Middlesbrough Profile

Major Honours League Cup (1)
Year Founded 1876

Middlesbrough have traditionally bounced between the top two divisions of English soccer and are currently in the Championship, looking for promotion to the Premier League under manager Neil Warnock.

Middlesbrough have featured regularly in the Premier League since it was founded in the early 1990s. Their strongest performances came under manager Steve McClaren, who won the 2004 League Cup and oversaw their run to the 2006 UEFA Cup final, where they were beaten by Sevilla. Under McClaren, they finished seventh in the top flight in 2005.

Boro are currently managed by Neil Warnock, who has developed a reputation as a promotion specialist and will be looking to get them back among the elite of English soccer.

Middlesbrough's early history

Middlesbrough team photo with the Amatuer Cup in 1895

Boro were formed in 1876 and won the FA Amateur Cup in 1895 and 1898. This came off the back of Middlesbrough reverting to being an amateur club in 1892, having gone professional back in 1889.

In 1899, Boro once again turned professional. After three seasons, they won promotion to the First Division and they subsequently enjoyed a 22-year unbroken spell in the top flight.

Boro enjoyed a successful run before the start of World War One. In 1913/14, they managed to finish as high as third in the top flight, which remains the best league finish in the club's history.

Middlesbrough were relegated from the First Division in 1923/24, but three seasons later, they bounced back by winning the Division Two title.

Boro were relegated after only one season back in the top flight, but were then promoted at the first attempt. The club then remained a First Division club until 1954.

During this period, George Camsell was vital for Middlesbrough at the front of the attack. He scored a club record 325 league goals for Boro in 419 appearances.

Middlesbrough's bumpy road in the late 20th century

Middlesbrough's Brian Clough in action for Boro, November 1958

Middlesbrough were relegated in 1953/54 and spent 20 years outside of the top division. However, this spell also saw the emergence of Brian Clough, who scored 204 goals in 222 matches for Middlesbrough before he left for Sunderland. Clough would go on to become one of the most successful managers in British soccer history, particularly during his spells at Derby County and Nottingham Forest.

In 1966, Middlesbrough were relegated to the Third Division for the first time in the club's history.

Stan Anderson came in as manager and guided the club back to the second tier of English soccer at the first attempt. By 1974, Jack Charlton had taken over as manager and led Middlesbrough back to the top flight.

In the 1975/76 season, Middlesbrough picked up their first trophy as a professional club, winning the Anglo-Scottish Cup with a two-legged final victory over Fulham. The previous season had seen them finish seventh in the First Division, just five points off winning the league.

By the mid-1980s, Middlesbrough had fallen into severe financial difficulties. They had been relegated to the Second Division in 1982 and their on-field form continued to plummet. In April 1986, Middlesbrough had to borrow £30,000 from the Professional Footballers' Association (PFA) in order to pay wages - a sign of their dire financial position.

That season ultimately saw Middlesbrough relegated to the third tier of English soccer.

A provisional liquidator was called in that summer and the club needed £350,000 for Football League registration, which appeared to be a potentially insurmountable obstacle for a financially ailing club. However, board member Steve Gibson brought together a consortium and Middlesbrough completed their registration to the Football League with 10 minutes to spare.

Over the following two seasons, Middlesbrough gained promotion to Division Two and then back into Division One. They continued to bounce between the top two tiers of English soccer. Despite this, Middlesbrough were founding members of the Premier League and competed in its first season in 1992/93. However, true to form, they were relegated.

Middlesbrough in the Premier League era

Middlesbrough manager Steve McClaren holds the League Cup trophy during the trophy parade after they won it in 2004

Player-manager Bryan Robson took charge in 1994, putting the spotlight back on the club. Following promotion to the Premier League and signings including star players Juninho and Fabrizio Ravanelli, Boro were considered to be on the rise.

However, Boro were relegated after the 1996/97 season despite all of their star names. The failure to honour a fixture at Blackburn in December 1996 saw them docked three points, which ultimately sunk them. In the same season, they also reached the League Cup and FA Cup finals, losing to Leicester City and Chelsea respectively.

Despite the loss of their stars, they did attract former Arsenal legend Paul Merson, who was instrumental in Boro's 1997/98 successful promotion campaign. Robson kept Boro in the Premier League for two seasons, but in 2000/01, he needed the assistance of former England manager Terry Venables to guide the club to safety.

Robson left in 2001 and was replaced by Steve McClaren, who went on to lead Boro through one of the most successful spells in their history.

In the 2003/04 season, Middlesbrough won the League Cup, securing the trophy with a 2-1 victory over Bolton Wanderers in the final. This secured qualification for the UEFA Cup, a competition for which they would qualify again in the following season through their league position. Their seventh-placed finish equalled their post-war high, but they needed a penalty save in injury time from goalkeeper Mark Schwarzer to prevent Manchester City from scoring a winner. Had Robbie Fowler converted, City would have leapfrogged Boro into the final qualifying spot.

In 2006, Middlesbrough reached the final of the UEFA Cup, losing 4-0 to Sevilla. However, their campaign was noted for their ability to come back from three goals down against both FC Basel in the quarter-finals and Steaua Bucharest in the semis, with Massimo Maccarone scoring late winners in both fixtures.

McClaren went on to manage the England national team after the defeat against Sevilla and he was replaced in the Boro hotseat by club captain Gareth Southgate, who oversaw 12th and 13th-place finishes in his first two seasons in charge. Boro reached three successive FA Cup quarter-finals under Southgate, but they were relegated at the end of the 2008/09 season.

Southgate was sacked in October 2009, despite Boro being one point off an automatic promotion place, and they then went through a number of managers and mid-table finishes.

Middlesbrough won promotion to the Premier League again under Aitor Karanka in 2016, but Karanka was sacked in March 2017 and Boro were relegated at the first attempt. They have played their football in the Championship since then.

Middlesbrough's fanbase

Middlesbrough fans heading into the Riverside Stadium

Opened in 1995 as one of the first of the modern stadiums, The Riverside currently has a capacity of 34,742. Their previous ground was Ayresome Park.

Boro are not one of the most recognised teams in the world, but they are a traditional club with working class roots. Fans of the club are traditionally from Middlesbrough itself or the surrounding towns. They have one of the highest proportions of locally born season ticket holders at 80%. They also have a strong fanbase in Scandinavia, particularly Norway.

Middlesbrough have one of the highest proportions of female ticket holders, standing at 20%.

Boro were also the first club in the world to launch their own TV channel, Boro TV, in 1997. Meanwhile, Middlesbrough Football Club in the Community (MFCIC) was set up by chairman Steve Gibson in 1996 and remains one of the largest community schemes in the UK. Rebranded the MFC Foundation in 2012, it delivers health, sport and inclusion projects to a number of disadvantaged people and communities across the region.

Middlesbrough's rivalries

Middlesbrough's fiercest rivalry is generally considered to be with Sunderland, with the two clubs competing in the Tees-Wear derby. Middlesbrough also have a fierce rivalry with Sunderland's big rivals Newcastle United, with that rivalry being named the Tyne-Tees derby.

Leeds United are also seen as rivals by the two teams' fans, as shown in a planetfootball.com survey in 2004.

Middlesbrough's finances

Middlesbrough local and childhood fan Steve Gibson remains Boro's owner and chairman.

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