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.

1Snln1

It wasn’t one for the purists. Derbies are rarely decided on artistic merit. Boro made hard work of it in a scrappy second half when they were under the cosh for long spells – but that won’t stop us beaming over the banter barricades.

And when we look back on it, it won’t be the tension and creeping fear and frantic fire-fighting that we remember but two superb goals, one a solo sizzler and the other a sublimely engineered team goal.

It was a scrappy and frantic affair marked by heart-stopping moments as errors went unpunished and a familiar feeling of nausea as the pressure mounted.

But wow! Two brilliant goals changed the game and the emotional landscape and it is those it will be remembered. And now we can all have a beer and celebrate. Aitor pressed the PR buttons and dedicated derby victory to the fans and it was one we can enjoy. Now.

There was a subdued build-up with some tense faces in the Sunderland concourses and nervous whispers in the press room. They were not confident after a shaky summer and transfer turmoil leaving them with a makeshift defence.

You could hear Boro fans roaring from above the snow line but the home crowd was mute until after the classical pre-match string section stirrings of Prokofiev. On kick-off the Sunderland fans decided to join in and the atmosphere cranked up a notch. And they were encouraged by a jittery start from Boro with some sloppy distribution and moments of indecision at the back that gave David Moyes men the early initiative.

A couple of wriggling moves and dangerous crosses from local lad Gooch and last year’s next big thing Januzaj had Boro on the back foot and the Mackem fans edging towards a position that yes, actually, it was a derby after all.

Then BANG! Boro were in front out of the blue as Cristhian Stuani – who’s inclusion had obviously been slated before kick-off – channelled Soul-Glo Samba superstar Emerson and unleashed an absolute Exocet.

1SnlnStuania

A slip by £8m stunning Scrabble score stopper Papy Djilobodji in the centre-circle opened the door and quick slotted ball forward sent the Uruguayan free to carry forward unchallenged then he struck the sweet spot to launch a molecule melting missile that screamed past static Mannone and into the far top corner.

The shot sizzled straight into the list of legendary leathered wonder goals on Wearside and sparked jubilant cheering and jeering from the Boro end – and a faint hint of laughter from the Newcastle direction too.

Boro had a bright spell as Gaston Ramirez sent in a shot that deflected and looped into the hands of the keeper then Adam Forshaw fired wide. Then Sunderland pressed forward and started to go more direct and knock long balls into the box that Boro gobbled up. Hey, we’ve been in the Championship. We can do this all day.

When that Sunderland flurry fizzled out Boro started to assert themselves with a couple of perceptive sharp probes on the break. Moyes’ men suddenly looked very vulnerable and Aitor Karanka’s side ruthlessly exploited that.

One sweeping, crisp, four-man passing move scythed through the makeshift Mackem back-line and ended with over-lapping George Friend megging a flailing full-back to get into the box but Negredo’s effort was deflected. Then Boro grabbed the game by the throat as they sliced through Sunderland again just before the break.

Alert Adam Forshaw seized onto a deft Ramirez back-heel and wriggled inside then played a perfectly weighted reverse pass into the box for Negredo to sell Rodwell a mannikin that was gift-wrapped and sent express delivery by a uniformed chauffeur then with Sunderland braced for the shot the striker squared unselfishly for unmarked Stuani free to slam home his second from close range. Borocelona! It was a goal executed with a clinical scalpel-wielding precision rarely seen outside an operating theatre.

1Sunlun2

Sunderland were booed off and their fans were tripping over their jaws in the concourse at the break while Boro partied and laughed and made merry up in the Gods. Ironically, apart from the last 10 minutes, Boro hadn’t played particularly well or fluently. In fact, they had endured a torrid opening spell and were forced to work hard to stay in the game, to regain  composure and to start to find some rhythm and space to hurt Sunderland on the break.

After the break Boro showed the other side of the Karanka coin: digging deep, tracking back, doubling up on attackers, throwing bodies in the way, blocking, heading, tackling, snarling, forcing the opposition into desperate long shots or wayward hopeful balls.

