Clayton Saga: A Window On A Weird World

THIRD time lucky.… Adam Clayton was due to have a medical this morning and then sign today to end a summer sage with more twists and turns than a snake in a spin-dryer.

With two missed medicals, Jacob Butterfield in limbo and eleventh hour hi-jack bid being fought off,  the whole thing has been played out in public but that is more because the Gazette have had an inside track all along rather and so the two stumbles have been in the spotlight than it being a particularly tortuous transfer.  And yes, the agent tried to pull a fast one and work Brighton into the equation after everything was agreed (that’s what agents do) and both clubs were seething and fans at two clubs were left frustrated and confused but as Steve Gibson pointed out, that happens all the time.

You have just had a glimpse of his normal working week. Imagine that same convoluted process but with two agents. And translators.  And a father trying to get a cut. And another club or agent barging in at the last to demand a disputed sell on fee or percentage.

Some short-sighted fans will turn that frustration on the player (some have already made themselves look a bit silly all over his twitter) as he will be deemed not to have wanted to walk to Teesside barefoot, pausing only to get the Transporter tattooed on his bum, before pledging his first born to the PRT and dyeing his beard red with a white sash.

But that is the case with most players.  Almost all of them have to be cajoled, haggled with and plied with cash. It is a mercenary affair. Even most of the fans heroes. Look at Juninho’s last time at Boro. The deal took three weeks to complete, his dad demanded Boro break their wage ceiling and twice almost collapsed the deal and at one point opened talks with Villa to force Boro’s hand. Yet he is perceived as a Teesside loyalist.

Meanwhile others were hailing Butterfield (a player struggling to find a real role in the Karanka system and shaping up to be an expensive benchwarmer) for really wanting to be at Boro – seemingly oblivious to the fact he had willingly been in discussions to join another club, a move he agreed very quickly. Do you think he is heart-broken at being forced out of his boyhood club? Don’t be daft. If he didn’t want to move he just wouldn’t have agreed to talks. He’s not been sold into slavery. He’s just moved to a new job.

Some have argued that Huddersfield are getting a better player. Maybe. Technically. But Boro are getting Town’s player of the season and they are getting a player who looked a fringe figure at best and one who never really nailed down a role in a 4231.  He’s a nice lad, a tidy player, he never let Boro down and I hope he flourishes at Huddersfield.  But Clayton is a better fit. Players can’t be measured by how many keepie-uppies they can do or what their score is on FIFA, only by what the manager thinks they bring to the team. It is a practical and functional judgement not an aesthetic one.

So it has been a scrappy signing but at the end of the day football is a dysfunctional industry with a deeply flawed recruitment model that forces clubs to jump through hopes to get the players they want.   And the players, who see it as a job, often get buffeted by circumstances which can change very quickly. They grab their opportunities where and when they can. Sometimes they talk to three or four clubs in a week. They can’t publicly pledge their loyalty to all of them. Unless they are Robbie Keane.

So give the lad a chance. The important thing is this: Aitor Karanka wants him. He was identified back in May as a player who could strengthen the squad, a seasoned and athletic  Championship battler who could add a bit of mobility and bite to midfield and who the club believe is good VFM with a potential resale. He ticks the boxes on the recruitment profile and the club have worked very hard to get him. Months.  And it wasn’t easy.

The club deserve credit for digging in doggedly and getting their man. They could easily have said “sod it” and walked away and looked at other targets (they may well have been doing that anyway) no-one would have blamed them. But the policy this summer has been to get exactly the players the manager wants at a fair price and they stuck to that.

Huddersfield deserve credit too for acting honourably throughout and both chairman have been in regular contact and acted in concert to blow Brighton out of the water and bring the agent back into line. They salvaged the original deal.  And Karanka did his bit too with a frank weekend phone call that laid it on the line and set a deadline.  The episode was messy at times but Boro have shown ruthless determination in getting another one of their priority targets in.  Which is a refreshing break from he hit-and-miss past.

What happens next us down to Clayton. Obviously first he needs to finally sign and draw a line under it all now. Please god, don’t let him fail his medical. Then what he needs, what the team needs, what Steve Gibson needs and what supporters  need is for Clayton to very quickly justify the investment in time and money with some sterling displays.

