Boro’s Dates With Destiny Revealed

SWEAR down, when I predicted Barnsley away for Boro’s opener I did not have any inside knowledge. The secrecy of the fixtures is hermetically sealed, as closely guarded as the nuclear trigger and everyone in the loop is required to sign a grave covenant of utmost confidentiality in new born baby’s blood. I didn’t know. I couldn’t know.
But hey, it is the power of football’s inevitability drive: Our old ‘friend’ Mido signs for Barnsley… that made the opening day date nailed on. And Boro WILL visit Oakwell on August 18th for the big kick off. It was a given. Here’s what I calculated yesterday…
“We usually get a Yorkshire team for the opener and four of the last five have been at home. We are due a short haul away day… Oakwell it is then. Barnsley away for the opener with heavyweight hitman Mido nailed on for a brace. The flat-cappers will then rave about his quality and predict he will fire them to promotion while Boro’s habitual phone-in moaners will gnash and wail about how we let him slip away when we could have had him on a free but they will be his only goals of the season and he will be up on the ramps by September and back at Zamalek via lowloader come January.”
As for the rest, it is time to impose your own world view on what is essentially a random list of dates, time to reflect your own hopes and fears onto the unknown. Go on, pick a path through this little lot and plot a route to glory… or despair.

I’m not allowed to use a fixture list on here for licencing reasons. It is not strictly an edition of the licencing publication. If I do then the Football DataCo heavies who vigorously enforce the Football League’s copyright can kick my door in at dawn, seize the Gazette servers and sell off my children’s kidneys to pay the whooping fine. This is serious stuff.
But obviously the full fixture fixture lists are all over the place now. In a news context I am allowed to discuss them. So let’s do that. Let’s see where the the mighty Mogganaut will begin to roll on the path to play-off success. Or not. Delete as applicable.
I always find it strange that people can brand the fixtures as “tough” or “easy” looking at this stage when most clubs barely have two-thirds of their first team fixed and we can’t know how they will shape up when the action starts. But football lore demands it. So I will make a sweeping statement and say: blimey, September looks tough – Ipswich, Blackpool, Blackburn, Leicester. The back end of October is testing too. I’m not a massive fan of December either. Oh no, we are all going to die!
So those fixtures then…
Boro start with Barnsley that should have been easy enough but which must now be regarded with some trepidation as parmo powered predator Mido – who has sealed a deal that includes him being carried to Oakwell on a golden Sedan Chair wafted by ostrich feathers wielded by the Tykes’ junior side – wheezes about for 69 minutes before scoring. He will score another in November, probably against Leeds.
After that we have Burnley and Crystal Palace at home to August, both on the fringes of the play-offs last term and so officially “tricky” but we should be looking to win those if we have any serious ambitions. We need a good start and we need few entertaining performances at home to raise morale and shift the last few season tickets (ha!)
September has a testing look about it: Millwall away is always a fraught trip, for fans at least, then in a flurry we have Ipswich (H), Blackpool and Blackburn (A) and Leicester at home. All four of those will have promotion ambitions of their own – Leicester are the bookies favourites – and new players will gelled by then. By the time of the Foxes game will will start to have some idea of where we are are in the scheme of things.
October brings Derby at home then longish trips to Watford and Brighton then back at the Riverside for bookies play-off contenders Hull and Bolton. Those last two could be testing. Anyone starting to panic yet. Mogga out!
November… Forest away… haven’t won there since the repeal of the Corn Laws. Charlton away, old school and nice to go back there after a long break, Cardiff away – Dragon Slaying for real this time and Boro will have to change out of their red shirts.
December … Birmingham away, Peterborough away, Wolves at home then the seventies throwback retro semi-derby of Leeds away just before Christmas. Blackburn at home on Boxing Day and Blackpool at home a few days later. That’s a result. Travelwise.
January… Derby away on New Years day… could be a lot worse. Then Watford home, Leicester away, Leeds home plus FA Cup games… always a pivotal month of either dashed dreams or suddenly soaring foam fume levels.
February… the long trek to Ipswich (abandoned, fog, 37), easy win over Mido-less relegation strugglers Barnsley then tough back-to-back away at hard-to-beat Palace and fringe play-off hopefuls Burnley and three points from Millwall at home.
March… starting to show the strains now, injuries piling up, loans deadline comes and goes, threadbare squad etc etc … Cardiff at home, away to Huddersfield and Bristol, home to Birmingham, away to Wolves. Make or break time.
April… one last surge to gatecrash the play-off zone: Peterborough at home to nudge us in, away at Hull to claw us back out, Brighton at home, Forest at home – with the weight of history relieved after last year’s historic win – then away to title chasing Bolton (potential set-back) and home to Charlton for the goal-scoring return of Justin Hoyte.
Then finish in May away at Sheff Wed. Everyone likes to go to Hillsborough. Historical shadows aside. It’s a nice short trip to a good old fashioned football ground, with generally friendly natives, and we will be going in shirt sleeves needing a win to squeeze into the play-offs. Against a team with nothing to play for. What could possibly go wrong?


