'Best product of our academy': Middlesbrough fans react following Stewart Downing's move to Blackburn
Former Middlesbrough winger Stewart Downing has joined Championship side Blackburn Rovers on a one-year deal – and Boro fans have been quick to react.
The 34-year-old wideman made over 400 appearances for the Teessiders during two separate spells at the club, helping Boro reach the UEFA Cup final in 2006, as well as winning promotion to the Premier League following his return in 2015.
And while Downing received some criticism from Boro fans last season, the majority of supporters wished him well and thanked the winger for his services. Here’s how some reacted on social media:
@JenniferHayton_ : It’s a new era under this new look coaching set up. I think many believed Stewy would re-sign under Woody, but I’m sure the decision was made on pure football terms. I wish him luck, one of the best our academy has produced and a Boro lad through and through. Thank you Stewy.
@justcalledtosay: Best of luck Stewy. You’ll always get a great reception from me back at the Riverside.
@alexlabne: Best product of our academy so far. Club legend, class act on and off the pitch. #UTB
@mickldo: Good luck at the new club and thanks for everything you've done for the Boro
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@scamplin78: I think he deserved a new contract at the boro. He was still one of our best players last year. @Boro
@cheekyborolad: Loved him in his first spell for the club. The best to come out of our academy without a shadow of a doubt. Hopefully he can offer Blackburn something with all that experience UTB!!!
@gisboro: All the best Stewy on your new venture, thank you for your years of dedication, passion and great football #OneOfOurOwn #UTB
@AllThingsErimus: No matter what you think of his latest spell, he’s one of ours and had arguably the best career of anyone from our area. It was time for both to move on. Can see him doing well if played central.
@TeessiderUTB: Downing gets massive reaction when returns to Riverside with @Rovers
@Craig_Honeyman: Great pro. Good human being. Good father. Family man. Our greatest academy product. Good luck to him.