Patience Boro’s Key To Unlock Massed Defences

WE are going to have to learn to be patient.

There were some audible groans of frustration at the Riverside as the frustrating first half fizzled out into a turgid low-tempo grind. And on the interval whistle there was a short-lived smattering of scornful booing.

Now, that is understandable. Boro have raised the bar this term and have spent a lot of money on proven quality top flight and international players with the avowed intention of being more potent and with that comes heightened expectations – especially when playing against the sides viewed as Championship cannon-fodder. 

Boro looked laboured at times as they grafted against a well organised MK Dons side who had come to defend in depth.  It was frustrating for long spells as they dug into tactical trenches and strung out barbed wire 25 yards out and invited Boro to attack.

That’s fine. They are allowed to do that. You can’t blame them. We would do it.  It will become a familiar theme this season.  We are the big boys now, the spenders, the pre-season promotion favourites, the team packed with big ticket talent.  It is only natural that more limited teams will come here and defend. It is something we will have to get used to.


                                Another raid down the right comes to nothing

So far this season we have seen three teams come to the Riverside Stadium looking to park the bus.  Bolton were blitzed in the first 10 minutes and fell apart at the seams but they explicitly came to string five across the back and stifle the game. 

Bristol City came to do the same and also set up with five across the back but they nicked one against the run of play early then somehow resisted the onslaught that followed leaving Boro fans bemoaning  what seemed like a familiar fatal flaw.

And MK Dons almost did the same. They were tightly organised and  worked incredibly hard:  they pressed, they closed, they harried, they chased and they kept a compact shape at the back inviting Boro to go outside and put crosses or square balls into the crowd. They denied Boro space behind them to thread passes into and fought for every ball.  

And they almost succeeded. In fact, they rattled to post on the break just before the hour mark and on another day they could have nicked it. So credit to them. 

But credit to Boro too. They were patient. They kept the ball, kept probing, kept trying to stretch the defence, trying to find space, trying  to prise open the locked defence. At times the movement on and off the ball was superb and the and slick passing impressive.

And even when they struggled to find the final killer ball they didn’t get frustrated or lose confidence in the system and try to force the issue with freelance headline chasing.  They kept their shape and style and beavere away confident that it would come.

Aitor made some tweaks from the bench and then the lucky escape after Simon Church hit the woodwork added urgency and zip and Boro stuck to the task and kept pressing and passing  waiting for a tiring team mistake – and then punished it ruthlessly.


                      Boro’s two goal-getters celebrate opening their account

Stewart Downing curled home a deft strike into the bottom far corner to open his account in his second stint then after a poor defensive clearance was cut out and played back to the edge of the box David Nugent followed suit with his first for the club.  It was a fair reward for Boro’s persistent pressure and hard work through a tough game.

Yes, we’d all like to see Boro play cavalier football with a swagger and sweep teams away – but that isn’t going to happen often. We’ve been in this division long enough to know that. 

There are always two teams on the pitch and in a dozen games this season one of them will be set up to strangle the game and stop Boro playing.  Aitor Karanka must find a way to deal with that. Maybe Carlos De Pena will be his a lock-picker. We’ll see.   

But we need to deal with it too. We will need to be patient. No game in this league is a given, No team will roll over for us. There will be a lot of games where we need to be every bit as patient in the stands as the team is out on the pitch.


148 thoughts on “Patience Boro’s Key To Unlock Massed Defences

  1. I do understand the comments about grinding out a result but surely this is what it is about. There is no doubt that once the new signings are fully bedded in that this team has the quality to take teams apart.

    Stewie did exactly what he was signed to do which was basically be a game changer with a sublime, exquisite piece of skill that secured 3 points and was worth a 4 hour drive and the ticket price in itself. However, it was his overall contribution on the pitch that stood out for me, everything seemed to revolve around him and his class shone out.

