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Sunday, 23 November 2008

Whatever Happened To: Middlesbrough 2004 League Cup Winners & 2006 UEFA Cup Finalists

Without beating Bolton in the 2004 League Cup Final, Steve McClaren would probably have never got near the England job, so this wasn't just a momentous win for Boro fans. 4 and half years on, not a single member of the starting eleven is still playing at the Riverside.

There are faces around the place who can remember Boro's first major trophy though. Gareth Southgate moved into the managerial chair after England came calling for McClaren and Bradley Jones, Chris Riggott and Stewart Downing were all on the bench at the Millennium Stadium.

A fair few of the starters were getting long in the tooth so perhaps it isn't so surprising that they have all moved on to pastures new. The team that day read;

Schwarzer, Mills, Ehiogu, Southgate, Queudrue, Mendieta, Doriva, Boateng, Job , Juninho and Zenden.

Subs- Jones, Ricketts  (the only 0ne used) Riggott, Maccarone and Downing

Mark Schwarzer only departed the club during the summer after 11 years in the North-East. By contrast Michael Ricketts- who got on as a sub against his former club- was on his way by the summer of 2004 and missed out on the UEFA Cup run that followed. The England one cap man embarked on long trawl of the lower divisions and is currently at Walsall.

Most of the winning squad were around for the excitement of a tilt for Europe which ended in the knockout stages against  eventual finalists Sporting Lisbon. The manager reshaped his squad and a more powerful attacking force came back in 2005/06 and went all the way to the Final. Along the way there were two astonishing fightbacks before Seville caned them in the showpiece.

The team for the UEFA Cup Final read;

Schwarzer, Riggott, Southgate, Queudrue, Parnaby, Rochemback, Boateng, Downing, Morrison, Hasselbaink and Viduka.

Subs;  Maccarone, Yakubu Cattermole (all 3 used) , Jones, Ehiogu, Parlour, Bates

The UEFA Cup Final is noteworthy for the results of Boro's much vaunted youth policy and yet Parnaby, Cattermole and Morrison have all left the club since, while Riggott hasn't always been first choice.

The break up of the last side Steve McClaren selected at Boro has been a speedy one and gives the lie to the suggestion that Gareth Southgate is too 'nice' to survive in Premiership management. Boateng, Morrison, Schwarzer, Cattermole, Yakubu and Viduka (fitfully) are all with Premiership rivals, while Parnaby and Queudrue are seeking promotion with Birmingham.

Veteran Ugo Ehiogu is still doing a job with Sheffield United, Ray Parlour ended his long career with Hull and Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink had an unlikeLy Cup Final swansong with Cardiff  City. Doriva was on the books briefly at Blackpool after he jeft Boro and is reported as retired.

The hugely expensive Massimo Maccarone started both Finals on the bench which is apt comment on his Middlesbrough career. The Italian under-21 star never got to grips with English football though he did gain some redemption in the run to the UEFA Final. He returned to Serie A with Siena where Boro had previously loaned him but has never regained the promise of his younger days.

The two scorers from the 2004 Final went different ways initially but then ended up in the same country. Bolo Zenden added a spell at Liverpool and then Marseille to the major clubs he's played for -Joseph-Desire Job went to African football with Al-Ittihad, then back to the French League.

After 3 years at the Riverside Brazilian Fabio Rochemback returned to Sporting Lisbon this summer where Boro originally signed him. It remains to be seen if 34 year old Gaizka Mendieta plays again after being released in the sumnmer.

From being an England regular in 2002 Danny Mills has had a bitty career with numerous loan spells. He is still on the books at Manchester City but his future is uncertain after injury cut short a spell with Derby.

As for Teeside's favourite overseas son, Juninho Paulista went to Celtic, Palmeiras, Flamengo and latterly Sydney FC after 2004. He retired earlier this year with 68 caps , admirers across the globe and of course, a World Cup winner's medal.

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