Steely Boro Show Mettle At Manchester United

BATTLING Boro showed their mettle on a fantastic night at Old Trafford as they proved once again they can live with the Champions League elite. 

Live with them and more: beat them.

It went to penalties for the second year running after the big boys failed to crack a determined and resiliant side full of fire. And this time we won: Aitor’s army keeping their nerve in a spot-kick shoot-out in front of the amazing Tees travellers.

What a night. What a team. What a time to be alive and a Boro fan.

lights

There was a dazzling display of Teesside unity in the stands as 10,000 travelling fans flashed up their smartphone torches in a show of solidarity with Redcar’s axed steelworkers.  Then Aitor Karanka’s second shelf team shone just as brightly on the pitch with a superb show in which they more than matched arguably the  biggest club in the world. 

In the past year Boro have been pitted against the best of the Premier League and each and every time we have come away full of chest-bursting pride and full of hope. 

And a belief that if we get promoted we could survive in the top flight. And florish.

At title-chasing United there was no sign any gulf in quality. No sign of Boro being swept aside or over-awed or out-gunned. Yes, it was hairy at times. But for them too.  Boro were the best team in the first half.

And possibly in the second too. We certainly had the best of the chances until the last few minutes when United threw everything forward and still couldn’t crack a determined defence with incredible Dani Ayala at the heart.  It felt like there was a psychic forcefield across the Boro goal in a frantic finale as sheer will to win kept them out.

Don’t talk my word from it. I’m the ra-ra in chief and minister of spin remember. But the assembled masses in the press room agreed, the huddle of the national press, TV, radio and the United Nations of broadcasters that are regulars at the Theatre of Dreams. Even United sycophant Alan Green was forced to praise Boro.

It is hard to disagree with them all. Boro were calm and collected, organised at the back and probably had the best of the first half chances with George Friend’s close range angled effort and Stewie Downing’s distance dipper in the first half then the disallowed own goal, an attemped second cock-up from United then Grant Leadbitter had two saved and Downing another cleared off the line. It was a fantastic team effort. And then United did their best to help out with one own goal disallowed and then another effort from distance that just bobbled wide after a comic keeper’s airshot.

Boro were organised, strong and steely  at the back and routinely snuffed United’s threat on the break with  Ayala and Tomas Kalas making timely tackles. They were compact and tidy in midfield with Jack Stephens superb.  And up front much maligned Kike worked his socks off. And Downing was industrious and influential in the No10 role.

The performance was important. Boro weren’t embarrassed, they weren’t over-awed or over powered.  Once again they went toe-to-toe with a giant team and matched them over 90 minutes in a pulsating show of pride and passion. And then through extra-time. And then they kept their nerves to win the in the casion of penalties.

final save

            Boro players prepare to pile onto Tomas Mejias after the final save.

Boro have some amazing cup games under Aitor that have been great for the club, the team and the supporters.  Last year we went to Anfield for an emotional epic and were edged out by the odd goal in 31 by Liverpool in a surreal Scouse spot-kick showdown that went to 14-13 before heartbreak.  It was a noisy night out for the fans being back in the big time, making themselves at home, raising the roof and enjoying every pulsating minutes.

Then the FA Cup bandwagon took us to to the Etihad for a coupon-busting win over then reigning Premier League champions Manchester City.  Boro raised eye-brows and the proud red standard high as they weathered an opening barrage to beat the jet-lagged juggernauts 2-0 with a brace of beauties and Lee Tomlin twisted Vincent Kompany so completely before he hit the post that the City man may as well have been on spin cycle.

Next up was Arsenal… well, the less said about that the better. Boro were given the run around and fell through the quality gap. But it was a great day out.

Last term’s trio of glamour trips were tasters of the future that teased us an in the end eluded us – but they were valuable learning experiences for the players and the boss. And lucrative pay-days for the bean-counters.

Boro were never disgraced. They played three teams who were in the Champions League and showed spirit, tenacity and enterprise to win plaudits from the national press. Again. 

