Unreliable History

Middlesbrough have had a tumultuous history in the last couple of decades … almost going out of business, before moving to a new stadium and getting big money backing to buy top players and fail in cup finals.

It all started so differently.  There are even disputes about how the club came about.  One story goes that they formed in a local gym at the Albert Park Hotel, while a more prosaic tale tells that the club got together over a tripe supper at the Corporation Hotel … and from the way the club progressed the latter might have more than a ring of truth to it.

In their early years, they won two Amateur Cups, one of which in 1898 was achieved despite having to play the semi-final miles away from their home ground, because of a smallpox outbreak in Cleveland at the time.  Funnily enough, illness hit the club again in 1997, when the club could not put a side out to play Blackburn Rovers and lost three points.  Three points that lost them their place in the Premier League.  Maybe it was travelling that did it, as once they went four and a half years without an away win (33 games).

Innovation is not anything new to Boro.  In 1902, they had the first half-time scoreboard, which involved a man with some chalk, making lots of dots to produce the latest scores for the crowd on a blackboard.  Alf Common was signed in 1905 for £1,000, a record at the time and you can see that even then, Boro were throwing big money after common players.  Just a couple of years later, Brian Average was bought for £1,500.

They really came into their own in the late 20s, when in 1927, Middlesbrough took the Second Division title, with George Camsell scoring 59 goals, among them 8 hat-tricks, still a record.  Unfortunately, they were relegated straight away (another phenomenon that was to be repeated much later), but won the championship the following year to get back to the First Division.

With the gates locked at Ayresome Park in 1985-86, the club looked like slipping out of business.  They had offered the use of the ground to Hartlepool United, who were being forced to rebuild two of their stands, but Boro ended up playing their first game of the season at Victoria Park, as it was they who were without a ground !!  But they were rescued by forming a new company and then chairman Steve Gibson started pumping lots of money from his personal fortune to fund a new ground at the Riverside and also in buying big name players in the twilight of their careers. Again, this helped and hindered their progress, because many of the players were here only to line their pockets and left as soon as the going got tough.  That happened in a weird season, when in 1997 Boro lost in both major domestic cup finals and were relegated from the Premiership, while still managing to fit in a defeat in the League Cup final for the second year running.  Echoing the 1927-29 years, they bounced back with promotion straight away.

Now established in the Premiership, Steve McClaren has taken over the reins from Bryan Robson and Boro are seeking some stability rather than the roller-coaster years of the late 90s.  The achievement of winning a trophy at Cardiff in 2004 by McClaren’s side would have been welcomed by Robson, who was known to enjoy taking part in the Carling Cup.

A 2006 UEFA Cup final loss was a fitting finale to McClaren’s time at Boro, where he left to take over the England job, while former England international Gareth Southgate took over the hot seat and struggled to match his predecessor’s efforts in the first season as manager, but as crowds became smaller and the money injected by Chairman Steve Gibson similarly reduced, the managers came and went as Boro were the only constant in staying in the Championship.

After a couple of attempts, Aitor Karanka, the former Real Madrid player, took Boro up as champions and a new top flight era began.  It was a false dawn, lasting only one season, ending with the club turning to the old guard of Dad’s Army managers to get them out of The Championship, with Tony Pulis and Neil Warnock sandwiching an attempt to grow Boro’s own as Jonathan Woodgate was give the chance.

Famous Players : – Wilf Mannion; Ian Hoe Jnr.; Stuart Boam; John Craggs; Juninho; Rocky Outcrops; Brian Clough; Malcolm “Bunny” Warren; Alf Common;

Famous Fans : – Bob Mortimer (Comedian & Actor “Reeves & Mortimer”, “Randall & Hopkirk (Deceased)”; Chris Kamara (Sky Sports commentator); Chris Rea (Musician); David Shayler (Former MI5 spy); Jet (Former star of “Gladiators”); Derek Thomson (Channel 4 Racing presenter)

