Derby Daze II: Leeds- A Retro Rivalry?

WITH amoral arch-pragmatist and recent docusoap star Neil Warnock – football’s ‘nutter on the bus’ – joining Ken Bates at Elland Road and then signing El-Hadji Diouf, three of the Horsemen of the Apocalypse are in place and recruiting ready to unleash plague and pestilence on the beautiful game once more.
Well I suppose that’s my basic position carved out, a subliminal default still shaped by a playground antipathy to Revie’s all-conquering shock-troops and, I think, shared by Ayresome veterans of a certain age. But plenty of others just don’t care too much about Leeds these days. Whateva. That’s youngsters for you. They don’t know their history.
So with our silly seventies sock-tagged and smiley badged antagonists up next, it is time once more to consider the changing nature of this de facto derby by default. Here’s “another chance to see” (that’s “a repeat” in old money) a blog first written two years ago in the last dark days of the Strachanovite abberation.

SO, IS Leeds a derby? That the question even needs to be posed is telling and speaks volumes about Teesside’s cultural confusion and identity crisis.
Distance, geography and logic suggest it is not… but Boro are braced for the biggest crowd of the season and the arrival of our ever friendly cousins from the south for a powder keg clash will bring generations of historical enmity bubbling back to the surface. It sure feels like a derby….
Over 4,000 away fans travelling for a game that is on the box and the rising tension on Teesside suggests this is more than just the usual three points at stake – yet in the Gazette today Teessider Matthew Bates insists emphatically that it is not a derby game. But then again, he is a young lad from Stockton, a “town full of Mackems”. He will naturally look to the North and to more recent rivalries when it comes to bragging rights.
He will have grown up with regular Riverside clashes against our Tyne-Tees screentime rivals Newcastle and Sunderland and for as long as he has been in a first team feature fallen giants Leeds have been in their schadenfraude inducing post-Ridsdale nightmare of administration, relegation and lower league exile.
For an older generation though, and especially those on the “Yorkshire” side of the river who grew up before Middlebrough was culturally and politically moved 30 miles north in the municipal shake-ups of the late 60s and early 70s, or those who have friends and family and business links that point them south to Thirsk, Whitby, Northallerton and beyond, Leeds have a different historical footprint.
For a decade or more Leeds were the successful and dominant evil empire lurking aggressively to the south. They were a serious threat to Boro in the battle for hearts and minds in the playgrounds of the town and more so in the disputed badlands of North Yorkshire. For fans of a certain age, Leeds are the old enemy. Grrrrrrrr.
Leeds was always ‘a derby’ in the 1970s. When you watched Yorkshire TV – as most of Middlesbrough did in those days when all aerials pointed South – the Revie machine was an ever present headline hogging juggernaut. That is who you were measured against, not Newcastle and Sunderland which were still then dark and distant alien towns practically on the Scottish border.
Leeds were the Manchester United of their day, the morally weak playground glory hunter’s team of choice all across the country, especially around here where there there a ‘Yorkshire’ link to justify the choice. All the schoolyard sheep round her had the stupid sock tags with the numbers on and smiley Leeds badges painted on their haversacks. Duncan McKenzie could jump over a mini you know!
When Boro were still in the second division and Leeds in their pomp were winning trophies and carving a swathe through Europe the pecking order was quite clear. They were the big boys who offered reflected glory and glamour and to eschew that to follow Boro was to elect for a life of self-inflicted masochism and mediocrity.
And it wasn’t just kids who fell into dirty Leed’s cynical embrace. Every fortnight there would be coach-loads of Teessiders travelling to Elland Road, adults reaffirming their Yorkshire identity and rowdy young ruffians enticed by the boot boy mystique.
The problem was made concrete when Jack Charlton took Boro up and we went head-to- head with them. Boro took a good 10,000 to that first meeting at Elland Road… theer was hell on. The problem became more pronounced when we started to beat them.
What had been a patronising pat on the head for the little neighbours or even a smarmy second team affection because of an interest in the progress of their former hero Charlton became a more marked snarling antagonism and soon the game became a serious point of friction and a real battle for status. In the seventies beating Leeds was far more important than beating the pair to the north.
Leeds was one game when Middlesbrough had to metaphorically lock up its daughters. Shops put shutters up and all police leave was cancelled. And more so than the routine aggro, for Leeds there was always real trouble: in and around the station, in the pubs and in and around the ground as the meatheads on both sides fought it out.
There were running battles in Boot Boy Alley and the Old Mans Park as swarms of kids in flares and parkas ducked for cover and the police horses charged up and down Linthorpe Road. At away games too. It was a trip where the Beggs Buses convoy often came back without windows and on the approach by foot you got asked the time an awful lot. It was a horrible and hostile place to go.
Since then thankfully the antagonism has eased. The immediate cultural conflict with our former sparring partners has faded as Middlesbrough has settled into its marriage with Stockton and started to get on better with the in-laws to the North. We watch Tyne-Tees and are part of One North East, or South Newcastle or whatever the quangocrats’ sub-region is called these days. The once live grenade of the Leeds game has been defused.
That doesn’t mean there isn’t a residual hostility. There is, and mainly because of the institutional boorish Tetley bittermen mentality of a sizeable and vocal element of the Leeds travelling crowd, the only group that surpass Newcastle and Sunderland in their conscious and creative nastiness. Boro are no angles but these are fans after all who sang in praise of the Yorkshire Ripper to taunt police. And Munich to taunt Manchester United. And they started – and continue – the paedophile taunts here too. Nice.
Of course, it doesn’t help that their fans laughed as Juninho sobbed on the pitch when we got relegated at Elland Road in 1997 too but while that still stings a bit that is a minor charge on the historic crime sheet.
So it may only be a derelict shell of a ‘derby’ and not even recognised in some parts of Teesside as being relevent – a poll on the Boro page edged just towards the ‘no’ camp – but for many this will still be our biggest game of the season.