In four games away at the Euro-giants in just over a year Boro’s record over 90 minutes is: P4 W2 D1 L1. That’s not bad, , drew one (over the 90) and lost one. That isn’t a bad return. Those results and those performances have boosted morale and fostered ambitious dreams about just how we would fare should we get promoted.  

And it poured a lot of cash into the coffers which has been put onto the pitch for the promotion push this team.  Boro are entitled to 45% of the gate and almost full houses at Liverpool, Manchester City and Arsenal earned a £5m windfall which helped fund the summer spending spree.  A similar bumper gate from Old Trafford lasyt night – with a near capacity 68,000 – will come in useful again.

And maybe come January it will help Aitor fine-tune the team for the really important games: the nitty-gritty Championship bread and butter games. Starting on Saturday.

**********************************************************************************

PRE-MATCH STUFF……

DEJA Vu:  a money-spinning glamour game away at a Champions League side, a big challenge on the pitch and a jubilant Boro party off it.  Last year it was Anfield. THis time it’s Old Trafford . The scenario is the same: the league games in the aftermath are far more important but it will be nice to put  on a spirited show that will raise the profile of the club, boost morale and prove that the team are capable of raising to a challenge.

The trip to Anfield last September was memorable and entertaining and finished in dramatic fashion with the pulsating 14-13 penalty shoot-out defeat. Remember the surreal Scouse spot-kick shenanigans?

anfield

                     Bamford and Reach – against the odds Anfield scorers           

We  probably can’t engineer that kind of climax again but there’s no reason we can’t go there and give it a good crack. It is a cup where there are plenty of strange results. Whatever they say about focus, it is United’s fourth most important competition. The Boro team may be patched up with a little flurry of injuries taking its toll but whatever side takes to the pitch will be up for it and the 10,000 travelling Teessiders will make a racket.

The result almost doesn’t matter.  It is a bonus game.  A win would be amazing and while some people don’t want the extra games or the distraction of a cup run I think it would be brilliant: a feather in the cap, a chance to push  on,  something to get the fans buzzing.  A defeat, so long as it is not a crushing one, would be no shame either.  Extra-time would be inconvenient but not a massive problem. We are always being told we have a great squad. Its time to see that over the next week or two.

Over to you: usual drill. Predict the scoreline and the story…  penalties again?  Then all back here afterwards for a debrief and a chat about the next round.

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138 thoughts on “Steely Boro Show Mettle At Manchester United

  1. I noticed after the final whistle yesterday that Stewy and Karanka were in deep conversation which ended with them both hugging each other so hopefully the rumoured little rift has been put to bed now.

    Ayala was the obvious man of the match,never put a foot wrong all night,(only a hand) which thankfully went unnoticed. I hope we do get promoted because if we don’t then there’s no way we will hang onto him,he’ll have a host of clubs queueing to snap him up. Was impressed with him after we won,instead of running and celebrating he went and shook the hands of all the Utd players.

    I’m sure Karanka will have brought the players back down to earth today and got them concentrating on the Charlton game,will be interesting to see who plays Saturday. Time for them to start putting the cup performances into the league games and get us out of this division.

  2. Defensive Boro?

    Manu 59% possession, City 41% possession. Both had one shot on target each

    Manu 56 % possession, Boro 44% possession, Both had six shots on target each.

    The most amazing stat is we only conceded seven fouls in 120 minutes! Manu only conceded 12. No cards of any kind.

    Some boring stats. The most important is the one that matters, 3-1 on pens.

  3. He could be the new John Hicton Len!
    I wasn’t bothered about the Cup before last night but now I’m wondering if we can repeat the promotion and cup final double like ’98, with a different outcome in the final of course.

  4. Powmill

    If the steel came from Teesside I would agree.

    Spotted an error on MFC, something that has been bugging me all day. It says

    ”The last League Cup meeting on Teesside was in October 1998 when Everton emerged 3-2 winners after extra time.”

    1st December 2003 was the last time when we beat them on penalties to get in to the last eight of our trophy winning campaign. It was a long but happy drive back.

    What a mistake-a to make-a!!

