Boro In Credit After Curtain-Raiser

TONY Mowbray’s new look Boro boosted their credit rating with a comfortable curtain-raising 2-1 win at Bury in the Capital One Cup.
The boss started with the bulk of his new signings: Woody making his second bow, George Friend at left-back, parmo-powered flanker Mustapha Carayol on the left, midfield schemer Grant Leadbitter taking centre stage in a new look engine room and Argentinian forward Emmanel Ledesma up front. Justin Hoyte was at right back with only Stuart Parnaby of the new boys not on show. He’s injured. Insert your own cynical comment here.
All the new boys showed positives in flashes. Friend had a rocky start but grew into the game in the second half; Woody was classy when needed but was rarely stretched; Carayol was the pick in the first half with bursts of penetrating pace down both flanks and the pass of the game (a slotted defence splitter for Hoyte) before going off as a precaution; Ledesma was frustrating at times as he held onto the ball too long or failed to pick out better placed team-mates… but he scored on his debut and had a couple of other good efforts; and Leadbitter was perhaps the pick of the bunch over the full 90 with plenty of movement on and off the ball, drive and energy in midfield and good ball retention and link up play.
The kids looked good too. Luke Williams and Adam Reach both injected pace and attacking intent when they came on. Plenty of boxes were ticked.
Of course it wasn’t a complete performance. It was stuttering at times and having seemingly sealedi it with a second goal they suffered a familiar wobble, leaked a goal from a sloppily defended corner and then had a shapeless spell. But they held on, settled down and finished with a long spell of dominant possession that probably deserved a more emphatic scoreline.
But hey, job done. A potentially tricky cup obstacle has been passed, Boro are in the draw for the next round and in good shape ready when the real business begins at Barnsley next week.

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40 thoughts on “Boro In Credit After Curtain-Raiser

  1. Nice gig for the Boro. As satisfying a pipe-opener to the season as I can remember. Lovely day. Shirt-sleeved crowd. A game that always held the interest. A good opposition who tried to play football and contained one or two obligatory hard men.
    But above all a Boro starting line-up that contained five new faces from last season, and in the second half an extended run out for two of our most promising youngsters. And rounded off with a satisfying win.
    The greatest tribute that one could pay to Mogga and the team is that this did not look like a side that would be taking some time to bed in. The efficient away-day organisation familiar from last season was there from the start, whilst Carayol,in particular, literally hit the ground running. What a prospect this lad looks on first viewing. Fast, elusive and giving us the width that was so sorely lacking last season, he could just be the one to get the Riverside crowds back and on their feet. On this evidence he will do so pretty quickly.
    Ledbitter looked a very solid acquisition in mid-field, always available, linking well and solid in the tackle. It was a combination of his strength and awareness that presented Emnes with the opportunity for his long range picture goal which gave us the lead.
    Ledesma looked interesting,too, Good pace,nice touches and a well taken goal. He looked to me to be a player with similar strengths and weaknesses to Emnes, Plenty of skill, but with a tendency to flit in and out of the game. If there was a weakness which has persisted from last season it lay in a failure of the front runners to keep hold of the ball under physical pressure.
    Friend had a less satisfactory debut. Physically he looks the part, and it will be an improvement on last season to have his kind of height in defending the back post . But Bury’s busy winger,Worrall, gave him quite a few uncomfortable moments.
    Woodgate looked slimline fit and played as we all hoped he would. Another definite plus. As if all of these new goodies were not enough, the kids brought on for the second half were the cherries on top of the icing. Williams Junior was our most progressive player in the second half. Where most were content to play the ball sideways and backwards in the second period in order to retain the ball, Williams was always looking to go forward and hurt the opposition. He looks a great prospect to me. As does Reach, an elegant young footballer with an imposing physical presence.
    Mogga is shrewd in bringing his kids on incrementally rather than putting them under too much pressure too early. I suspect we will see a lot of them this season principally as talented and energetic subs.
    Concerns? An oddity in the line-up, with Thommo playing in front of the back four and Bailey playing on the right wing. Bailey did well enough, but his general awareness of danger and ability to snuff it out at the back was missed from the outset when our stoppers found themselves exposed in the opening minutes.
    And our concession of a goal direct from a corner transformed the game from one in which we were in total command to one in which Bury were genuinely back in the game. A thoroughly enjoyable and meaningful game, then, which has more than whetted the appetite for the new season. A nice Gigg.

  2. Any away win in a cup competition is a good result, even better if it is the last ‘pre season’ game.
    Some things remain constant. I tried to complete the website survey again with the same result – IE couldnt display the page, when I tried to post the submission failed because name and email address required (they were entered you doubters) and Boro concede a sloppy goal.
    Set up for a decent start to the season.

