WATCH: Middlesbrough's Premier League return rekindles some 20-year-old memories

The Juninho generation still lives on in the mind's eye

Middlesbrough, Bryan Robson, Emerson,

Middlesbrough manager Bryan Robson (second r) watches dejectedly as Chelsea lift the FA Cup, alongside Boro's Juninho (l), Emerson (second l) and Nigel Pearson (r). Picture by: Neal Simpson / EMPICS Sport

The Premier League is much changed since Middlesbrough were last in the top flight in 2009.

For one thing, Leicester City have gone and won the title, seemingly out of nowhere.

But the Premier League is most certainly a different place to the one that Middlesbrough found themselves in during the middle of the 1990s.

With fewer foreign players on clubs' books, Boro stood out by building a side around diminutive Brazilian wizard Juninho, during his first spell at the club.

He was far from the only signing made by Boro manager Bryan Robson and long-time chairman Steve Gibson, with former Italy international forward Fabrizio Ravanelli and Brazilian midfielder Emerson bringing a touch of other-worldliness to one of the lesser lights of English football.

About 18 months ago, Robson was kind enough to chat to Newstalk's Team 33 about that particular Middlesbrough era which saw them move from Ayresome Park to the Riverside, entertained but also suffered relegation and built one of the more cosmopolitan squads of that era's Premier League.

Among the things he talked to us about at the time was how the club signed the likes of Juninho and how they helped them to settle in to the North-East:

"The Little Fella" Juninho did settle as he spent three separate spells at Middlesbrough between his £5 million arrival in 1995 and a final two-year stay which ended in 2004, ultimately being recognised as the club's greatest ever player by fans for moments like these: 

Emerson, on the other hand, did not settle anywhere near as well as after moving from FC Porto in 1996.

By the end, he clearly couldn't wait to get away - indeed he stayed away even before leaving in January 1998.

The Brazilian's first goal for Boro was pretty special though: 

Ravanelli arrived at the Riverside Stadium as a Champions League winner with Juventus in 1996 and although there were issues off the pitch exemplified by a training ground fight (or bust-up to use football parlance) with ex-Ireland full-back Curtis Fleming, he still plundered 31 goals in all competitions in the 1996-97 season, including this season-opening hat-trick against Liverpool: