First published in the pre-season friendly Sons View, 22 July 2009, Dumbarton -v- Middlesbrough
Tonight’s visitors may now be contemplating life in the Championship in England for 2009-10, having narrowly lost out in the relegation survival battle in the Premier League last season – but they are determined to push to the top again. While Stewart Downing has just completed a £12 million move to Aston Villa (thus missing out on the rare opportunity to visit the Rock and one of Britain’s oldest clubs!), Boro have been attracting young talent over the summer – including Mark Yeates, who believes his move to Teesside can boost both his career and the club's fortunes.
Down South managerial careers around the top flight are perilous. But Boro have stuck by well-regarded Gareth Southgate, and he is determined to help the club rise again. This training trip to Scotland is part of that process. Dumbarton are delighted Middlesbrough and their fans will be making good use of the facilities at SHS while they are here.
Like the Sons, Boro have a long history. Founded in 1876, they went professional in 1889, played at Ayresome Park for 92 years before moving to the Riverside in 1995, and co-founded the Premier League in 1992. The club's highest league finish to date was third in the old First Division in 1913–14, and they have spent just two seasons outside of the Football League's top two divisions. They are tough opponents for the Sons this evening.