    With regards to formation, AK is not going to change and quite frankly why should he? Call me risk adverse but why should he start risking drilling players in different formations when from where I am (admittedly I don’t see them at home every week) it appears to be pretty much working.

    MK Dons had a game plan and fair play to them they stuck to it and almost carried it out to the letter, any team coming to the Riverside is going to be happy to park the bus and leave with a point – perhaps we just need to man up and get used to it.

    The thing is whilst the formation is the same the team is a different animal this season. When was the last time you had a Boro striker one on one with the keeper and you knew they were going to put it away, I had no doubts that Nugent would finish it, again another quality signing to remedy some of last seasons ills. I’m not sure that we need a talisman that can dribble around three players, what we have is a well drilled formation so that the players know exactly what is expected of them, in my view we have a significant improvement in terms of player quality and personally I think that it will be enough to get us over the line this season.

  2. We have not really got out of the blocks at all quickly this season even though we are in the early stages of the marathon.

    I do not think AK is going to change the basis of the formation much at all, unless injury or real loss of form dictates. So it will be a continuation of the weekly grind with Clayton and Leadbitter offering not a lot up towards the front four.

    I am at a loss and do not understand the lack of opportunities afforded to Forshaw. Even PT assumed he would be in the team.

    We have had a relatively easy start, easier than Brighton who are five points ahead of us. We had not made the most of the fixture list. despite what AV said about our 30 shots against Bristol we did not score and we should not forget they should have been 3 up in the first half an hour.

    We must do better, create more and put them away. I still cannot see us coming from behind to win a match. This we have to change with a plan B.

  3. I wasn’t there, but from the highlights at least we had a few good shots well saved which is pleasing, so I see no reason to panic just yet.

    I’m getting fed up with the ‘parking the bus’ metaphor, so let’s just agree that teams come to defend shall we? Of course they do, we are one of the big hitters so they need to negate our threat somehow..we shouldn’t be surprised. If we continue as we did against that team from Milton Keynes we will be fine…

  4. Hyvää huomenta! to Jarrko and congratulations on what I think is the first use of the term “must win game” of the season.

    I have lost count of the number of Boro home games where I have seen the visitors defend for their lives for 3 quarters of an hour only to tire and concede at the end. Mission accomplished on Saturday with 2 of the big signings doing exactly what they were brought in to do.

    The traditionalist in me would like to see a 442, but modern players and formations seem to be a lot more fluid these days.

    The big difference from my point of view was in the second half, where we seemed to have more players in the box when we went forward. I thought Thomas Kalas had a particularly good second half as an attacking fullback.

    More of the same will be fine by me. Just 81 points to go by my reckoning.

  5. Good morning, Werner.

    Yes, I was first to use mustwingame this season. But it was tongue in the cheek comment!

    Looks great to be there third in the table with best goal difference.


  6. Werner

    It seems to be the mantra in many sports that it is more tiring without the ball, defending seems to take more out of a team than attacking.

    I wonder if it is psychological, maybe its just in the mind.

  7. Off topic somewhat: the talk of a George Camsell statue which I’m in favour of. But is it time Teesside had there own Hall of Fame including, industry, commerce and sports. I don’t think the kids today have any idea of our history,

  8. Ian,

    I think you are right. It’s a truism that sports are played mostly in the mind. Defending requires very high levels of concentration with added pressure from the fact that it would only take one slip to let an attacker through.

  9. Jarkko, would you be in favour of piling the pressure on the contributors to this blog to “raise their game” by counting instances of the use of worn out cliches?

    1. Always remember Werner, over the course of the season you have to be in for long haul. It is, after all, a marathon and not a sprint and the time to top is in May, not in September. Three points from a dour, ground out victory against the minnows raising their game on the big stage, is three points after all and what do points make? Points make prizes.

      1. Sick as a parrot? Well I’m over the moon. Let’s just take it one step at a time . Rome wasn’t built in a day. The lads done good. We are only concentrating on the next game.


