Bubbling Boro Batter Media Darlings

BRILLIANT. Bubbling Boro eased to a first ever victory in a Premier League curtain-raiser at the Riverside as they saw off media darlings Spurs in style. The scoreline flattered Spurs. On another day it would have been three at the break with Alves looking sharp and David Wheater having a perfectly good goal ruled out.
Tuncay was magic. Alves excellent. The makeshift right-back as good as ever. Digard looked impressive when he came on and even the under-pressure keeper kept the lynch-mob at bay as he survived some shaky moments and flapping in the box to pull off a superb point-blank save with the game still in the balance at 0-0. In the end it took a Boro player to beat him. All that and a 32,000 plus crowd revelling in a display of enterprising, open, fluid football that bodes well for the future.


It was important to put down a marker right at the start. We don’t win many on the first day. In fact the last opening day victory was in 2000 when Boksic ran riot in a 3-1 win at Coventry, and incredibly Boro have never won the curtain-raiser at the Riverside in the Premiership at all, so we are already ahead.
But it was perhaps more important than ever to win to convince the waverers because of the massive step into the unknown Gareth Southgate has taken in the summer with the cull of the over-30s, the calculated switch to youth and pace and the determination with which he has made himself hostage to fortune over the keepers and the late sale of Luke Young. A defeat and a chaotic display at the back would have turned the murmurs into squeals of panic and turned the pressure up another notch with Liverpool coming next.
In fact, it was a display of great panache that has boosted morale no end, that has strengthened a cautious whispered belief that Boro have a marked potency and excitement going forward and a palpable team spirit that can be the basis for a season that promises much. Most would admit there were still some eye-brow raising moments and areas of weakness. Spurs had a string of chances, there were some hairy moments in the box and after Berbatov finally sulked his way onto the pitch they looked sharper and for a moment – as Jenas burst through on goal – it suddenly looked like last year’s opener against Blackburn all over again. That one moment aside Boro were in control and it felt great. Some observations:
Provincial Paupers Rip Up The Script: The Cockneycentric media fawning over Spurs is sickening. They last won the title before I was born yet every August since then – with or without ‘a one in it’ – has been hailed as the dawning of a new era because yet another new manager has wasted yet another fortune on mediocre new players who have the media luvvies dribbling in expectation (the last batch were unloaded as a job lot to Sunderland). They are hailed as a big club, touted as a side who can break the domination of the evil quadropoly and well, their fans are ‘a bit special’, they ‘love their football’ and ‘expect to see it played the right way’. So not over-demanding loudmouths with delusions of grandeur, an obsession with victories they only know through Pathe News footage and a barely disguised bitterness at the success of the neighbours then? But the media love them because they are a circus and easy to write up.
The Geordies of London spent squillions in the summer and money is the measure of power so they have been penciled in as the team to stretch hopelessly for the coat-tails of the Big Four this year to continue the illusion of competition and possibility of change, and preferably while playing more swashbuckling football than the dour utilitarians of Everton. They are a creation of spin and I am delighted that the unfashionable provincial paupers took them apart so easily. That said, it was a good time to play them: once Modric, Giovanni and Bentley (and possibly Arsharvin too) settle they will get better.
Bumper Crowd Go Away Happy Shock! It was fantastic to see the Riverside full. After years of the red rash creeping relentlessly across the stadium in full view of the cameras and a lazy press box looking for an easy intro, suddenly the buzz is back. Cheap tickets for kids, a bumper away following of 4,000 and a decent walk-up full of optimism for the new season combined to push the figure up.
The 32,000 plus crowd was 7,000 up on the opening day against Blackburn last year. It was 7,000 up on the Spurs game last year. It was a bigger crowd than turned up for last season’s big derby games complete with sell out away ends and a bigger crowd than for Arsenal. Only the gates for Manchester United, Liverpool and the ill-fated Cardiff game were bigger. That last one is important because it was the last time when people outside the season-ticket base turned up – and thousands went away disgusted at a spineless display and vowing never to come again. Hopefully the win over Spurs will help in the rehabilitation and the thousands extra who saw the sizzling display will want to come back. That is a great result.
Boro Boy Booed: “Johnny Woodgate is a red, he hates Geordies.” Maybe, but he still committed the cardinal sin and left Boro so must be held to account. In fact the gentle booing of Woody was half-hearted and patchy and lacked any kind of malice. It was just going through the motions. Which is fair enough because he never really left the club under a cloud or after a string of poor displays or any kind of public flirtation with a rival. And in every interview about the Boro he had ticked all the boxes – childhood fan, proud to play for and captain his club, part of the 50,000 crowd for the Port Vale at Hartlepool. He had crowd cred so was hard to target as a traitor.
If anything his exit was engineered by the boss as part of a concerted cultural re-arrangement in the dressing room, his departure was more than compensated for by the rise and rise of the Redcar Rock and the money raised was swiftly reinvested in a much needed striker while he went on to score the winner in a cup final. Everyone was happy. Hence the luke-warm Pavlovian booing without any passion.
It will be a poor season for those who like to boo former Boro boys. George Boateng will arrive with Hull and no doubt get a resounding appreciative cheer, as will team-mate and OAP cult hero Dean Windass. Nick Barmby may get the usual bad-taste taunting from people who barely remember why they are doing it (his only crime was being squeezed out at the club for not being Juninho) but hopefully that will be lost in the generally appreciative welcome the other two get.
When West Brom come it will be the usual wave of sincerity and warmth for Mogga and a pre-match ripple of polite applause for James Morrison and possibly a few light-hearted Jesus jibes but nothing of any substance, he wasn’t really a hate figure.
There will be some misguided money-grabbing and weight related comments about Mark Viduka when Newcastle visit but they will be derby banter rather than serious charges as he was a good servant who arguably got the goal that kept us up, who never left mid-contract or mid-season to leave us in the clag and anyway since his departure has played his expected part as an ageing and over-priced hibernating perma-crock so can be used as a political weapon against the Geordies.
Only the Yak can really expect any real stick this season, mainly because his dummy spitting was so badly timed for the team and almost left us in serious trouble. That and his last few lardy, lethargic and positively resentful displays which left him estranged from the team and at serious risk of being chinned.
Warning: High Hero Content: A year ago Boro were in danger of being a one man team. Stewie Downing was the only real creative force and the opposition knew that doubling up on him effectively neutered Boro as an attacking force. Of the rest of the team the “big” players were essentially conservative and defensive – Woodgate, Boateng and Schwarzer – were highly erratic and frustrating like Rochemback or remained unknown quantities like the injury-plagued Huth or Tuncay, expected to struggle to acclimatise.
Now Boro are brimming with players who can make things happen, unpredictable and mercurial figures that can cause problems for the opposition. Afonso Alves having adjusted to the pace of the Premiership looks every inch the penalty box poacher that Boro have needed for year: he has a neat touch, excellent close control and a hunger for goal that makes him a constant threat. Tuncay is simply brilliant. He has a magic box of crowd pleasing tricks and an infectious zest but that is allied to an incredible industry that sees him charge back deep into his own half to tackle or make himself available then surge forward and terrify defenders. No wonder he is taken off after 70 minutes in every game, he is knackered – but that paves the way for Mido, a targetman with physical presence and superb close control that scares defences.
As well as the frontmen we have Aliadiere who has blistering pace that carves holes in defences for others to exploit and a neat touch that makes for some exquisite interplay with the likes of Tuncay. And then there is Boro’s secret weapon David Wheater, a schoolboy goal machine turned defender who is equally commanding in either box. Two good goals he scored against Spurs. A legend in waiting.

