Easy Does It: Bubbling Boro’s Stat Attack Is Building Momentum

ON THE whistle at the Valley jubilant Mark Proctor was on the pitch conducting celebrations in front of the away end – through the medium of mime!
Smiling first team coach and long time Boro icon Proc was orchestrating the ecstatic EIOing with the international recognised gesture for a taunting chorus of: ‘Easy! Easy! Easy!”
Of course, it wasn’t ‘easy.’ It never is in this league and for the best part of an hour the game at Charlton was scrappy and finely poised – but a 4-1 away win is always worth milking so you can’t blame Proc or the 1,600 noisy supporters enjoying it to the max.
It’s a great time to be a Boro fan as the stats and the momentum build.

The team are flying and playing some entertaining and effective football with a spring in their step. They are joint top after a sizzling sequence and have just knocked the hapless Mackems out of the League Cup. After a couple of frustrating, fallow, fruitless years it feels like a lot of pieces are starting to fall into place in a very positive picture.
And some very impressive stats are starting to stack up as bubbling Boro build momentum.
Tony Mowbray’s side have now rattled up six wins in a row; five in the league plus the 1-0 away win at Sunderland to book a last eight place in the Credit Card Cup.
That marked up-turn came after a tough week at the Riverside when Boro took just one point from six. They lost the lead late on to go down 2-1 to Leicester then again leaked at the death in a 2-2 draw with Derby that felt like defeat.
They have also clocked up six away wins in a row in all competitions. Which is nice.
That run goes back to the small screen spectacular when Boro emphatically beat then unbeaten leaders Blackburn. The streak also includes winning at then form side Brighton, Preston in a monsoon designed for giant-killing plus victory at our ‘hard to beat’ top flight neighbours.
And that purple patch came after a bruising run of three successive away defeats at Barnsley, Millwall and – ouch – Blackpool that had the alarm bells ringing. Panic over.
There’s another nice stat on the scoresheet too. With Jonathan Woodgate getting his first goal in two spells for Boro – a cracking header it was too – and Richard Smallwood stabbing home late on there have already been 17 different net-busters.
Come on Grant, George and Hoytey. Get your fingers out.
And it goes on. The five league wins on the bounce is the best run since 1995/96 when Bryan Robson’s side – powered by the Midget Gems – hit top gear in September and October to reach the lofty heights of fourth in the Premier League.
The start is now the best since 1986/87 – and that includes four promotions into the top flight and last term’s sprint start. Boro’s have taken 28 points from nine wins and a draw in the first 14 games. That equals the haul that Bruce Rioch’s post-liquidation side – with Mogga as skipper – got from eight wins and four draws. But that was in division three.
Perhaps potentially the most significant stat is that steely, resilient Boro have now taken more points after coming from behind than any other team in the Championship: 13. Lucky for some.
Boro have come from behind to win in three of their last five league games: away at Watford, at home to Bolton and then again at Charlton.
As well as those salvaged situations, Boro have struck back to win 3-2 at home to Burnley and to draw 2-2 with Derby – although in that game they also conceded late on in that and had to settle for a single unsatisfying point.
What has been most impressive in the recent fight-backs is that having gone behind Boro did not panic. They kept their nerve, they kept their shape, they kept their belief.
At Watford they conceded a goal in the opening minute after a Bikey back-pass but hit back with a steely show and despite having to reorganise because of injury they played with panache and zest and teeth.
Against Bolton they were bossing the game but went behind after a cruel deflection teed up Lee but stepped up a gear after the break to take complete control.
And at Charlton they responded to leaking with a tangible confidence in their ability to retrieve the situation, with a renewed attacking thrust and with a ruthless cutting edge.
And, crucially, the supporters shared that resolve too. There was no despair or anger at going behind. No nervous gnashing and wailing. Fans are starting to believe too.
Naturally cautious Mogga has dismissed the mounting stats as irrelevant at this stage – as he will no doubt play down the Manager of the Month gong when it surely arrives this week. He has a point. You don’t win any prizes in November. And as he recalled, we were making similar noises at this stage last year.
A year ago we were talking about an all time record run of eight away wins in a row going back into the previous season and the best start – 11 games unbeaten – in a century. But despite that Boro fell short.
However, compared to last season when injuries and a lack of goal threat in too many games took their toll, this year’s model Boro look a better balanced outfit, are mentally tougher and have added bottle and belief. And goals.
And – despite having to cope with an early rash of injury blows – they are ahead of where they were last season. After 14 games last term Boro had just suffered a 3-0 mauling at Southampton hot on the heels of the contractual obligation defeat at Forest. The early unbeatable awayday zing had fizzled out:
And at home it was turning into a grind. Boro had just beaten Derby but before that had laboured to four draws including against lowly Millwall and Coventry when as they leaked late goals.
By comparison this year Boro have corrected an early bout of travel sickness and crucially have also shored up home form. They have lost just once and drawn just once at home. They have won five from seven. Boro have taken 16 points from seven games at home which is not a bad return. In fact, the Riverside is becoming a Fortress.
It won’t be easy but that could be been where we build the stats that matter come May.


