Blog Abandoned (37, dangerous attitudes)

BORO were getting battered and we got off the hook. The abandonment was a real result for us because on balance of play, we were going to get a real mauling. Ironically the third of a game which was called off earned Boro’s longest highlight’s package this term on the Football League Show and the highlights they showed were actually balanced it really was that one sided. Ipswich’s victory was inevitable.
Unfortunately for them, the abandonment was also inevitable. The pitch passed the 11am inspection because it was playable under the tent. Did they think they could leave it on and start the game under there?

At that point temperatures in Ipswich were still well below zero. We were just past Peterborough then in minus 10 and freezing fog and waiting be be texted what seemed the only possible outcome. It should have been called off then.
It “only just” survived a second inspection at 2pm and there were still concerns from Tony Mowbray and the officials over a 10 yard strip in the shadow of the main stand that was still very crisp and very hard. With temperatures not projected to reach zero before kick off then set to dip again rapidly once the sun went down it was never going to get any better. They should have called it off then.
Playing the game was crazy. From the press box that strip was noticeably white, glistening and very slippy. Joe Bennett was slipping all over the place. After seven minutes there was a technical area conflab between both bosses and the referee over the deteriorating conditions but having made the decision to play they had but no option but to plough on and see if they could make it. From there on in the evidence they had got it wrong piled up every tme the ball skidded down that flank.
The key moment came when the linesman, having being reduced to a slipping, sliding mess on the astrotuf strip down the touchline, moved inside and started running a line two yards inside the pitch, at one point tangling with Bennett and Emmanual-Thomas. It was becoming a farce and increasingly dangerous.
When Sonko went down and cracked a rib it didn’t actually look like it was related to the surface but that was the excuse needed for all parties to get the game off.
It should never have started. Over 700 Boro fans had to travel the best part of 10 hours in freezing and dangerous conditions for a game that was clearly never going to be completed. Local fans also had to travel in far from ideal conditions. Weather forecasts had Ipswich and its environs down as the coldest in the country with overnight lows of minus 14 and a slow daytime crawl towards zero.
It should really have been called off the evening before.
You can understand Ipswich wanted to play: they knew Boro would be injury depleted and tired from midweek extra time. They also had a ticket offer on and expected a bigger than normal crowd. And after a long barren spell they had won two games in a row. They were desperate to play.
But short term strategic advantage should never overide the saftey of the players and the fans. It was dangerous and disrespectful to expect 20,000 people to travel in atrocious conditions for a game on a pitch without undersoiling heating that could not be guarenteed to go ahead.
And Ipswich say Boro fans who travel for the rearranged game can have a ticket for half-price, That’s big of them. Ipswich should not only give free admission to the second game but give full refunds for this one. They gambled on the weather but it was the frozen fans left out of pocket,


29 thoughts on “Blog Abandoned (37, dangerous attitudes)

  1. AV –
    Sorry for the wasted trip but there are positives we can take from the game.
    Whilst we dropped places in the league it is a game in hand for when we have more players available. Did I ever post about the link between having players fit, performances and points?
    Anyway, Bates got a rest for illness reason, Robbo and Haroun have had more time, Emnes a 30 minute run out. Bailey is back in training.
    Because of the FA Cup and Millwalls involvement we will only have had one full game before the next Championship action. Sadly that is against Smogs Nemesis on Tuesday. Lets hope for a St Valentines Day massacre.
    Then it is home against Reading on the 25th.
    Oh dear, Toon now 5-0 down. Mackems lost to Arsenal.
    Hope you and the Boro fans have a safe trip back

  2. That can’t be true? Keep your Ipswich ticket stubs and you get half price admission to the rearranged fixture??
    I realise Ipswich will still have to cover the costs of todays abandoned game, but we can’t seriously be expected to make that journey again and still have to pay half price??
    **AV writes: Everything about today’s situation in regard to the fans was unforgiveable and unacceptable. It should be free and vouchers for a beer and burger for Boro fans on the return.

