“Boro Would have Lost That Game Last Year…”

A FORMER fragile Boro would have lost that game. Nailed on. Back to the bread and butter games after an emotional high of a midweek glamour game and with expectations high after three wins in a row and a 4-0 Riverside romp against Brentford.  Throw in a huge travelling support buoyed by optimism and all the ingredients were in place for a “typical Boro” defeat – probably thanks to a Bikey goal in the 93rd minute.

But this Boro are made of sterner stuff.  Even with 10 men. Even after a leggy last half hour as the strength-sapping 120 minutes of the Anfield epic started to catch up with them and Charlton stepped up a gear to pile on the pressure late on.  They dug in. They put bodies on the line. They closed, tackled and blocked, they rocked as an opportunist hooked shot came back off the post, then the stayed sharp to resist a stoppage time assault as Dimi made a wonder save then Clayton hooked a goalbound header away.

The 0-0 draw at Charlton is the kind of game that under the previous few managers Boro would crack in and slip to defeat. To a last minute set-play. Probably scored by the serial Nemesis or the former Boro donkey every battle-scarred cynic had their daft quid on.

This Boro didn’t fold. They dug in. They worked hard. They fought for the team and for the point. They looked lively and bossed the first half but after failing to score from a couple of decent chances they faded, they lost some zip and lost the initiative and ended up battling to stay in the game. And they did. Boro were far from at their best at the Valley but they came away with a  precious point that could yet prove very important.

Let’s be clear. That is a good point.  Charlton are the highest placed team Boro have played so far this term. They are unbeaten. They had won four out of five at home. Under Bob Peeters they are organised and work hard. They were up for it and in the second half turned the screw but Boro held on.  That is the kind of result that gets you promoted… especially if you then take advantage of playing the bottom two at home.

Aitor was proud after the game because his side had produced. And for this we are happy.


A few things:

That is three clean sheets in a row. With Dimi in goal. Hmmmm. The keeper is not the only reason for that – the team have looked solid across the back and midfield has been impressively impervious too – but he has looked solid.

Fans’ favourite Dimi – “Chewbacca” to his friends – has made a few fumbles that would have had lynchmobs gathering for other keepers but he has shown that when called upon he can make the decisive saves under pressure.


Notorious hatchetman Albert Adomah is an unlikely villain but the Charlton fans were baying for his blood after a heavy 50/50 challenge that led to controversy. “Typical Miwdesbowwer, they always kick us off the park,” came one anguished cry from just behind us as he trudged off.

albert red

He was already on a yellow for clipping Cousins from behind (just after Clayton had failed to bring the player down with an outstretched ankle height hand) when him and Wiggins both went sliding in for a loose ball right in front of the press box. Initially it seem the ref, six yards away, had given the free-kick Boro’s way. Then he was called over by the linesman who was 30 yards away and then his decision was reversed and Adomah was penalised, shown a second yellow at then a red.

Now, you can say that the linesman is there to assist the ref and it is a sound principle that the official should consult widely and get the fullest picture before making a match changing decision. Fair enough. And we had all winced when the tackle went in.

But the same linesman had missed what looked a clear cut flying elbow from BIkey when he was just six yards away so that calls into question his judgement. And eye-sight. Boro’s former human hand-grenade was caught out by Patrick Bamford’s pace, knew he had lost out and even took a little look round before cloths-lining the striker. That was clear cut. We know Bikey can be a little volatile. And we know he was going to either score or chin someone so Bamford had had literally taken on from the team.

Naturally the Charlton fans decided Bamford had dived. It was the only possible explanation. After the game Charlton keeper Henderson – probably the closest player to the action and with a clear sight-line – did a bit with the local press and donned his WengerGegs to say 1)  he never really saw the incident ; and 2) we all know that Andre’s “not that type of player.” How we all laughed.


Adam Clayton was brilliant. Again. He has been working his nuts off in the last few games. He is a good destroyer but also has a great range of passing. He has settled into the new team and has flourished. Soon he will add goals and be hailed by the fans as a brilliant buy. Is there anyone who still questions why Karanka let Butterfield go?


