Normal Service Is Resumed

RIGHT, I’m back after a couple of weeks catching rays, being pushed into the pool and recharging the batteries while operating under a strict lap-top ban (there was occasional surreptitious use of the phone though). So what have I missed?
Nothing has happened transfer-wise but then we didn’t expect anything immediate as football is on holiday and in World Cup lock-down mode. But what about the cultural nuances, memes and in-jokes from our obsessive 24/7 rolling ticker-tape of Boronalia? Oh no! I’m out of the loop.
Some back to school musing…


Looking through the Gazette’s I’ve missed while swanning around the sun-loungers there is the usual Talking Boro post-mortems and our Young Guns winning the Euro U17 Championships (if West Ham can claim the ’66 World Cup then the silverware is ours, that’s official).
But the most intriguing “what if” article came with the comments by Neil Warnock about he would have loved to boss Boro, including a line where he appears to retrospectively throw his hat into the ring to have been Gareth Southgate’s mentor and/or director of football.
How the arch-pragmatist and practioner of football’s Dark Arts would have fitted tactically with Nice Guy Gareth’s Arsenal-lite aspirations is uncertain but it would have ticked a few hypothetical boxes. Gareth was badgeless and struggled to maintain discipline with some players who were his mates a months before and he had litle coaching experience (and was possibly feeling some resistance from the left-over McClarenista technocrats).
It’s a thought to mull over. Or wake screaming to.
And I thought I’d come back to find a brand new shirt being blasted by the fashion police about colour, fabric and the clash between the need for street sharp and the aesthetic limitations of scientifically engineered climacool technology. But the Boro strip tease goes on. You can buy it in advance but you can’t see it.
I’m guessing its red with a white trim of some sort. Something that echoes something from this historical menu . My own preference is for the PR gift of the Above Average White Band for the home kit – as I point out every year – and a blue/black Inter stripes away kit.
How hard can it be? Here’s my mock-up this year… mockupkit.png-png
I don’t remember all this fuss over kit launches when I was a kid. My gut feeling is that such a clever ad-land campaign of teases is probably a bit wasted on a product that has broadly fixed parameters and has a fairly limited geographic and demographic market. We don’t need laser light shows or virals, just show people what they will look like and stock enough of them them in the shops across the various size ranges to head off complaints of incompetence.
I don’t know what Boro have planned as the grand finale of their launch strategy but I hope and pray it is something as eye-catchingly camp as this swinging 1970 Bundesliga fashion show with some staggering beautiful kits and some serious dance action.

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21 thoughts on “Normal Service Is Resumed

  1. Welcome back AV. Nowt’s happened. As you were.
    I presume that Gibbo was in touch regarding your holiday plans and swore to keep things quiet until you returned.
    **AV writes: You don’t think I’d go away if anything was due to happen do you?

  2. So, the Missus banned the lappy did she? Did you get the shakes?!
    The idea of Neil Warnock at Boro is enough to make the blood run cold, but on the other hand if he’d pitched up we might be back in the Prem by now.
    It’s a tad quiet isn’t it? Should we run a book on who our first signing is going to be, or indeed when?
    I’ll go for Danny Graham, 1st July.
    As for the Boro shirt, I wont be buying this seasons shirt, replica kit isn’t my thing, but that said I’ve ordered a retro 1974 shirt. I thought it might bring a bit of luck for this coming season and I can probably live with wearing it at matches.

  3. “**AV writes: You don’t think I’d go away if anything was due to happen do you? ”
    Do you really believe that we think you are in control over such matters? If you did a blogger poll over control of holiday planning then Mrs Vic would be the overwhelming favourite as el supremo.
    Just like the day Archangel Gabriel opened the pearly gates and there was the usual queue at the hen pecked gate waiting to get in. The big surprise was the fact there was actually a bloke stood at the un henpecked turnstiles.
    Gabriel walked over and said ‘what are you doing here?’
    The chap replied ‘my wife sent me here.’
    **AV writes: It was a week that suddenly became available. I had initially pencilled it in for mighty Boro’s Wembley play-off triumph, the open-topped bus victory parade and writing the 24 page ‘Back in The Premiership’ supplement. It’s an ill wind…

  4. I see your mock up has the Gazette as sponsors. Does this mean we have seen the back of those Shylocks who have darkened our good name? It was never a price worth paying. Good riddance!
    **AV writes: It is my dream mock-up. The deal with Britain’s fastest growing Teesside-based pawn-brokers and gold-buying firm remains in place for two more years. Sorry.

  5. Nigel –
    The 1974 shirt was worn by some manly figures. Spraggon, Craggs, Murdoch, Foggon were all types who looked like they could handle a parmo or three.

  6. The decision to try and sell the kit ‘blind’ is absolutely bizarre. I could possibly get my head around it if they were knocking a few quid off to try and bring in extra revenue in the long term.

  7. You’re not on your own, AV. My missus always bans lap-dancers when we’re away. Like you, there’s some surreptitious phoning of them but she always intercepts. It’s a sixth sense.

