Where are they now? Middlesbrough's 2005/06 UEFA Cup finalists
They may have been, according to their own travelling supporters’ chorus, "Just a small team in Europe" - but any lack of continental stature didn’t stop unfashionable Middlesbrough from making their mark in the UEFA Cup under future England manager Steve McClaren.
The 2004 League Cup Final win over Bolton at the Millennium Stadium in Cardiff provided the passport to European football for Boro – and how they enjoyed the journey, reaching the last 16 of the competition during their first foray. The following season, having qualified via the Premier League, they humbled the likes of Stuttgart and Roma, then most dramatically Basel and Steaua Bucharest.
Boro met more than they bargained for in the final when they were swept aside 4-0 by a Sevilla side managed by future Spurs boss Juande Ramos, and featuring a relatively unknown Dani Alves. However, McClaren and his players were still able to leave the European stage with heads held high.
The Australian saw it all in his 11 years on Teesside, where he played 446 times for Boro following a £1.25m deal from Bradford, sampling everything from relegation and cup final anguish to promotion and League Cup glory. One highlight was saving Robbie Fowler’s late penalty on the last day of the 2004/05 season in a 1-1 draw with Manchester City that put Boro on course for Eindhoven.
After falling out of favour with new manager Gareth Southgate, he upped sticks to join Fulham where he tasted defeat in the 2010 Europa League Final, and was still a sought-after personality to have around dressing rooms way beyond turning 40. He was part of Chelsea and Leicester squads that won Premier League titles in consecutive years as back-up, and is believed to have become both clubs’ oldest ever player before retiring at the age of 43.
Now based in Surrey, Schwarzer keeps himself busy as an intelligent pundit on the BBC and Australian television.