A spellbinding acquisition, Bryan Robson securing the signature of the 'Magic Man' Paul Merson was seen as a masterstroke as helped guide Boro back to the top flight at the first attempt. 

Merson, who signed for Boro in the summer of 1997 following a successful spell with Arsenal, was instrumental in helping us bounce back to the Premier League. 

With the Gunners, Merson scooped two First Division titles, an FA Cup, a League Cup and a European Cup Winners' Cup, while he was crowned the PFA Young Player of the Year 1989. 

An England regular, Merson was an ever-present in the side, grabbing 12 league goals during the promotion-clinching season while playing a part in assisting plenty others. 

Clinching the second automatic promotion spot behind Nottingham Forest, Merson and Boro also reached the League Cup final but lost 2-0 to Chelsea at Wembley. 

His form at the Riverside earned him a recall to the England side despite not playing in the top flight, and was on the plane to the 1998 World Cup in France. 

However he departed Boro for Aston Villa in 1998 before joining Portsmouth, finishing his playing career with Walsall.