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Last Updated: Wednesday, 21 April, 2004, 09:20 GMT 10:20 UK
Cup 'tribute' to Hardwick
George Hardwick's statue at The Riverside
Hardwick's statue at The Riverside
Middlesbrough paid a perfect tribute to George Hardwick by winning the FA Youth Cup for the first time, says Boro academy manager Dave Parnaby.

The Riverside's youngsters beat Aston Villa 1-0 on Monday to complete a 4-0 aggregate victory just hours after the Boro legend died after a long illness.

The tough-tackling defender made 166 appearances for Boro in the 1930s-40s.

Parnaby told the club website: "George would have been looking down on the pitch and would have been very proud."

The Boro coach also praised the club's supporters and chairman Steve Gibson following the trophy success.

"The fans were magnificent and the boys will never forget the tribute they got from the crowd at the end," Parnaby added.

They came across a very good Middlesbrough team and the big thing was our mental toughness
Dave Parnaby
"As for the chairman, he gave us the opportunity and finance to achieve Academy status and we could not have done this without him."

Boro already held a significant lead from the first leg at Villa Park, where David Wheater and a brace from James Morrison in the second half put them in command of the tie.

Jason Kennedy then made sure of the result in the second leg when he looped a shot over Villa keeper Robert Olejnik which went in off the far post.

Parnaby said: "We came up against a very, very good Aston Villa side with a number of players who will go on and make very good careers in the game.

"But they came across a very good Middlesbrough team and the big thing was our mental toughness."

  • The club will hold a minute's silence in Hardwick's memory before their home Premiership match with Aston Villa on Saturday.

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