Boro fans… just wow. Another 2,000 turn out. Brilliant support, and not just in numbers. They were noisy throughout again. I think the supporters this season have been energised because they can see the bits falling into place. I think people are starting to react to the feeling that something special is starting to happen.




57 thoughts on ““Boro Would have Lost That Game Last Year…”

  1. WE WILL WIN THIS GAME! and move on to join a 4 team breakaway group of Norwich, Forest, Derby and us, that will contest the top 2 places with a play off place for the two “losers”. The rest of this league will be playing for 5th and 6th place. Aint no stopping us now… 3-0 to Boro.

  2. I think we’ll win it too. I haven’t been this excited/confident/daft about Boro in years. I think the lads who come in fresh will be right up for it and that will carry the ones with lead legs along..

    Can anyone smell foam?

  3. Very clever team selection. Karanka must know some players may tire so attacking line up to start with while the players are fresh. Hopefully get a lead and change it if we need to later on. If we’d started with a negative line up feel it’d be tight but that we’d invite pressure as the game wore on and may have lessened the feel good factor we all have at the moment.

    I’m going for 3-1 boro!!

  4. Ok, here we go. Charlton 1 – 2 Boro. The usual, romp into a two goal lead, hit the post, Charlton mug one with ten minutes to go and we hang on. Seven minutes of added and the travelling support in emotional tatters.


    John R

  5. Back a couple of squares. The much vaunted new strike force was the weakness today. Kike and Bamford never managed to provide a focal point for our attacks. Time and again the ball came straight back after an abortive flick or a failure to hang on to the ball.

    Dimi solid and dependable. Nsue impressive both defensively and with some well timed attacking runs which Adoma chose to ignore. Kenneth and Ayala both excellent, as was Clayton who took on Lead’s midfield mantle. Tomlin, a sound first half before understandably fading. Friend and Reach also generally impressive, combining well on the left.

    This was the kind of result (0-0) and performance that many of us had predicted for us this season pre- Huddersfield, and which we hoped had been consigned to history with our recent performances. Very solid defensively and in midfield, but lacking potency and bite up top. A great pity that Vossen was missing today. The hope continues to be that he may be the important missing link.

  6. Well I think everyone secretly would have settled for a point before the game after being a bit leggy after the heroics on Tuesday .

    The squad rotation goes on and even Albert gets in on the act by accumulating two yellows! He’s not even a dirty or a hard player!!

    Sounds like the ref decided to give a free kick and made a home decision and also missed an elbow by our former hard man Bikey.

    Looking forward to Tuesday and hope Jelly is fit. Hope we get 20k crowd

    Fat Bob

  7. Watch the second goal from Southampton today,then ask yourself why A!bert’s was disallowed against Leeds.
    Never mind good point today considering

  8. I predict a 0-0 draw, I wouldnt be surprised at one of ours gettiing sent off in suspicious circumstances and Bikey getting away with something daft.

  9. Support brilliant – performance average. Surprised Special K didn’t change the attack in the second half. We defended well throughout and Omeruo is truly amazing.

    The referee was, however, less than amazing. Resembling a post-pubescent, his decisions were concomitant with his appearance. For instance, what advantage did Boro accrue when they were breaking away up the right only for him to bring play back to book a Charlton player? The Bikey elbow and sending off only served to confirm his ineptitude – the football league really needs to improve the standard of officiating.

    A good point with ten men but I was very disappointed with our attacking play today and the manager’s failure to change the system to try to find a goal.

  10. Championship referee decision-making shock. Again.

    Why must they consult a linesman who is even further away from the actionand then change their decision? Why do officials have focus problems with events right in front of them? What is their opinion? Welcome to the wonderful world of Championship decision making. I remain mystified. It seems that teams have to play the officials as well as what is in front of them wearing another strip and on that basis you are going to get some bizarre decisions.

    As I think Len Shackleton said, ‘a good rub-down with the rulebook would help’, or words to that effect, so it’s obviously not a new problem.

    A good, hard-earned point though, well done Boro and the travelling army.


    John R

  11. A point taken away at an unbeaten team has to be seen as a plus when you are not at your best.

    Least said about the officials the better regarding the Bikey incident.

    On Adomah I thought straight away he would be off with a second yellow.

