A Right Racket In The Cheap Seats

As far as marketing exercises go, you can’t get much better than that!
The financially frozen out fans of Teesside responded to the club’s cut-price ticket offer by cramming into the Riverside Stadium and were rewarded with a sizzling show of positive product placement and an electric atmosphere as Boro crushed Sheffield Wednesday.
The bumper crowd of 28,229 – on a Friday night and for a televised game that many could easily have watched from a sofa or barstool – was fantastic. I hope every single supporter who turned out as a result of the ticket initiative went away gushing with pride, energised by the display and utterly convinced they had got value for money from the team. And I hope they are back soon.

It was a Boro display that proved a point: if the price is right and the team are performing then there is a burning passion for football on Teesside. The historic flame is still very much alight.
It was the highest gate since May 2009 when Boro last faced mighty Manchester United in the Premier League and it fizzed with the same sense of big match occasion. And you can see how that could be contagious.
The prodigal punters saw a motivated Mogganaut sparking with spirit and passion, confidence and cohesion, pace and penetration.
They saw a positive performance from a side that set out to attack and entertain.
They saw a wide range of goals from a side with an impressive offensive skill set: a cracking opening strike with a slide rule pass and sublime Justin Hoyte rocket straight from FIFA or ProEvo, a poached point blank finish by Big Ish Miller after some snapping midfield hustling and a powerful Lukas Jutkiewicz header from a corner.
They saw resurgent Boro blast to the top of the Championship table with a swaggering seventh win in eight games.
They saw some rock solid defending and a couple of superb cracking saves, a superb inexhaustible engine room exhibition of industry and guile and an assertive outlook full of attacking intent.
And hopefully they saw – and felt – the growing sense of unity within the team on the pitch and between the players and the crowd.
Supporters, both the regulars and the returnees, went away buzzing, bubbling and hoarse after singing and chanting throughout an exciting and engaging 90 minutes being part of an exhilarating collective success.
That is exactly what the heady, intoxicating emotional universe of football is about. And Boro are delivering that.
And the 14,000 extra who turned up because of the offer – the disenfranchised or those who have been disillusioned or drifted away disappointed in the aftermath of relegation – need to be told that the win over Wednesday wasn’t a freak. It wasn’t a one off.
Boro have been playing with that impressive steel and determination, that refreshing enterprise and confidence for a couple of months now. They have reeled off an impressive run of results in the currenty sizzling sequence that have been far from flukes.
They went to then leaders Blackburn and won convincingly. They won at form team Brighton. They won at Sunderland in a composed display that had outside observers wondering exactly which was the top flight side.
They have gone eight games unbeaten in a cut-throat and crazy division where even the best resourced sides struggle to impose any kind of consistency on the ever changing landscape of the league.
Historic institutional weaknesses have been quietly addressed on a tight budget and a new mentality forged.
They have learned to shut up shop. The brittle Boro of the recent past has gone. They are not bullied at the back (no one can bully Bikey), they do not crack under the pressure of a long ball barrage. They stay calm and commanding and play their way out of trouble.
They are not swamped or outworked in midfield by limited sides with more hunger. This Boro have allied prodigious energy with intelligent use of the ball, they control and stretch games with crisp and patient passing and combine the solidity of closing and tackling and running with the subtlety and creativity of a well weighted lock-picking pass.
And upfront they have added a cutting edge. Boro now have a potent palette of striking options to work with that gives tactical and technical variety and make it difficult for defences to get to grips with.
In Scott McDonald and Lukas Jutkiewicz Boro have strikers who are currently firing at close on a goal a game plus they have pace and trickery of Marvin Emnes and the physical presence of Miller to call on. By mixing and matching they can always find a weakness to exploit.
And crucially the goals are flying in from every other position too. Hoyte became the 17th different goal-getter this term with his worldie.
Mentally they are stronger. Two years ago if they leaked a goal it was game over. Now they regularly hit back from behind to win. No game is beyond them now.
It is all starting to fall into place. As the season has gathered momentum it has been a pleasure and a thrill to watch them in action.
The outline of a new Boro is starting to emerge from the debris of a depressing couple of years. The club are finally starting to shrug off the long post-relegation hangover and are gradually finding a new sense of purpose
Tony Mowbray is slowly slotting all the bits into place of a team that can restored pride in Boro and build a platform for a realistic promotion push.
Much of that has happened under the radar. Boro have had little national coverage – the blipvert highlights are rarely on before midnight – and a lot of estranged supporters may not have realised exactly how far-reaching the Mogga transformation has been.
The emphatic win over Wednesday in front of a massive audience will have helped put that in the spotlight.
Those watching on the box will have seen the change. Those there will have felt it too.
It was a display that should have chipped away a few layers of cynicism.
With an opportunity to go top and the expectations created by a big crowd and the cameras a lot of battle-scarred pessimists haunted by the historic “typical Boro” failures of the past may have expected a fruitless and frustrating night.
But this team delivered. In style. And that more than anything will help put bums on seats and harness the emotional energy of Teesside.
The Mogganaut is rolling. All aboard.


