THE SOARAWAY season just gone has been broken down into a century of bite size back page snippets by ace gossip condensers at the Daily Telegraph and an entertaining digest it makes too. My personal favourites were no-necked Welsh karaoke king Craig Bellamy taking a five iron to John Arne Riise in a midnight demonstration of his swing and Leeds Marching On to division three and a clash with mighty Hartlepool.
Boro get into the list twice, first at number 71 for becoming the first team to overturn a lead and beat Chelsea since the fast fading self parody Special One took over and then again at 91 as perma-crock Real Madrid reserve Jonathan Woodgate returns to English football with his local club.
Never one to see a simple format go to waste, here’s my top ten
10 Spot of bother…
Christiano Ronaldo leaps high above an incoming sliding challenge from keeper Mark Schwarzer then goes down to win a penalty against Boro in the league game at the Riverside in December to spark yet another “cheat” storm. Graceless red faced chuddie muncher Alex Ferguson was forced to admit there had been no contact after watching a replay . “He’s evading it”, he blustered. “The intent was there.”
9 Missimo blast misses target… The Gladiator stomps angrily through the exit door and blames “the ever smiling” Steve McClaren, Gareth Southgate, the coaching staff, the nutritionists, the parmos, the Gazette and anyone else but himself for his failure to set the world alight after only being given 100 games to prove his ability. Boro fans just shrug philosophically while the tabloids pick up the stick and gleefully use it to beat McClaren with.
8 Hit him Stewy… A Downing doppelganger invaded the pitch and tried to Lamp Frank as Chelsea beat Spurs in the FA Cup. Not just a bloke who looked a bit like our local left footed line-hugger but a full on spitting image.
7 Beat the clock…. Or don’t. Boro fail to sign treatment table junkie Robert Huth before the transfer deadline passes. But never mind, his paperwork was caught up in red tape with Ashley Cole’s and with Arsenal and Chelsea involved Boro are given the nod an hour later as the FA invent the concept of transfer deadline stoppage time.
6 The lion sleeps tonight… January’s big signing to beef up Boro’s flagging battle against the drop was a player recovering from a bad knee injury, who went on a major league bender after missing out on the World Cup and who is called “the lazy genius” by the tabloids. No, not Gazza. The lightweight Lion King has been brushed aside by Nobby Solano, done the season’s most pathetic dive and got into a few good positions but failed to hit the target. And he could be a first choice striker next year.
5 Can I speak to Bernie please?…
Abel Xavier rings in to The Three Legends (when there were three and when they were all still speaking to each other) to say he loves Boro and wants to see the club transformed into a mighty powerhouse, he is a passionate and dedicated professional who has paid the consequences for the mix-up with the Lemsip, he is the lowest paid player in the club. “Ah seyz that,” responds the quiff.
4 Pint of Schaudenfreude… Boro fans allow themselves a wicked smile as Steve McClaren is booed off at half-time with plucky England holding mighty Andorra to a goalless draw at the break. It is one-dimensional, passionless, negative, slow and boring. Now you know how we felt.
3 Badge of honour… Rebranded Boro declare a proud new era for the club and underline the new mentality of high-profile glossy professionalism, PR savvy and investment in excellence by launching their new badge. The design is hastily scribbled on the back of a fag-packet then unveiled to the world with a bang as the new logo is nailed on one side of a sheet of chipboard and propped on a trestle table in the centre-circle while bored staff turn it regularly so every stand gets to gaze in wonder.
2 Waltzing Viduka… welcome to the annual Boro ball in which an influential player is invited to dance around a lucrative new contract, teasing, flirting and using contradictory body language from January until July while everyone waits tensely to see who will be his partner when the music stops.
1 Now that’s ‘intent’… James Morrison gained retribution for Boro and had a national coalition of xenophobic England fans, old school supporter sof fair play and fellow victims of Ronaldo’s thespian tumbling everywhere cheering him to the echo as the red mist descended at Old Trafford and he wiped out Ronaldo with an agricultural tackle. Diveinho wants to think himself lucky it wasn’t Pogatetz who crunced him.