    Two home games coming up against the bottom two,see if we can do an “untypical Boro” and pick up six points against the strugglers and go into the break in a top six place!

  12. Well that was a game of two halves. In the first half we simply bossed and controlled the game. Passed it with an air of confidence and at times even arrogance almost. We looked like e just simply couldn’t lose. The only negative was compared to our imperious midfield and defence the forward line looked confused and clumsy. The supposed diamond formation didn’t work where it mattered, up front. Kike was way off his best and Bamford who was by far the better of the two was OK going forwards but his passing and interplay was very poor, sloppy in fact, his passing was 50/50 if it was going to find one of his own or a Charlton player.

    As the game wore on the fatigue of Tuesday night started to tell, Ken felt a tweak and had to go off leaving us with just Ben and Ayala as fit CB’s. Even if Woody is fit for Tuesday the validity of his fitness would only last until the ink had dried on his doctors certificate. I would guess that Friend would be drafted across with Husband coming in should the injuries at the back mount.

    In the second half Charlton came out strong and started to mount a bit of pressure, the game was more even from the one sided first half affair of a Boro masterclass in possession football but we still looked the more likely to score. Bikey’s “elbow” strangely didn’t warrant a free kick or a booking nor a booking for Bamford for simulation.

    Adomah’s 50/50 challenge was six of one half a dozen of the other with both players equally guilty. The Ref gave it our way first but the linesman who had “missed” the Bikey event suddenly developed super visionary powers when the Charlton bench rattled him and the Ref amazingly changed his mind based on a colleague who was three times the distance away as he was himself. Based upon the calibre of 70% of the Officials at this level it was hardly a surprise sadly. That said Albert looked like he needed a rest and it gives an opportunity for someone else to stake a claim. My guess is that Nsue will revert to being wing man with Fredericks behind for Tuesday.

    I thought Nsue had a good solid game at RB and I called it right when I figured he would be drafted in to play there as Fredericks looked shattered after 120 mins against Liverpool, his game fitness levels are probably not 100% yet. Clayton was superb as AV says and Dimi was composed and calm when required. In the first half Dimi came racing ten yards out of his box to rescue an uncharacteristically deliberating defence and blasted the ball (and anything stupid enough to get in the way of it) well clear. Crosses were caught without fear and a great save near the end saved us from the inevitable “Typical Boro” comments.

    Before the game a draw at the Valley was a result we would all have gladly accepted and I’m sure after the first half Charlton would have snatched our hands off for the same result. Our ten men held out for the remaining ten or so minutes after AA’s walk and we deserved a point at least.

    On a negative I felt the striking issue should have been addressed sooner after it was clear tactically it wasn’t working and that the subs should have been used far sooner to inject a bit of pace back into our side. I felt that this was a game where Ledesma could have been used in the last 20 to liven up our attacking threat and cause problems. Perhaps the injury to Ken prevented AK from indulging me. Overall a decent result was eventually ground out and we still have belief and confidence intact.

    Now we have a big challenge with Blackpool on Tuesday then Fulham coming up at home. Expectations are high but pride often comes before a fall. Lets hope we take nothing for granted and treat both games with the same level of intensity and determination as Liverpool last Tuesday.

  13. Redcar Red

    The doctor would use invisible ink on Woodie’s certificate.

    When we get to the break, the season is a quarter the way through, a couple wins would see us well placed. Even four points wouldnt be bad, we should beat Blackpool but I wouldnt be surprised if Fulham get a draw, Mr Magoo has gone and some good players brought back in off the naughty step.

  14. Having gone ages without seeing Boro win so much as a point, yesterday spoilt my more recent record of watching successive wins. Although a bit disappointing after the early stages, nevertheless a decent point and one we just about got away with by the end. These are the kind of unmemorable points that go to make a promotion push.

    It was a game with distinct phases to it, largely determined by Boro’s increasing tiredness and then the sending off.

    For the first 20 minutes or so there was no way we couldn’t win. We were in control, passing around confidently and preventing Charlton from getting much momentum. We had two in-form forwards on so, all in all, you felt confident we’d soon make the net bulge.

