Boro Ugly Win Is Small Screen Switch-Off

IT WAS a dramatic finale as Grant Leadbitter slammed home from the spot in the 94th minute.  Talk about leaving it late.  It came at the tail end of a televised tedium that would be branded a ‘cruel and unusual punishment’ under the UN charter of human rights.

It certainly woke people up. after they had been dulled into submission and left soporific and frustrated by a ‘win ugly’ 1-0 over QPR  that was not a great or memorable experience.   Relieved Boro will bank the points and move on and we will never speak of this again.

Certainly it won’t be widely discussed on Planet Football because although it was broadcast live the penalty would have crashed into the net to sound of gentle snoring across the nation because most of the armchair audience would have nodded off into a patient pointless possession induced coma long before the penalty climax.

1Grant

At half time you could sense the drowsy arm-chair army switching over to watch I’m A Celebrity in droves.  In fact, long before half-time.  If viewers reacted early to a tired format in need of a radical makeover and you could have fitted in Masterchef too. And to be fair, watching Z-listers chewing bits of rustic al dente kangeroo’s digeridoos – in either programme – had some appeal after enduring the low thrills spectacle of blunt Boro labouring their way through what was a poor quality televised Shepherds Bush tucker trial by boredom. 

God it was tedious.  On a cold night that demanded some heat and passion to make the Riverside radiate, it was under-cooked, lacked substance and spice and was largely tasteless. Yes, Boro need to be patient to break down team that come to dig in and frustrate but that would try the patience of a saint.  

Well done it you stuck with it on the box at home or abroad. And especially well done if  you opted to watch into a pub because at least then you could retreat into ale.  And commiserations if you were trapped inside the ground and forced to endure it.

It is probably fair to say it was ‘one for the purists.’  The tactical  connosseurs. Stick sub-titles on it and watch it in black and white and it could have been an art house examination of the the unremitting futility of the human condition.

Much was made during the week about Boro putting bums on seats in the Championship small screen stakes with some of the best viewing figures of the season but you would have had to be made of very stern stuff to stick with it if you didn’t have a strong partisan attachment.  

We’ve got used to teams coming and parking the bus but QPR took it to a whole new level: Two banks of five. They strangled the space and made it very difficult for Boro to pass their way through or get behind or to find the kind of fluency, urgency and ‘ambition’ that Aitor Karanka had demanded for his yet to gel team.  They are allowed to do that of course. And no doubt Neil Warnock –  absent for personal reasons – has been drilling them to spoil and scrap and slow it down all week. It is an acceptable tactic for them and we’ve done it ourself at times  – but it is hard work watching it at times.

And for the hardy 20,000 who braved the cold at the Riverside there isn’t the option of reaching for the remote. Jeez, it was poor stuff. Seriously. Not that *nothing* happened. David Nugent had a golden chance as Albert Adomah wriggled down the right and cut back for him to glance a shot off the inside of the far post and into back into the relieved keeper’s arms.  And Boro had plenty of possession but it withered predictably before it could get into the box. But for a team that needed to claw back some ground and rebuild morale after the defeat at Hull it was all a bit flat and flaccid. 

Anyone who had recorded it could safely have fast-forward through long spells, watched the few chances in a minute or two then settled down for a laugh as the pundits tried their best to sell it as “an intriguing tactical battle.”

The second half was worse. At the start it had the making of a horror show as QPR three times went agonisingly close.  Then it became so scrappy that if you left it on your drive it would be whipped away in a white van within 20 minutes.  The game was sleep-walking to a welcome end and almost everyone watching it was questioning their own sanity before the explosive ending. That made up for everything. You can’t beat a late winner.

It was tedious and it won’t take up too much space on the end of term DVD but still, a win is a win.  Boro’s small screen record this season this season has been good in terms of results but not necessarily in terms of performances.  You can’t see to many neutrals pressing the green button for a series link.  

But it is results that count. That is four televised games now this season with three wins and a draw and all but the most demanding fan would  take.

On the opening day they battled through a blood and thunder curtain-raiser at newly promoted Preston. Then they went to Forest and smashed an ancient hoodoo and picked up their first win this millennium and only their second since decimalisation. Then they eased to a 3-0 Riverside ‘semi-derby’ win over Leeds, which is always nice, especially seasoned with a comical own goal.

But lets be honest. No-one is in a rush to watch again.  On demand? No thanks. 

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SO FRIDAY night football and a chance to start the weekend with a bang! And to bounce back from the  morale-denting defeat at Hull and get the stats back up the acceptable promotion trajectory.

 

Here’s a few things I’ve written today about the game:

Bottle top bobbles,  orange kits and maverick Stan Bowles getting with the programme.  A little look back at some quirky moments from matches past.

Stan-Bowles

Five Fridays nights to rememeber… and a few to forget 

Now, back into the groove. Time to shake off your Mystic Meg ring rust and predict the score and how the game will pan out . Boro have an excellent record at home and have only twice at home all year while QPR are better than their league position suggests but have failed to score in four of their last five. So I’m going for a close fought 1-0 Boro win.

Now over to you. Usual drill, do your pundit pitch then all back here later to swap notes and debrief later on.

COME ON BORO!

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386 thoughts on “Boro Ugly Win Is Small Screen Switch-Off

  1. Patience is starting to wear thin at Untypical Bay…

    Int1: You know if you don’t start co-operating soon Mr Mouth then you may be banished to the other place

    Mr M: The other place?

    Int1: Oh I’m sure you know about it – OK I’m going to get Frank with you…

    Int2: Very funny boss – Shall I start the music?

    Int1: Yes – Full volume of course!

    [The dulcid tones of Frank Sinatra start blaring out] Fly me to the moon, let me play among the stars, Let me see what spring is like, on a, Jupiter and Mars, in other words, hold my hand, In other words…

    Mr M: OK OK turn it off – I’ll do whatever you want

    Int1: A wise choice Mr Mouth, I doubt you’d survive a week on those boards – some of the grammar in that place is truly terrifying and it appears spelling is optional

    Int2: Not to mention the labyrinth of multiple threads

    Int1: So shall we start by singing the song – all of it!

    Mr M: OK I’ll try my best… Up the Boro, the Boro’s going up, the Boro’s going up to…

    Int1: I think ‘Stay’ is the word you’re looking for

    Mr M: But doesn’t ‘Stay’ sound a bit unrealistically permanent as historically promoted teams often struggle to avoid relegation in their first few seasons

    Int1: Admit it, you non-believers just have no faith – besides who’s going to sing ‘…to stay as long as we avoid relegation in the first few seasons’

    Int2: Maybe we should just send him to the Moon itself

    Int1: Yes, that is a very lonely place with nothing there besides a strange old man with a telescope – and if you’re very lucky he may lend it to you occasionally so you can have an quick glimpse of The Riverside.