We will all remember it well from last term when Boro were developing vital skills and a mass defence muscle memory that should serve them well this time out.

There were scares as Defoe went down theatrically in the box, Januzaj scooped one off his thigh high into the air when through, Brad Guzan saved well from van Aanholt and Ben Gibson blocked superbly from a point blank piledriver.

1SnlnGibbo

But the pressure – and the faint, familiar stomach knotting and icy cold hand of fear on the heart – was intensifying by the moment and the atmosphere had changed dramatically.

The home fans were roaring their side on and Boro were watching through their fingers – at home you may have been behind the settee – and the inevitable goal was clawed back, Brad Guzan failing to hold a low shot and van Annholt reacting quickest to the rebound.

Soon after the keeper fumbled again at the feet of a striped shirt and the ball was scrambled away for a corner leaving anxious Boro fans reeling from a Brad Jones flashback and for a spell it looked as if the hard work would go to waste but Boro beavered away an held on in a Trojan defensive enterprise, a blur of bodies blocking and sheer will-power.

It was an important win. The first victory of the season. That’s two unbeaten now. And four points in the bank. And there is a growing belief that we belong here and can hold our own. All useful building blocks in what will be a long, hard season.

And we can watch local TV news reporting Sunderland’s ‘not a derby’ defeat with a satisfied smile.

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

Meanwhile, following the midweek discussion on the Gazette switch to marks out of 10, here’s my player ratings for the game. What do you think? Fair?

 

 

 

 

 

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215 thoughts on “Mackem Weep: Derby Days Back With A Bang

  1. There should have been no “first choice” players anywhere near Craven Cottage.

    Why the manager would risk them against lower league opposition looking to make a point is beyond me. Dimi or Thomas should have been in goal. Gibson, Friend and Clayton should have been sat at home wrapped in their cotton wool.

  2. Welcome to the joy of the rant, Simon! Keep it up and soon you’ll be as barmy as the rest of us…

    Speaking of ranting, how uplifting to see those two great statesmen Chump and Farage united on stage in America. We should dress them both in Burkinis and hand them over to the Nice police.

  3. That was awful last night,got an early goal then it all went downhill

    Karanka was fuming and so were all of us who made the journey down there. Best day of the year stuck on a coach,suffered dross for 120 mins then back home for 4am and up at 6 for work

    That’s 16hrs of my life and £53 I won’t see again.

    We only had a couple of certain starters missing and we were only playing Fulham reserves,a pretty shameful shambolic performance

  4. Lol, Mark! Clearly it’s good to let off some steam from time to time. As Aitor would tell you.

    Was doing some thinking on my way home. It did strike me that Rhodes isn’t necessarily the least gifted forward, but the least Karankian. Pretty much as Bernie said. He is sharp and persistent, but, if you look back to the Birmingham game, he showed a lack of instinct that surely left AK wondering if he could count on him for the final match.

    He kind of reminds me of Branca and Alun Armstrong in that, if he’s not scoring goals, how much else can he offer? If you look at him alongside Nugent, Stuani and Negredo in that context, you understand AK’s thinking. On the other hand, goals win games, and he is very good at getting them, so that gives us, and Aitor, a conundrum.

    You know, I feel a blog coming on…

    1. Sorry Simon, but we can all remember the misses when it suites us.

      How many times did Nugent, Stuani and others actually get in those positions to miss…..more than Rhodes. As somebody posted previously, if he had signed in the summer he would have been our leading goal scorer by far.

      Nugent will not get us many goals, especially in the Premiership.
      Neither will Negrado, because I do not believe he will ever achieve the necessary level of fitness. And how much is he costing us this season with his loan fee and wages, nice to know that one.

      We needed to win the Fulham match to hopefully continue giving the fringe players game time. I posted previously that we may have bought quantity, but not quality.

      AK and the scouting team have I guess given up on de Pena, hopefully Fischer will do better, but I doubt it. Reach IMO is a better possibility than both.