    However by the half-hour mark it dawned that, for all the impressive passing, no chances had been created. There had been one or two speculative pops at goal, mainly from Bamford, but the keeper hadn’t been tested. Kike had a quiet game and I can’t remember any dangerous contribution from him. Bamford was more threatening but wayward with his goal chances and just as wayward with his passing.

    The much-hoped-for front pairing wasn’t really working out and didn’t click all game. There was negligible interplay between them and little evident understanding. They were two attackers who were accustomed to playing lone striker and continued to do.

    Tomlin was rather flat, presumably after the efforts of Tuesday. He’s the one who often makes the forward line tick but he was less effective yesterday and faded to nothing in the second half. Reach didn’t seem to suffer after Anfield but, although he looked good and kept the Addicks defence occupied, there was little end product, as is too often the case.

    With Adomah otherwise deployed, that was it for our attack. As HT approached, the game fell into a pattern familar from earlier in the season: Boro controlling with negligible danger at the back, lots of possession but not enough incisive passing and little goal threat. There seemed no way we could lose but you no longer felt as confident we would win.

    Surprisingly, Adomah was deployed narrower and asked to ‘do a job’ in Grant’s absence. Albert put in a shift for the team. Talking of central MF, Clayton continues to grow in stature and was basically a one man engine room. Even after his Liverpool labours, he put himself about, effectively stymied much of the Charlton creative threat but also displayed an impressive range of short and long passing. It’s going to be an interesting season watching Adam and Grant trying to out-do each other.

    As ever, the rearguard was solid and dependable. Ayala picked up where he left off at Anfield and was commanding at the back. Ken had one of his poorer games on Tuesday and was fairly quiet yesterday. Judging by his injury, he was probably feeling the strain. I was impressed with Nsue. I’d thought of him as a winger who could do a job at wing back. However he slotted in for Abella/Fredericks and, although not tested much, he played pretty well defensively as well as getting forward.

    Back to my description of the phases of the game. By HT we wondered whether Boro would come out with new intensity and perhaps with a rejigged shape to make the possession pay off. Instead it was largely Charlton who found fresh impetus but Boro held out easily enough.

    Nevertheless there was no sign of increased penetration or goal threat and, approaching the hour mark, it was clear that Boro were fading. Compared to recent games, they’d been a little flat from the outset but in the second half they became ever more flaccid. The front two hadn’t worked out and Tomlin had become a ghost.

    AK took too long to address this, probably because he didn’t want to use Grant. As a result, the re-shaping of the team had little impact. My memory of which came first is hazy now but it was around the same time that we were reduced to 10 men.

    By then, Boro had run out of steam and, combined with the dismissal, that threatened to give Charlton command of the game. We all feared that the Addicks would grab an undeserved winner, in a re-enactment of the Leeds game, and came very close when they hit the inside of the post. Nevertheless they had little to offer and Boro otherwise clung on well enough and saw out the game. There were even our or two occasions when we might have pinched a win despite being a man down.

    As many have said, we would have taken a point before the game. As AV comments, a year ago in those circumstances we would have folded. In fact, after the midweek heroics, we wouldn’t have tuned up, in ‘typical Boro’ fashion. Not now. This Boro has character, leaders, resilience and durability.

    The continuing concern is that our natural state seems to be defensive solidity, control in MF but attacking impotence. When we’re on our game and the intensity is there we can rise above that and score but, whenever we’re less than 100%, we revert to the default of hardly troubling their keeper.

    **AV writes: Yes, I agree with that. I think you could see the batteries were down to two bars in the second half, one bar in the last 10 mins and we were wondering if we could get through to full time so we could get the team on recharge for Tuesday.

    You say we can’t score but in the previous two games Boro got six (and only one from the spot.) I think fully charged they are more potent than most in the division.

  15. It will be fascinating to see whether the iconoclastic AK can overcome the habit of decades and avoid our customary post-Xmas slump. The ‘new blood’ of the New Year return of Carayol and Rhys could help with that.

  16. I don’t share the sentiment of a “good draw after a tough 120 minutes midweek”. To me, it’s a relatively easy two points thrown away after pointlessly taking a cup game seriously.