48 thoughts on “Boro’s Dates With Destiny Revealed

  1. I think I’m right in saying that clubs can have three requests to the FA for the forth coming fixtures. And in this division gate receipts are more important that the cash cow if the EPL. Also we don’t gave a major neighbour/rival to share the services of the great and good at Cleveland wooden tops.
    So in all of our three previous seasons in the dumb dumb league we have started at home and been at home for Boxing Day too. It would not surprise that this has been at the clubs request and they have been granted.
    I see no reason for that to change
    Opener home v Blackpool
    Boxing Day home v Huddersfield
    In the previous two seasons we have played forest away mid October, so I’ll stick with that
    Hull away Easter time and Wednesday home at Easter
    Bearing in mind that fixtures have already been generated, just embargoed until Monday…. I wouldn’t put money on any of the above
    23 games at home, 23 away. It doesn’t matter who we play and when. It is more important what we do. Can we put a squad together capable of sustaining a top six tilt? Hope so.
    **AV writes: Yes, you are allowed to make requets, mainly to avoid clashes with other popular events that could impact on crowds – the Next Blue Cross Sale for instance. After a few years in a row getting Man U, Boro used to request they didn’t get Fergie’s boys at home on Boxing Day. That day is always a bumper crowd anyway so getting a bums on seats draw like United then is a waste.

  2. I know it sounds a little greedy, but I’d be happy for the first two or three games to be consecutive away fixtures. Half the crowd will be on holiday for any weekend you could nominate in August – including me. I usually miss one game, and it could be two.
    There was the classic return trip by car from a little place on the west coast of Scotland, between Troon and Turnberry Golf courses for a game at the Riverside against Fulham. On my wife’s birthday! To give you an idea where that is, I got better reception on the TV watching Northern Ireland programmes than Scottish ones.
    Set off just after breakfast. Got to Teesside in good time for the game. Conceded two goals in the last two minutes from a winning position. Set off back in the car just after kick-off, feeling deflated, and got back just about bed-time. Some of the roads at that end weren’t too brilliant.
    There is the little problem whilst up there that there is no BBC Tees radio coverage and, for “contractual reasons” no coverage via the internet either. I suppose Twitter now gives some info….if you can stand the inevitable “BU**ER” (and I’m not talking about a dairy product to spread on bread) from time to time.
    Actually, I seem to recall we performed quite well away from home last year. Any mileage in suggesting we could play ALL our games away? It would save on stewarding and Police costs.
    On the other hand you could sell virtual season tickets. You could use the satellite phones the foreign correspondents use when in Pakistan, Iraq etc – so you can talk and we get a picture of you holding the phone at arms’s length, but just showing your face looking at the game, whilst we get a view behind your ears of the back of the stand from the Press seats. You could give a running commentary of the game.
    Unlike our favourite Hartlepool supporter’s Sky football show, where we only go to the player AFTER something significant has happened on the pitch (which he is watching on TV, but we can’t see), you could be broadcasting your commentary live throughout. We’ll hear the mounting excitement as the attack nears the goal anyway, we’ll see you jump up and down, or maybe get jostled in the throng after a goal, and we can then hear your breakdown of the goal after the event.
    We would only see your head, and anyone standing behind you, rather than the pitch, but that would be a small burden to bear for those of us outside the local (or internet) radio coverage. If we didn’t publicise it too much, I’m sure those lovely people at the BBC wouldn’t mind. After all, it would only be those outside the limits of the local radio and interwebby who would need the virtual season ticket.
    An alternative is that, for the month of August (let’s include September for good measure), Boro could be “Team 12” in the SPL. Presumably our finances are on a better financial footing than any of the other candidates to be that mystery team when the fixtures come out.
    Then it really would be Smoggies on Tour – the delights of Glasgow, Edinburgh, Dundee, Aberdeen, Inverness and Dingwall to explore. New pastures for the faithful, new pubs to visit, different money….
    I’m sure it could be made to work. We have to look outside the (Sky) box…some Blue Sky thinking needed…

