Emotions Overflow In Boro’s Demolition Derby

NERVOUS. Tense.  Gripped by a heart-pumping, pulse racing, stomach churning sense of anticipation. Worried. Apprehensive. Excited. Very excited.  Fearful.  On edge. Agitated. Fretful. Disturbed.  Jumpy. Overwrought.  Keyed up. Worked up. Wound up.  Pumped up. Hyped up. Going up? Worried sick. Stressed.  Blessed. Frightened. Heightened. Jittery. Taut.  Fraught. Optimistic. Pessimistic. Fatalistic. Up. Down. In. Out. Shake it all about.

That was the internal emotional turmoil going into a tense top two tussle with Derby  that even though it was a fixture exactly at the half-way point had a final furlong feel of a pivotal point in a promotion push.

Boro came out on top with a clinical 2-0 win that seized control of the Championship. They tangled the Rams in a tactical strait-jacket, slowly and methodically wore them down and dismantled them with two clinical goals. And set a whole raft of defensive records. Even Paul Clement held his hands up.

Never in doubt… but it never felt easy.  It was  a tense day that had us all pumped up.


                                Mixed emotions in the build up to the top two tussle

Victory held out the teasing possibility of opening a ominous gap behind Boro bolstered with a game in hand and with a huge psychological advantage.  And coming hot on the heels of massive dents in big spending Burnley and previously unbeaten table-toppers Brighton, the win would have put down a weapons grade Championship marker with a seismic thud that would reverberate across the league and terrify our rivals.

But the prospect of failure loomed large too.  Had Boro lost they would have missed a golden moment of opportunity, lost momentum and found themselves behind the Rams again and with resurgent Hull just behind.

Losing top spot would have raised the spectre of doubt and woken the ghosts of last season’s brittle Boro cracking under pressure whenever they scrambled to the summit.

So it felt like a “week of destiny” high-stakes shoot out long before the kick-off.  It felt like a watershed moment. It felt important in a way that was out of synch with the reality of the number of games still to play.  It was exciting but scary.

And Boro rose to the challenge and saw off their closest challengers with what was, on reflection, relative ease.  Although the long wait to break the deadlock put us all through the wringer. Again. It wouldn’t be Boro if we didn’t need to pack a defibrilator in with the matchday  essentuals. The game dragged us all along the emotional spectrum.


                                    All pile on: the team celebrate Albert’s haul

There was a fantastic atmosphere before kick-off with both sides in good voice and creating a real tingle – despite the best attempts of Me Mark Page and the stadium PA to drown it out by whacking the volume up right up to a retina-rattling sonic boom. Jeez, just turn it off.  Let the power of the crowd grow organically. It is engrained in our culture. No-one needs Pavlovian prompting in how to support the team in a promotion six-pointer.

And the crowd were fantastic. It was close to a full house and they played their part in driving Boro on for the full 95 minutes with the South Stand and the Red Faction energised by the return of the drummer after the last few banned boys came off the naughty step.

The early tension quickly evaporated as Boro screamed out of the blocks to grab the game by the throat early on. Nerves were swamped by the positivity as Boro probed and showed real attacking intent. Chances flew a fraction wide, Boro were winning all the 50/50s and all the second balls and seemed to have Derby in a tactical strait-jacket and supporters crowd first relaxed, then started to enjoy themselves and seize control of the aural high=ground in a one-sided banter battle against a bumper away following.

There was a flicker of bad blood as the now established chanting and torchlight twinkling of support for Ali Brownlee on 33 minutes was greeted with whistles and derision and the 3000 Derby fans questioned its artistic merit in forthright terms but that led to the Riverside uniting in outrage and whacking up the volume right up.

But the nerves crept back in as Derby wriggled off the hook and got back into the game in the 10 minutes before the break. Tension grew and flecks of fear flashed again as a few crosses flew in, a diving header squirted well wide then after Dimi failed to come to collect a corner to an audible in-take of breath there was a moment of chaos and tangible fear as the ball bounced around before a brave block by Ben Gibson.

The interval came as a blessed relief and offered a chance to recharge the emotional batteries for what seemed like may be another tense 45 but a high tempo start after the break got Boro fans quickly back on song and then a few questionable decisions and a couple of fractional offside decisions stirred a dollop of injustice and a dash of righteous angry into the volatile mix.

The longer Boro went without scoring the more the seeds of fear took root.  Derby looked solid and well organised at the back and fans grew in confidence as the match wore on and there were some moments of call-and-response chanting and everyone internally rehearsed the arguments after settling for the honours even goalless draw

But as the game headed towards the dangerous red zones the tension rose dramatically. As we know, panic is inversely proportional to time left to play and the time left to play stretches out to be measured in hours rather than minutes.  We’ve been stung here before. Stomachs were knotted like a school boys shoes.

1George goal

           By George! The fans’ favourite celebrates sparking a second sonic boom

Then BANG! BANG! Two moments of absolute ecstacy as Boro suddenly delivered a deadly double blow with a brace of superbly crafted goals and the faithful dissolved into a joyful mass release of stranger-hugging EIO collective celebration.

Brilliant! Incredible! What a team! Albert! George! Top of the league! I love Aitor! And Gibbo! And everyone of the team of heroes! Never in doubt! Cut the top off the 263. Promised Land here we come.  What a fantastic air-punching, chest-pounding finale to a close fought game.  What an experience. What a buzz. The rammed Riverside was bouncing.  And that is why we watch football,  for memory making moments of magic.