    Yes, the whole squad might be boosted by the brilliant performance they put in at Anfield, but they are professionals. I’m sure they’d have understood throwing that game away to concentrate on gathering points for the promotion push.

    There’s another, possibly more important, game to come on Saturday. Will the likes of Clayton, Reach, Tomlin, Ayala and Friend be capable of lasting another 90 minutes? Blackpool aren’t going to walk away with the league, but they cannot be taken lightly.

    Boro do look good now, but we haven’t hit Christmas yet, and we all know what happens after New Year.

    1. Your argument does hold water, Mike. Except our strong squad of 1997-98 was able to take midweek cup games seriously *and* grind out vital league wins, and with a bit more luck we’d have done the same here. Easy to regret exerting our efforts at Liverpool in hindsight, but no one seemed to moan at the time. That, and there are no easy games in this league: Charlton are unbeaten.

  17. Haven’t we had ‘issues’ with that schoolboy referee before. I’m not trying ferment trouble but I’m sure we had some ‘creative’ decision making from him last season.

    Can anybody help?


    John R

  18. First viewing for the London based diasBoro.

    If I am honest a very poor game which neither team deserved to win. Boro were the better team for the first 70 minutes, but never really created a really good chance. Few long range shots on goal were all a bit speculative. Game never plumbed the depths of the January 2002 encounter, but was not that far off. Still looking forward to the Brighton game though.

    Boro support was equally excellent, though was surprised that quite a lot of people were still at the bars 15 minutes into the 2nd half. As there were no TV’s out there, seems a long way to come to have a good drink. Can’t remember the Linny being that bad..

  19. AV: Am I right in thinking that for two yellows (= red) is a 1 match ban whereas a straight red (as in Whitehead) is a 3 match ban ?

    Come on BORO

    **AV writes: Yes, just one game. That will be spent on Tuesday when Whitehead serves his last of three.

  20. Why would anyone moan about the result? Boro have had three straight wins in the league and a fantastic 2-2 draw at Liverpool. They were always going to have a dip at some point. That’s the Championship. The dip is a goalless draw away at an unbeaten side. That’s not exactly a disaster is it? People expect too much.

    Six points in the next two home games and we could be flying. Four points wouldn’t be a disaster either. We’re on a great run in a tough division. Just enjoy it.

  21. When we look at Saturdays result we should remember the schedule for the last five games.

    Saturday away at Huddersfield,
    Tuesday away at Cardiff
    Saturday home to Brentford
    Tuesday away at Liverpool
    Saturday away Charlton

    Ten points from four games, a draw at Anfield including extra time, then penalties.

    That is a tough run with the travelling, I know they are cosseted but we all know the effects of long journeys, we all know that getting back in the early hours of the morning has an effect.

    Towards the end of the window people were chuntering about how we would do.

    A couple of decent results would give us a super September.

    This isnt foam but hard nosed realism

  22. AV: Thanks for the twitter link to the great anecdote about Kenny Dalglish taking the training at Darlington. Can you recommend to Kike and Bamford that they have a look at it too?

    Cloughie took John O’ Hare with him wherever he went. He wasn’t the greatest centre-forward, would only chip in 10 goals or so a season, and was somewhat overweight and unathletic. He didn’t cover a lot of ground, and didn’t tackle back, or put himself about. But he did one thing supremely well. He could receive the ball under pressure and hold on to it until reinforcements arrived. Clough’s genius lay in asking his players to concentrate on what they were good at, and designing his tactics around that. And he valued O Hare’s on- the -ball qualities to such a degree that he encouraged young Nigel to model his own game on O Hare’s.

    After seeing the Charlton game there may be a powerful lesson in this for Karanka and his strikers. Especially ( a la Kenny) if it is a sunny day.

  23. I think we have had a good start to the season (OK, the 10th match of the season is tomorrow). I must admit I was a bit disappointed with the Charlton result when I saw it. I was expecting a draw after a tough match at Anfieels on Tuesday. But still I noticed I was a bit disappointed with a point!

    But that just shows how far we have come in September. We have a good squad and an excellent manager. We just have to be patient with the results like Saturday.

    Having said that I expect us to collect a minimum of four points from the next two matches. I would hope for a six-point haul but I think we should be happy with four. And I hope there is more people at Riverside to see Boro play now.

