On the final day of the 2007/08 Premier League season, Middlesbrough and Manchester City faced off in a game that will never be forgotten.
The match came before Man City had their millions and were a beatable side, featuring the likes of Richard Dunne, Vedran Corluka, Stephan Ireland and more – and they were put to shame by Gareth Southgate’s side. Although we all know what Southgate has gone on to achieve since, leading England to the final of Euro 2020, this was far from expected and remains his joint-biggest win in senior football management (only bettering it with a 9-0 win over San Marino while in charge of England’s U21s).
It ended 8-1, with Brazilian forward Afonso Alves netting a hat-trick while Stewart Downing and Fabio Rochemback also featured on the score sheet. It was a memorable day for the Boro fans, and one to forget for City.
“It is difficult to take whenever you lose,” was the-City boss Sven-Göran Eriksson’s immediate post-match reaction.
“But, when you lose like this, it is awful. To concede a penalty and have Richard Dunne sent off was a bad start but we were in the game until it was 3-0.
“After that, mentally we had nothing left. We were not even on the pitch – the team had totally gone and it was embarrassing for everyone.”
It was an incredible achievement, but what became of the players who started under Southgate that spring afternoon?
Goalkeeper: Mark Schwarzer
Career path since: Fulham (2008-13) > Chelsea (2013-15) > Leicester City (2015-16)
The now retired 48-year-old goalkeeper was between the sticks for Middlesbrough for a long time, and deservedly so. One of the most underrated performers in the Premier League for many years, Schwarzer was key in helping Middlesbrough survive in the top flight on a number of occasions.
He made over 300 appearances in total for the North East club, but none of those could top the 8-1 win over Manchester City. He’d soon be on the move, joining Fulham where he played an important role in the Cottagers reaching an improbable Europa League final, before playing a back-up role at Chelsea and Leicester City until his retirement in 2016.
Right Back: Luke Young
Career path since: Aston Villa (2008-11) > Queens Park Rangers (2011-14)
Young is a former England international but his best days were well behind him when he retired in 2014 after being released by QPR.
With a career that saw him become one of the most consistent right-backs in the modern era, Young made seven England appearances during his four-year stint with the Three Lions senior side. It was kind of unfortunate that he was up against the best wing-back that potentially played for England, in Gary Neville, but he still got his caps when deserved.
He played for Aston Villa during his prime days and went close to helping the midlands club finish in the top four. They fell off at the crucial point under Martin O’Neill, but it was a thrilling season that nearly saw a big side miss out on Champions League football.
Centre Back: Chris Riggott
Career path since: Cardiff City (2010-11) > Derby County (2011-12) > Burton Albion (2012)
The former centre-back made over 100 appearances for Middlesbrough before leaving in 2010. He played at the Riverside for seven years, scoring five goals and picking up a runners-up medal in Boro’s famous run in the UEFA Cup in 2006, but then moved on to play at Stoke City (on loan), Derby County and Burton Albion.
Riggott was still at an age where he could play football, but the defender opted to leave professional football after failing to make an appearance for Burton Albion. He was forced to retire from the game due to a back injury.
Centre Back: David Wheater
Career path since: Bolton Wanderers (2011-19) > Oldham Athletic (2019-2021)
It would seem that Wheater has been around years after playing in 2008, but that was just the start of his career. At only 20-years-old, the centre-back made his name at Middlesbrough before being linked to other top sides many years ago. That never materialised and the 34-year-old now finds himself looking for a new club after leaving League Two side Oldham Athletic.
Left Back: Emanuel Pogatetz
Career path since: Hannover 96 (2010-12) > VfL Wolfsburg (2012-13) > West Ham United (2013) > 1. FC Nürnberg (2013-14) > Columbus Crew SC (2014-15) > Union Berlin (2016-17) > LASK Linz (2017-2020)
Having signed for £1.8m, his Middlesbrough debut came on 25 August 2005 against Charlton Athletic. The Austrian defender managed to elbow and kick his way into Southgate naming him as captain in 2008.
He remained at Middlesbrough for five years up until 2010 and found himself switching clubs regularly when leaving. Spending time over in Germany, Pogatetz played for Nurnberg and Hannover before returning to West Ham United for a season on loan.
Pogatetz, now 38, retired in January 2020 and was recently appointed assistant manager at Austrian side SKN St Polten after a spell with LASK.
Right Midfield: George Boateng
Career path since: Hull City (2008-10) > Skoda Xanthi (2010-11) > Nottingham Forest (2011-12) > T-Team (2012-13)
The former Netherlands international never quite made the cut for his country but what he did for his club sides never went unnoticed.