45 thoughts on “Easy Does It: Bubbling Boro’s Stat Attack Is Building Momentum

    Choose life. Choose a job. Choose a career. Choose a family. Choose a big television, Choose washing machines, cars, compact disc players, and electrical tin can openers. Choose good health, low cholesterol and dental insurance. Choose fixed-interest mortgage repayments. Choose a starter home. Choose your friends. Choose leisure wear and matching luggage. Choose a three piece suite on hire purchase in a range of fabrics. Choose DIY and wondering who you are on a Sunday morning. Choose sitting on that couch watching mind-numbing spirit-crushing game shows, stuffing junk food into your mouth. Choose rotting away at the end of it all, spending your last minute in a miserable home, nothing more than an embarrassment to the selfish, brats you have spawned to replace yourself. Choose your future. Choose life . . . But why would I want to do a thing like that? I chose not to choose life: I chose something else. And the reasons? There are no reasons. Who needs reasons when you’ve got….
    THE BORO!!!

  2. Absolutely brilliant , even going a goal down I didn’t panic (when can you think to doing that being a Boro fan) .
    All us doubters about the ‘ tinkering with the squad ” , if we don’t know what team is coming out , what hope do the opposition have .
    I expect us to hit a bad run , but lets just try and keep getting points on the board .
    It would be great to come over from the Isle of Man and watch a Carling semi at the riverside , so here’s to the next few weeks .
    Great stuff Boro , Richie Beech

  3. I enjoyed that.
    I enjoyed the Boro bossing the home team.
    I enjoyed the team not panicking after conceding against the run of play and I enjoyed watching heads stay up and carry in with the game plan.
    I enjoyed the close control and swift moving of the ball around.
    I enjoyed Woody’s goal and Mac’s goal and I really enjoyed Ledesma’s goal. And Richie’s! I enjoyed the noise the Boro fans generated.
    I thought Bails was off the pace and he struggled all game.
    I thoroughly enjoyed Friend’s game and his crunching tackle that earned his booking.
    I enjoyed the rapport with the players at the final whistle.
    One day we will lose, but that day is not this day. This day was a good day to be a Boro fan.

  4. Great news! Makes good reading here in USA.
    Looking forward to the new year now and another trip to Wembley and for the promotion match in the league! forever an optimist UTB

  5. Strange feeling to go a goal down and not think well that’s that then, instaed to believe in a positive result. Strange but good.
    I share an office with a Mackem…….. the tears are being held back at present.

  6. The 4-1 hammering of Charlton Athletic was a sixth straight win in all competitions, the fifth in a row in the league and an amazing sixth away win a row.
    Let’s all Boro fans enjoy this as we have truly deserved it after a few bad years. This won’t last forever, of course. But enjoy it as long as you can.
    This will rise the atmosphere at the Riverside but of course Mogga will keep low profile. The medals are not hanged over just yet.
    Let Mogga handle the reigns in the dressing room. And let’s fill the Riverside and do the only thing what we can do: support the Boro in loud.
    Up the Boro!