    But as Mike said above we haven’t hit Christmas yet, and we all know what happens after New Year. I think the post-Christmas time is crucial – it is the period when Karanka must make the team tick as well.

    In the past Karanka has not followed the Boro traditions. I think Untypical Aitor won’t let the traditional slump to arrive this winter. I think we are heading for bright future with the current squad.

    Up the Boro!

  24. Can there be a more possible banana skin than tomorrow’s match against Blackpool? Typical Boro written all around it. If we hadn’t Karanka steering the Boro ship, I wouldn’t bet against the first win for Blackpool.

    In Aitor we trust, though. Up the Boro!

  25. Despite the continued summery weather and the mounting pre-winter gardening jobs to complete, I decided to watch the Charlton game online and unfortunately wasn’t rewarded with a spectacle of football.

    We seemed to have a lot of tidy possession in the places where Charlton were happy to sit back and watch but didn’t really get it together in the last third. It was on the whole a nothing of a game that ended nothing-nothing – despite a late Addicks rally nearly giving them an undeserved win but for a smart save by the post.

    But we should stay philosophical and accept the Championship is long campaign and a dull away point is better than losing a game that we probably could have won with a better performance.

    We’ve got two winnable home games coming up now before the international break – though that’s what I thought before the last break – hopefully we can regain our intensity and end up sitting pretty in the table.

  26. It’s not just the size of our squad, which has ample cover to permit rotation. It’s the quality. We have a variety of players with different strengths & weaknesses but, with the possible exception of GKs, there’s not an obvious dud amongst them.

    It’s early days for several and we have one or two, like Ledesma, who don’t produce for 90 minutes but nevertheless can do well as impact subs. But, overall, you no longer have to worry about who actually plays.

    I have no doubt that this is the best squad during our years out of the top flight. On top of that, although I recognise there’s a gulf in standard between PL and Championship, my feeling is that we might have the best squad since the last one or two seasons in the PL. We had better indviduals then but, in terms of balace and cover, I suspect that this sqiad may well be better.

  27. More than happy with the point.

    The next two could both be banana skins, not even allowing for typical Boro.

    I would like all six points, but be reasonably happy with four. Fulham seem to have picked a little confidence and may prove the harder test.

    Hope that Vossen has recovered to be at least be on the bench tomorrow. Also interesting to see who AK rests apart from Adomah of course.

  28. Nikeboro

    It isn’t just size and quality of the squad though ours looks better than for some time.

    There is also the issue of time, as I highlighted above we are coming through a tough schedule with the travelling etc but with so many away trips, some quite long, by the time you have given some time to recuperate there wont have been much time on the training ground to hone the teamwork.

    In contrast look at Derby:

    Forest away
    Blackburn away
    Cardiff home
    Reading home
    Bolton away

    Bear in mind Forest is only 13 miles away and you can see the time and travel advantages.

    I am not whinging but I think we have to cut a little slack over the performance levels at Charlton. Ten points out of twelve is ok.

  29. Not much that can be added to the above.

    The game itself may have been a little disappointing but it’s a point that almost all of us would have taken before kick-off. A draw away from home is rarely a bad one in any circumstances, nevermind ours.

    I’ve upgraded my prediction from seventh to the play-offs. I have very few doubts about the quality of the squad and the mental fortitude is impressing now as well. An untypical six points against strugglers Blackpool and Fulham and I may have to upgrade again.

  30. Speaking of predictions, can SmogOnTheTyne please come forth with his proven promotion formula of a couple of seasons ago?

    **AV writes: The general rule of thumb is two points per game. Boro are currently just shy of that with 16 points from nine but two wins this week would push that up to the magic ratio of 22 points from 11. Are there any mathematicians/football anoraks in the house?

    1. I think Smog looked at our results against the same fixtures last season, replacing those promoted and relegated.

      But yes, one point per game will keep you up, two per game will get you automatic promotion and more than 1.5 will usually do for the playoffs.

  31. AV as upbeat as he’s been for a while; indeed in the extended piece for the paper he’s positively gushing ” a steely, resilient team oozing with confidence and mental strength”.