      2. My personal favourite football cliche is the ‘he’s put it in the corridor of uncertainty’.

        We spent the entire game against Ipswich last year every time the ball was whipped in the box coming up with our own equivalent versions. ‘The garden of goals’ ‘the hallway of hell’ ‘the cloakroom of confusion’.

        Was good fun at the time but admittedly we had paid for hospitality and a bit of inebriation definitely makes you feel funnier than you probably are!!

  10. Having weighed up what I saw on Saturday afternoon I can see both positives and negatives from the display.

    For 60 minutes, MK Dons set a template for how any team should set up against Boro at the Riverside, if the system and X1 on the pitch stay pretty much as they were on Saturday. Boro were far too ponderous in transitioning from defence to attack. By the time the ball was worked forward, MK Dons had at least seven outfield players back behind the ball and in position. Boro kept possession but with little penetration. I was at a loss to explain why Karanka waited until the 60 minute mark to make a tactical substitution, because it was obvious to everyone that Boro did not look like creating a meaningful chance, let alone score. But for the width of the post, the MK Dons plan would have worked to perfection. Then it would have been 1-0 down at home against a massed defence in a game where we had created very little, a sadly familiar tale of woe.

    The debate about Forshaw is a poignant one. I saw that the Gazette had stated that Clayton and Leadbitter had a pass completion rate around the 90% mark, including passes in the opposition half. Lies, damn lies and statistics comes to mind. I’m not surprised that the pass completion is so high given that most of their passes were low risk sideways and backwards options, even in the opposition half. We were crying out for someone who can pick out a forward pass and turn defence into attack quicker, preventing the Dons from flooding back in numbers. Whether it was because they can’t or won’t, neither Clayton or Leadbitter did this. We were crying out for someone like Forshaw. Clayton was redundant sat in front of the defence and offered little going forward. Against this level of opposition at home, AK needs to rethink who should be playing. The formation isn’t a problem, it’s the personnel. Leadbitter and Clayton are great away from home against tough opposition, not so much in these games.

    The positives are that once AK saw sense and brought Stuani on (maybe the thud of ball against post woke him up), Boro looked a lot more threatening. Once Downing’s moment of magic opened the scoring, the result was never in doubt. Nugent played well, keeping the defenders guessing by mixing it up between holding it up, flicking it on or running in behind. He just lacked support for the first 60 minutes. Downing’s bit of quality made the difference and he looked the most likely on the pitch to create something. Ayala read the game superbly and the long balls from the keeper aimed in his direction he mopped up with ease.

    In summary, a win is a win, we got the result we needed, great. However, I’m not convinced AK has learnt the lessons from last season. The set up feels exactly the same as last season; a rethink for home games in particular is urgently needed. We can’t expect Downing to pull out that quality of strike each season and the post won’t always come to the rescue. As things stand I think we’ll finish top 6, but without changing the set up at home and to the weaker sides away, we’ll draw too many games to finish top 2. I hope that the change in the team following the introduction of Stuani has made up Karanka’s mind.

    From where I was sat in the West Stand the booing was aimed at the ref for not allowing time for the free kick or showing a yellow card for the foul on Fabbrini.

    My stars are: ***Downing, **Nugent, *Ayala.

    1. SmoggyinLeeds

      It was painful at times to watch the same slow build up, passing pattern end in the same frustration until Stewys individualism turned the game.

      For me it was ironic that Gibson’s injury forced the introduction of Amorebeita who started to play long well weighted balls out of defence enabling our front players to chase onto something without a packed defence massed in front of them. It spread the play and opened the game up.

      Something tells me that was more his own decision than a tactical masterclass from AK and a bollocking likely lay in wait until Downing justified Fernando’s plan B route one style.

      Tactically we were solid but were very nearly unpicked by Church. But for the post and Amorebeita’s resulting clearance I suspect we may have seen a very different result. Anyway lets hope another lesson has been learned and that sometimes a good old fashioned hoof works wonders especially when you have the likes of Downing and Nugent to chase.

