No 10: Downing. Sweet

THE RETURN of Boro’s parmo-powered prodigal play-maker can galvanise the Riverside.

If Stewart Downing can hit the sizzling form he showed at West Ham last term, he can help fire his home town club back to the Premier League. He can be a game-changer. A hero.

This is a pivotal moment that feeds into the narrative of past glories, of the big name signing sweeping into town to energise the team and the town and to create some emotional momentum. It could be a ‘Merson moment.”

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Boro Scouting And The Appliance Of Science

UPDATED: Now with added “Part 2″
FINDING football talent has changed radically in recent years with the appliance of science.
Number-crunching, video analysis and vast searchable data bases are every bit as important as the wily old scout with a notebook in the stand.
But the basic aim of the job remains the same says Gary Gill, Boro’s Head of Recruitment.
“We just try to give the manager the tools to do his job,” said  Gill. “We work hard to make sure he can put the best possible team on the pitch and help find players who can get Boro back into the Premier League.”
Most Boro fans will have a wish list of targets but it is not as simple as it sounds getting them in. “Its not easy to sign a good footballer,” said the former Boro midfielder.

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Exciting Summer Revamp Beckons For Buzzing Boro

PLANET Boro is buzzing with excited talk of star signings and a delicious tingle of expectation.

Boro are haggling and trying to arrange an ambitious – and very expensive – Riverside return for parmo-powered play-maker Stewart Downing. And they are also keen on luring last season’s Championship 27-goal Golden Boot winner Daryl Murphy from Ipswich.

Neither is a shoo-in but those two targets show that Boro have raised the bar significantly when it comes to the perceived cost and quality of recruitment this summer.

That has sent the grapevine into overdrive with fantasy wish-lists (David Villa and Rickie Lambert rippled through the rumoursphere last week) and Boro fans are distorting the highly erratic betting markets with a flurry of ‘daft quids’ on the club to sign a series of players.  It feels like Boro are gearing up to really give it another crack this season.

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Yellow Fever: Fashion Fury Is Annual Event

THE DATE should be marked on the official club crested calendar: July 1 …” transfer window opens”….  July 2…  “new away kit launched to fans’ outrage.”

Almost every year some aberration straight from page 47 of the manufacturers catalogue is unveiled – usually after a cack-handed leak the night before – and the fashionistas and purists get the pitchforks out.

This year it is yellow. But not subtle on point hipster yellow, no this is a bright retina burning neon,  a plastic Minnion flavoured searing shade demanding sun-glasses.  And that has naturally provoked the annual backlash.

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Silence Shrouds A Busy Buzz Of Ambition At Boro

FRUSTRATING though it is fretting through the surface silence of fooball’s tumbleweed weeks, it would be a mistake to thing nothing is happening at Boro.

Fans grow anxious in the absence of public activity and persuade themselves that every other club is having a summer splurge snapping up a quality squad while sluggish Boro laze about on sun-loungers.

I’ve heard some people propose work starts on engraving Derby’s name onto the trophy now. Of course, those premature pundits said exactly the same in January. “Nailed on”.

But don’t panic at the silence. rest assured, the Hurworth hierarchy are hard at work.

I Heard It Through The Grapevine… (Reprise)

SUMMER… full of repeats. We even got the same League Cup draw.  Anyway, in that spirit here’s one I did earlier on the twitter tittle tattle and electronic pub-talk that is the annoying white noise that deafen and distracts us through the close season.

It’s from almost exactly two year’s ago when the rumour mill – a cocktail of fiction, wishful thinking and guesswork  that rushes in to fill the news vacuum – was in full swing.

Only the names have changed, the rest remains valid I think. And it will give you all something new to talk about.  I am genuinely interested in readers views on this corrosive trend inside the football bubble that reflects badly on society as a whole.

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Beermat Budgeting For Boro’s Summer Spree

BORO fans have drawn up their summer transfer target wish list…

Blackburn Rovers prolific one-in-two £10m rated hitman Jordan Rhodes.
And, what the hell, why not his £7m rated strike partner Rudy Gestede as well? Either/or. They’ll do.  And maybe Sako from Wolves – on a free but said to be asking his suitors for £50k a week. He’s good. Or Vydra from Watford.

And obviously, Jelle Vossen back on a real deal. Plus Pritchard. Bamford and Ake on loan. Reuben Loftus-Cheek?  Maybe a keeper? And a centre-back? Let’s have a quick scan down the Premier League released list, there’s bound to be a few bargains in there…

Blimey did Boro win at Wembley? Where’s all the money coming from?

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Signs Of Optimism Amid The Wembley Debris

WELL, we all arrived home knackered, emotionally drained, hungover and gutted by the result – but the better team won on the day so there can be no complaints.

They did to us what we did to them. Twice. They were sprint starters and subdued Boro were sluggish and were punished for it then never had the nous, energy or penetration to claw it back.  Norwich played well when it mattered  and good luck to them next year.


We were numb and dismayed on the whistle and had the heart-ache of trudging away empty-handed from Wembley for a fifth time – but once we pick ourselves up, dust ourselves down and regain some sense of sober perspective it is clear there are still plenty of positives to take from the campaign as a whole.  And as we sift through the debris of Wembley there are a lot of reasons to be optimistic for the future.

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Wembley: Boro Stand On The Cusp Of History

WEMBLEY: an iconic venue that has been central to the dreams of generations of Boro supporters. School yard yearning were left unfulfilled by near-misses, freezes and failures through a barren century.  Then, when the finals suddenly came thick and fast,  we have been left powerless and impotent as those dreams turned into nightmares.

Tony Dorigo’s free-kick killer that spoiled our debut in 1990 (although you never forget your first time). Emile Heskey’s stoppage time sickener after stroppy striker Ravanelli had briefly ignited emotions with our only goal at the Twin Towers;  A cruel 43 second Roberto Di Matteo stunner that killed off our first ever FA Cup appearance before it had even begun and hammered in the final nail of a traumatic season. And Chelsea again just 12 months later in the League Cup.

The mystique of Wembley had so long taunted us and been so painfully unobtainable – then we finally got there it turned out to be a haunted hell-hole that laughed as it crushed our souls.  Now Boro have a chance for historic redemption. Believe…

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