90 thoughts on “A Right Racket In The Cheap Seats

  1. To all of you bleeding heart Liberals….
    Professional footballers lost their lives in the war too. How about McClean shows respect for them?

  2. My dad did his national service but due to an injury sustained when he was young – his leg went under a coal lorry, he never did any fighting.
    He became a pharmcist and served in Egypt. He attained the rank of sergeant and had the joy of having his feet up on the troop ship whilst the rest were being drilled by ‘yes, sergeant major’. Back in Catterick he was pharmacist for the north east.
    On demob he went in to civvy street to become – roll of drums – a hospital porter! Eventually he went to work for ICI and did well.
    Things dont change, the hue of the government doesnt matter, it will be no better elsewhere in the world. Those in power respect none of us. Trotters in troughs. Animal Farm got it right.
    Now for football and well done to the club on the new offer. Out of interest AV, are there any league rules about offers.
    **AV writes: The Football League have a limit of four ‘local’ offers. After that any deal in FL games has to be extended to all paying supporters including visitors. I think the rules date back to the era when gate receipts were shared and offers could affect the visitors’ share of the take. Are they obsolete now?

  3. Jesus! I really like your writing AV but by the time I got to the end of the fourth paragraph I simply couldn’t eat another adjective.
    Enough …calm down… rein it in.

  4. Well AV your fag packet calculations were blown out of the water because + 7000 more than calculated rocked up.
    This was win win for everybody involved. Game was on live this side again which is great for me.
    Another great offer on hand for the next two home games which would attract around 15000 so i think its a good idea to boost these two games. Well done to the ST holders for buying into this I am sure there will be some sort of offer for them when renewal comes around again.
    Tough trip to Cardiff up next a draw will be good enough but a win will boost the home gates even more. Well done to all concerned. It is looking up to be a Boro supporter.

  5. My last comment on the poppy issue:
    gt –
    I think it is important that in order to understand McClean’s position that you put yourself in the shoes of a Northern Irish Catholic man, who believes that Ireland should be one independently governed country.
    Also his experience and opinion of British soldiers will be strongly influenced by what British paratroopers did on bloody Sunday. The context from which he views the symbol of the poppy is very different to yours. We can all honour our war dead while acknowledging that during various times in our history British soldiers have committed atrocities. There is nothing liberal about trying to understand another persons point of view. Doing so leads to less conflict.
    Excellent new offer from the Boro, lets hope for a positive result in Cardiff to give extra impetus to the Mogganaut and a rekindling of desire among supporters to get down to the Riverside.