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50 thoughts on “Bubbling Boro Batter Media Darlings

  1. Boro were brilliant today. Their attitude and team spirit made me proud to be a Boro fan. A young, fit and pacey team who work hard for, and respect each other.
    I don’t think anyone could have predicted that team sheet today. There’s still players to come in and (dare I say it?) the best may be still to come.
    Well done Gareth. You did us all proud today.

  2. Fantastic effort by the boys! It looks promising for us all this season. The team looks to be in better condition, and our ability to actually hold the ball in the middle of the field rather than watching boateng and rochembach give it away repeatedly is refreshing
    It was excellent to see the stadium buzzing – we need to make it difficult for teams to come to the riverside. No Mercy!!

  3. Playing Wheats at right back means he can get forward more and cause chaos in the oposition box.
    Well done Southgate, I never saw that one coming!
    He reminds me of Matt Eliot for Liecester city under Martin O’Neil.

  4. Perfect result! Perfect start to the season!! More please!!! Excellent. Well done all. Wheaters fast becoming my favourite Boro player.
    Just the perfect start we needed given our early fixtures.
    WOO HOO !
    TB

  5. Very good performance yesterday. I actually pootled along to the game and enjoyed watching Tottingham being ripped apart. (Saw similarities in your team to when the Mags had Dyer Jenas Bellamy and Robert flying at people)
    All you lot have to do now is lose your typical Boro tag.

