Discussion Forum

Ken Smith looks bac...

Ken Smith looks back at Boro’s footballing history and stats

10 Posts
2 Users
Ken Smith
Joined: 3 years ago
Posts: 2132
Topic starter  

With so many new members on Diasboro.club perhaps many of you are not aware of another section which I researched prior to the current forum. It was published under the heading of ‘Ken Smith looks back at Boro’s footballing history and stats’ on the former Diasboro.worldpress.com site. Part of the section reviews the birth of the Boro, their seasons in the Northern League right up to the 21st century. I appreciate that not everyone is particularly interested in the history of Middlesbrough FC but there are also some other sections which folk might find interesting such as the 1925/26 season when George Camsell broke the League scoring record with 59 goals. 

My first match of watching Boro was on the 11th October 1947 at home to Everton which unfortunately we lost 0-1, but I can still remember the team for that match:- Derek Goodfellow; Bobby Stuart, Dickie Robinson; Harry Bell, Bill Whitaker, Jimmy Gordon; Johnny Spuhler, Cec McCormack, Mickey Fenton, Wilf Mannion and Geoff Walker. That was the main eleven for the whole of that season except that club captain George Hardwick didn’t play in that match because of injury.

In later years I marvelled at the goalscoring ability of Brian Clough, and being a person who later in life was prone to write rhymes, had my first one published in the Sports Gazette by Cliff Mitchell in 1956 entitled ‘Pronounce it Cluff!’ as follows:-

When first Boro’s centre forward played
His name was not announced;
Spectators knew how it was spelled, 
But not how was t’was pronounced.

”It’s easy to decide” said on
”He plays for Boro, though
I think if he were ever asked
He’d say his name was Clough”. 

“That don’t sound right” said one outside the ground
”Now let me climb this bough,
I want to get a better view
Of the lad I know as Clough”. 

At last our hero got the ball;
McLean had sent him through.
His shot went straight between the posts;
Some shouted “Good shot, Clough”.

The crowd began to roar like mad,
It made some of them cough.
Our hero’s colleagues shook his hand
And said “A good goal, Clough!”

But now this rhyme comes to an end;
I think you’ve read enough.
Perhaps you’ve guessed our hero’s name -
If not, it’s Brian Clough.

Ken Smith
Joined: 3 years ago
Posts: 2132
Topic starter  




Now that I’m completely housebound I’m looking for something to occupy my time and was thinking about producing all Boro’s League results season by season starting from their first entry into the Football League in 1899. This is Boro’s 112th season of League football in their long history, so if I recapture two seasons a week it will keep me occupied for just over a year. Not everyone’s cup of tea I know, but just an historical boring set of statistics that can be referred to at will but that I feel should be recorded in perpetuity.

This post was modified 2 years ago 2 times by Ken Smith

Liked by Andy R and Powmill-Naemore
Ken Smith
Joined: 3 years ago
Posts: 2132
Topic starter  

I didn’t realise that Werdermouth had transferred some of my historical seasons from Diasboro .worldpress to the current diasboro.club. Many thanks to him for that. Jarrko seems to have picked up on that, so not wishing to repeat myself, I’ll have to think of another project to keep me busy.

Ken Smith
Joined: 3 years ago
Posts: 2132
Topic starter  

I thought I’d start by briefly writing about the second oldest Football League in the World and its impact not only on Middlesbrough FC but also on Middlesbrough Ironopolis. That League was of course the Northern League which today has two divisions, one of 20 clubs, the other of 21 clubs. Today it’s a far cry from the first season in 1889 when it was made up of only 10 clubs. The first champions were Darlington St Augustines who    were equal on points with Newcastle West End but with a better goal average. Stockton finished 3rd followed by Newcastle East England, Darlington FC and Middlesbrough FC who finished a poor 7 points behind St Augustines. The other members in that inaugural season were South Bank, Bishop Auckland, Birtley and Elswick Rangers who all resigned at the end of the season, not an auspicious start for the League or in fact Middlesbrough FC. 

