Middlesbrough FC

Middlesbrough Football Club, owned by Steve Gibson, are a professional football club based in Middlesbrough, North East England. Nicknamed 'Boro', they are currently managed by Jonathan Woodgate in the second level of English football - the SkyBet Championship. Boro's closest rivals are Newcastle United, Sunderland and Leeds United.

Middlesbrough FC were founded in the late 19th century. The club had several successes, but it was not until the pre-World War II era that the team was able to cope with the big teams in England. This team were honoured by English players such as George Hardwick and Wilf Mannion.

It was not until the 1970's that the club enjoyed some success with a team including names such as David Armstrong and Graeme Souness, coached by Jack Charlton. The promotions during this period, although impressive, did not produce trophies to match.

In the 1980s Middlesbrough FC were almost liquidated. If it wasn't for the financial help of a consortium led by Steve Gibson, the club could have gone under. The revival of the club in 1986 was aided by the funds from the sale of young talents such as Gary Pallister and Colin Cooper.

By 1994, Boro attracted former England and Manchester United captain, Bryan Robson, to join as player-manager. Inheriting the squad left by Lennie Lawrence, along with players such as Nigel Pearson and Steve Vickers, he guided the team to the Premiership.

With the opening of the 30,000-seat Riverside Stadium confidence and optimism was renewed around Middlesbrough. This feeling of belief was supported financially with the signings of Nick Barmby and Juninho. The club held its own for a long time amongst the best teams in England.

Boro retained their Premiership status in the following years. With the signings of the Champions League winner Fabrizio Ravinelli and the Brazilian power Emerson, football fever seized the town.

Taking advantage of the support, Boro had long runs in the League Cup and FA Cup. However, disaster quickly followed and Boro fell in the last hurdle in both cup finals. Boro also faced a deduction of 3 points for not being able to field a team against Blackburn Rovers. This ultimately led to relegation to the second tier.

Although relegation saw Juninho and Emerson leave, they managed to sign Paul Merson. The club were dominant in the League, seeing them gain promotion.

Successive seasons saw Boro retain Premier League status, but the results of the following seasons would progressively worsen. This led to Steve Gibson appointing former England coach Terry Venables alongside Bryan Robson.

The decision paid off and the club managed to avoid relegation, however, support was diminishing and a change was desired. The result was Robson's reluctant dismissal and the hiring of Manchester United assistant coach Steve McClaren as Middlesbrough manager.

McClaren would bring a strong work ethic and tactics. Football wasn't the prettiest to watch, but the team never looked like relegation material.

With this new set up and continued financial support, the club would consolidate its position in the Premier League. Boro reached another final of the League Cup in the 2004 Carling Cup, with Boro beating Bolton Wanderers 2-1. This saw them win their first major trophy and qualify for the UEFA Cup.

The following season, Boro again qualified for Europe with a 7th place finish in the Premier League. Boro dramatically made their way to the 2005/06 UEFA Cup Final, however, lost 4-0 to Sevilla.

At the end of the 2005/06 season, McClaren left the club to take the England national team managerial job.

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