When he scores the winner at Wembley and EIOs in front of the fans with a silly red and white jester’s hat on, we’ll look back at this and laugh.



222 thoughts on “Clayton Saga: A Window On A Weird World

  1. I hate to be a party pooper but Nikeboro’s points have a lot going for them.

    The baggies were a yo-yo team when he joined them, they got promotion at the second time of asking as champions. The problem they had was they couldnt score and they couldnt defend. The players had the cleanest windscreens in the premiership because the wipers went side to side. They were actually worse than the Gate team that went down.

    In the summer he joined a Celtic team who were champions the previous season. The Baggies stiffened their team, Celtic started drifting. Mogga shifted out players, many with attitude, several joined Boro.

    I must admit I had little knowledge of the Scottish League but both Rangers and Celtic fans I know thought we had dome well out of the deported players. Mogga was sacked, after, according to a Rangers fan he single handedly rescued Rangers fortunes.

    The jockification failed at Boro and Mogga came in with several players he shipped out still here.

    I was pleased he came because he would be given time and some breathing space. My views on his tenure should be well known, I couldnt understand his obsession with forever changing formations and tactics to match the opposition. And that was against clubs bottom of the league at the Riverside who hadnt scored since Cliff Mitchell worked for the Gazette.

    The article by the player at Celtic during Mogga’s reign about coaching rang a bell.

    He was certainly dealt a dud hand and worked very hard to reduce the debt but it is a results game.

    By the time he had his own squad we collapsed.

    Did he fail? Of course he didnt, he did a tough job as best he could. Could he have done better? Of course he could but that is the same for everybody in any walk of life.

  2. All I know is that it’s nice to see both the manager and players actually smiling and looking as if they’re enjoying what they are doing, I never saw many (if any) smiles, jokes, japes or whatever whilst TM was in charge. If you don’t like what you’re up to as a profession, and not just football, it’s time for a change.

    Don’t get me wrong, I was right behind the big fella until the dying embers of his leadership, but the place just didn’t seem a happy one while he was in charge somehow. Let’s see if the smiles remain if (and a big IF at that!) we hit a bad patch under AK, I get a sneaking feeling they will.

  3. I don’t think it is useful saying this boss is good and this one is bad. I just see it as all part of the long unfolding story of the club. Anyway you could only really measure them if they started from the same base and had the same money to spend. In fact different managers come it to completely different circumstances.

    For instance, Robbo took us to Wembley three times, got promoted twice and signed some of the best players in the world but we all know he wasn’t a great “manager” he was just lucky to have the chequebook. Would he have been any good if he had no money to spend? He wasn’t much cop at Bradford or West Brom. How would he have got on if he took over at Boro with no money? If he took over when Bruce did?

    The history of football is full of people who were the right man at the wrong time.

    1. Very sensible post LL. You sound like the kind of bloke who might want to wait till at least the end of September before booking the band for the promotion party.

  4. In Mogga vs Karanka,

    Mogga had the right ideas. Formation now is the same as under Mogga. He knew everything. He just couldn’t make it work.

    So many times last season I thought we were do close to getting it right. Really sad Mogga couldn’t implement what was in his head. AK has just made it work.

    AK is a better coach, more ruthless and really decisive.

    I said early in the summer that this feels like a summer under Steve McClaren. He was the same. He had a plan.

    Hope Karanka’s plan works somewhere near as well.

  5. Stan Anderson… Jack Charlton
    Willie Maddren… Bruce Rioch
    Tony Mowbray…. Aitor Karanka

    Sometimes a good new manager comes in, makes a few tweaks and a few signings and makes a real success after the previous bloke put down good foundations in difficult times but fell short. History records the previous bloke was rubbish. Cruel but true.

    On Dirty Leeds, I can’t wait. Never been a better time to play them. They sound like there a complete shambles. A famous victory now could light the blue touchpaper with the fans and the owner. If we batter them the non-league manager will be gone by the end of the month and we could see Festa & Carbone in charge there.

  6. Lest we forget Karanka did have a wobble and a big long one at that!

    So long he actually managed to set a club record for not scoring. What is of merit though is he stayed with his principles and charted course and came through it eventually. It was a diabolical run and as bad as anything Mogga put us through or any of the previous incumbents.

