IF LETTERGATE was this season’s Season Ticket Chucking moment that channelled the anger and frustrations of the crowd into a noisy defiant unity, then bubbling Boro’s 2-0 win over big boys Liverpool will be seen as the equivalent of the 3-0 defeat of champions elect Chelsea in the next game that launched the Riverside revival.
It can be the result – and the performance – that turns the tide after a long barren spell. Liverpool were unbeaten in 15 league games and had seen off Real Madrid away in midweek. Gareth Southgate’s shot-shy side had gone 14 without a Premiership win and had scored one goal in nine games. No wonder there was a buzz of confidence around the ground. This one had ‘typical Boro’ written all over it.
Continue reading Scouse Show Can Turn Tide
I TAKE it all back. Far from being “bungling Boro’s own goal shut up lettergate cock-up” it turns out the Block 53 gagging order was actually a cunning PR masterstroke!
In a classic example of applied reverse psychology the Riverside spin machine have used the default defiance of Teessiders to kick-start the season. By instructing bloody-minded supporters to sit down, shut up and stop banging the plastic sheeting the club engineered the best atmosphere in years and helped galvanise the slumbering crowd.
If Boro now spark a great escape the terrace folklore in years to come will record the letter and the ‘singing ban’ as this season’s Red Book Chucking, a watershed moment that jump-started a flagging season, united the fans and ignited the passion.
Continue reading Hammering Out A Defiant Beat
COME ON, own up. Who has been sending Gareth e-mails?
Maybe it is someone who wants to borrow his Golden Goals greatest hits compilation to refresh their memory of that rarest of beasts.
Continue reading Golden Goals Clip Cut Short
WHEN Lee Cattermole crunched into Didier Digard to show he was top of the crops it was a pivotal moment in a crucial game.
The bone-juddering tackle that led to the influential Frenchman being stretchered off was robust, full-blooded and fiercely committed and was just this side of the law. It was an old school challenge that showed passion, steel and a ruthless will to win: qualities that soft-centred Boro could do with right now – and that they were displayed by a local lad so recently wearing a red shirt just served to underline that painful fact.
Continue reading Boro Need Catts’ Bite
BORO will need to put the bite on Catts if they are to beat Wigan. The midfield terrier will be fired up to prove a point and put one over his former team mates in what is sure to be a high-stakes and tense Riverside rumble in which he will be in the spotlight.
Many returning players get routinely booed. Some of them face real vitriol for presumed slights against the club and even those that have not bad-mouthed the town or the team or left a sour taste with a money wrangle can get a rough ride.
But Lee Cattermole should escape that particular fate. So long as he does not score and kiss the badge, crock Stewie or flick the Vs at the North Stand he should get a generous reception as a spirited Teesside lad who never gave less than 100% while wearing a red shirt.
Continue reading Put The Bite On Catts
WHEREVER the faithful gather to talk Boro, no matter how normally upbeat the individuals, the group as a whole will soon be shrouded in a soul-sapping cloud of bleak pessimism.
It can’t be helped. Teessiders are genetically pre-disposed to a bit of a chunter anyway so after 13 league games without a win have dumped the team in the basement, even the most foam-fingered zealots are fumbling their glasses – now half-empty – in despair and moaning for England. Times are hard, the table looks ominous and the trapdoor is creaking so Boro fans are currently enduring a bout of psychic self-flagellation.
Continue reading Trapdoors Of Perception
ONLY the obligatory late leaked goal from a set-piece spoiled the day as Boro drew 1-1 at West Ham. The subconscious retreat in the face of a late Hammers assault was a frustrating finale after Boro had continued to gradually inch back to being a decent side.
Continue reading Hammers Blow – But Signs of Improvement
SAME old story: Boro created enough chances to win at Eastlands – Alves could or should have had about seven hat-tricks this season – but once again failed to take them as a keeper pulled off a wonder display and then were cruelly punished.
If you are that way inclined you can take positives: Boro played two up front, the return of Digard, a lively display by Adam Johnston and a rock solid performance by Boro’s Berlin Wall, Robert Huth, plenty of attacking intent…
Whatever the positives though it was another defeat, the long winless streak is now 13 bleak games, a sorry sequence equalling a record mark set back in 1995-96 when Robbo’s first season in the top flight collapsed after Christmas. It is now one goal in eight league games. Some teams above us picked up points and are inching steadily away. And there is no one game less for us to dig ourselves out of the mire.
WELL that was dull wasn’t it? Normally I am sat up buzzing with anticipation until well after the midnight transfer deadline monitoring movement at Teesside Airport and Hurworth with Sky Sports blaring, five windows open on the laptop and scanners illegally listening to the Rockcliffe switchboard. Last night I watched Masterchef and Who Do You Think You Are?
Continue reading Time To Look Beyond Window Pain