  3. The game should never have been given the go ahead on a pitch that doesn’t have under soil heating especially when the temperature had been -12 on previous two or three nights. Ref had made two inspections at 11 and 2 and it was touch and go then,it was only ever going to get colder after that and the pitch condition was only going to deteriorate.
    I had a wasted 14 hour round trip and to top it all think we have to pay up to 50% again for the rearranged fixture. Disgraceful,should be free entry for everyone with original stubbs.
    If it had been called off at 2pm then everyones tickets would have been valid for the game. I’m sure when its a decision on the day of the game pressure is put on the ref to get it played because of the food and hospitality packages that would go to waste. If the games started then Ipswich are in a win situation all round and get extra revenue from the rearranged game too.
    On the pitch Thompson looked sharper, Curtis looked confident with some nice touches and Arca played some nice football. Hopefully injuries are starting to clear up now.

  4. Many years ago, as we neared Ipswich on the Supporters coach, the Boro team bus went by in the other direction…”wasn’t that Ashcroft’s hair that just passed us?”, somebody shouted out; off went the tape of The Cure and on came the coach radio: Ipswich v Boro…off, frozen pitch.
    So, we turned around, caught the Boro team bus up and followed it home like true college RaRas following the boys across the frozen country. 12 hours on an old (Beggs?) bus and nothing to show for it but the sight of Billy and the boys tucking into greasy pies at a truckstop…at least the lads who braved it this time around got to see some of the game!
    And then there was the time when we went to Blackburn only to discover on arrival that some newly laid drainage pipes had collapsed at one end of the pitch…but that’s another story!

  5. Football supported being treated like dirt? Whatever next? I do hope the fans didn’t stand during the 37 minutes or only 75% of original tickets will be allocated fir the re-arranged game.
    But look to the positives, no fresh injury concerns ahead of the biggest game of the season on Tuesday. This game is so
    Post abandoned after 37 minutes due to lack of original content

  6. A disgrace. Before we set off, and all the way there, we were listening out, expecting it be called off. Considering the conditions we’d come through, it was a surprise that the match was ever started. Eight hours travel and over £100 for nothing.
    Nevertheless, definitely by far the best result of 2012 for us.

  7. Situation was no better at Stade de France for the rugby international. You can possibly forgive a second tier football club for not having undersoil heatng but not a countries national stadium.
    I feel sorry for the likes of never give up but imagine if you have booked flights and hotels as well!!!!!
    **AV writes: At least you get a night out in Paris out if it.

  8. Wondering whats happening with the Pompey situation? Watched them against Blackpool and was impressed with the big lad up front Futacs, and Ward. Both young lads with lots of potential and physicality. I understand they havent been paid for a while.

  9. BOO-RAHHH, slithering and sliding out of promotion contention and back into the obscurity that the place deserves. Mint that like!

  10. I was there yesterday and was an utter disgrace. Although, coming from South London, I only had a four hour round trip; still a wasted day and, as I am not going to be able to go to the midweek rearranged game, was £50 wasted.
    Also, being booked on the 1815 train, I had to hang about for two hours and Ipswich is not the most exciting of places. Particularly as felt one or two of their fans were getting a bit lairy on the walk to the railway station, so stayed away from around that area.
    Palace called their game off on Friday and conditions here were a lot better than at Ipswich. Surely they could have viewed a weather forecast then and called the game off then.
    Seems I am not going to have my ticket refunded, perhaps Boro could give those with ticket stubbs a voucher for the club shop as a gesture?

  11. Temperature overnight dropped to -15 in Peterborough. The River Nene has been frozen solid for 2 weeks. POSH match v Hammers was cancelled very early after supporters had been clearing the pitch of snow from 7am.
    I don’t think conditions in Ipswich were much better.