    The difference between the two styles is that Mogga would have changed, tweaked, reworked, altered, rehashed, switched wide men onto opposite flanks (all in the first half) whilst AK seems to have profound belief in himself and his ability and confident that his plan will be successful and is not for changing.

    The important bit is how this then translates and transmits itself to the players (and the fans), that for me is the big difference.

    **AV writes: Karanka’s wobble was strange one because although there was a record goal drought there was also a record of successive clean sheets at home.

    1. Its strange how the negative goal drought is remembered but what we didn’t (me especially) realise at the time was the new ethos of giving nothing away was simultaneously being instilled and foundations were laid.

  7. Plenty of sensible and balanced posts.

    Tony Mowbray’s time @ Middlesbrough was certainly interesting and puzzling at the same time. The season of 2012-13 best describes it. Third in the league at the end of 2012, but we would have been bottom of league from Jan-May/13. For every Leadbitter and Friend, we also had Haas and Dyer. Passing, free flowing football one game and split strikers the next.

  8. Ste Mac

    Stan Anderson = really good manager but no ‘man manager’ and motivator
    Jack Charlton = Knew football inside out and had a black book, don’t mess

    Willie Maddren, the nicest man anyone could have been fortunate to have met, knew football like most before him, but like his personality, way too nice.
    Bruce Rioch = Don’t mess or you get a slap

    Steve McClaren = organised, planned had a way with the players
    Gareth Southgate = Absolutely bricking it whenever Gibbo was around, had the charisma of the same brick he was squatting and wasn’t trained as a coach

    Tony Mobray = Good manager, one of our own, employed poor support staff and was a serial tinkerman
    Aitor Karanka = Yet to be proved to be a good manager but has a mean (likeable) streak whereas, if you don’t fit, you’re cut, my way or the A19

    See a pattern there?

  9. We do have to be careful about prospects for the season.

    I like the way we are going about things, we are playing some good football but it is only after two matches. There is plenty of time to run away with the league or melt away in to mid table.

    If we have two points a game after 45 matches we can talk promotion. We tend to forget other clubs are strengthening their squads, have a professional set up and footballers.

    Promising is the best description.

    1. I completely agree Ian. I’ve been saying much the same but, on the strength of one post, I seem to be being pegged as a delusional ra-ra. I’ve had far more disappointments and gut-wrenching let-downs in supporting Boro to get too carried away.

      However, as I said a few days ago, let’s all enjoy basking in what little success is currently coming our way: 100% record, 5 goals and none conceded. It might be decades before we see that again so let’s revel in it while we can. Chances are, it will change all to quickly. Tomorrow for example.

      But I don’t think so …

  10. We appear to have the best squad for a long time, a manager with a coherent plan and a team in form, I can’t see why being optimistic can bring accusations of being delusional. I think the trick is to enjoy the moment and hopefully we’ll all be buzzing my mid-afternoon tomorrow.

    1. Nigel and Nike, excatly. Let’s just enjoy. We have all seen the 1986 summer and are entitled to enjoy the ride now. We all know it is a roller-coaster ride anyway.

      A 0-0 draw will do me tomorrow (but hope for a 0-1 win with a Tomlin penna). But desent play expected, anyway – and I can see the match on telly over here in Finland!

      Up the Boro!

  11. Good piece AV, the insight into Steve Gibson’s typical week is enlightening and I have no doubt, 100 per cent correct.

    Who is Clayton’s agent by the way and what he did he snaffle from the deal?

    Your Juninho point is interesting but also misses the point a tad. His second and third spells on the pitch were neither here nor there really but we did win a pot with him in the middle. That counts in supporters’ eyes as does the fact he was forced out in effect by McClaren. But he wouldn’t have returned were it not for the money, agreed.

    The perception of loyalty stems from spell one. Yes we had the dosh but coming to the Boro was a massive uplift for the club and area, probably the biggest single shot in the arm we had ever had.

    I remember sitting at Selhurst Park for a match shortly after he came and two Boro lads behind sang “we’ve got the best player, in the world’ for the full 90 minutes. It was absolutely brilliant, unbelievable that we had such a player on our side, as was his whole stay.

    Remember the effort, the runs, the pulling the team around him, the Elland Road tears. He couldn’t have stayed as a championship player, Merson was a much better fit to get us out, and I didn’t begrudge him the move. I’m not sure anyone really did.

