IT WAS Boro’s Year Zero: a year in which the trappings of the discredited Arsenal-lite Southgate old order was reduced to rubble with an ideological zeal to be replaced with a new Strachanovite work ethic.
Adherents of the old way were sent packing and fully paid up missionaries who understood and believed were imported. As Adam Johnson and Brad Jones were sold the ÃÂ£10m was recycled in building a team in Strachan’s image. And he old methodology – attacking with pace away from home – was junked in favour of a uniform, pedestrian hard-to-beat grind that would wear down our souls and opposition defences. It would not neccessarily be pretty we were told… but it would bring results.
Continue reading Year Zero: The Great Strachanovite Folly
BIRTHDAY boy Leroy Lita celebrated in style with a welcome double blast – but boss Tony Mowbray gift wrapped the rousing result and played Santa for the long suffering Boro fans.
“It was a nice little Christmas present for them,” said the relieved gaffer after the precious win at Preston, played out to yet another relentless percusiive backdrop of red and white noise from the 1,000 plus travelling Teesside army. “I hope they go home delighted because they have deserved it.
“They have been magnificent everywhere on the road since I came here, at Doncaster, at Scunthorpe and here at Preston: non-stop fantastic support for their team. They deserve far better than the results we have given them.
“And I hope this is just the start for us and that from here we can push on and start to find a bit of consistency and belief and start to give them a bit more to celebrate.”
Continue reading Preston Panned: Boro’s Gift To Fans
AH YES, Christmas, a time when we sad few cyber diehards should be doing more glamourous, exciting seasonal things full of glitter but instead mooch over keyboards like the dozen unpicked coffee and strawberry creams in the bottom of a tin of Roses.
A time of anticipation, of optimism, of indulgence, of man flu, frustraingly postponed matches and of course, cheap cash-in celebrity editions and repeats on the telly. Well I can’t give you a blog written by Bernie Slaven, Mark Benton, Journey South or Frankie Bam Bam – but I can give you some repeats. Oh yes.
Here’s a few flashbacks from a year in cyber space. I’ve left the watershed moments and big political developments for the review of the year. It should cynically fill the gap until we all meet again wearing Christmas Jumpers for the Preston game….
How Boro’s Season Caught The Sniffles
So This Is Bromance?
Boro: Core Values And Identity
And Some Sentimental Old Black And White Big Song And Dance Number
WE’RE back. After five frustrating days of snood-wearing cyber silence and bleak isolation, I think we are working again. Just after I had knocked up a cunning ad hoc samizdat system to by-pass the posting problem too. Ah well. Don’t touch that dial!
So what have we missed:
Doncaster… last gasp sickener. Can’t score, won’t score. Another karmic unlucky break or tactical naivety?
Avoiding the kiss of death of being in the bottom three at Christmas thanks to the whiteout of two of our relegation rivals’ game. But *gulp* a big gap has opened above us now and two of the three below have games in hand.
Surival stats swinging against us… 53 points are needed to ensure safety, that means Boro need 32 – that’s 11 wins – from the last 24 games. That demands an immediate upturn or we are looking at the chop.
I’ve started a daily #onthisboroday factoid on Twitter.
1993 – lowest ever attendence for a Boro senior match at Ayresome Park – 1633 v Brescia, Anglo-Italian Cup. We lost 1-0
1984: enduring boo boy hate figure Peter Beagrie makes his first start for Boro v Grimsby, a 3-1 away defeat in Div 2
Dec 21 1996: Club make ill-fated decision not to play the day’s game at Blackburn as man flu pandemic rules 23 out of action
You could read more rubbish like this every day – and be notified first of renewed Apache attacks – if you “follow” – me @untypicalboro
CHRISTMAS starts here…
And in the past ten years, of 30 team relegated from the Championship, 18 – almost two thirds – have been mired in the bottom three at Christmas (more gloomy number-crunching on this subject in Monday’s Gazette). We are just above the dotted lines on goal difference and looking for a lot of results to go our way this weekend.
Continue reading A Cruel Christmas Looms For Shotshy Boro
I’VE JUST been flicking through last season’s Official Gazette Towers Bumper Book of Boro Fun (match reports, news cuttings, transfer linkage, joke of the day, crudely drawn cartoons, letters of complaint, gossip not fit for public consumption but which may one day all come out via Wikileaks etc)…
Boro had just lost 1-0 in a small screen shocker at home to promotion chasing Cardiff on December 13th (17,232… well down, but it was on telly). A win would have put us back within two points of the play-off places. The defeat left the season floundering and question marks piling up. Here’s the team:
Continue reading Rewind: One Year Ago… Year Zero
TONY Mowbray served up a smart board tactical masterclass as battling Boro put in a solid 90 minute shift to beat Cardiff.
It was a spirited and steely display by a well organised, highly motivated and determined outfit and every player deserves to enjoy the plaudits. It was a rot-stopping win that lifted Boro out of the drop zone and sent the crowd home with a spring in their step.
But the boss deserves his share of the applause too.
Continue reading Mogga’s Smart Board Tactical Masterclass
I WAS going to write something today about the painful prospect of playing our unwitting dream-wrecking Nemesis Cardiff; about how the FA Cup quarter-final car-crash was a watershed moment, a couple of dozen nails in the coffin of the Riverside Revolution and maybe even the fateful moment when our hearts collectively felt the entire project lurch backwards towards the slippery slope. A lot of people point to the embarrassing spirit shrinking small screen spanking as the moment when it all started to go horribly wrong.
But I’ve been beaten to the punch on that by two excellent Boro blogs. Andrew Glover’s excellent Ayresome Gates site has deconstructed the emotional contradictions of the word “Cardiff” from the highs of the Millenium Stadium to the lows of the FA Cup drubbing while Stateside stalwart Stewart Flaharty looks at The Ghosts of Failures Past on the Bleacher Report blog. You should add both sites to your bookmarks.
For my contribution and to help contextualise those two perceptive articles here’s one I made earlier. To add to our contemporary analysis, hindsight and growing sense of horror here’s some colour from the time that shows how high we all believed the stakes were before the game and how deep the damage was felt in the aftermath.
First a jittery and emotional live blog/match report from the game itself and then, second, a sullen sift through the wreckage a few days later. Relive the horror.
TONY Mowbray insisted after an agonisingly narrow defeat at Coventy that Boro had controlled the game. The team worked hard, dominated in terms of territory and possession and had the best of the chances. It was the best Boro had played since he took over, he said.
And the match statistics support that claim. Boro edged possession 51-49% had far more shots than Coventry, 17 to 11 with nine on target including a penalty – yet somehow they ended up losing 1-0 to a limited, unenterprising side.
Something doesn’t add up.
Continue reading Numbers Don’t Add Up For Boro
IT WAS as predictable as a soap plot: struggling Boro missed their golden chance from the spot – with the barely believeable twist of a rebound from the first effort being blasted back for a second shot and pushed dramatically onto the bar.
Then the casting central tabloid bad boy and jail-bird, written out of the last series after off screen scandals, ruthlessly slammed home Coventry’s penalty to leave our ailing heroes facing a tense cliff hanger as the relegation trapdoor starts to creak below them.
Dead Enders? Relegation Street? I’m getting bored of the same old storyline.
Continue reading Spot-kick Slip In Sorry Soap Scene