  7. Great win after falling behind.
    Great goals
    Fantastic team spirit
    If MacDonald carries on like this we won’t be able to afford TO sell him

  8. Addick and chips for Boro takeaway.
    Had a quick gander at the table at the same point last year. The main difference has been in the points gained at home.
    This year won 5 drawn 1 and lost 1. Last year as when we were away at home we were unbeaten but had only won two out of seven.
    The difference appears to be the fact that since the Derby game there has been a noticeable change in emphasis with us as AV says going for the jugular.
    The wins against Hull and Bolton were well merited and a look at the table and results yesterday show they are decent teams.
    I agree we wouldnt have won those matches last season but that would because we would have stated slow and dropped back from there. It is about attitude, imposing yourself on the game and not becoming totally engrossed in stopping the opposition.
    I know loads will disagree with me but I am delighted with where we are, it is where we should have been last season as we steadfastly refused to take the opportunities to us at home.
    Whether you agree or disagree doesnt really matter, the only thing that counts is the table.
    And that looks brilliant.

  9. Brilliant GHW – brilliant Boro!
    Magnificent Travelling Parmo Army!!
    CroydonBoro – enjoyed all those things too.
    Sparklers and fireworks!

  10. Things look to be clicking into place and all the more remarkable when you consider that we have half our first choice Ttam out injured. Well I say first choice, I’m not sure they are any more. When fit they will have to battle and scrap and wait their turn to unseat any of the current incumbents.
    The run will end and probably sooner than later but in the meantime now is a good time to be a Boro fan. Tricky Trees next where we don’t usually pick up anything but after their thumping yesterday at the hands of Millwall who knows, perhaps we can add to their woes!
    Congrats to Mogga and Venus for making our dreams come true (for the time being at least)!

  11. Not good enough! We should be top of the league. Not just now, nor at Xmas, but at the end of the season. There ain’t no prizes for yesterday’s performances.
    When Woody picks up the prize for winning the Championship with Mogga and the lads, that’s the time to EIO! No sooner or later. Focus is the word, determination the state of mind – it makes for winners that go down in history books. I don’t want to read at the end of the season AV writing post season analysis that includes ‘Well didn’t we do well just before Crimbo! Shame we missed out on the playoffs again.’
    UTB 🙂

  12. Oh, and one more thing…
    It wasn’t just the team that didn’t panic when we conceded. Neither did the Parmo Army. I don’t recall a single murmur or grunt of dissatisfaction, just a collective sigh that we would have to win the hard way.
    Even more incredibly was the lack of tension with 20 minutes to go. We knew we weren’t going to throw it away (Bikey’s occasional rush of blood aside and some poor defensive non-clearances, not all his, he was generally awesome in the air.)
    It’s a revolution indeed.
    And, I’ve always enjoyed visiting the Valley and hope Charlton stay up.

  13. Fantastic result this squad is just getting better and better as each game goes on.
    There will be some hiccups now and then but lets enjoy it while it lasts. Also the results elsewhere went with us.

  14. Cracking performance!!
    I have been away on deployment with the British Forces for the last 6 Months so this was my first chance to see Mogga’s new look side after only reading about his ‘revolution’ online.
    I know its old news to most fans now but looking in with a new set of eyes the transformation has been frankly amazing in my time away. What can I say? Pace, movement and a actual willingness to run at the opposition.
    Its crazy to think his current side has been assembled by adding free transfers and players from lower leagues who seem to have a ‘point to prove’.
    Looking at the side yesterday it was unrecognisable from the team last season.
    I have only seen them once so i am no expert but to think Woody/Bikey and Parnaby all came in on frees and Friend for £100k…..it looks a formidable back four. Throw in a confident looking Jason Steele and what’s not to like?
    I was really impressed with Grant Leadbiter in midfield a real ‘box to box’ tidy player who i also noted is a real ‘communicator’ and motivator and not shy to give his team mates a telling off.
    I though the front two looked sharp with Scotty with his usual hard working of the channels but has now become a ‘fox in the box’….more importantly has a smile on his face.
    I have only seen Ledesma once and have read on here some fans have described him as a ‘tip/tap’ player but i was really impressed yesterday with his pace and movement and maybe starting to show why Higgy and Mogga say he is the stand out player at the club in training with his ‘wand of a left foot’.
    So all looks good and its great to see the players starting to form a bond with the fans. I did not here one grumble even when we went 1-0 down.
    I think its clear a lot of it is down to the fact that we no longer have ‘super stars’ or over paid ‘has beens’ looking for a final pay day and that’s showing in the team who have clearly bonded.
    To think how far we have come in two years under Mogga on a shoe string budget while halfing the wage bill is frankly astonishing and maybe we are not giving Mogga and not to forget Mark Venues the credit they deserve.
    I have often criticized the Boro for looking to buy ready made players in there 30s with little or no resale value. On the evidence of yesterday we had a team of players who look man for man worth more than we signed them for (ok maybe not skippy at £3mil but if he keeps banging them in who knows). That can only bode well for the future in the cash strapped current climate.
    So all’s good at the moment and long may it continue. To think we still have 4 or 5 ‘first team’ players to come back its a good place to be and lets enjoy it as after the last few years we deserve it.
    Next up for me is Forest on Tuesday as I’m on catch up…..UTB!!!