  3. I agree with Forever, lets start with an away fixture.
    We are likely to be away for the opener so it doesnt really matter where the fixture is. maybe it will be a trip to Smog’s least favourite place.

  4. Surprised that havnt played away first since 2003 season. Think get Huddersfield away first. Come on The Boro!

  5. Starting to get excited again, well a bit anyway.
    Any signs of any incomings AV and is it true that we had the German forward at our place (the one signing for Arsenal for £12m) but obviously never signed him.
    **AV writes: Don’t remember any mention of Podolski at Boro. Urban myth?

  6. So it is Barnsley away. Mmmmm. I couldnt possibly suggest that AV had prior knowledge but I believe there is an embargo on releasing the fixtures early.
    Just a lucky coincidence that there was the Mido story to provide a link.
    **AV writes: Seriously, we don’t get them until 7.30am. It is the tightest embargo in the entire British press. Even the clubs don’t get them in advance.

  7. AV, we all knew that we’ll play Barnsley in the first game. Also a Mido brace is too easy to predict. And we all know these will be his only goals on English soil ever since his latest come back. Maximum five appearance for Barnsley (I wonder why he is not made a goalie or defender and used as a ‘bus’ in the penalty area…)
    The traditional Easter fixture against Hull is postponed for a week. But still in April.
    I’ll predict we’ll be crowded the Champions of the division after the last game. A typical 2-2 draw at Wednesday. The draw means the Owls will be promoted, too. So one newly promoted team (Owls) get up and Boro are doing a ‘Reading’ and get to the EPL, too.
    We also get to the 6th round of FA Cub before going out away to Man Utd.
    This is our season. In Mogga we trust. Up the Boro!

  8. As we have the close season now, when shall we see the blog updated technically? I mean we still need to hit the ‘Preview’ knob to see the latest posts. This can be very annoying if viewed through a mobile phone and the blog has a lot of posts. Beside this is know by the regulars, only.
    I think some improvements were promised earlier. Up the Boro!
    **AV writes: The entire national Trinity Mirror digital system is being replaced as we speak. It is being ‘rolled out’ now but not sure exactly when it arrives in Gazettshire. And we will get a shiny new blogging platform “very soon”. Stick with it.

  9. AV –
    We all know about the embargo but what are cheeks for if not for storing tongues!
    Can’t wait for the new website, I just hope it isnt purely for getting even more junk to interfere with my poor old work lappie.
    I cant cope with reinstalling hundreds of pieces of bespoke software, downloaded patches to make websites work not that it is ever the host websites fault because it has never happened to anyone else before but they just happened to find this patch in a drawer that might be useful. Plus a myriad of other problems just so I can read the Gazette site. Oh, the pain of a new machine.

  10. You could not have wrote that script,… Oh but you did.
    Barnsley away Mido the pie fellow in place to give us a pasting.
    But if there are any easy games in this league I dont think the first month holds any fears for us.If we hit the ground running we should get off to a good start with these fixtures.
    Other games to look at an ex prem side at home on Boxing Day. Away to Leeds just before Xmas and finally away to The Owls on last day of the season could be very interesting depending on how things go.

