Middlesbrough Season Guide
Nickname: The Boro
Ground: Riverside Stadium, Middlesbrough, Cleveland, TS3 6RS
Ticket Office: (01642) 877 745
Home - All red
Away - White shirts and shorts, black socks
Soccernet's Middlesbrough page | Full squad | Fixture list
Soccernet's Middlesbrough Correspondent
Official Middlesbrough Website
Unofficial website - mfc1986.co.uk
Unofficial website - My Boro
|Last Season - Away day blues||Position: 11th|
Middlesbrough started last season in fine form, and became many pundits' tip for European football for this coming campaign. But the club's early season achievements were undermined by an abysmal away record which saw them win only once on their travels in the opening five months of the season. They were hurt badly by the loss of Juninho in the pre-season programme, as a knee ligament injury ruled him out of action until March. At one stage it looked as though Boro were in danger of being dragged into a relegation battle, but they recovered their form to finish just outside the top half of the table. The Cups brought little joy either, with a Third Round FA Cup defeat at Chelsea and an early exit from the Worthington Cup as well.
|Transfers - In and Out|
Doriva (Celta Vigo) - Undisclosed
Chris Riggott (Derby) - Undisclosed
Carlo Nash (Man City) - Nominal
Alan Wright (Aston Villa) - Free
Gaizka Mendieta (Lazio) - Loan
Danny Mills (Leeds) - Loan
Boudewijn Zenden (Chelsea) - Loan
Luke Wilkshire (Bristol C) - £250,000
Mark Crossley (Fulham) - Undisc.
Jason Gavin (Bradford) - Free
Tony Vidmar (Cardiff) - Free
Noel Whelan (Millwall) - Free
Bradley Jones (Rotherham) - Loan
Sam Russell (Scunthorpe) - Loan
Mark Wilson (Swansea) - Loan
Alen Boksic - Released
Arturo Bernhardt - Released
|First Choice XI|
1-Mark Schwarzer; Danny Mills, 5-Chris Riggott, 6-Gareth Southgate,
3-Franck Queudrue; Gaizka Mendieta, 7-George Boateng, 12-Jonathan Greening;
10-Juninho Paulista; 11-Malcolm Christie, 17-Michael Ricketts.
|The Gaffer - Steve McClaren|
Middlesbrough boss Steve McClaren moved into coaching after his playing career was ended early by injury at the age of 27, starting out as part of Jim Smith's backroom staff at Oxford United. When Smith took over at Derby County, he soon returned to Oxford to snap up McClaren. It was with the Rams that the 41-year-old's reputation began to grow, and eventually he moved to Manchester United to become Sir Alex Ferguson's number two after Brian Kidd had taken the Blackburn manager's job. It was while at Old Trafford that the FA enlisted McClaren to help out with the England team, making him caretaker manager for a short time, along with Peter Taylor, after the resignation of Kevin Keegan. He was a close advisor of Sven Goran Eriksson until the early part of last season, when he decided to concentrate on his commitments with Boro. McClaren, a quiet, reserved man, was appointed Boro boss in the summer of 2002, and he is slowly moulding a team of his own stars. He is considered as a possible future England manager.
|Player to Watch - Juninho|
World Cup winner Juninho was sorely missed when a cruciate knee injury ruled him out of action until March. But he was an inspiration on his return, helping to rejuvenate a flagging side with three goals in nine starts. He marked his emotional comeback with the equalising goal at home to Everton. Now in his third spell at the Riverside Stadium, Juninho is a true legend amongst the fans. The skilful, exciting little Brazilian lit up the club in his first spell and captured the imagination. Excellent dribbling, astute passing and good finishing make Juninho one of his country's best players. Boro will be delighted that the little magician will be fully fit for the start of the new season. The 30-year-old, a snip at £3.8million, will be central to their hopes for the coming campaign and if he stays fit there is little doubt Boro will be a top-half club.
|Young Gun - David Murphy|
Much is expected of left-back David Murphy, who would surely have clocked up more first team appearances last term but for a bad injury picked up on the opening day. He was selected to start against Southampton at St Mary's, but was forced out of the action after only 15 minutes with a knee injury. That would rule the Hartlepool-born defender out of action until January, but he was welcomed back into the first team fold on his return. The 19-year-old, already an England international at several youth levels, will compete with Franck Queudrue and Alan Wright for a place in the side, although he can also played in midfield. Murphy looks to have a great future ahead of him, and will surely add to his 13 Premiership appearances over the course of this campaign - but he will miss the first few weeks after breaking a bone in his foot over the summer.
|From the terraces|
Well, that was a pretty unspectacular summer wasn't it? The lack of transfer arrivals hasn't exactly filled the Riverside with an air of expectancy for the new season - so what should we expect over the coming months?
Naturally, we should be aiming for an improvement on our eleventh placed finish of last time round, and hopefully a fully-fit Juninho will help us achieve this. I expect Stuart Parnaby to continue his development into a player of real quality this season.
The right-back has already received attention at England Under-21 level, and if he can mirror last season's performances then a place in the full squad is not an unrealistic target. Prediction - top ten.
By Andy McNab, from Fans FC.
Big-spending Boro? Not any more. This is as quiet a summer as we've known on Teesside. And the only news has been bad news. Geremi's gone. Trevor Sinclair didn't sign. And Kevin Phillips probably won't either.
Add in a lengthy injury for Ugo Ehiogu which may disturb our previously solid defence - though Chris Riggott should prove a fine replacement - and expectations should not be too high.
Nonetheless, Steve McClaren has to get us into the top half of the table. That means our dismal away form must improve and one of our many strikers needs to score regularly. I reckon Malcolm Christie's the best bet. Michael Ricketts and Massimo Maccarone certainly need to do better to impress me.
By Ricardo Thelton, from the Message Boards.
|Best - European place||Worst - Mid-table|
Middlesbrough flattered to deceive last season, looking like a solid unit for the first couple of months before losing form. They have already been hit by an injury to Ugo Ehiogu, which will rule him out until next year, leaving former Derby centre-back Chris Riggott to partner Gareth Southgate at the centre of the defence. Strikers Massimo Maccarone and Michael Ricketts will also miss the start of the new campaign, meaning Boro will have to rely on Malcolm Christie and Szilard Nemeth to get the goals. If everything clicks in to place there is the chance that Boro could still qualify for the UEFA Cup, but in truth there is little to suggest that Boro will achieve anything other than another mid-table finish. The influence of Juninho cannot be understated.