    1. Good point re the Teutonic origins of the framework of the ground, but I was thinking of the area itself and there is only one steel river, but the riverside could be any riverside. Give the the ground an impregnable sounding name rather than a place for picnics and cricket and you have something that reflects the team ( or how we want it to be), the people, local history and we can have Chris Rea played during the build up to every home game !

      1. Maybe rather than rename the ground, MFC could have a new club badge with imagery that reflected the steel origins of the town – after all almost everyone has some kind of lion on their badge but does it in reality have that much meaning to the people of the area?

  5. AV, I’m delighted by Boro’s record against the big teams and I loved being in the crowd last night cheering them on, but I have a minor problem with your stats:

    “In four games away at the Euro-giants in just over a year Boro’s record over 90 minutes is: P4 W2 D1 L1. That’s not bad, , drew one (over the 90) and lost one”

    If you are counting the Liverpool match as a draw, then surely last night was a draw as well? If you want to count last night as a win, then you need to count Liverpool as a loss.

    Either way, they’ve given a fantastic account of themselves against the top teams in the Premier League, I just think it is important to adopt consistency when presenting stats in such a way.

    **AV writes: Yes, I was over complicating it and tripped myself up. It was rattled off in six minutes. Take the penalties out = P4 W1 D2 L1. Include them and it is W2 D0 L2.

    1. I hoped that had been the case, you’re usually spot on with your assessment of the statistics and what they do (or don’t) mean! A great report otherwise, especially so since you did it that quickly. Guess we’ll have to settle for a less glamorous victory over Everton next.

  6. The latest edition of ‘Private Eye’ has a dig at Steve Gibson re: the steel and the Riverside Stadium. But it should still be the “Steel River Stadium” in any case, Chris Rea’s legendary song of that title leading the team out onto the pitch in every home game.

  7. James

    I agree that steel is symbolic, personally I was more of an ICI man – my dad worked at Wilton and I was more fascinated by that than steel, studied chemical engineering at Uni. Both are in our DNA and the song is fine by me.

    I believe Bulkhaul moved container manufacturing away from Teesside for commercial reasons, maybe we could run out to ‘Come back, baby come back..’

    Just saying like, trademark Spartak.

  8. I grew up just up the road from the Palladium shops where Bob Tester had a shop. My dad was a regular though due to the brylcreem it was always more of an oil change than a haircut.

    I listened to the match on 5live and thought although Alan Green focused more on Man U’s performance he didn’t register as particularly anti-Boro. I’ve always found him more of an equal opportunities hater.

    Man U not winning is the story, it doesn’t matter who’s beating them. Presumably the larger part of the audience were tuning in to hear about them and so he’d be directed to talk about them more than us by his producers.

    I was carving a Halloween pumpkin to keep me occupied. It finished up an evil looking thing so maybe listening to him did have a subconscious effect..

    Brilliant effort from the fans, the team and the staff. A group effort and a group victory. Obviously Ak will pick the same team on Saturday. *chortle

    1. Been in touch with Nikki, Bob Tester’s daughter and she said she thought it was really nice that people were talking about her Dad on a football blog. She said about her Dad’s shops:
      “He had quite a few shops at one time before his divorce I think he had 11 spread all over Stockton, Billingham, Lazenby Nunthorpe etc but his main shop was on Linthorpe Road in the village next to the old Swedish mission which is now a chemist. He had lots of staff there. Downstairs was gents, upstairs ladies. Also his 2 brothers had shops at Belle Vue and Roman road. Does that she’d any light? ”

      I hope the performance from Old Trafford carries on into the weekend and we don’t drift into the game on a high. So many good things seemed to come out of it, and it would be great to carry on and steamroll Charlton.

      I’m up for the badge and name of the stadium change as well.

      1. Good of you to clear that up for us Paul. Yep, Tester’s is a real legend in the area. I reckon the percentage of the male population of the area that had a haircut there at some time in their life will be very high.

  9. So the FA are going to have an inquiry into the why Rooney was given the green light to take a penalty. I like #Excusegate for the brief second this light (the beam was too wide for it to be a laser) passed over his face before his run up had begun.

    I think they should appoint Sir John Chilcot to lead the investigation to ensure that it’s thorough and all 10,050 Boro fans get interviewed over their online electronical purchasing habits.