  6. A spirited display with belief throughout the entire team.
    Tuncay put in a fantastic gut busting never say die performance, Alves ran and ran and at one point was covering at Left Back for Taylor who himself gave a composed and confident display. Stewey was rampant fizzing crosses in. O’Neil had a busy and productive time in the middle, almost scored with a header and sublimely set up Digard for Mido’s goal. Huth and Pogi were untroubled by “England’s best striker” Darren Bent. Jones pulled off a good save to keep us in it at 0-0 and the Redcar Rock was at his indominatable best despite a few early crap crosses!. Ali and Shawky were workmanlike but their share of the limelight will come in future games. If Alves and Ali hadn’t missed sitters and Rock’s disallowed goal stood it could have been 5-1.
    A good day at the office Gareth, stand up and take a bow!

  7. HELLLLOOOOOOOOOOOOOO DARLINGS,
    Just got back from seeing our reserve team batter the Skunks. How we never won I dont know. Anyway, good result for you on Saturday. Do you think you have any chance of winning your first ever meaningful trophy this season?
    Cant see it myself but you may finish about 12th in the league with about 44 points if you are lucky.
    Ta ta for now

  8. Travelled home to the midlands after the game yesterday listening to various stations on the radio and was left fuming as to why the mighty spurs lost? no one,(apart from brownlee and co.), gave the Boro any credit for a fine win.
    Mates of mine down here asked pre game how our season would be and i said i would know better post match. Being a Boro fan you have to be an optimist but i am happy.
    We looked good going forward and battled hard in all areas, Wheater did nt look out of place at right back. Tuncays substition showed everyone in the ground how passionate he is as Southgate had to calm him down and reassure him he played well as he came off the pitch.
    Stopping off to re fuel on the A19 i overheard a couple of spurs fans, who had bumped into each other, discussing what had gone wrong. not being shy i had to inform them that although they play pretty football and Modric looks sharp they are not all that they think they are. Humping the ball up front to an alone Darren Bent reminded me how Birmigham played last season at the Riverside. I thought pre season that spurs looked nailed on top 6 but if Berbatov goes then im not sure.
    All said and done well done Boro , my 176 mile journey home was a pleasant one, and my 7 year old son summed it up by saying “heh dad it was well worth the journey eh!” Nuff said.

  9. What a performance. Jones did well in goal, particularly the save from Jenas. The defence looked solid, Wheater did very well at right back, though I would expect him to return to centre-half for the Liverpool game with Poga at LB and Hoyte at RB.
    O’Neil and Shawky did well in the middle, particularly 2nd half. Downing lookied as good as he did last season and Ali was always a threat, as were Tuncay and Alves who look like they could forge a tremendous partnership.
    And what a good bench we have – Johnson, Emnes, Digard, Mido and with Hoyte to come plus the academy lads. Compare that to other teams around us (Everton?) and we actually have a very strong squad, which we may yet add to.
    Fantastic.

  10. The best opening game that I can remember, and I have supported Boro since 1947.
    Redcar Red summarised from the manager down over, more than adequetly and so I will not bother to repeat.
    One word of warning, I remember watching a game in which Southgate substituted Woodgate and the expression on Woodgate’s face left nothing to the imagination even from as far away as Australia.
    It was a worry to see a similar expression on the face of Tuncay on Saturday, particularly when you consider what happened to Woodgate.

  11. I am amazed that people think that Southgate would start a player against Liverpool who had only been with the team for a week, when against Spurs, he did not play any of the new players who had been in the training camp all summer.
    It was necessary to sign Hoyte swiftly merely as a confidence boosting step, not because there was any perception that we are currently lacking in defenders.
    Certainly Southgate will not “tinker” or “rotate” his lineup after such a fine performnce, the only possibility is Shawkey giving way to give Digard or Emnes a chance to start.
    By the way, Gary O’Neil had his best game as a Boro player. Last season, I frequently commented that he always seemed to make the wrong decision. Against Spurs, he seemed to make the right decision every time. This seems to indicate that the off-the-pitch issues (that have now been reported to have been a problem last season for O’Neil) can distract a player more than one would think.
    Even a draw against Liverpool will make the start of the season very successful, and keep us equal or better than the other two Northeast teams. It
    would also keep up enthusiasm and attendance amongst the supporters.

  12. AV, so Woodgate – as well as I – were at Hartlepool. But the crowd was less than 50,000 you mentioned in the blog.
    Anyway I saw the match on the Finnish television on Saturday. Quite impressive and totally agree what you wrote.
    Up the Boro!!!

