League Victories

Match Date Season
Wolverhampton Wanderers 1-5 West Bromwich Albion 12th February 2012 2011-2012
West Bromwich Albion 4-0 Everton 19th November 2005 2005-2006
West Bromwich Albion 4-0 Sunderland 25th February 2012 2011-2012
West Bromwich Albion 4-0 Burnley 28th September 2014 2014-2015
West Bromwich Albion 4-0 Burnley 21st November 2016 2016-2017
Charlton Athletic 1-4 West Bromwich Albion 19th March 2005 2004-2005
Everton 1-4 West Bromwich Albion 27th November 2010 2010-2011
West Bromwich Albion 3-0 Middlesbrough 17th January 2009 2008-2009
West Bromwich Albion 3-0 Sunderland 25th April 2009 2008-2009
West Bromwich Albion 3-0 Blackburn Rovers 7th April 2012 2011-2012


Worst Premier League Defeats

Match Date Season
West Bromwich Albion 0-6 Liverpool FC 26th April 2003 2002-2003
Chelsea 6-0 West Bromwich Albion 14th August 2010 2010-2011
Fulham 6-1 West Bromwich Albion 11th February 2006 2005-2006
West Bromwich Albion 0-5 Liverpool FC 26th December 2004 2004-2005
West Bromwich Albion 0-5 Manchester United 27th January 2009 2008-2009
Birmingham City 4-0 West Bromwich Albion 18th December 2004 2004-2005
Middlesbrough 4-0 West Bromwich Albion 23rd April 2005 2004-2005
Chelsea 4-0 West Bromwich Albion 24th August 2005 2005-2006
Manchester United 4-0 West Bromwich Albion 18th October 2008 2008-2009
Sunderland 4-0 West Bromwich Albion 13th December 2008 2008-2009



Manager No of Seasons managed Left the Club
Gary Megson 2 26th October 2004
Bryan Robson 2 18th September 2006
Tony Mowbray 1 16th June 2009
Roberto Di Matteo 1 6th February 2011
Roy Hodgson 2 14th May 2012
Steve Clarke 2 14th December 2013
Pepe Mel 1 12th May 2014
Alan Irvine 1 29th December 2014
Tony Pulis 4 20th November 2017
Alan Pardew 1


Highest Home Attendances

Match Date Attendance Figure Season
West Bromwich Albion 2-0 Portsmouth 15th May 2005 27,751 2004-2005
West Bromwich Albion 0-3 Manchester United 27th November 2004 27,709 2004-2005
West Bromwich Albion 1-2 Manchester United 18th March 2006 27,623 2005-2006
West Bromwich Albion 0-2 Liverpool FC 1st April 2006 27,576 2005-2006
West Bromwich Albion 0-5 Liverpool FC 26th December 2004 27,533 2004-2005
West Bromwich Albion 2-0 Tottenham Hotspur 28th December 2005 27,510 2005-2006
West Bromwich Albion 1-4 Chelsea 30th October 2004 27,399 2004-2005
West Bromwich Albion 0-2 Arsenal 2nd May 2005 27,351 2004-2005
West Bromwich Albion 1-1 Tottenham Hotspur 25th August 2004 27,191 2004-2005
West Bromwich Albion 1-3 Manchester United 11th January 2003 27,129 2002-2003



Having been the ultimate yo-yo club of the first decade of the new millennium, West Bromwich Albion have become a stable Premier League side. 2017-2018 is their eighth successive campaign in the top-flight and they are usually a solid, organised side who keep a raft of clean sheets and are one of the best teams at scoring from set-pieces. However, their Premier League place is looking in serious doubt as we enter the final three months of the current campaign.



West Bromwich Albion’s debut campaign in the Premier League was one about learning for future experiences. Gary Megson had done brilliantly to guide them into the top-flight unexpectedly but their first season at England’s highest level since 1986 would end with a swift return to the First Division.

The big arrival over the summer was the £2.5 million acquisition of highly-rated midfielder Jason Koumas from Tranmere Rovers. After losing their first three matches, West Brom achieved three successive 1-0 victories over Fulham, West Ham United and Southampton. However, they would win just three more matches in the league and were relegated on Easter Saturday 2003, despite a rare away success at bottom-placed Sunderland.

Goalscoring was a major problem with their joint-top scorers in the league, Danny Dichio and Scott Dobie, managing just five goals.