  5. Good to hear from you Pedro.

    I have faith in Fischer. Understand that I want both Reach and Rhodes to remain as much as you do, but whatever happens, happens. Rhodes took a couple of months and Charltongate to really get scoring, if I remember rightly.

    Re: De Pena, I still fondly remember his chipped pass for Friend vs. Burnley.

  6. A Finnish sports magazine wrote yesterday that Negredo is on £ 100 000 a week wage at Boro.

    Is that roughly correct, AV? Are we paying it all or does his former club(s) paying a part. If true, at least we won’t be in trouble if the unlikely happens and we go down. He in on loan for the first season.

    Up the Boro!

    **AV w

  7. Hugely disappointed with the loss at Fulham. But I agree with AK and we should take the Cups seriosly. We won’t win the League like Leicester any time soon. So the cups are there for a club like Boro.

    One cannot stop playing in the fear of injuries. Orherwise we could stop playing at all.

    BTW, will it be Reach who plays at left back on Sunday? He was originally a full back. Gibbo can play there, too but we are still missing one CB. And Ayala and Espinosa are not fully fit yet.

    The signing of a CB is getting urgent now. And the transfer window are closing soon.

    Up the Boro!

  8. With Gibson, Ayala, Espinosa, Baptiste, Barragan, Fry and McGhee all in the squad, another CB would be the least of my concerns.

    Left-back is only a concern if Friend and Fabio’s injuries are long term – Baptiste, Reach or possibly Gibson could all fill in for a game or two of not. It’s not like The Championship where you have eight games a month. And there is an International break next week.

    Happily, we’ve scored in every game so far but it is still at that end of the field where any further recruitment should be. Especially if Rhodes is to leave.

    I’m sceptical about Rhodes leaving and wonder if we’re jumping to conclusions but equally it wouldn’t be a huge shock to see him go.

    Rhodes hasn’t had a fair crack but there is a niggling feeling that he’s not the best fit for AK’s system and that he wasn’t AK’s signing, whilst he is a far more saleable asset than Nugent.

    If Nugent and Rhodes are both unfancied and face a season on the bench or in the stand, perhaps it makes more sense to sell Rhodes for several million pounds than Nugent for pennies. I suspect Rhodes’ wage packet is higher than Nugent’s too.

    We would need a replacement though (swap deal for Forestieri anyone?) but it could be that we bring in a right winger and make Stuani the understudy for Negredo.

    It’s all speculation. Were I having a bet, it would be on Rhodes and Nugent being with us on 1st September. I can’t say the same for de Pena or Meijas and have my doubts about Reach.

  9. Andy, posted previously that a CB is not a priority in my opinion, rather a Ramirez understudy.

    If Rhodes was to leave, we would get very little for Nugent given his wages, then that would leave AK and his merry team scrambling for a replacement. Or may be the scouting team have another gem hidden up their sleeve?

  10. One of our problems of analysing the squads of a few games to guess the squad make up is the fact the squad is 25 players. You can’t fit them all in.

    Having seven players injured makes it tricky, having both left backs out plus someone who can play both sides injured as well confuses matters further until the extent of George and Fabio’s damage is know.

    Central midfield has Grant missing until? De Roon isn’t fit yet.

    In defence Espinosa isn’t ready and Ayala is just back. McGhee and Fry are fine because they are kids so don’t affect the numbers.

    I mentioned another defender/midfielder was likely incoming. That is what we were told.

    I would prefer another attacker.

    After the weekend we can play fantasy squad selector.

    1. Ian, that was exactly my thinking. Next week AK must make the decision on the 25 player he keep. Friend and (hopefully not long term injury) Fabio must be included, so we need a CB in my opinion. We will manage LB with Gibbo, too but there is not many at CB to cover.

      Of course a nr 10 will be nice but time is running out. Let’s see if that happens.

      Up the Boro!