  13. “and incredibly Boro have never won the curtain-raiser at the Riverside in the Premiership at all, so we are already ahead”
    – I may have been drunk , but what about Higgy and Jan Aage shooting down Chelsea ??
    **AV writes: That was the second game. The opener had been a 1-1 draw at Arsenal.

  14. An excellant performance and well worth the frustrations of only getting to the ground at 2.25pm following severe hold ups on the M1 and A1.
    As ny Pride card arrived late I had to purchase my ticket on the day. Stood in the queue at the south stand ticket office it was amusing to see Spurs fans walking round from the South Stand trying to get into the East Stand.
    Obviously the big sign saying visitors stand, the ticket office saying visitors tickets, the fans in white shirts queueing at the South Stand Turnstiles, the police presence at the South stand, the turnstile numbers on the tickets, the plan on the back of the tickets plus the red shirts on the fans waiting to get into the East Stand were not big enough clues for them. If it was a couple of fans or if they were trying to cause trouble I could understand but it wasnt, it was scores of them and all equally affable.
    I hope they managed to find the A19 as they left to the chants of Mido, if anyone sees a confused fan in a white shirt still walking around please take pity and help.

  15. Boro and MFC simply got it right!
    The energy levels on arrival at the stadium were pumped up by the live music. Now even if you’re an auld gadgie and not the greatest fan of the musical genre on offer, the fact that there were others there already enjoying it was enough to encourage some feelgood contagion. As it happens, this auld gadgie really enjoyed the music beforehand. I love live music me!
    Entering the stadium it became apparent that the crowd was going to be decently proportioned and from my own privileged vantage point in the West Stand Upper, the customary alopecia in both North and South ends of the East stand soon filled up and the inanimate blobs of red plastic became an almost continuous sea of red and white activity.
    There followed a great a great PR move which, on the day, caught me napping. I’d been active in the garden all morning and hadn’t visited the internet and hadn’t caught any news. So it was a great fillip when Justin Hoyte was introduced, as Boro’s latest signing, to the fans before KO.
    Until that point, I’d harboured some Boronoid concerns that a move to the cold, wet, god-forsaken, grimy and inhospitable North-East to a small provincial, unfashionable media-disfavoured club might not be an attractive proposition for a southern-raised lad, whose footballing ambitions had been heightened by attachment to the mighty Gooners.
    In that moment, with the sun shining briefly, with a whole new season in prospect, with about 85% of the Riverside crown cheering his arrival, hope was restored and I realised then, why I’d renewed my season ticket!
    As everyone else has noted, the following 93 minutes of play further enhanced the afternoon.
    And do you know? When I returned home, I’ll swear that the dozen or so Lonicera Nitida – Baggensen’s Gold shrubs that I’d planted out earier, had grown by two inches!!
    Last time I looked, Stoke wasn’t anywhere near Cardiff, so I’m really looking forward to the next one!

  16. Sorry to be a party pooper and bring all you foam handers down but one swallow etc.
    Boro were great going forward, credit where it is due, Southgate has got a good half a team there and it will hurt people.
    But at the back it was very shaky. Jones made the one save that he had too do and I hope it has done his confidence good but apart from that he was awful. He flapped at crosses and fumbled a few, his punching was weak and erratic, one to Dos Santos, one to Bent, and we were lucky not to be punished. Had Berbatov been on from the start it might have been very different.
    And Wheater, I love him to bits, but he’s not a full back. All the Spuds attacks came down that side through Bentley (not just the big fella to blame though because Ali isn’t really a mf and so wasn’t tracking back all the time).
    It was great to see Boro win and look like they could score more goals but a better team would test Jones properly and tbh he doesn’t look the part. He will cost us big time this season.
    OK you can get one with all your Brownlee style OTT celebrations now.

  17. So are all you whingers on here going to put your hands up now and admit you know nothing and that Southgate is the man?
    The gaffer has put together a side that will surprise a lot of people this season (including the habitual doom mongers).
    Tuncay was brilliant, Alves was brilliant, Digard looks a real find, Jones did what was required, we’ve still got Hoyte and Emnes plus AN Other to come in, and there was a massive crowd who enjoyed beating the pundit’s tip for fifth place. What’s not to like?

