Coupon Consensus On Cul-de-Sac

THERE’S not much that the fractious Riverside crowd is united on in these turbulant times so it is nice to see a huge groundswell of daft quid fixed odds coupon consensus on Sean St Ledger tonight.
The “typical Boro” fatalistic streak enmeshed in our DNA has surfaced with a Teesside wide conviction that Boro’s former £100,000 a game aborted loan cul-de-sac will score.

St Ledger has carried the can for a lot of what went wrong this season and there is no question that his fledgling partnership with David Wheater was deeply flawed with neither taking the senior leadership role and the Preston man’s maverick wannabe Beckenbauer surges forward leaving gaps to be exploited and attempts to deftly control in the box when a hoof was perhaps the better option.
But taking him out of the equation hasn’t radically transformed results or form. It hasn’t lead to a laundry load of clean sheet or cut out the late lapses under pressure and the instutional failure to defend from set plays.
And whatever you think about the clever, clever deadline busting nature of the costly loan-with-a-view deal to bring him here and the subsequent bizarre but timely engineered collapse that suited all parties, none of that was his doing. While he was here he was enthusiastic, said some nice things and tried his best and his exit allowed Gordon Strachan to start his reshuffle and bring in Mcmanus.
Some people may boo him although most of those inclined towards spleen venting will probably keep their powder dry for when Brad Jones makes a mistake. We’ve had worse loanees. More likely St Ledger will be greeted with a shrug of apathy …. unless he scores in which case we will all be quids in and waving our betting slips at him.
Those who like a flutter can get a generous 33-1 on-line for first goal scorer with BetFred and Paddy Power, who clearly don’t know our history on these kind of things, whil emost of the other big bookies have him at 25-1. Ladbrokes rate him at 20-1 so if you want until you get to the kiosks in the ground you may lose out. You can get each way odds to score at any time. Unfortunately own goals don’t count.
It is do-or-die for Boro’s ghostly shimmer of play-off possibilities. Anything less than victory will surely spark a grand foam fingered bonfire of broken dreams as even the optimists accept the season has gone up in smoke.
That doesn’t mean we don’t want to finish the season showing a bit of fight, although preferably not of the variety that leaves players in hospital getting their jaws wired up. There is still plenty to play for, although most of it now involves shifting season tickets, shoring up collapsing supporter morale and preparing for next term.
Even the boss, who is now clearly focussed on building for next season, says “looking at the league table it will require a lot of hard work now” although he does points to it still being mathematically possible, as if our promotion hopes were as illusory and abstract sci-fi concepts as cold fusion or intergalactic travel rather than something we had in our own hands a fortnight ago.
We have Mick Mcmanus back from plague. Pogi will be all the better for having been run into the ground before he was ready. And the form is in our favour. Boro may have only one win in seven but they are unbeaten at the Riverside in eight league games while Preston haven’t won in five away and their only point came at Plymouth. They haven’t won on Teesside since 1971…. it all sounds quiet ominous doesn’t it?
And it doesn’t just come down to our results anymore. There are some big matches in a busy midweek programme even if we do come back from the first half St Ledger hat-trick… Blackpool v Swansea, Bristol v Barnsley and Doncaster v Fight Club (remember, Jaw jaw is better than war war lads) tonight and then Leicester v Reading, West Brom v Coventry and the double-edged sword of Cardiff v Sheffield United tomorrow.
You can check your levels of punditry/wishful thinking/mental instability here on the BBC Championship predictor. Best do it now though while there is a teasing glimmer of hope to wrestle with. Tomorrow it may be a case of ‘let’s see what you could have won.” I have Boro finishing eighth on 67 points. And I may have been generous.
Here’s the the live match blog button for the benefit of those who have opted to sit this one out for reasons of logistics, logic, cost or quality control and sit at home with a couple of cans and swap memories, recipes, cross-stitch patterns and cynical quips about Brad Jones on-line instead. It’s alright for you lot, I’ve got to go.


20 thoughts on “Coupon Consensus On Cul-de-Sac

  1. Hasn’t it been do-or-die for the last month or so!
    I refuse to look at the league table anymore, I’m just going along to enjoy the match, hope we win, and give Brad Jones a big non-ironic cheer before kick off.