    Hopefully he’ll undertake this report in his usual diligent manner and present his finding in time for the 2022-23 FA Cup third round draw.

    He has estimated that his Iraq inquiry report will contain around 2m words – to put that into perspective, the 1,440 page epic War and Peace had just under 600,000 words. So that’s seven years to complete of which probably one year was just spell-checking. Nobody will ever read it all and no doubt the conclusions will be vague enough to be interpreted as you wish.

    BTW One of my favourite comments I read that captures the Rooney hype was “I’m surprised he didn’t spiral to the ground and burst into flames”

  10. I believe Alan Green is a Liverpool fan though to be fair he is disparaging to one and all.

    Sadly the laser seems to be taking over the column inches, I must admit I chuckled at Meijas the super hero with laser vision but it does pose a few questions.

    What punishment could we get? I suspect a fine is likely, maybe a warning.

    Closer to home it poses the question what does the club do about it?

    Fans around the culprit must have known what he was doing, would any of us be brave enough to tell him to stop? Maybe he is in a group who have had some sherbets?

    Would you tell a steward?

    Will anyone come forward and point the finger at the culprit? Is he the sort to go and flash in to drivers eyes?

    It was a daft thing to do, we have all done something we regretted afterwards but if you turn up with a laser pen or whatever you haven’t brought it along to highlight a route or a point on a projection screen.

    It does remind us that Leeds do not have a monopoly of idiots, all clubs have them.

    **AV writes: There will be no action taken. If there was an issue the onus is on the player to tell the ref who would include it in his match report and tell stewards and police to deal with it. It is something and nothing and the light is more likely to be from a photo than a laser anyway. It just makes Man Utd (or Sky who first raised the issue) look a bit daft.

  11. I’m increasingly surprised by the continuing backlash against those of us trying to understand why things have not been going well in the last four league games (one point gained, no goals) up to the devastating last 20 minutes against Wolves.

    Various people have said that we don’t care about the club and like it when the team lose because it proves our theories right, or that we are not experts so are not entitled to venture any analysis, or that we should be charged to discourage us from posting.

    Guys, I don’t want to cause suffering to any other living being, and when you see my name by a post, you know what you are in for, so please exercise your own censorship and use the scroll wheel to move on to more acceptable content.

    But I’m really surprised by Simon Fallaha’s latest column, because he is a Gazette journalist. I’d preface my remarks by mentioning that several of the Gazette writers mentioned that things were not going well at Wolves, that Nugent was isolated, and that our attack was not breaking down the Wolves defence.

    Talking about the Wolves game, Simon says of Downing and Adomah that ‘neither of them might have been fully fit’ as justification for the team selection. Well we know about Stewy’s ribs, but was Albert injured or not? A Gazette journalist would presumably know for sure, if not, why muddy the waters further? The key point is that AK could easily have told everyone straight away that neither player was fit to start the game and then fair enough and no-one has a problem with it. If that was the reason for the team selection, why doesn’t someone at the club say so unequivocally?

    Simon says that some of us are: ‘understandably irritated that their team didn’t win a game in the manner that they were “supposed” to’. I don’t like the sarcastic* use of ‘understandably’, and it is ridiculous to say that if people are concerned by a run of poor results, it’s not because they care about the Boro, but they because they want the games to be won in a certain way. (Though if games are won with penetrative, exciting attacking football it wouldn’t hurt, and it gives the promise of more games being won in future. But I’d take a scratchy win over a loss any day.)

    Simon explains that ‘Substitutions exist to change games, to give a team energy, pace and vision that is especially useful against tired opposition legs.’ He seems to be saying that it’s a good idea to leave key players on the bench so that they can come on later when we are losing and turn things round by their strong impact, and that this is a good plan B. If this is the best plan B we can devise, we really are in trouble. On this basis, Pellegrini would be benching Silva, De Bruyne and Aguero every game. Surely it’s acceptable for supporters to say that they would like the strongest players to start the game?

