IT’S THE end of Year One of the Moggalution, a dramatic 12 months of dramatic improvement in results and perfromances that have raised the bar and raised morale.
Now it is time for my contractual obligation flick through the highlights of the year looking at how that revival started to shape itself out of the chaos Tony Mowbray inherited. Rather than writing something I thought I’d point your browsers at some of the threads on the blog over the past 12 months, that way we not only recall the events but also get a flavour of how we reacted to them at the time, what posters were saying and how the consensus has changed. Plus I’ve thrown a few cultural landmarks in and, reality TV style, some of my best bits.
Continue reading 2011 Reviewed: An End Of Year Clip Show
TWELVE months ago today a brittle Boro were just outside the Championship relegation hot spots on goal difference alone.
A creaky post-Strachan side were above Crystal Palace by a fraction. They had scored just 21 goals and had taken a 21 points from 22 games – and most of those were banked after the arrival of Tony Mowbray in October. Fragile and unbalanced, Boro were just two points above rock bottom Preston with a trip to the basement boys up next. In that momentous game they actually slipped behind and were briefly dumped on the bottom.
Since then they have been galvanised and transformed in a spectacular year of renewal and revival. Now bubbling Boro are just outside the promotion places on goal difference and are a tantilising three points off the Championship top spot. From one defeat away from rock bottom to one win away from the summit. It has been an amazing year of deep seated change. It has been a year of Moggalution at Middlesbrough.
Continue reading 2011: Twelve Months of Moggalution
THE LAST Boro player to score on Christmas Day was Brian Clough. He got two as Boro came from behind to beat Doncaster 3-2 in Division Two back in 1956 in front of 16,515. They played again the following year at Huddersfield but lost 1-0.
It’s crazy to think that back in the austere post-war grainy black and white Pathe News universe there were full programmes – and decent public transport – on Christmas Day. Except when it fell on a Sunday, which of course was a real no, no. Would you fast forward through th epresents, turkey and stuffing and clamber aboard the M bus now to see Boro play Doncaster Rovers on Christmas Day? (*Puts hand up sheepishly*) I would. I know a lot of people who see it as a serious erosion of their right to over eat and watch rubbish TV but for this household it would be a routine to don those Christmas jumpers and go.
I’ve just been doing a bit for next Tuesday’s column (we have to work in advance a bit at this time of the year) on festive football and looking back through a selection box of seasonal sizzlers. There have been some brilliant games on Boxing Day. You’ll have to wait to read the fruits of my labour… but here’s a reminder of two tinseltastic results to get you in the mood.
Continue reading Christmas Crackers? Some Boro Belters
WHAT A game! What a team! What a brilliant start to the festive fixture flurry. When the story of the season is told – and if there is a happy ending – that is one of the key moments we will point to. And laugh with glee.
A positive, polished second half show swept Boro to a fantastic coupon-busting win in a top of the table seasonal sizzler at Cardiff. Cardiff were unbeaten in 11 and had won six in a row at home and kept three clean sheets on the bounce. Boro were forced into changes, e without Marvin Emnes, gave a new striker his first start in English football and were playing an experimental 4-3-1-2 system.
We had travelled to Wales with trepidation. Here be Dragons. Their fans and officials were buzzing before the game and totally convinced they would win. But then again, they were last time we visited too, so much so that before the game they issued the press with details and timings of their planned lap of honour. We laughed the way home. All five hours. Party poopers again. LOL. As I believe the young people say.
Continue reading Dragon Slaying Party Poopers: Part 2
THE NEXT four games are pivotal for Boro’s season.
Yes, I know, it seems that we say that every week or two with the sombre tomes of the stern unheeded warnings of an “End is Nigh” Biblical sect. We have battled through stern examinations of our play-off credentials, a series of Titanic games that are all the biggest test so far and watershed moments have whizzed past with dizzying regularity
But this time, it may just be true. How Boro do in the festive fixtures could have a massive agenda setting impact on exactly how the rest of the campaign pans out.
Continue reading Festive Four Fixtures Can Help Ho-Ho-Hopen The Boro Biscuit Tin
IT WAS a tense finale to a tetchy, scrappy match but battling Boro held on and clawed their way to another precious victory that nudged them back into the Championship summit shake-up.
Continue reading Brighton Rocked By Back-to-Back Battlers
AVON Police were continuing their inquiries today after an 11 strong gang dressed in black carried out an audacious robbery in full view of TV cameras.
The shell-shocked victims were left stunned and shaken after the split-second mugging in the Bristol area. Police sources reported that three precious points, priceless and of enormous sentimental value were stolen.
Witnesses reported the attack came out-of-the-blue as the victims were packing up to go home after a hard day’s work but admitted they never saw it coming and couldn’t explain exactly how it happened.
Phew. It looks like brass-necked Boro have got away with it. Who says crime doesn’t pay?
Continue reading Crime Watch: Boro In Frame For Mugging
BACK late from Brissol still grinning at the audacity of Boro’s last gasp mugging of the poor Robins. What a rocket from the half forgotten fringe Frenchman. What timing. What a way to steal some precious barely deserved points on a day when the top two stumbled.
Boro were far better in the second half but maybe didn’t deserve to win. Jason Steele made two or three crucial saves in the first half when shapeless Boro were being taken apart by Bristol, run ragged in midfield and leaving big gaps down the flanks. He made another good save after the break in a far more open game. Bristol could maybe have had a penalty too.
Boro had a few chances – an Haroun header, Hoyte fired over, Arca blazed over and the Haroun scooped one wide after James chested it out – but their keeper never had a save to make in the first 90 minutes. So it was delicious when Martin slammed in his sizzler.
It made a long journey back that had loomed ominously as an impending frustrating and tetchy bitchfest suddenly far easier to bear. I bet it was rubbish TV though.
More on Monday
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I’ll whack the server with a hammer when I get back in the office.