Tag Archives: Middlesbrough

Memorable Matches: Middlesbrough 3-3 Tottenham Hotspur (December 2005)

Goalscorers: Robbie Keane 25, Yakubu 30, 43, Jermaine Jenas 63, Franck Queudrue 69, Mido 83

Teams:

Middlesbrough: Mark Schwarzer, Matthew Bates, Gareth Southgate, Ugo Ehiogu, Franck Queudrue, George Boateng, Doriva, James Morrison (Massimo Maccarone 89), Fabio Rochemback, Marc Viduka, Yakubu

Tottenham Hotspur: Paul Robinson, Lee-Young Pyo, Michael Dawson, Ledley King, Paul Stalteri, Michael Carrick, Edgar Davids, Jermaine Jenas (Grzegorz Rasiak 81), Andy Reid (Jermain Defoe 56, Michael Brown 90), Robbie Keane, Mido

Referee: Howard Webb, Attendance: 27,614

The 27,614 crowd that turned up at the Riverside Stadium in December 2005 were given a pre-Christmas treat. Middlesbrough and Tottenham Hotspur produced a great spectacle and ultimately, a game which neither side deserved to lose.

Boro were having a tricky season under Steve McClaren. They had lost their last two Premier League games and were finding the juggling effect of Premier League and European matches tough to handle. Martin Jol’s Tottenham didn’t have that problem and they were challenging for a top-four finish alongside the top-flight’s usual suspects.

After a scrappy first 25 minutes, it was Jol’s side who took the lead. Lee-Young Pyo launched a deep cross into the box. Mark Schwarzer was challenged by Mido and under pressure, the goalkeeper lost the ball. Robbie Keane was in the right place at the right time. His strike wasn’t the cleanest but evaded three Boro defenders to score. Schwarzer looked at referee Howard Webb, feeling he had been impeded. In truth, it wasn’t his finest piece of goalkeeping.

Middlesbrough responded well though and by half-time, were leading 2-1. From a Gareth Southgate flick-on, Yakubu volleyed past Paul Robinson at the near post. He was the big summer arrival at the Riverside and returning an excellent goals tally. The Nigerian doubled his tally but in more fluky fashion. Academy graduate James Morrison was given space to run at the defence. He did just that, skipping past Michael Dawson’s tackle before releasing a shot. His effort took a wicked deflection off Yakubu and that gave the England no.1 goalkeeper no chance. Yakubu nearly had a hat-trick early in the second half. Only great reflexes from Robinson stopped him from walking home with the match ball. Morrison’s cross was met by a thumping header that was turned over the crossbar. It was a crucial save. Moments later, Spurs equalised. Jermaine Jenas produced a perfectly curled free-kick that comprehensively beat Schwarzer to level the scores.

With 20 minutes left, Middlesbrough regained the lead. Fabio Rochemback’s corner was met by a flying Franck Queudrue header. The ball hit the underside of the bar and bounced over the line. These were the days before goal-line technology but no doubts here – the linesman correctly awarded the goal. Robinson didn’t agree and was booked by Webb for his protests. However, Tottenham deserved something from the match and they got their point seven minutes from the end. Mido climbed the highest from a corner to defeat Schwarzer and ensure the points would be shared.

Both suffered heartache at the end of the season. Middlesbrough finished a disappointing 14th but went all the way to the UEFA Cup final before losing to Sevilla. Tottenham were pipped to a top-four finish on the final day of the campaign by north London rivals Arsenal.

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Premier League Rewind: 13th-14th April 2001

Results: Liverpool FC 1-2 Leeds United, Bradford City 2-0 Charlton Athletic, Manchester United 4-2 Coventry City, Arsenal 0-3 Middlesbrough, Aston Villa 2-1 Everton, Chelsea 1-0 Southampton, Ipswich Town 1-0 Newcastle United, Leicester City 1-2 Manchester City, Sunderland 2-3 Tottenham Hotspur, West Ham United 3-1 Derby County

The Easter weekend in April 2001 would ultimately turn out to be the decisive weekend where the destiny of the Premier League title race would be settled. In reality, there wasn’t much of a title race. Manchester United had made sure of that. Six weeks earlier, they’d battered closest rivals Arsenal 6-1 at Old Trafford. It wasn’t if, but when they wrapped up a seventh title in nine seasons.