    The lack of anyone on the bench who can come on and change the game is a problem, so surely it is reasonable to say that if an attacking player such as Wildschut is out on loan and is playing very well and scoring it would not be a bad idea to bring him back in January? Carlos De Pena needs time to adapt to the Championship as many of us have said, and is hopefully developing into a very effective player in our context, but in the meantime it doesn’t help him if he can’t be introduced selectively because injuries force him to be played, while three other left wingers are out on loan.

    I believe we were facing a significant loss of confidence and belief had we lost again at Wolves, but since the turn-around there, we have moved to a massive surge of renewed confidence and belief. Well done to everyone involved for making that happen.

    (*Although, of course, I reserve the right to use sarcasm to extreme lengths in my own writing, especially when commenting on our neighbours up the road.)

    **AV writes: To clarify, Simon Fallala is not “a Gazette journalist”. He is one of our bloggers. He started by posting on here and offered his services on a more regular and formal basis. I don’t know if he still posts on here but I presume he still reads it. He’s gonna knack you…

  12. Did you speak with Bruno Zucolini AV? I’d be interested to hear his reaction to coming from Man City stiffs, to playing for Boro in front of a packed Old Trafford.

    **AV writes: No, he hasn’t been put up to the media yet. There is presser today so he may be present. I suppose it depends on his English and how frequently he is intended to play. We’ve had loanees who came and went before the press even got to say hello.

  13. Depending on the nature of the injury/niggle/strain/illness I think it is quite acceptable to have someone on the bench as they may be considered fit enough to contribute to the game if required, but if not required would benefit from the extra “rest”; after all it is a squad game so much as a team game these days.

    Against Wolves it was required and SD did (by most accounts) make the difference. I think that is a call for the manger to make in consultation with the coaching and medical staff. So, for the Wolves game, I think is reasonable to say that AK got it right. Who is to say that Downing’s performance on Wednesday would have been possible if he had played longer than 20 minutes or so on Saturday?

    Backwards reference to not substituting Bamford when he was clearly struggling with an injury implies that AK has not learned anything from having made that decision at that time. But I suspect he did learn something and that experience will have informed his subsequent decisions.

    **AV writes: I think you have to bare in mind that anything Aitor says in a press conference is intended as much for the opposition manager as our public. He is quite often ‘misleading’ about the fitness status of players hoping to nudge opposition managers into planning for an eventuality which doesn’t come to pass, It is basic Sun Tzu.

  14. Mark –

    I think Simon is like John Powls, someone asked to contribute a column to the Gazette rather than being a staff journalist. He is an independent writer and fan but gets the privilege of his own spot. AV can correct me if I am wrong

    John, like myself, had a regular column on the old ComeonBoro website. I cant remember who ran it but Ali had a column as well.

    I personally see nothing wrong with people expressing their views, that is what the website is for. I do like there to be some balance. For example the disaster that was Strachan was not the cause of all our ills. It started with McClaren building an ageing squad on huge wages with no retail value.

    Then The Unholy Trinity took over and got us relegated. If people are honest were Scott McDonald and Robson worse than Alves and Digard? Or Mido for that matter.

    The Jockification was an honest attempt to change our fortunes but it failed.

    We tend to compartmentalise based on our own perceptions, sometimes prejudices as well.

    1. Aren’t we all individual writers? Just because some professionals are more articulate and have larger vocabularies doesn’t necessarily mean they know more than us.

      The big added advantage for them of course is they have an inside track to the club.

      1. I don’t think they have any special access in to the club, from the little I know they just contribute an opinion column to the Gazette. As I said, AV can correct me if I am wrong.

    2. I agree with all of the, Ian.

      Ultimately, all of the success and failure we’ve had in a generation is down to Steve Gibson.

    3. Ian –

      I agree with most of your comments, but I believe that McClaren was requested by the chairman to build a squad to win the club a trophy and he did just that with the league cup win and who can ever forget our night in Eindhoven burnt in my memory for ever. He just got too big for his boots, As Mr Gibson supposed quote is to believed, if he ‘McClaren told me the grass was green’ I would go outside to check.