40 thoughts on “Derby Daze II: Leeds- A Retro Rivalry?

  1. Off topic, but couldn’t agree more… from the Guardian e-mail Xmas awards.
    “When Denis Law put the symbolic seal on Manchester United’s relegation in 1974, you could forgive him for not celebrating, what with him being one of the three legendary players who had rebuilt the club post Munich.
    But now every ship that passed by in the night is at it.
    Scott Sinclair, then of Swansea City, wins our award, for scoring against his former club Chelsea (one league start) and then wandering back up the pitch faux-sheepishly with his hands up. That was back in January – which means these fools have been at it all year! It’s getting very old very quickly – if they’re that concerned about the fans from their last club, why aren’t they still playing there? – and what’s even more unforgivable, it’s really, really boring.
    Compare and contrast to Emmanuel Adebayor’s majestic baiting of Arsenal while at Manchester City, or Paul Ince ingratiating himself with the Kop after denying Manchester United. Fans on the receiving end are old and ugly enough to suck it up. Well at least they should be and if they’re not – well, tough.”
    PS AV, any Chrissy awards goung here?
    **AV writes: Feel free to hand some out….
    – The Chris Freestone “I’m Going To Play For Juventus, You’ll Miss Me When I’ve Gone” Memorial Bench Jacket for exit with least impact: TARMO KINK

  2. Whats annoying is well be dropping another £100,000 + in their coffers ,
    We couldnt even get a break in the League Cup as far as making a few bob,
    Never mind. COB

  3. I can’t believe this. Trying to get some cheap thrill out of a so called ‘derby.’ We have a dozen clubs closer than you and bigger than you. You are nothing.
    There is no rivalry, never was, never will be. Leeds are a massive club, always will be. Boro are a small club and always will be. A small club with no rivals and that no-one outside of ‘Gazetteshire’ knows anything about or cares about.
    You have a pathetic fan base that you kidded yourself was growing because you had a few good years of pathetic know-nowt gloryhunters who turned up to see your Brazilian dwarf then shrunk back to nothing again as soon as he saw sense. You will never fill your tiny ground again.
    We are in a slump but we know and you know that one day soon we will be back and the slightest sniff of success and the ground will be full. We are a top 10 club.
    Enjoy your cup final.
    Champions of Europe! MOT! Mighty Whites!

  4. As a teenager in the sixties Leeds were a team breaking the mould along with Liverpool. When the first got in to the top flight it was a case of well done but that quickly eroded. Once at Leeds in 1970 it became apparent that they were truly thuggish on and off the pitch.
    Talking to fans of other top flight clubs it became readily apparent that they were not the most hospitable of fans.
    This wasn’t from watching us play them, this was as a supporter of a team in a different league. Going to a match at Elland Road as a neutral you tended to see what was going on off the ball. Not pleasant.
    Coming up to date it is now a match between two middling teams which will be played with a crackling atmosphere.
    It will be interesting to see how they recover from the defeat last night.
    It is a crucial four matches in eleven days. Come out of these with seven or eight points and we will be well on the way to a dramatic seasons end.

