Monthly Archives: January 2014

Transfer Deadline Day – LIVE!

COME ON Boro! Haven’t you signed anyone YET? Get your fingers out.
Welcome aboard our breakfast-to-bongs rolling 24 hour news style scrolling ticker tape of
Deadline Day destiny. It’s going to be a long one but hopefully a productive one.
I’ll be setting out what Boro hope to achieve today and what the potential problems could be, bringing breaking news as it happens, reporting back from our regular calls to Boro big wigs and shooting down all the wild rumours and wishful thinking with forensic zeal. And having a bit of fun too.
It is a multi-platform production so you can follow the unfolding drama from now right up to the 11pm sash slamming (and beyond) in a host of ways.

Continue reading Transfer Deadline Day – LIVE!

Rhys Blow Is Window Pain For Boro

BORO suffered what could turn out to be a major window pain as Rhys Williams suffered what looked like a serious Achilles injury.
Rolls Rhys could be up on ramps for quite a while and may need a lot of welding work before he revs up at the Riverside again. And the injury dogged Aussie is facing up to missing out on a second successive World Cup. Everyone is gutted for him.
He limped off on crutches down the tunnel in visible distress and away to a waiting ambulance after Boro’s drab goalless draw with Wigan for more detailed tests on whether the tendon it was twisted, torn or ruptured but the initial prognosis doesn’t look good.
A badly ruptured Achilles can be a more serious injury than a break. Rehabilitation is longer and less certain. It can have far more profound long term effects on fitness too.
And the injury is not just a personal blow for Williams. It could also have put a major dent in Boro’s squad-tweaking calculations as Friday’s transfer window looms and the Countdown music starts to speed up.

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Boro Swept Away In Leicester Deluge

BORO weathered the storm – rain, hail, sleet, Biblical bruised skies, thunder and lightning, very very frightening – but then got swept away as the tide turned in the second half.
One slip at the back – and a cruel ‘ball over the line’ mistake by the officials – let Leicester through for a controversial opener as Nugent barged aside Ayala and took the ball out before cutting back for Vardy to stab home. After that angry Boro lost their heads, lost their shape, lost their discipline and gradually unravelled in what was a disappointing slither to a 2-0 defeat

Continue reading Boro Swept Away In Leicester Deluge

Shay Super Save Mythed By Cameras

SHAY GIVEN’S last gasp wonder save will go down in Middlesbrough mythology.
The rib-rattling reflex block from Dale Stephens’ point-blank bazooka was fantastic. It was a brilliant and brave save at a crucial stage of the game, a moment of magic that secured a precious victory and maintained the momentum of Aitor’s Upturn.
And it was a save that will help cement the amiable Irish shot-stopper’s position as Boro’s new cult hero. It is a save that will take its place in Teesside’s football folklore.
But the vast majority of Boro fans didn’t even see it!

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Pug Ugly: Winning MIngers Leaves Bubbling Boro Sitting Pretty

WINNING ugly is part of the skills set for success in the Championship. It is nice to think that you can get to the exit door playing free-flowing, pundit-pleasing football but with flawed players and unpredictable opposition the ones that make it through this division’s war of attrition are those that can grind it out when they don’t play well.
Boro are starting to do that. The lipstick-on-a-pig, pug ugly 1-0 victory over the Valiants was far from polished: it was low-thrills, littered with mistakes and Charlton will feel gutted to have what looked a good goal ruled out (Church bundled it home but I don’t think it was dangerous or foul play, he had every right to go for it) and then had a good effort saved superbly at the death by bromantic Boro’s new squeeze Shay.
It took Boro’s current run to five wins and a draw from the last six in the league. Five clean sheets in that. And 16 points from 18. That’s not bad. But it was real minger. And to be fair, the 2-0 win at Blackpool had plenty of slap on but still looked well ropey. And the 2-0 at Millwall wouldn’t win many beauty contests either. Not even in Deptford.
Luckily all those three poor performances came against poor sides and there were moments of individual quality that decided games that were largely lack-lustre. If Boro are to continue the run and continue the climb then they will have to be better more often and leave less to chance against the limited sides. And they will have to be better still if they are to get something from Leicester next week.
But hey, three points, another win, the revival is still bubbling. Have a drink, enjoy it.