Most of Teesside will now now have aching cheeks. My beaming smile was so wide I had to turn sidewards to get back through the front door when I got home.  What a brilliant day. And this season can get even better…


247 thoughts on “Emotions Overflow In Boro’s Demolition Derby

  1. Exmil –

    I had similar disasters came home from work and the wife had chuffed off with all the furniture, my mother died a week later and then I found out that my sister had got her to change her will leaving everything to her. Thought life couldn’t be more cruel. Anyway I got a promotion into management great payrise struggled to keep my house after paying off the ex.

    Someone once told me that you can never change what has happened its history and to devote your energy to positive things and positive people. My life has been wonderful because of that attitude and waking each day with a smile and a get out and enjoy life attitude. Now retired and as others say I wonder how I had time to go to work got more time for surfing and my daughter and grandkids…Work is for people with nothing better to do with their life..

    Share you experiences and always help others who are less fortunate, for despite everything we are very lucky compared to some. Be strong and remember we are all a big family we Boro supporters ( that alone has toughened us up )and at times we may argue but we are always here to brighten up your day.

    Good luck and keep a smile on your face and others will respond similarly.

  2. I suppose to sum it up, life happens and its sh***y. Then to make matters worse there’s always Boro.

    Not this season eh? I am still wondering how to get 50 quid on Boro for the FA cup – not much chance from here.

  3. Just got word back from MFC regards Executive Box hire for Championship game. For my pocket the cost is acceptable if we can drum up enough numbers eg minimum 10 max 15 – choice of which game to be determined by democratic ballot.

    The ball is in your court Comrades!!!

    **AV writes: If you can arrange it I’ll pop along before and after to check on your refreshment status.

    1. Just a thought I know AV is working on match day but if he could join us winter before or after the game it would be a bonus. Mind you he probably gets enough hassle from us by word rather than face to face!


      **AV writes: No, I’d be delighted to drop by before and/or after and be insulted in person.

  4. Exmil –

    its all been said.

    Thanks for for giving all of us the benefit of your delight in things Boro despite the realities of your life this last period. AV provides more of a social service than I think he he ever imagined !

    LadyBoro –

    excellent reading. Look forward to hearing more memories and opinions in the future. As for the Babycham and Cherry B comments (at least no one threw in a Snowball) for all I know you could prefer a glass of beer, or the hard stuff !

  5. AV he speaks true. This posting lark is addictive!

    Just a thought on how Untypical Boro have become this season.

    You can all picture the scene.

    Cue dreamy music and mist slowly clearing to reveal the evening of 2nd January.

    We are flat, we are down and have that empty feeling in the pit of our stomachs. Boro have just been knocked off the top of the Championship by Derby. We reluctantly decide to watch the match highlights to see if ‘there is anything we can learn’ from the defeat.

    Depression turns to frustration when it is shown that Albert’s 83 minute disallowed goal should have stood. We are reminded that linesmen have a very difficult job and that he could not be blamed for getting such a hairline decision wrong.

    Neither could he be blamed for the momentary lapse in concentration that allowed Derby to take a quick free kick and get behind us down the left and nick the points with their first meaningful attack of the second half. The commentator points out that on such fine margins are matches and even promotions decided.

    The mist slowly returns and we are back in the real world. With relief we realise that Boro are still 4 points clear at the top and that not only did the linesman get that difficult decision correct he managed less than 2 minutes later to get, what in theory at least, was an easier decision wrong and allowed our second goal to stand too.

    We live in special times people. Special times.

  6. Well I hope for Exmil (and Michael), like Boro, the bad times are now behind you and it’s the start of an exciting and rewarding new future!

    To quote that well renowned philosopher Forrest Gump ‘Life is like a box of chocolates, you never know what you’re going to get’.

    [Apparently this insight seems to have been lifted from the book Norwegian Wood by writer Haruki Murakami, but it seems a bit of stretch to imagine Mr Gump was an avid reader of Japanese contemporary literature – though rather coincidentally a Norwegian Wood could be called a forest.]

    Though speaking as someone who is lactose intolerant I hope life isn’t like a box of chocolates as every day would be pretty crap.

    Incidentally, I wonder if that bloke who sneaked around back in the seventies dressed in black delivering boxes of milk chocolates into the bedrooms of desirable women bothered to check first if they were lactose intolerant – it’s this attention to detail that often make the difference between success and failure that AK has now brought to Boro.

    BTW it sounds like there may be a few posters that are hastily donning their black balaclavas and printing their calling cards ready to impress a new poster with 70’s nostalgic drinks and gifts. Though it’s probably wise for gentlemen of a certain age to warm up thoroughly before attempting to scale into any executive boxes at the Riverside – otherwise their epitaphe may well be ‘All because Ladyboro loved Milk Tray’…

    1. Before you start doubting the wisdom of the great philosopher Gump he said that at the beginning of the film before he was taught to read – it was shortly before he said “Momma always says there’s an awful lot you could tell about a person by their shoes. Where they’re going. Where they’ve been.”

      Though going back to the box of chocolates – often the guide is printed on the bottom of the box so there’s usually a surprise in store unless you want to tip them over the floor.

      Anyway, I seem to remember half the fun was not knowing what you’d picked but these days health and safety probably deems the guide is in your face in case you’ve got a nut allergy or something.