    He’s seen all of the games and probably spoken off the record to senior players about how things are shaping up so that’s good to know.

    The fact that we are outside the play-off places having not yet played a team currently in the top 6 is a bit of a concern as is the number of bookings and injuries we have picked up relatively early in the season.

    I’m yet to be convinced that our signings in the last window will last the course. Damia has already fallen before Beecher’s and Vossen has ground to make up. Kike started well but is struggling to maintain his position, Nsue and Wildshot are handily poised to make a move but remain “dark horses”, poor old Meijas is on the way to the dog food processing plant already.

    The most consistent performer of the arrivals has been proven course and distance stayer Clayton.

    A few more thoroughbreds like him in January please can help us last the course and Elbow the opposition aside.

  32. Jarkko

    Schhhhteve would have said magnificiant, for schhure.


    Don’t need an anorak for that one but Norwich and Forest look the likeliest of the rest to break the two points a game mark over a full season.

  33. PP

    Well reasoned thoughts and bringing reality home with a thump there!

    I have to say that initially I thought Nsue was another “forgettable”. I have now completely changed my mind on the guy, he isn’t the fastest or most skilful. He doesn’t have a bag full of tricks but he is resilient and has a never give up and never say die type of grinding it out attitude.

    To me he looks exactly the type of profile that can be successful in the Championship. He doesn’t roll over feigning injury when he loses possession, he gets straight back up and at em!

    Fredericks also looks to be a bonus and can time a tackle and also emulate a “George” and get up the flanks and take players on.

    Onto a more general topic, If it wasn’t for the “goal” that wasn’t at Leeds plus a ridiculous first half against Wednesday we could be sitting joint top.

    As it is since Dimi has returned we have managed 10 from 12 as Ian points out plus narrowly lost after a record breaking penalty shoot out in front of the Kop. That’s as much as any Team could expect.

    The big test will come when we play the “candidates” for automatic promotion or play offs. Question is who are the “candidates”? A few weeks ago we would have had Charlton down for a relegation dog fight and Fulham, Wigan and Cardiff chasing the Premiership dream.

    Aitor can only beat what’s in front of him at any given time or date so let’s hope for six from six this week based on current form. October is traditionally Boro manager replacement month, after less than 12 months that thought isn’t even entering our heads so for Boro fans for that we are truly grateful.

    1. The ‘Boro have had a great set of results in September to date, with one more game to play. Karanka must be in line for ‘manager of the month’ and we all know what happens to results if that happens with Middlesbrough manager.

      If that is the case let us hope that Aitor can buck the trend.

      1. The curse of the ‘Manager of the Month’ … how many times has that glowing award stopped progress in its tracks? Do they gang up and decide who’s getting the pins stuck in them?


        John R

  34. RR

    It looks like Aitor hasnt brought in any showponies but poor Damia suffers a cruciate ligament injury and gets castigated for falling before Beechers.

    Clearly the Spanish are liable to long term injuries unlike Rhys, Carayol… And Woodie is an ever present.

    The danger of buying in the window is, and always has been, fraught with the risk of injury and settling in. It isnt just us.

  35. I am writing this somewhere above Denmark as I fly over to Scotland. On business so impossible to be at Riverside – argh! I didn’t know one has Wi-Fi on board, though.

    I think we beat Blackpool – but just by a goal. They will put on their best match this season and we hang on to win 2-1´ with Ayla and Kike scoring. Don’t think Omerou will play – he needs a rest and why take risks with his hammy? So Ayala and Gibson today.

    Any chance to see Championship football on TV tonight? My hotel is in Gallaway.

    Up the Boro?

    **AV writes: There’s no Football League Show highlights in midweek. But the goals will be on Sky Sports News later on.

  36. Paulista Park’s eagerness to blame anything and eevrything he can on Karanka is getting a bit embarrassing. Abella has done a cruciate. That isn’t something about him being Spanish or linked to Chelsea training methods. The players brought in have done alright and look like they could get better. You can either enjoy it and support the team or sit and wait for a mistake to jump on and support the former manager. Mowbray has gone. Get over it.