      1. Having watched the EG highlights the build-up to them hitting the post was a lovely sequence of passes through the middle of our defence. I think we can feel lucky and the opposition unlucky. Fine dividing lines indeed.



  11. Redcar Red –

    Maybe Nando’s distribution is better than Ben’s. Ben does like a long ball.

    Maybe it is as Werner suggests and they just wore MK Dons down.

    I must admit I would like to see Forshaw given a chance in the midfield but that may have to be at the expense of Grant rather than Clayton, if someone is going to mind the shop maybe Clayton is a better choice.

    You still have to mind the shop because the whole essence of the Dons strategy is rope a dope, they want you to over commit and then spring in to counter attacks.

    **AV writes: Don’t be complicating things by bringing a pro-active opposition into it.

    1. Ian

      Ben does give it a big welly but he doesn’t seem to be doing it as much this season. Tactical? Hammy restricted? or gave up as a bad job?

      Have to say I enjoyed Fernando’s cameo on Saturday.

  12. AV

    Sorry, I keep forgetting to forget there is another team on the pitch. I wont do it again.

    I will recall the comments made by Phil Thompson when McClaren was getting stick, the problem was we were losing, if you keep winning 1-0 it takes some of the pressure off.

    So far total attendance of home fans is 17.691 up after three matches, it would be good to see over 20,000 home fans tomorrow.

    When I started supporting midweek crowds seemed bigger than Saturdays, there seemed to be an extra buzz with the lights on – might be my memory letting me down.

    Now we seem to have a drop, maybe it is the cost of two matches in a couple of days. The cost of four matches in a few weeks could put some fans off.

    It could be that there are more travelling fans these days so some cant get to the ground midweek.

    1. Ian

      I doubt there will be many Brentford fans willing to make a trip up this far north this early in the season. I reckon on about 346 Bees and 18,148 Boro fans.

      1. Redcar Red –

        They brought 567 for the corresponding early season match but that was on a Saturday. I think the figure for home fans will be higher, maybe Vic has some idea from the ticket office?

    2. Ian –

      I was talking to my son and his friends about attendances on Saturday night. Of the seven of us at the match 3 miss Tuesday as they will be working away and two cant go because of cost.
      There are a lot of teessiders work away! I used to be one of them ..

      Fat on

      Regards Robin Davison


  13. Always at a disadvantage to make meaningful comment about a game that you didn’t see, but I was quite amazed on Sunday morning as I read through the entries on here. It really came across as doom-laden and that to a great extent we were lucky to come away with three points.

    At the end of the day we did win and by two clear goals, not having conceded. Even hitting the post is missing the target and a miss is as good as a mile (to keep up the clichés for Werner).

    Like AV and some others have suggested, it will be common practice for teams to build the Berlin Wall across the 18 yard line at fortress Riverside this season and we will have to bite the bullet and accept that oft times it will not be pretty on the eye. But had we scored midway in the first half, and then again midway through the second, instead of twice in the latter stages, we would still have only won the game by two goals to nil. Would that have been any better? After all,it is a game of two halves and the large lady was not even warming up by the time Stewy popped up with his individual touch of class. You have to keep playing for the full 90 +4 and the game is there to be won or saved by either side until the referee blows time. Middlesbrough did just that.

    How many times have we seen the team that goes on to win the league do so by winning ugly and often early in the season, but as belief, confidence and familiarity with each other grows and on the back of all that ugly early success, fluent, flowing and convincing victories against all-comers begin to be more common place. You only have to look at Boro’s promotion history to see that has been the case.

    Brentford up next. Interesting to observe that Mr. Warburton has absolutely turned things round in the blue quarter of Glasgow, while Mr. Dijkhuizen has still to begin proving the new approach is better for the Bees. All in all, a good time for the Boro to be playing them and I suspect there will be a few goals to cheer tomorrow night.