  5. I think it must have been very hard for poor Stokesley White in recent years having to be surrounded by Boro fans happy at being the top dogs in Yorkshire. Winning cups and playing in Europe while the Mighty Whites were battling successive administrations and ripping up division three. No wonder he is so angry.
    I do agree with him though that it isn’t really a derby. It isn’t even an especially important match. There was a couple of years in the 70s when there was a bit of an extra edge under Charlton but they were good then A big team. Now they are just another average faded Yorkshire team past their best days .
    For me, it is no different to going to Sheffield United. Except obviously they have a section of fans who have filled the empty gap where success used to be with a notoriety that comes with being particularly obnoxious.

  6. I will take a draw from this one with no injuries.
    We can beat them if we play well but wont be uptight with a draw. Don’t think we should risk Williams in this one, If TM has enough fit soldiers keep Rhys for Boxing Day.
    Was at the game at Leeds in big Jacks days… not a nice place.

  7. It’s not a derby, but I agree with Holgate Ender, it’s like playing any club in the relative vicinity, it’s always a bit more fun because you get a strong away following.
    It’s fantastic to see there are 3,000 Boro fans who have paid the extortionate prices to go on Saturday, just before Christmas. £34 + £2 booking fee I think it was? Ridiculous. Hopefully, the Police won’t try and pen us into one pub off the train this year, but I’ll be going early and un-coloured just in case.
    I wouldn’t be too upset with a draw, Leeds have a decent home record, but we should be looking to win, especially after their match last night. A win would really set us up for the two home games v Blackpool and Blackburn and compare that to how we went into the two away games with those teams.
    By the way, there was an interesting interview with Fergie in the Mirror this week, talking about how he changes his tactics for every game and targets the opposition’s weaknesses and strengths. You’d have a few on here telling him he was getting it all wrong and he should stop worrying about the other team.

  8. There is a certain type of fan at a certain type of club that can’t deal with the harsh reality that their club was once quite big for a forgotten spell a long time ago. They used a faded history and crowd size as weapons to beat uppity fans of ‘smaller’ clubs who are doing better than them where it matters. It is sad really.
    The truth is that Leeds were ‘big’ when I was small and at school in the 60s/70s. On the plus side for Stokesley White, Newcastle were ‘big’ when my dad was small. And Sunderland have to go back to my grandads time.

  9. Dear, Dear, Stokesley White. There’s a man who’s suffering. Heaven knows, Boro fans can empathise better than most.
    However, even when we were at our various low ebbs, I don’t remember getting as aggressive and insulting as this towards other clubs. The anger betrays understandable insecurity and clear jealousy.
    Of course, apart from the vitriol, much of what he says is true. The Leeds match was never a derby – we haven’t even been able to call it a Yorkshire derby for decades. Truth be known, even Sunderland and Newcastle think of each other as their derby game, with Boro as an afterthought. This is just a media thing to big-up this game, not something that any fan recognises.
    I cannot imagine that any Smoggies kid themselves that Boro are a bigger club than Leeds. Of course they have a much bigger fan base than us – not surprising given the size of the city compared to Middlesbrough. I’ve always found that Boro fans are realistic about the club’s humble status and turn it into something to be proud of (e.g. ‘we’re just a small town in Europe’).
    However, Stokesley White, a similar dash of humility would not go amiss with you. In the full scheme of things, Leeds are Johnny-come-latelys. I remember, pre-Revie, when they had spent most of their time in the second division and had never had a sniff of winning anything.
    Leeds are are a very long way from the sustained success and greatness of a Man Utd or Arsenal. Neither do they have the heritage of an Aston Villa or Sunderland – hell, those clubs were winning trophies galore long before United even existed.
    The reality is, entropy has won and Leeds are back where they started. Our win on Saturday will reinforce that.
    **AV writes: It is a generational thing. Younger people won’t necessarily see Leeds as bigger than Boro. My boy for instance is 14 and sees Boro as bigger than Leeds, and rightly so: we have won a cup, played in Europe and been in the Premier League in his time as an active TV consuming fan while lowly Leeds were in the third tier playing Hartlepool and going bust every other week on the rolling yellow ticker tape.