    Mr M: He’s not real, it’s just an advert.

    Int1: Enough of your lies – now finish the song

    Mr M: OK the Boro are going up to stay – now let me sleep

    Int1: Thank you Mr Mouth – I think we’re finally getting somewhere

  2. Robbo’s team of largely mercenaries could entertain when they felt like it, the problem was not all of them felt like it enough of the time. Emerson played one in six from memory, the white feather’s ego was far beyond his Champions league winning ability and TLF couldn’t carry a team on his own, many of whom had little professionalism including the manager. It was entertaining at times but not often enough and nowhere near consistent enough. In the end the inevitable happened and it all unravelled and ended with boos and jeers. Speaking of which, Manure fans must have even shorter memories than Boro fans!

    Watched Arsenal the other night on the box and when they attacked how their players were moving into positions to receive the ball and giving the player with possession two or even three options. It was a rolling movement, whenever the ball was played to a team mate the other Arsenal players regrouped with the same intention creating space and providing options. I then flashbacked to Friday night and how our forward players were often isolated and left to fend for themselves until three or four QPR players surrounded the red shirt, conceded possession through sheer weight of opposing numbers, usually falling or slipping onto their backside then looked up in angst for the “support” who were not motivated/coached/bothered/aware/alert or ambitious enough to “show” for him. Of course that was when the ball was actually knocked forwards from defence instead of sideways which wasn’t very often.

    OK we scraped it 1-0 and collected the three points but it was extremely dire at times to watch and downright frustrating, especially so when we could see space opening up from the stands as the game wore on just inviting a red shirt to make a run. In the end the end did indeed justify the means but as a spectator sport it was somewhat less than enjoyable or rewarding until the final 120 seconds of injury time provided the twist in the plot.

    Tuesday night (and probably largely due to the fact that I wasn’t unduly bothered who won) I thoroughly enjoyed watching Arsenal play football. Interestingly Wenger is hardly regarded as the most swashbuckling and cavalier of managers and historically also set his teams up to be defensively sound. Maybe in time there will be better to come from AK (entertainment wise) and Boro as he builds from the back.

  3. Redcar Red

    I would say the Schteve team were similar in some ways. Highly paid footballers who preferred cups to Tuesday at Blackburn in February. (other cold grounds are available)

    The difficulty was they were on big contracts with no resale value.

    It should be remembered that team got a tad over a point a game from Xmas until the end of the following season.

    Sadly we wasted even more money sadly after and got relegated.

    1. Ian

      Indeed. In some ways Schteeve’s side was almost history repeating itself at times but to a lesser extent.

      In fairness there was more commitment from the bulk and a few less mercenaries. Southgate, Franck, Schwarzer, Boateng, Ugo, Poggy, Stewy, Catts and others all gave a stuff and cared. Even JFH appeared passionate in fairness and Rochemback and Mendy I think were genuine although they were also well rewarded and probably more so than the first group.

      Viduka notably suddenly found his fitness and shooting boots as his contract drew to a close but just don’t mention the Yak to me!

  4. RR –

    Yes, I enjoyed watching Arsenal play as well. But many of their supporters would love their manager to resign, despite their attractive football, and despite their quite phenomenal record over the last 16 years. They clearly believe that there are better options out there. Go figure…football fans.

    We operate in a different stratosphere. If AK actually were to resign, who might we attract? I’m hoping that alongside Werder’s stats and re-education department, Boro have a seriously well-funded eugenics department trying to build the super-human manager that might satisfy Spartak and perhaps some others.

    Clearly a strain of Clough DNA will be important (but not the part that spawned Nigel). A bit of Alex Ferguson, some Matt Busby and perhaps just a twist of Guardiola to add that continental style. Sprinkle with a bit of Shankly and Paisley and we should be there. Of course the lab would have to be kept extremely sterile to make sure no essence of Mourinho contaminated the mix. Come clean SG, is that what the ‘sports science’ department is doing?

    1. Kookaboro

      I think part of the Boro frustration is the belief and gut feeling that we are just on the cusp of something but the restraining harness is just a few cm too short.

      Downing, Adomah, Stuani, Nugent, Fabbrini, de Pena, Friend, Nsue and Kike can all create and excite and that’s the conundrum. If they clicked creatively they could destroy this league and leave it in their wake. I just wish that at times AK would release the handbrake.

      Huddersfield haven’t won in 5 games and they have let in at least 2 goals in each of their last 5 games yet l don’t believe that we will see Boro tear them apart. Even if went 2-0 up in the first half the rest of the game will be containment and keeping a clean sheet which my head tells is right but my heart yearns for a bit more.

      Manure fans were booing loudly last night so its not a Boro disease. Arsenal fans want Wenger sacked without respecting that he is the only Manager of the established big 4 or 5 (accepting that Leicester and Chelsea have an inverted season YTD) that has kept his club financially stable. If the Russians, Arabs or billionaires pull out those other clubs are sunk without trace, Arsenal and Wenger on the other hand have a more realistic grasp of reality. Arsene may not have won as much as some others but what he has won he has won with skill, nous and ability and not with other peoples’s money. I respect him tremendously despite his tendency to whine a little, those bleedin awful coats and his “selective defective” vision at times.

    2. Thanks for the name check Kookaboro & as far as I know I’m still very much in the minority in my judgement call – a true ‘critical friend’!

      With regards to a ‘super manager’, I’d have no hessitation in welcoming the late Bobby Robson even though his heart was black and white strips. A true gentleman I still miss.
      Upto date I’d have to go for Nigel Pearson. Whatever you may think of him he certainly does not lack passion for the game.

  5. RR –

    Yes, I also admire Wenger, despite his selective blindness. Whilst he may not have won as much as others, I still think 3 league titles and 6 FA cups is a pretty big haul…and God knows how many consecutive seasons in the last stages of the European Cup (or whatever it’s called these days). By the way, wouldn’t it be lovely if by some miracle Leicester could maintain their current position through to the end of the season…and coached by the original Tinkerman!

    Spartak –

    I expect you might remain in the minority with this one, but so be it…you’ve seen what you’ve seen. You’ve mentioned Nigel before. I’d have to say I’d see him as a serious downgrade from AK but I loved him as a player and captain. Who knows what the future will bring. If he came I’d support him, but I’d struggle to muster the same degree of excitement and anticipation I feel with AK at the helm.

      1. Hope you’re staying dry Allan – I was working in Al Hofuf last year and tryin to drive a small saloon car through a deluge. I made it only due to God’s kindness and swearing vocifourously at the Arab gentlemen mincing around in their cars in my vicinity. I hope none of them spake Teesside English.