  12. Now you see it now you dont, blog, posts and football.
    Elsewhere Arry looks likely to take over as England manager but it doesnt mean anything to us. Or does it.
    In a reply to one of my questions AV rightly had a go at the influence that the top clubs, premier league and by implication Sky have on our football. The journos are in thrall to juggernaut.
    We can all see and agree with AV’s views.
    Then I got thinking. As an ex pat fan living away from Teesside for 30+ years I never saw much about Boro in the media until we got in to the Premier League. I certainly never saw the coverage we get now even though we are in the second tier.
    The system is heavily weighted in favour of the top clubs but not as bad as in Spain. In England the the title winners get 1.5 times the money the 22nd club gets, in Spain the big two get huge times the money of the bottom club.
    And that brings me back to Arry. It is important he gets the job because even though he comes from that place in the south at least he is English.
    Just as important is that Spurs appoint an English or British manager. It was important that Liverpool bought the likes of Downing, Henderson, Carroll, Adam etc. That Man U bought Jones and Smalling.
    It is important that Main and Reach get on our bench and the pitch.
    It is important Gate is succesful and that the new centre at Burton works.
    That way things can cascade down the league, money can flow downward.
    In the old days when sunderland called for Clough and Spurs for Knowles they left. Sounness, Hodgson, Johnstone went to Liverpool. Pallister went to Man U.
    That is the way the food chain is and always has been. Boro have always been a club looking upwards with spells of relative glory.
    The system is rotten but anything that can improve it is a bonus.

  13. AV – what is your verdict on Kevin Thomson? Boro’s Website Boro Man of the Match was Kevin Thomson after only 37 minutes but several people criticise him being slow and not up to his best.
    I think he was very good last Spring time when I was in UK to see four games. We lost one, draw one and won two. And there after we won the last games with Thommo and Smallwood in the middle.
    Are expecting too much from him after two long absences through injuries (last season and at Rangers)? I used to say he could become the best player in this division. But a bit unsure now…
    Having seen the 37 min at Ipswich on TV the pitch was not looking so bad. But as Mogga said the decision was probably right. And we will gain from this as we had many players injured needing a rest – hopefully already on Tuesday. I feel for the fans who made the long and potentially dangerous trip to Portman Road, though.
    Up the Boro!
    **AV writes: Thomson was OK so far as you could judge on that showing. For me Seb Hines had been the pick of the Boro to that point. Thommo needs a good 10 0r 12 games under his belt to get up to speed.

  14. Can we start a non stop train service from Glasgow to Middlebrough? The Rangers fans will have to find some team to support now won’t they?

  15. I’m in favour of balance and fairness, so…….
    Well done to MFC for the (other) half ticket price and transport offer to Boro away fans. Top PR for a very refreshing change!
    Credit where it’s due. Well done Gibson, Bausor et al for thinking about the fans’ position for once.

  16. My paper is full of money problems in football. Rangers and Pompey are in trouble.
    Of more conecrn is the news that HMRC are looking at eight current or former Premier League sides about the use of Employee Benefit Trusts. Lets hope we are not one of them.
    Any hint of our involvement?
    **AV writes: Not that I’ve heard.

  17. OK AV maybe Thomson can one day prove he can do the business – but isn’t the recurring problem with Thomson that he never seems to last enough games to get back to match fitness before succumbing to a new injury?
    Wouldn’t Boro be better off giving experience to some of their academy players in the hope that they would eventually become good enough to hold down a place in the team?
    Besides, will Thomson actually retain a place in the starting line-up once Robson, Bailey and Haroun are fit – so will he ever be match fit?
    Surely this is his last chance to prove otherwise – Boro may have to accept that sometimes bad luck and circumstance mean a player just never makes an impact at a club.
    **AV writes: I think you are probably right. If you cast your mind back, all of Strachan’s Scottish signings struggled to acclimatise from a casual one tough game in four rhythm to the week in, week out attritional grind of the Championship. Despite being told they all had a ‘winning mentality’ actually they were swept aside by average teams that were far more motivated and organised than Kilmarnock or Hamilton.
    They were all branded ‘rubbish’ from the off but gradually they got used to the pace, the competitive nature, the need for 96 minutes of concentration. By the end of last season McManus, Robson and McDonald had all esablished themselves as members of the first team on merit. They had made the cultural quantum leap.
    Thomson has never had the chance to do that. Six games her, four there, long spells sidelined. A brief stint in a winning team followed by another long spell out while Bailey nailed down the holding role. Now he is back trying to find his feet in a struggling, patched up side. Until he gets a dozen game and also makes the cultural leap the jury is out.