  10. Boro Phil –
    An open goal and you were Johhny on the spot, a point well made.
    I wonder if Fergie would rip everything up and totally change the way ManU play because Reading are coming? Methinks not. I dont think he would tell them to sit back for half an hour and wait and see.
    We all know that there are things to plan for.

  11. Leeds are like the Geordies and Mackems. They say it “isn’t a derby” and that they don’t care about little Boro …. yet when we go there (or they come here) we need a third world military operation to police them and keep ordinary Teesside fans safe from their knuckledraggers. And they have special evil songs reserved just for us.
    I can’t believe they treat Wigan, or Doncaster or Birmingham in the same way no matter what they say. They obviously feel SOMETHING for us. I think they are in denial.

  12. I see the list of contracts running out in July in today’s Gazette doesn’t include Thomo. How can that be? I’ve been banking my hopes that the longest we’d have to bear that overhead was the summer with the possibility that some movement might be possible in January.
    Are my hopes dashed and we’re stuck for another year!?!?

  13. Oh Dear Stokesley White…
    Did you accidentally uncover the Gazette page while surfing for specialist interest sites? How unfortunate that you actually epitomize the West Yorkshire riff raff who are too stupid to follow rugby league. Good luck this season and Merry Christmas to followers of Leeds United football club who are universally acknowledged by every club in the world for their consistent ability to underwhelm. Peter Ridsdale should be given the freedom of Redcar for his services to the beautiful game.

  14. Theres a Bee Gees song that stars “When I was small and Christmas trees where tall,I used to laugh will others used to play,Now I am tall and Christmas trees are small”
    ” And BORO are bigger than Leeds ,GET IN!

  15. “Winning cups” Wot??? Have I missed something or have Bore-o won more than one.
    More to the point, have Bore-o won any real ones, you know, ones of note/repute?
    As far as I’m aware the biggest honour won by anybody representing Middlesbore-ugh was by that miserable po-faced gadgy who wont smile on Xfactor a couple of weeks back

  16. Sigh. I thought better of this site. Must we rise to the smallest bait.
    I remember why I love this forum. Obscure scouting reports, updates from Nordic Sauna’s, statistical seasonal spreadsheet analysis, film skit scripts, bi-polar posts and posters.
    Don’t fall for the same old bait

  17. Wash your mouth out, exphotog at 7.34pm. What on Earth could Redcar possibly have done that would justify having Peter Ridsdale’s name tagged onto it?
    It’s bad enough having no swimming baths, nor a school/6th Form College at which students can do their A-Levels*, without the town having to atone for the sins of Leeds and Cardiff as well.
    Anyway, the most regular user of Nordic Saunas who visits this blog (see Smogs at 9.46pm) will be in England for the Blackpool and Derby County games. He comes from so far north that he is a close mate of Father Christmas (who will probably be doing his very first deliveries up there at this time in precisely 4 days).
    * I know Redcar & Cleveland College may have some A-Level courses along with NVQ’s and other exams, but that is a college of further education, not a school. Apparently youngsters now have to go to Prior Pursglove in Guisborough if they want to do what used to be done at Sir William Turner’s. Talk about driving your bright youngsters away….

  18. Please don’t dis Stokesley. I lived and went to school there and it will always be in my heart.
    Neither Middlesbrough or Peterborough can hold a candle to it!

  19. Of my best friends three sons, two dont follow football and the other supports Leeds. Make the link if you must.
    He was born and brought up there so you cant bame him. He was a young teenager during the Cantona days which brings me on to an interview with Tony Dorigo – he still remembers being hated for scoring the winner at Wembley.
    He talked about the reasons for Cantona leaving Leeds. In his first training session they played eight aside with the goals moved up to the edge of the penalty areas. The ball was lobbed upfield by the keeper, the ball reached Cantona with his back to goal and he just turned and volleyed it into the top corner.
    The players loved playing with him and were willing to do all the donkey work to allow him the freedon to strut his stuff. The players couldnt see the point in him being too rigid in his play.
    This of course is not how Howard Wilkinson liked his teams to operate so friction developed with Cantona playing wide right at times and not exactly sticking to his role. Off to ManU and the rest is history. Fergie got the best out of him, Palace fan apart.