  6. Like Tees exile, I prefer stoical Boro. However it would be airbrushing history to claim that the Ayresome Park crowd always gave Stan Anderson’s side unstinting support. John Hickton scored a last minute goal in front of a half empty Holgate on more than one occasion. There was the occasional outburst of slow hand clapping to boot. Also dare I mention the average home attendance of 10, 418 in the 72-73 season when we finished 4th?

    In general though, the attitude of our supporters used to give me a sense of pride compared with the impatience of fans of clubs with a sense of entitlement such as Manchester Utd. Sadly that distinction has melted away and I for one regret that.

    1. Werner

      I think the QPR/Crowd thing has been greatly over-hyped way beyond what actually occurred. The game was far from a classic and it was on a cold miserable night. The crowd were OK just not very vocal and there was next to nothing attending from QPR so there wasn’t much of a contribution from the away support or inter club rivalry to generate an atmosphere. The game was reasonably well officiated, there were a few fouls but no leg breakers, Clayts even talked the Ref out of booking Faurlin (I think it was) after a clumsy challenge so it was a jolly pleasant encounter. Atmosphere wise, mid week games at the Riverside unless its a big cup match or a play-off are generally all the same. For me the atmosphere was little different to Rotherham a few weeks previously.

      As the game wore on tactically we were going nowhere but we did need three points to not only recover from the previous 3-0 mauling by the Tigers but also to get us back into the melting pot and also add a little psychological advantage over our competitors over the weekend (and in the end our victory I think did unnerve a few judging by their results).

      The second half was monotonous and heavy going. We didn’t show much endeavour in the final third, some passes were just plain dreadful whilst the better ones were just woeful unless it was side to side or backwards. Nugent was making runs but our ultra cautious defence played the ball about two seconds too late repeatedly leaving Nugent offside on so many times I literally lost count but he must have smashed Bernie’s record. Changes to personnel were made but tactically there was no change of note other than a few players moving position on the pitch but the build up play was as slow and predictable and ineffective as it had been all night.

      There started a few “oh for dogs sake” (rearrange the letters to suit), followed by lots of aaawws and tutting when our CB’s passed it 5 yards sideways or backwards. At this point I have to admit that our passing probably wasn’t as bad as I am recalling but that is honestly how it felt. Then when a few gaps opened and we could see a move (and I can only talk from a North Stand perspective) Ben rather than progress forwards and play an angled ball for Downing/Nugent/Stuani to latch onto, turned, looked around, paused and passed it to Friend who was slightly (only slightly mind) to his left. At that point the rumblings and discontent spilled over into boos from the lack of ambition, belief, negativity call it what you will but from my seat it looked more like they were under strict instructions and in fear of not following said instructions instead of interpreting them.

      The players reacted by being even more cautious (or so it seemed) the frustration and chicken run style expletives started to grow in number. Here we were with everything to play for yet it looked like there was little desire to go and win the game, not true of course but in the moment that is exactly how it felt, soul sapping.

      There were no loud crescendo’s of booing or jeering just plain earthy working class honest appraisal of what was presented before them. Of course it wasn’t conducive to helping to win the game but it has made a point and one that has evidently struck a chord and one that I think everyone, fans, players and coaches will and should reflect on.

      Its a shame that the screams for hand ball and gesticulations in the form of aggressively patting their arms (please note not their pits in case we all end up in court with a football banning order for showing passion) to the referee from the North Stand immediately Fer’s arm was raised wasn’t commented on for the benefits it brought to helping the ref make his mind up (helped of course by an eagle eyed assistant on the lion). Nor was the euphoria from the same fans who erupted when Grants kick hit the back of the net reported or commented on as eagerly.

  7. I agree with your assessment of the crowd’s reaction RR on this specific occasion but I was commenting in general.

    Having decided to stay at home in the Midlands I didn’t notice anything unusual over the Sky special effects microphones for most of the match. Without sitting through a recording of the whole match I could not say for sure whether there was booing or not.

    It seems to me that many goals are conceded after possession has been given away so it seems sensible to keep the ball if you are not sure your pass will not be intercepted or result in the intended receiver being tackled. The hollywood ball only comes off occasionally and can be suicidal.

    Overall I thought QPR defended very well so there were very few opportunities to make a pass to a team member in an attacking position.

    It wasn’t the first time we have beaten a packed defence at the death and I trust it will not be the last this season.

  8. I lobbed my contribution to bus parking many a post ago before our comrade was fitted with his orange overall.

    It is a problem and it isn’t new, the season we finished seventh under Mogga we only scored 52 goals in the season, 22 at home in 23 matches. If we did the same under Aitor the pitchforks would be rattling the doors at Rockcliffe.

  9. If there is one thing that all Boro supporters seem to agree upon, whatever their other differences about the game, it is that QPR came to “park the bus”, and that this was perhaps the main contributory factor to the Boro’s difficulties, to the match’s lack of entertainment, and to a general snorefest.

    I’m not so sure.

    “Parking the bus” needs a bit of unpicking.

    First of all the phrase is as much an emotive term as a descriptive one. It’s one that fans often apply to the tactics of other teams, but rarely to their own. It is the disapproval of the tactic used by some teams of defending their goal area at all costs and certainly at the cost of their own attacking intentions. When our own team does this successfully we call it keeping a clean sheet, giving a defensive master-class or putting our bodies on the line.

    Three qualities that AK has been keen to inculcate and praise.

    There is no doubt that QPR came to play defensively with two banks of four which we found difficult to penetrate. Given that they were lacking their two most potent strikers and were playing one experimental non-striker up front, this tactic should have surprised no one, and was indeed their only sensible option. “Parking the bus”, however, somehow manages to convey the impression that the other team is not really playing the game and that they are being unfairly and even ignobly negative.

    The irony of the phrase for us is that it was first coined by Jose Mourinho whose influence upon our own approach to the game needs no elaboration. Though first used to describe another team (Spurs) it is a tactic that Jose has famously employed throughout his career.

    I assume that the visual image that the metaphor is intended to invoke is of the team’s coach driving into the ground and parking directly in front of the goal as part of the team’s intention to use every resource at its disposal to prevent the other team from scoring. As such it probably remains a useful phrase to define those comparatively rare occasions when a team is pinned back inside its own penalty area and six-yard box for most of the game, managing somehow to survive through a combination of great goalkeeping, the woodwork, magnificent defending, indifferent finishing and huge slices of luck. It can also include spoiling tactics, breaking up the game, feigning injury, and not attempting to move out beyond penalty area.

