Finally, after seven long years of hurt, Middlesbrough have returned to the Premier League.
The heartbreak of last season’s play-off despair could have been a disastrous set-back for the club. However, revitalised and strengthened, Boro did enough and ensured promotion back to the big time on the final day of the season.
Alongside Burnley and Hull, Middlesbrough will now compete in a Premier League where TV deals mean that, even if you finish bottom of the pile, you will still be paid £100m – a tremendous amount of income for any team.
However, there are plenty of factors to suggest that Boro will not have to worry about relegation, and here are FIVE…
Signed from Blackburn in January, Jordan Rhodes was considered by many to be the best striker in England, outside of the top flight.
Despite a disappointing first five months at the Riverside, Rhodes is a proven goalscorer and genuine threat to any defence.
His next test will be to prove himself in the Premier League, something that other prolific Championship strikers have been able achieve in recent years; Callum Wilson and Jamie Vardy are perfect examples of this.
Thanks, to the new broadcast deal, Middlesbrough will be set to come into a substantial sum of money during the course of next season. And while money cannot buy you safety, it can certainly help.
Boro will certainly need four or five new signings if they are to compete on the big stage and they have already confirmed one new arrival.
Viktor Fischer signed from Ajax in a deal worth around £4m and is sure to bolster Aitor Karanka’s attacking options in the Premier League.
A lifelong Boro fan, Steve Gibson has been widely praised for his approach to chairing his beloved club for the last 22 years.
The 58-year-old is heralded for allowing the managerial staff to control the day-to-day activities at the club and providing financial support when required.
Gibson has experienced the Premier League before and knows exactly what it takes to become an established club in England’s top flight.
Although much was made of the ‘incident’ in March of this year which saw Aitor Karanka leave the Boro training ground and consider his future with the club, the Spaniard has become a key component in the return of the club to the top flight.
Karanka has experience in high pressure situations and learnt from the very best when assisting Jose Mourinho at Real Madrid. Should Karanka take to the Premier League as quickly as he took to the Championship, the Riverside could be a good place to be come next May.
While Middlesbrough have often been lauded for their talented youngsters, it may be their experienced stars who steer them into Premier League battle. Players like Stewart Downing, David Nugent and Grant Leadbitter have decent top flight experience and will know how to get the best from the younger, inexperienced players.
Strengthen with one or two more players with Premier League experience and Boro should have a successfully balanced squad.