Poll Axe: Unusual Voting Patterns Revealed As Fat Lass Put On Hold

THE FAT Lass is gargling and doing scales backstage. Supporters are actually enjoying and looking forward to games again. A demob happy massed Red Army is making plans to meet up for a pint of Trapdoor Dancer at the Riverside Bar in Sheffield’s Mowbray Street and the bookies have made Boro far flung 50-1 outsiders to go down.
Someone tell the Gazetteshire public.


The excellent and informative (I’m legally obliged to say that) gazettlive.co.uk asked on Monday in its ‘poll of the day’ the simple question: Are Boro safe?
Incredibly, despite Boro’s recent resilience and enterprise taking them safely into upper mid-table of the form table, a healthy ten point cushion, a game in hand and far superior goal difference plus by far the most generous fixture run-in from the bottom half, almost two thirds of the emotionally battle-scarred, habitually cautious, half-empty cynical voters slipped gloomily into the Chicken-runner default and clicked ‘no.’
At the time of writing the on-line results were: Yes, safe as houses, bring it on, chillax 35.5%; No, we’re all going to die, typical Boro, you watch,Hartlepool here we come 64.5%
Now, I’m no ra-ra. I know the limitations of the squad, understand the financial limitations and see the weaknesses quite clearly and have pointed them out here and in print more times than emough this season. At times I have laboured under the weight of the dark cloud of nagativity myself and give them a real hammering. In the traumatic last few weeks of the disintegrating ancien regime I was convinced that trying to swim wearing the Strachan strait-jacket had only one outcome. Send for the frogmen.
But those days are long gone. Under Tony Mowbray it is a different team. The football is better, results are better, there are more goals, the team can win away, it can come from behind and it can dig in. There is shape and spirit and belief on and off the pitch while the walking wounded are starting to return. We can hold our own in this league now. We can mix it with the likes of Millwall, Portsmouth and Leicester.
And the teams below us are all truely awful. It is a very poor division. Most of those who seriously think the new improved Boro are relegation fodder are suffering from selective myopia and only looking at their own teams flaws (and possibly measuring them the fast fading Premier League highwater mark) while willfully ignoring exactly how woeful are the teams around us.
We said months ago that the Championship survival mark is generally agreed as 51 points. Only once in a decade – from 30 relegated teams – has anyone gone down with more than that.
A couple more points is needed for absolute belt and braces but 51 will do it. Do you really think this rejuvenated Boro can’t clock up six points in eight games? Really? With our form and Barnsley, Coventry and Doncaster – all in the bottom third – to play at home? And Sheffield United and Hull away? Really?
More to the point, do you also think Sheffield United and/or Preston can overhaul a 10 point gap? That they can suddenly, inexplicably hit title form and win four games more than Boro do in their last eight? The chances of that freak upturn happening to most objective observers would be very slim. But if you think it is possible, or probable, get your Danny Graham winnings on at 50s. Easy money.
Here’s the BBC predictor for you to play with, to invent bleak scenarios and do mathematical models or possible points permutations.

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77 thoughts on “Poll Axe: Unusual Voting Patterns Revealed As Fat Lass Put On Hold

  1. Beano shmeano,
    I’ll hopefully be in the BJ as the local cyber cafe re-opens after a fire. Make sure you’ve got Mosso in early AV and no slip ups so stick to the tonic water. Seriously though chaps, I hope you have a good un and I’ll be there in spirit…. plenty of it!

  2. There we are, folks, two chances to meet our favourite blogmeister and chew the fat.
    What do you want to do?

  3. AV said: “Don’t forget (7) – money for wages and fees. Having cash to work with means you can bring in better players and that makes it easier to apply your other skills. Better players respond more effectively to technical and tactical changes and get the results that make your man-management nuances look like genius.”
    I’m not sure I agree with that.
    I certainly concur that better players are more able to understand and put a manager’s plans into action, and that greater finances can get better players, but I don’t think having better players makes you a better manager.
    Better players get you better results, but results alone are not a clear indicator of the manager’s ability in my opinion, the club’s circumstances have to be taken into account.

  4. Halifax Pete and Chris …
    I won’t be able to make my usual place in Nav on 16th (see earlier post) so will be gutted to miss out meeting fellow bloggers. But I will be there in spirit. I am even willing to allow anyone of you to take up my usual chair near the telly!
    AV, would have been good to meet up! It should become an annual event! Navi people are friendly, and staff superb!

  5. halifaxp –
    I would, of course, prefer to keep my Saturday alcohol-free. But because I wish to help show how utterly friendly Teessiders are (see the post at 12.38pm), I am prepared to put my own wishes to one side, for the public good.
    On that basis, and against my better judgement, I suppose I had better make myself available before AND after the game on 16th April. It will be hard but I am prepared to suffer.