    1. Powmill

      The “debate” I think is due to the first 70 minutes being fairly repetitive and not looking likely to succeed. Perseverance is an admirable quality but it looked like 0-0 all over it until Church hit the post and suddenly the stakes were raised.

      We kept knocking on the Dons door but they hid the key up until Stewy’s ball hit the back of the net.

  14. Two goals, three points and a clean sheet. I would have taken that pre-kick off.
    However I do share the concern expressed by others as to what the result would have been had they scored not hit the post. I have an entire season of recent evidence to support the theory we don’t do well once we’ve conceded.

    1. Tomorrow night will be interesting. Its likely Amorebeita will keep his place alongside Ayala but who will start up front? Nugent after his non stop running on Saturday? Stuani after his travels and brief run out or fresh and raring to go Kike?

      Will we ever see Albert back in a Boro shirt? If his head is in the right place and fully fit he would be a good “freshener” and then there is de Pena but who to leave out (as oppose to drop), Stewy, Fab, Reach?

      I think Reach may be rested and probably Nugent benched for Kike, Nsue on the right and Stewy wide left? Or perhaps Stewy in the Number 10 role who knows?

      Will Forshaw start to rest Clayton (or Leadbitter) against his old side or will he be given the Number 10 role?

      George will start at LB as our Friend never gets tired, fatigued or injured, our very own Duracell bunny (other battery operated devices are available).

      Dimi looked comfortable at the straightforward straight down the middle catches on Saturday but he looked a bit hesitant to me at times so will Mejias get an opportunity? AK never ceases to surprise so I’m expecting a few tomorrow night, but please not Kalas at CB and Nsue at RB.

      I’m happy for Nsue to play RW in front of Kalas at RB or Stuani RW with Kalas at RB but lets not have a repeat of tinkering, rotate good, tinker bad.

  15. One of the points I was trying to make is that even the very best teams will often times not look like scoring for much of a match, but will still steal away with all of the points by scoring once or twice late in a game.

    I think I will only be concerned if come Christmas time we are not well placed at or near the top of the class, ahead of the 2 pints per game target.

    1. Powmil –

      I am sure you will reach the two pints a game target easily.

      If Boro win tomorrow, they are back on target. Seven games and 14 points.

      Up the Boro!

  16. Whilst I accept that I do not have “right” to comment about a game as much as those that have been I still have a reasonable picture from reading the reports on here.

    At the moment however there is still a majority I would say that believe Boro and AK have to do better despite the points and position in the league.

    We had lots of possession in matches last season and achieved very little for it. Passing short and sideways and backwards gets you nowhere. Yes good looking strats but not much else.

    1. Pedro –

      We are all becoming mini AK’s!

      Improve, improve and improve, no slacking, 100% is the absolute minimum and no quarter given or expected.

  17. Powmill –

    The difference on Saturday was Downing pulling out a Premiership class, swerving, dipping ball (it looked far better behind the goal than it did on the telly) and Nugent doing what he is famed for and charged through on goal after Downing’s knock down. I think last Season we would have drawn that one but that’s the difference the thick end of nearly £10m makes!

  18. Cassandra –

    Nice to see you being so optimistic.

    I agree with you on ‘parking the bus’. It’s not something your own team ever does, just the other lot.

    A couple of threads ago I declined the verb as

    We gave a defensive master class

    You were negative

    They parked the bus.

    Thanks all round for the match reports and the excellent discussion on the need or otherwise for a more attacking approach. It’s a genuine point for debate, as Andy indicated. I tend to side with Nikeboro and Paul and can’t improve on their arguments, It’s a long-standing view of mine which has only been reinforced by the three games I’ve seen this season in which we’ve picked up only 3 points from a possible 9, and have looked completely impotent in attack. No doubt that view would have been considerably tempered had I managed to see the other three games which we won. BoroPhil and Nigel are persuasive on the other side, and if the current tactics get us automatic promotion all criticism will be silenced.