      Though being surprised by the outcome is getting harder to enjoy these days as practically all TV programmes start with a trailer of what’s going to happen – plus the internet is full of spoilers lurking in every corner.

      At least football still offers a few surprises now and then – though Boro are becoming quite predictable lately – them nil!

  7. I see it’s fairly popular to have a go at MMP. In his favour is the obvious fact that he too is a Boro supporter who has never hesitated to proclaim that fact. For this one thing he should also be considered one of our own.

    Reflecting my age, I share his predilection for Queen, especially the stamping and clapping bass line to “we will rock you” we made our own in the days of wooden stands during the 86-87 season. Stanping on concrete is not quite the same.

    if it were up to me I would, like AV limit the use of music on match days severely with amongst other things a Bernard Gent like pause 10 minutes before kick-off to allow the atmosphere to build. Most football clubs used to do this. We are not however alone in suffering from pre-match auditory overload so I don’t think MMP should shoulder all the blame. I recall being very disappointed by the excessive use of music during my last visit to Liverpool. The PA thoroughly killed the pre-match atmosphere.

    If I had my way I would consign “goal scoring music” to the trash can of history. When I was consulted on this revolting American import I voted against having any at all. Sadly, miseries such as me were narrowly outvoted. One of the positives of Aitor’s initial run of duck eggs was the soothing absence of “Chelsea Dagger”. Talk about a knife to the heart.

    The duh duh duh duh run-out music I find shameful as well. Those of us who attended that semi-final against Chesterfield might remember how it started. Reach up or Pig Bag has nothing to do with Teesside, it’s more the west country IIRC. I would have stayed with the Power Game, perhaps re-scored as a march, redolent as it is of Bovril, Tom’s Guld Barre and viewing the pitch through a diamond framed by the heads and shoulders of the people standing in front of me.

    I would like to make a modest proposal for run-out or if we must, goal scoring music: “Teessiders” by the Amazing Space Frogs. It’s powerful and singable.

    I would be interested to learn about the music tastes of the other contributors to this board. Having already stuck my head above the parapet in defence of Queen, I can also declare an interest in amongst others: Mozart’s operas, Specials, the Jam, LKJ, Kraftwerk, Mariza and Miranda Lambert.

    **AV writes: Well I’ll agree on the Specials, LKJ and Kraftwerk.

    1. I remember watching the Boro run out to ‘Telstar’ it still sends a shiver. I’d love to be there for the box but it’s a bit far to pop over for the day.


    2. For me the Power Game should be our lasting legacy. Chelski Dagger just doesn’t sit comfortably for a multitude of reasons along with Pig Bag and don’t start me on that screeching blast of garbage our ears are assaulted with just before KO.

      For the job of announcer being a Boro fan is desirable but being detached and totally disconnected from the environment isn’t. Having a CV which on paper should mean we have one of the best in their chosen field but unfortunately being stuck in the 80’s probably explains why someone would be doing what they are doing and where they are presently doing it. A bit like the barmaid with the bubble perm and dodgy culottes.

      Perhaps the bigger question is what do we expect or need from an announcer/compere/dj in 2016 and then figure out how, what and indeed who (if applicable). Do we want cutting edge and contemporary or pipe and slippers? Whatever is required it has to compliment rather than contradict and conflict with the main event.

  8. Exmil:

    Thanks for your response, which, like everyone else, I was very moved by.

    When you organised the Exmil challenge last year, apologising for the lateness of one of your posts because you had just had a heart attack, it was one of this blog’s most extraordinary moments. That you were devoting time and energy to organising a bit of fun for everybody else at such a critical time struck a chord with everybody.

    And we didn’t know the half of it.

    I am slowly discovering just how many amazing and talented people contribute to and read this blog , and the great sense of solidarity, conviviality, and tolerance of others’ views that exists within it. Your contributions over the last year, and the heartfelt responses of others to your recent posts have been a wonderful demonstration of that.

    I harboured considerable doubts about the value of doing a personal end of year review of the blog, and had more or less decided to make the 2015 effort my last. It’s an exercise that is always likely to alienate more people than it pleases, since so many worthy contributors don’t get a mention. And the joy of the blog lies in the range and variety of its entries, both great and small. The one-liner next to the mini-thesis. The parody next to the personal reflection. It’s not a competition.

    And as my teenage daughter rightly said to me last year, “Who are you to be giving awards?’ To which there is only one answer, “Nobody in particular. Anyone can do it.” They have no status. They are intended to be a personal note of thanks for the time and commitment that so many people give in contributing to the blog, and giving me,and everybody else, so much pleasure.

    And please note Spartakboro, they are completely bogus. I have singularly failed to have any of my awards validated by any educational institution. Surprisingly, Oxbridge showed no interest. I was spurned by my second port of call, the Eyebrows and Nails Department of the Longlands Institute for Health and Beauty. But I did draw the line at approaching Robert Gordon University’s Dept. of Business Studies. Even though a large cheque there might well have clinched it.

    However I do greatly appreciate the trouble people took to post their thanks and generous comments. And I’m really glad that I went on record to mark Exmil’s special contribution.

    1. Right there’s three of us on the chalkboard for a start- OFB, Len and meself! There’s plenty of space for more, people, so don’t be shy.