  20. The modern history of Leeds is really the story of modern English football – there are quite a few clubs who have had a very sucessful period in their past and Leeds are probably the last but one after Liverpool who used to dominate the league – though the Revie years have since been tainted by allegations of wrong-doing.
    The truth is that it’s over 20 years since Leeds won the league, which is a generation in anybody’s book. They tried to recapture past glories by spending beyond their means under a deluded chairman (Risdale) – finishing just outside the Champions League spot meant financial implosion and the next few years the inevitable slide to relegation started with the selling of their unaffordable best players and the regular sacking of big-name managers who couldn’t perform miracles.
    Leeds almost made a quick return to the PL but missed out in the playoffs. Then under the less than transparent stewardship of the controverial Ken Bates (who sold off Chelsea to Abramovich) the slide continued into the third tier and financial administration soon followed leaving Leeds to start again from zero.
    Leeds are gradually making their way back but like many other clubs they have now been (unsurprisingly by Bates) sold to a Middle-East consortium and their fans are hoping to once again they will experience the big time as the new owners splash the cash (or will they?).
    So all in all it could be nearly 25 years before Leeds fans look forward to competing again with the big boys – all because their Chairman took a gamble and lost – a lesson to all clubs thinking about ‘living the dream’.
    It makes the potential four-year Boro slump look like the blink of an eye – plus we have managed to retain our local connections with ownership, management and players – maybe that’s no longer the norm but without it your link to the club you support is just the name – but these days fans aren’t bothered as long as they can feel like winners again.

  21. Smogon –
    come on have a bit of fun, when Mr White of Stokesley pooped up he gave us a chance to indulge in some playground humour, join in have a laugh.
    peterboroangel –
    I dont think any of us have anything against Stokesley, after all its crammed to the rafters with Boro supporters.

  22. Excuse me for a moments self indulgence, its my birthday today and I’m optimistic that when I get home this evening I’ll be presented with a 1940’s retro Boro shirt!

  23. Good to see Rolls Rhys is starting to get involved. I hope we can get through the next week or so without any more injuries. Then we will have more coming back into contention and, for good or ill, Mogga will have more options!
    It shows how damaging injuries can be to your hopes when we worry about the absence of George and Halliday steps forward to do so well (maybe a week too late!) only for him get injured. George comes back and joins Halliday in the treatment room.
    I would take eight points and no more injuries come 2nd January. Greedy I know.

  24. On today’s EG sporting headline that GS1 states his introduction to management was too early, I would like to offer two points-
    1. Yes it was, but not only did SG approve it and face down the suits to maintain it, he was also backed by Terry Venables in his decision to appoint him. Conclusion was a big fat mistake.
    2. Based on the above was the ‘ downsizing’ of the club already approved before GS1 even got the job? Thus his ability to manage was undermined even before he could learn the ropes. Conclusion being we will never know for sure because the club is run as a fiefdom. There is no questioning the caliph or if you do there’s no guarantee you’ll get a straight answer.
    Anyway here’s hoping we get the win tomorrow and get whatever bragging rights are due.

  25. Just read Mogga on transfers and I couldnt agree more.
    We don’t want benchwarmers in. Or more precisely unfit, unloved benchwarmers. We don’t want a situation like last season where Smallwho?, The invisible Main and Out of Reach disappeared for months.
    Any incoming must be replacing someone in the team. We dont want a bench of imports who wont be used and flogging a small group of players.
    I dont know what the likes of those I mentioned thought seeing Nimely sitting on the bench. Could hardly be motivating.
    The Downing issue is intriguing. You doubt we could afford the part of his wages we would have to pick up. Rodgers will want to sell to recoup some money and lighten the wage bill.
    My instinct is that it is a good way to fill column inches in the Gazette, the club won’t be unhappy with the talk as it keeps Boro in the local news and Downing could be hoping it will spark some interest from other premiership clubs.
    I wouldnt be surprised if he ended up at Toon or Sunderland.
    I could cope with that but would be gutted if one of the recently rich like Leicester or relegated clubs with parachute money took him on loan.
    **AV writes: Liverpool’s first choice is obviously to sell him and we ‘believe’ (wink) Everton and Sunderland are interested but not neccessarily at the price currently being quoted. If Liverpool can’t sell then they will look to loan him out and Boro are the only club he is interested in joining. We have that from the horse’s mouth. That doesn’t mean it is cut and dried. There will be a lot of haggling to be done. If it happens it will be the back end of January and after a lot of brinkmanship.

