After 404 appearances for Middlesbrough over two separate spells, the time has finally come for Stewart Downing to say goodbye to the club’s supporters.
A fantastic servant for the Smoggies, the winger initially burst onto the scene as a teenager in 2001 before going on to play a defining role for his hometown side in their League Cup triumph three years later.
Yet despite impressing in this particular competition, it could be argued that his best performances in a Boro shirt came during their incredible UEFA Cup run which culminated in his side reaching their first ever major European final in 2006.
Although Downing would leave the Riverside Stadium in 2009 following the Smoggies’ relegation from the Premier League, after enjoying mixed levels of success for Aston Villa, Liverpool and West Ham United, he was convinced by then-boss Aitor Karanka to rejoin the club four years ago.
Whereas it is fair to say that he wasn’t as productive during his second spell, the 34-year-old still managed to help Boro secure a brief return to the top-flight in 2016.
With his current deal with the Smoggies set to expire next month, the club revealed earlier today that they will not be extending Downing’s stay.
Reacting to the news on Twitter, loads of Boro fans thanked the midfielder for his service to the club.
I’m not crying you are
— UP THE BORO (@Tyler_hick64) May 30, 2019
Thanks for everything Stewy, club legend
— Thomas Flewker-Barker (@BarkerFlewker) May 30, 2019
Stewy Downing: Hands down our greatest ever academy talent. Those who cannot respect that or understand that he should be heralded as a #Boro legend are simply not worth dealing with. Nice one Stewy. All the best pal #UTB
— The Ayresome Gates (@AyresomeGates) May 30, 2019
Downing = Legend
— Tom (@teessidetom1986) May 30, 2019
Thanks for everything
— Ryan Stokes (@ryan_m_stokes) May 30, 2019
— Mighty Boro FC – For The Fans! (@MightyBoroFans) May 30, 2019
Not mentally ready for my boyhood hero to leave me again!!! Gonna miss you ‘NUMBER 19 STEWY DOWNING’
— TM (@Marron_93) May 30, 2019
A shame to see @mikel_john_obi and Stuart Downing leave the club – presumably a decision based around cutting costs.
Very interested to see how the summer rebuild pans out!#boro
— Phil Spencer (@PhilSpenc23) May 30, 2019
Having made 38 appearances in the Championship last season, Downing will be confident that he can secure a move to one of Boro’s direct competitors this summer.
Smoggies fans, was it the correct call by your club to release Downing? Get in touch below.Like what the TT have on offer? Sign up for more notifications!