  6. Boro shouldn’t fall foul of Championship rules if they also offer the away fans a BOGOF for our next two home games – as I doubt many Bristol fans will make the long journey mid week to watch us play Huddersfield.
    Overall, i don’t think season ticket holders seemed too concerned that they’re paying more for the games with the deals but there are a few noisy individuals who are upset and feel they’re missing out.
    Maybe the club could offer a kind of dividend to season ticket holders based on the increased income over a season from the deals – that could take the form of a discount for next year’s season ticket.
    Though perhaps the club’s thinking is that a rapid run of discount deals by the club will entice more supporters back on a long-term basis at normal prices – especially if the team perform well.
    **AV writes: A few noisy individual maybe but they are shouting about a couple of issues bubbling away under the surface and if it wasn’t for recent results and a feelgood factor it would be a far more vocal protest.
    What happens to the unsold stock shouldn’t be an issue to Season Ticket holders unless they go out of their way to find something to be upset about. These are games they have already paid for – and get at least £8 discount on – which could have been drab, muted, hushed affairs but through a bit of creative tweaking by the club now have the potential to be vibrant, noisy occasions.
    You could argue that with bigger crowds and better atmosphere they are getting an enhanced product at the same discounted price.
    But the problem at the heart of this issue is two-fold. Firstly, for 15 years, the club have presented the ST primarily as financial relationship – it was a cost-effective, money saving mechanism first and foremost. It was marketed like that. So whenever something happens that impacts on that it is natural that fans – customers – respond on that basis. The club make an offer and people get the calculators out to figure out exactly how it affects them. Which is sad.
    A ST should be primarily about an emotional relationship, a commitment based on loyalty which transcends a grubby cash transaction. That is where the club should be concentrating their fire next: inclusion, being part of the club.
    And secondly, in direct contradiction to the financial dimension, a lot of ST holders quite rightly believe that their continued loyalty through a miserable couple of years when it would have been easy to walk away – and when many did – should be recognised, and rewarded, should be elevated to the position of importance that it deserves. They want a big hug. They want to feel the love. I can understand that.
    Again, it comes down to the relationship between fan and club, and that has broken down gradually over the last decade or so and a lot of unresolved issues have been allowed to fester like a loveless marriage. Once we get the short term problem of bums on seats addressed, that central relationship needs addressing.

  7. If Boro get a home draw in the FA cup 3rd round, then that presents an opportunity for the club to offer the ST’s a good deal on the ticket price as a ‘thankyou’ for accepting the discounting of some league match tickets.
    **AV Writes: I’m not sure they can do free tickets in an FA Cup game as the away team and the prize pool get slices of the gate and a say in ticket pricing. Also, the FA set minimum prices for each round.

  8. No doubt Eindhoven still wrankles with some season ticket holders along with the white band, badge etc. Even casting Bernie into the wilderness.
    Lots of little pin pricks over the years which have built up whilst watching dreadful football (including under MacMoses despite the cup runs).
    It will take some time to win everybody round and the best way is on the pitch.
    Pricing will help but the harm done by ridiculing the impact of the paying fan because we had so much Sky money really has come back to haunt the club.
    I was surprised they didn’t wait and see how money came back before running an Xmas special but good luck to them.
    **AV writes: Strike while the iron is hot.

  9. Before we get too carried away, let’s not forget that the ST situation is a problem in the club’s own making.
    When they moved to The Riverside we became a completely season ticket only crowd, (please correct me if I am wrong AV).
    Subsequently we had different colours of books, determined by your historical financial backing of the club (previous holder at Ayresome Park). As we moved through the seasons you were led to understand that failure to renew would leave you a Riverside outcast, until such time the unfortunate death of an ST holder released a ticket to be purchased.
    During the Premiership years with the considerable amount of TV money the club became very complacent, some may say very arrogant in their treatment of fans. This has now come back to bite them. The gradual erosion of the ST base is down to this, coupled with poor team performances over the last few seasons.
    The present schemes may have been thought of as, “Slamming the gate after the horse has bolted”, but as last Friday evening proved, the horse hasn’t bolted, in fact it’s just outside the stable door patiently waiting to be coaxed back in with promises of cheap hay until the Premiership sun starts shining again.
    Let’s all get together and cheer the team on to promotion glory, we can worry about who gets which rewards come the close season. The club has a list of all current ST holders and can reward them accordingly. I will be in the area at the time of the Bristol game and plan to go along; if I can’t make the Huddersfield game I shall just give it away to anyone who wants it.
    Come on Boro!
    **AV writes: Hmmmmmmmm cheap hay.
    PS, due to the vagaries of posting on this blog, I have written this in Microsoft word, I have taken great delight in “adding to the dictionary” English words, as opposed to the American ones suggested by the programme!