  18. Nice to have Boro and this blog back. I haven’t been on much over the summer as I can’t be doing with people calling for the manager’s head or because we have failed to sign a player the papers made up.
    Everyone at work is buzzing this morning after taking Spurs apart (poor Woody! LOL) which is a refreshing change. Even MotD was positive about us.
    Big thumbs up to MFC for the kids cheap ST because the atmosphere in the East Stand was excellent from long before kick-off. It is always better with a big crowd. We just need tokeep it going now.
    Stoke should be a decent crowd too because they will bring a few and they should be noisy. They know they are going straight back down so will be out to enjoy it while they can.
    PS It must be one of those hidden bonus tracks that only appear every so often tracks as it wasn’t there yesterday.
    **AV writes: Ah yes. Now you see it, now you don’t…

  19. Jones was not awful, he did everything required, made a great save from Jenas and his punching was nowhere near as bad as has been made out. You’d think from some of the hysterical reactions that he’s the first keeper ever to punch rather than catch.
    The problem is, as soon as he makes one mistake, there are going to be people who will jump straight on his back.
    And to those who wanted Robinson – he had a good game on Saturday, eh?

  20. Come on Boro –
    Great Game
    Great Atmosphere
    Great to see attacking football with pace and guile.
    Downing looks better every season. Alves looks the real deal. Tuncay could be one of the players of the season throughout the premier league. O’Neil can be outstanding if he believes in himself. The centre halfs look solid. Wheater is a natural born super star.
    The only problem …
    If Boro have £5.5 million to spend on Harper … may I suggest they rechannel this into buying a new goal keeper. Jones and Turnbull are great deputies and provide decent strength in depth. But they can’t be considered first choice Premier League keepers. Keeping sympathy out of it … the harsh reality is that Boro need a giant between the sticks. It will make the whole back four play 10% better and will earn us at least an extra 10 points over the course of the season.
    I don’t have any names in mind … but there must be some cracking goalkeepers around who would love to have a stab at the Premier League.

  21. Chicken runner-I think your assessment of Jones is harsh to say the least.He made a match changing save and did not make a major error.
    I found it quite amusing to watch Match of the day .I see all the people who were screaming for us to spend £3.5 million and no doubt a £40k per week contract on Robinson are keeping a low profile.Clearly responsible for Everton’s first beaten at his near post he nearly gave them a second when he came for a cross in the second half and got nowhere near it.
    You have to give Jones a fair crack of the whip.That means 8-10 games in my eyes.

  22. After my chortle about the Spurs fans a few thoughts similar to other posters.
    Wheater did a grand job filling in but I will be happier with a full back in place to give a little more going forward.
    Jones did well as did all the defence, shame about the own goal because we kept being positive up to and after the second goal. I was concerned we would drop back once Digard came on for Tuncay but we didnt.
    I saw an amazing sight at one Spurs corner, Alves and Tuncay were around the spot and it was the one in the middle of the pitch!
    Some papers and reports had Dawson or Woodie playing well. Odd really when they were nowhere near Tuncay and Alves for most of the match.
    Still, a good start but like many a bit of Boronoia creeps in. My morning paper devotes 90% of the article debating Spurs, 5% praising boro and 5% talking about what actually happened.
    I said before the match that Gate and the team had to deliver on their promises and they certainly did that. 90+ minutes of committed effort and a good performance will do far more than any fancy PR gimmics.

  23. Echo all the sentiments from everyone else.
    I got off the ferry in Hull from Rotterdam at 08:30, legged it home to Beverley, dumped my gear; found my season ticket in the huge pile of mail, jumped in the car, and headed for Teesside.
    I pondered on the way, whether it would be another typical opening day disaster.
    The strange rumours of bizarre team formations in the Nav added to my pre-match anxiousness.
    Taken aback by the long queues at the turnstiles, then led me to believe I had landed on another planet, or perhaps the ferry had sunk and I was actually dreaming all this.
    However, the performance from the lads was brilliant. Tuncay is like a man possessed. I was a tad disappointed not to see M&S get a run out, but no doubt he will be there against Yeovil next week.
    Still think we need experienced cover between the sticks.
    Any kind of result against the Scousers and we should be in for a grand start to the season.
    Come on Boro.

  24. now then…..
    great performance on saturday really enjoyed it. enjoyed it more as it won me 50 quid as part of a bet on result/accumulator combination!
    got my boro pride card be at the stoke match!
    come on boro!