  3. Good start, yet no more than we all expected. Lets hope we get off to a flyer in the league where it matters.
    The squad looks well balanced with maybe a couple more ins and outs then we should be ready for a long season hopefully finishing on a high with promotion.
    The young guys coming off the bench was a pleasing aspect of the game. Using them as impact players can have a big impact this season
    The choice of Rhys Williams for Captain was surprising with Woodgate,Thompson and Leadbitter far more experienced captains in the team yet Tony opted for a very popular youngster from our youth system who can become the captain who leads us back to the premier league.
    Another surprise has been the news that Toney wants to take a gamble on a Chelsea kid loanee. Wow. With Chelsea apparently insisting in the loan terms are that he gets game time. It baffles me where he will play and what an impact a cocky overpaid
    Cockney kid will have on team spirit as he jumps in front of Arca, Smallwood etc
    Why turn down Correa a proven European experienced top Brazilian midfielder and
    Dudu a fantastic up and coming Brazilian midfield talent then pick a short-term gamble who failed to make an impact at Swansea? Beggars belief actually.
    I seem to remember a similar situation last season with a Man City youngster Tony gambled on and came up bust. We already have Scott McDonald, a spoiler in the camp who is a real problem and Justin Hoyte a boo boys favorite.
    So yes in Mogga we trust, however some times it’s difficult to understand
    Your thoughts on the Chelsea Kid A.V?
    **AV writes: I don’t know a lot about him but the tame office Chelsea fan (we have to have one under barmy Brussells workplace rules) says he is very promising, mature and popular within the club. He has just signed a new five year deal so they clearly see him as having a future there. He is a creative player with a reported ability to play a ball to unlock a defence. Do we need one of them? If the numbers add up, why not?

  4. len masterman –
    Top post. Nice you were happy with the start Boro made. And impressed with the new players and kids.
    I would like to add one thing, though. Higgy’s man of the match a certain Kevin Thomson. Higgy said tommo did not made a single error in passing. He is a like a new signing to Boro and raring to go after a proper pre-season under his belt. If fit he could be the best midfielder in the championship this season.
    Very good start. Let’s continue even better at Mido-less Barnsley, where the former parmo-powered hit-man is injured for three months. Up the Boro!

  5. Len –
    Interesting read, the only minor query would be the handling of the kids last season.
    I know there were only five subs on the bench but if you dont have a keeper there were opportunities where the likes of Reach or Park could have featured.
    We went weeks with the same retreads sitting on the bench, largely unused. we may as well have given some of the kids a little bit of exposure. It did seem to be an ‘only if I signed them’ approach.
    Smallwood and Main at least played with energy once they did get some game time. A bit of exposure for some of the others could have proved beneficial this season.
    It is ironic that Stricken who gave Smallwood, Williams and Franks chances ‘hated’ the kids and Mogga who ignored them is handling them shrewdly.

  6. It looks like Scotty is being squeezed out. I think he is a clever footballer but just doesnt do it in front of goal. Throw in Mogga’s comments about wanting experience up front, maybe signing someone before the window closes allied to Scotty’s likely wages and the future doesnt look rosey.
    Shortly we will get ‘can’t guarantee him a place’, he ‘needs to be playing games’, ‘international aspirations’ etc.
    Oddly the little aussie theoretically suits Mogga’s alleged style. I would rather have him in the team than Juke who doesnt impress with his speed, control, distribution or his finishing. Other than that Juke is a good striker.
    People talk about Fuller and Miller. Ricardo is fine but I would almost rather have Lee (Joking) than Ishmael who strikes me as a very much inferior Saha, 19 goals in 120 games is not much of a career to date at his age. That is Caleb Folanesque.
    At least Scotty has scored 25 in 84 for Boro.
    All three are prone to injury. I supect Miller would be the cheapest by some distance.
    I think the bottom line is precisely that.

  7. I enjoyed the game, and was particularly impressed with the performances of Carayol, Ledesma, Reach and Luke Williams. Wow – pace and creativity!! Players running at defenders! More, please!
    This was a good work-out. But let’s not get too carried away yet. We need to see how well we fare in the white-hot rigours of the Champo.
    I saw you in the luxurious Gigg Lane press-box, AV. You were sitting close to Ali Brownlee, who looked remarkably fit following his Olympic triathlon win!
    **AV writes: Yes, podium-wise I was bronze to his gold.