  10. Well. I can’t get to the Bristol game, but expect to be able to visit for the Huddersfield game (so long as business arrangements don’t change again !!!!)
    So, hopefully it won’t be a sellout against Bristol and there will still be a ticket for me to get on the day (full price, so what, i don’t get the chance to get to many matches a season anyway and I won’t be begrudging any of the thousands who will be there “for free” …… the more there will be the better)
    On a different note. What do people make of the Clattenburg affair and that the police will not be pressing any charges. Don’t like that that solicitor was agitating for action when no one had actually employed him to do so. If there was genuinely a case, then surely the alleged victim would have come forward. So, if no victim, no case, where is his problem?

  11. AV said – ‘The Football League have a limit of four ‘local’ offers. After that any deal in FL games has to be extended to all paying supporters including visitors’.
    It might take some extra organising, a bit of forward planning but nothing insurmountable.
    It does make me laugh that the football bureaucracy would enforce a rule (and don’ think that they won’t) that will actively work against fans (about 14,000 extra at the last count) going to a football match.
    Which of our above posters mentioned Orwell..?
    Though Kafka would be a good fit.

  12. If we are allowed 4 goes at this per season, there’s aren’t any obvious home-double-headers until April, by which time, you’d hope we were getting more in with the promotion push! 🙂
    Maybe we’ll have another go with the next home game to be shown on Sky again. If the rule is purely for league games, perhaps the club could do a deal for the 3rd round of the FA cup if it is at home (if against a lower league team)
    **AV writes: As I have said, there are problems with FA Cup games. As yes, there are few obvious back-to-back games coming up but there are a few stand alone home games that are far from sexy with next to no away support in the next few months – Watford and Millwall jump out – that could be considered.
    The club are keen to try out a few of the different ideas that we put forward so the next deal may be more targetted: a deal of kids or familiy groups say. We’ll see. We have another meeting soon to kick a few ideas about.

  13. Powmill at 4.18pm –
    Peter Herbert is not a solicitor. He is a barrister. An OBE, no less, and one who has made presentations to the Judicial Studies Board (ie seminars and courses for Judges). Not that he’s likely to appear very frequently in a court near you…. Certainly not expecting him to be defending a burglar tomorrow in the Teesside Crown Court.
    What about the Zlatan Ibrahimovic show, then? First man to score 4 against England. Is this the start of the end for English football supremacy, or is that a battle that has been lost for nearly 60 years?
    The good news after all that excitement is that CRICKET begins again tomorrow. Football is a very tasty starter but cricket is the main course.
    Let’s turn our thoughts to India in the morning, though not until I mention that several tweets have been suggesting that Cardiff v M’bro will be available via DodgySat or the Interwebby at the weekend. as I said to @BoroYouths, it’s a pity my local has only #LegitSat. There’s always Radio Brownlee…
    **AV writes: And, of course, following the game on twitter via #borolive

  14. Interesting that the debate is moving towards the treatment of the fans during the ‘sell out’ years.
    I was a red book season ticket holder, got a ticket for Eindhoven – but gave it to someone else who attended most of the uefa games. I only attended the semi v Steaua.
    However, I will never forget the attitude, approach and inflexibility the club had towards me (and no doubt others) when applying for tickets during the good times.
    It still leaves a very bitter taste!

