Date: Sunday, 11th May 1997.
Venue: Elland Road, Leeds.
English Premier League.
United 1 Middlesbrough 1
United: Deane. Middlesbrough: Juninho.
Leeds United: Martyn; Halle,
Kelly, Wetherall, Dorigo; Radebe, Rush (Wallace),
Bowyer, Sharpe; Deane, Lilley. Unused Subs: Laurent, Jackson, Molenaar, Beeney.
Middlesbrough: Roberts; Fleming,
Pearson, Festa, Blackmore;
Stamp, Mustoe, Emerson (Freestone), Hignett (Kinder); Juninho, Beck. Unused Subs:
Cox, Whyte, Vickers.
Referee: Mr A.B. Wilkie
Deane condemned Middlesbrough to relegation, he never realised he would one day be part of the club's revival. Boro left Elland Road knowing only too well the desperate
feeling that accompanies relegation. That was the outcome when United rounded
off the 1996-97 season with a 1-1 draw against Boro
on home soil. While United fans rejoiced at a rare
goal, Boro fans shed tears after watching their side
didn't know it at the time, Deane scored one of the most significant goals of
his career. Not only did his seventy-sixth-minute header end a home goal
drought that stretched back until March, it also proved enough to condemn Boro to a season in the Nationwide League. It was Deane's
last goal for his home-town club in his first spell with United and he was part
of a summer cull that saw manager George Graham attempt to freshen
things up at Elland Road and bring his own men in. The
veteran striker returned to Sheffield United that summer before being snapped
up by Boro twelve months later upon their return to
the Premiership. But he will still be remembered by Leeds fans as the man who sent the Tees-siders down.
arrived at Leeds needing to win and were still in
the game when Deane headed home a Rod Wallace cross fourteen minutes from time.
The goal was the cue for the crowd to lift the lid on a pressure cooker
atmosphere at Elland Road. The YEP's
Don Warters wrote: "Deane was the man who gave
the Elland Road fans something to cheer about It was the first Premier League goal United
had scored since the beginning of March, and for a moment it looked as though
the players had forgotten how to celebrate." Those celebrations were
short-lived though, with Boro grabbing an equaliser just two minutes later courtesy of Juninho.
It was the
first time the United defence
had been breached for eight hundred and forty eight minutes, the last home goal
conceded being against Coventry on Boxing Day. It was a deserved
effort for the little Brazilian, but one which failed to inspire his side into
a late rally to secure their Premiership status. United had been in a similar
position earlier in the campaign, but Graham had steadied the ship and, while
entertainment was in short supply, they had already grafted out enough results
to ensure they were well clear of the danger zone when it really mattered. The
1-1 draw ensured United a respectable eleventh place in the table while Bryan
Robson's Boro, just seven points behind, occupied the
second relegation slot.
Graham said: "Of course I've got sympathy for Bryan. It's his first job and he's
rejuvenated the club. There's a new stadium, some quality players and the place
is buzzing. It's sad they've gone down." But Graham was keen to focus on
his own side and the rebuilding job that lay ahead. "We've got some
solidity," said the Leeds
boss. "But now we've got to go for more attacking football and I've got to
make sure we bring in the right players." Those plans didn't include Deane
though, and after scoring thirty-eight goals in one hundred and fifty-six
starts the dream of playing for his home-town club came to an end, for then at
least but he was back after United had lost their EPL status.
Brian Deane opened the scoring with a classic
Derek Lilley is foiled by Ben Roberts Middlesbrough fans accept the inevitable: Leeds fan (inset) A disconsolate Juninho
waves bye-bye (wonder how he felt at Bolton a few years later) leaves the field
Leeds United squad at the start of 1996-97 season:
Row: Lee Sharpe, David Wetherall,
Mark Jackson, Richard Jobson, Brian Deane,
Mark Beeney, Tony Yeboah, Nigel Martyn, Rob Bowman,
Paul Beesley, Andy Couzens.
Row: Geoff Ladley (Physio), Mick Hennigan (Coach),
Rod Wallace, Mark Tinkler,
Ian Harte, John
Pemberton, Mark Ford, Jason Blunt, Lucas Radebe, Harry Kewell,
David Williams (Coach).
Row: Gary Kelly, Tony Dorigo,
Carlton Palmer, Bill Fotherby (Director),
Howard Wilkinson (Manager), Ian
Rush, Andy Gray, Lee Bowyer.
Leeds scorer Brian Deane later played for Middlesbrough Juninho equalized
for Boro Nigel Martyn,
Gunnar Halle, Lee Bowyer, Derek Lilley, Ian Rush,
Lee Sharpe and Tony Dorigo
were several new faces in the United team since the
It was the last game that Ian Rush, Tony Dorigo and Brian Deane played for United, but Deane was to
Ben Roberts was in goal
Curtis Fleming and Clayton Blackmore were the full-backs
Gianluca Festa and Nigel Pearson were in central defence Mikkel Beck and Juninho were the strikers
Phil Stamp, Emerson, Robbie Mustoe and future United
trialist Craig Hignett
started in midfield
Freestone and Vladimir Kinder were the substitutes