Talking Boro…

SOME things we have rambled about so far today over a cuppa while we have chuntered about the coitus interruptus of the international break and anxiously wait for real life to resume…


Last time Sven was here we battered his side 8-1 although to be fair they were on strike… their fans were brilliant that day, especially the ones dressed as giant bananas who got involved in hand-to-hand Fyffing… will Yakubu get the warm reception Tony McMahon has called for? Will he be booed? He should be retro-jeered for his last game at Wigan and his undignified engineered exit… no wonder he was chinned in the changies… malaria! pah!… and exactly how old is he anyway? Is he still claiming 28? He was at least that when he left here. He was in the same Nigeria Under-23 side as Kanu wasn’t he? He played against Roger Milla….
Eric Cantona (on telly last night in Waiting For Eric) only left Leeds for Manchester United because they had a collar that he could pout moodily in… selling Cantona was the making of the current Man Utd evil empire and saved Fergie from getting sacked but it finished Wilkinson because he had flogged off the hero and the magic, it was like Boro selling Juninho to Sunderland for £500k… to be fair he was a busted flush at Leeds anyway because he never recovered from the trauma of being tucked away neatly in Jimmy Phillip’s pocket as mighty Boro demolished the “champions of Europe” 4-1 at Ayresome… “the Tommy Wright match” was the most one sided systematic demolition of reigning title holders EVER and it shattered that side’s morale completely…
That season had started for Leeds with a Charity Shield win over Liverpool which featured Gordon Strachan scoring one of the most comical own goals ever… while wearing an equally comical haircut (here, 8 minutes in). What would he have said to one of his defenders who did that? Imagine how completely he would have trashed Joe Bennett, a player he was ready to flog for £100k to Rochdale or somewhere, jeez…
Would Stewy Downing be booed if he came back? Of course he would… and by the same people who used to say he wasn’t good enough when he was here… and talking of two faced, we have been slated on the Gazette forums for carrying a story about former player Stewy Downing being MoM for England while simultaneously being slagged for not making a big enough deal over a lad who left Teesside when he was two months old…
Charlie Wyke scored again in the ressies and will probably get a run out before the end of the season… is he the new Danny Graham? Or is he the new Ian Arnold/Andy Fletcher/Charlie Agiadis, goal machines in the stiffs destined never to make it in the first team?… Time will tell.
Bernie is chuffed to bits to have fulfilled his boyhood dream and scored for Celtic (today’s column) – let’s be honest, he was always going to score in that game… he’d have macheted the referee and bludgeoned poor ailing Ronnie Coyle and his own grannie aside to score in that one… I’ve played with him in five-a-side and even in a kick-about he is a petulant, ball greedy whinger… although he did score 21!… between us the sports desk have played with or against Proc, Laurie Pearson, Higgy, Bernie, Hendrie, Gilly, Mitch Cook and Steve McClaren… who was “crap”…
Bernie divides opinion on Teesside between those whose glass is half full and those who don’t even had a glass because it was chipped… it was a rubbish glass anyway and we had to sell it off and replace it with a cheaper paper cup and that got ripped and now we haven’t even got that and can’t even afford to look at a drink… the club should show ambition and buy a new glass. Six new glasses and a set of coasters.
It’s been a good days work so far.

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47 thoughts on “Talking Boro…

  1. At some point this season this could well have been our starting XI
    1 Ripley, Played at Reading
    2 Hoyte, last seen at Burton?
    3 Robson, Played LB at QPR
    4 Haas, came on against Scunny??
    5 Grounds
    6 Tavares
    7 Smallwood
    8 Park
    9 Boyd
    10 Miller, came on at the Devils Home
    11 Halliday
    Where would that lot have finished?
    Conversely we could have fielded, give or take:
    1 Smith
    2 McMahon
    3 Bennett
    4 Bates
    5 Wheater
    6 Thomson
    7 R Williams
    8 Arca
    9 Emnes
    10 McDonald
    11 Lita
    Where would they finish?
    And looking to next year we might start with. Quite possibly five of these players won’t be here:
    1 Smith
    2 McMahon
    3 Bennett
    4 Bates
    5 McManus
    6 Zemmama
    7 Thomson
    8 Robson
    9 Emnes
    10 Lita
    11 McDonald
    After all the chopping and changing of the last few years, it is impossible to look at next season after another summer of upheaval in a positive way. We just don’t know who will be here. Looking forward to the season ticket renewal guff.
    AV any news on young Williams ankle injury. Is he in line for a starting role next year?
    **AV writes: he is back after a spell at Lilleshall doing rehab work but he won’t play again this season. I think he will be on the fringes of the squand next year. He is still only just 17.