On Easter Saturday, they received their first opportunity to wrap up the championship by kicking off at lunchtime at home to Coventry City. The Sky Blues’ were five points adrift of safety and desperate to start picking up points if they wanted to maintain their excellent top-flight record. They pushed their more illustrious opponents all the way and the score was 2-2 at half-time. Dwight Yorke and John Hartson had exchanged goals. The match was only decided in the last nine minutes. A looping Ryan Giggs header and Paul Scholes curler sealed United’s 4-2 victory. It meant that Arsenal had to win later that afternoon against Middlesbrough to keep the mathematical solutions going.

Arsenal hadn’t conceded in their last four matches and Middlesbrough were still not entirely safe of relegation yet. Many would have had home banker on their betting slips that afternoon but it wouldn’t play to the formbook. Brazilian pair Edu and Silvinho scored two own goals for Middlesbrough in four crazy first half minutes. Hamilton Ricard’s 58th minute strike sealed an unbelievable 3-0 victory at Highbury for Boro. Incredibly, they managed just one shot on target all afternoon. Arsenal’s hopes were mathematically over and Manchester United were champions yet again, ending the weekend 16 points clear with five games left to play.

The race to finish in third position had actually begun 24 hours earlier when Liverpool FC and Leeds United locked horns on Good Friday at Anfield. It was a Good Friday for Leeds who claimed a priceless win to make it four consecutive victories. Rio Ferdinand scored his first goal for the club and Lee Bowyer cashed in on some static defending to double the visitors’ lead before half-time. Liverpool rallied in the second half and Steven Gerrard reduced the deficit before being harshly sent off for two bookable offences. Defeat left Gerard Houllier’s side in sixth spot and six points off third place. They had games in hand but no more errors could be afforded now.

Incredibly, it was newly-promoted Ipswich Town that were holding down third spot and they continued to defy their critics who kept maintaining that they would fade away. Another three points were racked up on their tally against Newcastle United. It was Sir Bobby Robson’s first return to Portman Road as a manager since his memorable stint with the East Anglian side in the early 1980s. However, it ended unhappily for Robson as Nolberto Solano was sent off and Marcus Stewart’s penalty settled a fairly timid match.

Sunderland had been in the shake-up for much of the season but for the second campaign running, their form was starting to elude them just when European football beckoned on Wearside. They made an electric start against Tottenham Hotspur. Goals by Kevin Phillips and Niall Quinn had the home side 2-0 ahead inside of 12 minutes. However, Tottenham had other ideas, particularly central defender Gary Doherty. Playing as an emergency forward, Doherty scored twice in the last 15 minutes as Tottenham stormed back to win 3-2. That meant new manager Glenn Hoddle had chalked up two victories in three matches since succeeding George Graham in the post.

By contrast, whilst Tottenham were finding a bit of consistency, Leicester City were beginning to consistently lose matches. They were fifth after beating Liverpool FC 2-0 in early March but since then lost five straight games and dropped out of the top half. The latest damaging reverse came to relegation candidates Manchester City. Paulo Wanchope scored the pick of the goals in the visitors’ 2-1 win at Filbert Street.

Elsewhere, Gus Poyet took Chelsea into the top five with the winner at home to Southampton and Bradford City just about kept their mathematical prospects of beating the drop alive by defeating Charlton Athletic 2-0. The goals came from Robbie Blake and Benito Carbone. The win was only the fourth achieved all season by the Bantams’ but relegation confirmation would follow just a fortnight later.

What else happened in April 2001?

  • The Netherlands becomes the first country in the world to legalise same-sex marriage.
  • Former Yugoslavia president Slobodan Milosevic is to be tried on charges of war crimes after surrendering to special police forces.
  • The ‘Who Shot Phil?’ storyline reaches its conclusion in EastEnders. Lisa Shaw is revealed as the character that shot Phil in an episode watched by 20 million viewers.
  • Red Marauder wins the 2001 Martell Grand National at Aintree. Only two horses from the 40 starters complete the course.
  • Tiger Woods wins the US Masters at Augusta.
  • Channel 4 teatime quiz show Countdown celebrates its 3000th episode.
  • Mariah Carey signs a blockbuster contract with Virgin Records, worth $80 million for four albums.

Great Goals: Steven Gerrard – LIVERPOOL FC vs. Middlesbrough (April 2005)

In the closing weeks of the 2004-2005 campaign, Liverpool FC’s attentions were firmly on their historic UEFA Champions League run. Their league form had been inconsistent all season and they were a goal behind to Middlesbrough early on at Anfield.

