WHILE Spurs fans are probably still sobering up after their League Cup triumph against Chelsea on Sunday we have more action from everyone’s favourite second-rate competition today here at OTFD.
It was on this day in 2004 that Middlesbrough won their first ever trophy in their 128-year history when they lifted the Carling Cup after beating Bolton Wanderers 2-1.
Boro were managed at the time by a bloke called Steve McLaren who, after spending millions of Steve Gibson’s cash took the club to the heady heights of 12th, 11th(twice), 7th(fair dos), and 14th in the Premier League, with the League Cup victory the crowning glory of his reign and this sole achievement which the FA thought qualified him to take charge of his country.
The team who were ever the bridesmaids under previous boss Bryan Robson got an early leg up in the final when they went in front inside two minutes from a tap-in by Joseph-Desire Job after a Boudewijn Zenden cross.
It got even better for the Teesiders when the referee awarded them a dodgy-looking penalty just seven minutes into the match which Zenden duly dispatched.
Looking good so far for the boys in red, but, just like the tragicomedy that is Steve Mclaren’s managerial career, the match still had a few calamitous twists and turns to come. In a strange foretelling of Scot Carson’s performance against Croatia last November, Aussie keeper Mark Schwarzer inexplicably allowing a scuffed shot from Kevin Davies to squirm under him and into the net to give the Trotters hope.
But as they say, it’s the hope that kills you and despite a few chances at both ends in the second half, Boro held on to take the win and end their monumental trophy drought.
So McLaren had won the battle of the English managerial titans of the day (him and Big Sam Allardyce) and surely Boro’s life as the also-rans was consigned to history?
Erm, no. They proved they had lost none of that old heroic-failure spirit forged under Robbo (losing two cup finals and getting relegated in the same season surely gives you a certain pedigree) when they made it all the way to the Uefa Cup final in 2006 only to lose 4-0 to Juande Ramos’ Seville side.
Here they are enjoying their moment in the sun at the Millennium Stadium and come back tomorrow as we once again race head-long into the murky world of football’s past.