  2. Downing should never be booed on his return – if a return is ever likely to happen. Maybe in one of the cups?!
    I am proud of Downing’s performances and he is still a Boro player in my heart. He’s also a much better player than lots of people give him credit for.
    Even the club played his exit perfectly, not allowing him to move in January but staying ’til the end of the season.
    The cynical comments can be left to the cynics. These are probably the same people who booed Bryan Robson after his last game as manager against West Ham. I’m delighted to say I was on holiday so didn’t attend that day which left me embarrassed and ashamed to be a Boro supporter.

  3. Despite Macca’s pleas I doubt many of us will remember the Yaks goals. I personally cannot forget (or forgive) that shameful night at Wigan!
    That said, apparently the Yak hasn’t scored in six games, you can see whats going to happen on Saturday then with Typical Boro.
    Could be that the Bookies go home skint yet again from the Riverside!

  4. Incredible that Tony McMahon made his debut BEFORE Yakubu was even signed AV. Did he get the teachers permission to play?
    As for Yakubu – boo every touch. His behavior was disgraceful.
    And if they get a penna, I hope someone tells Smith to stay still and throw his cap on it. I hated the way he took them. It was always heart in mouth.
    **AV writes: Didn’t he score 10 out of 12 – and one of the ones he missed (against Everton) he scored a second later in the game.

  5. Nice one AV. Love the bit about the glass! I actually laughed out loud, not a facebook lol! I don’t know about buying six new glasses, i’m still worrying about paying the peppercorn rent on the stadium.
    That cantona film is really good. I could see Mogga doing that line. “I’m not a man, I am Mowbray”.
    And can you do a “where are they now” on the fella in the russia shirt off that ZDS clip? Even Roger Tames didnt know what to say!

  6. Didn’t he miss two in the same game? Bristol City in the cup.. One in normal (?) or extra time and one in the PK’s.
    **AV writes: Maybe. We don’t record goals in shoot-outs in the official Big Book.

  7. I watched that 8-1 rout of City earlier today. I’d forgotten how good Downing’s volley was and also Rochembach’s unbelievable 35yd freekick.
    That was a happy day.

  8. Bernie always off side but a top striker, he’d be in my Boro squad from the last 20 years.
    Smog – Rhys Williams will be here next season, no one will buy him while he’s still recovering from his pelvic problem, which is fortunate for us because he’s a class act.
    AV – You and the boys been down the pub before you wrote this? Is it still called the Star and Garter?
    **AV writes: No, just going stir crazy after two weeks without a game.

  9. Len, I couldn’t agree with you more. There’s a quote from the book “the Damned United” in which they say:
    “Clough, instead of scoring 25 goals and the rest of the team 10, try scoring 20 and ensuring the rest of the team scores 20, that way the team are 5 goals ahead.” (or words to that effect).
    Sums up Slaven perfectly I think. Never could understand why he is so highly thought of.

  10. Go on then, I’ll bite. And go on then Len, I’d like to see this list of 30 strikers better than Bernie. You think he was a passenger? What about Viduka and Boksic who only played when they fancied it, Ravanelli who only put in half of one season (and scored all his goals at home). Alves? Mido? Maccarone? Ricketts? Gook? Davenport? Payton. All the big money big reputation buys.
    Bernie Slaven cost this club £25,000 and he scored 147 goals. You can’t argue with that. He came to a club on the verge of going bust and stayed when they did. He scored the goals that go us two promotions on the bounce back into the top division (where he scored 18 in a relegated side) and got us to Wembley for the first time (what we were only talking about a few days back) and then turned down a string of big moves to stay and get us into the first Premier League. Top scorer five years in a row. Can’t argue with that.
    And that stuff about him being a loner is nonsense – he formed partnerships with Archie Stephens, Ian Baird and Paul Wilkinson that would still blast Boro to promotion from this division now. I’d have him back in a shot.
    I know he rubs a lot of people up the wrong way with his radio character (especially Steve Gibson and Keith Lamb) and that he has painted himself into a corner with the club because he plays to the no glass doom and gloomers gallery and I’ve shouted at the radio myself a few times at stuff he has said.
    But don’t get that confused with what he did as a player. Bernie IS a legend. All that team were. The people in that team with Rioch gave the club back its pride and heart and they had a real bond with the fans. Bernie does over-do the ego think but he has a real passion for the club and an understanding of the Teesside mentality that very few of these other 30 better strikers of Len’s have.

