Newspaper article Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)

Bouncing Back with the Magic from Mers; 1997/98 EXCITEMENT Is Building Ahead of the Big Kick-Off. the Campaign Could Well Be One to Remember and in an Exciting Gazette Series, ANTHONY VICKERS Looks Back to Some Other Eagerly-Awaited Seasons Where Optimism Was Bubbling on Planet Boro

Newspaper article Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)

Bouncing Back with the Magic from Mers; 1997/98 EXCITEMENT Is Building Ahead of the Big Kick-Off. the Campaign Could Well Be One to Remember and in an Exciting Gazette Series, ANTHONY VICKERS Looks Back to Some Other Eagerly-Awaited Seasons Where Optimism Was Bubbling on Planet Boro

Article excerpt

Byline: ANTHONY VICKERS

BORO should have been broken and demoralised.

The unravelling team had twice been left heart-broken in cup finals in the previous crazy campaign then were relegated on the final day of an emotionally draining season.

The club hierarchy were still locked in a bitter war of words with the game's authorities over the political fall-out over a punitive three point penalty that had pushed Boro through the Premier League trap-door that left tetchy Teesside simmering with resentment.

And in a summer of turmoil tiny talisman Juninho had departed for Spanish giants Atletico Madrid, soul-glo powerhouse Emerson had checked out in mind if not in body and stroppy striker Fabrizio Ravanelli was rocking the boat and gesticulating angrily in a bid to escape the Riverside.

He got his way after scoring the last gasp winner in the curtain-raiser against Charlton.

So Boro should have been reeling from the bloody nose, racked with recriminations and fans flat and dispirited after seeing the much vaunted Foreign Legion evaporate.

In fact, Boro roared into the new term fired up with righteous indignation.

Bryan Robson set about splashing out again to quickly rebuild and the supporters stood firmly behind the club as the Riverside Stadium was once again sold out.

And with the team and crowd united around the burning desire to prove a point and to seize back the Premier League place they believed they had been cheated of, there was no stopping Boro.

It was to be a fantastic season of steely determination and some fantastic football that would end with redemption as Boro were promoted at the first time of asking.

And it was to end with yet another knockout trip to the Twin Towers as Robbo's serial finalists Boro started referring to the national stadium as Wem-Boro-ley.

Relegation had meant Robbo's audacious provisionally agreed plans to sign Roberto Carlos, Gabriel Batistuta and Paul Ince were scuppered. …

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