Middlesbrough are riding high in The Football League, and it may not be too long before Boro fans are making the European trips they were used to under Steve McLaren. We asked Middlesbrough bloggers @OneBoro to remind us what it was like watching Middlesbrough in Europe.

And for those of you who can't wait for the next time Middlesbrough face European competition again, you can join your club's cycling team in Europe this June on the London to Amsterdam Challenge with Neil Madison.

31 Jan 2015

It's May 10 2006. The venue is the Philips Stadion, Eindhoven, and the event is the 2005/2006 UEFA Cup Final. The list of previous winners includes Liverpool, Juventus, Inter Milan, Real Madrid and Bayern Munich. This was the chance for manager Steve McClaren to add the name of Middlesbrough Football Club to that list.

Middlesbrough progressed through to the knockout stages, overcoming both Stuttgart and AS Roma on the away goal ruling in dramatic fashion. Nothing would have prepared the fans for what was still to come.

Conceding two goals in Basel left McClaren's team with a mountain to climb in the return leg at the Riverside. Things went from bad to worse when the Swiss struck on early, leaving Middlesbrough needing four goals to progress to the semi-final stage.

Mark Viduka pulled one back just before half-time as Basel went down to ten men. The introduction of Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink and Massimo Maccarone was bold and against the grain for McClaren but it paid off, with the latter bagging a last minute winner to send Boro through 4-3 on aggregate.

Sensational stuff, but surely they couldn't allow themselves to get in a similar position again if they wanted to make it through to the final?

In the semi-final the team were 3-0 down to Steaua Bucharest in the first half of the second leg at the Riverside. The atmosphere was something else. Maccarone once again proved to be the man for the big occasion. Netting the first goal to stir a passionate revival before heading home the winner in the 89th minute, sending Middlesbrough through to their first ever European final - eventually defeating the Romanians 4-3.

Fans travelled to Eindhoven in their thousands. The atmosphere buoyed up by the events in the matches leading to the final. Thinking it had to be their year - after everything they overcame in the previous two rounds, there was no way the team were leaving without the UEFA Cup.

The atmosphere was superb, with both sets of fans contributing to a special night. But for Middlesbrough it was extra special: their first European final, and the fans truly believed.

What happened next was probably a result of nerves, lack of experience and playing 53 matches that season. Sevilla were superb on the night winning 4-0. This time there was no comeback.

For the team it was a failure at the time, but fans look back on our European journey with pride and stories were written that will be told around the Riverside Stadium for many years to come.

If you and your mates want that European thrill again, take Boro into Europe with Prostate Cancer UK on the London to Amsterdam Challenge, a 145 mile bike ride in June 2015. Join a star studded peloton including Middlesbrough favourite Neil Madison alongside Luther Blissett, Terry Butcher and Matt Holland.

For more information visit prostatecanceruk.org/amsterdam

comments powered by Disqus