  6. AV – Any news on the Jarkko on-tour t-shirts? I won’t be oop North until the 25th, will I have missed the party?
    Nice to see Rooney’s ban has been upheld and not extended like that thug Aliadiere! Three cheers for justice….

  7. “tim from sa said:
    Dormo – fondly remember the Lavi and Robin Hood. They often had an artist on Saturday night, sometimes with teeth in. What was the pub next to the railway station? Oh, getting old.”
    Tim: you probably are getting old. You said “railway station”, whereas all the youngsters these days use that Yank abomination, “train station”! As far as I’m concerned “the station” was where you went to catch a train. If you were catching the bus, you went to the “bus station”! Bless you, sir! 🙂

  8. Thanks to Halifaxp for organising this. I can make before the game, but usually after the match I have to get back home and see the kids and put the wife to bed.

  9. I did post earlier about the beano. Looks like Doyle filter struck again, which is inconvienient during beano preparations.

  10. For Jarkko (12:38 PM) –
    Now you took the surprise out of the meeting! I need plan something new now for a surprise. We need to practice for the Vappu (1st of May).
    Secondly these internet times makes people behave more and more strangely. During my first “tour” to see Boro I was only interviewed by a certain and trusted Ray Robertson (if I remember his name correctly) of the Echo in 1980. So no T-shirts this time either (perhaps on the 40th year tour).
    More seriously, the tanned Brown of Preston has said: “But we’ve got seven cup finals from now on – seven games in which we need to win all seven. If we do that we’ll be a Championship club next year.” And they are just one point behind Sheffield Utd.
    We need not to lose at the Lane on Saturday. Up the Boro!

  11. PS. I will wear my RED Boro scarf and a Boro T-shirt in the Navi. So you should recognize me without a label on my forehead, AV.
    PPS. How to convince my wife to drive from Navi to Yarm with the steering wheel on the wrong side. She don’t even drive anywhere in Helsinki, just 5 km from home!
    **AV writes: Get the train.

  12. Oh, Jarkko! What’s all this talk of kilometres? Is it a tool for measuring how many deaths have occurred?
    Feet and inches, yards, chains, furlongs and miles over on this side of the North Sea. I won’t bore you with the ounces, pounds, stones, hundredweights and tons. And I’d be scared to mention fluid ounces, pints and gallons (or even fractions of a gill for the spirit drinkers, though I see there are metric measures creeping in there). Yorkshire is the county of Broad Acres….
    God loves all Imperial measurements. But he likes the Pint most of all.
    But I suspect you know that already. Didn’t you say you are 6 foot 4 inches? Funny really – the schools have been teaching youngsters about metric measurements here for decades (I think I just missed out), but a lad in the UK will always say he is 6 foot tall, and a girl will always say she is 8 stone 12 (or whatever), rather than use a metric equivalent.
    Britain – of Europe but never fully IN Europe. A bit like the Boro – we had a little two-year dalliance but it never really turned into a full-blown love affair.
    And if we are worried about not recognising each other (as if a blond 6 foot 4 inch Finn with his wife aren’t going to stand head and shoulders above the crowd in the Navi!!) I might just have to wear a City suit, bowler hat, and carry a brolly. Got to look the part. Or shorts….or camping gear…or combat trousers and a fleece…?
    And what to do with the hair? It’s going to take ages to get ready. I’m getting all nervous now.
    And can the first lad there please get in a pint of Creme de Menthe for Vic, to wash down his Pork Scatchings..? (Better go now, as I can see the Doyle filter approaching from the left).

  13. What seems to be coming through from the Suits and Tony and his staff is ,NO MONEY and I dont care because what Im hearing is Tony has said thats ok but Im in charge and Ill make the moves I need to.
    NO INTERFERIENCE FROM YOU LOT,OR IM OUT

  14. Yeah, get the train, it’s only a five minute walk from the train station! Ye haw! And get ready for the rootinest tootinest soccer ball in the wild wild north east
    hot dog!

  15. Halifaxp,
    I have chased up some posters to see if they can make it on the 16th. Sadly they all appear to be busy, but we will (I) have a drink for them.
    Alan Partridge, opening a Tandy Electrical Superstore in Bury St Edmunds, and Assorted Guests.
    Ales Lombergar – etching a new window at the Bradford museum of Photography. John Terry – at the Hawthorns
    Jesus – there in spirit
    Kris Boyd – training
    Sir Henry Waffle-Tripe – studying close up images of sweary footballers
    Stat Man John – at OPTA HQ
    Is it true that the other half of the Finnish Boro Fan club will be there? I forget her name but she was in FMTTM a few years ago.