For so long, it was skipper Steven Gerrard who would drag the Merseysiders back into matches. Gerrard scored many special goals in his career with the club. This was certainly in his top 10 at least. Spotted in space by John Arne Riise, Gerrard traps the ball and it sits up for him to launch a shot on goal. His dipping volley flies into the roof of the net, giving his future teammate Brad Jones no chance.

The match finished 1-1 but it was the platform for a historic month in Gerrard’s career which resulted in his mega individual display in the Istanbul final that helped Liverpool FC become Champions of Europe once again.

Seasonal Records: 1996-1997

For all the statistical fans out there, here are some of the season’s records from the 1996-1997 Premier League season, which saw the first ever points deduction for a team in the Premier League.

FINAL TABLE

Position Team P W D L F A GD PTS
1 Manchester United 38 21 12 5 76 44 +32 75
2 Newcastle United 38 19 11 8 73 40 +33 68
3 Arsenal 38 19 11 8 62 32 +30 68
4 Liverpool FC 38 19 11 8 62 37 +25 68
5 Aston Villa 38 17 10 11 47 34 +13 61
6 Chelsea 38 16 11 11 58 55 +3 59
7 Sheffield Wednesday 38 14 15 9 50 51 -1 57
8 Wimbledon 38 15 11 12 49 46 +3 56
9 Leicester City 38 12 11 15 46 54 -8 47
10 Tottenham Hotspur 38 13 7 18 44 51 -7 46
11 Leeds United 38 11 13 14 28 38 -10 46
12 Derby County 38 11 13 14 45 58 -13 46
13 Blackburn Rovers 38 9 15 14 42 43 -1 42
14 West Ham United 38 10 12 16 39 48 -9 42
15 Everton 38 10 12 16 44 57 -13 42
16 Southampton 38 10 11 17 50 56 -6 41
17 Coventry City 38 9 14 15 38 54 -16 41
18 Sunderland 38 10 10 18 35 53 -18 40
19 Middlesbrough* 38 10 12 16 51 60 -9 39
20 Nottingham Forest 38 6 16 16 31 59 -28 34

*Middlesbrough were deducted three points for failing to fulfil a fixture away at Blackburn Rovers in December 1996

THE BASIC STATS

Goals Scored 970
European qualifiers Manchester United (UEFA Champions League), Newcastle United (UEFA Champions League), Arsenal (UEFA Cup), Liverpool FC (UEFA Cup), Aston Villa (UEFA Cup), Leicester City (UEFA Cup), Chelsea (UEFA Cup Winners’ Cup)
Longest winning run 7 games (Newcastle United)
Longest unbeaten run 16 games (Manchester United)
Longest winless run 16 games (Nottingham Forest)
Longest losing run 6 games (Everton)
Highest attendance 55,314 (Manchester United vs. Wimbledon)
Lowest attendance 7,979 (Wimbledon vs. Leeds United)

AWARDS

PFA Players’ Player of the Year Alan Shearer (Newcastle United)
PFA Young Player of the Year David Beckham (Manchester United)
Football Writers’ Award Gianfranco Zola (Chelsea)
PFA Team of the Year David Seaman, Stig Inge Bjornebye, Tony Adams, Mark Wright, Gary Neville, David Batty, Roy Keane, Steve McManaman, David Beckham, Alan Shearer, Ian Wright
Manager of the Year Alex Ferguson (Manchester United)
Goal of the Season David Beckham (Wimbledon vs. MANCHESTER UNITED)

HAT-TRICK HEROES

Player Teams Score Date
Fabrizio Ravanelli Middlesbrough vs. Liverpool FC 3-3 17th August 1996
Kevin Campbell Coventry City vs. Nottingham Forest 0-3 17th August 1996
Ian Wright Arsenal vs. Sheffield Wednesday 4-1 16th September 1996
Dwight Yorke Newcastle United vs. Aston Villa 4-3 30th September 1996
Gary Speed Everton vs. Southampton 7-1 16th November 1996
Robbie Fowler (4 goals) Liverpool FC vs. Middlesbrough 5-1 14th December 1996
Alan Shearer Newcastle United vs. Leicester City 4-3 2nd February 1997
Ian Marshall Leicester City vs. Derby County 4-2 22nd February 1997
Steffen Iversen Sunderland vs. Tottenham Hotspur 0-4 4th March 1997
Fabrizio Ravanelli Middlesbrough vs. Derby County 6-1 5th March 1997
Kevin Gallacher Blackburn Rovers vs. Wimbledon 3-1 15th March 1997
Paul Kitson West Ham United vs. Sheffield Wednesday 5-1 3rd May 1997

