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.
Continue reading John Neal: Boro Boss At An Historical Crossroads
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.
Continue reading The Road To Wigan Pier: Boro Bandwagon Misfires
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!
Continue reading Is Karanka Gibson’s Best Ever Appointment?
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.
Continue reading Special K: One Year On
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.
Continue reading Tasty Tussle – But No Cherry On The Top
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.
Continue reading Basic Stuff: High Flying Boro Crush Canaries
BORO kept their cool when the temperature soared to secure a thoroughly professional 3-0 win away in a deliciously hostile atmosphere at Rotherham’s New York Stadium.
They weathered an early heavy barrage as Rotherham threw some quick diagonals into the box and then twice broke out to score two crackers – Bamford and Wildschut – with their first two real chances in a text-book display of counter-attacking to take total control.
They they sealed it late on with a third as Tomlin wriggled across the box and cracked home. That took Boro – briefly – up to second before results pegged them back a place. It was a thoroughly professional performance.
Continue reading Cool Headed Boro Are Red Hot at Rotherham
BATTLING Boro were lucky to get a point after being battered by Watford – although they could have snatched an unlikely victory if only striker Curtis Main had taken his chances.
Watford dominated. It’s true. I saw it on TV.
Continue reading Phantom Striker Spooks Fans In Beeb Nightmare
WHEN Boro scored early in the second half of their 1-1 draw with Watford they were briefly joint top of the Championship table. “Steve McClaren’s Derby” were drawing – they went on to lose 2-1 at home to Wigan – and there suddenly was a huge prize on offer for Boro’s biggest game of the season.
Had Boro held on, or had they got the second goal they deserved at that point, they would have been sitting pretty now with a slice of a three way share of the summit. There would be a tangible background buzz building and those extra bums on seats that turned up (17,000 home fans there today, it is steadily nudging up) would have gone away bubbling about a great display and spreading word for mouth, doing excitable missionary work among the cynical masses of stay-aways.
Continue reading Bubbling Boro Can’t Bridge Watford Gap
NOT SO BOSTIN….
It was a bad day at the office in the Black County as Boro froze in the Baltic blast to lose 2-0 at Wolves. You can read the match report here.
They started slowly and failed to reach the levels of intensity that has driven them through the seven game unbeaten run. They failed to impose themselves on a Wolves side that started just as tentatively as the visitors. For half an hour it was turgid stuff and although Wolves gradually gained the upper hand it was far from a classic.
Continue reading Dances With Wolves?