Boro Ram Raid On “The Best Team In The League”

BORO have just easily dismantled “the best team in the division.” Easily. Dismantled. The table-toppers and promotion favourites were picked apart in a televised demolition of Derby that will have plenty thinking that tag has just changed hands.

Patrick Bamford will take most of the headlines, and rightly so.  He has scored against the side he played for on loan last year;  he has now scored seven goals in eight games; he is on-loan from Chelsea so he has a handy tag for the nationals.

Bamford scored (and celebrated like a Forest fan) and won a penalty in another superb show in a game that he admitted had given him butterflies and a restless night before and so yes, give him the headlines. He deserves all the attention he gets after a magic month in which he has staked his claim to be a first team fixture and consistently showed us every part of the strikers’ skills set.

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                          Bamford: can’t sleep for Butterflies, stings like a bee

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Mythed Sitters? “Shot Shy” Tag Is Well Wide

“Shot shy Boro just don’t score enough goals to get promoted!”

That’s the latest line being peddled by the cynics – sorry, “realists” – as Aitor Karanka’  side take up residence in the pack. Or at least, it was until the five-star display at the Den when a potent performance and a goal romp dented that thinly constructed criticism.

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                         Boro celebrate massaging the scoring stats at Millwall

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Jelle Serves Up Goal Treat

TASTY Jelle showed this team are not to be trifled with as Boro served up a treat at Millwall.  Vossen has had to wait 12 games to get off the mark but got his just desserts with a delicious first on his way to a mouthwatering 23 minute -hat-trick before Bamford and Kike put cherries on the top. In a fantastic first half bubbling Boro created a flurry of chances: they could have had hundreds and thousands. Almost.

There were a string of clear cut chances, a couple of good saves, a strong penalty claim and one that bounced in off the post only to be clawed back into play by the keeper. It was party time for Boro who really could have scored seven or  eight. Nine?   In an awesome first 45 minutes that looked not only possible but likely.

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Sheeran Lunacy: Ref’s Bum Note Costs Boro

WELL I’m blaming Ed Sheeran for Boro’s stoppage time sucker punch in a 1-1 draw with Blackburn that left scene of crime officers working late into the night at the Riverside.

Or at least, I’m blaming relegated ref Mark Clattenburg’s dodgy taste in music. Clattenburg blew bang on 89.59 so he could get a flyer from the West Brom game last month to get back to Newcastle for a gig by the ginger This Years’ James Blunt. He left alone breaking ref’s matchday protocol and put his foot down – pausing only to take a call from Neil Warnock, another breech  – so got dumped into the Championship. And we ended up with him. And he made a costly error. Great. Thanks a lot Sheeran!

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John Neal: Boro Boss At An Historical Crossroads

JOHN Neal’s Boro reign offered spells of hope and excitement book-ended between two moments of FA Cup heartache that are burned on supporters’ psyches.

The former Boro boss died this week aged 82 prompting tributes to a widely respected coach and an old school football gentleman. And it is also an opportunity to reassess an interesting and important time in the club’s history as it approached a crossroads.

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The Road To Wigan Pier: Boro Bandwagon Misfires

THERE was no Feeding of the Five Thousand;  Although it was a minor miracle Boro managed to come away with a point. They got back down to the bread and butter of the Championship by serving up some stodgy fare.  There was no procession to the points for the travelling army who arrived in a convoy of coaches; the team spluttered and back-fired and chugged along in the slow lane. But at least they didn’t end up on the hard shoulder.

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Is Karanka Gibson’s Best Ever Appointment?

INTERNATIONAL breaks can be frustrating. Withdrawal symptoms make Boroholics tense and tetchy,  simmering and snappy.  Inevitably tempers bubble over and squabbles start and  soon protocol breaks down witty, urbane banter becomes more ascerbic, personal and threatening and before you know it, we’re the car-park to sort out once and for all.

The latest abstract to go physical came after our debut podcast in which we collectively gushed over Aitor’s transformation of the club from top to bottom. It lead to a third party innocently asking:  “Is Karanka Steve GIbson’s best ever appointment?” Well…

Battle-lines were quickly drawn between myself and Mr T as an Iron Curtain was thrown up across the sports desk.  There’s  only one way to settle it…. FIGHT!

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Special K: One Year On

TODAY is what has been dubbed the #Karankaversary. It a year since Boro appointed Aitor Karanka as their new boss. I think it is fair to say it has been a year of marked change on and off the pitch. A  year of of steady if not spectacular improvement in every department of the team and of results and performances.  And a year of reshaping of  the attitudes that surrounds the club. Karanka is all about professionally planned progress.

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Tasty Tussle – But No Cherry On The Top

A TOP TWO shared summit showdown. A bumper crowd.  The featured match on the Football League show after a sustained campaign of cynical sniping. What could possibly go wrong?  That should be the club motto: potuisset quid peccavit?  

Well, it was goalless. That definitely wasn’t part of the script. Obviously with 23,000 fans in the Riverside – almost 6,000 more than the previous high and a lot back for the first time in several years – the ideal outcome would have been a Norwich-style goal romp, a mass conversion of cynics to the Karanka cause and a long queue outside the ticket-office demanding half-season cards immediately. Instead some will have gone away feeling a little cheated and saying that “they always let you down.”

But that would be very harsh.

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Basic Stuff: High Flying Boro Crush Canaries

DEFLATED Norwich boss and Lee Mack lookalike  [insert your own “Not Going Up” joke here]  Neil Adams spent most of his post-match press conference saying he was “not taking anything away from Boro but…”

He chuntered a bit about his own side not quite being on song, said it was the most disappointing display of the season and concluded that there was nothing in the game, nothing between the teams  but Boro “just did the basics better.” Hmmmmm.

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