Remember When: Boro In League Cup Home Tie Shocker

AFTER all the groaning about away ties it was a bit of a disappointment to be drawn at HOME to Accrington Stanley in the League Cup. Not just because I fancied a trip to the Crown Ground to tick another one off but also because I was starting to take a perverse pride in the hard midweek miles Boro had ground out in their record trek of 12 consecutive away games.
Yes, Boro have had 12 away games on the bounce – a sequence that would have been a 4095-1 shot – and travelled just shy of 3,500 miles since their last home game. Gillingham, Palace, Millwall, Forest, Man United… the latest sponsors Capital One felt so sorry for the travelling Teessiders that they laid on free coaches for the 640 mile round trip to Swansea last time out. There are a generation of regular supporters who have never seen a League Cup tie at home. They assume that every tie is an away tie.
We have been so long on the road that the last Riverside rumble actually took place in another dimension: Gareth Southgate’s side were a well established Premier League side giving first starts to £10m of new signings as they thumped poor Yeovil 5-1.

Yes, that was Boro’s last League Cup home game. On August 26th 2008 a new look team put in a polished performance and got a glowing review as they leathered the Glovers.
Southgate gave a debut to £3.2m Dutch new boy – “a project” Marvin Emnes while £3m signing from Arsenal Justin Hoyte and £4m Didier Digard (brought in replace Lee Cattermole AND George Boateng) made their first starts after cameos from the bench in the first two league games, a 2-1 home win over Spurs then a narrow 2-1 defeat at Liverpool thanks to a spawny late deflection.
Boro lined up in an attacking formation (remember them) with Emnes and Mido up front and Jeremie Aliadiere and Adam Johnson on the flanks. Digard and Mo Shawky (who played more games for Egypt than Boro in his two years on Teesside) were in the middle with Hoyte, Chris Riggott, Mad Dog Pogatetz and Jonathan Grounds as the back four in front of future Champions League winner Ross Turnbull. Gary O’Neil, “the new Cattermole” Josh Walker and very young Rhys Williams came off the bench. The unused subs were Jason Steele, Stewart Downing, Tuncay and Afonso Alves.

It was a great night full of promise with pace and purpose going forward and plenty of attacking intent. The team looked balanced and looked like it had width (Downing was a red hot England regular) and creativity (Tuncay had shown flashes of genius) plus in Mido and Alves they seemed to have a cutting edge. There was a sense of cautious optimism abroad on Teesside. What could possibly go wrong? *sigh*
Back to the harsh reality of the present and the tie with Accrington at least gives us something concrete to tie our imagination to. The league fixtures are out on Wednesday morning (exclusively in the Gazette) and then we will all be able to plot out the coming season in full technicolour glory/horror depending on outlook.
It will be the first time Boro have faced Accrington Stanley in any competition. Their previous incarnation was a Football League side for 40 years but got bogged down in Division Three (North) and then Division Four and they tended to go out of the FA Cup in the early rounds before Boro joined in. They folded the year the League Cup was launched in 1960-61 and since their return to the ranks six years ago the two team’s paths have not crossed.
Stanley only entered the nation’s consciousness once in their long dark years of exile when they were very briefly a meme thanks to a milk advert and the Scouse question: “Who’r’daay?”

So, no new ground but a new team to tick off. And an easy headline for the pre-view.
That impending visit of Accrington leaves just nine other teams in the Football League that Boro have not crossed swords with: AFC Wimbledon, Cheltenham, Dagenham, Exeter, MK Dons, Fleetwood, Morecambe, Crawley & Stevenage. Get your money on drawing one of those in the FA Cup.


11 thoughts on “Remember When: Boro In League Cup Home Tie Shocker

  1. ”AV writes: Didier Digard (brought in replace Lee Cattermole AND George Boateng)”
    And Rochembach and Mendi (though he was featuring in last of the summer wine remake, Tales of the Riverside with a couple of others) I am sure there was another midfielder who left at the same time.
    And Didier only had one good leg.