  8. AV –
    A cup match just pre season, plenty of transfer activity, first league match days away, thread posted on the evening of the match.
    Two days later and seven posts, three from me.
    **AV writes: Yes, I know. Is there a problem posting?

  9. AV –
    I have just had the one I mentioned earlier.
    I still go through the rigmarole of coming on the blog, clicking the comments box to bring up the blog in a new window, write my post and copy it before submitting.
    I cant see that putting off regular posters and they cant all be on holidays. Must be national apathy week.
    **AV writes: I thought I’d have got more nostalgia/reaction to the one last week on historic crowd levels. Never mind. Quality not quantity.
    I think everyone is sat watching reruns of the dancing horses and Dutch lasses playing bikini volleyball and working through their Olympics cold turkey.
    I was going to do a bit on how the broadsheet chatterati have won a gold for sickening hypocrisy in the aftermath of the games: people who don’t really like or understand sport but enjoyed the party now trying to make demands on institutions they spend the other 50 weeks of the year denigrating.
    These Ivory Tower elitists have spent years backing cuts in leisure services, local grassroots sport facilities and state education saying we have to make tough choices and we can’t afford such trivia as fully funded comprehensive coaching in primary schools or budgets for specialist PE teachers – now they are saying it was worth every penny of the £9billion to throw a party and are demanding more spending on sport. And sneering as if the public WANTED to cut back in the first place.
    They have gushed over the BBC’s excellent coverage and lauded the ability of the whole country to share in the spectacle – but they work for papers owned by people who would have the next Games on pay TV given half a chance. They have spent a decade monstering the Beeb’s ‘waste’ on minority interest programming and now they demand the return of Grandstand showing taekwando and kayaking. Give them six months and they’ll be back trying to break the BBC up again.
    And the politicians are fawning over the games now while driving through cuts in the Sports For All programme and the two hour per week stipulation and cuts in schools funding that support dedicated PE teaching. Gold medals all round.
    The real Olympic Legacy in Teesside will be the closure of Clairville, Acklam Sports Centre and countless small community sports clubs who have had their meagre funding cut. Most of our Olympic heroes have had to leave home because there are no adequate facilities for them to hone their skills. And it will get worse, not better.
    Meanwhile the broadsheet worthies are taking the opportunity to use a moment of sporting excellence to put the boot in on football, comparing our shiny heroic athletes to the grubby millionaires. As they always do. They hate our slum sport and the working class who follow it. They hate that they can’t stake an intellectual claim to the biggest mass cultural force in the country. They hate that it is beyond their ken and beyond their control and they won’t miss an open goal like that to try to undermine it. Oh no. Horrible, sneering toffs with agendas.
    They can’t just enjoy the spectacle, they have to use it to attack another sport and hope it leads to the end of the football juggernaut. As they did with the Rugby World Cup and the Ashes. Ad nauseum. Football isn’t a fashion they can bring to an end with a sneer in the op-ed pages. It just shows they don’t understand sport.
    They don’t understand that the Olympics, like Wimbledon, is a short term novelty event, not an ingrained cultural commitment. It is a spectacle. A moment. A collective entity. It can’t be reproduced. It will not make crowds flock to rowing or dressage. In six weeks time the leaderwriters in the posh papers won’t be able to remember the names of these medal winners outside Ennis, Mo and Sir Chris and the elite handful.
    Let’s see if they are supporting althletics and cycling and swimming and the need for a sporting legacy when the next budget comes around.

  10. Is Clairville definitely closing then? I had no idea,living away from Teesside. Many happy memories going there as a kid in the 60’s – using the track, gymnastics etc. Also went there to see a Wilf Mannion testimonial, still got the prog somewhere.
    **AV writes: It’s not closed yet. We are going through a “consultation” exercise. But with the council being fored to make £190m in cuts there isn’t the money to repair it, staff it or maintain it – and a host of other sports facilities – adequately. There is an on-going process where various facilities are forced to compete, offering to make cost savings (wages usually) and squabbling over their jobs and services with picking holes in the cases of other equally valuable institutions and the ones where there is the least political fall-out get closed. It is the veneer of ‘choice.’