  11. Reading AK’s comments it looks like Adam Reach will be leaving.

    A shame in my view, having seen his contribution pre season at Donnie and Villa he looked sharp but I would rather he went and played than be constantly disappointed.

  12. I agree with you Ian, a talented young man and I, for one, will be sorry to see him go. Where will he end up so that he can come back and haunts?

    If he is going to leaving Boro I wish well and every success but I’d rather he was playing for us.

    UTB,

    John

  13. GHW

    Too true, better than people letting their contacts run down.

    Read the words in the Gazette, centre back/midfielder still the priority and no panic after Fulham.

    Any news yet on George and Fabio?

    1. ‘and no panic after Fulham.’

      My thoughts precisely! Ian. My thoughts precisely!

      You and I both agree that running around like headless chickens trying to fill a gap that’s only going to be temporary anyway is not the way to run a good business or football team.

      ‘ne pas deranger! Non????

      UTB

  14. So it will be next Thursday, I think, when MR Karanka must make the list of the 25 players he will use until Jan window. That list does not include any youngsters like Fry, who can play without occupying a slot on the list.

    So my list is the following now:
    Gusan, Dimi, Valdes
    Friend, Fabio
    Gibson, Espinosa, Ayala and a new guy
    Nsue, Barragán
    De Roon, de Sart, Clayton, Leadbitter (if not injured long term )
    Fisher, Downing
    Ramiretz, Forsaw
    Stuani, Adomah
    Negredo, Rhodes and Nugent

    That is 24 players including a new centre back.

    The last slot on my list goes for … Reach!

    So the unhappy few will be de Pena, Husband, Baptiste. If we sign a new player for the nr. 10 slot, then Reach will drop from my list of 25.

    Up the Boro!

    1. I’ve a sneaky suspicion that Uncle Albert may be a shock omission and not appear on the ‘list’. This will be more the case if a replacement is sourced before the window closes.

      Just a hunch like!

      UTB

  15. Jarkko

    That looks about right but as I posted earlier a lot depends on fitness issues.

    The comments from Aitor about Reach seem to be ushering him out but Phil T did a good piece arguing how versatile he is.

    After the weekend will give us more clues.

    On to attendances. Someone got a last minute ticket for the Stoke game, was it OFB or GHW.

    I cant make the numbers stack up. Capacity is 33746 I believe. Segregation seems to be around 400-500 for top flight matches, a bit less if their is a natural break like a wall.

    Worse case around 500 reduces capacity to 33250.

    Stoke were about 150 short so there should have been over 33,000 in the ground. Actual attendance 32008.

    I didn’t see any gaps or empty seats. We were 1800 short of the Brighton game – that is nearly two upper and lower blocks of seats, you would notice those sort of gaps. I cant see the work they did reducing capacity that much.

    Intrigued, over to Vic and the team.

    **AV writes: The various bits of building work over the summer – installing new camera positions and TV gantry – have looped the best part of 800 off capacity. There are 30 camera positions, most of them in seated areas, two studios either side of the big screen plus areas have been carved out by the expanded dugouts. Then there are two segregation strips. It all adds up.

  16. GHW

    I thought it was you who mentioned it, you didn’t like the noise in the South Stand.

    Even so, that is a lot of empty seats.

  17. I will be sorry to see Adam Reach leave but it seems from AK’s comments that he is going, so I wish him well for the future.

  18. Agree with Spartak, GHW. Not an unreasonable assumption, but far too cynical.

    Too many cynical asides during the reign of a manager and man who has taken us further than we have been in years.

    Again, I quote Zinedine Zidane: “His job is hard enough. It is unfair when people criticise him even when he wins.”

    1. I thought you were supposed to be a football blogger. Cynicism replaced altruism when the Football League sold its soul to The Premier League.

      It’s all about the money, fans with it, and forget the fans without it. Wait until it becomes a closed shop where the main criteria is paying customers.

      They don’t want the old traditional couple of pints and the match supporter. They want, no they need, the new supporter who buys the whole match day and TV package.