    But when even an enthusiast like AV is moved to describe the first-half on Saturday as a “turgid low-tempo grind”, the coach’s most inspired tactic is to wait for the opposition to get tired, and the goals we scored with time running out were delivered by a once-in-a-season type strike, and a defensive error, rather than as a result of imaginative attacking team work, it’s clear that there is still massive room for improvement on the attacking front.

    Ben’s injury, by the way must be giving AK palpitations. He’s now down to his last 6 centre-backs. At least it gives young Fry the chance to step up to No 5 or 6 in the pecking order (Is he above or below Woodgate?), just reward for his fine M-o-M display at Preston.

  19. I’m also in the ‘give Forshaw a start’ camp, I don’t think it would do any halm to rest Leadbitter for a match.
    Up front I think I’d go for Stuani on the right, Downing no.10, Reach out left and Nugent up front.

    1. Nigel –

      Its exciting to think that we could also go with Nsue/Albert on the right, Fabbrini in the middle, de Pena out left and Kike up front if needed and that would still be a heck of a line up!

      1. Agreed, I’m looking forward to seeing de Pena on the pitch but I’m assuming AK will want him to have a couple more weeks training and settling in before he plays. As for Albert, no doubt we’ll see him once AK has decided his point is well and truely made.

  20. The first half sounded dull as I assembled furniture in North London, can you hear paint dry?

    We have to remember Fergie time. The term came about because of the number of occasions United played poorly but kept going to get the points. Citeh did the same when they won the title. 1-0 to the Arsenal.

    I just watched the highlights again, Mk Dons two banks of four, rather a bank of four with a bank of five in front were deep and there wasn’t a lot of space between the two banks.

    You need one of those early chances to go in to open the game up. It reminded me of the home game against Bournemouth where they set out to stifle the game, Reach hit the bar, Tomlin had a couple runs and shots but we didn’t get that first goal.

    The second half turned in to a bore draw as we refused to commit Hari Kari as so many teams did against the Cherries.

  21. Going home in a trabbie, I’m going home in a trabbie..

    If Ben is out tomorrow night then AK should replace him with any other recognised CB and leave the rest of the defence well alone. Leave Clayts and Leads in front to offer him protection, especially if it’s young Fry. No criticism of the young lad but I’m sure he’ll be better served with those two providing him well practised cover.
    Keep Downing and Nugent on the pitch to capitalise on their scoring form and change the other two only if they need a rest.

  22. I keep reading “what if Church’s shot had gone in, instead of rebounding off the post” but no one has said ” what if their keeper had not got his fingers to Reach or Leadbitter shots” so there is 3 “ifs” and we would have been 2 -1 up. Simples !

    Come on BORO.

  23. I too was impressed with Amorebieta. Those long balls were not just a hoof up the field to relieve pressure, they found team mates. They are the sort of pass that we should expect from Clayton and Leadbitter rather than the sideways/backwards efforts which, though retaining possession, allow the opposition to regroup in defence. Just a thought. UTB

  24. “The set up feels exactly the same as last season; a rethink for home games in particular is urgently needed.”

    Our last 11 home league games:

    W9 D1 L1 F21 A3

    Yes, urgently needed.

    **AV writes: Yes. It’s like arguing with Tories.

  25. People are still overlooking the goal difference argument. Think how different the end of last season would have been if we had been the team with the ‘extra’ point.

    1. Well, we bought quality to our attacing four. And now have the best goal difference in the league. And our new players are yet to gel in. UTB!

  26. Don’t misunderstand me. I’m very optimistic but I’m aware that the other leading teams last year all had a number of big wins and I hope that we can push on to do the same.


  27. Top of the league are Brighton. A big part of their success is their home form.

    Played three, won three, goals for 3, goals against 0.