  11. Pedant alert…
    Just like one cannot have gradations of Uniqueness (I beleive Simon Fisher Child Prodigy one popped up on this Blog), one cannot have gradations of full or empty.
    The glass could not be ‘half’ full or ‘half’ empty, as it is either empty or full, no in betweens. The glass would be said to contain half its possible fluid volume, i think………….therefore i am…………….a Boro fan

  12. Smogonthetyne now on the moon said:
    The glass would be said to contain half its possible fluid volume, i think………….therefore i am…………….a Boro fan
    And for the other equal half of Boro fans…
    The glass would be said NOT to contain half its possible fluid volume, i think………….therefore i am…………….a Boro fan

  13. “one cannot have gradations of full or empty.”
    Sorry to be a pedant but of course you can.
    Volume is not an abstract. It is capable of being measured mathematically and is quantified either in exact terms (this pint glass contains 12 fluid ounces) or in proportional terms (50% or 1/2). That means it can be 2/3 full or 73% full or whatever.
    The real philosophical question comes not over the actual measurement but over how the measurement is expressed: is a pint glass that contains half-a-pint of bitter (seems appropriate) half FULL or half EMPTY?
    That is about perspective but I believe the answer relates to a dynamic relationship. If it has previously been full, then if it now contains only half-a-pint then the total volume has been reduced and is in the process of being further reduced, therefore it is half-empty. After being overflowing at Cardiff and going to Eindhoven most people now say half-empty.
    If it has been empty and you have since been to the bar/fridge and are in the process of topping up and it is at the half-pint mark and you are in the process of pouring more in, then it is half full. After the bleak emptyness of Strachan it now seems fuller by the day.
    Bernie Slaven is tee-total so is probably not in a position to comment on this beer glass maths/philosophy question. Although that won’t stop him telling everyone in the bar that Boro can’t afford to get another pint in at all so are forced to nurse the last few dregs of a glass that is almost completely empty.

  14. Mowbray will soon welcome Kevin Thomson back following his long-term absence with a fractured fibula.
    “Kevin was going to join in today (Thursday), though he didn’t because we ended up training indoors because of the high winds, but it’s good that he’s edging closer.” said Mowbray.
    We’ll have a Premiership centre backs fit again and now Willo and Thommo will be back soon. The near future looks good. I am really looking forward to seeing Boro in April when I’ll be visiting the UK. Excellent!
    Up the Boro!

  15. I’ll give Yak a clap. He took us to a UEFA cup final, scored plenty of goals for us and made us a tidy profit. I’ll forgive him the Wigan game.

  16. Gents this is starting to look like back to school on here.
    Thank goodness we have a game tomorrow,you see we can and do miss it. Question, do our crowds pick up the first match after an international break as there is less expense in a month or does it stay the same?
    As for Bernie always a hero on the pitch for me. No matter what he says or does now will change his stats for our club.

  17. Crikey, I take a 3wk hiatus from Untypical Boro and we move on from discussions regarding Matthew Bates’ glass knees to questions of mathematics, science and philosophy.
    It’s amazing what the International break can do to your sanity.

  18. Clive Road –
    Interesting thoughts Clive, I especially enjoyed the last few lines. I too would have used the analogy of a pint glass to answer the half full/empty conundrum. It depends whether Beer was being poured in or supped out. How wrong I was.
    One summer when I was getting the upstairs toilet window etched with the Boro crest, the workman Ales Longlager or some such went into great detail about the concept of full and empty.
    I wouldn’t have minded but I was sat on the throne at the time!