      Reference the ‘awards’ Len, there are awards and AWARDS. Your’s, for me at least, are the most welcome and in this day and age of ‘buying’ ones credentials, I believe they are worth much more. I, as previously stated, will carry mine with humble pride.

      I actually attended Longlands College long before I reached the dizzy heights of Teesside University. I remember clearly dating a gorgeous blonde local lass whilst there. Everytime we walked through the canteen all the lads heads would turn to look at her- made me real proud to know she was with me. What happened later? Well that’s a story for another time.

      Spartakboro MPB (with pride)

  9. Ladyboro –

    never mind the Bacardi and coke, you appear to have turned this thread into the Last of the Summer Wine. Though of course and I’m sure there’s no need to say it, I’m sure you’re far more glamourous than any lady who may have appeared on said show.

    Please do keep posting, new perpectives are always as welcome as established ones.

    1. Wonder how many female impersonators we have hiding behind their boro identities.


      **AV writes: Judging by the e-mail addresses that include forenames there are a couple of regular posters and we’ve had a sprinkling of occasional ones over the years.

  10. Female fans? Reminds me of days long ago, a true story, let’s call it ” Something funny happened to me on the way to a Boro game ”

    Me and my buddy decided to go to a game at Ayresome, we were in our early teens at the time (it might have been pre season because there wasn’t many there. Anyway my pal had a way with the ladies even back then. We were in the east end and he spots these two lasses, one he knows vaguely (she went to school with his sister in Darlo, we went to a different one) and he drags me over to them and we start chatting. We got on great, to cut a long story short, missed most of the match having a 90 minute snogging session with them. No didn’t get any further than first base, said goodbye and didn’t see her again.

    That was one good thing about standing at games, ha.

    **AV writes: For my date with Mrs V I took her to Whitby – to see Boro ressies in the North Riding Senior Cup.

  11. Spartak-

    I’m up for the box, reserve me two places for me and my son.

    gt – your the first person I know of who went to a Boro match and spent it ‘snogging’, the footie must have been dire, was it pre ’86?

    1. That’s me b*****red then – ‘Oh, lonesome me!!!!’

      Chuckle,chuckle – Spartak goes back to the second double Glenfidick (15yr old) 🙂

  12. Sad to see Yanic move on without being given a fair shake. And in a position where we have problems.

    “in a deal that could be worth £1 miilion”.

    ie. We have given him away and we may get some crumbs back when Wigan eventually sell him on for £ 2-3 million, perhaps more, which is closer to his true value.

    And if we are desperate to be rid of him, why was he not offered to the highest bidder? He’s had rave reviews, played very well, and must have impressed many clubs other than Wigan.

    Shades of Butterfield. Sold for a song, moved on after a year for 6 times what we received, and declared a great deal for us because we got a tiny share of the huge sell-on profits.

    Pull the other one.

    1. Len, I suppose AV might be able to to tell us whether any clubs other than Wigan ther clubs had made an enquiry about Yanic. Presumably, only a Championship or a Premier League club would have been able to pay £2-£3M.

      I see Butterfield a little differently. It’s pretty clear that Huddersfield’s priorities are to stay in the Championship and buy players who they think have potential in the hope of selling them on at a profit. I think they have done that very well. The problem with that is you are continuously having to replace players who have moved on. That’s hardly a recipe for stability and not one you could use at a club whose priority is promotion.

      The value of a player who you are not playing and who is on decent wages is like trying to hold on to a rapidly depreciating asset. Not only is the value affected by the fact he is not playing but also his wages added up over a couple of transfer windows could amount to a significant proportion of his transfer value. I don’t suppose it’s very easy to get that calculation right.

      **AV writes: I think there was some vague interest from a couple of Championship clubs but mainly for loans (not many people at this level have money to spend and the ones who do, he probably wouldn’t get in the team). He is out of contract in the summer so getting a fee now is better than him leaving a free then.

    2. Imponderable variables- with transfers all sorts is/can be goin down. There’s multiple fingers in the old steakin kidney and sooo many movers and shakers wanted a piece – there’s rumours of this managrr and that takin slices of the cake. There’s players agent sellin off halves and quarters and ultimately football ‘authorities’ tryin to get a grip of the tangled web that’s weaved internationally.

      No I reckon the Boro is whiter than white coz SG don’t want and doesn’t need to become involved but still at any level ‘contacts’ are made and that’s wot makes the world go around und around!

      Happy Days (MPB)!!

  13. Werner –

    Regarding musical taste I’m a rock music fan (AV’s going to ban me now!!), AC/DC, Deep Purple, Saxon, Whitesnake etc. They’re all a bit old and knackered now and worse in Lemmy’s case!

  14. Relating the debate about Yanic’s value to Spartak’s Glenfiddich I have been enjoying a bottle of Tamnavulin tonight and just finished off what was left of it (a much appreciated Birthday gift which I have impressively managed to eek out for a few weeks until final capitulation this evening). For those who enjoy a wee dram the original and genuine Tamnavulin is becoming rarer than hens teeth. The prices for a bottle are probably £80 ish (if you are lucky enough to find one) nudging up towards a £1,000 ish for some of the more aged varieties.

