On this day: Middlesbrough open up at the Riverside Stadium

Eighteen years ago today, Middlesbrough beat Chelsea 2-0 in their first match at the Riverside Stadium.

In the wake of the Hillsborough disaster that cost 96 people their lives, Lord Taylor of Gosforth carried out a report to determine the causes of the tragedy.

The findings meant that a number of clubs had to either mordernise their exisiting stadiums or build a more state-of-the-art facility to comply with the new guidelines.

Middlesbrough opted for the latter, having decided that their home since 1903, Ayresome Park, was not in a position to be renovated to a sufficient standard.

Work started on a new £16m stadium in the autumn of 1994 and by the next summer, it was ready for use. Fans also played their part in the project, having been given four names to vote on. Eventually Middlehaven Stadium, Erimus Stadium and Teesside Stadium were all beaten by the Riverside Stadium.

A general view of Middlesbrough's Riverside Stadium.© Getty Images

And so, 18 years ago today, Boro, who had just been promoted back to the Premier League, played their first match in their new home against a Chelsea outfit that included the likes of Mark Hughes and Ruud Gullit.

It would prove to be a perfect start for the Teesiders, who went in front after Craig Hignett fired into the top corner of the net following a square pass from Nick Barmby.

Former England international Barmby then helped to ensure the points were secured in the second half when he crossed from the right for Jan-Aage Fjortoft to volley in the home side's second of the contest.

A total of 28,286 people flocked to the Riverside that Saturday afternoon, which in turn was the biggest attendance for a Middlesbrough home match in some 14 years.

Steve Bruce
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