      Did AK really take us where we are today? Goal Difference (and we can argue whose goals) did the trick. What should have been a cake walk turned into an assault course.

      If you want a quote, here’s one from Bryan Robson. “Players win matches, managers lose them”

  19. Spartak

    Apart from the fact we played poorly, my concern after Fulham was the injuries to left backs.

    Until they know the extent of the injuries there is nothing they can do. There have been enough times where once the swelling has settled and bad news has followed that you have to consider ‘what if’.

    Whatever AK says in public he will have been thinking about options.

    If I was Adam Reach I would be knocking at the door demanding play me at left back. Not sure it would work with AK.

  20. Big night in this part of the East Midlands, twelve miles between Derby and Burton. Daft as it sounds, though I live in Derby, it is quicker to get to Burtons ground than Derby.

    Mixed feelings amongst Burton fans. Many I visit historically are Derby fans now they are supporting their own team.

    It is a fairytale, lower tier, non league team now in the Championship. Matches against Derby, Forest, Villa, Brum, Wolves, Wednesday and our friends up the road.

    I wish them well, it is like Guisborough getting in to the league or Scarborough. It is far, far bigger than Pools or Darlo getting in to the second tier.

  21. 1 Valdes
    2 Guzan
    3 Dimi
    4 Barragan
    5 Nsue
    6 Ayala
    7 Gibson
    8 Espinosa
    9 Baptiste
    10 Friend
    11 Fabio
    12 Clayton
    13 de Roon
    14 Forshaw
    15 Leadbitter
    16 Stuani
    17 Adomah
    18 Ramirez
    19 A N Other
    20 DownIng
    21 Fischer
    22 Negredo
    23 Rhodes
    24 Nugent
    25 Reach, de Sart, de Pena or A N Other II

    No place: Meijas

    Have I missed someone?

  22. Hi GHW.

    I simply try to be as open-minded and reasonable as I can – and also as optimistic as I can be until it is no longer possible to be so.

    I suppose mines is a quieter, more restrained sort of optimism that probably comes with age.

    After having my hopes raised, then shattered, raised, then shattered again by Boro repeatedly starting well then coming down with the decorations, I’ve been burnt too many times. So rather than leap to conclusions that can’t be concretely proven I’ve adopted more of a “wait and see” approach – and if everything adds up at the end of the day, I’m happy.

    I understand that it’s only easy to take this viewpoint from a distance. But patience is a viewpoint worth considering. Many of the footballing figures I admire are those initially slated by fans and critics who go on to make them eat their words. Like, say, Andy Cole at United. Or Hamilton Ricard. Or, in management, Aime Jacquet. Or, for all his numerous and obvious character flaws, Sir Alex Ferguson – builds and rebuilds three winning and exciting teams despite Leeds, Blackburn, Newcastle, Arsenal, Liverpool, Chelsea and City all having a go and sometimes succeeding in beating him.

    Now we have AK. The Boro Nil period, the numerous fall outs, the bad defeats, Charlton etc – to date, he’s survived them all and bounced back stronger each time. If that’s not worth applauding, what is?

    Just explaining where I’m coming from.

    1. Football is cyclical, if you wait long enough you get your 15 mins of fame. The one main ingredient is luck. Without it you win nothing.

      AK is lucky to still be in a job after the debacle surrounding Charlton, it was his inflexibility that landed him in that situation, he needs to be careful history doesn’t repeat itself.

      To get back to the PL, the advent of the new multi million pound TV deal meant that this season the clubs could have let their fans in for free and still made the same revenues as last season. Naturally given the greed is good mantra that was never going to happen. Would discounted entrance fees have been an acceptable compromise and reward for the fans? I believe so, but there again never going to happen.

      With regard to the age thing, I fancy I have more than a few years on you so I’m no stranger to being let down by the Boro, a sentiment often voiced by my late father.

      It’s these past disappointments that make me more fearful of what can and invariably does happen with the club, so we certainly don’t need a helping hand from an inflexible or stubborn manager.

