Lennie Lawrence was the manager who ensured Boro were inaugural members of the newly-formed Premier League in 1992.

A former schoolteacher, he never played league football but made his name as a assistant manager at Plymouth Argyle and Lincoln City.

After a spell in charge of Charlton Reserves he was promoted to manager after the departure of Ken Craggs. 

His eight-year tenure saw triumph and despair as the club almost went out of business and lost their ground but were promoted against all the odds before being eventually relegated from Division One after a four-year stay in the top-flight while playing home games at Crystal Palace.

He was a surprise appointment in the summer of 1991 when he took over from Colin Todd.

Lennie Lawrence on his appointment as Boro manager

But in a terrific first season he won promotion to the new Premier League as second division runners-up and took the Teessiders to the Littlewoods Cup semi-final. 

Lawrence signed Paul Wilkinson for a record £500,000 but sold skipper Tony Mowbray and repeatedly dropped crowd favourite Bernie Slaven. Boro once again struggled in the top flight and finished one place off the bottom. 

Middlesbrough manager Lennie Lawrence

With Boro eager to move on to a new stage in their history, Lawrence played a vital part in helping attract Bryan Robson to Ayresome Park, making the initial approach to the former England skipper.

And, while the appointment of Robson heralded the start of a new era at Boro, Lawrence continued to travel the highways as in the leagues with management spells at Bradford, Luton, Grimsby, Cardiff, and Crystal Palace. His association with the game continued where his experience was called upon in an advisory capacity at the likes of Cardiff, Bolton, Nottingham Forest, and most recently, at Newport County.