  15. Peterbrough Angel –
    Further back was the Carling Cup Ticket fiasco.
    I saw three cup matches and had the stubs but couldnt get to the ground to buy a ticket. Many fans were disappointed when the club sold several at a time to people with stubs – up to five I believe.
    It was reported that touts were selling stubs outside the queues.
    It begs the question where the stubs came from? Logic suggests people who didnt need them because they didnt want to go to the match or already had tickets. People helped their friends but that disenfranchised fans who went regularly and deserved to go to Cardiff.
    In timeline terms we non season ticket holders were hacked off before season ticket holders. There were many more deserving than me, I was more hacked off for them than me. I not saying I wasnt peeved.
    Eindhoven didnt do any favours for relations with season ticket holders. It wasnt helped by the small ticket allocation in a ground not big enough for the match.
    **AV writes: It is actually like a dysfunctional marriage isn’t it with ancient grudges festering away ready to burst out again every time there is an argument?

  16. Can you believe it? They are robbing us seniors. Having been given a ticket from my family, a once in a lifetime visit to a hospitalty suite. Neither do they give senior concessions but the two for one doesn’t exist either. This is pure discrimination against us. What price 60 years of loyalty? Come on AV what can you do
    **AV writes: I’m not sure but I’ll ask.

  17. I think many season ticket holders buy one in the knowledge that it’s the most cost effective way to watch their team. If they then think as long-standing committed supporters they’re paying more than ‘casual’ fans to see a game on several occasions, then I agree that it could well fester resentment against the club.
    However, I think the problem could be resolved by designating games as ‘high’, ‘normal’ and ‘low’ demand and pricing them accordingly.
    If you say for example an ‘normal’ game, in a particular section of the ground, for a season ticket costs £17, then ‘low demand’ games could be priced at £12 (-£5) and ‘high demand’ games priced at £22 (+£5).
    As long as the number of games designated ‘low demand’ and ‘high demand’ are the same, the average price of a game will remain at £17 but it gives the club much more flexibilty to make discounts without undercutting a season ticket on the day.
    It even allows the club to discount a walk-up ticket for a ‘high demand’ game to £22 if they so wished.
    All the club need to do when the fixtures come out is decided how many ‘low’ and ‘high’ demand games they wish to designate (i.e. depending on the opposition or if a midweek game follows another home game) – it could be as little as four or as high as eight. Though the beauty is that it doesn’t effect the overall price of a season ticket, which could still be priced before the fixtures are published.
    **AV writes: That concept is being considered for next year’s ST model.

  18. Werdermouth –
    The other thing to consider is the fact that if season ticket holders are counting up the prices week by week for the walk up fans then the club has got something fundamentally wrong.
    That may well be part of the reasoning behind the club actually talking to influential groups. They lost the walk up then the season ticket fans.
    It may be way beyond when they should have been doing it but they are doing it. That is great news.
    What would be intriguing to know is what percentage of season ticket holdres are miffed? I dont know how vocal they are but if they still pay significantly less I can’t see the issue.
    There again I went on a holiday to Sorrento many years ago and stayed in a really nice hotel. From the terrace you could both the Bay of Naples and Bay of Palermo. Absolutely stunning.
    People still walked a mile in 80+ temperatures to save five pence on a beer.
    **AV writes: I am led to believe there were 10 letters of complaint after the Sheffield Wednesday offer and there have been 23 after this one. If the ‘product’ is the whole matchday experience then I can’t see how anyone would complain at it being enhanced by the first offer and they should be relishing the second.