  25. Had us down for a 2 v 0 win & thought Spurs would do as they did: nice passing game without any cutting edge (I expected Berba’ to be at MU).
    We played with good pace & mixed it up well: some short passing, quick on the break & attacked with purpose. First half I thought GON & Shawkey defended well but didn’t quite link with the forwards. Defence was a risk but it worked well. Taylor needs to watch some Pearce videos and intimidate his winger.. backed off a bit too often but OK. Nice to see a fuller stadium & a decent noise once our nerves were settled & the ref had given us something to shout about.
    Jones flapped once but got it right second half (caught it) & made the crucial save that enabled us to win the game, I feared the ghost of opening games past.
    Good subs at the right time, thought maybe Emnes would have got a sprint late on to test Woody’s hamstrings.
    Villa look the best bet to challenge, a duo dependent, Liverpool for 4th. If we have luck with injuries, our squad looks young & hungry, we could push up the league & have a good run in the cups.
    Good start, a tougher test v Liverpool this weekend.. hopefully Raffa will leave a few out for their crucial big league match 4 days later.

  26. Fabulous performance. Chuffed to bits! Apart from the obvious skill and pace, the best thing for me was the team spirit. If we lost the ball we fought like hell to get it back! When even Mido runs half the length of the pitch to tackle back, you know you’re on a winner!
    Absolutely great to ram the expectations of the Southern press down their throats. Even so, today’s Guardian (which should know better)had a match report of 11 paragraphs, of which 8 were devoted to Berbatov’s future and attitude, one more to Spurs as a possible Champions League challenger and just 2 – the barest of details – to Boro.
    They did admit that Spurs were outplayed and Stewy was given man of the match – but otherwise this was absolutely disgraceful, unbalanced writing. I’m writing to the editor to complain.
    Boronoia? You bet! It’s time we were given credit where it’s due! Still, as long as we go on playing and winning like we did against Spurs, we’ll have the last laugh.

  27. Bravo. The more i get upset with Southgate on his seemingly bizarre sales, he answers with that performance. Well done Gareth. At least you have the testicular fortitude to try crazy things!!! Do you like the look of Digard??? I really think we got a gem..

  28. So who gets dropped now?
    Hoyte will come in at right back, that’s a given. Wheater is a legend, in form and our most potent attacking force so it won’t be him. Poggi is the skipper so it won’t be him. And Huth is a £6m man and Gate rates him as ‘world class’ so it won’t be him.
    That means Tayls gets dropped and Poggi moves over to left back. No choice. It is easier to drop the kids than to drop big money men who might kick off.
    In the middle Digard has to come in and he will want experieince so that measn Shwaky is out and GON/DD start together.
    Liverpool will be a bigger test than Spurs (who I thought were rubbish btw) and Torres will be a real handful. I think the corporal will find things a lot more difficult, especially corners.
    PS Liked the new look Gazette pullout AV. Only downer is that there is no full Boro fixtures list like in the old sports (RIP). That is well useful.

  29. Well done on your win (you usually beat us up there) you were the best team on the day but I think it was more down to our self inflicted ineptness than any thing special you did so I don’t see why you are getting out the open top bus.
    Ramos is the tinkerman 2 and we had a lot of people out of position, a few well short and a few others who believe their own publicity but don’t contribute (JJ). Plus Manuel has decided to sell last years front line without having anything in place. Bent on his own won’t damage anyone.
    Don’t want to sound ungraceful though, you deserved it. Can we have that Wheeter geezer to go with Woodgate? We’ll muller you at our place.

  30. It was excellent on Saturday. However the old Teesside psyche of thinking that Boro are better than they actually are when they are good, and worse than they are when they are bad is yet again rearing its head.
    Boro are a nailed on middle of the table team. They will hammer some teams and will be the receiving end a few times as well. When the defeats happen watch the Southgate out, Southgate doesn’t know what he is doing, Downing is crap – sell him, brigade come out to play.
    My point is “Why do the Teesside public always over react” to the teams football results whether they be good or bad.

  31. Well first time Ive placed a note on this blog but after what i seen on saturday against Spurs and just because I always have a view on the Boro i thought id give it a try –
    Pre-season I looked at the Boro squad and although i thought it was thin I could see what southgate was trying to achieve – instead of the same old English labourers who plod around the pitch with huge passion, not a lot of skill and huge age difference against them – he has chosen to go for young hungry and technically gifted players and to be honest although impressed by the display against Spurs I wasnt surprised.
    Boro looked as if they had another gear or two and also we were very unlucky not only with disallowed goals but attempted through balls etc
    I see the futures bright, the futures red. Come on boro –
    By the way I’m not convinced by Jones and I have the feeling Turnbull will end up the number 1 keeper. Isnt Jones just Ben Roberts in disguise? lol. Bring back Stevie Pears superstar.
    **AV writes: Welcome aboard Sean.