    My bottle is/was at the low end of the price scale (if you can call £80 low!) but well worth the expense. My head said I should have put the bottle in the back of the wardrobe and left it for 20 years and then cashed in but the here and now in me said lets enjoy it while it lasts and make the best of it (so I did and enjoyed every last drop). For me Tamnavulin is a bit similar to Yanic, we could hang on and hope for appreciating value or just live for today and realise you can’t bank everything in life. Yanic is an exciting but unpredictable player, a bit like a few Alfa’s I had the pleasure (and frustration) to own. AK does Germanic type controlled efficiency and reliability, maybe not exciting but more predictable and dependable than cuore sportivo.

    Sometimes you just have to enjoy the here and now rather than overthink what may or may not be in the future and make the most of what you have/had (like my now empty bottle of 12 year old Tamnavulin). Good luck to Yanic and I hope we do look back on it as a win/win for all parties at the time with a whiff of nostalgic “what might have been”.

    Oh and I’m up for the box as well (as Spartak himself would no doubt have innuendoed)!

    1. RR

      An interesting post. As I’m on the mend I’ve started to have a wee dram on an evening before retiring to bed. My Doctor is one of the old school and it was his suggestion!! I must say I slept well and the whiskey I had was a Xmas present from my younger son a bottle of Balmenie Double Wood 12 year old and certainly did the trick.

      Regarding cars I bought a brand new Alfa Coupe in 1982! Amd watched it rust around me for 18 months before selling it for a BMW 323i. I also bought an Alfa 33 with cramped pedals and wonderful engine which all Alfas had but you always had to compromise.!

      As you say it was like Yanik wonderful engine but not the total sum of the parts. I hope he has a good career and think AK has made a good decision to let him go to a club where he is wanted and can develop further

      I see Boro are denying interest in the touted Ross McCormack which dashed the rumour I heard on New Year’s Eve but more probably they couldn’t get the numbers to stack up and that is why husband is still with us.

      I would play Hisbamd on Saturday along with Forshaw and others who are on the fringe including Harry Chapman and Dael Fry. Next Tuesday’s game at Brentford is more important and we need to keep this roll going.



      1. OFB

        I had the fun of owning a 33 some years ago. Great car to drive and throw around, I have some great memories of its little boxer engine! (also had a 147 and a 164).

        1. RR

          The 33 is one of only two cars I never lost money on the other being a BMW 3 series .

          Boro remind me of a BMW safe sturdy not too flamboyant and capable of going the distance without too much overhaul.

          Let’s hope we can upgrade the model series to premier class !

          Looking forward to meeting up with everyone in the box this season need to book it or someone will grab it first.

          Looking forward to team selection for the cup on Saturday .


  15. Aaargh. It was sitting there all afternoon and i was too busy to take a look. Definitely the new-age version of ‘missing a sitter’.

  16. Wildschut was deemed to be surplus to requirements/not good enough by the manager. Better to get some kind of fee for him and off the wage bill. The same can be said of Reach and Carayol.

    To those who say his “frightening pace” would worry teams in the Championship, al I can say is Usain Bolt has pace too, but could he link up with George Friend in defensive duties and still be effective going forward? Hmmm.

    Sadly it didn’t work out for him and we shall wish him well for the future. Personally I am glad to see us ship out players who have no future at the club. Look at all the players who have hung around in the past drawing a weekly wage without contributing.

    There is no room for sentiment in football, get rid is the term that comes to mind. The club has X for the wage bill. Utilise it on players that we can use.

    Young De Pena needs to shape up or he will also be getting the Spanish Archer from Senor Karanka.

  17. All this talk about whisky prompted me to ask the boss where she hid my bottle of Port Ellen. When I retired the family bought a bottle of whisky from every Islay Distillery as present. Needless to say the rest have all gone but the ‘investment’ is still hidden somewhere. Maybe I should sell it buy another twelve bottles? Not Islay malts but from the mainland.

    OFB, we took the boss’ Panda 4×4 to our local dealer in Bury St Edmunds and they loaned us an Alfa GTV(?), what a motor, we put some miles on it that day, although I don’t think it would cope with some of the roads round here!

    Yanic going, what a pity but business is business, and he deserves to be playing every week. I wish him well and will keep an eye on his progress. I’m sure there will be a few defenders in League 1 who hoped they’d seen the last of him, rather than just his heels leaving them behind

    OFB, good to hear the medicine is working.



  18. How times have changed.

    I remember when a player who wasn’t featuring was offered….” a tan on my bike, if it gets him out of here”

  19. AV – Long winded question for you.

    Yanik – didn’t work out. Huge pace but didn’t do the defensive work required to fit our system. 500k odd buy, 1m potential sale – should Wigan go up plus a few other clauses I would guess.

    It’s good business for the club, under the Financial Fair Play the club will financially grow, Janik would be listed as a 100-200k asset (fag packet at the ready) which could now book a 1m return.

    He was bought under the new super scouting system.

    Do you know if the club knew he was weak at tracking back before they bought him? If not was this a fault with the scouting system? OR he was the best player available for the money we had available and the club hoped to teach him to run backwards as quickly as he can forwards?

    If it was an error on the purchasing and scouting side, is this the area that Victor Orta is here to sooth through or he has a list of sparkling gems he is wanting to see if they shine in the premier league?

    **AV writes: Like Butterfield he was unlucky as he was bought by one manager to play in a certain system and then when the new boss came in found himself on the fringes because his overall game didn’t fit the new template. It happens at all clubs. Juan Mata didn’t work at Chelsea after Mourinho came in. Benteke doesn’t work at Liverpool under Klopp. I don’t think any of those examples flags up a failure of scouting, it is just an occupational hazard in football.