  26. A move to Everton would make sense for Downing I think, they’re an extremely well managed club and he’d be at a place where he would be appreciated. I suspect Moyes is the sort of man who knows how to get the best out of someone.
    That said i hope that in January no club is prepared to meet liverpool’s asking price for Stewie and he comes home on loan. Then after we get promoted we sign him on permanently…..sorted.
    I’ve just read Ian’s comments re benchwarmers, it made me smile because whenever I read the word benchwarmers it conjours up a picture in my mind of Massimo sat on the bench hugging a hottie because the Riverside doesn’t have heated subs seats (poor lad it was tough sat there shivering collecting another £35k). If I rememeber rightly Tony Black blamed this technical deficiency for the clubs slide out of the Prem!!!
    **AV writes: That and the lack of exercise bikes to warm up. And Gareth Southgate. Especially Gareth Southgate.

  27. AV –
    Thanks for the heads up but the last time I heard a horse speak it said neigh. Sorry about the poor joke.
    I think you are right in that it will get messy as people jostle for position. As you say a lot must depend on what Liverpool want for him and how much they will subsidise a loan move. I guess their preferred position is either a direct sale or loan with a view to a sale.
    No matter what he says would Stewie turn down a chance to impress at a top flight club?
    I just cant see where we are going to get the money from unless we offload a player. Maybe a top flight club will make an offer for MacDonald. That would be ironic after him being acceptd back in he fold and in part providing the impetus for the promotion push.
    Just getting ready to shut the office down for Chrimbo.
    **AV writes: He can’t be loaned to a Prem League club. That means if he hasn’t been sold by end of January Liverpool have a big problem… have him sat on bench as reserve left-back at £80k a week and becoming less saleable by the week – or farm him out to Boro who may pay *plucks figure out fo air* say £20k.
    On Jan 29th – esepcially if Boro are still in with a shout for automatic promotion – it could suddenly add up for both sides. We’ll see.

  28. Rumours in central Middlesbrough today (at lunchtime, before people got out to the pubs) were:
    1. Emnes to Swansea, in January.
    2. Bailey to go out in January.
    3. Downing in on loan in January.
    4. Un-named player from Italy (Napoli??) into Boro in January – no name.
    As I posted on Twitter, I don’t necessarily place weight on rumours. But that would be interesting.
    Bailey has proved a useful player for us, might make a few bob if sold and is probably on higher wages than the majority of our squad. Emnes is expensive (wage wise) and might make us a transfer profit. Downing would put a few bums on seats and is a class above 99.9% of the players in our league, and if Liverpool pick up most of his wages for six months…
    Promotion may well be within our grasp this season and the value of that success would make a few months’ financial considerations seem small beer. Spoil the ship for a ha’porth of tar etc. We will all have to wait and see.
    **AV writes: Oh go on then…
    1 Emnes to Swansea?
    Can’t see it. It was a live one when when Rodgers was there and Swansea were making the transition from Championship to Prem. There was some contact and interest then but Swansea wouldn’t meet Boro’s price. Since then Swansea have moved up a notch, have a new boss who looks more likely to shop in Spain. They still have former Boro scout Dave Leadbetter there and he has a big dossier on Emnes but he hasn’t been at the Riverside in ages. I think that one is dead now.
    2 Bailey out?
    Clearly if anyone makes a move inJanuary he is for sale. He is out of contract in the summer, not an automatic first choice this term and probably not technically gifted enough to be a natural part of Mogga’s fluid style. He has done a great job in the past 18 months but is probably not pencilled in for the next phase of the rebuilding. Then there’s a financial dimension: he is probably paid twice the going rate for his role in this division. If we stay in the Championship we can’t afford to a new deal on his current wage. If we go up he will be replaced with better.
    If there is a willing buyer in January he will almost certainly be sold and will almost certainly want to go. He may be able to get something close to his current wage if he is wanted. If he doesn’t he will be unemployed in the summer in a flooded market of free agents and face a big cut.
    3 Downing on loan?
    I refer the honorable member to my previous answer.
    4 An Italian on loan?
    I haven’t heard that. I haven’t heard any indication that Mogga is actively looking for anyone. He has repeatedly stressed he isn’t interested in bringing a loan in to sit on the bench or just make up the numbers and he will only sign people who can significantly improve the first team – and it would take an exit to fund such a move.
    I’d be surprised at that but you never know.

  29. Downing holds all the aces where Liverpool are concerned. He’ll only move to another club if it suits him. Liverpool can’t transfer him anywhere if he doesn’tt want to go. There won’t be many clubs who can afford to pay him £80k a week.
    My guess is he’ll sit tight until the summer when he’ll have time to weigh up his options and more clubs to choose from.
    In the meantime he’ll be on loan at Boro enjoying a promotion campaign. It makes sense unless you are Liverpool manager.