  11. Barnsley & Mido away – blimey, good call from ‘Gypsy Rose Vickers’, would you mind sending me your lottery numbers AV? You have my e-mail address…..
    I’ve had a look at all 46 fixtures and to be blunt they all look easy to me! I fully expect Boro to out perform the team of ’74 and blow away the rest by New Year with a record Championship points score come May.

  12. Why are we talking about who we play when we don’t have a full squad yet….McDonald leaving? Emnes to Liverpool maybe? Can we keep hold of Williams, McMahon, zemmama etc….surely we should be looking to what team we can put out against the wandering Mido?
    It’s good that we have Leadbitter but we need at least another four players for us to be a force this season. Carayol? Ledesma? Friend? These players have been mentioned but still nothing on the signing scene…whats going on?

  13. Denny –
    We’re talking about the fixtures precisley because we dont have a full team yet, it fills a gap doesn’t it. Once we know who we’ve signed then we can talk about them! Not much point guessing about who we’re going to sign or who is going to leave before it happens.
    Emnes to Liverpool? Because the ex-Swansea manager wanted him at Swansea, I know Emnes is a good Championship player but he’s not good enough for a team which harbours top four aspirations.

  14. Well not quite as I thought, but having digested and looked through the fixtures, it is obvious to me that we are going down.
    Anything else will be a pleasant surprise.
    Come on Boro.

  15. Nigel –
    You want the lottery numbers for someone who chose to follow Boro!
    Anyway, I am winning. I didnt think I would win last week and was right, I think I will win this week so……
    Denny –
    As for Zemmama, didnt he disappear with a hissy fit?
    Ledesma has had more clubs than Mido, though I suspect Mido ate most of them especially the fruit ones. A little bit wary of pinning our hopes on an Argentinian with wander lust.
    At the moment I would like us to re sign Macca. One of our own.
    **AV writes: Yes, the Messi of the Midlands has had eight clubs in four years and hasn’t pinned down a place at any of them. The most he has played for any one of them has been the 20 games at Walsall… and that came in two spells. Hardly inspires confidence. That said, I don’t think he is being brought in as a starter, more as ‘a project’. Think of him as a replacement for Zemmama rather than for Robbo.

  16. And now for something completely different….
    This is prompted by the France v Ingerlund match. Cabaye commited a number of fouls without incurring the sanction of the officials.
    As a multi sport person I can remember the West Indies with a fearsone four pronged pace attack dominating England. They bowled 11-12 overs per hour ensuring plenty of rest for each other. In one match they bowled six bouncers an over around the wicket to Geoff Boycott until he eventually got caught off a glove. Rules have changed.
    The England rugby team were being subjected to abuse on a radio phone-in to radio 5 after beating Wales but being outscored three tries to one. That was until a Scot, Andy Nicholl said no, the Welsh were denying a potential seven points by cheating. Rules have changed
    I think back to a lucky 0-0 draw with Liverpool when Boat was sent off. They could easily have run away with the match but my abiding memory was that every time a Boro player had the ball the other side of a Liverpool player, notably Alonso, mascherano and Garcia, they baulked or tripped with a smile. Absolutely no chance of continuity.
    We should have lost but a point was deserved because I dislike systematic cheating. Meanwhile, in football, rules against cheats remain the same. None.
    **AV writes: There are some fantasticly revealing stats floating around the internet about Barcalona and the dark arts. Barca commit far more fouls against the opposition than they suffer themselves and the grouping shows a distinct pattern: they press high into the opposition half and play sublime football but as soon as they lose possession one of them commits a foul. That buys them time to fall back and regroup but because 1) they are so high up the pitch the foul is not seen as cynical of in a dangerous area so they are rarely booked; 2) they are such quality players with reputations as high art so are rarely booked; 3) the fouls are committed by the nearest player so are shared around and they are rarely booked; and 4) it is Barca so they are rarely booked.
    Cheats seldom prosper?

