Anthony Vickers' countdown of Boro's top 40 signings
He was a unique talent with the power to mesmerise and electrify. And he was an instant hit. As Prince Harry and the Suits actress announce their engagement, see our fashion designer predictions for the royal bride-to-be's big day. The soft play has now reopened. Others can be cheap as chips and slip under the radar but turn out to be key elements that transform an entire team. He was one of the few English players to command a serious reputation abroad.
Middlesbrough, Fulham and Aston Villa are dividing pundits Sky TV pundits picked out their promotion winners with nine games to go in the Championship. Boro's Robbie reliant was the unsung hero for over a decade, playing a key role in the engine room in two promotion sides and in two Wembley finals without ever getting the deserved recognition from the media. He had lost some of his pace but gained some mortal attributes that made him a more effective team player and his return was anointed with silver with the glory of Cardiff. Massimo is an all-time legend. Sometimes signings with a big name and a big fee arrive in a flurry of hype and expectation only to flop disastrously.
The toothless terrier had won the World Cup with England and the European Cup with United in the previous five years so had a real pedigree. It certainly sparked the imagination of frustrated fans who believed it signalled that at last Boro were showing ambition and after years of falling short, he could be the difference. Alas, his best days were past him and injuries restricted him to just 69 games over two season before being freed to join Preston as player- coach.
Missed sitter merchant Big Billy Ashcroft scrapes in the list mainly because he was a landmark signing. He was eager and hard-working but far from prolific: In his five seasons at Ayresome Park his top tally was seven and he managed just 25 overall in games in the top flight.
Massimo is an all-time legend. He arrived from Empoli with a huge price tag and rising reputation but in truth he never justified either. After a bright start, his Boro career spluttered and fizzled out in a string of limp displays and he fast became a frustrating fringe figure who spent much of his last two years out on loan before leaving in a stinging war of words with boss Gareth Southgate.
Now the Teesside tackler is viewed creakily as a permanent injury scare - but when he first arrived from Real Madrid it was a major transfer coup. Cultured and calm with a superb spatial awareness that meant he could shackle the best strikers in the business and barely break sweat. There was a Samba band and everything.
He had been the most prolific striker in European top flight football the previous year and was a Brazilian international and the deadline day signing with soaring price was played out live on Sky Sports News.
Boro thought they were buying the next Juninho, a player to electrify the crowd and provide a spark - and goals. How wrong can you be? After a bright start - two against Manchester United, three against City, - he spluttered then stopped before being shipped out to the sandpit for a massive loss.
A solid if not spectacular striker who worked hard to win the fans over after a slow start. But Yuoslavian Bosco was different. It was a sign of things to come. He was carrying a bit of timber but had deceptive pace and a dash of trickery and on his day was a match winner. Karembeu was then the most decorated footballer in the world when he arrived from Madrid: And he had a stunning supermodel wife too. He failed to make a big impact and left without fuss a year later after 36 games and four goals.
To be honest, we missed Adriana more. With goals drying up Boro went out and smashed their transfer record to snap up the hottest property outside the top flight. It was a serious statement of intent. He got three goals in eight games and then eight in 33 up in the Premier League including one on the first day at the Riverside and another teed up by debutant Juninho - but big things were happening and he was quickly squeezed out by the arrival of Ravanelli and other far bigger buys.
As a crowd-pleasing old fashioned tricky winger, Cochrane was an instant hit - but that is not why he makes the list. He scored an iconic overhead kick but was hardly prolific and the headstrong Irishman clashed with a string of bosses and handed in a series of transfer requests before leaving for Gillingham on a free after games and 12 goals.
In fact, in his first six months he looked like a carthorse, clumsy and wayward. But once he settled and started to demonstrate his pace and power and odd flashes of magic he was a potent force. He top scored with 18 in his first full season but had barren spells and once Alen Boksic arrived he slipped down the pecking order and after 43 goals in games he left for CSKA Sofia - the first of 13 clubs in the next 10 years.
A barrier-breaking signing who delivered! The England Under right-back arrived from Aston Villa and became a fixture in the team that won promotion to the Premier league then won through to two Wembley finals - although he will be best remembered on Teesside for being dropped for the FA Cup showpiece after scrapping with Fabrizio Ravanelli over breakfast on the day of the match.
The giant Ehiogu was a colossus who cost Boro a record transfer fee when he arrived from then nursery club Aston Villa to resume his rock solid defensive partnership with Gareth Southgate. He was expensive for a defender but gave six years solid service before slipping down the pecking order and leaving on a free to Rangers in A ruthlessly efficient Teutonic cliche, the former Bayern left wing-back Ziege joined as a reigning Serie A champion from Milan.
He played in the World Cup final two years later. And he was an instant hit. His marauding runs down the flank and pinpoint delivery solved a long-standing problem for Boro and brought balance and solidity. But he left in acrimonious circumstances, tapped up by Liverpool who were later dragged through the High Court before Boro were vindicated and compensated.
Wilkinson had won the title at Everton in but faded at Forest and Watford - but he burst back into life at Boro. Edged out under Bryan Robson, he joined Barnsley on a free in after a healthy 56 goals in games. Boro's Robbie reliant was the unsung hero for over a decade, playing a key role in the engine room in two promotion sides and in two Wembley finals without ever getting the deserved recognition from the media.
Boro shocked football as they beat off a host of giant clubs to sign one of the biggest names in world football. The Croatian had just won Serie A with Lazio to add to his Champions League medal and other honours when he announced he was leaving Rome - for Teesside! It showed Boro were serious players in the continental transfer market. They could realistically compete for anyone. He had sublime skills but a dismissive attitude and a poor fitness record - although that improved when Terry Venables read the riot act.