    No player has lifted the spirits in recent times for the Boro as much as he did. He was a loyalist when he was here, and his dad may well be a git or not, but don’t knock him. I know you’re not a fan of his AV as much as I am not a ‘Mogga the manager’ believer.

    Mogga also left us to go to Celtic remember but I think in their differing ways, they are equal Boro loyalists.

    Juninho’s motivation may be knocked but Mogga stayed on as manager out of personal pride and a belief he could put things rights when he patently lacked the nous or player support to achieve this. It’s arguable that he should have thought of the club before himself.

    They both represented the team brilliantly on the pitch but just because one of them was born locally, it doesn’t give him the perennial trump card he still seems to hold.

    **AV writes: As I’ve repeatedly said, it is not that I am “not a fan of Juninho.” It is that I am not a fan of the ‘cult of personality’ or treating any player as a semi-divine entity that is beyond criticism. For all his emotional weight, Juninho was no different to any player in his economic and employment relationship to Boro.

  12. AV, just picking up on your last point re ‘cult of personality’ football fans need heroes dont they? For a generation of Boro fans juninho is their hero, isn’t it that simple?

    **AV writes: Yes people need heroes. But they shouldn’t rewrite history or reshape reality around them.

  13. It was perhaps a sign of things to come that AC proclaimed how good it would be for him to score at Dirty Leeds, I am missing something here, I always thought the manager picked the team, Silly me

  14. Nikeboro

    Fair shout and it is only right to look forward to the coming season, I cant remember when I was this optimistic, probably more so than before our second season in Europe.

    That was probably the source of can Kike do it on a wet Tuesday night in Oldham. We had a squad of cup players, Even though we had finished seventh the previous eason we had only got 22 points out of twenty to finish the season.

    The signs were there, ageing, expensive squad but that is history. We had some great nights, Basle, Steau, Eindhoven.

    Back to now and it is promising.

  15. I’m a little late to party (can’t you lot wait until everyone’s back from their jollies?!) but I think that both Mowbray and Karanka were good appointments. Karanka still has it all to prove but the early signs are very encouraging, so long as promotion is the only goal.

    I understand that a number of fans, maybe even the majority, don’t regard Tony Mowbray as a success (and the final few months were certainly not) but I think that is because the fans objectives for the club were not entirely aligned with Mowbray’s remit.

    The club, it seems to me, spent all of Mowbray’s managerial tenure aligning itself within the limitations of FFP. Quite sensibly, that was priority number one – ensure the financials stack up.

    Not so for most fans. As ever, priority number one for us is to win the next game.

    I regard the fact that Mowbray successfully kept us up in his first season (priority number one for that period), then moved on almost all of the budget busters while keeping us towards the top end of table for longish periods as a success. Whilst many of us may not have agreed with many of his methods and dealings. I believe he achieved his goals through the first two and half seasons.

    2013 was a disaster though. Having largely cleared the decks, Mowbray’s remit had by then moved onto going for promotion. That was not going to happen. Mowbray’s time was up.

    Karanka has not faced Mowbray’s difficulties. Far from stablising the financials, Steve Gibson has agreed to pump serious extra money in of the kind Mowbray could only dream.

    Of course Karanka will want to move on many of the players he inherited. That he has done already, and generating pleasing fees in the process, shows that Mowbray’s deadwood is not of the same calibre as Strachans. Other clubs wanted and could afford these cast-offs. They are mistakes, not millstones.

    Karanka has also come into a club with a scouting team and sports science department. The club is ripe for the right person to come in and take us up.

    None of that belittles Karanka. You can have any relative advantages you like but you still need solid recruitment, organisation, discipline and motivation to achieve consistent results. If we get promoted this season – and at this stage that still had to remain a huge if – then it will be because Karanka has done a terrific job.

    I said it last season as a balance to my criticism of the dull football – I think Karanka has the whiff of someone who will have a very successful career in football management.

    So I don’t look at the comparison between Mowbray and Karanka as a “he’s-rubbish/he’s-good” situation. Mot that the club is a different place in those two adjacent periods and that I think both have been successful appointments (thus far in AK’s case).