However they were replaced in the following season by two new clubs, Sunderland Albion and notably Middlesbrough Ironopolis who went on to win the League by a single point over Middlesbrough FC. The Nops played their home matches at Paradise Road and they won the League by one point over a rejuvenated Middlesbrough FC. The first local derby between the two clubs on the 1st of November ended in a 2-2 draw at Linthorpe Road before an estimated crowd of 12,000 spectators. Not a lot is known about the match or indeed the goalscorers. The return fixture was played on the 28th of March before an estimated crowd of 8,000 at Paradise Road which the Nops won 1-0 in the title decider.  

The following season saw the introduction of Sheffield United, but Ironopolis retained the Championship by three points over Middlesbrough FC recording a double over their neighbours. On Boxing Day the Nops won 1-0 and on New Year’s Day 2-0 before another estimated crowd of 12,000. Sheffield United finished 3rd but the two Newcastle clubs finished 4th and 8th in a League of only 9 clubs and in the off-season decided to amalgamate to form Newcastle United. However that didn’t stop Ironopolis from winning their third successive title although by then there were one 6 clubs left in the Northern League. The Nops won all but one of their 10 matches, a draw against the reformed Newcastle. This of course included another double over Middlesbrough FC by the same scores as the previous season as FC finished 4th with Newcastle and Sheffield United separating the two Teesside clubs. Ironopolis had won 5 of their 6 meetings, and crowds for both clubs had dissipated.

In the following summer talks began to follow Newcastle’s lead about an amalgamation as it became evident that a town of Middlesbrough’s size wouldn’t be able to support two clubs in the English Second Division where the town had aspirations to compete.

This post was modified 2 years ago 3 times by Ken Smith

Joined: 3 years ago
Posts: 2278



i was a ref and linesman in the northern league and you certainly grew up very quickly in this environment!

I developed a hard nosed no nonsense reputation by being firm and to be honest it taught me more about man management than any courses I have ever been on and I loved it!


Ken Smith
Joined: 3 years ago
Posts: 2132
Topic starter  

For three years both Middlesbrough FC and Ironopolis had battled it out against each other in the Northern League, though after drawing 2-2 in their first encounter Ironopolis not only won the League each season but won 5 times thereafter in their meetings with Middlesbrough FC without conceding a goal. By then with the League reduced to only six clubs, the Nops resigned to play friendly matches against professional clubs after signing many Middlesbrough FC players in their wake. Middlesbrough FC meanwhile continued participating in the Northern League for 6 more years being Champions 3 times, but more importantly winning the FA Amateur Cup twice in 1885 against Old Carthusians 2-1 and Uxbridge three years later by the same score.

However for several years afterwards a bitter rivalry took place in the town when Middlesbrough FC members were split on deciding whether to turn professional or not. With the formation of the English Football League in 1888 several players left to sign professional forms for the resurgent Ironopolis. Eventually it was decided to have meetings with Ironopolis to enable the club to make application to join the Second Division of the English Football League. Agreement was reached but Middlesbrough FC took umbrage at the name of the new club being registered as Middlesbrough and Ironopolis Athletic Football Club. Eventually the

club was accepted for membership having the support of both Newcastle United and Sunderland AFC, but the Boro reneged on the deal and Middlesbrough Ironopolis were left to fight alone. This caused a lot of ill feeling in the town and for several years later Boro were nicknamed the Scabs.

Following is the Second Division League Table for Ironopolis’s one and only season for 1893/94:-  

1. Liverpool——50  0-2, 0-6
2. Birmingham 42  3-0, 1-2 (formerly Small Heath)
3. Notts County39  0-0, 0-3
4. Newcastle— 36  1-1, 2-7           
5. Grimsby——32   2-6, 1-2
6. Burton Swifts31 2-1, 0-7      
7. Port Vale——-30.3-1, 0-4 (formerly Burslem Port Vale)
8. Lincoln City—28. 0-0, 3-2
9. Arsenal———26  3-6, 0-1 (formerly Woolwich Arsenal)
10.Walsall——   23. 1-1, 0-1 (formerly Walsall Town)
11. IRONOPOLIS 20         

12. Crewe Alex-19   2-0, 0-5          
13. Man.City—-18    2-0, 1-6 (formerly Ardwick)      
14. Rotherham-15   6-1, 1-4
15. Northwich— 9    2-1, 1-2 (full name Northwich Victoria)

The points are shown followed by the home result and away result. Ironopolis lost every away match except winning at Lincoln. I have used the current name for each club with their former name where applicable after each club’s results.