  17. The chances of Mido still being at Barnsley come August is remote to say the least so I wouldn’t worry about him.
    Interesting that we start away from Home and finish the Season away. The penultimate away game to Bolton at the Reebok could be a biggie!

  18. How many weeks did Wheater play in the EPL? And how many Ferraris has he earned while away from the Championshp before facing Boro? Up the Boro!
    **AV writes: I just hope he recovers and is fit enough to play Boro at some point.

  19. Read the article on the BBC news website detailing the psycological importance of home advantage, I bet Mogga has.

  20. Replacement for Zemmama? That doesn’t place the bar very high, does it? One good goal and a few brief run-outs hardly merits a year’s wages! If we are to develop “projects”, I’d prefer them to be our own – like Adam Reach etc.
    The problem is that we can probably not afford many “real” players – either in terms of transfer fee or in wages. Some very judicious transfer work is going to be required. Whether someone who has the provenance of the lad from Walsall is going to fit the bill is another question.
    There’s always the Euros, Wimbledon, the Open, the cricket, the Olympics etc to tide us over until August, and Boro’s football reappears. Could be a crowded summer.

  21. Poor old Platini. He doesnt like goal line technology and a couple of days ago was boasting about the success of his extra officials.
    Then along comes a goal not given with the official ten yards away on the goal line. Even worse England got the benefit of it. he will be choking on his croisant
    Throw in the fact that Bendnter was fined more for showing sponsored undies than all the fines for racist behaviour against federations added together and we truly are getting an organisation to rival Fifa.

  22. Off topic but I have just bought tickets for the team GB warm-up match for the family.
    I was told we would not be allowed to leave and re-enter the ground between matches, so if we get there just before 4, we would not be leaving until 9.30. Spending almost 6 hours at the riverside is not my idea of a good evening out.
    Seems a shame to arrive just for the men’s game as it would be a good opportunity to give both teams support and my daughter is more interested in the women’s game. Is there no way that MFC can organise themselves to let us out and back in again between the games?
    Surely two hours of me Mark Page and street dancing on the pitch in between games is enough to want me to never see the place again come the new season.
    **AV writes: I don’t think you can blame Boro for this one. They are just hosting a confused event with over-complicated ticketing designed by a convoluted amalgam of the FA and LOCOG. It’s taken them three weeks to fine-tune the pricing and agree the wording on the press release.

  23. It’s early in the season but I see we are already 16 places behind Barnsley and only a few places above the relegation trap door. Booooo!
    We must act before it’s too late:
    Steve Gibson should resign in favor of a Mexican drugs entrepreneur/ Re-sign Juninho/ Bring back Gareth Southgate/ Sign a 30 goal per season striker/ Get rid of Jason Steele/ Bring David Beckham and Ryan Giggs to the Riverside *
    *Delete whichever is unapplicable
    **AV writes: Well, at least one of your wish list may be delivered…

  24. Surely we are not bringing back Gareth Souhgate!
    Just reread Smogs post about three requests about fixtures to the FA. How about asking for three home games to be switched to away matches, preferably, East Midlands teams but not the one we musnt mention.
    26 away and 20 at home might see us in to the play offs. Save on policing costs both at the ground and at home. Keep the pitch in better condition.

  25. Could we have the three extra away games in and around the south-east please?
    Roy Hodgson has got England doing what numerous previous England managers have failed to do. The national team is now playing to its strengths, well organised, determined, strong team spirit and obstinate.
    England may or may not beat Italy, but Hodgsons management and style of play will maximise Englands chances of winning the quarter final match.