  19. As with the McEachran loan, I hope we can forge close ties with Chelsea, they have some really good young players,and obviously will continue to recruit these types,
    We might get a future super star now and again

  20. Only ten letters of complaint after the first offer (ie the Sheffield Wednesday offer which resulted in a 28,000 crowd which is probably at least double the crowd that would ordinarily have been expected)?
    I suppose one might say that 27,990 must have been OK with it, then. Not even the North Korean leader would get that level of support.
    On the one hand I realise that 10 letters of complaint might mean 25 times that number were unhappy (250 then, approximately?). On the other hand I realise people are quicker to criticise than to praise, and therefore there might not be many letters sent to the club in support, but it would be interesting to hear from the club if any such letters were received.
    All I can say is that the ST holders I know all seemed very happy with the outcome, irrespective of any savings the newcomers may have made on the deal.
    I can see that, if you pay £150 for a rail ticket to London, and you learn that the chap sitting next to you has paid only £25 for some super-duper Apex Earlybird ticket (or whatever), there might be some annoyance felt at the disparity and the unfairness.
    Yet few people have an emotional attachment to a rail company and many would be content to have lots of empty seats in their carriage rather than being crushed in and not being able to sit next to their mates. A football club is different – most of us DO have an emotional attachment to our club and are delighted to find the stadium well populated, as that provides a better atmosphere and improves the whole “matchday experience”.
    The proof of the pudding is in the eating. The Sheff Wed experience was pretty tasty and I hope it can be repeated. I can feel the words “no” and “brainer” being conjoined in a phrase used to describe the whole affair, and I do hope the club is listening to the majority view that is clear from this blog.
    We want an army of support for our team not a very dedicated but dwindling cult following (dwindling as death and impoverishment gradually wears down even the most enthusiastic fans).

  21. Like the model for ST holders that you say is under discussion.
    As for the specials to the walk up fans you need to keep them guessing or there will be a lot of picking and choosing. We dont want a situation where we have people thinking there will be be a special coming up soon i or we will go then.
    The Friday special was short notice as the visitors tickets were already on sale.
    This did not effect the crowd negatively at all.So keep em guessing.

  22. AV –
    Interesting about the letters, do we know how many of the 23 were the people who wrote first time around?
    In truth it is a tricky balance for the club to make. From far away the whole process looks to have been a rip roaring success. It will be interesting to see the numbers for the next two matches.
    And then the follow up at normal prices – if we dont get a decent crowd then the club are in a dilemma.
    A lot will also depend on on how the team are doing.
    We don’t want a double post Xmas slump.

  23. Mr MacKay Outfoxed as Boro Boyos Escape With The Points!
    (if only we had signed Fletcher instead of the Mackems!)
    **AV writes: I’m going for “Dreigiau slayed fel rhuo llewod Boro.”

  24. Another chance to see Ben Gibson playing for Tranmere on TV tonight. His form has dropped away a little recently, and he was given a bit of a run-around the other night by the Braintree centre forward. Could be that he is being asked to do too much for a young lad in playing two hard matches virtually every week.
    Tranmere have that fatal combination of a small squad and multiple injuries. Ben took a bad knock last Tuesday, but played on through it. I suspect he will be asked to play tonight whether he is fully fit or not. Mogga may wish to keep a wary eye on this situation.
    The experience of first team football is important for the development of our young players. But Tranmere are now so reliant upon Ben that they will probably wish to play him whether it is in his (and our) longer term interests or not.
    Incidentally, Tranmere are expecting a bumper crowd and terrific atmosphere for tonight’s game against MK Dons. Tickets are on general sale for £5.

  25. I know we can’t afford his wages, but there is a great player going for a song.
    “Liverpool winger Stewart Downing, 28, has been told he can leave in January, with the club willing to accept a huge loss on the £20m they paid Aston Villa just 16 months ago.”

  26. Sorry folks but after a couple of games where the team in red has scored 3 at Cardiff in the matches with Boro I expect the team in blue to do the business this time round.