  15. Next up is that place by the Trent, the team that shall remain nameless to spare Smog too much anxiety.
    We go there full of cofidence but hopefully not complacent. The home defeat by Millwall is one all fans recognise where you get off to a bad start and whatever you attempt goes belly up.
    Get a grip on the game and we really will have a chance to push on.

  16. Yes it’s flipping brilliant. But it won’t count for squat if we are not top six come end of season. Actually, make that top two .
    I expect Cardiff, Palace, Blackburn, Leicester and a resurrected Bolton to be vying with us for two places. I couldn’t take the play offs, my nerves wouldn’t stand it.
    Encouraging signs at the moment but we are only a third way into the race.
    Are we Marathon runners or sprinters ? Time will tell.

  17. After watching us beat Bolton – first time I had seen them win at home for 32 years – then listening to the victory at Sunderland, Bolton beating Cardiff and to cap it all four goals away after being a goal down, it is hard to believe that this is Boro.
    We shouldn’t have many more matches to go before we’re safe from relegation.

  18. We all enjoyed our day under the old Valley stand, festooned as it was with dead birds stuck in the rafters gently releasing feathers on us! We were not all of us amused to have some fans baptised with grey and white stuff from the dead birds’ living neighbours! We were not all amused that our ticket price included such rudimentary toilet facilities – only cold water to wash hands, for instance.
    And it was bad to see how the police instructions to the supporters’ club coach once more adversely impacted on Jean and Ron’s pleasure. Please let me explain.
    Post-Hillsbrough report, we surely need to keep the pressure up on the authorities, clubs and police, to start treating fans as human beings. Jean and Ron are among our club’s very best, most loyal supporters. They have missed very few matches, home or away, since Ron started in 1948, and Jean started to join in (1966).
    At Gillingham, the police ordered coach-driver Terry to park up at a parking lot which did not allow a coach in. That spot was at least a mile away from the stadium, and our 80+ year-old friends could not have made it if Terry had not disobeyed them and drove nearer.
    Against Sunderland, the club’s apparently completely disorganised arrangements with the coach rides (failing to identify Coach One – the one the regulars with pre-booked seats for every match) had the result that Ron and Jean, unsure of being with their friends, preferred to give their tickets away to their granddaughter, and missed this game.
    Sunderland’s change in the away positioning – placing us up so many steps with no obvious lift arrangements as at St James’s Park – meant that, even if they had battled through our club’s thoughtless approach to older fans, they would have been unable to reach their seats in the Stadium of Light! So two of our most loyal fans missed the first great joy of our season.
    Then, again, at Charlton, they had to endure a long walk to the Valley, only to find, once they had struggled there, the coach pitched up next to us waiting outside the ground! In other words, with a little thought and sense that the Tees Valley coach contains human beings from the youthful to the elderly, they could have been spared a physical ordeal. Then Jean was upset by the toilet arrangements. The second great blast of our season had the edge taken off it again.
    So, yes, we were all happy with our football at the Valley, as at Sunderland, but that should not be a reason for forgetting how badly these two wonderful people have been let down over the last couple of games.
    Vic, if you are talking still with the club about what supporters require from them,, can you remind Neil Bausor or Steve Gibson or Mogga that there are actually plenty of supporters who are in their seventies and eighties, and that they matter!!! In fact, the club arguably owes more to Ron and Jean and their generation than it owes to any other group of fans.
    **AV writes: Noted.