He was assured in possession, scored some key goals and put in crucial tackles when needed. Boateng was one of the best players Middlesbrough had during their stay in the Premier League and most fans would agree. He was captain of the side up until 2008 – which saw him spend six years at the club before moving to Hull City.
The 44 year-old retired from the game in 2013 and was immediately up and running in his post-playing career. Used to always being a leader and motivational team-mate on the pitch, Boateng managed Kelantan FA a club side in Malaysia before returning to England to coach Blackburn’s U13s team.
He’s now back at Aston Villa as a coach for the U23s side.
Centre Midfield: Fabio Rochemback
Career path since: Sporting CP (2008-09) > Grêmio (2009-12) > Dalian Aerbin (2012-13) > Ipiranga de Passo Fundo
You could say Rochemback had an interesting career.
During 2001-2005 the versatile player was at the Camp Nou, playing for Barcelona in the Champions League while helping the side try and challenge for the La Liga title. The midfielder had that craft about him and during his time at the Camp Nou and Riverside, expressed that on the pitch.
In the clash against Man City, Rochemback scored a thunderous free-kick from about 40-yards out which sent the Riverside into rapture and made their Parmo taste even sweeter.
He stayed with Middlesbrough for three years before representing Sporting Lisbon, Grêmio and Chinese side Dalian Aerbin. Rochmeback then moved back to Brazil to finish his career with Brazilian amateur club Ipiranga de Passo Fundo.
Centre Midfield: Julio Arca
Career path since: South Shields (2015-18)
The Argentine is an interesting character. Making himself known in English football by scoring vital goals and taking a good set piece, Arca was seen turning out for non-league side Willow Pond FC, a second division pub side, for a period after leaving Boro in 2013.
It came as a surprise to many footballing fans but it still shows the love he has for the game if he is still playing at any level possible. He was a regular Premier League player with Sunderland up until 2006 before he made the switch to Southgate’s side.
He netted nine times in 180 appearances for Middlesbrough and always played a key role in big games. Arca, a local cult hero, subsequently joined South Shields FC whom he helped to three promotions and three cup wins, including their 2017 FA Vase triumph over Cleethorpes Town at Wembley Stadium.
Left Midfield: Stewart Downing
Career path since: Aston Villa (2009-11) > Liverpool (2011-13) > West Ham United (2013-15) > Middlesbrough (2015-19) > Blackburn Rovers (2019-2021)
Currently at Blackburn Rovers, Downing is past the peak of his powers, but nevertheless remains a good hand. He took some criticism after his time at Liverpool where he failed to impress for the Reds and it seemed like he would never recover. But the former Middlesbrough man responded in a very positive manner and is plying his trade with Blackburn in the Championship after a second spell with his hometown club. In the clash with Man City, Downing scored a stunning outside of the foot volley which curled perfectly into the top corner to put Boro 3-0 up.
Centre Forward: Afonso Alves
Career path since: Al Sadd (2009-10) > Al-Rayyan (2010-12) > Al-Gharafa (2012-13)
The striker was signed for a huge fee after impressing at Dutch club Heerenveen. However, his price tag and his performances on the pitch never quite added up. Alves’ transfer fee was said to have been €20 million, on a four and a half year contract, but he only stayed for two years.
Given that he scored under a dozen goals, the striker never made the impression fans expected him to. The Brazilian left in the summer of 2009 and moved to Al Saad. He then moved to a number of clubs in the Middle East but is now retired.
Alves has a son, Felipe Henrique, who is a footballer at Atletico Mineiro in Brazil.
Centre Forward: Tuncay Sanli
Career path since: Stoke City (2009-11) > VfL Wolfsburg (2011-12) > Bursaspor (2012-14) > Umm Salal (2014-15) > Pune City (2015)
Signed from Fenerbahçe after netting a whole bunch of goals in the Turkish Super Lig, Sanli made a good impression on the fans. Known for his passionate affinity with supporters at his beloved Fenerbahçe, Tuncay developed the same kind of relationship with the fans of Middlesbrough.
His efforts were rewarded with fans singing, “We’ve only got one player!” in admiration of his non-stop attitude. It was a nice gesture from the fans and Sanli would normally improve during the game with the energy of the crowd being channeled onto the players.
He scored 17 goals in 70 appearances during his two-year stay before moving to fellow English side Stoke City. Sanli then enjoyed short spells at Bolton Wanderers and Wolfsburg before moving to the Middle East to continue his playing time at Umm Salal SC in Saudi Arabia, before finally joining Indian side Pune City.