    **AV writes: Good post. I agree with most of that,

    1. You make the point that AK has benefited from the kind of financial backing denied to TM. Why is that? SG is a level headed busuiness man (apart from being bonkers for Boro) – could it be that he has that much more confidence in AK than he did in TM?

      Around half of Mogga’s signings were duds. Even most of those who didn’t fail look improved under Aitor. I have a feelng that if Tony had had twice as much to spend, then twice as much would have been wasted.

      We’ve just bought a RB who is in his 30s, has just been relegated and has never played in England, let alone this hell-hole we fondly call the Championship. Everything shouts ‘don’t do it’ and, by all the usual indicators, he should fail. Nobody has expressed a single reservation and I have every confidence that he will slip into the team seamlessly and will be an asset.

      That’s the difference – or, rather, just one of them.

      People have said that it’s not about comparing managers and who is good or bad. Yes it is – that is the essence of being a supporter.

      The EG have asked who should play tomorrow – there’s an example. Our opinions don’t count a jot and certainly won’t affect the selection but, hey, it’s fun to have a go. Would Slaven fit into this team? Would Mannion succeed in the modern game? Why didn’t Big Jack buy David Cross? How many goals would Camsell score now? Those hypothetical discussions are part of the very fabric of being a football fan.

      As I’ve said several times, I didn’t set out to criticise Mogga but merely highlighted the implications of what Woody had said. However, having been drawn into it, I think it’s perfectly natural and valid to compare and contrast our last two managers. It’s what we do.

      1. He was another one. There you go: would Mariner or Cross have been the better buy? It’s what keeps pubs in business …

      2. Nothing wrong with discussing anything Boro-related Nike (are we now pronouncing that Nee-Kay by the way?).

        Of course I think that AK is benefiting from Gibbo’s purse, any manger would when you’ve got a rebuild on your hands.

        I would suggest that ether than Kamara, we would have had McCormack last summer for instance. And that could have made a tremendous difference.

        I believe that any of Mowbray’s signings were cheap punts with a high risk of failure. They had to be given the lack of funds. Some worked, some didn’t. It didn’t stop him balancing the books and Friend, Carayol, Leadbitter ad Adomah are decent players to leave behind.

        It’s all ifs and bits though and I’m not intending to knock Karanka in saying so.

  16. Andy R

    I agree with nearly all of that bar one bit. Strachan’s millstones when fit got us in to play off contention under Mogga, Strachan’s millstones won the Scottish title under Strachan, once Strachan’s millstones came here Celtic went downhill, when the decks were cleared of nearly all Strachan’s millstones we plummeted.

    People wont like reminding about it but you can look at any situation a number of ways. The only credit I will give Strachan is that he walked away without a penny.

    Mogga did a great job for Boro, he bought Gibbo time to turn the club around and that is by far the most important thing he could have done.

    Karanka will reap the rewards, if he doesn’t he will go the way of all managers,sooner or later.

    1. When I say “millstones” am I talking about finances.

      McDonald, Boyd, Thomson and McManus were all decent players with decent track records, but none were value for money and crucially none fitted Mowbray’s intended style of play.

      It’s the same situation with Juke and Butterfield under Karanka but the difference is they were not on prohibitive wages and were therefore easier to move on.

      It’s the numbers that made Strachan’s lot millstones.

      That is an area where I would admit that Mowbray wasn’t a great appointment – his idea of a good squad is so far removed from Strachan’s that it takes a lot of movement and disruption to get the right squad. He didn’t manage it in the end.

  17. With over 50 years of following Boro under my belt, my impression (without checking any records) is that the majority of first days of the season have been a let-down. I know memory plays tricks but I would bet that over half of my first games have been either a defeat or, at best, a home draw.

    Regardless of how well or badly things are shaping up, regardless of what you think the prospects are for the season, that first game is always full of anticipation. Until events prove differently, we’re all entitled to dream that things might – yer never know – go well after all. Then the reality check of the first result. Within 30 minutes, all the hopes & dreams of the summer evaporate like dew in the morning sun. You’re plunged into despair all that night, have a row with the family and Sunday brings the deaf-and-dumb breakfast.

