City Slickers Boro Snatch Last Gasp Leveller

YEEESS! A last gasp leveller. Away. At the European elite! Fantastic. Battling Boro have put down a real marker in the Premier League now and shown Arsenal was no fluke.  It was another superb show of disciplined defending and hard-work with Victor Valdes in fine form. And a final flourish produced a deserved equaliser after a great second half.


Here’s my colour bit on the whistle – it was a game of two halves and Boro were great in both of them  –  and here’s the ever controversial weekly too harsh/too generous* “what game were you at” player ratings. 

More later… over to you.




284 thoughts on “City Slickers Boro Snatch Last Gasp Leveller

  1. AV

    I agree with most of that. In the Brexit debate,however, there is no need to look beyond the mainstream media in seeking the source of the “residual undercurrent of race” which poisoned the debate. The disparaging and hysterical references to immigrants day after day, week after week, in the Express and Mail in the months preceding the vote were not intended to be constructive contributions to an important area of debate, but dog whistle politics of the most disreputable kind, which unleashed and gave confidence to racists across the land.

    **AV writes: Yes. Despicable. They embolden and legitimise dark strains of prejudice I thought – hoped – were all but gone. They are high impact – but don’t under-estimate the drip, drip effect of hundreds of thousands of people (often who don’t buy papers these days) sharing pernicious Facebook memes without much thought or comment.

    1. Extremism of the ultra right wing seems to be a lazy, simplistic and convenient object to “blame” in the Trump and Brexit debates. Not everyone who voted Brexit did so because of their hatred of everyone and everything outside of Engerlund. Some voted out because of political mistrust and concerns of unaccountable corruption and incompetence but that debate seems to be overshadowed by those with other more liberal, politically correct agendas holding the righteous moral high ground. Extremism is prevalent at either end of the political divide, both are equally ignorant and blinkered.

      My guess is that not everyone who voted Trump is a Red Neck Klan member. The alternative to Trump was not exactly a paragon of virtue. Binary choices in life polarise debate, opinions and extremes. Just imagine if the vote on both sides of the Pond had been yes/no/neither.

      The extreme Left are still live and kicking as are the Liberals yet their views and politics seem to be blameless for our current political woes. Throw in the LG (Life’s Good) generation to the mix, their personal self centred enlightenment, contentment and righteousness are in sharp contrast to the plight of townsfolk made less fortunate because of economic and commercial globalisation beyond their control. Forget Shameless or Benefits Street, Pudsey Bear will make it all better or at least make them feel better.

      History just repeats itself and the human race never seems to learn. Pogroms are nothing new just the euphemisms and the causes for them are conveniently, ignored or relabelled. Dissatisfaction isn’t a new phenomenon, black shirts and jack boots may be where it ends but it isn’t where it starts.

      **AV writes: Not everyone who voted Trump were right wingers, no… but there were enough of them who were loud and quite explicit enough to set off alarm bells. It is not enough to say “they are are as bad as each other” when one is the candidate endorsed by the Ku Klux Klan, who mocks the disabled, boasts about sexual assault and is openly racist. None of that was hidden or coded. It was quite open and calculated. And now he is surrounding himself in the White House with people who represent those trends. That is deeply worrying.

      1. I find it equally worrying that the alternative to Trump was less open and yet some believed that because of that they were the better or safer choice. Personally I wouldn’t touch either of them with a huge barge pole. Republicans got what they asked for and the Democrats got what they deserved. Both huge losers in my humble opinion but the real losers are the American public and the World who needed but not necessarily deserved so much better.

  2. It will be interesting to see what happens around Europe as various elections take place.

    As you know I believe there is a disconnect between the establishment and many people. The establishment includes all the traditional main parties.

    Allow that vacuum to exist and you end up with UKIP and worse. The vast majority are decent people but there are elements you wouldn’t invite to tea.

    1. Hopefully the wake up call will have hit home before Le Pen and co. win the day but I fear troughs are too deep and piggy noses in too far grunting and snaffling all they can to hear whats creeping up behind them.

  3. I agree Ian: it will be interesting.

    As I think a lot of commentators anticipate the populist, more nationalistic and right wing political forces are expected to do well. Should these views achieve a dominance across the membership of the EU, it is then perhaps not inconceivable that that institution itself will morph into something that more closely resembles the (realigned) aspirations of the different populations. If the rules and objectives of the club itself do change, does that mean that the Brexit referendum itself will become less (morally) binding in that what we voted to leave will no longer be the same thing.

  4. Thanks Len for you generous comments about my blog piece and glad it has been thought provoking – and thanks to AV for Tweeting the link, much appreciated – it’s now been read by literally dozens of people (well three-dozen to be exact). Though I appreciate now how this journalism lark is actually quite time consuming if you want to try and delve into a subject and check the facts and try and make sense of something.

    Regarding some points you made in your post Len, it’s true that attempts to manipulate the public through the media are nothing new, the difference is that it used to be a handful of editors and proprietors who did it from the top down by creating a version of events and then disseminating it to the wider public, where now it’s happening through the DIY proliferation of unverified news content on the internet being shared from the bottom up until it reaches a critical mass of readers and starts trending until it has been read and ‘liked’ (agreed with) by millions.

    I agree with AV that there are groups out there who’s objective is to create these populist propaganda pieces or memes that are specifically designed to spread through social media so that they start trending and possible influence or upset.

    Like you Len I would hope that it’s more difficult to hide the truth since most people now carry a video camera in their phones around with them and have access to media to upload it – but perhaps the threat is no longer hiding the truth but actually working out what the truth actually is.

    The current algorithms controlling information flow is almost like letting the market decide what the truth is rather than having people or an organisation we trust (there must still be some) giving us their objective professional view.

