Monthly Archives: October 2016

Supporters Star At Big Boro Birthday Party


HAPPY birthday Boro…  Red Faction set the mood for the club’s 140th anniversary with a super set piece spectacular display and the team responded with a great display. The first win of the season put a cherry on the top of a good week that yielded four points and lifted Boro back up to a healthy spot on the point a game survival trajectory. Excellent.

Here’s my colour bit in which I hail the Red Faction and award them the man of the match bubbly. Well deserved. They have been brilliant in the past few years.

And here’s my player ratings for the game. I expected flak for giving my top mark to Victor Valdes but it seems to have met with general approval.  There have been a a few quibbles on one of two of the other marks though. What do you think?

Continue reading Supporters Star At Big Boro Birthday Party

Coupon-busting Boro Open Fire On Arsenal

RIGHT. I got home late buzzing and had a beer to calm the nerves. My heart almost exploded when they put the ball in the net in stoppage time. I’ve never cheered an offside flag from the press box before. Great game: a galvanising watershed moment and possible penny drop tactical revelation.

Anyway… I see you have started the debriefing without me. Carry on.

Here’s my on the whistle colour bit about how Petr Cech was the man that ensured that mighty Arsenal were lucky to get nil on a day that could kick-start the season.

Here’s the Gazette digest of the game, tactics, big moments and star players. 

Here’s my ever populat too generous/too harsh* player ratings 

And here’s the best picture of the day – much maligned Spanish shot-stopper Victor Valdes in Arsenal halting action:



Ref Justice? Boro Pay For Losing Direction

THE  referee was Roger East. Boro’s high hopes against woeful Watford went west. Let’s just hope the season isn’t going South.

Certainly there was a lack of direction at times. Boro got lost in a diversionary flurry of time-wasting, niggly fouls that broke up play and some top flight polished professionalism in the disappointing 1-0 defeat to a poor Watford side.  Or ‘game management’ as we call it nowadays.

The referee took the brunt of the fans’ frustrations on a deeply disappointing day at the Riverside.  “You are the worst. You are the worst. We’ve had some **** here but you are the worst!”  It  was a harsh assessment but it was a popular one. The inventive and damning chant started in the North Stand, was taken up passionately in the South and, once the language barrier was crossed, the Watford supporters joined in with gusto.


Continue reading Ref Justice? Boro Pay For Losing Direction

Southgate v Strachan: Bad Boro Boss Battle

BLIMEY!  Gareth Southgate is poised to make his dug-out debut as England manager!  Well no-one saw that coming when he made his ignominious exit from the scene of the Riverside relegation car-crash and the aftermath.

Next month he will go head-to-head with fellow Riverside sackee Gordon Strachan in World Cup qualification action. Boro fans can be forgiven for thinking they’ve just walked out of Bobby Ewings’s shower (one for the teenagers there.) In what crazed parallel universe do the two statistically worse bosses in modern Middlesbrough history  end up as international managers? GS 1 v GS 2. International managers? It really is a funny old game.


The pair were broken and booed out of the Riverside with their managerial reputations in tatters after leaving Boro in a far, far  worse state than they found it. And after starting from great positions. We can all agree they skulked away as failures. But how do their Riverside reigns stack up against each other? Who did the most long term damage? And does either have any mitigation? Who was the worst?

Here their results, style, signings, PR image and legacy are assessed in a long read I did to stop you going stir crazy and get you thinking (and arguing) during the tedious long international break break.  Over to you. Sharpen those knives….