    Not this year. We not only won, we won very convincingly and with panache. Furthermore, with pretty much a reserve team, we then went on to win handsomely at Oldham. Contrast that against last season’s hide-the-razor-baldes home defeat to League newbies Accrington. When did we last win our first 2 games, let alone 5-0 and with style? None of the grinding out results and pinching 1-0 wins here.

    So, to the determined bah-humbug brigade, that is something to celebrate and enjoy to the full while we can. Heaven knows, it doesn’t happen often (my bet is a handful of times in my 50+ years) and probably won’t last. If we go on to win at Elland Road (stop winding ’em up Steve, PP and Len will be foaming at the mouth), I suspect that will set a new record for an immaculate start to a season.

    I’m too long in the tooth and too emotionally scarred by Boro to kid myself that that means we’re going to get promoted. I said last month that, as the squad stood then, I was confident we would finish a bit higher than last season’s 12th – no more. With the players we’ve brought in, I will revise that a few places upward now and acknowledge that we have a chance of the play-offs.

    Having said that, if we do go on to get promotion, I will deny under torture all of this caution and reserve the right to hang a banner from the victory parade bus saying: ‘Nikeboro told yer so!’.

    1. I’m yer man. With half the staff on hols and quiet days at work, I can rabbit in about Boro to international standard. Some of it even makes sense.

  18. Well the manager debate has kept the blog ticking over nicely, we may make 200 before tomorrow’s match, will that be a first?

    So, what’s the score going to be tomorrow, I’m going for 2-0 to Boro.

  19. Remember folks this IS the Championship or “One flew over the Cuckoos nest league “,Fulham have already lost,Wigan have,Derby scraped a win against Rotherham,Bournouth are flying,

    I said earlier you need goals,usually eighty,so you win the 3-2 games,an odd 4-3,many 2-1,so I hope we get maybe two more strikers to keep things fresh in those dark days of dec to march,even off the bench,


  20. Headline: ‘Leeds boss Dave Hockaday grew up watching Boro and admits he has a ‘close affinity’ to the club’.’ That’ll go down a bundle with the Leeds psychos. It’s nice to see a PR master at work.

  21. Just watched Karanka’s press conference for the Leeds game.

    AV, please can you tell me which journalist told Karanka that Kike “had literally exploded”. And if this is the case, who will play up front tomorrow.

    **AV writes: I literally wasn’t there so I don’t know.

  22. Prediction for tomorrow? I’m not sure, I hope for another clean sheet and a nicked goal, but I think Leeds have a lot to prove in their first home game after a tumultuous summer, so I expect a tough game. I think it will be that old cliché of needing to get the first goal. I’m looking forward to it anyway!

  23. If Kike has ‘literally exploded”, this could mean Gibbo is “literally fuming” and Boro are “literally in meltdown”.

    1. Lets hope it was ‘metaphorically’ or that the club are insured on the deal. Conference is on the Gazette website.

  24. For anybody who doesn’t have Sky Sports, apparently it is free tomorrow so you can still watch the match. Back of the net!
    “Sky Sports channels are available to watch this Saturday, 16 August. If your telly is provided by Sky, Virgin Media or TalkTalk you can enjoy the day’s sporting action even if you don’t have a Sky Sports subscription. The channels are free for 24 hours from 6am on Saturday morning through the night to early Sunday.”

      1. You probably won’t need to retune, just look up the channel number on the internet and type it in on the remote. Usually if you did that it would say the channel was blocked, but tomorrow it should be working!

      2. In fact, I have done it for you: Talk Talk Sky Sports 1 is 501. Type that channel into your remote after 6am tomorrow and if it going to work then it should be up and running!

    1. Got it all lined up and revealed the usually hidden Sky channels. I was sad not to be able to go to Elland Road so that’s an excellent consolation.

  25. I think tomorrow could potentially bring a record book breaking score at Elland Road. There again it would be Typical Boro not to turn up in front of the TV Cameras as usual but somehow I don’t think that will happen under AK

    1. Dan

      And the Doncaster game come to think of it but usually we seem to disappoint and miss the opportunity to get fans on board. Hopefully tomorrow will be different!

    2. Hurray! What is it I win again?

      **AV writes: Kudos. Or a BMW or some such status symbol … send me your bank details.

  26. I think we’ll win tomorrow.

    Anything can happen but I see us as a well-drilled, calm, efficient and confident group at the moment. Leeds are quite opposite, hoping for a spark to persuade then that they aren’t in for a relegation dogfight this season.