    Think Boro’s displays at Derby (2nd half) this season and at Arsenal (1st half) and Norwich (2nd half) last season for exemplars.

    Last Friday’s game was nothing like this. Most of the game was played between QPR’s 18 yard box and the halfway line, with Boro’s failure to get attackers into the box one of the game’s most notable features.

    A resolute defensive formation which Boro hardly ever looked like penetrating? Certainly. But parking the bus? Not for me. QPR didn’t even require one of Ian’s Trabbies.

    1. Can’t agree with that. They not only sported five across the back and four in front of them, but their one forward wasn’t really trying to get forward more than, say, thirty/fourth yards. It does work, if you all agree on what you are trying to do, you won’t be run off your feet, you won’t use much energy and you can certainly afford to spend ten minutes in the opposition goalmouth, generally straight after half time , ring any bells? Plenty of shock results are pulled off every week and a lot of them are carefully planned. By the way, they played slowly from the word go, just not slowly enough to allow the ref to do anything about it.

      1. Plato,

        Anyone can define ‘parking the bus’ however they want. Who’s going to stop them?

        But for me the visual image on which analogy depends doesn’t really work, if the bus is being parked 20-40 yards up the field rather than in front of the goal.

        That’s pretty much our own strategy away from home anyway.

        **AV writes: Are you sure? I can only remember Boro sitting back to soak it up at Man Utd and the last 20 minutes at Derby this season.

      2. Agreed. We certainly didn’t park the bus at Hull or Derby, the two games I’ve been to away, though we did sit in once we’d scored at Derby.

        QPR were very defensive. They didn’t play with a recognised striker, a winger as a lone front man, and from what I remember, Karl Henry, a DM on the wing.

        If that was Boro, that would have had some people foaming at the mouth as such blatant square pegging,

  10. I’ve been to Anfield and apart from the start of the game ,the fans are not all that vocal, and Alfie Woods goal was in.
    By the way 2pts off the top
    COB

  11. I think AK has created a side that can defend (nearly) as well as Big Jack’s promotion team. I think 50 clean sheets in 108 matches (where is Smogon when I need him?). But AK’s team can be better than the 1970’s Boro – he has invested also in the attack. Stuani, Stewie and Nugent are something we never afforded in Big Jack’s era.

    This team will do well in the PL. The tricky part is to get in there.

    I am quite confident that we will achieve something even better long run than Big Jack was able. Because AK has Big Gibson supporting him in the PL. That would be facinating.

    But as said we must get out of the Championship first. But there are many good sides in the league wanting to do the same. Boro need support to get to the top two. And the side Ak is building is still in progress.

    Up the Boro!

    1. AV used to say the same on numerous occasions it’s a work in progress.. Perhaps we can add it to the cliche list previously complied. Not soon after, although it seemed like a very long time to me, Mogga moved on. Still it didn’t stop many saying he should stay and stay and stay.

  12. I agree that should we get promoted, this team and AK I think could be tactically more astute and capable than Boro teams of the past and go further. The Liverpool, Man City and recent Man Utd game gives us a small hint that we can possibly grind out results and even win.

    The problem we have meanwhile is ensuring that we actually get there. Bournemouth just got on with it with a manager who is still young and still learning his job. Norwich recruited an unknown, inexperienced young manager without an apprenticeship at a top European club and without a glamorous top level career behind him who again just got on with it and outclassed us at Wembley when it really mattered.

    Watford changed manager more times than I change undergarments. At some point this season we need to open up a bit of a gap if we are to gain automatic promotion and at some point we have to stop saying AK is still learning and he hasn’t got his side settled yet. We are close but at some point we have to show signs of progress over last season and push on. Time waits for no man and the clock is ticking, December is just around the corner.

    1. ‘January!’ says it all for me, but I have no doubt that many will still be saying and have said already, that this season is transitional and the really big push should come next. I have to take my hat off to them for their patience and persistence. it reminds me of the Arabs in the Gulf, ‘bukra, bukra’ they would reply, ‘tomorrow, tomorrow!’ when asked when something should happen. Of course tomorrow never came. I think it must have an equivalent in the phrase ‘it’s a work in progress’. When does a WiP come to fruition – ‘bukra, Inshallah!

  13. In other news its alleged that Leeds are trying to push loans through for Emnes and Kike. Clearly they haven’t seen Emnes in action in the Championship and his never say die attitude.

    Kike however is a good shout for them so good in fact that I don’t think we should even consider it. Nugent has had a few niggles and Stuani is just back from injury and being honest in terms of goals scored neither has yet delivered anything when you look at the Championships top scorers. I think if played more regularly Kike could deliver just as many if indeed not more.

  14. I am a spartak sympathiser.

    I think AK has done a fabulous job; made the defence watertight, superb man management, good in the transfer market, builds a fantastic team spirit, is slowly building a club from the top down or even the bottom up.

    However, I do sympathise with spartak. At the moment as we were last season we are still 5% short of being where we need to be. Does AK have the ability to work out why that is and do something about it or will he just stubbornly continue as is, thinking we might be good enough.

    I hate the way some of our most creative players often appear stifled by the rigidity of the system and that players who could change a game are often maligned or outcast for not working hard enough defensively. For me this detracts from their attacking prowess.

    But despite all this what AK has achieved this far is incredible and without a shadow of a doubt he deserves the opportunity to gain the extra 5% we need. Whether he’ll do it is another question and we’ll have more of a decision to make if AK doesn’t succeed but he definitely deserves the opportunity (in my humble opinion!)

    1. “At some point this season we need to open up a bit of a gap if we are to gain automatic promotion ”

      Why?

      Because there are only two sides that gain automatic promotion and there are two sides currently in those positions and neither of them are Middlesbrough.

      If we go into the final day of the season with only three points or even less of a lead from 2nd to 3rd then we could find ourselves out of the auto places come the final whistle depending on other results or relying on our GD.

      As things stand after 17 games we are on target for 89 points, Brighton and Hull are on target for 94 points. Thats a 5 point gap which is exactly what I would like to see Boro enjoy on the final day hence my above statement “we need to open up a bit of a gap”.

      **AV writes: Don’t those statistical trajectories assume none of those teams play each other.

      1. There will be a gap between 2nd and 3rd place that’s an absolute certainty be it points or GD.

        With our record in finals and last years play-off I wouldn’t be confident finishing with a need to win at home game to Brighton on May 7th, it has “Typical Boro” written all over it.

        We need a gap established before then, unless of course SG’s objective is just to compete in the Championship and hope we are there or thereabouts.

      2. **AV writes: Don’t those statistical trajectories assume none of those teams play each other.