    Throw in good wins at Fulham and Ipswich, they could be the surprise package of the season. The caveat is that it is only six matches gone, Forest started the same last season but faded rapidly

    1. Ian –

      I live down in West Sussex and amid a mass of genuine supporters who have vivid memories of the Goldstone Ground and the scandals around that. I think it’s a really good, genuine Club with knowledgeable supporters. Who last year couldn’t believe how many matches they had control of but couldn’t score….sound familiar? They say that so far this year not much has changed in footballing terms, but the goals are going in where last year they just missed.

      They’ve been knocking around the upper reaches of the Champ for a while now so I think while they might have even surprised themselves, it isn’t a huge surprise down here. Ditto many other clubs I guess, ‘we had all the approach play but just need to get a goal’! And they play nice football too………

      I’m not a Brighton supporter btw (in fact if I have a local team it would have to be non-league Lewes, who can resist a combination of a ground called the Dripping Pan, Banksy and other modern art pastiches for match day posters, and now sponsored by the old band Squeeze as Diffird and Tilbrook moved to Lewes and liked the club……I digress!) but I’d be very happy if Boro went up and Brighton finished, well, just behind us!

  28. I would take points over goal difference any day. A leaf out of big Jack’s book would do nicely. “Boring boring boro” running away with the title with a couple of 4-0 away wins and an eight – 0 home win at the end to make the point.

  29. Very disappointed with AV’s comments about the Tories. Anyone would think they are a pack of incompetent, corrupt weasels intent on perpetuating the position of the wealthy and powerful in our society…*

    There’s no problem with creating several good, clear chances, but one doesn’t go in until the 70th minute. The problem is when you have a lot of pressure but do not seem able to create good, clear chances, which is the essential and necessary purpose of the team (along with not conceding, entertaining the crowd, and giving us something to argue about of course).

    (* As Bernie I believe once said: “It’s just my opinion. I’m not saying it’s right, but it’s my opinion”. No-one need take offence.)

  30. Mark –

    I occasionally play a little game when I’m bored, ‘spot the posters political allegiance’, I’m pretty sure we have the usual mix of Labour, Liberal and Tory supporters on here, I haven’t spotted a UKIP supporter yet, but he may be lurking! As for AV’s politics, he is probably easiest to ‘spot’, given his tweets and comments regarding politics tend to be pretty much to the point. As for your comment re the Tories, maybe that should be the new Oxford dictionary definition of a Conservative!

    Politics is always a hot potato, but approached in the right way we could have a healthy and amusing debate on here I’ve no doubt and still remain ‘virtual mates’.

    Personally I’m delighted Corbyn won the Labour leadership contest because I think British politics is crying out for a conviction politician and we have one at last. Even if you don’t agree with his views he’s going to create a debate which has got to be a good thing. British politcs has become too bland and the voters have switched off, that needs to change. I’m fascinated to see what economic policy his shadow chancellor promotes, he sounds pretty radical.

    Sorry about the political post gents, couldn’t help it!

    1. This is a Boro forum first and foremost and football predominantly.

      I for one am tired of political pseudo babble and social conscience bloggers putting comments on this site and expecting no one to comment adversely. I am apolitical with regard to my views and keep those thoughts to myself. If I am alone in these thoughts then so be it but I’m afraid I will not put up with it anymore so if this blog is to be a political forum then regretfully I do not wish to be any part of it.

      Curious to see what others think.


      **AV writes: Well I to put up with all the boring cricket talk.

      1. Don’t like the cricket talk either this is a Boro blog first and foremost but put up with the cricket during the close season


  31. Nigel –

    I agree about Corbyn. British politics had become shades of Blue with little alternative apart from extremist groups and nut jobs. At the last election we had, Navy Blue, Royal Blue and Sky Blue with a Liberal splash of yellow that had been tinged (or perhaps tainted) with Royal Blue.

    I don’t agree with Corbyn on a huge amount of issues but am grateful to at least have the option of a leader with a personal opinion and not a processed, pre packaged, spin doctored corporate mouth piece to vote for should I wish. The real benefit is that he will now force other politicians to develop personalities instead of hiding behind party politics.

