Sparkling form for his hometown club saw Stuart Ripley become a Premier League winner and an England international after leaving Boro.
Following trials with Chelsea and Manchester City, Ripley was back on Teesside to join Boro’s youth set-up and made his first team debut at the age of 17.
The pacey winger was sent out on loan to Bolton Wanderers to aid is development and returned to become a staple of the Boro side – a member of the squad who secured successive promotions.
An England youth international, Ripley featured in Boro’s first trip to the Twin Towers of Wembley in the Zenith Data Systems Cup final against Chelsea.
Making 250 appearances for Boro, Ripley signed off his time with his boyhood team by helping us to promotion to the first Premier League, moving on to Blackburn Rovers.
The signature of Ripley made him Blackburn’s record signing at the time until Alan Shearer arrived from Southampton for £3.3million.
Ripley was Blackburn’s first Premier League goal scorer as they opened life in the top flight with a 3-3 draw against Crystal Palace.
Under Kenny Dalglish, Blackburn edged close to a Premier League title before eventually getting their hands on the crown in 1995, with Ripley a key part of their success.
Having played over 100 times for Rovers, Ripley earned two England caps in 1993 against San Marino and four years later against Moldova.
Ripley moved on to Southampton in 1998, with loan spells at South Yorkshire sides Barnsley and Sheffield Wednesday during his stint on the south coast.
The Ripley connection with Boro still remains in 2018, with Stuart’s son Connor, a goalkeeper, part of the first team squad.