On this day in 1997, defender and soon-to-be fan favourite Gianluca Festa signed for Bryan Robson's Boro from Inter Milan.

The strapping Italian was brought in to add some steel to an all too leaky Boro defence, in the midst of a whirlwind 1996/97 season.

Festa enjoyed the perfect introduction to the Riverside faithful with a goal on his debut against Sheffield Wednesday, and would go on to appear three times at Wembley over the following 18 months, infamously having a headed goal ruled out for offside in the FA Cup final against Chelsea.

While some of Boro's international stars departed the club after relegation in May 1997, Festa was among those who stayed at the club and helped regain promotion and re-establish Robson's side in the top flight.