IS BOSCO Jankovic dead? Maybe. After a year long trial with live blogging I think it is fair to say with found some problems and some limitations with the system. So I am going to try using Twitter and see if it can give us something different.
IN A MOVE that could spark a Krakatoan release of molten emotional energy from deep within Teesside’s collective psyche, Boro are bringing back Juninho.
The parmo-loving Samba superstar is poised for a cameo appearance in the friendly with PSV in a fleeting fantasy that will be many supporters’ dream come true. He is widely rated as Boro’s best ever player and universally adored for the zest and joy he spread in the wake of his size fives. Nanas love him. But will it be a Messianic moment in front of a packed Riverside shrine channeling the ecstacy of our Dream Time? Or has the Cult of Juninho faded in the face of relegation, downsized horizons and harsh post-relegation reality? Will it be an excited and expectant full house as the Glory Year Band Wagonners scramble back aboard the Mogganaut expecting magic? Or an emotional anti-climax that fizzles into just another friendly?
Or, crucially, will the game that is no longer to be known as “the friendly against PSV” but instead as “the Juninho Match” be a distraction from the most important job, of fine-tuning the team for the season to come?
For all the hard-nosed commercial advantages, the dividend in terms of a born again bandwagon buzz and the PR possibilities – and the gaffer, a big TLF fan, has acknowledged them – it will be very hard to justify in football terms even the fleeting inclusion of a populist passenger in what should be a key part of the big build-up.
BRIEFLY, on Stewie Downing… the Pally Park prodigy has finally come of age and joined a big club, although some may think he has still sold himself short but, hey, let’s not quibble. He will be an England squad shoo-in and tabloid darling now, a vindication of years of facing ill-informed flak from the poison pen rat pack. And he really is “one of our own.”
A PICTURE paints a thousand words – and I’m throwing in the same again for free. Here’s a very telling graphic plus my own analysis of what appears a direct correlation between Boro’s attendance figures and the Teesside dole queue.
In recent years we have talked a lot on here about the price sensitivity of tickets and the role of recession in depressing gates, and we have tried to make anecdotal links between the current climate and previous bleaker times when Boro were in trouble. So here’s some concrete evidence to add meat to the bones of the debate.
The unemployment figures are from the Office of National Statistics and relate to the seasonally adjusted annual average unemployment rate in the Northern Region over the past 40 years. The attendance figures are Boro’s annual average over the same period. Let’s crunch numbers…