  19. There are so many great theoretical questions of our time, is Robbo a right side midfielder? Or, Marvin Emnes, discuss? The one that occupies my mind most when I am at work is the old chestnut. Is the glass half empty or half full. Well my long suffering Boro fan friends, here is my answer.
    Empty means there is nothing there
we all know that half of nothing is nothing. A full glass is one glass full
half of one full glass is half So, surely half empty is incorrect (as half of nothing is nothing) and the glass is truly half full (half of a full (one) glass or half of a full
or half full).
    One thing I do know for sure is that the Yak will net tomorrow.
    Up the Boro!!
    **AV writes: Is everyone putting their Dannhy Graham winnings on it?

  20. How much do we need a game of footie!!?
    I’ve just looked in my coffee cup and its half full/half empty. But more to the point the contents are cold so I’m off to put the kettle on.
    The Yak wont score tomorrow, Boro will win 3-0.

  21. Len Masterman –
    Very difficult to rank strikers but the number of goals Bernie scored should het him into the top 25-30.
    Agree about his offsides etc but goals are goals.
    You could rank them in terms of contribution, Mills would finish high on any such list. Goals per game would change things.
    Oddly if you asked me to name who I would most want to watch if each was at his best it would be Boksicknote. I am biased because he scored several times against Derby!
    Certain goals stick in your mind, two at St James for starters however good they were. The chip at Leicester, the chip against Derby.
    His best effort never went in, my Scouse mate said everyone around him applauded when he turned Hyppia or Carragher just inside the Liverpool half and chipped the keeper who never moved. The ball drifted past the post.
    But his contributions were all too fleeting. When we bought him a Lazio fan told me he was a marvellous player but never fit. Each to his own, I am sure to get some stick but I am talking about when he was fit and playing well.

  22. The glass half empty/full conundrum seems to fit in nicely with the Bernie Slaven debate.
    All I would say is that whilst Slaven did not have the ability of Boksic or Ravenalli, he did more for the club overall. Whether he is a “legend” or not very much depends on the criteria for that accolade, which is, of course, subjective.

  23. Cost of going to a game is obviously a sore point to some but if you think about it, most fans who now maybe go to a pub/club these days rather than go to a game(pricing) usually spend a minimum £10 quid on Saturday there and maybe Friday night there too,
    So after spending their tenner what are you left with? Times that by 52 weeks, could be a cost of £520/1040 (if two nights out)
    If you buy a season ticket its half the price of that
    My point being are you a fan of the club or not. I hope you are

  24. I remember going to the first game of the Boksic season away to Coventry, we won 3-2, I think Boksic scored and Job scored twice, and it was one of the best away performances I’ve ever seen from us. Even Jason Gavin had a good game. Four months later and El Tel was in on a rescue job.

  25. Smogonthetyne now on the moon said:
    ‘The glass could not be ‘half’ full or ‘half’ empty’
    If you don’t want that half, Smog, I’ll ‘ave it.

  26. Len Masterman –
    I can’t agree that your 25 were better than Bernie Slaven.
    My criteria would be : 1. how much they contributed to Boro, especially longevity; 2. goalscoring; 3. assists for others and contribution to the team.
    Based on that (some of them, too early even for me, judged by reputation & record), I would agree that only nine out of your 25 were better than Wolfman:
    Micky Fenton, Charlie Wayman, Joe Scott, Alex McCrae, Cec McCormack, Brian Clough, Alan Peacock, John Hickton, Paul Merson.
    In my opinion, the following were on a par with Bernie: Micky Burns, Paul Wilkinson, John Hendrie, Mark Viduka.
    These 12 players would not get into my top 25 (with reasons):
    Hugh McIlmoyle: classy & gifted but slow, immobile and no goalscorer.
    John O’Rourke: little more than one season.
    David Mills: fast, teamplayer & worker but no goalpower.
    Alan Foggon: one season wonder, one trick pony, overweight boozer, past his best.
    Ian Baird: big, slow, no goals.
    Nick Barmby: not long enough, dynamite for only half a season.
    Branca: could have been a great, prematurely ended after little more than season.
    Alan Boksic: could have been a great but past his best, looking for pay day and coasted.
    J-F Hasselbaink: committed teamplayer but past his best and lacked goals.
    Ravanelli: only one season, many of his goals against lower opposition.
    Yakuba: lazy, only 2 seasons, insufficuent goals, THE WIGAN GAME.