Tangerine Dream: Towering Boro Pile Pier Pressure On Ince

IMAGINE: Away. At Blackpool where Boro had been battered on every visit since 1987. In January, when Boro are traditionally monstered week in, week out. To the team with the worst record in the division. It writes itself doesn’t it. Just look at the back story.
And yet Boro didn’t lose. Nor even leak late on to a set-play. They won. Comfortably looking solid at the back and with two great goals on the break.Just what is going on?

Continue reading Tangerine Dream: Towering Boro Pile Pier Pressure On Ince

Beyond Our Ken: Karanka Explains What Omeruo Brings To The Party

KENNETH OMERUO looks set for a debut at Blackpool as Boro go into the second half of the season looking to put the recent calender curse behind them and actually make January a profitable month.
The Nigerian international centre-back, on loan until the end of the season, is the first real long term signing by Aitor Karanaka – Shay Given was an emergency loan and Daniel Ayala, whose loan deal he will look to extend, was already in place. And it is the first sign of a mooted relationship with Chelsea starting to bear fruit.
And said Karanka, “he is the player I was waiting for.”

Continue reading Beyond Our Ken: Karanka Explains What Omeruo Brings To The Party

The Magic Of The Cup: Below Par Boro’s Hopes Disappear

THE MAGIC of the cup eh? Well Hull certainly made any Boro hopes of glory disappear in a puff of smoke. And without breaking sweat.
Boro laboured in lack-lustre fashion. They beavered away but were heavy-legged and blunt going forward and they were sloppy in possession. Passes went astray, first touches were poor, sluggish on the ball they were robbed repeatedly in dangerous positions. They were creaky in defence. That was virus ravaged Hull’s second string but they were far better than Boro. It was embarrassingly easy for them.
We shouldn’t be overly surprised. A much changed middling Championship side losng to a much changed middling Premier League side is hardly a coupon buster. But it was disappointing that Boro never even came close to causing an upset. Disappointing that they didn’t rise to the occasion and show the spirit needed in a competition the manager and Jacob Butterfield both lauded as special. Disappointing that faint-hearted Boro didn’t give it a real crack against a weakened team that were no great shakes.
And disappointing too that so many players fell well below the high standards that have been set in the festive fixtures. Dean Whitehead and man of the moment Emmanuel Ledesma have both been key to the seasonal upturn but both were well below par and looked more like the frustarting players of old.
Rhys Williams was moved back into his preferred central defence role and looked equally out of position and nervous. Curtis Main ran and ran without much impact (although he did have two of Boro’s best efforts). Marvin Emnes worked hard closing down and put himself about and even tackled a bit but rarely got into dangerous areas. And Luke Williams, fresh from a spell at Atletico Madrid, made his first start after almost exactly a year – his last outing was in the 4-1 win over Hastings at the same stage last year – and signally failed to grasp his chance.
Still, time to concentrate on the league….

First Foot Flop At Bolton Is No Disaster

AITOR Karanka was angry after Boro leaked a late goal to draw 2-2 at Bolton and descibed the display as the worst since he took over.
That may well be the case and a lot of supporters were scathing after the game at Boro’s first footing flop. That’s natural after suffering yet another late sucker punch (although to be fair we should be learning to roll with them byy now) – but when the stinging stops and the bruising goes down I don’t think it was that bad.
For me, historically adjusted (Boro have a woeful record on New Years’ Day AND at Bolton) and given how scrappy the game was (Boro were under the cosh for long spells) and how poor the manager said his team played, I think it was a useful point.

Continue reading First Foot Flop At Bolton Is No Disaster