Newspaper article Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)

Can the Class of 04 Be Emulated?

Newspaper article Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)

Can the Class of 04 Be Emulated?

Article excerpt

BORO are in FA Youth Cup action tonight.

Reading visit the Riverside and players on both sides will be dreaming going all the way to the final.

Boro have done extremely well in the tournament over the past decade and reached consecutive finals in 2003 and 2004.

Manchester United proved too powerful over two legs in the first of those finals but a year later the players were older and wiser and they romped to a 4-0 aggregate victory over Aston Villa.

That campaign began with a 3-0 third round win over Fulham eight years ago and it's worth taking a closer look at Mark Proctor's squad to see how their careers worked out. It's certainly hard to believe that any other Youth Cup squad has produced so many professionals. DAVID KNIGHT (keeper): Didn't make a first team breakthrough at Boro and has tried his luck at Darlington and several lower league and non-league clubs. Was on Histon's books last season and briefly went out on loan to York. TONY McMAHON (full-back/ captain): Still with Boro and is a key member of Tony Mowbray's first team squad. After breaking into the first team as a teenager, struggled to establish himself due to an horrendous run of injuries. PETER MASTERS (full-back): Decided on a career outside the pro game, winning a scholarship to Embry-Riddle University, in Florida, for whom he played football. MATTHEW BATES (central defence): Like McMahon, he's a senior member of the team and is the current club captain. Bravely overcame four medial knee ligament operations. DAVID WHEATER (central defence): Is battling to establish himself in Bolton's first team after a pounds 2m move from Boro in January. Outstanding displays for Boro earned him an England squad call-up three years ago.

JASON KENNEDY (midfield): Made a handful of first team appearances for Boro before loan stints with Boston, Bury, Livingston, and Darlington. Eventually signed for the Quakers in 2008 before, one year later, moving to Rochdale where he's a first team regular. GARY LIDDLE (midfield): Failed to make a first team breakthrough for his hometown club. He joined Hartlepool in 2006 where he soon established himself as a regular. …

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