  11. I enjoyed the Olympics too AV! but looking forward to BAU with the Boro, just too maxed out to find time to post Ian, but reading all with interest.
    I was away when AV added the bit about average crowds. Stats. Now that’s something I usually can find time to play with and post about. Did you try taking out the “blips” up and down to see if the average was any highter or lower … doesn’t matter anyway really, because whenever I’ve looked at the numbers, then more or less you are spot on. We are getting crowds around the level we would expect.
    I’m, hopeful that the home fare will be better this time round after the re-modelling of the squad. It looks like it should be. If it is more entertaining and getting the results, then I guess our average crowd will go up. We will not get the regular 30k+ crowds unless we ever get regular good quality entertainment, coupled with consistent relative success (upper third or quarter of top flight and an occasional cup final) all coinciding with an era of economic prosperity.
    Nothing to back that up just now, but just my instinctive thoughts about it.
    Re Barnsley sites prediction we are in for a disappointing mid-table finsh and that they reckon we are a good match for them on day one ….. hahahahahahaha.
    We will finish top 5, and I do thik there is a good chance of automatic promotion. I’ll go along with that option (who was it?): Top or First, but won’t be upset if ends up being Second. Good feeling about this season.
    I think Bolton will struggle to adjust, but may be there or there abouts towards the end of the season, so long as their adjustment doesn’t take too long. Otherwise, not worried about any of the opposition this year.

  12. Mogga is obviously trying to point McDonald in the direction of the exit door, he must be fuming that he turned down those offers to the Middle East earlier in the summer, but of course that’s his prerogative. I guess if he’s still here in September, he’ll be re-introduced to the squad.
    He’s clearly a talented player but he misses far too many chances.

  13. Excellent and very impassioned response above re the Olympics reaction and the attendant hypocrisy, AV. I agree entirely.
    I work in Education. What the current Government is doing to the system is nothing short of scandalous – they are genuinely seeking to get every school to break away from local authority control, for example, and they constantly hammer schools and teachers despite the fact that the great majority do a good job.
    And don’t get me started on school sport – how our beloved PM has the gall to come out after the Olympics and say that all primary schools must do competitive sport absolutely infuriates me. His Government has cut all the school sports subsidies, including the excellent School Sports Coordinators’ roles, to the bare minimum. Gnash, gnash.

  14. Well back from three weeks of holiday – a cultural visit to the north-east for the young lad with days out at saltburn, whitby and scarborough beaches as well as a trip to Stewart(s?) park – followed by a week at the East Sea or Baltic as the english call it.
    Though the return of football seems a bit too early after the Euros and Olympics – I could have done with another week to get prepared now the weather is hot again – but I can’t disagree with those ‘broadsheet toffs’ you mention AV who compare the professionalism of athletes against that of the fickle footballers earning millions for occasionally being fit and on form.
    Part of the Olympics was quite exciting but still a huge ridiculous waste of money for a couple of weeks sport – I doubt it will lead to increased uptake in sport nor proper regeneration. Also just seeing the poor facilities at the several seaside resorts we visited (a complete joke, no showers on the beach or toilets) and run down crumbling promenades – it’s a national disgrace that a fraction of the Olympic cash would have given these towns a massive economic boost.
    Anyway, don’t really know what to expect from Boro this season – most of the arrivals are mainly just names who I wouldn’t have heard of six months ago. Do we have enough quality to make the top six? Perhaps, but still nothing up front to rely on putting the ball in the net – and some fingers crossed they don’t get injured players in key positions.
    Interesting to see Thomson back in the mix – does that leave Bailey on the bench? – but glad to see Luke Williams and Adam Reach being given their chance along with Curtis Main, surely better long term prospects for the club. Well let’s hope the new signings make names for themselves rather than fade into obscurity.
    OK, whilst I’m in a good mood I’ll predict fourth spot for Boro – that’s seven places higher than that Barnsley bloke – I’d go higher if we sign a goal scorer.
    BTW AV didn’t you promise us a new bells and whistles blog for the new season? thankfully the back button on my browser just saved me from losing the whole post as my personal info didn’t save
    **AV writes: The new system is “being rolled out” now. I’m not sure where the Gazette are in the queue. I’m told it shouldn’t be too long though.

  15. AV –
    I only wondered where the posters were, I wish I had never mentioned the subject!
    They are probably cowering under their computer tables to try and avoid the fall out.

  16. In response to the lack of activity on here, I can only speak for myself but I still feel a bit of a hangover from the end of last season, hopefully the players don’t.

  17. Up here in Scotland, McDonald is seen as Celtic bound if and when Gary Hooper’s mooted move to Fulham goes through.
    **AV writes: I heard that rumour. He may have to take a pay cut but may see it as a better option long term than being benched at Boro. We’ll see. Just speculation for now.

  18. I saw Hooper of Celtic at Helsinki last week. If I were a Celtic fan I would see McDonald at least two times better player than Hooper. So makes sense for Celtic – but can we afford to loose him. He’s been quite prolific for us.
    But I bet Mogga has saved all his money this summer for a WOW striker. He needs to – as gHW must get out of the shed …
    Anyway, I am happy Castelen is back at Boro. AV tweeted he played today in a behind-the-doors match at Rockliffe. We need cover on the right. Up the Boro!