  30. For me its a rivalry: two Yorkshire clubs, no decent-sized clubs between us and both fans mingle in North-Yorkshire. It’s bigger and has easily a better atmosphere than any normal game.
    A game with two teams 50 mile apart doesn’t fit in the usual derby bill – then again Ipswich vs Norwich must be pushing that. I hope this good old fashioned Yorkshire derby is a cracker with a Leeds win.

  31. Nigel –
    As AV replied to me there is no option of a loan deal to a premiership club. How much will Liverpool write off from the fee they paid?
    When Veron left ManU they ‘lost’ half of the money the paid for him but his book value was half what they had paid. I suppose you could argue that in that case they broke even.
    We dont know how Liverpool run their club but however you slice it they wont be in the same position, lets say £20m on a four year contract with only a season and half gone.
    If Liverpool really want rid they know they wont get anymore in the summer than they will now. You could argue they may as well do a cut price deal now to get him off the books.
    On the other hand loaning him to us with an option to buy should we get promoted may be worth a risk.
    A final thought though, what if Mogga doesnt see him as an option?
    Gives us something to debate.
    Speaking to my Derby colleague before he set out for the match against Hull. As our office is by the cathedral in Derby it takes a long while to walk to Pride Park. He set off at 1.45pm in the pouring rain but will have taken shelter in several places before catching a taxi to cover the mile and a half.
    They brought the match forward to last night because their squad is quite thin and wanted the extra days rest. It isnt only us with injuries, I sneered when he told me they had a couple in the treatment room. Wimps!
    Insults aside they have quite a small squad and are playing a lot of youngsters. For those who dont understand or have short memories they are the players that come through the academies.

  32. The next few weeks may well shape our destiny, with Hull moving last night into second place in the league and Boro facing a tricky little away trip to Leeds. I think we need a win.
    I was speaking a few nights ago to a former Leeds centre-half who has had a long connection since then with the Boro. I suggested he might have split loyalties and asked whether we might be satisfied with a draw at Leeds. He said he’d be going for the (Boro) win there.
    Some of you lucky devils appear to have knocked-off for Christmas already. Lucky devils!
    Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to all, especially MFC.

  33. Hello all,
    As Dormo already mentioned I will be coming over to the UK just to see a couple of Boro matches (well, it’s a 25th anniversary of our marrige my wife thought this is nice present for me. reculantly agreed to join her on a trip …)
    So I certaily look forward to seeing Boro against Blackpool and at Derby. On Satuday at the Navvi around 1:30. Halifaxp nwo Carltonp will join in. Going to be a cracking week!
    I wish you all a Merry Christmas and I succesful New Year! That means a promotion, perhaps. Up the Boro!

  34. I detect quiet a bit of jealousy of the mighty Leeds. Could it be Leeds have been in five european finals, three semis. Their European success is prob still in the top three or four in English teams sucess. Or is it their three league titles and runners up six times as well as the domestic trophies they won, or was it their team of 24 full internationals?
    You lot can only dream of places leeds have been to and teams they have beaten around Europe for about 15/20 seasons in their history, representing your country by the way, not Boro, they dont know what Europe is. What two years in Europe was it?
    Leeds get more fans than you lot when 15000 are still boycotting the ground cos of hatred of Bates. Leeds will return with their massive world wide fan base in the next two or three years now he has left cos of fan power.
    This giant who has been places you lot only dream of will return and not to make numbers they will be challenging again in the top flight within the next 2/3 years like they have done in the 60s 70s 90s 00s. Dream on Boro your nothing never will be never were. Get your Yorkshire roots back down to the big club ,leeds and stop dreaming your something.
    Leeds have won more than you lot can dream of. Jealousy gets you nowhere, get to Elland Rd and support the proper yorkshire a1 team thats the famous (LEEDS UNITED FC).
    Goodbye you jealous dreamers you do all the talking about us and weve never even blinked with a thought of our little town neighbours down the road. You’re nothing, never have been, and god sent Strachan to ruin your club. Oh and another little reminder you lost today 2-1 so go sulk , bye.
    **AV writes: “Massive world wide fan base.” With that and the history lesson and seat-counting you sound alarmingly like t’wild eyed Geordies.

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