        Its over a third of the current season and that is as representative as we have. It could be argued that teams when they do play each other may not be where they are now. We have yet to play the bottom 6 away but we have played teams who have been in the bottom 6. Statistical data is never an exact science but I’m fairly confident Hull, Brighton Derby and Boro will not get relegated and that Bolton, Rotherham, MK Dons and Huddersfield will not win promotion.

  15. People talk about our creative players being stifled, yet we have more shots on target than almost anyone at home. How are they being stifled?

    And let’s for a second say that they are, there seems to be an assumption that we could un-stifle them and lose nothing of our solidness. Is that what some people think? There seems to be this impression that our defensive record is a given due to our style of play and therefore deserves no credit.

  16. You don’t get promoted on home form alone. You can’t argue with our home form. It might be laborious at times and lacking excitement but we’ve been getting results. And I do believe it is primarily about the results even though it’s a sport of entertainment.

    Our shots on goal in the last month would be interesting to look at I’d reckon we’d be bottom half.

    At home we’ve played very few of the better sides. Good in the respect it may allow us to beat them and move up the table but also means our stats in terms of points and goals and shots may be skewed rather positively at the moment.

    I do agree if we try and attack more that we will lose some of our defensive stability. Personally I think we’d be better for it. With our current squad I think we would outplay and out score most of our opponents.

    I may be wrong but my main worry is that we never find out because at present everything stays the same week in week out.

    Some will say that’s great as we win most weeks. I being more of a pessimist thinks it’s generally good but not quite good enough.

    What we are doing may be good enough in which case I’ll eat a big slice of humble pie but I can’t help feeling de ja vu from last season. Close but no cigar!!

    And on our creative players being stifled. Will downing create as much as he did in the premiership? Will nugent score as many as he did in Leicester? Has Adomah gone backwards in terms of his goalscoring? How many has clayton scored for us since he joined?

  17. Selective negatvity again I think Paul. Let’s discount all our home games because the opposition hasn’t been good enough. File that with those goals that don’t count from earlier in the thread.

    No, you can’t get promotion solely on your home form, but it can go a long way.

    We’ve played very few of the worst teams away from home (none of the bottom 6). Where do you mention that to add balance to your post?

    Our shots on target may well be down in the last month. But why would that month be any more representative than the previous three? In fact looking at that site I posted earlier, at the end of October we had the most shots on target of any team at home.

    42 in 7 games, 1 ahead of Burnley and Forest.

    Since then we’ve only had 4 in 2 games – but we’ve won them both. So if it’s a slip in form, we’ve managed it pretty well.

    “because at present everything stays the same week in week out.”

    and long may it continue!

  18. Some selective positivity going on as well.

    We are 8th in the Form guide for the last 8 matches home and away
    We are 3rd in the form guide for the last 8 matches at home (behind Hull and Brighton)
    We are 9th in the form guide for the last 8 away matches

    The last 8 home games did include the Bristol game so to avoid the inevitable claim of being accused of selectivity or manipulation here we have it over the last 4 games:

    We are 3rd in the Form guide for the last 4 matches home and away
    We are 4th in the form guide for the last 4 matches at home (behind Hull, Derby and Burnley albeit GD is a factor)
    We are 16th in the form guide for the last 4 away matches

    16th for those away games for the last 4 matches looks very poor but there again they do include Hull, Reading and Cardiff. So lets be positively selective and include the Forest and Wednesday away wins and then look at it for the last 6 games.

    We are 5th in the Form guide for the last 6 matches home and away
    We are 2nd in the form guide for the last 6 matches at home (behind Derby only on virtue of goals scored)
    We are 8th in the form guide for the last 6 away matches

    Whatever way you look at it we are not in the automatic places in the league but do at least make 2nd in the form table for the last 6 home games. Falling short despite our brilliant home record and having the most shots on target. Reality is that we are still not good enough for automatic promotion yet.

    File that with those goals that do count from earlier in the thread, or from last season or indeed from when Mogga was here for that matter, but as Mogga himself would say “it is what it is”.

    1. Alert! Alert! Warning! Warning! Bipolar viewpoint! Bipolar viewpoint!

      If it don’t fit the positive narrative it must be negative.

      How’s about we agree there are positives and negatives in the way Boro go about there business on and off the field and leave behind the extreme interpretations? What about the following: Aitor’s done a great job but we still have room for improvement.

      There now, how’s that feel? Or is that still a step to far?

      UTB

  19. I think all of the above stats offered are really projections on our own mental states, interesting numbers to try and draw attention to (what are in some cases) intangibles.

    AV,

    For your next fan opinion piece I think you could plot of graph to highlight where we all sit on our feelings on the Boro’s season so far and end of season projections. I would suggest “Pessimist/Optimist” and “Season Expectation” as the axes.

    If you are a pessimist who think that automatic promotion is the only reasonable expectation then you will be in bottom left corner of the graph, feeling a bit fed up.

    If you are an optimist with an expectation of a top half finish, you will be at the top right corner feeling fantastic.

    If you are neither overtly pessimistic nor optimistic and have expectations of being in mix for automatic promotion, you will be central and in the “Satisfaction Zone” (if that’s not too rude). With me.

    1. Ooooohhh How’s yer zone Andy R?

      On a more serious note you do have something there AR. Emotions are intrinsic to how we see and cope with life in general and for us the Boro in particular. Bit like the old sayin ‘You can’t live with them and you can’t live without them!’

      Nevertheless you can try to manage them in various ways, Borophil’s positive approach being one and RR’s realism being another. Ultimately as has been scientifically proven (and therefore must be true 😉 ) it’s ALL subjective anyway.

      Now who could argue weith that! LOL

      1. I could or could not Spartak depending on how you define “all”. As an empiricist I think “scientific proof” is a useful short hand substitute for something similar to: “supported by overwhelming evidence gained using the scientific method”.

        I find myself dazzled by all these statistics but I don’t know which of them might provide a reliable prediction of ultimate league position and with a high level of confidence.

        It might be interesting to compare the reliability of traditional statistics such as league position and the number of points gained after 17 matches against the many alternatives that have been proposed, including it seems, artistic impression.

        **AV writes: One thing I know after years of number-crunching the stats is that no two seasons are the same. Some years goals are the driver and the top scorers go up. Other years the teams that are promoted are all about grit and 1-0 wins and the top scorers don’t go up. Some years two teams break away in September. Some years it is nip and tuck between six or seven or team comes steaming through after Christmas. Some years the champions have 102 points, some years they have 88. Boro went up as Champions in 1994-95 with 82. You can’t predict what is needed this season based on last. It is like generals fighting with the tactics from the previous war.