  32. Whilst it was a good game on saturday and the team did play particularly well, I do recall all this euphoria last season after the game against Birmingham, but then went on a 10ish game run without another win.
    Lets face it THS were woeful at the back and lacking up front. I don’t think even Liverpool will be a true test as we always play well against them. The true test will be against the teams who put 10 men behind the ball and we don’t break them down, who then go onto score.
    I’m hoping GS has sorted this with a youthful energetic team and I do believe he is the right man for the job but call it (typical) Boro pessimism if you will, I`ll save my euphoria until Ive seen more evidence. There Ive said it, and I didnt even mention goalkeepers
    Damn it couldnt help myself!!!

  33. Tuncay was brilliant, but we played well against a team who gave us the opportunity to.
    I don’t want to micturate on the proverbial parade, because I am delighted at the result and the performance generally, and I have high hopes for the season ahead; but, it’s only fair to point out a couple of negative points since so many of the positives have already been expounded on.
    Wheater was pretty solid at right back, but it’s clear he finds it hard not to think like a centre back – he played some great passes up the line, but some of his crosses were from too deep a position to be dangerous, even if they had been accurate, and he often failed to push up to support Aliadiere or whoever was battling near Spurs’ corner.
    On the plus side, he was more willing to get into the box where we know he can be so dangerous. But I’d like to see a return to a dedicated right back (although if it’s Wheater again against Liverpool, I won’t be too concerned now).
    Looking at the stats, we only had the ball for 35% of the time. Of course, the only statistic that matters is in the goals column, but it does reflect the fact that we actually gave the ball away quite a lot, especially in the first half. O’Neil and Shawky were not consistently brilliant, as some posters suggest. A better side would have used that possession to punish us.
    We also missed a few very good chances. That was mostly Alves, but I’m sure he’ll only get sharper as the season goes on, so I’m not worried. Still, there were times on Saturday I feared we were stuck in that same rut we spent most of last season in, creating and spurning a glut of opportunities, only to end up losing to a single messy goal.
    Conversely, although I was anxious about Brad Jones as keeper, I thought he actually did well. I suspect that some of the uncertainty in his performance, the nervous flapping, was actually in the mind of the spectator – projection of our own nervousness more than any ineptness on his part. At least a couple of his punched clearances actually landed safely at the feet of a red shirt.
    I’m going to give him a good few games before forming an opinion, as some on here have suggested. After all, if it has only been his own nerves that have worked against him then the mantle of responsibility, the manager’s faith, and a few premiership games should be all the cure he needs. He’ll have to work on his kicking, though!
    So I’m genuinely optimistic, and I’m punting for a top half finish – but I’m not so misty-eyed as to imagine there won’t be a few kicks to the teeth before the season’s done with.

  34. re Clive’s comment on the “southern” press.
    Not sure The Guardian can be termed a “southern” newspaper – in fact it used to be called the Manchester Guardian for many years, and is still published out of Manchester as well as London.

  35. susan. we always seem to go for blood when the team plays bad. so when the team plays as good as that against a multi million pound team then why not get positive about it? last year we were a middle of the road team as our results showed. this year, i think we are more than that. time will tell……

  36. Ste Mac,
    I’m not sure why Digard ‘has to come in’ v Liverpool? Yes, he did well, but I don’t see any reason and would be very surprised if either O’Neil or Shawky are dropped.

  37. I concur with pretty much everything posted, a good result and a good performance.
    The psychological boost from winning the first game shouldn’t be under estimated.
    What impresses me more than anything is the team spirit GS seems to have forged. This is a vital ingredient if any team is to be succesful.
    I also thought Brad Jones had a decent game, although there will be tougher tests to come, I’d like to see him catch more and punch less but when the chips were down he stepped up to the plate.
    Looking ahead to Saturday, Liverpool will be a tough tough game, I can’t remeber the last time we got a point there and I don’t think we’ve won at Anfield since the 70’s.
    I’d like to see Digard playing central midfield so we have someone to chew at Gerrards ankles, as for right back, there is a strong case for leaving Wheater there and giving Hoyte a week or two to unpack his suitcase.

  38. Well i dont see that saturday’s lineup for a home game might necessarily be the right formation for a tough away fixture like Anfield.
    I could well see Wheater or Hoyte being given a little more defensive support than Aliadiere down the right for example. But to be honest i dont see Hoyte coming in for this game – expect his debut next week against Yeovil.
    Then again Boro might rest Wheater after he plays a full game for his country in midweek or certainly Shawky who has a round trip to Africa for international commitments. who else is away – Tuncay perhaps?
    Assuming none get a knock or a delayed return and all are available for saturday i could see Alves being dropped to the bench in favour of Digard coming in and O’Neill moving to the right to help the fullback and the front men being Tuncay and Aliadiere as a successful partnership last season at Old Trafford and the Emirates – particularly the latter.
    But then again Liverpool are rarely a threat from the flanks so we certainly might just think about having a go at them down both flanks like we are at home.