  20. Was that female reporter at the end of Karanka conference for real, or had she just woken up from a deep sleep, she repeated every question already asked?

    **AV writes: yes but there are two TV stations and both need their own answers to very similar questions. They both need 30 second of slightly different sound-bites around the main match line so ask roughly the same questions. It a regular part of the press conference rhythm. Then the cameras switch off and leave and we ask our own (different and more nuanced) questions. Then he goes upstairs and does Radio Tees who will (probably) cover similar ground to us AND the TVs.

    Broadcast needs the manager to make crisp statements that can be edited down for bulletins. We want to get him talking in a more general way because we can select quotes from two or three different questions and weave words around it to give it a more interesting narrative.

    1. GT

      I noticed that and thought well I’m being sexist if I mentioned it not saying you are just a personal point of view!!


  21. I’m not convinced that we should just play a Boro XI consisting of all those who won’t be starting against Brentford – Burnley are after all a top six Championship side and besides what’s wrong in giving it a decent go in the cup?

    By all means start the 4 or 5 who always seem to play on the bench – like Downing, Clayton, Friend, Ayala and Stuani – but it’s important Boro send out a team who have a good chance of victory as there no doubt will be a lot of supporters paying their hard-earned money in anticipation of progressing.

    With good use of subs it would still mean six first team regulars could avoid playing more than 60 minutes and give those like Forshaw, Amorebieta, Kalas and de Pena a full game under their belts.

    Also I think losing with a second string would put more pressure on the players rested to get a win on Tuesday. So I’m sure there will be sensible rotation policy and let’s not treat the FA Cup as an unwanted distraction because if you win a couple of rounds suddenly there is a buzz around Teesside and another big game to enjoy.

    I know everyone will say the priority is promotion etc etc but for me the priority is not losing so that we keep the aura of invincibility at the Riverside – in fact we could even end up with a replay. Plus we often need to play three league games in a week so it’s not like we’re asking the impossible from the players.

    **AV writes: The seven who were on the bench on Saturday are the spine of a decent team. Throw in Woody, de Pena and a couple of kids – Fry and Maloney maybe – and put Chapman on the bench and it is a strong side. I think we have to go out to win to keep the winning mentality intact, keep the clean sheet habit and reinforce the idea that Boro have a strong squad. People were saying last year “it may be better if we lose at Barnsley” but winning there set up great away days at Man City at Arsenal that created a fantastic buzz for supporters, put £3m in the kitty and raised the profile of the club.

  22. “**AV writes: Like Butterfield he was unlucky as he was bought by one manager to play in a certain system and then when the new boss came in found himself on the fringes because his overall game didn’t fit the new template.”
    Aitor joined us in November 2013, Yanic joined in September 2014.

    1. Thought he was a AK buy. Still you don’t get them all right, maybe AK never actually saw him play.

      **AV writes: Sorry, my bad. Yes came in under AK. Mogga had tried to buy him but it fell through.

  23. It will be interesting to see which players we are looking at as possible loan additions.

    It is going to be very exciting if we can get in a player who is better than Adam Reach. He will need to be able to operate in our system without too long an acclimatisation period. Although I’m sure Adam himself is better off at Preston and playing, a couple of injuries could leave us wishing that he was available.

    Even more so with James Husband, because if George gets injured he would be extremely valuable to us. I know Nando can play left back, but I don’t really like him for that position, James would be more mobile and quicker on the turn, we have seen him whip in crosses in the League Cup games, and I know he’s very highly rated by the Gazette guys.

    I don’t know if it’s possible to arrange these loans so that the players can be recalled if needed, but if they are both gone until May it seems an unecessary risk given how high the stakes are in the next four months.

    Wildschut was at the Ajax Academy, and so had an excellent football education, and there would be every reason for our staff to think that he’d be adaptable to different systems. When he went to Wigan, Gary Caldwell said that he was having to work with Yanic as parts of his team role needed improving, he just seems to have struggled to become the sort of terrific all-round player we now see in Albert.

    Muzzy needs another loan period, he needs to be playing, and hopefully get beyond the effects of his injury and back to the level of threat he offered at his best.

    1. Mark

      Don’t think we will ever see Muzzy on a Boro shirt again!!

      Looks like Husband is going to Huddetsfield as Fulham wouldn’t play ball over Ross McCormack.

      I think they are going to give young Harry a go up front let’s watch this space…..


  24. I think the Derby match taught us a very stern lesson, and I hope the players and supporters noted it and stored it away for future reference.

    The lesson came in the very honest interview given by the Derby manager in which he said, and I quote. “We were ok until 20 minutes from the end, when I decided to go for the win and brought on subs and changed the shape of my team, that was the end for us.”

    The lesson? Beware of changing horses in midstream. It rarely works, plus the value of having a method of playing which everyone has bought into.

    1. Plato

      Or as a Derby fan said to me:

      “If he hadn’t of bloody tinkered in those last twenty minutes we looked liked getting a point at least” to which I replied wryly “Tinkered? surely he was just rotating his squad?”

      Apparently they choke at the big games, I mentioned their Hull performance and he said that wouldn’t have taken them top of the league. Sound familiar?

  25. I don’t think that anybody is advocating a wholesale change to the shape of the team but injuries are inevitable across a Championship season and this is a golden opportunity for AK to check just how well some of his reserves can fit into his tactical plan. Surely it’s better to try out some combinations in this game when a loss would be much less important.