TOP SCORERS

Position Player Teams No of Goals
1 Alan Shearer Newcastle United 25
2 Ian Wright Arsenal 23
3= Ole Gunnar Solskjaer Manchester United 18
3= Robbie Fowler Liverpool FC 18
5 Dwight Yorke Aston Villa 17
6= Les Ferdinand Newcastle United 16
6= Fabrizio Ravanelli Middlesbrough 16
8= Matt Le Tissier Southampton 13
8= Dion Dublin Coventry City 13
8= Juninho Middlesbrough 13
11= Dennis Bergkamp Arsenal 12
11= Stan Collymore Liverpool FC 12
11= Steve Claridge Leicester City 12
14= Eric Cantona Manchester United 11
14= Efan Ekoku Wimbledon 11
14= Dean Sturridge Derby County 11
14= Chris Sutton Blackburn Rovers 11
18= Andy Booth Sheffield Wednesday 10
18= Emile Heskey Leicester City 10
18= Kevin Gallacher Blackburn Rovers 10
18= Duncan Ferguson Everton 10
22= Savo Milosevic Aston Villa 9
22= Gianluca Vialli Chelsea 9
22= Gary Speed Everton 9
22= Egil Ostenstad Southampton 9

BIGGEST VICTORIES

Newcastle United 7-1 Tottenham Hotspur 28th December 1996
Everton 7-1 Southampton 16th November 1996
Middlesbrough 6-1 Derby County 5th March 1997
Manchester United 5-0 Sunderland 21st December 1996
Newcastle United 5-0 Manchester United 20th October 1996
Newcastle United 5-0 Nottingham Forest 11th May 1997
Aston Villa 5-0 Wimbledon 22nd December 1996
Chelsea 6-2 Sunderland 16th March 1997
Liverpool FC 5-1 Chelsea 21st September 1996
West Ham United 5-1 Sheffield Wednesday 3rd May 1997

HIGHEST SCORING GAMES

No of Goals Teams Date
9 Southampton 6-3 Manchester United 26th October 1996
8 Newcastle United 7-1 Tottenham Hotspur 28th December 1996
8 Everton 7-1 Southampton 16th November 1996
8 Chelsea 6-2 Sunderland 16th March 1997
7 Middlesbrough 6-1 Derby County 5th March 1997
7 Newcastle United 4-3 Aston Villa 30th September 1996
7 Newcastle United 4-3 Leicester City 2nd February 1997
7 Liverpool FC 4-3 Newcastle United 10th March 1997
7 West Ham United 4-3 Tottenham Hotspur 24th February 1997
6 Liverpool FC 5-1 Chelsea 21st September 1996
6 Liverpool FC 5-1 Middlesbrough 14th December 1996
6 West Ham United 5-1 Sheffield Wednesday 3rd May 1997
6 Liverpool FC 4-2 Nottingham Forest 17th December 1996
6 Wimbledon 4-2 Sheffield Wednesday 12th October 1996
6 Leicester City 4-2 Derby County 22nd February 1997
6 Middlesbrough 4-2 Sheffield Wednesday 18th January 1997
6 Chelsea 2-4 Wimbledon 19th October 1996
6 Middlesbrough 4-2 Everton 26th December 1996
6 Blackburn Rovers 2-4 Leicester City 11th May 1997
6 Derby County 4-2 Tottenham Hotspur 22nd March 1997

YOUNGEST PLAYERS USED

Player Teams Age at the time Date
Richard Dunne Sheffield Wednesday 2-1 Everton 17 years, 3 months, 21 days 11th January 1997
Michael Owen Wimbledon 2-1 Liverpool FC 17 years, 4 months, 22 days 6th May 1997
Wesley Boyle Leeds United 0-1 Newcastle United 17 years, 5 months, 22 days 21st September 1996
Michael Ball Everton 1-0 Tottenham Hotspur 17 years, 6 months, 10 days 12th April 1997
Danny Cadamarteri Everton 1-2 Chelsea 17 years, 6 months, 29 days 11th May 1997
Andy Campbell Aston Villa 1-0 Middlesbrough 17 years, 7 months, 12 days 30th November 1996
Jody Morris Southampton 0-0 Chelsea 17 years, 7 months, 27 days 18th August 1996
Rio Ferdinand Arsenal 2-0 West Ham United 17 years, 9 months, 10 days 17th August 1996
Michael Branch Wimbledon 4-0 Everton 17 years, 10 months, 20 days 7th September 1996
Michael Bridges Sunderland 0-0 Leicester City 18 years, 12 days 17th August 1996