The Baggies’ second Premier League adventure is one of the most dramatic in the league’s archives. Having earned an instant return at the first attempt of asking, Megson brought in 10 players in the close season; including Nigerian forward Kanu, Danish defender Martin Albrechtsen and hotshot forward Rob Earnshaw. The season started poorly though and after a 3-0 loss to Crystal Palace in mid-October, Megson resigned after falling out with the board.

Former player Bryan Robson was appointed as his successor but results didn’t improve. A 4-0 defeat to Birmingham, followed by a 5-0 drubbing at home to a Liverpool FC side that had won just once all season away from Anfield left them bottom at Christmas. No club had survived from this position in Premier League history.

Robson used the January transfer window to strengthen the squad. He signed Kevin Campbell, whose goals had saved Everton from relegation in 1999 and took Kieran Richardson on a loan deal from Manchester United. Both signings worked well and a 2-0 home win over Manchester City in mid-January saw them achieve only their second win of the season.

An improvement in form followed. Earnshaw scored a hat-trick off the bench in an impressive 4-1 away win at Charlton which was their first away success of the season before a Zoltan Gera header defeated Champions League-chasing Everton. West Brom had hope of ‘The Great Escape.’ Yet on the final day, they were still bottom of the table and had to win, whilst hoping results went their way.

They played Portsmouth and midway through the second half, substitute Geoff Horsfield scored with almost his first touch to put them infront. Richardson added a second goal to ensure the 2-0 victory they needed. Now, it was a case of waiting and hoping. Relegation rivals Norwich and Southampton both lost, whilst a late Charlton equaliser meant Crystal Palace’s 2-2 draw at The Valley was not enough.

Once the realisation dawned on the players and fans that survival had been achieved, a mass pitch invasion was sparked, with huge celebrations. West Brom had become the first team to ever survive in Premier League history having been bottom on Christmas Day.



The club were unable to repeat their escape act of 2004-2005. The squad wasn’t strengthened hugely during pre-season and despite home victories over Arsenal, Tottenham Hotspur and a 4-0 beating of Everton, West Brom won just seven league matches all season.

It looked like they might just avoid the drop again but Portsmouth’s tremendous run at the end of the campaign, coupled with no wins in their last 13 matches meant they slipped out of the top-flight. Robson would leave his post in September 2006.



West Brom returned to the Premier League for the 2008-2009 season with Scot Tony Mowbray now in-charge. They made a stronger start to the season, earning 10 points from their opening seven matches, including an away win at Middlesbrough with Jonas Olsson’s first goal for the club. A terrible run of two points from the next 10 games though saw them slip into familiar territory and despite a pre-Christmas 2-1 victory over Manchester City, West Brom were bottom again on Christmas Day.

This time, there would be no repeat of 2004-2005. Just four more victories were recorded and although they convincingly defeated Middlesbrough and Sunderland at home (3-0 on both occasions), their third Premier League relegation was confirmed on the penultimate weekend of the season, thanks to a 2-0 home defeat by Liverpool FC.

Mowbray left the club at the end of the season to take the managerial post at Celtic and he would be replaced by Roberto Di Matteo, who had guided Milton Keynes Dons to the League One play-offs.



Di Matteo guided West Brom back to the Premier League at the first attempt and there were very early promising signs. Nigerian forward Peter Odemwingie joined the club and became the first Baggies player to win the Premier League Player of the Month award for his exploits in September. This included a shock 3-2 away win at The Emirates Stadium over Arsenal.

They were also the only side all campaign to take a point from Old Trafford, coming from 2-0 down to draw 2-2 with Manchester United. That left them sixth in the table, before a winter collapse. 11 defeats in 16 matches saw them slide to 16th and just one point above the drop zone. After a 3-0 loss at Manchester City in early February, Di Matteo was placed on gardening leave and replaced by Roy Hodgson, who was available after his dire spell as Liverpool FC manager.

The club had the leakiest defence in the division on his arrival and priority number one was tightening this area up. Hodgson achieved this and five wins in the final three months, including a 2-1 success over his former employers from Merseyside ensured a comfortable end to the season. Somen Tchoyi’s final day hat-trick in the 3-3 draw with Newcastle United ensured an 11th place finish.



Hodgson broke West Brom’s transfer record in the summer of 2011 to acquire Shane Long from Reading for £7.5 million. Despite four defeats in their first five games, West Brom were never in danger of any relegation trouble. The highlight of an impressive season was a 5-1 demolition of Wolverhampton Wanderers at Molineux in February. Odemwingie scored a hat-trick in a result which remains the club’s biggest victory in the Premier League era.

For the first time, West Brom finished in the top 10 but Hodgson would not be staying. In late April, he was chosen as Fabio Capello’s successor to become manager of the England national team.