  20. Following his release from Untypical Bay earlier today, Mr Mouth issued the following statement…

    Despite recent appearances to the contrary, I have never openly enjoyed the task of trying to nail jelly to a wall – even if it was Boro red one. The worse thing about attempting this infuriating act is that you get to see a distorted reflection of yourself in the jelly and inevitably you end up with a mess on your hands that is difficult to wipe away.

    I have therefore decided in the best interests of maintaining one’s sanity not to engage in any form of jelly nailing and furthermore it is probably sensible to avoid the term ‘wobble’ in reference to anything Boro related.

    I’d like to thank the generous investment given to our glorious leader in the hope that this would take us to the glory of an automatic promotion spot. I now believe that the objective of this season is to build on the solid purity of the clean sheet by attempting to improve the potency of our formidable attack.

    I shall try not to engage in any form of statistical warfare but agree limited use of statistics can sometimes be clear and illuminating – for example, The Karankaversary Survey showed that over 97 percent of Boro supporters believed that we will finish in the top six. This therefore seems to indicate nearly every supporter is backing this as a promotion campaign – of which I am happy to be one.

    Subsequently, the area of discussion among followers has now narrowed to simply being about whether Boro will be successful in going about the task of trying to improve on a playoff place. So there really is no point in framing the argument as people attempting to downplay Boro’s current position or achievements – as whatever way you present the numbers at the moment they will always add up to third place

    So I hope we can all agree on that final point without invoking the phrase ‘fine margins’ – which the use of should incur a fine as it only states the bleeding obvious nature of both this season and the last one.

    Up the Boro…

  21. Reminds me a comment by a French general on the Maginot line AV. “… we won the war, which was a catastrophe. We did our analysis, we studied, we built our fortifications and we perfected our tactics. Finally, we were sure that if ever the first world war was fought again, we would be certain of winning. Unfortunately the Germans cheated and changed their tactics”.

    1. ‘Game changers’, Werner!

      These people are worth their weight in gold whatever the sphere of operation. The antonym is of course the ‘jobs worth’.

      As AV has indirectly previously poinently pointed out, stats are an attempt to solidify the fluid which is what life is all about – dynamics to a greater or lesser extent. In addition, ultimately they are based on a overt or covert probability. Hence, when the ‘professionals’ use them in Insurance, Science et al they understand collectively there is a 5% probability percentage. That means its an acceptable conclusion and can be safely relied upon. What they don’t declare is that just one over-active butterfly can set off a series of events that will result in the roofs being torn off houses in Saltburn.

      In other words, stats are great in employing to rational mind and satisfying the vaccum inherent in the great unknown but they are flawed and that element must be taken into account- like wot AV said like.

      This is why I factor in those pesky unquantifiable ‘feelings’! If it feels right then accept it, but if alarm bells are ringing you better listen up or you’re going to be disappointed.

      I used the same approach when Mogga’s Boro team was in decline. I know many people were emotionally attached to one of our own and I understood that. However, the pattern of play, the results and the performances all led me to feel very uneasy. The rest is history.

      The same could be said of our current manager and our teams performance. There is of course no need for relegation fed panic – far from it, but if we want a auto promo spot and avoid a possible second disappointment in the play-offs, then we need to pick up a run of wins as suggested by borophil.

  22. It’s the old apples and oranges thing – I would agree that comparing the stats of two unrelated teams who operate under different managers is probably not a worthwhile observation.

    Though if we want to assess the crop of Boro bananas, then comparing the same team under the same manager who is employing the same methods over successive seasons is probably a useful measure of whether they are looking like being top banana or not.

      1. Very good Spartak! Though I guess at the moment we’ve got a couple of new bananas from South America in the bunch where unfortunately one was a bit bruised and the other is not quite ripe yet

        BTW I think I was going to go bananas if I stayed in character as Mr Mouth for too much longer – anyway thanks to all those who appreciated a bit of satire inbetween games and especially Len for his kind comments!

  23. In the Gazettelive pick your Boro starting XI, Tomas Kalas is missing?

    This realistically gives us only Nsue to select as the starting RB. Is there a conspiracy theory at play here or is it just merely a Gazette oversight or is there an even naughtier, naughty step whose names may not be spake?

    **AV writes: He’s still a bit injured after suffering leg knack on international duty so won’t be available. The right-back slot is cursed.

  24. Forget the football…. We should all wish Ali Brownlee a collective get well soon from the blogosphere. A true Boro supporter.

  25. I find it interesting that those of us of a positive nature are called optimists while the word ‘pessimism’ seems to be a big no no and is subsituted for ‘realism’.

    Redcar – you’re a pessimist not a realist. Which is fine, its a perfectly reasonable state of mind!

    Pessimism is the opposite of optimism
    Realist is the opposite of fantasist.

    1. Very good, Nigel.

      So all of you out there, if you think you’re a realist, you’re a pessimist! I think there is some truth in that.

    2. Nigel

      Pessimists tend to only see the worst in things. Realists accept a situation as it is and are prepared to deal with it accordingly be it a good situation or a bad situation, two very different meanings.

      I have been called a Pragmatist many times in work situations, the definition is slightly different to Realist but either will do. I don’t get all excited when someone fails to hit their sales targets, instead I drill down unemotionally to find the reasons why and likewise when someone is 20% over forecast. I drill down to find out why the unpredicted gain and in either situation, take action if needed and plan accordingly. People know where they stand with me that way. If someone has dropped a clanger they know they won’t get yelled and screamed at and if someone is way over target don’t expect high fives around the office a “well done” will suffice!

      Its the same when Boro win 4-0 I tend to look at the reasons why and praise when and where it is due. Likewise if we lose 4-0 I look at why the shortfalls and failings. In the case of Boro year to date we are very good but not demonstrably better yet than last season although I accept that we are moving in the right direction. We still have some way to go before I am comfortable that AK will hit this Season’s sales forecast which is automatic promotion. I do believe that at this stage it is achievable providing we address some of the shortcomings.

      1. RR

        On my graph, you would be fairly central on the Optimist/Pessimist axis but at the high end on the Expectation axis.

        I think that leaves you on the periphery of the dissatisfied zone.

        Would you describe yourself as mildly dissatisfied?

      2. You can please some of the people some of the time, but whatever the weather you’re simply not going to agree with all of the people all of the time, so best plesse yourself most of the time!

        Spartakboro 2015

        Just sayin like 🙂

      3. Andy R

        “On my graph, you would be fairly central on the Optimist/Pessimist axis but at the high end on the Expectation axis.

        I think that leaves you on the periphery of the dissatisfied zone.

        Would you describe yourself as mildly dissatisfied”?