  27. Some of those greats from the past would be too good for the Championship.
    But imagine how a Merson and/or a Hickton would have improved our side. Merson was nippy and tricky and had a habit of doing things when it counted. How many managers in that promotion season said “The difference between the teams was that Boro had Merson”?
    And how we could use a physical, muscular goalscorer like Hickton to burst the net! Lightweight up front has been our default position for some time now. If we could find a full back for £20K, and then find that for the next five years he is the club’s top scorer, and still trundles on for several years after that….even if it might be worth half a million in today’s money it would still be a bargain.

  28. Dang!!!
    Mrs Smog is away on a hen do. So no match for me today, and very unlikely to make the live blog. The sacrifices we make!
    But smog jnr ate four pieces of toast for breakfast, first one with chocolate spread, followed by three with jam, 3-1 home win.
    PS. Can someone enter into a little linesman bating in my absence. I’ve taken to calling them all Sian.

  29. Leicester are bringing the second largest away following, some 1600
    The last home game bogonthetyne missed was Boro’s 1-0 victory over cardiff
    Smog jnr is rubbish at predictions
    Leicester and Middlesbrough have not had any notable games in the past. Especially not any last game promotion deciders or cup finals

  30. NikeBoro –
    The difficulty with taking so many out of the top 25 is that the replacements would probably be no better, certainly in our memories.
    I agree Mills wasnt a great goalscorer but only seven players have scored more for Boro. Using your criteria ‘1. how much they contributed to Boro, especially longevity; 2. goalscoring; 3. assists for others and contribution to the team.’….
    378 games, 111 goals and being a teamplayer and hardworker would seem to get him into the list.
    But it all subjective, maybe we could have a bottom 25 and here are some names for starters. Caleb Folan, Dong Gook Lee, Marcus Bent, Marlon King, Billy Ashcroft, Lee Miller, Peter Davenport

  31. Grove Hill wallah quoted me: “John O’Rourke: little more than one season.” and said: ‘But what a season!!
    Yeah, completely agree. Still gives me a warm glow. Born is the King of Ayresome Park.

  32. This dabate on fullness/emptiness (so central to today’s match and football generally), has so far centred on philosophy and maths but taken no account of physics. We need to enter the world of quantum mechanics – although, as we will see, we can enter that world while, at the same time, staying outside it!
    Through his abuse of his cat, Shrodinger demonstrated Probability Theorem, which resulted in his moggie never knowing where it was. Surely, if a cat can be both inside and outside a box (who puts cats in boxes anyway?) at one and the same time, it must be feasible for a glass to be full, half full/empty and totally empty (fully empty?) simultaneously.
    Based on this, Boro will murder Leicester but they’ll win.
    Q.E.D.

  33. Ian Gill pointed out David Mills record: 378 games, 111 goals. I didn’t appreciate he’d played that many games for us and certainly didn’t realise how many goals he’d scored.
    Fair point, he deserves and upgrade. That’ll make his weekend.
    Wouldn’t argue much with your suggestions about a bottom 25.
    Not sure about Ashcroft. He was certainly clumsy and lumbering but he was there for height and power and probably did a job of sorts.
    Davenport was a good player at Forest but was ruined by his Boro experience.

  34. Ian Gill –
    Now we are talking….But Billy Ashcroft, never. Who can ever forget his performance against Villa in 81-82, super-sub extraodinaire. A goal from a prone position – potentially his favourite position? Happy days.
    Does Bobby Thompson warrant a mention or is classed as a midfielder?

  35. Right, so what did I miss??
    90 mins + 3.24, you beauty!!!!!!! Feels better than a win.

  36. David Armstrong 358 consecutive games, 59 goals, contribution to team – no manager could leave him out.
    Unrealised talent – Stan Cummins.

  37. What happened to Mosso this afternoon, Vic? Did he go on strike? Yet another computer glitch? Whatever, it compounded the agony of the international break by depriving us in the BJ virtual stand of our (more or less) regular footie fix…! 😦
    **AV writes: I don’t know. He never got out of the tunnel. Gutted.

  38. Wow. What a game. Referee dreadful, missed penalty and hit the post twice! The only thing apart from a win that would have made this better would have been the live blog working. The BJ stand is a lonely place on your own.
    RED ARMY. red army red army……. (fading echo).

  39. Triple bugger at 16.13. Missed the build up on radio Brownlee so dont know why no Robson or Bailey. Looks a bit one paced in midfield but hindsight is wonderful.

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