  2. An interesting piece in the Gazette about Wigan being interested in Rhys Williams. There is a comment in the piece saying it is hard to imagine Boro selling Carayol to a promotion rival, then surely it is hard to imagine Boro selling Rhys to Wigan isn’t it? Either the clubs ‘key’ players have a price or they dont, are they for sale at a price or aren’t they?
    Steele to Sunderland is an interesting one. Personally I think it would send out a bad message if any of Steele, Rhys Williams or Carayol are sold. Mogga has made it clear they are all ‘core’ players I think. If we want to be top six contenders we need them, with the possible exception of selling them to a premiership team with more money than sense. Which I suppose given that one of the teams up the A19 is now managed by football’s new ‘nutter on the bus’ is a possibility.
    I’d be very despondent if we sold any of our core players.
    **AV writes: Yes, so would I. But Rhys Williams, for instance, has come through the Academy and is on a fairly big wage so there is a certain logic within the current model and within Financial Fair Play that will put pressure on Boro to sell if they get a bid for a realisable assets (whereas there is a logic to keep Carayol as a low earner who may be worth far more in a few years).
    Transfer income would raise the FFP ceiling and so increase how much can be spent on reshaping the team so the manager may even welcome that extra leeway.
    It will be interesting to see how Boro react if they do get a bid.

  3. I hope Coyle does have a Strachanesque list of potential transfer targets, that would be one less ‘promotion contender’ to worry about!
    Having drawn Stanley in round 1 its a pity Livingstone don’t play in the English league, because clearly they’d be our opponents in round 2. I think there’s a Laurel & Hardy joke in there as well.
    **AV writes: I presume you want me to explore that.

  4. I know we don’t ‘do’ rumours on here but, any truth in the one that Scott McDonald will be paid off before the end of June before the FFP year starts in July, thus creating headroom in the 2013/14 budget? That one almost sounds plausible.
    **AV writes: I haven’t been told that but I think it makes sense.
    The club will have a graph projecting investment in McDonald. The player will have a graph of his income over the next year and another plotting what he could earn from a new deal on less money by moving. Somewhere where those lines all intersect is a point of opportunity where it is in everyone’s best interest to come to an arrangement. I think we are at that point right about now. If that also gives a bit more wriggle-room under FFP then it is an added incentive for the club.

  5. What about the Graham Dorrans rumour AV?
    Another former Mowbray signing, could be got on the cheap.
    **AV writes: Yes another rumour. I can’t see a Premier League regular being ‘cheap’.

  6. GHW 11:54 –
    I know a bit about Dorrans. All he wants is regular football and is willing to drop to the Championship “for the right team”. He’s far from a regular and doesn’t get on too well with Steve Clark.
    **AV writes: He would be great. Is he willing to take a drop in wages too?

  7. A lot of these players might be persuaded to drop their wage demands if it was to be adjusted up in the event of promotion.
    I think it is called an incentive scheme, or some such modern term.
    **AV writes: yes, especially when they tout themselves around and find out that because of Financial Fair Play that Championship sides genuinely can’t afford to pay them what they think they are worth. A few ‘big’ players this season who hold out for hefty wages will be left without a club when the music stops.

  8. I see that the boys up at Sid James’ are determined to keep the football world entertained during the quiet summer months. Well done bonnie lads.

  9. Good game on in Germany tonight. U19 german championship semi final 2nd leg. Schalke-Wolfsburg. It was 2-0 to Wolfsburg in the first leg. They’re expecting a big crowd.
    Give you a chance to compare the skill levels between German and English youth teams. Players to watch out for…Julian Brandt, excellent left midfielder from Wolfsburg, Max Meyer, 17 years old, new German wunderkind from Schalke. Max Arnold from Wolfsburg and Kaan Ayhan from Schalke are decent young players as well.
    It’s on Sport1 at 7 o’ clock English time.. Just point your dish at the old astra satellite.

  10. What do you and your fellow journo’s make of Joe Kinnear AV? I have just read the transcript of his infamous rant from his first period at Newcastle. Very funny from a fans point of view, but professionally it is embarrassing.
    I have a feeling he will be gone from the club in less than a week, either that or Pardew will go. (6 yr contract and all)
    **AV writes: Personally I think he is a badly drawn one dimensional 80s, seventies sitcom character combining smug slapstick ineptitude and thick skinned self-assurance, an aggressive football Gordon Brittas. The lads on the patch who had to work with him shudder and cringe at the mention of his name. He is like Strachan squared.
    I think it is very easy to draw the conclusion that he has been brought in to undermine Pardew and ultimately to drive him out. After 18 months of relative stability (and unaccustomed praise) Ashley has jumped on the self-destruct button wearing hobnail boots again and is ready to run the risk of massive upheaval in order to force the manager into walk him away. Crazy.
    For the local press there Ashley’s Newcastle is the gift that keeps on giving.

  11. I see the league fixtures are due out shortly – any predictions for the opening game? I think I’ll take a punt on Wigan at home followed by Ipswich away.

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