Club Records

Formed 1876 

Turned Professional 1889 (returned to amateur status in 1892) and 1899

Became a Limited Company 1892

Previous names

Previous grounds Old Archery Ground, Albert Park   1876-1878 
Breckon Hill                                        1878-1880
Linthorpe Road Ground                   1882-1903 
Ayresome Park                                   1903-1995

Nickname “BORO”

Record Premier League Win 8-1  v   Manchester City    Home        11.05.2008

Record Premier League Defeat 0-7  v  Arsenal    Away      14.01.2006

Record Football League Win 9-0  v  Brighton & Hove Albion    Div. 2       23.08.1958

Record Football League Defeat 0-9  v Blackburn Rovers    Div.2        06.11.1954

Record Cup Win 7-0  Hereford United    LC  R2      18.09.1996

Record Fee Paid £15 million to Nottingham Forest for Britt ASSOMBALONGA (July 2017)

Record Fee Received £18 million from Wolverhampton Wanderers for Adama TRAORE (August 2018)

Record Premier League Appearances 332  –  Mark SCHWARZER (1996-2008)

Record Premier League goal-scorer 31  –  Hamilton RICARD  (1998-2002)

Record Appearances 602  –  Tim WILLIAMSON (1902-1923)

Record Football League Appearances 563  –  Tim WILLIAMSON (1902-1923)

Record all-time goal-scorer 345  – George CAMSELL  (1925-1939)

Record all-time League goal-scorer 325  – George CAMSELL  (1925-1939)

Record goal-scorer in a Premier League season 16  –  Fabrizio RAVANELLI  (1996-1997)

Record goal-scorer in a League season 59  –  George CAMSELL   Division 2  (1926-1927)

Record goal-scorer in a season 63  –  George CAMSELL   Division 2  (1926-1927)

Most goals scored in a match 5  –  John WILKIE  v  Gainsborough Trinity   Division Two    02.03.1901
5  –  Andy WILSON  v  Nottingham Forest   Division One    06.12.1923
5  –  James McCLELLAND  v  Leeds United   FA Cup Third Round    09.01.1926
5  –  George CAMSELL  v  Manchester City   Division Two    25.12.1926
5  –  George CAMSELL  v  Aston Villa   Division One    09.09.1935
5  –  Brian CLOUGH  v  Brighton & Hove Albion   Division Two    22.08.1958

Record Home Attendance (all-time) 53,596 v   Newcastle United      Div. 1        27.12.1949    (at Ayresome Park)

Record Premier League Attendance 34,836  v  Norwich City      28.12.2004     (at Riverside Stadium)

Record total of goals in a Premier League season 54  –  1992-1993  (42 games)
54  –  1998-1999  (38 games)

Record total of goals in a League season 122    Division 2   (1926-27)   (42 games)

Record League points total 3 points for a win  :  94  –  Division Three  1986-1987  (46 games)
2 points for a win  :  65  –  Division Two  1973-1974  (42 games)

Record Premier League points total 55  –  2004-2005  (38 games)

Most Capped Player while at club Mark SCHWARZER   53 (Australia)

Youngest Player Nathan WOOD  16 years and 72 days  v Notts. County  (League Cup)  14.08.2018

Oldest Player Dimitirios KONSTANTOPOULOS   40 years and 68 days  v  Newport County  (FA Cup)  05.02.2019

Stadium details 

Address : The Cellnet Riverside Stadium, Middlesbrough, Cleveland TS3 6RS

Telephone :  01642 929420
01642 929421 (Ticket Office)

Capacity :  34,742
Pitch size :   105m x 69m  (115 yards x  75 yards)
Official website :   www.mfc.co.uk