  19. BamBam –
    As far as I am concerned I am a Yorkshireman, I was born in Middlesbrough which was part of Yorkshire at the time. No matter how many coats of paint they put on the buses to reflect sundry name changes, Middlesbrough will always be part of Yorkshire.
    We are lucky to have dual nationality as Teessiders as well. Many will disagree with my view and I fully respect their right to be wrong.
    I grew up with the likes of Trueman, Close, Boycott, Illingworth as heroes. When I went to School the Old brothers were there. Players from the rugby and cricket teams played for Yorkshire.
    It is still called the NYSD cricket league and no matter what anyone says I am proud of my dual nationality. Oddly I didnt like the West Riding but at least they were not Geordies, Mackems, Lancastrians or Southerners.
    Back to football and how about a League Cup final followed by promotion?

  20. Can’t agree with the Toff comments. I just don’t understand why Rackets, Polo, Eton Fives, Rugby Fives, Croquet and Real Tennis weren’t part of the Olympic Games. A shed load of medals to be won there!
    And for the sake of a day or two, we could have had grouse shooting as well. A good excuse to share the Olympics around – maybe the NY Moors or the Grampians – and we could then eat the results.
    #wastedopportunity (as they say in Twitter land).

  21. The Olympics was the tropical island summer holiday I could never afford. I loved every BBC 3 – iPlayer second of it. And that is exactly how it feels: I have had a holiday romance with my first love and now find myself back home with the bills to pay. The BBC – i love the BBC – Barry Davies is a god.
    My only negative memory is that Men’s football should never, ever darken its doors again. The Olympics should attract the best, not the available.
    The attendance problem at the Riverside is a complex issue beyond me; it is the complex chemistry between, economics, Boro’s performance, League context, town and club relationship, demographics and the elusive catalyst, the buzz, the x-factor.
    We will have 20k if we perform / win at home and are in the top 3. We will never have regular 30K again, not in your life time AV.
    BTW – this blog makes not having a season ticket bearable – Thank You.
    **AV writes: That mens’ football being rubbish thing only applies to the box-ticking exercise and artificial construct of Team GB. For the rest it WAS the best available for an Under-23 competition that they took very seriously indeed. Look at Brazil. That was a serious team.
    I went to see Japan v Morocco and Honduras v Spain at Newcastle and they were both great games, full of passion and drama. All four were up for it. Most enjoyable. (That said, the best game of both events was Canada v USA women. Brilliant!)

  22. Ian Gill –
    Absolutely respect what you’ve said. I was born in Darlington, County Durham and my first tasting of Boro was just as Robson was taking the reins. My opinion is that we are the enlightened buffer zone between Yorkshire and the Geordies!
    My flippancy was that on the link the Barnsley chap was inferring that we think we are above ourselves with our Premiership past and claimed ‘local’ derbies against Newcastle. (Which is more a convenient pigeon hole analysis from Sky commentators).
    Anyway, just my opinion and proud Darlo immigrant to the Republic of Teesside!
    UTB
    **AV writes: At risk of annoying old people with cricketing allegiances, I am a Teessider. Our only coherent political and economic relationship is along both banks of the River. That’s why our symbol is a bridge. The Ancient map of the Ridings is sentimental nonsense and as relevant as Danelaw. Middlesbrough grew up as the unloved, unwanted bastard child of the industrial revolution right on the far fringes of a dusty map and forged its own identity. We may have grown up just inside the dotted line but we are not beholden to it. We are not of them.
    There was a time when Middlesbrough’s hinterland was firmly in Yorkshire but that is long gone. Middlesbrough was moved 30 miles north politically 40 years ago with the local boundaries rejig and that realignment was cemented culturally when we started to get TyneTees TV instead of Yorkshire (around the time we stopped putting two bob bits in the slot in the telly). We are Teesside now.

  23. Talking of higly-tuned professional athletes, I just noticed Mido ruptured his hamstring last week and will miss the opener along with the next three months.
    So McDonald looks like heading back to Celtic – I guess they must be guaranteed winning the league for the next three years and are currently 1/33 odds on favourites – bit of a joke really, why bother?
    Does Mac’s exit mean room for a new striker? hopefully so – though not another 1-in-6 journeyman please!