  2. All this talk of Sean St Ledger, Hat-tricks and loan signings has got me wondering. Who is the top scorer to have played for the Boro this season? Rules are simple, if you have played for the Boro this season then you are on the list, however you may not have scored for the boro.
    Adam Johnson 13 Goals including 12 for Boro
    S MacDonald 15 Goals including 1 for Boro
    Dave Kitson 7 Goals including 2 for Boro
    Barry Robson 7 Goals including 5 for boro
    Leroy Lita 7 goals (leading scorer with goals scored for Boro and still at the club)
    Tuncay 5 Goals including 2 for Boro
    Sean St Ledger 4 goals including 2 for Boro
    Lee Miller 4 Goals 0 for Boro
    C Killen 4 Goals including 2 for Boro
    Robert Huth 3 goals 0 for Boro
    So from this list of players 69 goals scored of which 33 scored for Boro. I have no idea what I set out to achieve by looking into this. Could you deduce that is easier to score goals in the SPL rather than the Chimpship? Although My Barry’s goal return would seem to buck that trend.
    Do players find it easier to score for other clubs rather than the Boro? Are we cursed? How do you lift the curse? Do we need to change the club colours to red and white stripes (shudder)? If only Rob Hulse had signed he has an impressive 11 Goals.

  3. Well, Boro are at 9-1 to make the play off places, so according to the bookies he’s nearly 3 times less likely to score first tonight than us make the play offs – and we all know what the general feeling is about that happening.
    Funnily enough we’re only at 20-1 to be promoted, so still more likely than him as 1st goalscorer.
    Projecting that forwards with massively flawed Typical Boro logic then obviously if he does score first this evening then we’re bound to be in the Premier League next year – come on Sean!

  4. I hate it just hate it when I read stats like Boro unbeaten at home in seven, Preston haven’t won on Teesside since Boudica was on the throne!
    What odds on a Preston win, St. Leger to score the first double?

  5. Oh yes football and statistics. You cant seperate them, well not for 92% of all data at least.
    Are we the unluckiest club when it comes to former players doing us in? I always hope we can have it work for us, but we dont play in League1 or the SPL do we!
    We seem to be clinging on to the playoffs mathematically like we were clinging on to survival last season, so we may just miss out tantalisingly close as everyone else holds the carrott just a little too far to grasp.
    But does anyone seriously want us to go up? I am not on about the club, but us fans, I would rather see a sustained re-building go on, root and branch, I admit my fave season of recent times has been the Merson season, but that was a different time and club. If we do the right things in the summer we may have a season like that and return to the top flight better prepared.
    The chance of the PL imploding and coming over all realistic seems to be just a dream after the just announced worldwide TV deal, the PL is just getting richer and the size of the future parachute payments may make a slightly bigger financial push towards the PL a risk worth taking, however if we dont want to compete financially then we need GS to do a Big Sam ala Bolton and get us up with a team, not just a squad of stars bought in someone elses fire sale.
    I do feel that this maybe is what GS will turn us all round with, certainly the team of battlers he seems to be assembling may at least give us a team to get behind without thinking we are just paying for some big time charlies greed!

  6. Its actually a lot less painful going to the games when as an individual you have accepted that in this instance there is nothing for either side to play for.
    Preston do feature in some quite high scoring games so I’m hoping for a reasonable evenings entertainment.No more no less.

  7. Tonight will see the long awaited upturn in the Boro’s fortunes.
    I confidently predict that we will win 7 of our last 8 games and scrape into the playoffs at the expense of Cardiff who are nailed on to be deducted 10 points.
    Then with the money coming in from the Premier League, I fully expect Steve Gibson to spend about £15 to £25 million pounds in the summer depending on whether or not we win the play offs. (I think we will!)
    However if the unexpected happens and we should fail to go up and Steve decides to spend only £15 million or so, that should see us comfotably win the Championship next season, possibly with a record number of points.
    With the class players we already have on the books, the class players we can expect to see brought in and the outstanding young talent we have coming through (Franks and Bennett will be in the full England squad next season), I reiterate, promotion is ASSURED next season that is IF we dont manage to achieve it this time around.
    Happy days are just around the corner.
    Up the Boro.
    **AV writes: That’s the spirits.

  8. Sorry about that everyone. Barry knows he is banned from using computers.
    Come on Barry, back to your room.
    No Barry, stop chewing the radiators.