Seventies first team fixture Platt scored more goals for the reserves as an outfield player than he played first senior games in his first year after arriving from Northern Ireland club Ballymena. Shot-shy Boro were struggling to finish off the superb approach work of Paul Merson and their promotion charge was faltering.
He scored within four minutes of his debut to help beat Liverpool and fire Boro to Wembley in the Coca-Cola Cup final then repeated his net-busting start in the league with two against title rivals Sunderland four days later. The ultimate short term loan move and cult hero. The German hotshot scored nine goals in 13 games and kick-started a faltering title push at a time when promotion was crucial to the success of the Riverside Revolution that was about to unfold.
The importance of this short lived catalyst is hard to quantify but it would be fair to say he is a key historical figure. Barrel-chested frontman Hendrie has his place already etched into history after scoring the last goal at Ayresome Park and also a candidate for the best with a weaving wonder goal against Millwall. Colin Todd brought him to the club after a nightmare spell at Newcastle and he had a jittery start out on the wing.
But once Lennie Lawrence arrived he was first pushed up front and then teamed up with Paul Wilkinson to form a deadly strikeforce that helped fire Boro into the inaugural Premier League. Then after relegation and the arrival of Bryan Robson he top scored in another promotion campaign but once in the top flight he featured less often.
He was an outstanding talent and an instant hit on Teesside and his silky skills helped Boro to Carling Cup victory and Europe for the first time but then a cruciate injury ruled him out for a year.
He came back and starred in a demolition of Manchester United but then suffered a broken foot and fell out of favour and was condemned to internal exile for a year before retiring. Once he was finally secured two years later he quickly became a fixture in a team that was to first suffer relegation then to roar out of liquidation and up to the top flight under Bruce Rioch setting a new club record of seven successive clean sheets along the way.
An incredible shot-stopper, great in one-on-ones, agile and brave and good in the air despite not being a giant, it was a wonder that Pears was not lured away by bigger clubs. He was called up for England but missed out after breaking a cheekbone in a training clash with Dion Dublin.
Pears played in games for Boro and featured in four promotion sides. He got the last ever goal at Ayresome - a penalty in his own testimonial - then joined Liverpool as cover for David James.
That in itself is a landmark worth recalling. But signing Delapenha was far from being a token statement on post-colonial integration. He was a fantastic player who more than earned his place. He played for Arsenal and Portsmouth where he won a title medal before switching to Boro where he excelled on the wing or at outside right using his strength and speed to burst into the box and have a crack.
Zenden had Dutch and Spanish title medals but after a patchy spell at Chelsea was looking to reignite his career. He struggled at first out on the wing but an injury to Gaizka Mendieta forced Steve McClaren to move him inside and recall Stewart Downing to play on the left flank and the rest is history: Relative rookies Boro had smashed the world transfer record the year before to sign Alf Common but Bloomer was arguably the more audacious signing at the time.
Bloomer had been the top goalscorer in the league - and by extension the world - for a decade and was the England centre-forward. He was the Edwardian Alan Shearer. For Boro, who had only joined the league in , to splash out the second biggest fee in football history was a major coup. And it paid off. In his four seasons playing to booming crowds at the new Ayresome Park, Bloomer rattled in 62 goals in games, was top scorer twice, and helped Boro grow from relegation strugglers to established power.
He returned to Derby then went to coach in Germany in where he was interned when the First World War broke out.
On the face of it, bringing in an aging warhorse with notoriously dodgy knees for what was then a hefty sum seemed a risky move by Bryan Robson who had plenty of money and options as he planned the Riverside Revolution.
But it turned out to be a masterstroke. With a fierce will to win, iron discipline and robust no-nonsense physicality in defence, Pearson was the solid platform on which Robson was able to rapidly rebuild several times as Boro grew. Big Nige scared an initially unbalanced side becoming a tight unit that won promotion, established themselves in the Premier League and then led Boro out twice at Wembley.
Arguably his absence through injury was a bigger cause of relegation than the no-show and the Three Points. The greatest Australian hero since Ned Kelly Mourinho insisted he was going nowhere, despite United fans reacting angrily to their last 16 exit to Sevilla. There's just 12 in the collection and 25, produced of each - which means collectors are going wild for them.
Richard Johnson claimed victory on the shot ahead of favourite Might Bite. The winner, finishers and every result at Prestbury Park. Millions of pounds were wagered by the Great British public as thousands roared Native River on to a historic win at Prestbury Park.
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Stretch split in In Elmer Gantry and Kirby reformed the band. I agree Peter — Stretch were a great live band. Thanks for the setlist Mitch, yes I agree Stretch were pretty good and gave Rainbow a run for their money Cheers Peter. Great stuff Peter, I was at the Dunelm gig with Mitch my brother and it was an absolute stormer — it would be in my top ten gigs of all time. Jim later joined the Inmates and is still gigging strongly today.
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I hope Bamford smashes my Middlesbrough record and the time I nearly got punched Boro legend is proud of two year-old records but hopes Patrick Bamford can smash them.
Angus Donaldson, director of estates and facilities at Hook up in middlesbrough University, was caught "jostling" with student demonstrators during a rally in support of striking staff on Wednesday. Subscribe to our Celebs newsletter Enter email Subscribe. By Tom Bryant Head of Showbiz. There is something very special going on there that transcends football. The dressing room bust-ups, the berating of team-mates mid-game and the misquotations became more frequent and in the ruins 20 signs youre dating a banker relegation his Reservoir Dogs delegation storming upp and out of reception was a regular sight before he finally got his way and left for Marseilles. They had signed Nick Barmby and Juninho but both were still exciting young prospects hook up in middlesbrough the fringes of their national team yet to hit their peak.
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