This post was modified 2 years ago 2 times by Ken Smith

Ken Smith
Joined: 3 years ago
Posts: 2132
Topic starter  

Middlesbrough FC have now played 96 different clubs in League matches since 1899. Some of these clubs are not now in the English Football League and others are extinct. At the moment Boro have played 76 of the current 91 League clubs but have still to lock horns with Accrington Stanley, AFC Wimbledon, Barrow, Cheltenham Town, Crawley Town, Exeter City, Fleetwood Town, Forest Green Rovers, Hartlepool United, Harrogate Town, Morecambe, Rochdale, Salford City, Stevenage and Sutton United. The latest opponents were Wycombe Wanderers last season, although Boro have met some of those 15 clubs in Cup competitions. I can’t envisage playing against any of those clubs in the near future unless Accrington Stanley manage to be promoted via the playoffs this season which seems very unlikely at the moment and assuming that Boro remain in the Championship.

I propose to look at the record of Boro against the aforementioned 96 clubs      starting next week as my next project which should keep me awake in my current humdrum existence.


This post was modified 2 years ago by Ken Smith

Ken Smith
Joined: 3 years ago
Posts: 2132
Topic starter  

To start I think it’s worth recording Boro’s total number of League matches in their long history, so these are the statistics at the end of last season:- 

1st tier(61seasons) P2438 W818 D614 L1006 F3426 A3766.                
2nd tier(48 seasons) P2062 W860 D507 L 695  F3117 A2651                
3rd tier  (2 seasons) P  92  W  51 D  19 L  22  F  154 A  94

Total 111 seasons  P 4592 W1729 D1140 L1723 F6697 A6511 

Now let’s look at some of the clubs that Boro have played in those 111 seasons that are either now extinct or those that Boro are never likely to play against again in the future:- 

BRADFORD PARK AVENUE (now in National League North)

Home P4 W2 D0 L2 F9 A9               
Away  P4 W0 D1 L3 F3 A9               
Total   P8 W2 D1 L5 F11 A18(3 seasons in 1st tier, 1 in 2nd tier)


BURTON ALBION (now in League One)

Only played twice in 2017/18 won at home, drew 1-1 away in 2nd tier 


BURTON SWIFTS (now extinct)

Home  P3 W3 D0 L0 F16 A2 
Away   P3 W0 D1 L2 F 2  A8      
Total    P6 W3 D1 L2 F18 A10 (all in 2nd tier)


BURY (now in administration)

Home P22 W10  D7 L5 F42 A 30             
Away  P22 W 7  D5 L10 F33 A 32           
Total   P44 W17 D12 L15 F75 A62


CAMBRIDGE UNITED (now in League One)

Home P3 W0 D2 L1 F2 A3            
Away  P3 W0 D2 L1 F0 A2      
Total   P6 W0 D4 L2 F2 A5      


CHESTER CITY (now in National League North)

Only played twice in 1986/87, lost 1-2 at home, won 2-1 away in 3rd tier



CHESTERFIELD (now in National League)

Home P4 W3 D0 L1 F11 A2             
Away  P4 W1 D1 L2 F5  A11                  
Total   P8 W4 D1 L3 F16 A13 (3 in 2nd tier, 1 in 3rd tier)



COLCHESTER UNITED (now in League Two)

Only played twice in 1966/67 won 4-0 at home, won 3-2 away in 3rd tier


CREWE ALEXANDRA (now in League One)

