Monthly Archives: October 2010

Lunar Leader Left On Launchpad

NOT even a free Mogga mask can disguise the fact that Boro threw away three points because they can’t hit a barndoor with a blunderbuss. Kris “just give him chances and he will score” Boyd missed a hat-trick while Scott McDonald, Luke Williams and David Wheater also had very good chances. Boro should have been out of sight long before Bristol scored.
But still, a decent start, Boro played a high line, got the ball in the box and created some great chances in the first half – the shot count was 24-5 in our favour – so at least one of the glaring problems has been addressed. And the atmosphere was encouraging too, for the first hour at least.
So we’ve got to take the positives. As Bernie Slaven said, Mogga is not a magician, he’s no Ali Bongo. We knew the problems in the squad won’t be solved overnight. Besides, next week we are at home to a side below us in the league so we’re bound to win. Oh.
More later.

Raw Passion And Moggtopian Ideals

TONY Mowbray aims to unite the Riverside’s red hot raw terrace passion with his own firmly held higher intellectual ideals to make Middlesbrough a football utopia.
The new boss swept back into his home town club this week and struck a poignant populist chord with life-long loyalists as he summoned up the spirit of 86 and spoke powerfully of the whiff of Bovril and his schooling on the Holgate.
But he also showed he had evolved dramatically from fan to theoretician as he outlined his blueprint to deliver a style of fast-flowing, eye-pleasing passing football that can usher in a new age of success.

Continue reading Raw Passion And Moggtopian Ideals

It’s Mogga: Dugout Destiny Fulfilled

AHHHHHhhhh…. the smell of bovril wafting up the back of the Holgate! The rites of passage of the dad and lad going to the match. The sense of pride and identity and the power of the team to unite the town and Teesside. The notion of a rigourously imposed football heritage and the mandatory brainwashing of the next generation into supporting the Boro. Or else!
Tony, Tony Mowbray. Tony, Tony Mowbray. This bloke really is one of our own. We always knew that of course. There was a powerful sense of inevitability that one day our lunar leader would have his dug-out destiny fulfilled at the club he loved and that he has played such a talismanic role in securing and rejuvenating. But there were also fears: is he the right man at the wrong time? Or the wrong man at the right time? Will his mythical status be wrecked if he can’t steady a rockward racing rudderless ship?
Forget the fears. History beckons. There has never been a more pressing time at this club for hero to emerge, an inspirational leader who can galvanise a crumbling crowd and a team in freefall. Not since 1986 anyway. And he knows all about that.

Continue reading It’s Mogga: Dugout Destiny Fulfilled

Cut And Paste Script Of Awayday Woe

DEPRESSING. But very familiar. I can’t be bothered to do any in-depth analysis of how and why Boro lost at Norwich. Nine hours travelling for 90 minutes of predictable tedium.
And we all know the script by now: Boro played well in spells; good crisp possession and neat triangles in the middle third; worked hard enough but lacking the creativity, pace and penetration to get into the box; very few real chances; looked vulnerable at the back to quick breaks; disjointed leaked sloppy goal in lapse of concentration; gradually fizzled out into ragged unimaginative flapping. Go home deflated.
If you really want to twist the knife with a lengthy discourse of the weakness in the team and the dynamics and exactly how the recurring nightmare unfolded just cut and pace any random away game report over the past year.

Continue reading Cut And Paste Script Of Awayday Woe

This Time Boro Must Get The Right Man … And For The Right Reasons

THE SENTIMENTAL steamtrain of popular support behind Tony Mowbray is worrying.
Not because he isn’t a strong candidate. He is. He has experience at this level, has a clear football philosophy that is in step with the way the fans – and the chairman – expect the game to be played and he understands the Teesside psyche. He could help repair some of the damage off the pitch as much as on it. And he would be my choice out of the names I’ve heard thrown in so far.
But should you appoint a manager purely on the basis of an upsurge of popular support?

Continue reading This Time Boro Must Get The Right Man … And For The Right Reasons

Gibson: Gordon Knew We Needed Change

STEVE Gibson kept it short and sweet on Radio Tees as he drew a line under the ill-fated Strachanovite Revolution with a public declaration: “We got it wrong.”
The chairman was on air barely 20 minutes (you can listen again here) but in that time he ticked a lot of boxes. He was humble. And contrite. And dignified. A lot an angry and frustrated fans may have wanted some blood-letting and recrimination but most just wanted some honesty and a coherent explanation – and the prospect of change.

Continue reading Gibson: Gordon Knew We Needed Change

Question Time: Chairman Faces Grilling

STEVE Gibson faces a real grilling on Radio Tees tonight.
Incendiary questions about the dug-out, the team, the badly dented pre-season promotion target and the direction of the club are piling up by the day while it appears there are few answers on the pitch.
With the best will in the world long-time loyalist Ali Brownlee isn’t Jeremy Paxman but that won’t matter because the really tough interrogation will come from frustrated fans. And for the first time it may be difficult for the chairman to quell the discontent.

Continue reading Question Time: Chairman Faces Grilling

Derby Daze: Leeds – A Retro-Rivalry?

SO, IS Leeds a derby? That the question even needs to be posed is telling and speaks volumes about Teesside’s cultural confusion and identity crisis. Distance, geography and logic suggest it is not… but Boro are braced for the biggest crowd of the season and the arrival of our ever friendly cousins from the south for a powder keg clash will bring generations of historical emnity bubbling back to the surface. It sure feels like a derby….

Continue reading Derby Daze: Leeds – A Retro-Rivalry?

Losing The Battle For Hearts And Minds?

GORDON Strachan is losing the battle for the hearts and minds of Boro supporters.
Under pressure as his team struggles to overcome its “fundamental flaws,” he has scored a PR own goal with his churlish ‘take drugs and drink’ quip that – whatever the intention – has handed frustrated fans a stick to beat him with.
As if they need another one!

Continue reading Losing The Battle For Hearts And Minds?

Let’s All Hit The Bottle

WELL that felt like a defeat. Two up – although never really convincingly – and then the usual nervous, scrappy stint at the back invited pressure and two points thrown away in a sloppy finale. Now we are doing it at home.
Having wriggled off the hook by edging into a two goal lead the boss seems to have allowed himself to become impaled again.
Pompey had not taken a single point away all season yet they had the edge for long spells. Arguably the Boro goals came against the run of play. True, we created a few chances – Boyd had his best game for Boro in my book – but as a team the display was jittery and disjointed, especially after the exit of Thomson, a high risk starter who the boss had said was miles away as recently as Thursday.
We can quibble about the late penalty and the way it was conceded – I didn’t see it, no-one appears to have except the linesman, although Mokena seems to have intimiated after the game to the Pompey website reporters that yes, he had dished it out too – but equally Pompey should have had one earlier when McMahon prevented Kitson jumping by grabbing him by the throat. Another ‘karma’ moment.
Anyway, I’m taking the bosses advice tonight and will relieve the pressure with alcohol. A bit of bottle, that’s what is needed now.