        Andy I agree with “fairly central on the Optimist/Pessimist axis” and especially (in fact definitely) being on the “high end of the Expectation axis”. “Mildly dissatisfied” is probably near the mark as well, it hasn’t been a disaster but I feel that we should just be marginally better off, Albert tracking back at Derby, George’s OG at Cardiff or being awake at the KO at Reading could all have possibly tipped it to “mildly satisfied” even.

        **AV writes: I am generally optimistic and have high expectations but am patient and don’t necessarily demand those expectations are delivered a third of the way through the job (if you looked at my work in progress you would see loads of fancy Dan sound-bites and imagery but lots of crossing out – “mistakes” – too. I don’t know where that would put me on the graph.

      4. I am reminded of Rudyard Kipling and the recommendation to treat triumph and disaster in the same way. I agree with Rudyard and you.

        I think Aitor probably isn’t far off Rudyard’s definition of what makes a man (forgiving when he lost his head against Blackburn last year). We are progressing I think. Right now I wouldn’t swop him for anyone.

    3. I’m a pessimist by nature and tend to concur with RR, so maybe you’re right. Who can claim to be the realists, because there seem to be a few fantasies creeping into certain posts (usually nothing to do with football)?

      While I’m here, I would like to echo others best wishes to Ali Brownlee. I find him hard work to listen to (my pessimistic nature again) but he is Boro to the core and a decent bloke.

      1. Apologies – that particular ‘factual’ comment snuck in there when it was meant as a reposte to borophils ascertion on the nature of ‘facts’.

    4. Trouble is, Nigel , that those of us who think RR is a realist, and a thoughtful and intelligent one at that, would have to describe those who disagree with him as fantasists. Bit harsh, that. ‘Optimists’ seems fairer as well as being more diplomatic.

      For myself, I’m one of life’s optimists, but I can’t deny the evidence of my own eyes. I just don’t think that we are currently playing well enough to finish in the top two. For me the most worrying aspect of last Friday’s game was not so much the generally drab and uninspiring performance, but the fact that both AK and Leads appeared to be quite satisfied with it in their post-match comments. The evidence up until this point had been that AK had well understood the need for us to be more positive and proactive – to take a more optimistic approach, if you like – and that this was very much the current project in progress. But if the standards on display now officially represent the height of our ambitions then we can bid farewell to automatic promotion.

      I think the problem with BoroPhil’s line is that it tends to resort to quantitative data in dealing with qualitative arguments. If you have just witnessed a poor and unimaginative display, that cannot be negated by pointing to the league table or any other statistic. Just as a film which is a load of old tosh cannot be made into a classic because of its box-office figures.

      1. It’s not really ‘BoroPhil’s line’ though is it! I think this started when people started saying how badly we were doing because we’d had x shots on target in recent times. Whereas the facts suggest we are up there with the rest.

        The only stat that counts is the PTS one.

  26. Ali Brownlee get well soon!

    Remember him from the bank on Station Rd in Redcar. I banked further down the street with the Yorkshire.

    Can’t fault his dedication to the cause.

    UTB

  27. I’m a cautiously optimistic logical surrealist

    Which means I’m hopeful about something, but recognise the problems involved need sound reasoning in order to produce my fantastical dreams

  28. Optimist and a pessimist both go to a funeral.

    Pessimist says ‘I told you, life always gets you in the end.’

    Optomist replies ‘Well good thing is you only have to do it once!’

    Buddhist priest pops his head round the corner and says ‘That’s what you think!’

    🙂

    Copyright Spartakboro 2015

  29. Glad to see that David Goldblatt’s, The Game of our Lives has won the William Hill Prize for the best sport’s book of the year. It’s an excellent read on the history and sociology of football, very well researched and full of interesting insights, though it may be a trifle academic for some tastes. I didn’t bother to recommend it on here because, interesting though it is, it doesn’t do anything that our own AV doesn’t accomplish with rather more wit and bravura on a weekly basis – and in relation to the Boro.

    Still, Christmas is coming so, as with the new Cloughie DVD, it may be worth a mention to your nearest and dearest. A better prospect than lorry loads of socks and underpants anyway.

    For the record Goldblatt writes of football as being permeated by “unvarnished optimism”.

  30. I was going to say I’m pretty sure the opposite of optimist is pessimist, not realist but Nigel beat me to it.

    RR – comments like ‘At some point this season we need to open up a bit of a gap if we are to gain automatic promotion’ when there is no basis in fact for this whatsoever are the words of a pessimist. As are assuming we won’t get promoted if we continue on our current trajectory to 89 points. And taking statistics and trying to get the worst possible outlook you can from them. In no sense of the word is this being a ‘realist’.

    And it needs to be challenged. If people are being pessimists in their own little bubble, then fine – but when it starts transmitting itself to the players then it does actually start jeopardising our chances of promotion. Fine margins and all that.

    1. BoroPhil

      I don’t employ someone to make up and then post lies about shots on target on the internet. I don’t make the form tables up and nor do I make the league tables up but you carry on living in denial. How is showing factual evidence pessimistic? If it is then show us all the evidence to counter that that is independent, impartial and non emotive.

      Reality is you can’t, I went back 8 games home and away in the form table, 4 games and even 6 games to meet in the middle. I’m sorry it doesn’t match your fantasy but that’s life in the real world. We are good but just not quite good enough yet. That is not saying we never will be just that on current form we look to be falling a little short. Its reality but just not as you would clearly like to believe it.

      I see you are reverting back to repeatedly extracting quotes from other peoples posts even after they have been explained as though the rationalisation will somehow change because you keep asking the same question ad nauseam. Then by taking them out of context it makes your point more valid somehow but without any substantiation.

      If you don’t understand that there has to be a gap between 2nd and 3rd that will determine who goes up automatically then there is little point in engaging in a debate. I have explained this in great detail above yet you don’t challenge my answer you just merely keep banging the same drum.

      How about trying to post something original yourself instead of desperately waiting to attack other posts, its becoming a bit predictable and not to mention boring. Be original, be the first, don’t wait to snipe, set the tone yourself and let others agree or disagree.

      **AV writes: It isn’t about the nature of the statistics. It is about the nature of the interpretation and that is where personal outlook and predisposition comes into it. What it comes down to is this: do you think third right now is a good place to be? And is it a position from which it is possible to improve. Beyond that the stats are just used to shore up a position.

  31. If necessary, will AV be substituting BUGGER with GOTTERDAMMARUNG on his Twitter feed tomorrow?

    **AV writes: I am actively seeking Ring Cycle puns but they have to be reasonalby accessible. I love smell of metaphors in the morning.

  32. Is it time to switch to the next match, please. But before we do can I share with you a very funny joke from this weeks Times….