  15. Werder, I think those, who have real talent, will try only once to reach the ton.

    BTW AV, why do you award the ton with a Trabi? I think it must be a Soviet car like Moskvitš (in Russian Москвич). That car would remind us more of the Peoples republic of Teesside. And also our savior, Henry Moszkowicz.

    If you haven’t seen one here is a link: https://www.google.fi/search?q=mosse&biw=1822&bih=861&tbm=isch&tbo=u&source=univ&sa=X&ved=0CCkQsARqFQoTCKfit7H36cgCFQQHLAodxYQOTg


    And the model must be Elite – quality was like PL to real footy fans. Up the Boro!

    **AV writes: I think it started when 100 was quiet rare and someone suggested it deserved a prize, possibly a Mercedes, and I denounced that concept as decadent bourgeois materialism. I also rejected the Zil as a sign of a Stalinist dictatorship over the people. I think Mr Gill then suggested the cheapest possible mass-produced car from a deformed workers’ state instead and a legend was born.

  16. Werder, I agree that to reach the ton, a quality signing will only try once. No tippy-tappy or windscreen-wiper passing around. Aitor needs to have a discussion with some. And we could press higher up the field and counter.

    Also I demand that the ton will be rewarded by a Moskvitš (Москвич) rathen Trabi. In the Peoples republic of Teesside that would remind us about the savior Henry Moszkowicz, too.

    If you haven’t seen one here:https://www.google.fi/search?q=mosse&biw=1822&bih=861&tbm=isch&tbo=u&source=univ&sa=X&ved=0CCkQsARqFQoTCKfit7H36cgCFQQHLAodxYQOTg#imgrc=_

    The Elite model will do – or is that reserved for the PL years? Up the Boro!

  17. Yes, the nick name is mosse here as the original name was too difficult to pronaunce or write. We must be over ton, now. I shame I had three tries.

    BTW, been looking on some old programmes yesterday. A 1989 issue had Uncle Eric column – those were the days when journos had long hair. Not like some current ones without one or very little – and listen to punk.

    I got the programmes and newspaper cutting once in two weeks. And a letter once a month. No internet but TV did show Boro once a season over here. So difficult to say about progress – except this blog. But thenwe had letter to the editor colum in the probramme. I wrote to that once (posted for the young ones).

    Not much changed. In 1989 George Harwick was complaining our Cup success and admitted
    In his column that he had the same thought already during his playing days. No cup luck. Typical Boro!

    Well, luckily Mr Gibson changed that later. Up the Boro!

  18. My father in law has a Moscovitch, built like a T22 and sounds like one.You could run it on anything – even Newcastle brown. I think he uses Bulgarian brandy its cheaper than petrol.

    **AV writes: Sounds great. I’ve got an old Skoda that runs on borscht.

    1. I hope you never drove one. Just horrible. My sister had one (cheap and bid for her family) in 1980’s but that one drive was enough for me. Perhaps the tank is as uncomfortable to drive – but the worst was the steering feel (or non of it)!

      Perhaps Trabis are better. Light and smoky.

      Bob, Saabs were great cars. Unfortunately Swedish (but also built in Finland). I think all the RHD Saabs since model 900 were made here and were made better than Sweden. But those two-stroke engines make fabulous noise.

      What does this have to do with Boro? Untypical.

      Up the Boro!

      1. Jarkko,

        We had a white SAAB 96 then an orange SAAB 95 and they were great motors, built like the proverbial brick outhouse. I’d have another one like a shot. Interestingly theres one of each in dark blue abandoned in an orchard near where we live. The Boss says no to a restoration project on either.

        UTB,

        John

  19. Thanks to AV for clarifying Simon’s role. I thought it a little unfair to accuse him of being a Gazette journalist with their access when he is a blogger albeit with links elsewhere.

  20. Ho Ho. “Unfair to accuse someone of being a Gazette Journalist.”

    Are you suggesting that’s an oxymoron Ian?

  21. Sorry, I’m thinking that Simon has a regular column in the Gazette, and confusing that with being a staff writer. My fault.

    As Simon is just expressing a personal view he is perfectly entitled to be sarcastic, but I’m still not sure it’s helpful to say that people’s views are held understandably when the whole purpose of the piece is to show that their views are unreasonable, or to say that long-standing supporters are irritated when Boro win.