Roy’s replacement was rookie boss Steve Clarke, who made the step-up after serving as an assistant manager at Newcastle United, Chelsea and Liverpool FC. Clarke made a fantastic start, with Liverpool beaten 3-0 on the opening day. This was despite spending just £4 million in the summer and that was to make goalkeeper Ben Foster’s move from Birmingham City into a permanent transfer.

The signing of Romelu Lukaku on-loan from Chelsea was a masterstroke. The Belgian scored 17 times, including a final day hat-trick in Sir Alex Ferguson’s final match as a manager. West Brom showed great character to recover three-goal deficits and draw 5-5 in an incredible ending to their season.

They beat Chelsea at home for the second successive campaign and achieved a league double over Liverpool FC. This was their best-ever Premier League season, finishing eighth with a record-points total of 49 points and 14 wins.

The only sour note was Odemwingie’s desire to leave. An issue over contract talks saw him try to force a move through to Queens Park Rangers on transfer deadline day in January. He even stupidly turned up at QPR’s training ground car park, believing a deal had been agreed between the two clubs. It hadn’t and he was forced to return reluctantly to The Hawthorns. The fans didn’t forgive him and his time with the club was effectively over.



There were high hopes for a similar campaign in 2013-2014 but it didn’t materialise. Odemwingie was sold to Cardiff City but Clarke missed out on getting Lukaku again on-loan. The Belgian chose Everton on transfer deadline day.

The season started solidly and they hit the heights of 9th place after a 2-2 draw at Chelsea in November which was nearly a victory until a controversial penalty was awarded to the home side in stoppage-time. Four successive defeats though did for Clarke and he was sacked in mid-December after a 1-0 away loss to Cardiff.

After Keith Downing took over in caretaker charge during Christmas, Pepe Mel was the surprise choice as permanent boss. It didn’t work out. He won just three of his 17 matches in control, which included blowing big leads at home to both Cardiff and Tottenham Hotspur. West Brom finished just one position above the bottom three and Mel was sacked a day after the season concluded.

The highlight of the season was a 2-1 away win at Old Trafford over champions Manchester United.



Alan Irvine took over in the summer of 2014 but he didn’t last long. A run of poor results saw him dismissed two days before the year was out. Under his stewardship, West Brom won just four times although they did record one of their biggest Premier League victories; 4-0 over Burnley in September.

Irvine was replaced by Tony Pulis who immediately made the Baggies tougher to beat. They achieved 10 clean sheets in his 18 matches in charge and there were notable victories over Chelsea and Manchester United in the closing weeks of the season. West Brom finished in a fairly comfortable 13th place.

The form of Saido Berahino was impressive throughout. He scored 14 Premier League goals in the season but that would be the high of his time with the Midlands side. Like Odemwingie previously, his head would be turned by interest from other clubs.



Home wins against Arsenal and Manchester United were the highlights of an unremarkable 2015-2016 season for West Brom which saw them finish a place lower than the previous season and one point fewer too.

Pulis broke the club’s transfer record to sign Venezuelan international Salomon Rondon from Zenit Saint Petersburg whilst Jonny Evans was another key arrival from Manchester United. Rondon responded by finishing as the top scorer with nine goals whilst Evans played his part in a strong-minded and well-drilled backline.

To demonstrate their no-thrills approach, all of Albion’s 10 victories were achieved by a one-goal margin.



For only the third time, West Brom achieved a top-10 finish in the Premier League and it could have been eighth in the table. It was a position they held from a New Years’ Eve 2-1 success away at Southampton until the final week of the season when they were overtaken by the Saints and AFC Bournemouth to wind up 10th.

Pulis masterminded another home victory over Arsenal with their power from set-pieces being far too much for a fragile Gunners team to deal with. Craig Dawson scored twice in the 3-1 victory. Salomon Rondon scored eight times, including a hat-trick of headers to defeat Swansea City in December.

There was also a second successive 4-0 humbling of Burnley and a 2-1 away triumph at reigning champions Leicester City; a result which began to spell the end for Claudio Ranieri as Leicester boss.

Seven defeats from their last nine matches took the gloss off what was a fairly strong season for the club.



West Brom started the 26th Premier League campaign with two successive 1-0 victories over AFC Bournemouth and Burnley but that is as good as it has got so far. Pulis was sacked after a heavy 4-0 home loss to Chelsea in November and Alan Pardew has been unable to steady the ship.

Seven points adrift of safety with just 11 games left to play, time is running out for the club to protect their Premier League status.