  19. I have issues with the Boro doing so well: my natural need to moan and wallow in footy-self-pity is been seriously undermined, and has now been replaced with bubble burst anxiety.
    The Shef Wed ticket price slash now means not only will I be attending but I am also taking my boy and his mate. So thank you Boro for an early Xmas prezzy. I so hope Shef Wed do not have a pin ready to poop the party – would love my Boys to go home with a good-game-good result buzz.

  20. Play two strikers, two central midfielders, add a little bit of pace and width and look what you can achieve. Hardly rocket science was it Mogga?
    Enjoying the fact you’ve proved me wrong. Bolton game was the best since we dropped out of the Prem

  21. This is best part of the season so far as AV wrote: “Boro have taken 16 points from seven games at home which is not a bad return. In fact, the Riverside is becoming a Fortress.”
    Delighted, I only hope we can keep it running on Tuesday. I hope it for Smogon. So minimum of a draw. Up The Boro!
    PS. All the best for Ron and Jean. Great supporters. I think I and my wife have swapped seats in an away match to unable them to see the match better (as most of the away end was standing).

  22. Phil Norton –
    At home
    Leicester 4-5-1: Midfield of Josh, Bailey, Ledbitter, Thomson, Zemmamma.
    Juke up front.
    Derby 4-4-2: Midfield of Josh, Bailey, Ledbitter, Thomson.m
    Williams and Juke up front.
    Hull 4-4-2: Midfield of Josh, Haroun, Ledbitter, Reach
    Miller, Emnes up front.
    You dont need to have coaching badges to spot the differences.
    Being positive at home pays off. Not stupid schoolboy stuff but a balanced side starting on the front foot. It doesnt matter that Reach didnt have a good game against Hull, it is the tempo and intention that counts.
    My Derby colleague has his fingers crossed for us. I explained our record by the Trent and he told me they could never win against Brum but that record came to an end. They always do. Heres hoping.

  23. So whats the difference between the first 9 games and this surge in the last 5?
    The inclusion of Scott MacDonald and the improvement in team spirit. In reality its the performance and GOALS from Scott MacDonald.
    So , what price do you put on his goals? Do we really have to sell him AV?
    Finally , if it was me then I would have taken him off on the hour mark when we were 3-1 up and rested him for Tuesday against Forest. I was saying this to my Dad on the phone during the match, not lookin back with hindsight.
    Loving being a Boro fan at the mo!!

  24. Is it my imagination (maybe the dementia getting the better of me) or do I sense a crusade developing?
    Of course it’s difficult to gauge from a distance because I can’t ‘sniff the atmosphere’ (never a good idea on Teesside, anyway). However from the various communication channels that I slavishly tap into for any crumb of Boro insight, I think there might be a new spirit, togetherness, belief, community like I haven’t sensed in years.
    Of course, we were all foam-handers when the likes of Barmby, Juninho and Raveanelli arrived. Delighted though we were to be in the big league of spenders, and fabulous though the limelight was, there was always the reservation that we were artificially buying fame and success. It didn’t feel real and it didn’t feel like it had been earned. There was also the nagging doubt about how sustainable it was and whether it would end in tears. It did – mine mainly.
    This is very different. Faced with failure and debacle in recent years and with a severe lack of playing resources and no money, whatever we are achieving has been done very much the hard way. With a squad of youngsters, buys from the bargain basement and freebies, the management has had almost nothing to work with, this team has had absolutely nothing handed to them on a plate and they are still winning.
    Six wins in a row and in the automatic promotion place, represents a monumental achievement, even if it doesn’t last, given the paucity of resources.
    However I think my anntenae are picking up not just a team having recent success. I get the feel that there’s a new oneness between club and fans. The only parallels I can think of are ’86 (you only appreciate what you’ve got when you nearly didn’t have it) and the Ayresome Angels-era of ’67.
    Long may it last. I feel I’m getting my club back.