  18. Richard –
    And well done to you for acknowledging it! Must have been some gritted teeth there…
    Now, is this the first manifestation of a change in attitude from Gibson and co or just a one off?

  19. I’m glad that Jarkko brought up the subject of Thomson’s performances. The poor bloke just seems to get stick from every quarter, (sometimes deserved) but my opinion for waht it’s worth, is that he is a very polished player, good on the ball with good vision and passing abilities.
    The problem is we just haven’t seen it because of his injuries, we were informed at the time of him signing by our Scottish friends that he was very injury prone. This has proved true unfortunately, but match fit (which he isn’t now, or likely to be according to most on this column) he would be one of the first on the managers team sheet.
    Didn’t Mogga himself say that he could play Bailey and Thompson together, both as holding players allowing others to wander a little. That to me would be the ideal situation. BUT again it all comes down to his fitness, Again as everybody has said.
    (Please don’t be injured tonight Thommo,) 3 points please lads.

  20. Tried posting congrats to MFC on the Ipswich stance but blog was playing up. Cant fault the club at all.
    Werdermouth and AV
    I think you can also throw in to the pot for the Scottish contingent that most of the signings were regular inhabitees of the treatment room north of the border and/or had been marginalised by the previous manager in Jockland (aka Mogga).
    If they were fit and playing they probably wouldnt have been allowed to leave.
    You can also throw in the fact half the existing Boro squad were in a similar position. McMahon, Bates, Williams x 2, Franks, Hines, Taylor amongst others all had long spells in the treatment room.
    Zemmammamma and Ogbeche have hardly been regular attendees.
    The end of last season saw us with a group of regulars week in week out and we performed well. Same in the first half of this season.
    Get the bulk of the squad back fit and we should end the season well.

  21. Andy R –
    Thanks for acknowledgement. However, when adhering to points of held principle, no gritted teeth are necessary. It’s not an ego issue at all. I don’t begrudge acknowledgement to anyone who does the right thing.
    Regretably, recent history has had us at the other end of the PR behavioural spectrum. So in keeping with that, I, personally, have been critical of senior personnel at the club.
    AV –
    Kilmarnock – Not motivated? Not organised? Shame on you! Now Hamilton, OK!
    Events of Boro’s stricken Strachan era have caused many – myself included (or perhaps especially) – to re-calibrate our views on the REAL quality or level at which top level Scottish club football is played.
    ‘way back, it used to be on a par with the English First Division – or so it seemed. However, that’s clearly no longer the case. And your anecdotal analysis and comparisons of Boro’s ex Auld Firm contingent, adds further to the evidence.
    When we were discussing the Scottish imports at the start of the Stachan project, many of us were hopeful that because they had played at the highest level in the SPL, that they would be at least a match for most of the teams in the Championship. That proved not to be the case, although the point you make about preparedness, is a great one. (Only Barry Robson stands out for me as being equal to just about anyone in the Championship and that, for me at least, is because of his heart and his work ethic, not for any innate football brilliance.)
    I’ve seen the same thing at Wigan with Conor Sammon, who transferred from (unmotivated and disorganised) Kilmarnock last season. I’d seen him play at Rugby Park and in that environment against, yes, (…ditto…) Hamilton, he was outstanding. He’s hardly had a start with Wigan, yet. So I now have to conclude that there is a real genuine gulf between the quality of football north of the border, compared to the English leagues.

  22. Why are the Boo-rahh forums so busy when the team is playing at home? Why are the Boo-rahh fans so vocal from the comfort of their armchairs instead of “being there” and supporting the team? Why are the Boo-rahh fans basically a bunch of turnips?
    **AV writes: Why have you been talking to yourself on here? We are all on twitter during matches.

  23. A great battling result last night.
    Unfortunaty Mr Thompson got sent off so dosnt need an injury this time.
    Good to be back on the winning trail again.
    With players coming back we could be in for an exiting finish.

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