  8. Watched the U21 games over the net,and they reiterated,what ive thought for awhile and that is,you are taking a big risk in taking these young men on loan. Are they really that good or is it because they are at big name clubs?
    For me none really stuck out,one example was a player from Man Utd Michael Keane a centre back.who looked really clumsy and lost. Apparently he’s supposed to be tipped for the top,and I’m sure many Championship teams will try and get him on loan,and yet a relatively unknown centre back called Ben Gibson looked much more accomplished and ended up taking his spot,
    Chalobah, was very poor in the first game but got better in each game after, although I still think he has to toughen up,he still shirks too many tackles.
    **AV writes: History suggests most of the players in the U21s will come good. The ones playing in the U18 have a far higher drop out rate. I think the U21s who are at big name clubs are probably technically better but face more competition to get game time and so don’t always make it as they become demoralised or complacent at the odd place on the bench or lose their hunger as they pick up £30k a week as a ghost.
    Of the ones you named both Chalobah and Keane have played a lot of Championship football. Boro tried to get Keane (and his brother Will, a striker) on loan two years ago but he went to Leicester instead and looked very sharp as they reached the play-offs.
    It is always interesting to look back a few years and see how many made it from previous teams. Here are the teams from the U21 Euro finals in 2009 when Germany battered England 4-0 in Malmo:
    Germany: Neuer, Beck, Howedes, Boateng, Boenisch, Hummels (Aogo 83), Johnson (Schwaab 68), Castro, Khedira, Ozil (Schmelzer 89), Wagner. Subs: Fromlowitz, Ebert, Marin, Grote, Adlung, Ben-Hatira, Ede, Sippel.
    England: Loach, Cranie (Gardner 80), Richards, Onuoha (Mancienne 46), Gibbs, Cattermole, Muamba (Rodwell 77), Noble, Milner, Walcott, Johnson. Subs: Lewis, Taylor, Stearman, Tomkins, Driver, Rose.
    Of the England team only one is going to the World Cup this time, Milner, although Walcott would have probably gone but for an injury. But most of the others are playing top level football. Of the Germany team five are going – Neuer, Ozil, Hummels, Khedira and Boeteng. They were all at big clubs. Make of that what you will.

  9. It looks like Lampard may be off to the states and be loaned back to someone in the UK.
    I agree with many that it is better to go for a permanent deal so I think we should cool our interest in Frank but monitor the situation. His moving looks likely to scupper our move for Fabregas, Chelsea may want him to replace Lampard.
    Kings Road or Linthorpe Road? It will be his loss.
    Other bad news is that David Villa has gone across the pond.
    Waking up and I have to say Lambert to Liverpool is a great piece of business by Brendan Rodgers.

  10. Heads up for any optimistic Karankistas in the “6th as a minimum requirement” camp (latest recruit Phil T, see the first Boro panel video.)…. Boro are 25-1 with Hills for the Championship, each way available for a top three finish at 1/4 the odds #daftquid
    Before you get too excited, that’s exactly the same odds that Hills quote for England winning the World Cup!
    I think they’ve got it about right.

  11. Paulista –
    The odds don’t seem unreasonable, but then what were Burnley’s odds this time last year? I also think it reasonable to assume that the bookies work out their odds on who has the most money to spend, so the three coming down are always tipped to go back up. Where as in reality we know that at least two relegated teams always bomb.
    Also, the bookies aren’t aware that I’ve bought my lucky ’74 retro top……..

  12. Nigel –
    Burnley were probably 40-1, 50-1 maybe. It can be won at big odds just not very often.
    GHW, and those queuing to use his shed, might be interested to know that we’re 16-1 for the drop (with S**Bet).
    Are we more likely to go down than win the title? The bookies seem to think so.
    **AV writes: At this stage prices are based entirely on where teams finished last term. Bookies won’t start drawing up their real ante-post odds until teams start signing players.

  13. Karankistas, eh, Paulista? That’s better than Krankies innit?
    For god’s sake somebody sign somebody to stop me talking this drivel.

  14. I’m guessing that Boro’s new strip is possibly a duplicate of a World Cup strip and we have to wait until the tournament starts to avoid stealing any limelight from the Manufacturers. Germany variant perhaps a possibility (obviously in Red and white)?
    There again maybe SG has changed the club colours ala Cardiff in an effort to get us back to the promised land (Blue with a white band)?
    I doubt there will be much transfer activity for at least another six weeks so I guess we had all better take up some sort of hobby or charitable work other than supporting the Boro for the time being.
    **AV writes: I can’t see anything happening until the squad reassemble for training, that’s usually the back end of June.

  15. Nigel –
    Maybe it is Ramsdens green. Maybe it will be in conjunction with a new club song for the Red Faction, a sort of reworking of Footballs Coming Home – ‘three balls on the shirts….’
    We can look forward to the World Cup where over 700 players will display the art of passing to each other with the exception of 23 who cant.
    We can adopt Nigeria and Ghana to give some Boro interest. When Greece concede we can muse how much better Dimi would have done.
    Lineker and Childs building up hopes before deflating like left over party balloons. Vic getting Teutonic, Paulista blaming Karanka, Len and I reminiscing about North Korea.
    All that is still to come.
    Plenty to look forward to before the world resumes its normal orbit around Planet Boro.
    **AV writes: Hmmm *thinks* … must did out the old ‘Teesside Krauts’ banner.