  25. Another cracking win, and even more cracking when you consider we had half a team out. Mogga really does seem to have built a strong squad here, I remember making the point earlier in the season that Ledesma might not be happy as a sub, and Haroun wasn’t even making the bench, and here they are, integral parts of our current run. Injuries suddenly don’t seem so bad, in fact they give opportunities to others and allow the injured to have a break when hopefully they come back firing.
    It is important not to get carried away, I keep harping back to the Ipswich game when we could easily have lost, and who knows how our respective seasons would have differed from there. I don’t necessarily think Mogga is doing much different, but the players are putting away their chances and we are maybe getting a bit more luck than usual. As he always says, it is fine margins.
    Based on our respective results on Saturday, Typical Boro would suggest we will come unstuck tomorrow night, but if we can nick another win and continue this run into the Cardiff game, anything is possible.
    By the way AV – I’ve had a couple of posts disappear recently, which isn’t something I usually suffer from. Have the gremlins returned?
    **AV writes: I don’t think so. *touch wood*

  26. Both personally and for all things Boro, what a fantastic few weeks.
    First McDonald is reintegrated (can’t say I was massively on board with that at the time), then my little one was born (clearly a lucky charm), Martin from Bishops Waltham made his comeback, Boro made ticket offers for the Sheff Wed game AND had a tete-a-tete with our own AV regarding ticketing incentives (belated congrats on that one AV, you must have taken great satisfaction and rightly so) and all the while the Boro just kept on winning.
    I felt the Charlton game would be a good indicator of where we really are. Beforehand there was a question mark as to whether we were a team going places or simply one in great form.
    If it was simply form, I think we would have seen the magnificent defeat of the Mackems as the peak and perhaps struggled to elevate ourselves to that level at Charlton.
    None of it. An emphatic win even if we had to battle for two thirds of the game. That we came from behind is further evidence of a team developing into a confident unit.
    To my mind the victories we have had this year, the resilience we are now displaying, the volume of goals and the much improved home form are proof that we are good enough this season. The question is can we be consistent enough.
    In the pre-season predictions I said that there are ten comparable sides in this division and we can finish anywhere from first to tenth (in actual fact it is more like twelve comparable teams). The longer we can sustain this run the more likely it will be that we will finish nearer first than tenth.
    A fantastic few weeks – keep it up Boro.

  27. It’s at times like this that I wish we played a game every day!
    To hit this sort of form now, with half the ‘first choice’ team injured is pretty spectacular.

  28. I am over in nottingham tomorrow meeting various clients. Last meeting should end about 6pm.
    Then it is on to the main event.

  29. So what wil the crowd be on Friday night?
    It’s crucial that we make it a success so that the club repeat the idea (or a variation on it).
    Seats were very easy to come buy yesterday, so I am a touch concerned, but maybe a lot of waverers will be walk-ups.
    My prediction? Base crowd 15,000. Add on a 1,000 as we are on a good run. Take off 1,000 for a midweeker, and another 1,500 for TV. Sheffield Wed will bring plenty, so add on 2,500 on to a normal away following. That gives us 16,000.
    What will be judged a success?
    20,000 will be ok, 25,000 would be brilliant.
    **AV Writes: I think you have to start with what it would have been without any offer. We were looking at the lowest crowd of the season with next to no walk up and a lots of exiled ST not travelling so maybe a declared crowd of 13,000 or so but an actual attendance if well below 10k.
    In that context 16k would be a more than decent turn out. I think we’ll get more. With the post-Mackem buzz and the current form plus bargain prices if we can beat Forest well and I think it could be within touching distance of 20k. *crosses fingers*

  30. I really hope it will be 20,000+ on Friday, but more pressing is the game against the Team Which Can’t be Named.
    Clearly the team is on a very good run of form and luck (maybe the two go hand-in-hand?). Clearly it is asking a lot to continue that run, and win by the River Trent. But if we do, that might well be a sign that it is more than merely good form: something more permanent. I hope so.
    If we could do a job tomorrow, then complete a 9 point week on Friday…and then go on to Cardiff having taken the top spot and brimming with confidence….we really could do a lot of damage in this league this season. If, if, if…
    There is a serious risk that this could become exciting, very exciting! Two years ago, the thought of going to the game was much less than exciting. More of a chore, more of a duty.
    There is now a feeling going round that is akin to an infection. Winning is infectious, enthiusiasn is infectious and suddenly the football is keenly anticipated. As others have said, I can’t wait.

