WELL THERE’S a surprise. Attendences of late have been well below the declared figure. Boro have admitted that they count everyone who pays to see the game – that is they start from the season ticket base and add away fans and walk up on to it.
That is not unusual in the industry and is totally logical but has served to disguise the collapse in support this term. The evaportation was most obvious in the Cardiff game when a declared crowd of 17,232 was widely met with laughter and described on this blog as having the authority of a North Korean election result.
The true attendence for the Cardiff match was just over 14,000 – which means that the crisis of faith is now so pronounced that several thousand season card holders did not bother to turn up for the high stakes small screen showdown.
Meanwhile, here;s this week’s scientific analysis of Boro’s plight…
Nostradamus 4 Boro 0
FORGET two World Wars, Hitler and the Twin Towers… did Nostradamus really predict the rise and fall of mighty Boro as a major European power?
Could it be that the French poet-seer really foretold the arrival of Steve Gibson to guide the club from liquidation to the heights of Eindhoven?
Did the much mistranslated medieval Mystic Meg see Boro’s move to a the Riverside, the arrival of Juninho, the Carling Cup triumph at Cardiff and the spectacular UEFA Cup campaigns?
It sounds crazy. After all, not even the wildest imaginations of the most drunken and delusional ra-ra optimists could ever have conjured up such lunatic flights of fancy when we were collectively trapped in the dream crushing harsh reality of the Holgate, let alone a stand-up pre-destination pedalling populist from the 16th Century .
Yet, there is a persuasive radical new reading of the predictive powers of the centuries old Quantrains that suggest a revealing insight into the recent turbulent history of the club..
Of course, the shifting sands of the frequently mistranslated manuscripts don’t stand up well to scientific scrutiny. They are vague, open to all manner of retrospective reading to give myriad interpretations.
They are light on details of date and place but heavy on poetic, occult, astrological and apocalytptic Biblical illusion to plagues and disasters that academics have rubbished time and again .
Let’s be honest, it could all mean anything you want and unless you squint a bit, suspend disbelief and have a PhD level working knowledge of the nuances of post-Renaissence colloloquial latin it all comes down to the same heady alchemic cocktail of gullibility and wishful thinking that makes advertising work and ensures the prolific annual sales of Olde Scrofula’s Almanac.
That said, it is hard not to recognise a chilling kernel of truth in some of the 500 year old verses.
Take the quantrain that first slashed through my cloak of cynicism with a dagger of plausibility as I flicked through satellite’s documentary channel ghetto on a rare night not occupied by Nazi-porn.
“the soldier’s son will lead a led a young battalion
from the dark abyss of death and defeat
through two leagues of battle’s roar
to unite the people of the lion in glory”
That’s Bruce Rioch surely!
The boring boffin argued it foretold the Duke of Marlborough’s victory in the battle of Minden when he marched a rag-tag column of child soldiers through six miles under musket fire to defeat three crack French cavalry regiments and establish English (the lion) military power on the continent.
Nonsense. It is clearly about Rioch – son of a sergeant major – and his legendary marshalling of a group of iconic local lads who took Boro (the lion!) from the brink bankruptcy to successive promotions, rallied the crowds and established a new momentum that was to be the engine of the Riverside Revolution.
And there’s more. Take this earlier pair of quatrains:
“when gates of iron are chained in penury
the old gate fortress will fall
but the lion will rise again
by the course of steel serpent
“an alchemist of humble birth
shall transport base elements
and turn rust and ruins
into an age of gold and glory”
Now, it might be just me stretching it a bit but come on; ‘gates of iron chained’… if that is not the liquidator’s padlocks on the Warwick Street entrance in 1986 I’ll get a mackem tatttoo on my bum.
‘Old gate’ is of course the pre-workhouse fram on the site of Ayresome; the lion is clearly Boro and the steel serpent the lifeblood of the Ironopolis, the river Tees on which the new ground is built; ‘transport base elements’ … and what exactly does humble Park End raised Steve Gibson’s company do again? Spooky.
So far so tenuous. But this is where it gets uncanny.
At the time Nostradamus was writing America had just been discovered. It was barely 50 years since Columbus’s first footfall and it was still a wild and primitive continent dismissed as a factor in European politics .
The following two quatrains divide Nostradamaticians who think variously it is about the USA joining in two World Wars, Napoleon’s serial small man syndrome attempts to smash the Austro-Hungarian Empire and a Biblical End of Days Armageddon sparked by fundamentalists in the White House.
For me it is about Juninho.
“from the New World,
three times a king shall come,
stature small but giant heart,
to lead painful march on Two Towers
Then after retreat and exile,
and fruitless false dawn,
the king shall return in glory
to seal a quest for silver.”
You’re ahead of me now aren’t you? New World… three times… Little Fella, big heart… double heart-ache at Wembley’s Twin Towers… return in glory to lift the League Cup? How much evidence do you want?
And talking of the League Cup….
“When the waking lion roars
in the land of the dragon,
the roof of the dome
will rip asunder in exultation.”
The experts, mainly deranged swivel eyed conspiracists and people who have book collections with an unhealthy emphasis on positive views on witchcraft and graphic historics of medieval torture techniques, insist this predicts a new crusade led by English troops to destroy the Dome of the Rock in Jerusalem and unleash the second coming.
What do they know? It’s about Boro winning the Carling Cup in Cardiff – ‘the land of the dragon’ – when they closed the roof and we blew it off on the whistle.
Look at the very next verse:
“stone jowls will quiver
in false mitigation
as the Dutch privateer twice
inflicts a sore penalty.”
What’s that got to do with an armed incursion into the Holy Land? Nothing! The so-called ‘experts’ can’t explain it or how it relates to the previous verse. They are plucking things out of the air. They waffle on about Netherlands based or flagged pirates and Mount Rushmore as a simile for Uncle Sam. Poppycock!
It is obvously about Fat Sam Allardyce spitting his dummy in over Bolo Zenden’s ‘two bootiful’ spot-kick.
And what about Boro’s UEFA Cup run? If Nostradamus can bother himself to tune in the crystal ball and act as a pre-emptive pools panel over a provincial club’s big day out in Wales surely he must have set his mystic Sky Plus for a series link?
Well, take a look at this, often seen as aluding obliquely to the Papal bloc uniting against protestant England in the Dutch wars of succession:
“Four Spanish banners will fly
over the lion’s corpse
when Rome takes revenge
in a Low Country field”.
Sevilla 4 Boro 0 in Eindhoven. Say no more.
**Next week: Maccarone, McClaren and the Mayan 2012 Prophesies.
Feel free to “research” some telling quantrains of your own. Maybe you know a verse predicting Boro’s purchase of Alves, or the arrival of a flame haired Caledonian warrior?
Or maybe you want to dish out a few Christmas presents to Boro players? Or each other? Anything but talk about the football.