  26. Nigel –
    Clive will be posting that the extra games should be in the North West, John will be adding his support to your suggestion, I know that Peterboroughangel will back the East Midlands.
    Maybe one in each area would be a good compromise.
    I notice Septic Bladder has wasted no time sticking the boot, albeit indirectly, in to the Poison Dwarf about goal line technology or GLT as it is now known (I was always told never to use TLA’s because they are jargon). To be fair to Septic he has been moving in the direction of goal line technology.
    On to more important matters. We hear rumours about McManus to Bristol, Hoyte to Charlton, us linked to sundry bit part lower league nomads (underwhelmed of Mickleover here) but nothing about Macca.
    Any hints of other offers for him or what he is thinking? In my mind he is an important link between the club and the fans. He is one of the few remaining youth team players from that succesful era. A classic Teessider.
    You can answer in confidence of course, I wont tell anyone else.
    **AV writes: He was made an offer and is considering it. He is away on honeymoon right now but is back next week so expect developments then. He is keen to stay.
    His case is an object lesson on how the market is toughening up. He was first made an offer last summer/early last season as he moved into the final year of his deal and turned it down thinking he would have several clubs interested and he would be in a strong position. His agent started sniffing around. I think he hoped Boro would improve their offer. The club didn’t move and no other club has come in, probably because although the Boro proposal is a hefty pay cut for him, it is still well above the divisional average for a right-back.
    The danger he faces is that when he turned the club’s initial offer Mogga started looking for a right back. He may now have lined up one he prefers to Macca. And one who would be a lot cheaper. McMahon really needs to move quickly before the manager moves on. The wage budget is strictly allocated now. In the supermarket phrase, once it’s gone, it’s gone.

  27. Swansea bid £3m for Emnes according to SSN. I thought he was very disappointing in the second half of the season but also think this bid is £2m light. Thoughts anyone?

  28. The Portugal team have a player with the perfect name for a holding midfielder – Custodio. Brilliant!
    **AV writes: The idea that people develop characteristics or go into jobs that reflect their name is called ‘nominative determinism.’ My favourite is rubbish lower league French keeper Willie Guerrette.

  29. Lazy journalism at its best. Must be hard in the geordies and mackams shadow,though you should be used to it.
    kloonsy, barnsley fan,, from barnsley (really is in YORKSHIRE)

  30. JMc –
    Emnes £3m? The club might be happy with that, I guess he wont be on a huge salary but probably more than the club want to pay. Throw in getting money in for him and that could be tempting for the finances.
    His form was better away from home and certainly dipped second half but that was the same for many. If he went who would score?
    **AV writes: We have an update on the Emnes situation plus quotes from Swansea on it in today’s paper. It has not unfolded quite as Sky and some papers have suggested. More later.

  31. Jmc wrote “Swansea bid £3m for Emnes according to SSN…”.
    The Northern Echo and the BBC are reporting that was actually the offer that Swansea made at the back end of last season that was rebuffed. Swansea have denied making any further approach. Anyway, since then, Swansea have lost the manager that knows Emnes and only just got a new one in the door.
    Emnes did have some injury problems in the second half of last season and that might have had a lot to do with his form. Also, we brought in the Juke in January so with everyone fully fit to start the new season we can hope that Emnes and Juke will have learned to play with and benefit from each other.
    **AV writes: And Mogga insists he is under no pressure to sell.

  32. As you say, the Emnes story slightly different to how Sky potrayed it. What can you expect when David Craig is away doing Sky coverage at Royal Ascot. He was never a looker and top hat and tails dont do him any favours.
    To be fair I dont look great in a Mankini.

  33. Mido is a lucky man indeed, to be handed a two year deal from Barnsley, with his track record. Foolhardy small club in yorkshire … or a stroke of genius? We may find out by 1700hrs on Sat 18th August! What do you think AV?
    **AV writes: Bargepole job. There is nothing whatsoever in his track record to suggest he can knuckle down, get fit and be motivated enough to stay the course at any club, let alone an archetypal second tier provincial one.
    I feel sorry for Barnsley fans. Right now they’ll be salivating over his YouTube clips – and ignoring the screaming indictment of his stats – and calling Boro fans (and Spurs, Ajax, West Ham, Roma, Zamalek etc fans) bitter for slating him. He is probably the biggest name player they have ever signed and they will be telling themselves an in-form Mido can tear up the Championship.
    But soon the Roller will be parked in the chairman’s space and he will be dismissing his team-mates with a waft of his hand. He’ll be be changing tactics mid-game and demanding to be manager before August is out. Then will come the arguments, the refusal to accept direction, the strops, the injuries, the ‘no-one understands me’ statements in the Egyptian press. Stop me if you’ve heard this one before.
    I give it until January.

