Middlesbrough's Stewart Downing

Middlesbrough Football Club were dealt a cruel blow today, with the FA declaring the North Yorkshire club ineligible for promotion. A return to the top flight had looked likely for the Championship frontrunners until this morning’s ruling.

Under the FA’s new Three Strikes law, clubs relegated 3 times in any 20 year period will be banned from promotion for 10 years after the last relegation — in Middlesbrough’s case, until 2019.

Dyke

Greg Dyke“Three Strikes and you’re out,” FA Chairman Greg Dyke told Soccer on Sunday. “Middlesbrough have been up and down like a whore’s knickers. I’ve seen lifts get less vertical action. It has to stop.”

“The age of the Yoyo Club is over,” he added. “The FA will no longer stand by while an institution such as Middlesbrough goes up and down like a deranged chimp on a pogo stick.”

Compensation

Young Bryan RobsonShould they finish in this season’s top 2 or win the playoff, the FA have confirmed that ‘Boro will be compensated for losing out on promotion. Players capped 10 or more times will pocket a brand new Zanussi washing machine, and the club itself will enjoy a lifetime supply of Tesco ham.

“They can stick their ham,” former manager Bryan Robson told Soccer on Sunday. “Don’t get me wrong, Tesco ham is different class. But we’re talking about players missing out on the Premier League. Ham, even Tesco ham, can only soften that blow so much.”

Karanka

Boro’ manager Aitor Karanka is more diplomatic.

“Of course, we will challenge this ruling,” the Spaniard told Soccer on Sunday. “But if we lose, we will accept the ham and move on as professionals.”

“And to be fair, Tesco ham is different class,” he added.