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PLAYED FOR BOTH: MIDDLESBROUGH

25 January 2018

Gary Rowell, Ian Baird and Ben Roberts in their days playing for Albion.

Brighton & Hove Albion travel to Middlesbrough on Saturday afternoon for an Emirates FA Cup fourth-round tie at the Riverside Stadium, and here are three players that have played for both sides over the years.

Gary Rowell

After his most notable spell at a football club came to an end - ten years at Sunderland - the striker arrived at Middlesbrough following a brief period with Norwich City. A knee injury disrupted Rowell’s career but he managed 27 appearances for Boro during the 1985/86 season, scoring ten goals.

But it wasn’t enough to keep the Teesside club in England’s second division, as they finished second to bottom and were relegated to the third tier. Rowell then moved to the Goldstone Ground in 1986 but was unable to find the back of the net during his 12 appearances for the Seagulls.

His time on the south coast came to an end in 1988 when he moved to Carlisle United before finishing his career at Burnley.

Ian Baird

After coming through the youth ranks at Southampton, the forward enjoyed spells at a handful of clubs before arriving at Ayresome Park from Leeds United in 1990.

Competing in the same league as the Seagulls, Baird made 46 league appearances for Boro during the 1990/91 Second Division season, scoring 14 goals to help the club finish seventh, one place behind Albion in the play-offs.

Boro were unsuccessful in their semi-final, and despite winning against Millwall, Albion were then beaten by Notts County at Wembley. Baird left the north east to play for Hearts, Bristol City and Plymouth Argyle before sealing a switch to Sussex in 1996.

With Albion battling to stay in the football league, Baird’s 13 goals were crucial in giving the Seagulls a chance of survival, but the striker was sent off just 18 minutes into the club's final game at the Goldstone Ground against Doncaster Rovers.

Fortunately, the Seagulls managed to win the game 1-0 and draw against Hereford on the final day of the season - without Baird - to stay up.

Ben Roberts

The goalkeeper started his professional career with Middlesbrough in 1993, but was sent out on loan to five different clubs before moving to Charlton Athletic in 2000. During his seven years at Boro, the shot-stopper made just 16 appearances, as the north-east club bounced between the top two divisions of English football.

After brief loan spells at Reading and Luton Town, Roberts arrived at the Withdean Stadium in 2003 to make three appearances, before signing permanently. Ahead of Michel Kuipers, Roberts played his part in helping the club to their 2004 Play-Off Final victory over Bristol City at the Millennium Stadium.

The goalkeeper made over 30 appearances for the Seagulls that season, and memorably made a crucial penalty save from Tommy Mooney to help Mark McGhee’s reach the final in Cardiff.

After retiring from playing, Roberts moved into coaching is now Albion’s first-team goalkeeping coach.


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