  24. Took a rare visit to the Sun newspaper. Must be bored. Anyway, Kammy was predicting who would do what in the Championship.
    He has us 5th… fair enough. Leeds 1 Blackburn 2 and Bolton 3 no fourth. Well it is Kammy or maybe that team will go bang before the end of the season. He has the Trees down for relegation.

  25. BamBam –
    My comments equally had tongue firmly in cheek.
    AV –
    Good to see I prompted some debate about Yorkshire or not. Just because you were not brought up in the Yorkshire era doesnt invalidate the views of those who were. It is a bit like telling the Catalans not to hate Madrid.
    Tyne Tees TV – rowlocks, it seemed Tyne Wear when I was growing up. Occasionally they would nod in our direction. Same as Yorkshire TV but some seasons we got more coverage on that than Tyne Wear TV. That was lucky as I went to Uni in Leeds though I could just as easily gone to Manchester or Newcastle.
    Originally it was Granada that covered the whole of northern England. We have always been a border area with heathens to the north.
    Teesside is its own entity but because of my background I cannot stop being a Yorkshireman as well as a Teessider though it is Middlesbrough foremost. Dont forget there were very few buses crossing the Tees, I was in my twenties before I really found out much about the other half of Teesside.
    It was Dorman Long and ICI Wilton, oh, and Billingham was over there.
    I certainly dont feel any links to Sunderland or Newcastle, days out meant North Yorkshire not Northumberland. It meant North Yorks Moors, Whitby, Scarborough and York not Newcastle and Seaburn.
    Oddly I love that other border town, Berwick on Tweed, because I spent a lot of my summers there but the journey to it was through an accursed waste land.
    We are not North Korea, I am allowed to be who I want.

  26. timfromsa –
    As you said no team at fourth in Kammy’s predictions but two teams at 11th. So I think Cardiff was number 4 and Charlton 11th. I bet Boro will finish above Leeds. Kammy should know or ask his pal, Gibbo. Up the Boro!
    **AV writes: Angry Kamara insists he had nothing to do with the predictions and claims he has “been stitched up.”

  27. I’m old enough to remember when the Gazette styled it Tees-side and the team ‘Borough. Not sure when either changed but it was long before Tyne Tees TV arrived. This area has always been termed Teesside as a form of short-hand for what is otherwise a very long and complicated explanation to strangers as to where, what and who we are. (And I’m from Thornaby which is even more mixed up!)

  28. If your going to make the argument that the ‘only coherent political and economic relationship is along both banks of the River’ then where do you draw a line? Surely that makes Barnard Castle part of Teesside?
    Teesside is just another failed rebranding to group an area together, as was Cleveland, with a group of local authorities that don’t even work in Unison, and thereby fail the test of working together collectively for an area. It doesn’t even exist on a map
    The fact remains that the river boundary is probably the most effective measure, and for a lot of people this is what they consider to be the boundary. None of my mother’s family who are from Stockton consider themselves from Teesside, but from Durham. The old ceremonial boundaries were reintroduced in the 90’s and it is probablyonly a matter of time before the county boundaries are re-instated, especially in a time of service sharing and constitiuency changes.
    This mentality of us against the world that you’re peddeling does the area a diservice. Take the chip of your shoulder.
    **AV writes: When the Gazette did an identity survey last year – 2,000 plus people, through a third party specialist organisation , right across our circulation area and right across the demographic – the overwhelming view was that people regarded this area as being “Teesside.” And that makes sense. (There was a slight age bias, with older people tending slightly to the old County names.)
    But Teesside was found to be popular, widespread and deeply engrained. It is not a politician’s creation. It pre-dates the Local Government re-organisation and everyone broadly knows what the area historically entails (the only major quibble is over how far along towards Hartlepool it stretches).
    It is the only identity that unites the area. All the others, either on ancient county boundaries, or on more recent municiple ones, divide an area that economically, culturally, socially and politically are effectively one unit. Businesses and social grouping cross the river. For most, our employment, leisure, retail, family links all take us across the river. It is the only logical way forward.

  29. There was a big article in the Yorkshire Post where Kammy said Leeds could be a suprise no1 in the Championship.
    Did Kammy say ‘Unbelievable’ when he was asked about the predictions.

  30. 2000 people, thats a statistically accurate survey! That represents about 1% of your seperatist movement area. Also goes completely against the phone in on the subject on BBC Tees last year.
    Stockton North and Boro are labour constituencies, redcar is lib dem and stockton south is tory so I fail to see an argument for social and political unity
    Anyway, we will have to disagree. What’s more worrying is that I find myself agreeing with IG. Next thing I’ll be admonishing Mogga for his youth policy and dreadful use of substitiutions
    **AV writes: A random sample of 2,000 is way more than Mori, YouGov etc use in their surveys when they set about shaping the national agenda on big issues.