OLDEST PLAYERS USED

Player Teams Age at the time Date
Gordon Strachan Coventry City 1-2 Derby County 40 years, 2 months, 24 days 3rd May 1997
Bryan Robson Arsenal 2-0 Middlesbrough 39 years, 11 months, 21 days 1st January 1997
Steve Ogrizovic Tottenham Hotspur 1-2 Coventry City 39 years, 7 months, 29 days 11th May 1997
Les Sealey Manchester United 2-0 West Ham United 39 years, 7 months, 12 days 11th May 1997
Neville Southall Everton 1-2 Chelsea 38 years, 7 months, 25 days 11th May 1997
Mick Harford Wimbledon 0-2 Aston Villa 38 years, 1 month, 28 days 9th April 1997
Dave Beasant Southampton 0-1 Liverpool FC 37 years, 9 months, 9 days 29th December 1996
Paul McGrath Derby County 1-3 Arsenal 37 years, 5 months, 7 days 11th May 1997
Chris Woods Blackburn Rovers 2-1 Southampton 37 years, 16 days 30th November 1996
Brian Borrows Coventry City 1-2 Derby County 36 years, 6 months, 13 days 3rd May 1997

CLEAN SHEETS

Position Player Teams No of Clean Sheets
1 Nigel Martyn Leeds United 19
2 Peter Schmeichel Manchester United 14
3 Ian Walker Tottenham Hotspur 13
4 David James Liverpool FC 12
5= Kevin Pressman Sheffield Wednesday 11
5= Neil Sullivan Wimbledon 11
7= Michael Oakes Aston Villa 10
7= David Seaman Arsenal 10
7= Tim Flowers Blackburn Rovers 10
7= Ludek Miklosko West Ham United 10

Premier League Files: Paul Wilkinson

Premier League Career: Middlesbrough (1992-1993, 1995-1996)

Paul Wilkinson played professional football for 18 years and even won four international Under-21 caps for England in the mid-1980s. He was a stereotypical target man who was not shy of tussling with defenders and coming out on top in some bruising battles over the years. Wilkinson also had a knack of finding that extra yard of space in the penalty area which probably explains why he scored more than 150 goals during his career in over 650 appearances.

Wilkinson was part of the last Everton squad that were champions of England back in the 1986-1987 campaign, scoring 12 times in their winning team that pushed Merseyside rivals Liverpool FC into second spot. He joined Middlesbrough in 1991 from Watford and was Lennie Lawrence’s last marquee signing at the club. He scored 24 goals in his debut season, including a final minute strike away at Molineux against Wolverhampton Wanderers which took Middlesbrough into the inaugural Premier League season as Division Two runners-up to Ipswich Town.

Wilkinson quickly found his feet in the newly-formed Premier League. On the opening weekend, he scored Middlesbrough’s first goal at this level; a 63rd minute effort in the 2-1 defeat at Highfield Road to Coventry City. A week later, he scored twice in the shock 4-1 defeat of reigning English champions Leeds United and reached double figures despite Boro’s relegation to Division One. By the time Middlesbrough won promotion again in 1995, Wilkinson had become a rarely used figure and he was eventually let go on a free transfer by Bryan Robson to make way for international talent to arrive on Teeside.

Barnsley signed him and he was recruited to play alongside his former colleague at Middlesbrough in John Hendrie. In April 1997, he scored one of the goals in the Tykes’ 2-0 win at home to Bradford City which secured their automatic promotion to the Premier League for the first time in their history. However, he wouldn’t be going up with them – moving onto Millwall before winding down at Northampton Town in 2000.

Wilkinson moved straight into coaching. He has managed the reserve teams at Grimsby Town and Cardiff City and was Rob Page’s assistant manager during his brief tenure at Northampton. He is back at Blundell Park as Grimsby assistant currently to the experienced Russell Slade and looks set to become a manager in the future.

