NO NAMES, no pack-drill. Basic stuff. Anyway, keep digging Dave, multi-culti mighty Middlesbrough are coming to the Alf Garnett Stadium to take the points and pile on the agony. Boro will be in, win and be away and the cameras will barely record our stealth success because all the lenses will be pointed at the directors box and the dugout after a week of self-inflicted turmoil: a text pest boss with ‘racist and sexist’ baggage and under a cloud hired by a chairman with an alarming lack of awareness who has compounded the offence in a string of bungling interviews using scripts from Love Thy Neighbour.
Meanwhile Boro will arrive focused and steely and united and ready to resume their professionally prepared promotion push. And Boro will have 5,000 fans today. In full voice. Buoyed on by an unfolding season of steady progress, a feel-good foam-fingered bubble of optimism and one of the best away records in the league. It’s all set up nicely.
Of course, some will fear ‘typical Boro’ or ‘new boss bounce’. I’m expecting a routine, clinical win in a crackling atmosphere. In the away end anyway. It will be hard work though as Mackay and the players have a lot to prove. My #DaftQuid is going on 2-0.
Usual drill, you can make do your pre-match punditry here and make score predictions and plot how the game will unfold. Then after the game you can be the first on the block to give your verdict. I’ll give my own impressions as soon as possible.
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?
BATTLING Boro dug deep and resisted a furious final flurry from a side that looked a lot better than their league position suggested. It was nervous watching the tense last 10 minutes after Brighton clawed one back – but this team has shown they are stronger now, more organised and far less likely to be bullied out of games.
It was a great game to watch. Boro went toe-to-toe when they had to, frustrated Brighton when they had to, and scored two cracking sucker-punch goals on the break to set up an archetypal away-day display and strengthen their promotion credentials.
Battered and bruised, Boro limped away from the Amex Stadium having banked three precious points and boosted their credit rating.
Continue reading Rock Hard Boro Resist Brighton Pier Pressure.