  31. AV –
    That has started a nice debate, here is something from the BBC.
    ”Dr Steve Garner of Aston University, who conducted a major study of social identity formation in provincial England, says that, ultimately, people’s loyalties are organic – not determined by local authority boundary reviews.
    “People’s allegiances are generally much more local – estates, areas within estates, and at the most, a town or city,” he says.”
    That both supports and disproves both sets of views. I suppose you could say peoples views are developed from the experiences in their early years.
    Back to the polemic about the Olympics, I read Henry Winter this morning about football being clobbered because of the way it behaves, he was also on t’radio as I drove back tha knows .
    He thinks it will get worse as the Paralympics take place at the same time as some professional footballer writhes on the ground because his mascara is smudged.
    He states what we all know is that footballers do great good in the community – in our case Macca being to the fore. He believes they still have a long way to go.
    Part of the problem must be the fact we watched athletes who had little or no funding, some maybe had as much a year as a premiership footballer gets a week. The overwhelming majority were forever courteus, as Henry Winter said, after their performances they all went through the mixed area and did interviews as opposed to walking by with their headphones on.
    In response Danny Higginbottom (I think as it was a Danny from Stoke City) said that the average footie journalist was there to get an angle, to generate a story implying truth was an irritant.
    The elite sports got £25m for four years of preparation. That is money out of our pockets, forget all the tosh about government money, the govt doesnt have any, it spends ours as does the lottery and Sport UK. A good proportion of that goes on trying to get the sport right be it coaching, sports science and atletes.
    The average prem club must spend at least that a year and it seems to go on foreign players, salaries and agents. And it is still our money.
    The average English footballer doesnt seem able to string two words together never mind passes. All the olympic medalists seemed able to communicate whatever their background and were only too pleased to give their time.. That is the impression, we know it isnt true but that doesnt matter to the average fan
    **AV writes: There are several issues bundled up in there. I’ll try and unravel a few of them, starting with the last.
    I can confirm that other sportspeople are far more inclined to give generally ‘better’ answers to questions from the media but I think there are several good reasons for that. They are interviewed far less frequently and are aware that it is a rare chance to put themselves and their sport in the spotlight; they are usually asked more ‘technical’ questions and respond in kind so it seems more informed and articulate; they are usually interviewed after a major and decisive event (rather than a humdrum league game that is one of 46); and the interview is usually sympathetic.
    Footballers are asked banal questions routinely by media that want a ‘sensational’ soundbite, are wary of being stitched up when asked about controversial incidents so often are guarded, and they know that the intended audience (and sometimes interviewer) is opinionated and potentially hostile.
    The comparisons are often apples with oranges. It is easy to compare £200k a week boorish thug with salt of the eath amateur but you have to remember that maybe 75% of professional footballers in Great Britain earn less than £50k a year. Plenty of the full funded athletes earn a lot more than that (and apart from the top few are not under pressure to succeed from an audience who thinks it pays their wages). The cyclists and Diamond League athletes earn big money while theer are plenty of footballers paying their own petrol money to get to games or staying away from their family in digs that cost a big chunk of their wage.
    The other problem is how the story is shaped. The Olympics was a good news story and the sporting side was treated very sympathetically. All the positive spin was accepted without question. There was a half-hearted attempt to get a ‘storm’ brewing over Phillips Idowu but no one was biting because at the end of the day the public didn’t care. They weren’t emotional engaged as they would be with football.
    There was no media ‘cheat’ storm for instance when a British cyclist admitted deliberately crashing to gain an advantage by securing a restart. Had that been football it would have been added to the collective crime sheet. It wasn’t footballers that deliberately tried to lose in a group game to fix the knockout stages.
    All sports have their dark arts but in the vast majority only the insiders and superfans are aware of them, the armchair audience are not and the media either don’t know or don’t care. These are only transient stories so a ‘row’ has no traction. There are no demarked bad boys with a USP as pantomime villains which are part of the news landscape in football.
    The ‘this should make football take a good look at itself’ is a line peddled by professional why-oh-why hand-wringers who don’t care for or understand sport but see an easy line and a chance to chastise a group they look down on.

  32. My lack of activity is due to the close season. The clue is in the name!
    Thank God there is more to life than football – as the olypics has highlighted to embarrassing effect.
    Feeling positive about the forthcoming season, but my hangover is not from last season but from watching the great sport and sportsmanship during the olympics and now having to listening to the same old drivel from our ‘major sports’ such as cricket and football.
    I am really struggling to stay in love with football in general at the moment.