  34. memo from the boss:
    I was raised out of steel here on the banks of the Tees, some misty years ago
    Through the mud and the beer, and the blood and the cheers, I’ve seen champions come and go
    So if you got the guts mister, yeah if you’ve got the balls
    If you think it’s your time, then step to the line, and bring on your wrecking ball
    Now my home is here at the Riverside, where Mogga has the reigns
    Here where the blood is spilled, the arena’s filled, and Giants play the game
    So raise up your glasses and let me hear your voices call
    Come on!
    Because tonight all the dead are here, so bring on your wrecking ball
    One, two, one two three four Nil!!!
    Yeah we know that come tomorrow, none of this will be here
    So hold tight on your anger
    Hold tight on your anger
    Hold tight to your anger, and don’t fall to your fear
    Now when all this steel and these stories, get absorbed in pity
    And all our youth and beauty, been given to Man City
    And your game has been decided, and you’re burning the clock down
    And all our little victories and glories, have turned into Housing Estates
    When your best hopes and desires, are scattered through the wind
    And hard times come, hard times go
    Hard times come, hard times go
    And hard times come, hard times go
    Hard times come, hard times go
    Hard times come, hard times go
    Yeah just to come again
    Bring on your Championship football
    Bring on your Championship football
    Come on and take your best shot, let me see what you’ve got
    Bring on your Championship football
    Bring it on!
    **AV writes: Very good. Although I prefer the old stuff like ‘The Wild, The Impotent And the East Stand Grumble.’

  35. The Sphinx:
    The problem with our ex Greggsmeister is the fact that when he starts with a new club he does quite well. It is only a month (or week) or two later that he reverts to type.
    I will give an example from another sport. We were playing Pakistan at cricket in a Test match and they took three or four England wickets from no balls. Someone tipped the umpires the the wink and, eagle eyed, they denied a couple the next day. Lesson learnt so well done.
    The only problem was that England were bowling!
    We will be correct in our view of Midough but one suspects it will be after he has played against us.

  36. AV –
    I’m sorry but I reckon a lot of your diatribe against Mido is either fanciful or inaccurate. He is a very easy target.
    I remember Mido making a great start for Boro and not quite living up to that start. I always got the impression he gave 100%. When he made his return after injury v Sheff U people were slagging off his size etc on radio but when I got to the game he was our best player and his size was exaggerated.
    Obviously his record indicates that he does have problems….but I would have thought Gareth must have been aware of this and convinced himself and Gibbo that he could ‘handle’ him, something he failed to do miserably. Boro were always better with Mido in the team and I think Gareth made big mistakes with his treatment of Mido amongst many others. Mido is a good player who needs careful handling and we will need to be on our guard against Barnsley in August.
    **AV writes: Mido always makes a good start. Look at his stats for the first six games at any one of his first six or so clubs. After that he tails off quite markedly. Far bigger, better and more successful managers than Gareth Southgate have failed to handle Mido. There’s a reason for that that lies with the player himself.

  37. Smogonthetyne looking FAB in a Mankini said:
    memo from the boss
    Great stuff mate. The boss was in good form at the tinpot Stadium Of Light on Thursday wasn’t he?
    And AV, great pertinent comments on Mido in reply to my post. I’m sure we will be commenting along those lines as the season progresses!

  38. Mido…. when we signed him I was on a cruise around Greece and our waiter was Egyptian, didnt check out his dancing. He was a great bloke and made the comment that Mido is so rich he gets bored quite quickly.
    I saw the Sphinx later on a trip to Cairo and he had a Greggs sausage roll in its hand and bore a passing resemblance to a certain footballer. Big and hardly moving.
    When the Egyptians had their recent uprising they had miltants on street corners in Zamalek. Political journos thought it was to keep out opposition supporters but we know better.
    A hugely talented player but wasted but not away.
    On to another topic. I am watching bits of Spain and France. The perceived wisdom is that France are being over cautious. Spain drop their striker and France are being cautious?
    It reminds me of Wengers view that people were not playing the game properly because they were not playing 4-4-2 so that their 4-5.5-0.5 could pass you to death in midfield.
    I dont really care who wins, ideally both losing and Germany being disqualified would do, but am I missing something?
    PS Spains passing is mesmeric but it appears to be a bit like Barca’s divine right to foul as AV highlighted.