  16. The next thing we have to look forward to is the fixture list, June 17 I believe.
    Redcar Red – I pick up my Boro home shirt tomorrow, so we don’t have to wait until the world cup to see it.
    AV – When does AK return, is it before the squad return at the end of June ?
    It is a testing time for the next few weeks but at least this year we have the World Cup to distract us for a while.
    Come on BORO
    **AV writes: Squad back at the end of June. I think he will be back the week before.

  17. Redcar Red –
    Am I right is saying that the first Boro shirt was actually blue and white striped?
    Different subject altogether, anybody who had not see the goals by the academy kids on Gazette website should does so, some absolute brilliant goals and a couple of ‘thunderbastards’ as AV would say.
    **AV writes: I think the Nops were blue with a white sash. Boro started with cherry and black stripes, then briefly wore white with blue “knickers” and socks before evolving into red with a white yoke by the time they joined the Football League in 1899.

  18. Ian –
    An England team’s inability to pass never ceases to amaze me, although I dont know why, I can’t remember anything different. Still, you never know we might sneak through to the knockout stages. I can’t get too excited though, international football doesn’t really row my boat. At this time of year I’m equally happy watching cricket or supporting the Scottish tennis team……
    I’m seriously considering a fiver each way on Boro getting promoted though.

  19. Welcome back AV – I was having withdrawal symptoms. On Teesside for a week mid July, will the shop have new strip in by then.
    As I will be in UK I shall probably have a daft tenner on the Boro, to pay for the goodies from the Boro Shop.
    Anyhow getting ready for the World Cup and the inevitable Boro-esque disappointment.

  20. PP –
    the shed’s available as I’m hoping I’m not going to have to use it this year.
    I’ll just put my usual summer comment in:
    If the club are serious, all signings will be in place before the big kick off, to enable the manager to get his squad up and running and firing on all cylinders from the off. If, as has happened in the past, we wait until Aug 31st and deadline day, then I fear we will bring in stop gaps for the sake of it.
    As ever, I will judge the manager on the players he recruits.
    I’m still waiting to see who he punts.
    Two half decent midfielders and a quality centre half should see us comfortably in the Play Off’s. Team goals, and not neccessarily a 20 goal centre forward should suffice.

  21. Ditto Nigel Reeve at 2.08pm (minus the Cricket though).
    Onto the latest classless kit offering….
    The “leaked” photos were spectacularly uninspiring. Don’t like the sash even if it does have historic connotations with Ironopolis. Having said that it is light years better from the morning after vindaloo “grey”and blue hoops insult for an away kit.
    Is it really that difficult to come up with a kit that shows some kind of continuity and design? Obviously it is. I suspect it’s from the same design house as the Harry Potter badge.
    Boro away kits are blue and black not dodgy grey/vindaloo brown and blue hoops with mustard trim (at least they weren’t purple!). Boro home kits should be red with a white band/yoke. It’s about as bad as Southampton’s disregard to their stripes last season.
    It seems that Spurs, Ajax, Manure, Liverpool, Chelsea, Rangers, Real Madrid, Barcelona and Celtic etc. keep and respect their heritage whilst fringe wannabes are desperately happy to tout themselves in an embarrassing attempt to try and slap on the make up over Botox filled lips attired in “copy” shellsuits from the market to say “here look at me”. Still at least it’s not blue with a white sash (no doubt next seasons offering). Chavtastic!
    I associate a sash with inebriated geriatric bandy legged Orangemen, Man City from the seventies and Peru from the 1970 World Cup. Not exactly inspirational on all three counts. On the positive at least the manufacturers three stripes are not in black, I bet that took hours of deliberation.
    I look forward to Newcastle’s black and white hoops and Sunderland’s abandonment of stripes for an all red home kit and Celtic playing in white with a green sash and Rangers adopting a green and white chevron for their current sojourn outside the Scottish Prem. There again that’s not going to happen nor are their badges likely to be changed by a 12 year old with a Spirograph (remember them!).
    Just hope I can see past the “flash sash” and see some inspirational football to make up for the “makeover”, it’s times like this I’m glad I didn’t pre-order and my cynicism has been restored and rewarded, albeit I wish it hadn’t.
    My euphoria and optimism is now back at default levels of expectation……Typical Boro!
    **AV writes: I don’t mind the home kit – Steel River Plate? – and I think it is certainly better than last term’s yoke/sleeve combo… but I think every time Boro wander away from the chest band they are missing the advantages of a distinct, unique image that helps forge identity among supporters and brand recognition further afield.
    I can’t get excited about away kits as they have no rhyme nor reason and rarely any link with a club’s history but generally I’d like a blue/black strips element to them. Stripes not hoops. But that is what you get when you go with a big manufacturer, a templated style straight from the catalogue. Given the excellent feedback from the Bournemouth game you’d have thought they’d have gone with that white strip. But what do I know?

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