Monthly Archives: August 2016

Goalless Grind No Classic But Plenty Of Positives

COMATOSE neutrals across the nation snoozed on sofas.  Affronted “purists” stormed out of the living room slamming doors behind as they went to find their hipster Ajax 74 Total Football DVD collection. And pundits with fear in their eyes groaned at the thought of digging out the “highlights” from 94 minutes of functional, glamour free grind.

Meanwhile metal merchants everywhere must have been surveying the screen avidly because if it was weighed in for scrap this match had hit pay dirt.

Welcome to the ‘Greatest League In The World’ and the start of yet another sizzling small screen soaraway Super Sunday subscription spectacular.

Continue reading Goalless Grind No Classic But Plenty Of Positives

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Mackem Weep: Derby Days Back With A Bang

Is it a derby then? Of course it is. It is from our end of the A19 hotbed corridor anyway.

And a famous one too:  Boro’s first win on their return to the Premier League, against the neighbours and marked by two superb goals that have sizzled into folklore.

Smarting Sunderland fans are frantically spinning the “weez not bothered” line but it will hurt them to have been turned over in a superb battling Boro away day display.

Continue reading Mackem Weep: Derby Days Back With A Bang

The Sunderland “Derby”… Another Cultural Cocktail

Is the Sunderland game a derby? Only if we win.

A victory either way will prompt metaphorical jubilant hand gestures from an open – topped banter bus parade along the A19 on one side and furiously feigned *meh* “just another game” indifference on the other.

If either team take the three points it will spark either bouts of gleeful triumphalism or a series of history and geography lessons proving conclusively the result is irrelevant.

We all know the script, the scoreline just determines who plays which part.

Continue reading The Sunderland “Derby”… Another Cultural Cocktail

Riverside Redemption Ends Seven Year Exile

BORO showed they are fit for purpose in the Premier League on an emotional day at the Riverside.  The new look team – four debutants – more than held their own against an organised and robust Stoke side that are the cliché “can you do it?” benchmark.

And they have a precious first point on the board after a solid 1-1 draw.  That they failed to hold on for the full three may have been initially frustrating, but on balance most will be happy at drawing with the side who finished ninth last season.

But the day was about more than football. It was about Boro – the club, the crowd, the community – being delivered back to the big time after a long road to redemption.  Boro are back up where we belong. That was the important thing.  And so long as Stoke didn’t turn out to be party-poopers (there is always that ‘typical Boro’ fear) it was always going to be smiles all round.

Continue reading Riverside Redemption Ends Seven Year Exile

Riverside Rewired Ready For The Next Big Step

Aitor Karanka has admitted he would be happy with a 17th place finish next term. Ben Gibson would too. So would I – and I am routinely branded the spin-king of the ra-ras!

In truth the majority of Boro fans would probably willingly take a first season scrambled survival right now.  That shows how quickly we are collectively rewiring ourselves for what will be a very testing Premier baptism of fire.

The Championship promotion pressure cooker was demanding and draining for fans, a gruelling emotional assault course with no let up that was excruciating for the final few months. Next season may prove to be just as psychologically intense but fought out at the opposite end of the table and in a very different mental landscape.

Boro – the manager, the players, the club and the supporters – will need to quickly bridge a culture gap and adjust to some harsh new realities.

Last term was spent trying to win every week. Next season will be about trying not to lose.

Continue reading Riverside Rewired Ready For The Next Big Step