Back to the Future 5-Boro Buried But Not Dead
Stevenson, Docherty, Newton, Noble, Waldron, Thomson, Morgan, Hankin, Summerbee, Collins, James Sub: Flynn (Did not Feature)
What though of Middlesbrough? Well they certainly had a famous gaffer in charge, none other than Jack Charlton.
The former Leeds and England centre-back got his first job in management with Middlesbrough on his 38th birthday in May 1973 and was an instant success picking up a Manager of the Year award. The club, then in the second division were promoted in Jack`s first season as gaffer. Indeed they ensured promotion as runaway champions as early as March 1974 still with eight games of the season left. In the 1974-75 season they would finish 7th in the First Division with the Clarets just three places behind them in 10th so the scene was set for a thrilling battle or two in 1975-6. As it turned out it would be three battles, one home and away of course in the League but also we played them that season in the League Cup but more of that later.
Boro`s team back then contained one or two familiar names. Veteran England full back Terry Cooper was now playing for Middlesbrough after many years at Leeds United. He was signed by his former Leeds team mate in 1975 and went on to make over 100 appearances for them. A young 22 year old midfielder by the name of Graeme Souness was also in the squad. He had signed for Boro from Spurs in December 1972 for £35,000 and was now already a Scottish International. Other names you may recall included their keeper, Jim Platt, defender, Willie Maddren and former Celtic striker and Scottish international, Bobby Murdoch.
Adamson`s notes in the 'Claret & Blue` programme for our first encounter against Middlesbrough in 1975-76 indicated the lads had been soaking up the sun & sea air in Felixstowe earlier in the week as they prepared for their midweek game at Portman Road. It seemed to have done the trick. They had picked up a valuable point against Ipswich in a 0-0 draw and were now about to thump Middlesbrough 4-1 to secure their first win of the season. The victory would see them in 10th place but it was a false dawn and we would soon be plummeting down the table.
Nevertheless at long last Clarets fans could celebrate in style thanks to a hat-trick by Peter Noble and another goal from Ray Hankin. Boro had taken the lead too after just 6 minutes before Noble got into action and gave Charlton a triple whammy scoring after 15, 26 and 54 minutes. Ray Hankin then sealed a perfect day with a fourth goal on 75 minutes.
Middlesbrough though would get their revenge at Turf Moor by knocking us out of the League Cup.
The Clarets had dispatched Hereford, the mighty Liverpool (over two matches) and Leicester so far and we now faced Boro in the next round at home.
The match was played on the night of Wednesday 3rd December in front of 15,431 fans but there was to be no fairy tale story this time with the Clarets going down 2-0. We fell to a sucker punch goal after 2 minutes plus another 10 minutes from time.
The team that night was as follows:
Stevenson, Docherty, Newton, Noble, Waldron, Thomson, Bradshaw, Hankin, Summerbee, Collins, Flynn Sub: Loggie (Came on for Collins)
By now things were looking bleak for Adamson; we were third from bottom in the League in 20th position and looking like relegation certainties having now also been knocked out of the League Cup by a team we had beaten convincingly just four months earlier. Things were to get worse for Jimmy Adamson and by the New Year we had a new manager in charge, Joe Brown
So we had now played Boro twice and won one and lost one both on home soil. I suppose it was inevitable we would draw at their place and so we did in the return league match at Ayresome Park.
It was a totally different team under our new manager, Joe Brown that faced Middlesbrough on their home soil on Saturday 4th February 1976.
We lined up as follows in front of 17,856 fans:
Peyton, Scott, Newton, Rodaway, Waldron, Thomson, Morley, Hankin, Summerbee, Fletcher, Noble Sub: Flynn (Came on for Noble)
The Clarets were a goal behind after 9 minutes after a goal by Boro captain, centre back Stuart Boam but equalised thanks to a well-taken header by Hankin in the 24th minute following a cross by Fletcher from the right. Hankin nearly made it 2-1 just after the interval following another cross by Fletcher this time for the left. The header from Hankin though fell short and in a freakish bounce the ball went over the bar.
The score finished 1-1 but we were still in 21st spot and would remain there for virtually the rest of the season before being relegated along with Wolves and Sheffield United.
Boro on the other hand finished 13th and also won some silverware lifting the Anglo-Scottish Cup in its inaugural season after a two-legged final win over Fulham.
Oh well not a bad performance in the league against Middlesbrough and at least we had now won our first match of the season.
The victory at home in the League should have been a spring board but next up was Derby County away from home, the Champions of 1974-75. We will tell you what happened against the Rams in the 1975-6 season in Part 6 of 'Back to the Future`