      It’s high time we got rid of all this political doublespeak from football. If a player isn’t wanted then put him on the transfer list and stop all the speculation amongst the fans. Do you really think that the myriad of football agents don’t already know which Boro players are available?

      1. GHW

        If it was inflexible of AK to confront the players over their behaviour against two bottom teams(and to say they misbehaved is the understatement of the year), then you must believe that players have the right to treat their supporters to a couple of coupon busters whenever they feel like it. I disagree, any such behaviour must be stamped out instantly, and that means confrontation, it’s hard I know, but very necessary, and rarely seen at Boro.

        If they had any self respect they would have paralysed Charlton, a team without a manager, a plan, a clue, short of players, short of money, their supporters were begging us to beat them 10-0 to help them get rid of their owners. They got beaten, easily. Charlton then returned to their normal position of chopping blocks.

        We are thankful that we had a manager who stopped it dead in it’s tracks, as a result of that we are now discussing our next premier league fixture.

  23. Andy R

    Whilst I agree with most of that I think we have to wait until after the weekend when we know who is out and how long for.

    Again AK said he is looking for a centre back/midfielder, that is what has been said for a few weeks now. I still think another no10 wouldn’t go amiss.

    One thing about players, there has been a clamour and/or discussed why we parted company with Butterfield, haven’t brought in the likes of Ince and Bent.

    At the moment we are due to play the Baggies in the Premier League on Sunday. Derby are losing 1-0 at Burton Albion in the Championship. No disgrace in that because we lost in the FA Cup and came back to win in the Mickey Mouse Cup.

    Who wants to swap Gaston for Ince or Butterfiield for Clayton?

    Who knows what would have happened, but the saying is the table never lies. Not quite certain if that is always true but it helps the post.

    And on that note Aitor, should beware the Ides of October.

  24. GHW

    I was typing so missed your post, totally agree with all of that bar the reason for Aitor’s fall out. That is irrelevant, the fall out took place whoever’s fault it was – there is an opportunity for everyone who actually viewed the disagreement to post to advise what took place.

    There again they can make it up.

    Anyway, three points from the Baggies would be most welcome.

    Anyway, Ince has been hooked.

  25. Ian

    I guess the point of my list is twofold.

    Firstly, I don’t think picking the 25-man squad is particularly difficult. I know everyone will have their own opinion but for me, 22 or 23 of them pick themselves. The remaining decisions will be influenced by the injuries but are not especially tricky in any case. If everyone was fit and the choice was between Reach, de Pena, de Sart, Baptiste or none but two new squad players I don’t think it would warrant losing sleep.

    Secondly, given the options already available, I think brining in more centre back or holding midfield cover would be a waste of both money and a squad space. If we’re looking to bring someone in who is better than what we have as first choice then that is a different matter but that would only make the other signings we have made pointless instead.

    Just my opinion but there it is.

  26. Do you think Stewie may find himself playing LB on Sunday (Assuming both George and Fabio are out) and Viktor playing Left wing ? Or do you sneak Barragan in as LB? What ever the decision its got to be right as Pulis thrives off his set pieces and we cannot give too much away around the box.

    Sunday is massive for us, to keep the league momentum going and i would be delighted with a point going into the break.

    I agree i don’t see the value in another CB or holding midfielder. One of the positions positions i can see is a possible Albert replacement as in my opinion his dithering on the ball will hurt us and playing him on the left is dangerous because his checking to his right foot is ok in the Champo but the Prem is two yards faster there is not time for that.

    For me personally nothing is taken for granted us being back in the Prem, its staggering to see us sixth in the league (albeit after two matches) and to see the Riverside bouncing and full on the opening day was amazing.

    **AV writes: “Do you think Stewie may find himself playing LB on Sunday?” … No.

  27. I think it will be Baptiste at left-back if the others aren’t fit, with Barragan at right-back. Plenty of height in that back four.

    I also expect Stuani on the right. We might be quite a set-piece threat ourselves.

  28. Andy R

    I agree, we seem ok at centre back but the message coming out of the Riverside is that a centre back is the priority, if he doubles as central midfield even better.

    In my morning paper is a table of spending so far in the premiership this summer.

    Man City £150.4m
    ManU £148m
    Chelsea £65m
    Liverpool £63m
    Palace £51.5m
    Watford £50.5m
    Everton £47m
    WHam £44.1m
    Arsenal £43.9m (plus another £50m nearly completed)
    Leics £42.9m
    Bmouth £35.5m
    Spurs £29.8m
    Soton £27.8m
    Swans £27.8m
    Boro £15.8m
    Stoke £13m
    Mackems £12.5m
    Burnley £11.1m
    Baggies £5.5m
    Hull £0

    If the recruitment team have got it right that will be value for money on fees, I suspect the wage bill has taken a hammering.

    I would settle for the table looking like that in May.

    1. Swans were looking dodgy. Palace couldn’t get a win to save their life at the end of last season. Baggies haven’t bolstered their squad. We know about Sunderland, Burnley and Hull. Given we don’t have a management/squad implosion, we might stay up. Looks to me their maybe a number of teams all trying to rush down the trap door to the Championship. Could be quite a crowd.
      Things will become clearer by Xmas. No need for knee-jerk reactions or panic at this stage 🙂

      UTB

  29. “One of the positions positions i can see is a possible Albert replacement as in my opinion his dithering on the ball will hurt us and playing him on the left is dangerous because his checking to his right foot is ok in the Champo but the Prem is two yards faster there is not time for that.”

    not according to Stewie…

    “But in the Premier League I think it will suit our play more. You get a bit more time on the ball, a bit more time to pass it. Sunderland couldn’t get near us at times.”

    1. Disallowed due to the blatant violation of the gentleman’s 2 minute rule.

      Too hasty, Mr Gill! Much too hasty -almost knee jerk behavioural tendencies.

      😉

      UTB

      1. The thing is that a true striker can’t stop himself. It’s like placing a drink in sight of an alcoholic. Saying “You can have it, but you have to wait 2 minutes….” wouldn’t work. The drink would be downed before you got to the word “but”.

        He saw the opportunity and wild horses wouldn’t have been able to drag him away from the ball.

  30. Ian

    Lovely poacher’s instinct. Promotion looks to have suited you.

    The transfer figures you posted earlier look suspect or me.

    Ignoring Negredo’s loan fee, we have paid for de Roon (£12m?), Fischer (£3m?), Barragan (£2/3m) and Fabio (£2m?). Comfortably more than £15.8m in total.

    With the new signings and new contracts for existing players, it wouldn’t surprise me if the annual wage bill has gone up by £15.8m.

  31. 7/10 Baggies fans questioned by their local rag said Pulis should leave the club.
    Not a happy bunch of Baggies!

    SAM (Sports Analyst Machine – Uni of Salford) gives Boro highest percentage for win at 37%.

    What do ya make of those bananas sports fans?

    Are you feeling lucky enough to splash out a daft quid on a Boro away win, punk – well are you? (apologies to Clint Eastwood)

    UTB

    Corbyn4leftback – don’t say it! You know it’ll be tooooo predictable.

  32. Andy R

    I think they must have taken the figures from Skysports transfer centre. Elsewhere Barragan was £1.5 and I believe Fabio was £2m. Even if they are a bit out we are still in the lower end of the table, way adrift of the next club.

    They are not my figures but it is interesting how little we have spent when there was a real flurry of activity.

    It leaves plenty of scope for any late activity and January.

  33. Maybe he would rather sit on the floor, he does have problems with empty seats. If his wife cant sit next to him along with the Guardian cameraman – if anyone can find him, tricky problem.

    I doubt whether Gibbo wants the club nationalising. That would mean bringing Bulkhaul manufacturing back to Teesside, maybe replacing German steel with British steel. Sadly too late for Teesside steel.

    On to tomorrow’s match. A chance to move ourselves further up the table.

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