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Spot the England manager – and er, Father Christmas!

Readers of the Evening Gazette were star struck when the newspaper celebrated Middlesbrough FC’s tenth anniversary at the Riverside Stadium.

The Gazette capped a week of commemoration by publishing a poster of the crowd from the club’s inaugural game on August 26, 1995, when they beat Chelsea 2-0.

And for a bit of extra fun, designer Alan Formby-Jackson planted a famous footballing celebrity among the sea of faces, which readers were then asked to spot and phone or text with the answer for a chance to win £500.

It worked a treat with around 2,500 entries – most of which correctly named England manager Sven-Goran Eriksson.

But as well as finding Sven, the eagle-eyed folk of Teesside surpringly spotted (or thought they did) dozens of other celebrities – including Father Christmas (twice), Cliff Richard (six times), Juninho, Wayne Rooney, Harry Hill, Simon Cowell, Tony Blair and Julia Carling.

Deputy editor Alan Sims said: “The weird thing is when you look closely at the poster you can actually see faces that look just like some of the people our readers wrongly chose.

“Maybe Sir Cliff is a secret Boro fan – and we could certainly do with Father Christmas just now to gift us some goals!

“Luckily the vast majority of readers got the right answer. But it was a great bit of fun which created a lot of interest.

“People were poring over the poster to spot the celebrity but also to see if they could pick themselves out ten years to the day since the opening of the Riverside.”