Only played twice in 1997/98 won 1-0 at home, drew 1-1 away in 2nd tier







This post was modified 2 years ago by Ken Smith

Ken Smith
Joined: 3 years ago
Posts: 2132
Topic starter  

Continuing from 2 days ago with Boro’s records against teams that they are unlikely to meet in League matches in the near future:-


DARLINGTON (now in National League North) 

Home P4 W3 D1 L0 F12 A4          
Away  P4 W4 D0 L0 F10 A1         
Total   P8 W7 D1 L0 F22 A5 (2 seasons in 2nd tier, 2 in 3rd)


GAINSBOROUGH TRINITY (now in Northern Premier League)

Home P3 W2 D1 L0 F12 A3             
Away  P3 W1 D1 L1 F 5  A7
Total   P6 W3 D2 L1 F17 A10 (all in 2nd tier)


GATESHEAD (now in National League North)

Home P3 W1 D1 L1 F7 A3            
Away  P3 W1 D2 L0 F3 A2           
Total   P6 W2 D3 L1 F10 A5 (all in 2nd tier)


GILLINGHAM (now in League One)

Home P2 W1 D1 L0 F4 A1       
Away  P2 W0 D1 L1 F1 A5               
Total   P4 W1 D2 L1 F5 A6 (all in 3rd tier)


GLOSSOP NORTH END (now in Northern Premier League 2)

Home P2 W1 D1 L0 F7 A2.            
Away. P2 W0 D0 L2 F0 A3.          
Total. P4  W1 D1 L2 F7 A5 (all in 2nd tier)



Only played twice in 1899/1900 won 3-0 at home, drew 1-1 away


MANSFIELD TOWN (now in League Two)

Home P2 W2 D0 L0 F2 A0                  
Away  P2 W1 D1 L0 F6 A5             
Total   P4 W3 D1 L0 F8 A5 (all in 3rd tier)



NEW BRIGHTON (now extinct)

Home P2 W2 D0 L0 F7 A3              
Away  P2 W0 D1 L1 F2 A4                 
Total   P4 W2 D1 L1 F9 A7 (all in 2nd tier)


 NEWPORT COUNTY (now in League Two)

 Only played twice in 1986/87 won 2-0 at home, won 1-0 away



NORTHAMPTON TOWN (now in League Two)

Home  P2 W2 D0 L0 F2 A0          
Away   P2 W0 D1 L1 F3 A4                  
Total    P4 W2 D1 L1 F5 A4 (all in 2nd tier)



SCUNTHORPE UNITED (now in League Two)

Home P9  W 7 D0 L2 F24 A11          
Away  P9  W 3 D4 L2 F13 A 8      
Total  P18 W10 D4 L4 F37 A 19 (8 seasons in 2nd tier, 1 in 3rd tier)



SHREWSBURY TOWN (now in League One)

Home P6  W5 D1 L0 F15 A3         
Away  P6  W2 D1 L3 F 6  A6            
Total. P12 W7 D2 L3 F21 A9 (5 seasons in 2nd tier, 1 in 3rd tier)



SOUTHEND UNITED (now in National League)

Home P3 W1 D1 L1 F3 A3          
Away  P3  W2 D0 L1 F3 A1         
Total   P6  W3 D1 L2 F6 A4 (all in 2nd tier)



STOCKPORT COUNTY (now in National League)

Home P5  W4 D1 L0 F16 A2                 
Away  P5  W3 D2 L0 F 8 A4              
Total P10 W7 D3 L0 F24 A6 (all in 2nd tier)



TORQUAY UNITED (now in National League)

Only played twice in 3rd tier in 1966/67 won 4-0 at home, lost 1-2 away 


TRANMERE ROVERS (now in League 2)

Home P4 W2 D1 L1 F4 A1                  
Away  P4 W2 D1 L1 F5 A6.               
Total  P8 W4 D2 L2 F9 A7 (all in 2nd tier)


WALSALL (now in League 2)

Home P6 W3 D1 L2 F11 A8         
Away  P6 W1 D2 L3 F 4  A6                   
Total  P12 W4 D3 L5 F15 A14 (8 times in 2nd tier, 4 in 3rd tier



WIMBLEDON (now relocated to Milton Keynes)

Home P8 W4 D2 L2 F10 A 7        
Away  P8 W1 D5 L2 F 8 A12          
Total  16  W5 D7 L4 F18 A19 (12 in 1st tier,  4 in 2nd tier)

As MILTON KEYNES DONS have only played twice in 2015/16 winning 2-0 at home, drawing 1-1 away



WORKINGTON (now in Northern Premier League One North West)

Only played twice in 1966/67 in 3rd tier winning 3-2 at home, and winning 2-1 away 



WYCOMBE WANDERERS (now in League One)

Only played twice in 2020/2021 losing at home 0-3, winning away 3-1




YEOVIL TOWN (now in National League)

Only played twice in 2nd tier in 2013/14 winning 4-1 at home, and 4-1 away 



YORK CITY (now in National League North)

Only played twice in 3rd tier in 1986/87 winning 3-1 at home, losing 1-3 away


That takes care of 32 clubs, but of course many of the other 64 clubs are unlikely to play Boro in the forthcoming seasons but all of them have played Boro at least 20 times except Bournemouth, Peterborough and Wigan Athletic two of which are at this moment currently in the same League as Boro, and Wigan may well reach the 20 mark unless Boro are promoted this season. From now on I will look at those clubs that will not play Boro this season and later update Boro’s meetings against the 20 clubs  left remaining that Boro have yet to play this season as and well those fixtures are played.







































This post was modified 2 years ago 2 times by Ken Smith

Ken Smith
Joined: 3 years ago
Posts: 2132
Topic starter  

Continuing Boro’s record against opponents in alphabetical order we start with one of the clubs that Boro have met in more than a century of times:-

ARSENAL (formerly known as Woolwich Arsenal)

Home   P 60  W 23  D 15  L 22  F  81 A  85               
Away    P 60  W  6   D 17  L 37  F  57 A145                
Total     P120 W  29  D 32  L 59  F138 A230 (only 3 times in 2nd tier) 

First met in 1899/1900 season with Boro home results 1-0, 1-1, 1-0 and away results 0-3,0-1, 3-0

From 1904/05 home results1-0, 2-0,5-3, 0-0, 1-5-2, 1-1, 0-2, 2-0       From1904/05 away results 1-1,2-2, 0-2, 1-4, 1-1,0-3,2-0, 1-3,1-1

From 1919/20 home result 1-0, 2–1,4-2, 2-0, 0-0, 2-2,1-1, 2-5, 2-5 From1919/20 away results 1-2, 2-2, 2-2, 0-3, 1-2,1-3, 2-1, 3-5, 0-5

From 1932/33 home results 3-4, 0-2, 0-1, 2-2,  1-1,  2-1,  1-1   From1932/33 away results  2-4, 0-6, 0-8, 0-2,  3-5, 2-1, 2-1

From 1946/47 home results 2-0, 1-1, 0-1, 1-1, 2-1, 0-3, 2-0, 2-0        From 1946/47 away results  0-4, 0-7, 1-1, 1-1, 1-3,  1-3,  1-2,  1-3
From 1974/75 home results 0-0, 0-1, 3-0, 0-1, 2-3, 5-0, 2-1, 1-3        From1974/75 away results  0-2, 1-2, 1-1, 0-1, 0-0, 0-2, 2-2, 0-1     

1988/89 home 0-1 1992/93 1-0 1995/96 2-3 1996/97 0-2
1988/89 away 0-3 1992/93 1-1 1995/96 1-1   1996/97 0-2

From 1998/99 home 1-6,2-1,0-1,0-4,0-2,0-4,0-1,2-1,1-1,2-1,1-1 From1998/99 away  1-1,1-5,3-0,1-2,0-2,1-4,3-5,0-7,1-1,1-1,0-2

2016 home result 1-2          
2016 away result  0-0 

Boro have only twice completed the double over the Gunners in 1901/02 in the Second Division and in 1937/38 in the First Division.



This post was modified 2 years ago 40 times by Ken Smith