  9. Are we the unluckiest club, as uxter says? Quite obviously yes! Not only do we get beat by teams that haven’t won for a while we some times concede goals scored by players who haven’t scored for a while, been pronounced clinically dead or used to play for us. In some cases all three at once.
    I remember Ravanelli scoring for Derby at the Riverside.
    But when has the worm turned? Well last year we went on a winless run of 12,13 or 14 games. I forget the exact figure but we seemed to do it every other year or so. But we beat Liverpool; look what has happened to them since.
    Lethal Leroy scored one, maybe two on his return to Reading. Look what has happened to him since.
    Arsenal in the ‘unbeatable’ season in fact got beat home and away by a domestic team. Look what they have won since.
    Plymouth hadn’t kept a clean sheet or won away from home until they played us in November. Of Course they won, but where are they now?
    So slight is my appetite for the truth, I haven’t really researched this but I think Alfonso ‘I rattle them in, in training all day’ Alves has been farmed out on loan from his Qatari parent club.
    I really think we are the unluckiest club ever. Even when we win our Jonahesque albatross ability gets rubbed off on the poor suckers that we beat.
    3-0 tonight, but to whom

    p.s. Barry Tayllor i’m with you all the way

  10. I’ve just done the BBC predictor and single handed-ly (or should that be foam handed-ly) I got us to the last day of the season with the following top 7 …
    1. 89 WBA
    2. 87 NUFC
    3. 86 Forest
    4. 76 Leics
    5. 73 Cardfiff
    6. 70 Swansea
    7. 67 Boro
    So, last day ….Doncaster odds on to beat Swansea at home, Boro a shoe in to win at Leicester (who will have nothing particular to play for) to pip Swansea for 6th place, Forest to win at Scunthorpe and NUFC to drop 2 points away at QPR.
    Boro then to beat Newcastle in the playoffs and win promotion by beating Cardiff in the final (just to lay a few ghosts to rest).
    Now wouldn’t that be something.

  11. Barry Tayllor – Blimey, we should nominate you for the pre-match motivational team talk. You’re not Clive woodward in disguise are you?
    And I thought I was an optimist, you make me look like a ‘bed wetter’!!

  12. Whatever Barry Taylor is taking that makes him so confident in the Boro’s abilities, needs to be provided to the crowd free of charge by the club this evening!!!
    If we all go in to the stadium feeling like he does – we can’t lose!!!!

  13. No matter how much I try I cant make Barry Taylor an anagram of Ali Brownlee.
    I am ready for Mosso MacCloud Files to put in a man of the match performance and put clear ditch water between us and Preston.
    Sean to be more like Redcar beach than St Ledger.
    MacDonald to be more like Ronaldo than Ronald.
    Jones to be more like Indiana than Corporal.
    Barry to be more like Bryan than Dame Flora.
    Gordon to be more Strachan than Striken.
    Stuff knows about Anlov!

  14. Powmill…
    I have just done the BBC Predictor too…
    How come I have The Barcodes champions on 93 points and the Boro trailing in at 15th with 57? Maybe it’s because I have taken form into consideration and have resisted the temptation to “star gaze!”… and here’s me thinking that 7 points from 8 games was being a tad kind on the Smogs…. but 20 points from 8 games? now that IS being grossly optimistic, especially when you consider it’s taken the last NINETEEN games to accumulate a measly 21.
    Que sera sera ….

  15. Great result.
    Crup performance.
    Clean sheet.
    Local lad scores, Anlov rejoices.
    Chimpship status assured.
    Brad jones outstanding
    A good nights work
    We are staying up, we are staying up!!

  16. Neil – wily ol’ raccoon: “So that’s 5 wins and 4 draws and not one loss to commiserate at the Riverside since Boxing Day. I would say that’s pretty good progress, don’t you folks think? And it’s probably safe to say that we’ve finally been able to exorcise our Riverside curse orchestrated by that old chestnut, Southgate (sorry Anlov).
    But that’s been at the expense of our away form which has significantly dipped of late and where we’ve really shot ourselves in the foot.”
    It’s also at the expense of dropping down a division, Neil!!
    That’s a pretty huge price to have paid and clearly one which many erstwhile supporters aren’t happy about!
    Unless Premier League football is restored to the Riverside, the crowds won’t come back. Of course, many diehard fans won’t really bother too much about that, I imagine. They’d turn out to watch Boro in any league and they’ll probably even be glad to see the back of those contemptible creatures who expect more for their money than the dreadful Championship fare we’re being asked to spend to endure, by the present owner.
    By the way, I’d endorse AV’s advice about choice of browser. IE gave me trouble with the Gazette website and switching to Firefox fixed it. However, I’ve since migrated to Mac from PCs and now use Mac OS Safari, which seems fine as well. I believe there’s a free downloadable version of Safari that runs on PCs if you wanted to try that, but Firefox was stable versatile and easy to use.
    The only issue I had was that it updated very frequently and checked for updates each time the machine switched on. On ageing PCs or laptops, this can slow the machine down and it can become tedious.

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