    We know from the aftermath of the Everton and Hull games that the squad can bounce back from defeat and so I see absolutely no downside in giving a run to the support cast. That means Meijas, De Pena, Fabbrini, Kalas, Amorbieta and, above all, Forshaw.

    With two games in five days to follow, I would be amazed if Clayton, Leadbitter,, Ayala, Downing and Stuani start against Burnley. Gibson, Friend and Nsue could also come off the bench and at least one of Kike and Nugent will get a rest.

    Also, given the hype, one must expect to see Chapman given a chance.

    One other question that hasn’t been asked is what team will Burnley put out. They are battling for a play-off spot and I can’t see the cup being their highest priori.


  26. Some interesting thoughts about the sale of Yanic, I am not sure if the deal is completed, however it appears that the player wants to return to Wigan and the club are happy to allow him the opportunity.

    I enjoyed reading Len’s thoughts concerning the release of a player that has ‘not been given a fair shake’. Yanic is an exciting, pacy, direct winger that offers something different as he proved at Rotherham last season. However it is interesting to read other views from Grovehillwallah & BoroDoug amongst others that think its good business to move on a player for a fee that is not part of the managers plans.

    I believe that if Yanic could have developed his defensive game he would have had a future with the club. We are all aware of AK’s policy – If you don’t carry out the defensive role you don’t get in the team – It is a little disappointing that the coaches could not bring these qualities into Yanic’s game. With this in mind I believe that the decision to let Yanic go was made the day he left for Wigan, a shop window exercise by the club to add some value, it appears to have worked….

    Albert appears to be the only ‘winger’ that has really bought into the defensive philosophy, let’s hope he keeps injury free!

    Good luck to Yanic and hopefully the scouting network can bring in another exciting, pacy, direct winger that can develop into the all action but defensive player AK requires. Or is this approach the issue? Is it simply too difficult to turn a winger into a defender? Should we be looking at a pacy full back that be developed into an attacking force?

    I may dig a shirt out for the box if there is room……

    1. Jed

      Spartak is organising it and I think here is room one thing don’t think Boro shirts are allowed in corporate as strange as it may seem!

      FatBob M.A. ( Masterman Award)

    2. In Brussels (again yawn!!!) so time short for replies. I make Jed the seventh interested Untypical Boro contributor for ‘Mission Executive Box’. That means we just need another three to make it viable and may I say affordable. News for you Jed is Boro shirts are out but Boro tie with shirt is in.
      Ala Kaifak!

  27. I think Adam Reach was a success in carrying out the defensive side of the winger’s game, Jed. He didn’t perhaps make enough dangerous breaks towards the opposing box or get in enough of the sort of crosses Albert or Stewy provide.

    My own feeling is that he lacked a bit of confidence in himself to take the risk of losing the ball, and some stick he took from some sections of our support may have contributed to that. He may yet develop enough at Preston to be retained by AK for next year.

    1. I think that when a club sends a youngster out on loan they learn much more than just footballing knowledge. How to fend for themselves, interacting with a new group, improving their life skills. A bit like kicking a fledgling out of the nest

      All part of the learning curve for a young man. The development side of the football comes from whether or not the individual wants to learn and become better. Football is full of players who fell by the wayside and didn’t realise their full potential, hopefully Adam will knuckle down and endeavor to prove to the manager he has a future at MFC.

      1. I think that we are witnessing AK playing the market like a piano, and I do not mean trying to make a swift bob or two. Notice that most deals are conducted in a very friendly manner, gone are the days when some shabby club mouthed all sorts of insults to us while buying our best players, or, even more annoying, took them off our hands for nothing. We never seem to be pushing, or anxious, things seem to happen in a most natural way. Notice, we sell Huddersfield a good player, they sell him on at a profit, we get a cut, smiles all round. Fulham borrow a player, he lights up the place, they don’t want to buy him, we hook him and sell/loan to Huddersfield. It all begins to look like a club who are business like and are capable of making a decision. I think it is safe to put it down to AK.

        **AV writes: The whole club has been professionalised behind the scenes. I think a lot of clubs like dealing with Steve Gibson too as he is up front on valuations and timescales and doesn’t move the goalposts.

  28. Is “to rotate” an irregular verb in football parlance?

    I rotated
    you rotated
    he tinkered

    I used the past tense as an example because tinkering is almost always identified with the benefit of hind sight.

    Of course if Weimann had popped up and scored against a tiring Boro defence Clement would have been hailed as a tactical genius and Derby’s performance described as a defensive master class.

    Also with the benefit of hind sight, could it be that AK’s squad rotation is one reason we have had so few injuries compared with the bad old days?

    1. Werner

      You are quite right, this is the curse of all substitutions. I wasn’t surprised that the Derby fans where irritated by the attempt to squeeze a win out of a possible draw, because a draw would have been a terrific feat and made a significant difference to the league table. It’s been stated on here before that if you miss out on your quota of draws then you will suffer for it by the end of the season.

  29. 1.How many players have we sent out on loan and managed to come back and make a successful return. I can think of Downing. We could use someone like the Wildebeast bit of an x factor.

    2. I think Burnley are between a rock and a hard place if we put out a second 11 ( sounds like cricket ) and they lose then the you know what hits the fan so I think they will field a strong team.

