“Boro Would have Lost That Game Last Year…”

A FORMER fragile Boro would have lost that game. Nailed on. Back to the bread and butter games after an emotional high of a midweek glamour game and with expectations high after three wins in a row and a 4-0 Riverside romp against Brentford.  Throw in a huge travelling support buoyed by optimism and all the ingredients were in place for a “typical Boro” defeat – probably thanks to a Bikey goal in the 93rd minute.

But this Boro are made of sterner stuff.  Even with 10 men. Even after a leggy last half hour as the strength-sapping 120 minutes of the Anfield epic started to catch up with them and Charlton stepped up a gear to pile on the pressure late on.  They dug in. They put bodies on the line. They closed, tackled and blocked, they rocked as an opportunist hooked shot came back off the post, then the stayed sharp to resist a stoppage time assault as Dimi made a wonder save then Clayton hooked a goalbound header away.

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Surreal Scouse Spot-Kick Shoot-out Shenanigans

WHERE do you start with THAT?

Battling Boro were squeezed out in a 31 goal thriller at Anfield. They scored 15 goals against away Champions League side and “lost”.  Keeper Jamal Blackman scored a penalty and conceded 16 goals on his debut. Whack. Smack. Hammer. Neither keeper got anywhere near 20 consecutive penalties in a nerve-shredding cup record shoot-out. Crazy, surreal,  unscriptable spot-kick shoot-out.

Liverpool 2 Boro 2 (aet) (Liverpool win 14 [FOURTEEN] – 13 [THIRTEEN] on penalties). Total brackets. Total madness. Totally emotional exhausted after a pulsating night of pride and passion and barely believable absorbing end-to-end  action in which Boro more than matched a far from weakened Champions League side. Live on TV!  What an advert for Aitor Karanka’s Boro side. If that doesn’t put bums on seats I don’t know what will.

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Buzzing Boro Are The Bees Knees v Brentford

OPTIONS all over the place. Not just for Aitor. Where to start reflecting on bubbling Boro’s polished and potent performance against Bee-leagured Brentford?

The goals? Boro don’t do boring routine goals. They don’t scramble home scruffy  six yard toe-pokes in a messy penalty area scrum or have average shots take a deflection and skid or spin over the line. No, Boro only do spectacular long range sizzlers or perfectly engineered effort at the end of sweeping moves or deft text book finishes.

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Dragon Slaying/Taff Luck

Just a quick one before our annual bout of dragon slaying.  As usual you can put your money where your mouth is and make your score predictions and script out the drama here so we can come back later and hail your prescient pundit power or point at laugh at such woefully wishful thinking.  My daft quid is on a 1-1 draw with Kike netting, But what do I know?

I’ll try and get a blog up as soon as possible after the game but given the time difference and the cross-border cyber customs control I’m not sure when that will be. So you’ll have to talk among yourselves.

We’ve just driven into Cardiff and the shape of the Millenium Stadium appeared through a wispy haze of nostalgic yearning. It’s a long time ago now. But it still raises hackles. I think we will nip into The Gatekeeper for a nostalgic pre-match pint. Every little helps.

Meantime, as we are waiting for kick-off, here’s a bit I did in the steam driven print product today on how, 10 years on,  Teesside should start to reclaim the legacy of Ayresome hero Brian Clough,  One of our own.

 

 

 

 

 

Boro Swimming Against The Tide On Spending

BORO were the third biggest net spenders in a busy summer as Aitor Karanka completely rebuilt his first team.  That came as a bit of a surprise.

Keeping a mental tally of the ins and outs (Boro shelled out for Kike, Husband, Clayton and Wildschutt but flogged Emnes, Jutkiewicz, Butterfield and Smallwood), it seemed the overall outlay was relatively modest on fees while the perception is always that a host of other ambitious sides are throwing cash about like a sailor on shore leave.

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Patience Is A Virtue In Boro’s Transfer Pursuit

Patience is a virtue: That should be the new club motto. Certainly when the transfer window is open.

Boro’s shopping strategy over the summer has had the stony-faced intensity of World Staring Out Championship final.  They have pitched the project to their targets, courted them, flattered them and sold them a vision and a role in it. Then they have made their offer – fair, firm and final – to the other club.

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Deadline Day: Live

COME ON Boro! Haven’t you signed anyone YET? Get your finger out.

Welcome aboard our multi-platform breakfast to bongs rolling 24 hour news style scrolling ticker tape of destiny. On blog. On twitter. And on the Gazettelive website. I’m wearing my yellow socks. I’ve got the beer and Pringles in. It’s going to be a long one.  Maybe. Actually it will probably be weighted more to breakfast than bongs.

Our mooted two new boys – Jelle Vossen and Yanic Wildschut should be getting up round about now and mooching around the Spa or heading towards the Orangery for breakfast after a good night’s sleep at Rockliffe. Soon they will be ready to complete.

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Blunt Boro Need Break To Regroup After Reading

THE TWO week break couldn’t have come at a better time for Boro.  The certainly need to regroup,  reassess and reinforce a team that is still not the finished article.

The 1-0 defeat to Reading was a major blow. Hot on the heels of the home defeat to Sheffield Wednesday it shows that Boro, for all their patient probing and possession, still struggle to break down archetypal Championship sides. Wednesday sat deep, knocked it long to a big man and caused mayhem at the book; Reading snatched an early lead then set out to spoil, frustrate and waste time and did it very effectively.

But for all the natural angst in the crowd that the reshaped squad has yet to live up to the hype after a summer of spending, this new look Boro remains work in progress.

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