  32. As a club full of left wingers, now the loan window is open and Corbyn is the new leader there must a lot of right wingers on the Labour Party naughty step.

    I prefer Corbyn as their leader rather than ‘a pack of incompetent, corrupt weasels intent on perpetuating the position of the wealthy and powerful in our society’ pretending to be socialists. (borrowed from Mark).

    Talking about unpopular people, good analysis of Chelsea’s problems by Gary Neville. Finger pointed at their midfield, not just the defence. He showed the example where one of the central pair drifted out of position away from his partner allowing an Everton player to drift towards the back four. Centre back had to step out and then the Chelsea players were isolated leading to a goal.

    Saw a similar piece on MOTD last season about Villa. In essence, with a central midfield pairing, If one is challenging for the ball the other should be able to see his back. If the ball is on your side of the pitch your partner should be slightly behind you and not too far apart.

    In the Chelsea example Willians was in advance of Matic and the man he was marking had drifted in to space in front of the back four. Terry was pulled out of defence and Everton passed around Matic. Terry had to make a call, stick or twist and the ball was played past in to the box for a goal.

    The view was Willian should have stayed goalside and behind Matic, the far winger should have tucked in beside Willian.

    Just thought it may be interesting in the light of our debate about central midfield pairings.

    It is easier analysing and commenting on it than actually doing it!

  33. Fatbob has a point, let’s leave politics out of it. Politics does get fraught.

    I think sport is a fair shout be it cricket, rugby, gymnastics etc. As long as the focus is largely Boro.

    What about scran and music?

    **AV writes: I thought one of the attractions of the blog was that people could ramble off in digressions? You can’t say it is OK to digress on things YOU like but not on others. I wish people more would talk about music. And not cricket. But I let it meander because that’s the kind of reign of terror I impose on here.

      1. What about Gardening?

        If the “C” word is going to be bandied around then I think the art of watching Grass growing should be pretty high up the list of interesting topics.

        There again it would like as not drift onto Red Roses or White Roses and then descend back into Politics and the “C” word.

        Maybe we could have “Untypical Origami” where we can discuss how our paper swans ended up more like spuggies. Best not as we may see a sharp decline in “C” attendances across the country if we raise the profile of Origami.

    1. I must admit if the digression police came calling I would probably be top of the list for a midnight knock on the door. I was trying to be touchy feely to FB’s sensibilities.

      Enough of that lets go rambling, did Corbyn find the EdStone?

  34. The game on Saturday and the tactics of the football franchise that is the MKD’s is an indication of how far as a team we have come in the previous 24 months. Teams are starting to fear the fixture with AK’s Boro and their approach to consolidate the 0-0 from the off means the onus is on us to create the opportunities to win such fixtures.

    When the opposition tactic is around damage limitation and bursting forward on the break it would take a somewhat ‘gung-ho’ manager in the style of ‘Ossie’ Ardiles to consider the all out attack from midfield that is suggested by some. This style would suit the ‘counter attack’ set up we ourselves have utilised successfully in the past and we can easily be bitten.

    Maintaining the pressure is key to success with the current tactic and this can be achieved when the two ‘holding’ midfielders pick up the pieces and move the ball across the pitch. It allows the full backs the confidence to burst forward and the two centre halves to ‘boss’ the lone striker.

    However the tempo has to be high. AK talks about ‘intensity’ The same intensity Roy Keane had and (without the same ability) Leadbitter and Clayts are trying to create. With this intensity and the strength and guile we have up front I see a fruitful season against the ‘bus parkers’.

    Our bigger tests will come against the more attack minded teams with some extra quality. I do hope we do not become the ‘bus parkers’ in these games. We would win some as we did at Norwich but over a season the negativity would creep into a ‘backs to the wall’ scenario with no mindset for a comeback if we fall behind. The upper hand is key.

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