BARRING some statistical final day freak results not even the most brazen Far East betting syndicate would contemplate, Boro are in the play-offs.
Oh no, we are all going to die! It’s a disaster. It’s a complete failure! We’ve got no chance. The habitual doom and gloomers have written us off already and are tuning up for their symphony of pessimistic predictions of failure before a ball is kicked. The killjoys.
But we should be buzzing. We are still in with a shout. And Wembley is in sight.
Continue reading Buzzing For The Great Play-Off Adventure
WHERE do you start with that? Seriously, where? That was a crazy game of ups, downs and disbelief that captured the agonies of the entire season so far. And made Boro hostage to fortune in the play-off lottery.
The low-key first 45 that felt like a mid-table dead rubber as Boro floundered and failed to find the terrifying tempo and growling gear going forward they showed as they ripped into Wolves and Norwich that forced the gaffer into admitting it was ’embarrassing’,
Or the pulsating, end-to-end shapeless schoolboy frenzy of the second half assault that was barnstorming stuff that nearly paid-off?
Continue reading Boro Barmy At Crazy Cottage
FULHAM: Boro have to win AND hope someone slips up to regain pole position in the promotion chase. I think they will . And win well. Roared on by 6,000 plus Teessiders, both partisan and ‘neutral’ Boro will do their bit. Emphatically. That is the part Aitor Karanka can control and he will have the team meticulously prepared tactically and psychologically and Boro will be fired up to roar into the Speedo wearing Cottagers from the off.
If Boro can show the steel and spirit, the art and industry they did at Norwich last weekend then they will tear into a deeply flawed Fulham side that have been woeful this term. Even if Aitor has to tweak his team because of injuries, a highly motivated, sprint starting Boro backed by a passionate Red Army will sweep past a leaky, disjointed Fulham that are safe and have nothing to play for. My money is on a comfortable Boro win.
Beyond that we are powerless … although I think all the pressure is on the others.
Continue reading Cottage Industry Can Spark Revolution
Ninety minutes… 90 degrees and coming to the boil… and as Annabelle Lu Win of post-punk stereo-drumming pop puppets Bow Wow Wow once said: C-30, C-60- See 90 GO!
Two wins will take Boro to the magic mark of 90 points – which in 11 of the last 16 seasons since Boro last went up would have easily been enough for promotion. And in five of those years years would have won the title. In fact, the last time a got 90 and weren’t promoted it was 1997-98 when we nudged ahead on the final day leaving the dejected Mackems at the trigger tally but cast down into the play-offs.
Here’s my Big Picture column this week looking at how 90 historically *should* be enough and asking whether Boro – and their rivals – will make it.
STEEL. Determination. Focus. Work-rate. Belief. Bottle. Spirit. Industry. Organisation. Bravery. Muscle. A little bit of cynicism and strategic time-wasting. Boro showed real character as they stood firm in a hostile and sometimes hysterical atmosphere to weather a second half storm and and seized the summit . It was brilliant.
There has been a bitter backlash from sour-graped Norwich fans but make no mistake, Boro thoroughly deserved their famous and potential decisive victory over one the Championship’s form sides. They have badly dented a rival and have thrown themselves right back into the battle for an automatic promotion spot and have piled the pressure on Bournemouth and Watford. And it was brilliant.
Continue reading Canaries Crushed As Boro Seize The Summit
FANTASTIC. Finesse. Flair. Fight. Fans. And plenty of other ‘F’ words. Especially in a nerve shredding spell in the second half when Wolves threatened to gate-crash the party with a goal on the break and a shot that hit the bar leaving loyalists needing defibrilators.
I would say Boro “held on” but I’m not sure that’s true. On balance – our own jitters aside – it was probably a more comfortable win than our racing pulses and valium consumption suggested. Boro could have been out of sight before the break as Albert Adomah whacked against the woodwork after a beguiling weaving run and Patrick Bamford also hit the bar at the death with a neat lob. Boro were the better team where and when it mattered through. Even Wolves boss Kenny Jackett admitted as much.
Sprint starters Boro raced into an early lead then grabbed the game by the throat and, with the crowd right behind them from the of,f showed a hunger and spirit that suggested they are still very much in the battle for a top two spot. It was a brilliant team display reminiscent of the December dismantling of Derby.
Continue reading Battling Boro Put The Bite On Wounded Wolves
JOB done. It wasn’t a classic or memorable match and it didn’t have intensity on the pitch or in the stands that reflected the high-stakes – Aitor may have thoughts on both those factors – but it was three more precious points in a routine win over Rotherham.
Continue reading A Millers Tale: Job Done
RIGHT…. it looks like Boro are going to have to do this the hard way. So what’s new.
Boro were left badly bruised at Vicarage Road – again – as arch-Nemesis Troy Deeney struck an opener out of the blue just as Aitor Karanka’s side appeared to be getting a grip on the game then a second half sizzler killed off any hopes of a revival.
It was a deeply disappointing day as Boro once again surrendered the initiative and squandered a chance to seize control of a crazy Championship title race by wilting away from home. But it is not terminal. Boro haven’t been knocked out of the league.
Continue reading Boro Stung – But Can Still Buzz To Summit Success
GOOD Friday? Bloody Fantastic Friday. Boro won. Former leaders Bournemouth drew 1-1 at Ipswich. And Watford – who kicked off in second – dropped points in a draw at Derby. Boro go to Watford in top spot on Monday. The Hornets had Marco Motti sent off, Matej Vydra limped off injured at half-time and they ended up chasing the game furiously at the death as they clawed back to draw 2-2. The first words of the post match player interviews were: “We’re all shattered.” Good.
That adds up to a good day’s work. Results elsewhere fell right while Boro did exactly what they had to do. Win. Although it was far from pretty. In fact the game was so scrappy that had you left it on your drive it would have been whipped away on a flat bed truck and weighed in for a fortune within minutes. It was disjointed, laboured and littered with wayward passes and woeful touches.
But do we care? Do we buggery. The time for aesthetics has long gone.
Continue reading Good Friday? Bloody Fantastic Friday!
WELL thank God that long dark empty purgatory is over.
We’ve just endured a cold dark soulless spell of glazed over inactivity. Laptop screens remain defiantly unrefreshed. Tumbleweed has rolled lazily through the twittersphere.
Even the ‘Sky Sports Sources understand…” tedious tape loop yellow ticker tape of tittle-tattle was yawning with luke-warm indifference as it tried to create a froth of substance over the results of meaningless games in far-flung countries between teams you know little of and care even less. It was like the cricket season.
Continue reading Back With A Bang After UEFA Coitus Interruptus