  39. Well done The Boro !
    Lets get behind Brad Jones ! Yes he was nervious but he delt with the pressure and can go to Anfield with his head held high.
    Lets also give special praise to the Redcar Rock, Super Slim Mido, Bad Boy Pogi & Tuncay all worthy men of the match !!
    Till next time ; KEEP THE FAITH AND KEEP COMING BACK TO GODS GARDEN (The Riverside)

  40. I’d be quite happy with that 4-2-3-1 formation at Liverpool, but I can’t see him dropping Huth for a second. Unless I’ve missed something, I don’t think Poga would be averse to playing at left-back and I don’t think Wheater at right-back would be a permanent solution.
    So, if we were to bring Digard in at Anfield, I’d expect:
    Jones
    Hoyte-Wheater-Huth-Poga
    Digard-Shawky
    GON-Tuncay-Downing
    Alves
    Having said all of that (!), I would stick with the same formation as v Spurs and just bring Hoyte in for Taylor. I’d rather we sent out a more attacking formation as we really have nothing to lose considering we have already met our points target for the first two games. Liverpool might well be a bit nervous and if we have a good go from the off it could unsettle them.

  41. Watched some of the olympics this morning and nearly fell off my perch. There was Alistair Brownlee in the mens triathalon. I must say he did well to get to China after commentating on the Spurs match. Must admit I didnt think he had lost that much weight, he will probably write a book on the Parmo diet.

  42. Si….
    If you read my post I mentioned the Euphoria AFTER the Birmingham game, and that it turned into crap after that (in a manner of speaking)

  43. I can’t really see Gareth turning into Tinkerman MkII so I wouldn’t expect too many changes for the Liverpool game.
    A lot will depend on whether Hoyte is ready to fit into right back with the result Taylor will be shunted out at left back.
    Other than that perhaps Digard will start instead of Shawky but I’m sure Boro will retain their shape and look to press Liverpool and use their pace on the break.
    I don’t think it’s a bad time to play Liverpool – Torres and Keane have yet to gel and Babel is missing along with the couple of wide men they’re promising to sign.
    So another good performance with some better finishing from Alves could well see us nicking this one and keep us in the top 6!

  44. I dont see why the team should change really. We outplayed Spurs for 70 minutes and I think we can run Liverpool close using same set up and tactics. They have very little width and everything goes through Torres so I’d be tempted to push Wheater inside slightly and induce there left back to push up cos from what Ive seen so far the guy aint worth the 7million they paid for him. This way we can get in behind when we break quickly and hopefully exploit the gaps in midfield left by Gerrard bombing on.
    Its a great game ahead. I think and if we go there with confidence then I think we can get a result of some sort. Im not geting carried away with this as its only one game but i can just sense that the level of consistancy will improve this season and a performance of quick pacing, pace and movement will see that continue.
    COME ON BORO!!!!!!!!!!!!

  45. Great result, a very good performance and although Wheater’s not a fullback Young wasn’t missed. Lots of pace in attack, we looked dangerous most times we went forward and solid in defence.
    However, let’s keep things in perspective, a BIG test at Liverpool next game, we’re still light in midfield and between the sticks continues to worry me. It was easy to get carried away on Saturday night (and why not for a change) but a relatively small squad, injuries, suspensions etc and there is a long season ahead.
    Still, GS has certainly made a great start at answering my criticism (born out of fear I have to say) and long may it continue.
    Great start to the season.

  46. The rumours of Liverpool casting glances towards the Riverside resurfacing. Oddly a good performance by Stewie may not be in our long term interests but what the hell, give it a real go.

  47. It should be a good match against Liverpool AV, I’m sure they will score [ Torres] but how many will we put away.
    Mascerano wont play as I think Argentina are in the footy final. His rolling aroung got 2 Brazilians sent off in the match the other day, apart from that his performance was realy good so I would rather face Alonso.
    Finally Barwick has departed , Hoorah!

  48. AV
    Any truth in the rumour that Victimpool are coming in for Stewy or is it just media BS?
    **AV writes: Part BS media 2+2=5ing, part pre-match psyching out by the red bin-dippers and part piling the pressure on Villa. Their bean-counters will be desperate to get the money for Barry as he runs down his contract so suggestions that Liverpool have alternatives lined up will force their hand and, as the deadline looms, the price down to what Anfield can afford.

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