    It’s the second time recently that people have read my mind and told the world what my feelings are about Boro (and the minds of some of the others on here who share certain concerns).

    Perhaps he could have checked with AV to see if both players didn’t start the Wolves game because of injury, as I agree that it makes a big difference if that’s the case, and I don’t know one way or the other.

    Based on AV’s advice that I’m going to be ‘knacked’ I will maintain a very low profile at the game tomorrow as it sounds extremely painful…

    1. Mark –

      There is always a danger people decide what you are thinking. Sometimes we are guilty of not reading the words or misinterpreting them.

      It is easy to write something that reflects what you are thinking and someone to take a different mean. I find myself apologising or qualifying comments.

  22. GHW –

    Eye of the beholder. 🙂

    I did have a little chuckle to myself when I was typing but genuinely it was meant to imply that I believed Simon didn’t have access to the club that a Gazette reporter has.

    I must admit I tend to take more notice of John’s pieces because he is a long standing friend and we are in regular contact over all things Boro.

  23. Back to east European cars, in 1991 I sat in an abandoned T22 just north of Jubail [after taking a few souvenirs for my lads back in UK], and I think it was just as comfortable as a Moscovitch.

    How do post photos on this blog?

  24. Well gents, I have to report some sad news.

    The Boro has one less supporter today as my Dad died yesterday. Ninety years of supporting Boro ended with an away win at Utd which seems like a decent way to go out.

    A lot of happy memories for me, including too many to count from watching the Boro together.

    **AV writes: Sorry to hear that Nigel. Commiserations to you and all your family.

    1. Sorry to hear the sad news that you’ve lost your father Nigel – but I’m sure he will live on with many memories you have of him – best wishes to you and your family.

  25. Nigel

    Sad news indeed, we all deal with it. Many years ago I told my dad that we were promoted and Sunderland relegated, he didn’t really hear me. Oddly I remember my little 18 month son had grabbed hold of a fish slice and tapped him with it, luckily it wasn’t metal.

    On the way to the crematorium we were held up in road works, the bane of his life, and it seemed appropriate.

    That is what you remember, keep the happy thoughts because that is what defines our lives. He has brought up his family and will be proud of you all, yes, that is right still because he will be watching.

  26. Nigel

    I was so sorry to hear of the sad loss of your Dad, Alan.

    As some may remember, discovering that Nigel was a member of those very Reeves who were a second family to me as I was growing up in Grove Hill in the 40s and 50s was a great revelation to me, and enabled me to catch up, through this blog, with the lives of so many of the family who were my childhood and adolescent friends.

    Alan’s parents were Jack and Norah. Jack, a Suffolk ex-policeman from Diss, was as easy-going a man as you could ever meet. He never lost his rich country accent, and his garden on Marton Burn Road was a thing of spectacular beauty that had a regular audience of passers-by. Norah,one of those mothers who welcomed all of her kids’ friends into their home, tragically died far too early, leaving Jack to bring up a large family,with the invaluable assistance of daughters Kathy and Joyce, and, of course, Alan.

    Alan was an older brother and an absolute stalwart within the family. He was no bad footballer either in what was an outstanding sporting family. I remember watching him play for Gazette, the Evening Gazette team, in the Wednesday League on Clairville Common. He always took his family responsibilities seriously and kept a caring eye on his younger siblings, who looked up to him as an admired and successful role model.

    Very sad news,then, to hear of Alan’s passing, and I know how devastated Nigel and the rest of the family must be feeling. But Alan was a man to be proud of- a family man and a sporting man in the best Boro tradition.I am only too pleased, through the blog, to be able to share these few memories of him.

    Nigel, please accept and pass on my sincere condolences to the rest of the family,

    **AV writes: Kind words and a touching personal tribute Len.

  27. I’m sorry to read your news Nigel, though I suspect it was not altogether unexpected. Kind wishes to you and all your family at this time.

  28. A tough time Nigel, when everything seems to be a reminder of a memory. Best wishes to you and your family, Football put in its place.

    John

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