    They are. DL 0-2 Boro.

  27. Looks like my BMW goes to no. 200 probably Redcar Red.

    I think the blog is faster and so encourages responses and replies. This is the new instant age so the conversation is faster and more prolific.

    Boro to win 1-0

  28. With all the hype I think tomorrow may will be like watching Brazil – though Leeds will be the struggling South American’s of course and Boro will be Germany making the game look easy…

  29. Do we know if Damia Abella is actually signed and available for tomorrow or are we entering an “Abellagate” phase?

    Is Bamford Boro bound and is George still our Friend?

  30. I was starting to feel reluctant to express confidence and optimism, let alone predict a win. However that seems to be the trend so I feel a bit more forthcoming: I’ll go for a win by 2 clear goals.

  31. OK I’m suffering from a huge inhalation of Foam Fumes so Leeds 0-5 Boro!

    Kike Hat Trick (one Pen), Tomlin and Albert.

  32. There’s either going to be a lot of celebrations going on judging by the latest predictions on here, or there’s going to be floods of tears and a lot of drowning of sorrows. I have everything crossed for the former and I have a feeling in my bones that it will be, but are you trying to recoup your 40 quid early RR by laying off side bets on the 5-0?

    1. You’re right PPP. Is this where the usual reality check thuds in? Just in case, my missus has hidden all the tablets, switched off the gas at the mains, secreted away the razor blades and has a hotline to the Samaritans open.

      Let’s hope we don’t come off the rails and I’m on cloud 9 in a few hours. If Boro find themselves at the top of the table (especially if the aggregate is 7-0, as predicted) and Kike has equalled the 95-year old scoring record, then I will not be answerable for my actions.

  33. **AV writes: I literally wasn’t there so I don’t know.

    **AV writes: Is that 200?

    AV, a couple of things

    1. You said you weren’t here, does Mrs Vic you have been on your lappy
    2. 200AD is even before John, Clive and I followed Boro. Len was around. Is that a case of what have the Romans ever done for us.

    More pertinently, what have the Romans done for Leeds?

    Mrs G is at work tomorrow because of Uni clearing and we (so I am informed) intend to leave for North Wales about 1.00pm. Being a loving husband I have suggested she mustn’t stress herself, we have plenty of time. I must admit she is not the most punctual person I have ever know

    Still torn between superstition and watching AK and the army marching in.

    The perfect scenario is for use to leave with Boro comfortably ahead. 🙂

    I try to be balanced and reasonable but damn it, a win would do nicely, we are above Forest and Derby and their fans dont know what to make of it.

  34. Peasepudin

    I didn’t lay any side bets but I have put a tenner on Kike tonight to finish as the Championship’s top scorer.

    I recommend you get your bets on before tomorrows game. once we run riot at Elland Road even the Beeb will push us forward to 12.10.

    We already have Leeds in a quandary by ordering three Chicken Pizza’s and three Vegetarian Pizza’s post match. I do love a good mind game.

    The honour of 200 has to go to GHW, the ability to post replies in previous posts can inadvertently distort true league placings hence some confusion but I can confirm at the time of posting earlier GHW did in fact post the 200th. Damn there goes the Beemer but this blog wouldn’t function to the standards it does without the ethics (perhaps foolishly) entrusted to us all. Somewhat reminiscent to the goal Scott MacDonald forfeited when I think it was Ishmael Miller tapped in from two centimetres out.

  35. RR,

    Best of luck with your bet mate, I really, and most sincerely hope that you cash in, for all of the obvious reasons. I’m not a betting man, I suppose that function in my life has been driven out of me by my love of all things successful by the Boro, everything “Untypical”

    But, please, can you keep up your excellent reports on the games as you, a true Boro supporter, see them from the stands. As an estrange sniffer of Chemoxy’s fumes from “Doggy”, I rely upon you blokes to keep me informed. AV can be a tad ‘Foam Handed’ at times despite his denials, you lot are my Boro lifeline.

  36. Time for another thread, sadly I may be out of internet range, lets hope it is AV eulogising as we go top.

    Whatever the result shouldnt really affect the season, it is only three points and plenty more to play.

    No, you are right, I dont mean that.

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