Shock Results: Middlesbrough 4-1 Leeds United (August 1992)

Goalscorers: Paul Wilkinson 7, 8, Tommy Wright 47, John Hendrie 59, Eric Cantona 68

Teams:

Middlesbrough: Ian Ironside, Chris Morris, Alan Kernaghan, Jimmy Phillips, Derek Whyte, Tommy Wright, Andy Peake, John Hendrie, Paul Wilkinson (Robbie Mustoe (45), Willie Falconer, Bernie Slaven (Jamie Pollock 77)

Leeds United: John Lukic, Jon Newsome (Gordon Strachan 45), Chris Fairclough, Tony Dorigo, Chris Whyte, David Batty (Steve Hodge) 76, Gary Speed, Gary McAllister, Lee Chapman, Eric Cantona, Rod Wallace

Referee: David Allison, Attendance: 18,649

Leeds United were the defending English top-flight champions and they were expected to turn up and produce another skilful and effective display against a newly-promoted team in Middlesbrough. Boro had finished runners-up to Ipswich Town in Division Two the previous term and were expected to struggle. However, they were coming off the back of a Bernie Slaven double that had beaten Manchester City in the midweek round of fixtures.

Leeds had a physical side not afraid of a battle but with the guile of Gary McAllister, finishing qualities of Lee Chapman and French flair in Eric Cantona, they also had the skill to unlock opposition defences. Instead, it was their backline that was made to look very ordinary, especially in the first 10 minutes.

New Middlesbrough signing Tommy Wright found some space out wide in the seventh minute. He delivered an inch-perfect cross and Paul Wilkinson slotted home from six-yards out, neatly getting ahead of his marker Chris Fairclough to open the scoring. That was his second of the season and his third would arrive just 60 seconds later.

Wright again was given bundles of space on the left-wing. Again, his cross was a dream and Wilkinson was once again on the end of it to produce a diving header that left John Lukic helpless. Lennie Lawrence’s side now had a two-goal lead to defend.

Leeds did create chances with Cantona giving the Boro defenders some headaches but even his shooting boots seemed to have been misplaced. Despite losing two-goal hero Wilkinson to an ankle ligament injury before half-time, confidence was at an all-time high within the Middlesbrough dressing room and they increased their lead just moments into the second half.

Jimmy Phillips’ corner was met by the impressive Wright, who deserved a goal for his huge contribution throughout. Lukic left completely flummoxed by the scoreline and the defensive display he was witnessing right infront of him. Was this just a very bad day for the reigning champions?

It got worse. John Hendrie made it 4-0 in the 59th minute. He went on a dribble and as the defenders backed off, encouraging him to shoot, that’s exactly what he did. Again, the finish was clinical and decisive. Cantona did pull a goal back with just over 20 minutes remaining but this was a reality check for Leeds and their manager, Howard Wilkinson. They would go through the entire season without winning a game away from Elland Road.

Afterwards, Lawrence admitted: “That was the most professional performance; I have ever been associated with.”

Relegation did follow at the end of the season but this still remains one of Middlesbrough’s finest 90 minutes in their Premier League life.

Iconic Moments: Boro’s deduction (December 1996)

Hopes were high at Middlesbrough when the 1996/1997 season got underway. UEFA Champions League winner Fabrizio Ravanelli had joined Brazilians Juninho, Emerson and Branco at the club. Bryan Robson was putting together a decent squad on Teeside.

It didn’t take long for that to fall apart though. Despite three wins from their opening five games, Boro went on a wretched run in the autumn and winter months and slipped towards a perilous relegation battle. Christmas 1996 looked like it would be a make-or-break period for the club.

On Saturday, 21 December 1996, the club were scheduled to make a trip to Ewood Park to play relegation rivals Blackburn Rovers. However at late notice, the game was postponed and it wasn’t down to the weather either. A flu bug had hit the Middlesbrough squad and the manager insisted he did not have enough players to fulfil the fixture due to illness and injury. 23 players were unavailable and the club had medical evidence to back their point up.

Blackburn were incensed at the postponement at 24 hours’ notice and the FA didn’t believe Robson and the club’s claim. Middlesbrough were charged and a month later, fined £50,000. The punishment didn’t end there either. The club were deducted three points which was the first time this happened in Premier League history.

Despite a revival towards the end of the season, Boro’s fixture pile-up having got to the League Cup and FA Cup final got the better of them. On the final day, a draw at Elland Road was not enough to keep them in the top-flight. They were relegated and finished two points adrift of safety. Chairman Steve Gibson revealed later that the team had gone down not on the field, but because of the decision of “three men in grey suits.” To top things off, the Teesiders lost both domestic cup finals that season.

Right or wrong of what happened; Middlesbrough’s no-show at Ewood would turn out to be a costly error.