  16. Dormo –
    As you missed that at school its about 3 miles. I always forget the miles as we never had had anything else than meters – even when my father was born in 1915!
    Smog –
    I know who you mean. We exchanged emails but never met. I was too busy at work and with family back then. I have had a new job since three years ago – when I activated here, too if you did not notice!
    We are staying very, very close the station at Yarm. Hope we do not end up in Stockton, though. Have to catch the right train then.
    Up the Boro!

  17. Forever –
    In a previous existence I looked after some carpenters and they needed some wood so one was sent off to the timber merchant.
    Stood at the counter and asked for eight six foot lengths of 2×2. Chap behind the counter said ”we only sell metric now sir.”
    Being resourceful my brave chippie said ‘can I have eight lengths of two metres of 50mmx50mm’.
    The reply? ‘only sell it it in 1.82m lengths’
    We could always confuse Jarkko even further by talking about US measurements though he sounds too bright to be caught out. His English is a touch better than my Finnish.

  18. Living daan sarf and working weekends, the beano is a non-starter for me.
    It’s like the ZDS final all over again…

  19. Boro are taking a season’s best away following of over 2,500 to Bramhall Lane. This figure is bigger than the cumulative number of fans Sheff Utd, Derby Co, Scunthorpe, Watford, Preston and Palace all brought to Fortress Riverside.
    Another notably large Boro away followings at Bramhall Lane, six thousand for the FA Cup tie, 0-0 bore draw.
    We also took 3,500 to Preston last year 2-2 and 4,500 to Barnsley last year, 2-1 defeat but Justin Hoyte scored.
    Middlesbrough have lost on their last three visits to Bramall Lane, and on five of their last six. In fact they have not won there for 24 years.
    These clubs have met 100 times. Sheffield United have won 41 of those matches, and Middlesbrough 37.
    Julio Arca could make his 250th league start
    United have lost 22 Championship matches this season – 13 of them by a single goal.
    Sheffield Utd have conceded 28 goals at home in 19 matches. We have scored 18 in 18 away games.
    Incidentally 18 is the atomic number of argon, which is Greek for inactive or lazy. How true. But it is produced in large volumes on Teesside.

  20. Smogonthetyne –
    What a star you are! Rob interviewed a lass called Virpi in his mag and she comes over apparently once or twice a season1. Jarkko and Eija turn out not to be the entire Finnish fan club!
    I have heard from a few people that they may be coming to the beano, but, at the moment, it looks like it may just be a case of seeing what happens!
    Knowing who’s coming would obviously be preferable, but que sera sera!

  21. Jarkko –
    You are lucky that Yarm station is open. When I used to travel to and from Leeds as a student and a Boro fan in the early seventies I had to make at least one change at Darlo, sometimes York and Darlo.
    I just wish the current service from Manchester Airport to Middlesbrough was running then. I have never been on Yarm Station in my life so someone from Finland has a one up on a Teessider!
    Which brings a thought, why dont we have a halt at the crossing by the Navi? I suppose it wouldnt be worth the cost.

  22. Kicked off the blog. Tried at least 100 comments to get back in… Nothing. The blog is no fun at the moment AV. In fact it sucks. Can you get a different service? One that works please.
    RED ARMY.
    ps. If you read this Attila, it was a dolphin carving in the window!
    **AV writes: I’m not happy about it the live blog. It seems to have problems every week at the moment and even when it works for you lot I get kicked out two or three times a game. I think it is related to the upsurge in phone activity bleeding the network at half-time or after goals.
    If I can’t rely on it then I’ll have to think about whether it is worth the hassle. The Gazette get nothing out of it so there is no commercial incentive to do it. It is something I do off my own bat but it is only worth me continuing if it is easy for me to administer. When I have to break off from my primary job – reporting the match – to fiddle about logging in and out then it starts to be a problem.

  23. AV, sorry if that sounded like I was blaming you. That is far from what I meant. I know you are also frustrated, and I know that you have a job to do and the blog comes second.
    That was just said out of frustration. It seemed we never had problems before the geeks upgraded everything, and being so far away from my beloved football team makes me extra frustrated when I can’t interact with my fellow bloggers.
    Again, apologies. I don’t know what I/we would do without you.
    Ugh, I was just sick in my mouth… LoL.
    RED ARMY
    **AV writes: I know you weren’t blaming me. I love the liveblog because it lively and dynamic and funny and offers an irreverent virtual terrace feel that is very different from any other forum out there but I don’t really want to offer a service unless it is reliable. Although it isn’t a Gazette facility – CoverItLive is a global company – it looks bad for us every time it goes down. And I get very angry and shout at the laptop and that makes me look a little bit unbalanced.

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