The halls of Brockhall are filled with scenes of celebrations from yesteryear, most recently the League One promotional campaign.
Only a handful of that 2017/18 squad remain, with the new team built by Tony Mowbray looking to become the club’s next group of heroes.
Ryan Nyambe, Darragh Lenihan and Lewis Travis played roles in promoting League One and until the summer Charlie Mulgrew, Elliott Bennett and Corry Evans remained on the club’s books.
The core of the current starting XI is local, with Scott Wharton and John Buckley joining Nyambe, Lenihan and Travis as a cornerstone of Mowbray’s plans and part of the next generation.
The manager himself knows how success can forge bonds and friendships, always keeping in touch with the Middlesbrough teams from the early 1980s who were very successful at Teesside.
He hopes it will be the same for this group of young players, adding: âIt’s a new team.
âThe halls are full of players who took us out of League One and of those players there are only a few left. It’s a whole new team.
âThey will define their own future. Who can tell the squad like 1986, 1987 and 1988 in Middlesbrough when I was playing at 21, 22, I was sitting having coffee with Garry Pallister talking about the good old days and Lenny Lawrence comes up and we talk football for an hour or two.
âWhat I mean is you make lifelong friends through success in football clubs, young men are successful together.
âWho can say that Travis and Buckley aren’t friends until they’re 80. Or they don’t remember much from those Blackburn Rovers debut because not much happened.
“This is an opportunity for the team, the club, to seize and they are giving themselves a chance.”
The Rovers enter the second half of the season in third place and with much to be excited about, despite the manager’s need for caution not to take the lead.
While last season he tried to raise the ante for his team in an effort to reach the top six, but was unsuccessful, the message was different this time around.
âI tried to create expectations last year, we had good players and tried to play a certain brand that suited the team, but I think defensively we suffered too many injuries. We didn’t have enough consistency, âhe added.
âOur offensive stats last season were first and second in the division, but the goals against the column were far from enough. It’s about finding a balance.
Find the balance they have, five successive wins, all with clean sheets, with Captain Lenihan being a key figure in this race.
He says the turnaround after the 7-0 loss to Fulham was beyond anything one could have imagined, but says the level of determination within the squad has always been there.
Lenihan said: âAll the credit goes to the guys and the staff because we really showed a lot of character to come back from there.
âThis Fulham game made us all realize we need to improve so much defensively.
âOverall we did well, we worked for each other and put each other first rather than ourselves.
âYou can see it on the pitch, we work for each other and it pays off.
âThe standards have been set and we want to keep that shape. ”