  33. AV
    A little PS, you can add to the post that is festering in your in box if you like.
    Cricket, rugby and league, horse racing all have their problems as well. Football is just the richest of the sports.
    Also, as I posted, the vast majority of footballers are fine.

  34. So AV your summer break has turned you into a champion of both the working classes and the poor victimised footballers.
    I think you tried to compare the earning potential of the top athletes with that of footballers not playing at the top level. Average footballers seem to be able to earn over 25K a week whereas average athletes would probably be doing it as an unpaid hobby.
    Also whilst the inarticulacy of footballers may be only ancedotal, I find it hard to believe it’s just a front to avoid creating unwanted headlines as their unguarded use of Twitter seems to suggest otherwise. Besides we often get extremely articulate interviews from overseas players speaking english as a second language.
    OK, many footballers do good work in the community etc, but I still think football has lost it’s sporting values to the pursuit of money and fame – Simulation and cheating are deemed acceptable by nearly all those who take part.
    Perhaps we can blame the parasitic 24 hour media culture for assisting and encouraging this nonsense – but the difference is that athletes don’t expect huge rewards unless they make it to the very top, whereas many young footballers want massive rewards just for making the first team and playing a dozen games.
    Granted, some footballers are in the spotlight constantly compared to athletes – but many footballers choose to use the media to big themselves up and boost their image rights to rake in even more money.
    At the end of the day (good footballing phrase that) I just want to see good entertaining football and see my team do well – the rest of the circus is just a meaningless soap opera.

  35. I would also add that if any of England’s footballers behaved like the rugby players did during their last World Cup, they wouldn’t have made it out of Heathrow for the lynch mob.

  36. Now on to the main course…
    Mogga has been busy and it looks lkely there will be one or two other moves before the window closes.
    The Barnsley match will give some hint as to our prospects for the coming season. I would love a win but wouldnt be heartbroken with a draw.
    Then the home games that seem to be a problem for not just us last season. Two wins and a draw would do nicely in August.

  37. My, this has opened a debate, with quite diverse thoughts it would seem.
    For me, who has not watched I must add that much athletics since the days of Coe, Ovett and Cram….. the Olympics was delightful to watch.
    Bradley Wiggins and TEAMSKY ( admitting that I dislike SKY as a Company) set the mark, and it all continued through the Olympics. Does that mean that I am shallow, or like 25 million others it was nice to cheer a winning team for a change?
    Ian, I agree with you in that the “athletes” were very articulate, as were the majority of the commentators. I did read ( true or not?? ) that 93% of the athletes went to private schools, with footballers it is the reverse.
    Does that make a difference???

  38. More than 3,000 tickets have already been snapped up for the first league game of the season at Barnsley. Last August the attendance was 10,603 – OK that was on a Tuesday night. But atmosphere should be magnificent with around 30 % of the attendence Boro supporters.
    Well done the Parmo army. I wish I could attend. Anyway I will predict a tight 1-2 win with a goal by Woodgate and Leadbitter settling the score.
    Up the Boro!

  39. Any news on trying to sign up a striker? Is there money available for a striker or is it still a free transfer and are the names mentioned in the press accurate?
    In terms of predictions for next season I really think it is a tough one to call. We really dont know how good some of the signings weve made actually are and wont do until the season gets underway. I think thats the problem of signing players from lower divisions. Its much higher risk but because of that the costs are greatly reduced. Its the first test of our scouting system in a long time, let’s hope it works.
    Whatever happens though I think we will play a much more expressive open style of football particularly at home and that can only be a good thing. I’ll have a prediction of 6th but with some fantastic football being played at times. A massive improvement in our home form but a slight drop in our away results as we struggle to balance playing expressive expansive football at home and tight counter attacking football away from home.
    I actually think Birmingham may be the team to beat, they’ve made some quite astute signings. But the relegated teams will all be there or there abouts.

  40. My morning paper came up with a bizarre reason for England being third in the world rankings. The conspiracy theory is that it is Sepp Blatter’s revenge for the UK corruption allegations.
    Following GB’s miserable performance in the Atlanta Olympics and England cricket being near the bottom of the test playing nations the governing bodies decided enough was enough and set in place professional approaches.
    By massaging the criteria Blatter is hoping to keep in place the poor governance of the game in England.
    It all seems a bit far fetched to me but is it any more bizarre than the fact we are third in the world?
    Enough of such frivolity, I am stuck up near Fylingdales tomorrow so will have to resort to cunnng plans to follow the match.

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