    3.I will make a prediction that De Pena will be back in South Americe within 12 months… homesickness the reason…

    4 . As for the FA Cup prediction ,no idea who knows what team will run out.

    5. Music preferences. Deep Purple,Free,Led Zep, Cream, Jimi Hendrix,Stones,Pink Floyd,Tangerine Dream..Chain (Aussie group)
    Rock and Roll is good for your soul.🎶

    **AV writes: Ben Gibson benefited fantastically from his various loans. And Reachy.

  30. How duff is the photo of Carayol sporting his Leeds shirt and saying how good it is to be at a big club…spare me this is what stinks about the whole loan system..maybe loans should be restricted to players not going into the same division.

    **AV writes: I think that is a good idea.

  31. I am a little concerned over all the outgoings and as yet nothing tangible with regards to anybody coming in.

    However we do seem to keep our cards close to our chest these days, so there may be a surprise yet. I did notice that Husbands loan is only until early February, that makes sense, as somebody posted, I do not see Amorebieta as a LB.

    As long as we can keep Kalas I would be happy with the right hand side, but the LH could prove a problem with injuries. Again I do not think de Pena is going to hack it, this season at least,so unless there is a deal to surface, Reachy staying at Preston is a surprise.

    Still what do I know, apart from, I cannot see SG leaving suspensions and injuries in the lap of the gods for the second half of the season. An extra forward, unless a loanee, probably not.

  32. Glad to see some of the Gazette journos back-tracking on the idea of playing a second string team tomorrow – I think Jonathan Taylor’s likely line-up is almost identical to the one I would go for with the exception of I’d play Gibson in central defence with Woody instead of Kalas – with him playing as right-back instead of Nsue. So my starting XI would be:

    Kalas – Woody – Gibson – Amorebieta
    Leadbitter – Forshaw
    Adomah – Fabrini – de Pena

    **AV writes: Back-tracking?

    1. OK maybe back-tracking is a little strong – though earlier in the week some articles seemed to be floating the idea that blooding some of the youngsters was a realistic option – but today there seemed to be more emphasis on playing a strong solid team – even Bernie was having none of that resting players business and claims he would have been up for playing a 100 games a season.

      BTW Currently a great cup tie on the box – Exeter have played pretty well for a fourth tier team against a Liverpool XI with some youngster getting a debut. Perhaps it highlights why youngsters need to go out on loan in order to mix it a little against lower league hardened pros with hunger and commitment.

      **AV Writes: I think there may have been one article suggesting Harry Chapman may be worth a go after he turned it on for the 18s again and a few mentions on the blog but I don’t think that constitutes a ‘position’. There are four of us now so there is quite a broad range of opinion but I don’t think anyone seriously said “play the kids.” For more on this we’ve just done a new Tripe Supper where it is discussed at length….


      1. Just listened to the Tripe Supper podcast and yes the collective wisdom from you all was to play a strong team tomorrow. I agree it’s probably going to be quite a step to make for some of the kids from playing in the under 21 league to being a squad member of this Boro team – probably even harder if we get promoted but you never know.

        Sometimes a promising player gets a chance due to injuries or suspension and impresses and never looks back – though I think it will be harder to break into this team where Karanka is looking for an excellent all-round game.

        It’s probably emphasised by your discussion on the players who were out on loan and are not being looked at but are instead either leaving or returning back on loan. it would appear that the message to Academy lads is they need to be ready before they’ll get a chance.

        I’d also concur with the general view on incoming transfers that it would be unwarranted to splash any major cash on a player unproven at PL level given that it is likely Boro will have one eye on next season with any deals.

        Though it may be difficult for Boro to attract players on loan in positions where they are only possibly fourth choice – it’s hard to see where a central midfielder will come from and perhaps we’ll be looking for utility players to cover a few positions instead – I wonder if the plan would be to get Rhys fit and back in the squad?

        Anyway, a good listen on the Boro issues at this moment.

        **AV writes: Yes I think it will be hard to get an established player to come as fourth choice so it will probably be a loan from a Prem club who can cover defensive midfield and maybe a defensive position too, someone like Stephens/Zuculini/Veljkovic. I think if Rhys Williams comes through his month at Charlton fit and fired up then he may tick boxes as cover too. Then I think they need someone on the left and clearly have someone lined up or they wouldn’t have been so quick to deal with the returning loanees. I’n undecided on a striker. Yes it would be nice but can you get a good one in January? On loan? Or good enough for the Prem if we go up? Tricky.

  33. Mortlach 15 for me…can’t help but feel the Wildschut caper is a bit of a mistake. Why buy a player then bin bag him before you’ve had chance to coach him properly? After all, not as if we’re going make a fortune out of him…

    **AV writes: Or alternatively why stockpile players you have decided you are not going to use? If Boro go up do you think he would feature?

    1. My point is that you’ll never know unless you give him a chance…do you really think he was given a fair shake to prove himself?

      **AV writes: He’s had 18 months. Aitor has seen him in training, in games, on loan and playing in the Under 21s and obviously doesn’t think he ticks all the box. Ditto Muzzy Carayol. It is a cruel game but it looks like Boro are clearing the deadwood, will bring in a couple this month and are gearing to raise the bar again. If we get promoted then a few more will no doubt be pedalled in the summer as well.

  34. This is quite a dilemna. On the one hand we have people moaning about too much “tinkering”. On the other hand people complaining about players not getting enough chances. I wonder which is true…

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