    1. Hi Neil.

      Personally, disagree with him though I tend to, I find Paulista’s posts extremely interesting – they always encourage debate and stimulate ideas. It would be so easy to take the “results are results, Karanka is delivering, it works, get over it” argument without considering that he is actually making some valid points, even if they are a little extreme.

      There is a danger of what I call being sentimental without being reflective: that is to say, instead of looking back at performances in detail and realising what really is right or wrong with the team, one tries glossing over reality, trying to keep people from asking questions by repeatedly pointing at good results, goals and “magic moments” (our great battling team spirit against Liverpool, for example).

      Paulista, and Mike, earlier, (when he said we shouldn’t have invested so much energy against Liverpool) have dared to burst the proverbial bubble, and it doesn’t feel good for those of us who are legitimately enjoying the Karankanaut and wish that they would too. Me? I appreciate the debate their words bring about. It’s very thoughtful indeed and makes AV’s blog and this comments section as great as it is.

      Besides, like everyone here, I’ve been burned before by the promise of good things, and Karanka has won nothing yet. Fingers crossed, of course…

  37. Does anyone actually take ‘Manager of the Month’ seriously? I can’t even remember who won it last month never mind last April. Surely the satisfaction of the points accumulated in a given month far outweigh any pseudo Championship Employee of the month award.

    In fact, it’s probably only ever mentioned by fans in context with the word ‘Curse’ – so it must be the least anticipated prize in football.

  38. I think Paulista’s point is good one – proven Championship performers are the most likely to succeed. That doesn’t mean that others can’t or won’t succeed (see Omerou last season), nor does it mean that they shouldn’t be supported as much as anyone else in a Boro shirt.

    Clayton and Omerou have proved themselves in this division. Bamford, Husband and Fredericks all have some kind of experience and know what to expect.

    I think it is fair to sit on the fence a little with Kike, Damia, Meijas, Vossen and Wildschut, perhaps the last two in particular as they are new to Karanka’s methods as well as the division.

    That doesn’t mean I have a problem with any of them. The general signs are very encouraging and I’m anticipating a good season.

  39. So in essence, the theory boils down to: Proven Championship players have proved they can play in the Championship, where as players who haven’t played in the Championship have yet to prove they can play in the Championship – It’s little more of a statement of fact than a useful theory of how to pick players.

    It also goes hand in hand with the observation of players who managed to play well with one club but failed to replicate their form with their new club.

    Sadly, there are no certainties when it comes to players, just judgements made by managers of whether they could fit into their team and make it better – so far I think we look a better team than last year.

  40. If the theory that proven championship players have proved that they can play in the championship holds true, what will happen if we get promoted? Do we sell all of the championship players and buy a new squad of premiership players? Just a thought

  41. Damned if you do, damned if you don’t.

    I guess some would of sent out the “reserves” against Liverpool, after all the result did not matter.

    For me the result did matter, it keeps the confidence going, and lest we forget about the 3000 that paid good money and got back home rather late.

    With the Championship being involved in the International breaks, there are always going to be periods of congestion. That’s why we have invested in a bigger squad this season.

    I also always appreciate PP’s posts. Do not always agree with what he says, but they are different and thoughtful.

    However a number of other Championship teams have also been hit by long term injuries to players.

  42. PP’s posts are one of the many joys of this blog. Thoughtful, well written, amusing and often contrarian- what else could anyone ask for? The view that many of AK’s signings have yet to show that they can last the course is a literal statement of fact, I would have thought, rather than demonstrating an eagerness to blame AK for anything and everything. Why so touchy? We are all agreed that everything seems to be going just fine.

    1. Very well put, Len. Your own views are very welcome also.

      As an aside, I think the touchy response to Paulista’s view is reminiscent of how fans of a movie tend to react when a scholar points out an implausibility or plot hole they didn’t discover. We know our favourite movies aren’t perfect, just like we know AK’s reign has had its ups and downs – but we don’t like hearing about the downs while we’re on such an up. It’s like, as I said, bursting the bubble.

      My interest now turns to whether AK can break our general home hoodoo vs. Blackpool – barring the 4-2 thriller at the end of 2012 (with Steele’s penalty save and that Reach thunderbolt) I don’t think we’ve beaten them at home since we went down.

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