  27. What exactly are these season ticket holders complaining about?
    They pay their money before the season for all the matches for the whole of the season. They can’t start dividing it up into price per game and then say they are paying more for any single game than a walk up fan. This “new model” which is being considered costs them exactly the same as the old model. It’s just dressed up a bit differently. That just shows how stupid they are if they are then happy.
    What is worth more, sitting in a dead quiet stadium with about 10000 fans or sitting in a ground bursting at the seams with a brilliant atmosphere? #nobrainer
    Tell those that complained that they can give their tickets back if they want and be proportionally reimbursed for the remainder of the season. Then they can start paying game by game and benefit from all the specials. Will many take up that offer? I doubt it.
    Boro fans love a moan, but this is taking it to a whole new level. I just cannot grasp that anybody actually complained about such a brilliant idea.
    **AV writes: I think they just want a hug, to be told they are still special.

  28. Grove Hill wallah –
    How about a loan with a view to permanent signing in summer? We all know where we will be next season :). Up the Boro!

  29. Thanks for the welcome Len. Can’t stay away. we are not totl very often. what do you think about the age discrimination ?

  30. The word here is that Ben Gibson has no desire to leave Tranmere and the certainty of first team football for the delights of being fifth or sixth choice centre back at the Boro. Hard to blame the lad and it sets up some interesting possible scenarios.

  31. Cardiff away – against the team that has won all 8 home league games this season. They are third in the league and we are second. The game is in their backyard. A very difficult prospect.
    On the other hand we are on a good run, with confidence spreading like wildfire and goals coming from all sorts of unexpected places in the team. Even if Cardiff are feeling confident, even if this season they expect NOT to blow it again and they believe they will go up, they will also know this may be one of their toughest games of the season, and may even define their season.
    We are looking like real contenders this season. Manchester United are real contenders in the Premier League. When they lost to Spurs at home, it didn’t derail their title hopes. They are still contenders and will remain so even if they lose again, this weekend. That’s because they have the ability, the squad and the confidence to know they can come back from the odd defeat. It feels like that at the Boro this season.
    So my view is hopeful. Obviously the immovable object of their home record will come up against the irresistible force of our form over the last couple of months. If we lose, which isn’t a ridiculous prospect, we will still come back next week and our promotion challenge will still the there.
    If we draw, that would be an excellent result, and it would show we can get points from the very top teams at the top of their (home) form. I wouldn’t start counting chickens yet, if that happened, but I might start looking for recipes for later.
    On the other hand if we were to win there…now that would be something. I think that would be a real marker being laid down for the rest of the campaign. I think chickens would then be standing in line whilst I walk up and down with a clipboard.
    I think everyone in the Championship would look up at that result, and at that stage a few of the other contenders might consider second place as a very reasonable target at which to aim for the rest of the season – and I include Palace in that.
    Not an easy one to call. I’d LOVE it, just LOVE it if Boro could get a win there. But if I had to predict, I’ll go for 1-1. Hope that doesn’t jinx anything.

  32. Interesting parallels between the situations of McEachran and Gibson. Both are key members of teams which may be playing next season in the league to which each player aspires. Neither has credible prospects of featuring at that level with their own teams. Each appears more fulfilled by their current than their past experiences. Seems like a scenario for some interesting future negotiations.

  33. Well what can one say.
    Last year if we had gone one down we would have lost. Oops!!!!
    Truth is it happens in sport. But there are parallels in other sports. I watched the England v Australia rugby match and England squandered four clear penalty shots at goal and duly lost.
    England in India have had a horrid first half of the test match and will probably lose.
    Today we were poor first half and then squandered chance after chance in the second half.
    We were not the first and wont be the last team to do it. Under McClaren we had a season of 13 1-0 away defeats were we started slowly, went 1-0 down then came ot life but didnt score.
    Lets move on and do the business at home in front of hopefully big crowds.

  34. Sometimes unbeaten runs can bring undue pressure, where the run is more important than the result.
    Hopefully six points from the next two home games will keep us on track.

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