5 memorable opening day games as Middlesbrough prepare for Championship fixtures

From the action-packed to the awful, we cast our eye back over some of Middlesbrough's memorable opening games.

Wednesday, 20th June 2018, 1:36 pm
Updated Wednesday, 20th June 2018, 1:41 pm
How well do you remember these games?

The Championship fixtures are set to be released tomorrow morning, with Middlesbrough learning who they will play and when in the new campaign.

After narrowly missing out on a place in the play-off final last season, the Teessiders will be keen to push for promotion once again this season

And fans will be keen to learn with Tony Pulis’ side will face first in 2018/19 as they look to get off to a good start.

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But how have Middlesbrough fared on the opening day of the season in previous years?

From hammerings to horror shows, we’ve picked out five of Boro’s most memorable opening day games from recent years:

2001/02 - Middlesbrough 0-4 Arsenal

This was hardly an ideal start to the season for Boro, who were played off the park by an impressive Arsenal side in what was Steve McClaren’s first official game in charge.

Thierry Henry’s first-half strike handed the Gunners the initiative before a red card for Ray Parlour offered a route back into the game for the hosts.

But Middlesbrough failed to capitalise, with a late Robert Pires penalty and a brace from Dennis Bergkamp handing the North Londoners a comfortable victory.

McClaren would go on to guide Boro to a 12th place finish, while Arsenal took the title.

2004/05 - Middlesbrough 2-2 Newcastle

A local derby packed full of action kicked off the 2004/05 campaign.

Newcastle, who had finished fifth in the previous season, took an early lead through Craig Bellamy.

And they held onto that advantage until the final 15 minutes, when Stewart Downing levelled for Boro.

That sparked a monumental finish, in which Alan Shearer looked to have secured the three points for the Magpies with an 82nd penalty.

But Jimmy Flloyd-Hasselbaink’s injury time strike secured a point for Middlesbrough in a dramatic ending.

2005/06 - Middlesbrough 0-0 Liverpool

Facing a Liverpool side that had just lifted the Champions League was hardly an ideal first game for Middlesbrough.

But, despite being written off by many an onlooker, McClaren’s side held firm to pick up a fine opening day point.

Their job was made even harder after Ugo Ehiogu was shown a second half red card - allowing Liverpool to lay siege on Mark Schwarzer’s goal.

The Australian wouldn’t be beaten, though, and the Teesiders earned a value point en route to 14th place finish.

2008/09 - Middlesbrough 2-1 Tottenham

2008/09 saw Middlesbrough handed a tough start as they faced Spurs and Liverpool in their opening two games.

But they got off to the ideal start with this fine win over the North Londoners, in a game in which Boro created the better chances despite seeing less of the ball.

It took until the 71st minute for the deadlock to be broken as David Wheater bundled the ball home from close range.

Mido then returned to haunt his former club as he added Middlesbrough’s second late on, while an injury time own goal from Robert Huth proved only a consolation.

2013/14 - Middlesbrough 1-2 Leicester City

This result is surely proof as to how much an opening day defeat can drain confidence.

There wasn’t much between the sides on the day, and Boro even took the lead when Sean St Ledger sliced into his own net.

But strikers from Danny Drinkwater and Jamie Vardy handed Leicester the three points after some horrific Middlesbrough defending.

Boro went on to win just one of their opening ten games after this defeat - a run of form that saw Tony Mowbray lose his job.

Tony Pulis will be desperate to ensure that no such run of forms transpires this season.