  31. As Dormo said, this is getting very exciting now. I traditionally pay a visit (and pay heavily as I have to fly over) to see Boro live in April. Then the weather is fine (compared to here as we still might have snow then) in the UK and it feels like a holiday time in the North East, too.
    But as this is looking so promising now I will make an extra trip to see two matches in and around the New Year period. I hope the dates for these matches are not changed because of TV as I have booked flights to see the matches. As halifaxp have pointed out earlier, they don’t understand that people have made arrangements to attend the matches already months before hand and the last “minute” date changes can be very difficult for traveling fans.
    Talking about halifaxp, I have a feeling carltonp might be our dear friend halifaxp in disguise. Am I right? If so, I hope everything is OK with your mother (as his name is referring to her home area).
    Up the Boro!

  32. GHw:
    People think it is all about the misery and desperation and all that. But what they forget is the pleasure of it. You only have one worry when you support the Boro: scoring.

  33. I wonder if Boro’s recent success at home is simply down to Mogga changing tactics and formation, that sounds a little simplistic to me. I suspect that is only part of the truth.
    At the beginning of the season we had a situation where the legacy of last seasons home performances perhaps left the players a little uncertain and lacking in confidence playing at home, in front of an indifferent crowd.
    Added to this was a significant number of new faces in the squad needing to settle in. A few games into the season the new faces are established and one or two such as ‘Robocop’ are fast becoming heroes, also home form has gathered momentum giving the players more confidence and belief which in turn may well mean they start games more dynamically.
    Whatever the truth behind the improvement it is great to see.

  34. “I wonder if Boro’s recent success at home is simply down to Mogga changing tactics and formation, that sounds a little simplistic to me. I suspect that is only part of the truth.”
    Agreed, I’m sure Mogga would have always liked his teams to start on the front foot, surely no manager wants his team to start timidly, but it’s just not as easy as that. Confidence is huge in any sport and we are seeing the benefits of it now.
    **AV writes: I smile when people suggest that victory would be guarenteed if only the manager did X, as if they hadn’t ever considered the possibility . “In football everything is complicated by the presence of the opposite team.” Jean Paul Sartre

  35. Nigel Reeve –
    It is never as simple as just changing tactics but when you consider we were a little unlucky to lose to Leicester and could have beaten Derby – they could point to the sitter Robinson missed – it wouldnt much of a change in emphasis to get that extra couple of percent out of the team.
    I am sure there is a difference in mindset between being on top and going a goal down than waiting to see then having your fears reinfoced by going a goal down. Not much but maybe enough.
    Then of course there are the injuries, sometimes it can play in to your hands by forcing changes or even being more settled.
    Or even having Thommo in the treatment room – that is not a direct go at Thommo but the fact we would have the question
    Q How many holding midfield players can Mogga get in the team?
    A Depends how many are fit!
    There is also the debate from early season when we discussed the fact it would take time to bed players in, shuffling the pack until the bits fell in to place.
    It is probably a combination of all those but the biggest plus side is more entertainment at the Riverside. You can also throw in the fact you cant win if you dont buy a ticket, you only score if you try. The past has shown sitting back gets you nowhere.
    AV summed it up by saying we went for the jugular rather than wait and see. If AV says it is so then I bow to his knowledge as he sees every minute and has access to the team, club, manager, even has the ears of the chairman and chief exec.
    Tonight is a different matter altogether, Forest fans expect a reaction, I am hoping that AV doesnt have a thrd Bubbling Boro heading – Bubbling Boro’s Bubble Bursts.
    A decent result would set us up nicely for Friday night. Sheffield should bring a fair number, if so you would hope for 18000+ made up of say 1000 from Wednesday and 17000 home fans., maybe even nudge up towarsd the 20,000 but that would be tricky with it live on TV.
    Any news as yet AV on numbers? Do you think it is dependent on tonight?
    **AV writes: Nothing official but the suggest was that it was around the 18,000 mark (which would of course be the biggest crowd of the season). If Boro beat Forest the feelgood factor could push it up quite a bit. Here’s hoping/
    Good Fellers: Boro Chop Down Tricky Trees

  36. Ian –
    Maybe my post was a little too subtle, to be blunt I think the idea that the manager has changed formation and changed instruction from ‘go out there and be cautious’ to ‘go out there and get stuck in’ is plain daft. The reason the team is now more dynamic than it was has nothing to do with the manager changing ’emphasis’.
    And gents, we couldn’t be more ‘unlucky’ against tonights opponents than we have been in the past. When did we last beat them away, before Cloughie managed them? So, tonight we are playing Nottingham Forest, there we are, its done, we’ll win now. Get yourselves down the bookies and back a Boro win!
    **AV writes: Last win down there was March 1999, 2-1. Before that was 1973, pre-Charlton. Anyone got a “I’ve seen Boro win at Forest” collectors badge?