    A train pulls away from station, in carriage one a Bishop, and two businessmen all get out the Times crossword and silence descends, suddenly one businessman says to his colleague, ‘I’m stuck on seven across, it’s four letters the last three letters are u,n,t ,and it’s got me beat. His friend said the first letter is a and the word is Aunt. The bishop said “have either of you got a rubber you could lend me.”

  33. The Rams two up after 34 minutes, Butterfield grabbing both. At this rate, the lads are going to need a hatful agin The Terriers tomorrow! 😦

    1. Shame we dropped 3 points at Hull or we’d be top now!

      It’s a fact coming to you from ‘The Tiny Little Bubble of Introverted Pessimistic Information Service.’

      I thank you!

  34. It’s probably not the pessimists you need to worry about as if they go to a game expecting the worse then they won’t be expressing disappointed if Boro don’t look like winning.

    Presumably the optimists are not going to express disappointment during a game as they’ll always believe the team will turn it around eventually.

    Also the realists should accept whatever happens during a game as any result was always going to be a possibility.

    No, it’s the idealists you should discourage from attending games as they are nearly always going to end up being disappointed by something and will be the most likely to boo.

    1. Werdermouth,

      I have given you a Capital W to make you the definite article and subject. I think that is what we used to do with the senior English Master, Mr Still, at Stainsby Boys.

      Anyway the idealists, they are definitely the most likely to find fault too, however the main problem is the individual definition of the ideal by the idealists. Every perspective of ideal will be marginally different so there will be no ideal just a broad ideal agreement. Kind of. Don’t let them into the games.

      To quote Mogga’s little red book, sorry paraphrase it. ‘They are what they are, thus, it is what it is.’

      Sorry, our farmer neighbour is on holiday and I’ve just walked his retriever for half an hour in the dark and pouring rain. The meditations of a solitary (dog) walker.

      UTB,

      John

      **AV writes: The real philosophical division in a football crowd is between Plato and his “Ideal” and Aristole’s dialectic of development. Butt that’s for another time.

      1. Are they optimistic idealists or pessimistic idealists?

        I think pessimists with high expectations (oxymoron?) are the ones to worry about. They are the “I told you so” types. The boo-ers.

        AV

        Where are you on the graph? It depends how optimistic you are. Very optimistic and you’ll believe your expectations will be met whatever the circumstances. In that case, your expectations may even be driven by your optimism.

        I would put you in the top right of the graph. That is the part that can say “I told you so” when we win the league but believes that if we don’t we’ll do it next season anyway. It’s a happy place.

        **AV writes: In life I am pretty upbeat and optimistic but I don’t think I have a fixed position when it comes to Boro. In the years when the club was on the slide and were dysfunctional off the pitch I was more “pessimistic” in my writing and my expectations were low because that reflected the reality.

        Now the club are far better organised. They have a more strategic outlook, have improved on scouting, science, medical and have invested in the Academy (and the kids are flying) and they have built bridges with fans behind the scenes as well as funding a genuine promotion push so I am generally very “optimistic” about the direction of travel.

        For that reason now my “expectations” (or “aspirations” because there are no certainties in football) are fairly high but not punitively so and certainly those expectations are not “demands” and won’t be used to beat the team after individual games. Or even at the end of the season. That way lies madness. Even if Boro fall short again for me it would be more about a mission to explain rather than calls for retribution. I don’t take it personally.

        I think I am realistic too: whatever the occasional set-back Boro have a great chance of promotion this season with a strong squad, good manager and a well organised team that are hard to beat and everyone else in football recognises that. I suppose I also have to be professional objective and balanced and that must be a factor too. Sometimes as fans it is easy to get too close and too engaged and over analyse everything. you have to take a step back, take a wider view and maybe hold your tongue for a game or too. Football is not an exact science.

      2. I think you may be thinking about the nihilists Andy – they are the real hardcore pessimists who have no loyalty to any cause. Though you could never rule out the manic optimists from completely losing it if things went pare-shaped.

        **AV writes: The shouting, screaming Neil-ists are the worst. They are completely Maddo.

      3. You’ve nailed it, AV. “Demands” is the term, not “Expectations”.

        And that is where some dissatisfaction is coming from. There are demands for automatic promotion this season that we haven’t seen for a few years. Strachan had some with the investment he was allowed. Southgate had some in the first post-relegation season.

        I agree with your comments on the current state of the Boro. There is so much that is vastly improved on and off the field.

        And while some results could/should have been better, I am satisfied with what has been achieved so far overall. My demands – to be right in there with a shout of automatic promotion – are being met. Good times.

        That doesn’t stop me from being part-idealist too and wanting a more attractive (from my perspective) brand of football.

        That said, one of favourite games so far this season was the ultra-pragmatic Old Trafford performance which included almost none of my attacking ideals.

        It’s complicated.

  35. And now let us take a brief moment in silence, grateful that we sold one J Butterfield to Huddersfield Town so they could sell him on to Derby, so he could score not one goal but two and thus have Derby beat Hull and give Boro an opportunity to go top of the league (hope ur reading Brighton coz you know you must not win) and push on gloriously to make a seven point gap to second.Then I can breathe more easy at xmas and doubly enjoy my Bushmills whiskey.
    UTB

    1. The above could suggest that a true reflection of the, and this is important, dynamic nature of football as an entity is observed in Chaos Theory. Here we are informed by Lorenz that the smallest of changes will result in a totally unpredictable future.

      Therefore, AV’s comment that previous season’s results can in no way predict the following season’s end of season placings with a high degree of accuracy.
      Who could have predicted the rise of Leicester City to the top of the Premiership? What small change created it whilst the former dominant teams are below them?

      In the arguement of whose statistics or ‘facts’ are more relevant the conclusion must be possibly one both or neither given that a small change in the dynamic can radically alter the outcome e.g. playing your best striker in a play-off final when he’s not fully fit.

      Fine mar….. no I’ll resist the temptation.

      UTB

  36. AV said ‘**AV writes: I am actively seeking Ring Cycle puns but they have to be reasonalby accessible. I love smell of metaphors in the morning.’

    Boro grind out victory is Parsifal for the course?

    **AV writes: It’s a shame we don’t have Wildschut playing or “The Flying Dutchman” was nailed on.

  37. CiF Guardian report Hull City v Derby

    Zaragozaram (Derby suppoter)

    Underwhelming, overrated, top of the league!

    How’s that for a totally emmersed optimist? Feed that over the internet’s magical electronic waves directly into the minds of the Derby players. Wonder if they’d crumble or ignore it or take it as a challenge?

    Derby County, top of the league Ma, top of the league (looking down on the rest sucking in great lung fulls of foam fumes dancin and akickin).

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