Division One Champions  (Tier Two) 1994-1995

Division One Runner-up  (Tier Two) 1997-1998, 2015-2016

Division Two Champions  (Tier Two) 1926-1927, 1928-1929, 1973-1974

Division Two Runners-up  (Tier Two) 1901-1902, 1991-1992

Division Three Runners-up  (Tier Three) 1966-1967, 1986-1987

FA Cup Finalists 1997

League Cup Winners 2004

League Cup Finalists 1997, 1998

Amateur Cup Winners 1895, 1898

Anglo-Scottish Cup Winners 1975

UEFA Cup Runners-up 2005-2006



John ROBSON May 1899 – May 1905

Alex MASSIE June 1905 – May 1906

Andy AITKEN October 1906 – February 1909

John GUNTER February 1909 – June 1910

Andy WALKER June 1910 – January 1911

Tom McINTOSH August 1911 – December 1919

James HOWIE April 1920 – July 1923

Herbert BAMLETT August 1923 – March 1926

Peter McWILLIAM April 1926 – March 1934

Wilf GILLOW March 1934 – March 1944

David JACK November 1944 – April 1952

Walter ROWLEY June 1952 – February 1954

Bob DENNISON July 1954 – January 1963

Raich CARTER January 1963 – February 1966

Stan ANDERSON April 1966 – January 1973

Harold SHEPHERDSON 25 January 1973 – 7 May 1973

Jack CHARLTON 7 May 1973 – 21 April 1977

John NEAL 1 May 1977 – July 1981

Bobby MURDOCH July 1981 – 29 September 1982

Malcolm ALLISON 23 October 1982 – 28 March 1984

Jack CHARLTON 28 March 1984 – 31 May 1984

Willie MADDREN 3 June 1984 – 2 February 1986

Bruce RIOCH 2 February 1986 – 9 March 1990

Colin TODD 9 March 1990 – 24 June 1991

Lennie LAWRENCE 10 July 1991 – 19 May 1994

Bryan ROBSON May 1994 – 6 December 2000

Terry VENABLES 6 December 2000 – 12 June 2001

Steve McCLAREN 12 June 2001 – 11 May 2006

Gareth SOUTHGATE 7 June 2006 – 20 October 2009

Colin COOPER (caretaker) 20 October 2009 – 26 October 2009

Gordon STRACHAN 26 October 2009 – 18 October 2010

Steve AGNEW (caretaker) 18 October 2010 – 26 October 2010

Tony MOWBRAY 26 October 2010 – 22 October 2013

Gareth SOUTHGATE 23 October 2013 – 12 November 2013

Aitor KARANKA 13 November 2013 – 16 March 2017

Steve AGNEW (caretaker) 16 March 2017 – 9 June 2017

Garry MONK 9 June 2017 –  23 December 2017

Craig LIDDLE (caretaker) 23 December 2017 – 26 December 2017

Tony PULIS 26 December 2017- 17 May 2019

Jonathan WOODGATE 14 June 2019 – 23 June 2020

Neil WARNOCK 23 June 2020 –


League Record

The Football League structure has historically been as follows …

1888-1892 1892-1920 1920-1921 1921-1958 1958-1992 1992-2004 2004 to date
First tier Football League Division One Division One Division One Division One Premiership Premier League
Second tier Division Two Division Two Division Two Division Two Division One Championship
Third tier Division Three Division Three
(North) and (South)
Division Three Division Two  League One
Fourth tier Division Four Division Three League Two

Elected to Division Two  (Tier Two) 1899

Division Two  (Tier Two) 1899-1902

Division One  (Top Tier) 1902-1924

Division Two  (Tier Two) 1924-1927

Division One  (Top Tier) 1927-1928

Division Two  (Tier Two) 1928-1929

Division One  (Top Tier) 1929-1954

Division Two  (Tier Two) 1954-1966

Division Three  (Tier Three) 1966-1967

Division Two  (Tier Two) 1967-1974

Division One  (Top Tier) 1974-1982

Division Two  (Tier Two) 1982-1986

Division Three  (Tier Three) 1986-1987

Division Two  (Tier Two) 1987-1988

Division One  (Top Tier) 1988-1989

Division Two  (Tier Two) 1989-1992

Premier League  (Top Tier) 1992-1993

Division One  (Tier Two) 1993-1995

Premier League  (Top Tier) 1995-1997

Division One  (Tier Two) 1997-1998

Premier League  (Top Tier) 1998-2009

The Championship  (Tier Two) 2009-