  37. Borophil –
    Which part of Mogga’s stated view that he likes to sit back and wait and see or AV’s comment that we went for the jugular rather than sitting back and waiting do you disagree with?
    You can disagree with my views all you like, I personally agree with AV’s comments and the evidence on the pitch.
    You cant win them all but crowds down at 13500 speak volumes about the entertainment at home. Interesting that an upturn in entertainment brought an upsuge in the home support alongside the hale effect of the club listening.
    It isnt that simple, as discussed above, but you had a whole season of cautious starts and it kept us out of the promotion picture. However you slice it that is glaringly obvious from the numbers in points and the attendances.
    Can’t legislate for the other team playing well. Can’t guarantee anything but there is the simple rule that if what you are doing isnt working then change what you are doing.
    I will continue to wage my lone war that be more progressive at home and we will do better. I will also fall back on the words of Mogga and AV unles Vic airbrushes the comments out of history.
    AV can smirk but Confucious say ‘need ball in their half to score’.
    Crucial night tonight but it is still only one game.

  38. Ian,
    Mogga can only do so much – he can tell the team to be positive but once they are on the pitch it’s down to them. I think the positive starts we’ve seen recently have been more down to confidence than any tactical change from Mogga.

  39. “Leicester 4-5-1: Midfield of Josh, Bailey, Ledbitter, Thomson, Zemmamma.
    Juke up front.
    Derby 4-4-2: Midfield of Josh, Bailey, Ledbitter, Thomson.m
    Williams and Juke up front.
    Hull 4-4-2: Midfield of Josh, Haroun, Ledbitter, Reach
    Miller, Emnes up front.
    You dont need to have coaching badges to spot the differences”.
    Perhaps so, but perhaps an awareness of the injury list and a smidgeon of respect towards the Manager’s understanding of the game wouldn’t come amiss either.
    There seems to be a self congratulatory element brewing somewhere with posters various attributing the turn around basically to themselves.
    As the wonderful Len Masterman observed, self flattering and delusional. I couldn’t add anything to his recent brilliant demolition job on such contributions other than this, every one of us has his views on the “right” approach/formation/tactics/teamsheet, including Mogga.
    Fortunately for us we all enjoy a significant advantage over Mogga (and every other manager) in that our own half baked ideas are never called on to be proven where it counts, but exist in an idealised fantasy land where going for the jugular always works, nobody ever has an off day and we get the rub of the green throughout. Nothing wrong with opinions of course, we all have them, but a touch of respect toward those who have to back theirs up is in order and missing from certain sections.

  40. If Boro get a crowd of 18,790 on Fantastic Friday it will mean that this season’s aggregate Home and Away attendances will be exactly equal at 124,115. Blimey! Now that must be worth a daft quid AV.

  41. Wiggy’s mate –
    I made that point at the back end of last year (though not as well as you) when we weren’t doing so well and was roundly shot down.
    Good post in my opinion.

  42. BoroPhil and Wiggys mate –
    The wisdom of AV
    ”They attacked with pace, with Reach on the right and Friend getting down the left they had a nice balance and went for the jugular from the off rather than sitting back to assess the lie of the tactical land and risk the opposition imposing shape and tempo. It was good stuff: entertaining, enterprising and with a bit of zest. And of course Boro won.
    So, three wins in a row, two clean sheets on the bounce and up to third spot and just three points off the top after 12 games and fans walking away buzzing. You’d have taken that if offered it back in August. Just think it they had held on against Derby. Or Leicester.
    And it was a far cry from the purgatory of those sterile home games that induced an air of crisis just a few short weeks ago. But then, this is a crazy, mixed up and lawless division that needs to be taken by the throat with some assertive pro-active policing.”
    I agree wholeheartedly with AV so that makes me delusional as well.

  43. They should go the whole hog and call it Fans Friday, and encourage flags, banners, waving scarves and all the good stuff the fans like.

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