  39. Maybe it’s better that England’s Euro effort ends this way? After all, getting through the Group was par for the course, along with getting knocked out by the first decent team they meet in the knock-out stages. Admittedly winning the group would be regarded as a bonus, but it ended as expected in any event.
    Had England finished 2nd in the group they, instead of France, would have met Germany (gulp!). Winning the group meant a game against “beatable” Italy. It turned out that both England and France lost their games anyway.
    Was there any realistic chance that England could have beaten Italy, then gone on to beat Germany, and THEN gone on to beat the winner of Spain/Portugal? England might be able to win the odd game against decent opposition, but they are hardly likely to beat a series of good sides, one after the other. Tournament success requires a consistent run of wins against top opposition.
    England is the sort of team the TOP teams beat on their way to tournament success. They will usually make it hard against decent teams. They will usually offer some opposition, and will not often be hammered by the top teams, but neither will they regularly BEAT a succession of top teams.
    In boxing terms, they may find themselves in the ring against the Champion. They will be given the title chance by the Champion’s connections because there is confidence that the Champ will retain his title. They may put up a show, even threaten a little, until the Champion’s class shows through.
    Or, put another way: Tim Henman was a very good tennis player. He was ranked as high as 4 in the world at his best and even won some tour titles, but in the Grand Slam events he reached six semi-finals without winning any of them – always coming up against one of the Big Boys, a Nadal or a Federer or even an Ivanisovic. He usually beat the little guys, but wasn’t good enough to beat the succession of Big Boys needed to win the Grand Slam events. Like England.
    Will the international equivalent of the foam-handed supporters please now calm down and smell the coffee?

  40. The summer continues with its familiar rituals in place.
    The only decent Brit goes out of the French Open Tennis, Rain interupts cricket, McClaren have a dodgy pit stop, England get knocked out in the quarter finals of a tournament.
    Up comes Wimbledon followed by more test cricket and the Open and that thing in London.
    At last some friendlies to disect for signs for the upcoming season.
    Then August with its start to its season.
    I enjoy most sports but it is boring without Boro.
    **AV writes: There are OTHER sports?

  41. Ian Gill said: “McClaren have a dodgy pit stop.” Our ex-manager is stopping for a pee but where?
    There are some other sports (Finnish driver Kimi Räikkönen finished second well before any McLaren drivers) but I, too miss Boro as it is boring without Boro. Any transfer news yet,AV?
    Up the Boro!

  42. Well England predictably lost in the quarters again – well I say predictably but it seems between somehow winning a weak group and playing Italy the hype-machine was turned up to 11 and apparently sane people were predicting lifting the trophy.
    The post-mortem argument is now declaring english players are unable to pass a football amongst themselves due to ‘cultural’ reasons – or did they mean agricultural reasons?
    I can see no reason why footballers who are deemed to be worth being paid several million pounds per year by their clubs are unable to pass a football – I’m sure if they weren’t able to pass a football they would be playing in the Championship instead and earning only a salary equivalent to that of the prime minister.
    Anyway, I doubt if Roy Hodgson will pick a team on form and merit who will then be given the time by the media and fans to develop such a game that can tactically delivers the goods. Also where was the improvement under the six million pound italian genius that tried before ‘Highly Respected’ Roy got his chance?
    Let’s face it, nothing changes with the England circus – it’s still about believing the same old players will magically play with intelligence and skill and beat the world at the game we invented – afterall, we’ve got the best league in the world and …hang on a minute I think some of the best PL players might not be english – so it must be the fault of those foreign owners and their foreign managers not picking our brilliant English youngsters – damn those pesky foreigners, they’re ruining our game!
    Never mind, at least my German driving licence entitles me to support a decent team for another week.

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