Newspaper article Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)

Football: This Is Our Moment; Fairytale End to the Season for Boro Lads

Newspaper article Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)

Football: This Is Our Moment; Fairytale End to the Season for Boro Lads

Article excerpt

Byline: By BARBARA ARGUMENT Chief Writer

IT WAS billed as celebration time at the Riverside for Boro's last match of the season.

Fans had been promised a treat before the summer break.

But even the most ardent supporter could never have guessed what was in the take-home party bag.

Eight cracking goals from a team in high spirits and popping 'em in double quick and with breathtaking quality.

The Boro faithful unfurled their biggest fanzine flags and belted out Pig Bag like their lives depended on it.

"There's only one Stevie Gibson" echoed round a stadium shrouded in a freezing cold fret off the river.

There was something surreal about blazing hot sunshine down the road while the Riverside faithful shivered, the lights were switched on and the team set about pulverising Manchester City 8-1.

Nothing could spoil the joyful mood of the thousands shivering in the mist as our Boro got down to their record-breaking task.

And it was Afonso Alves, the Boy from Brazil, who helped local hero Stewart Downing bring on the Riverside's biggest ever win.

Alves cracked in three stunners with nerves of steel and Downing produced a breathtaking strike to send the stands wild with delight.

Not since the Samba Beat and Boro's amazing 4-3 wins in Europe had the fans witnessed such a treat.

You have to go way back to 1974 in Jack Charlton's promotion season when Boro beat Sheffield Wednesday 8-0 with Graham Souness scoring a hat-trick.

"But that was a division down so this was better," said Rob Nichols, editor of Fly Me To The Moon.

"It was a euphoric day and important to get a good end to the season.

"Before the match people were saying 'They're doing a lap of honour, but what have we got to celebrate?' "In the end, there wasn't a single person who wanted to leave before the team came out."

The Boro fans were having a ball - and not beyond rubbing it in with the City not-so-slicker supporters demoralised by news that manager Sven Goran Erikson was on his way out.

"You'll get the sack in the morning," they chorused wickedly as the Swede took to the technical area.

Amazingly City fans were in high spirits waving blow-up bananas - a strange and complicated tribute to one-time player Imre Veradi - in the face of their demoralised team. …

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