Earlier this week, Boro revealed that our iconic white chest band will return with the unveiling of the club's 2017/18 home kits on Saturday. 

It was an announcement met with widespread anticipation and excitement from Boro fans, a response that matches the affinity which the club and supporters have always held for the sight of a white band on our red shirts.

But as football kit expert John Devlin notes, this particular embellishment remains a relatively recent installment in Boro's 140-year history.

"To much of the football world, a red shirt with a white band is Boro's traditional outfit," says Devlin, author of True Colours.

"In reality, it has been worn just over a dozen times in the club's history.

"But that hasn't stopped the Boro fans warming to it."

Devlin says clubs appropriating a design and supporters taking it to heart in such a way is unusual if not unique for football fans.

"It's not massively common, and it does tend to come from the 70s," he says.

"This was when kits really began to flourish, coinciding with the introduction of the replica market. 

"Kids then are grown adults now, and perhaps have a fondness for that period.

"You get that with Birmingham City's shirts with a white panel down the middle, or Leyton Orient with Admiral braces."

With this in mind, it is not difficult to understand why the white band holds such sway for Boro supporters.

First introduced by Jack Charlton when he arrived at Ayresome Park in 1973, it became emblematic of the success of our record-breaking second-tier champions the subsequent season.

"We brought in the white band to help the players identify each other better on the pitch," Big Jack once told the Gazette.

"That had been a big thing with Don Revie when he went to Leeds. When Don went there we had won nothing and he changed the club completely. I'd hoped we'd be successful at Boro.

"It's unique to the club and I know the lads liked it in my time."

As Devlin notes, Charlton and Teesside-born Revie are far from alone in believing an eye-catching kit can have a positive impact on the pitch. 

"One thing that was always a subtext in my book was whether a team looking good affects the way they play," he says.

"In that era, managers had control over every aspect of the club, including kits, and the white band was first introduced by Charlton as a way of making the team flamboyant and arrogant. 

"These things help make the team unique. It is interesting to see how these kinds of kit become very fond in the memory."

Following Boro's success under World Cup winner Charlton, the white band would return to Teesside sporadically over the next four decades.

It would feature on the shirts of Bruce Rioch's odds-defying 1986/87 side as the club roared back from the perils of liquidation, on the kit of Bryan Robson's 1998/99 promotion-winners that also reached the Coca Cola Cup Final at Wembley, and again for Steve McClaren's 2005/06 UEFA Cup finalists in Eindhoven - in short, it would become synonymous with success for Boro.

With Chairman Steve Gibson making clear his ambitions to 'smash' the Championship next season, the club will look to add another happy chapter to the ever-growing history of the Boro band.