    Though, perhaps it’s not actually possible for such people or organisations to handle the sheer volume of content now out there – It may well be that other methods are needed, for example Wikipedia relies on it’s users to police the content and keep it genuine – but in the fast-moving world of social media that may be unrealistic or unworkable for short-lived content.

    So perhaps we do need more sophisticated algorithms that don’t just deal in popularity but can assess information from the forensic trail it’s dissemination leaves behind and cross reference it.

    Trump may have risen on the back of this grey area of news, though he’s a populist who said whatever he thought it would take to get elected – whether he ends up addressing his followers genuine concerns is still yet to be decided but I wouldn’t trust his word or his judgement based on his campaign.

    1. Letting the market decide what the truth is, is possibly a circular argument. Surely truth is just the current consensus of individual perceptions?

  5. Lightening the mood a little and bringing things back to the F word!

    I see Hazard and Costa should now both be fit for Sunday after all. As I understand it Costa is one yellow card away from a ban so will Conte risk him being booked against Boro and then missing their following game against Spurs?

    Costa looks like an exaggerated roll over after being shot by an imaginary sniper just waiting to happen. Gamesmanship is unfortunately a very negative aspect to his game but maybe with a bit of gentle provocation and a nudge here or there he may burst his bubble especially with having to walk a tightrope with the impending ban over his head.

    If he plays he may not be the full Costa, if he gets booked Chelsea lose their talisman for what looks like on paper a far harder game next week. I suspect Conte may bench him and bring him on only if needed with Batshuayi getting the nod to start in his absence.

  6. Great piece on your blog werder.

    For me the big worry in the USA is that the new President’s opposition in the Capitol is the Republican party, hopefully they’ll have the integrity and moral values to keep him in some sort of check.

    If Le Pen is elected in France (I have no idea what her chances are), then we wont need to worry about what Brexit will look like, because there’ll be no EU to leave.

    The political turmoil sweeping through the west started with the banking crisis/financial collapse in the USA & Europe, we are reaping the consequences of that catastrophe now.

    PS – On a lighter note is it true the USA is to be renamed ‘Trumpton’ with the capital city being called ‘Camberwick Green’?

    Just wondering like…..

    1. Thanks Nigel, I heard that over in Tumpton they’ve got a new fire crew: Pooh-Pooh, Barmy, No-Clue, Expert Drivel and Crud – as apparently the old one is still struggling to put out an out-of-control blaze in Donald’s pants…

      1. I reckon everybody in Chigley will have voted for him, believing in his promise to restore the faded glory of Trumptonshire’s industrial might and to re-establish the long lost tradition of the factory dance after the 6’o’ock whistle

  7. Back to the F word.

    I see Southgate is being interviewed for the England job. This is a nonsense, what will they find out that they don’t know about having employed him for several years and made him interim manager?

  8. Excellent essay you have written there Werdemouth.

    Every civilisation eventually finds the way to destroy itself. That has always been the case throughout history and there is no reason to believe that it will not continue to be true in the future.

    I am not suggesting the the end in sight ( ” We’re doomed ” as one favorite Scottish character would have it) but I think you make a very good point that id society is’t strong enough, interested enough or just plain bothered enough to maintain and evolve the rules we all subscribe to and that actually bind us all together (the “paradox of freedom”) then society will crumble.

    Hopefully not before we beat Chelsea on Sunday though ! SO I am plumping fro an optimistic 2-1 win to the reds.

  9. Ian
    Agree. It’s a bit like that fad of making people apply for their existing job under the guise of departmental reorganisation but, again, we are talking about the FA and there are numerous versions of what FA stands for.
    As for Sunday, in my usual pessimistic manner, I’m expecting defeat but a point would be fantastic and three would be dreamland.

  10. Quick one for RR, whilst we’re waiting for tomorrow’s kick-off.
    I referred to the situ in NI (I spent a short time there during the early 80’s – absolutely beautiful countryside) with regards to the Brexit referendum. Well, now there appears to be grounds for them, due to the Northern Ireland Act and the Good Friday Agreement, to remain in the EU because they have their own form of constitution and only the people of NI can change it -or their treaty obligations(?). They voted by 56% to remain in the EU.
    Whatever, if they do find that they remain we have just a smidgeon of a consituition ‘crisis’, and no doubt (but I hope not), the knuckle dragging NI nationalists will begin banging the drums with their wee sticks. Yet again, maybe they’ll come to the conclusion it’s in their interests to leave the UK – stranger things have happened.
    The irony of course is that the whole mess (I can think of no better word) was initiated by a Unionist/Conservative government who now rely on Unionist MPs to keep the Tory government afloat and may find that cesesstion is inevitable thus depriving them of going ahead with a hard Brexit, which the far right Tories demand.
    Popcorn anyone?

    1. Spartak

      I can’t see the attraction of the EU being greater than 326 years of flag waving marches and bonfires. Unionist ties will be far too strong plus the fear of a united Ireland via the back door would stir up feelings of isolation and loss of power. Voting to remain in the EU made economic sense but dissolving the Union with the mainland is an entirely different concept and likely to galvanise those living in the past to close ranks. Interesting head or heart dilemma though!

    1. My impression of Ayala when we signed him was that he had great early potential as a youngster but seemed hampered with injuries. I don’t know if that was specifically true as I hadn’t followed his career in great detail but I was surprised at how many games he did manage for us. It does appear that AK isn’t exactly enamoured by his ankle issues. Like you say I wouldn’t be surprised to see it recover mid December all ready for a January exit.

    2. Tomlins tummy, Ayala’s ankle. Wots next Rhodes runny nose. Bit strange these players throwin sickies. My understandin is that many sickies are thrown because of toxic work cultures.

      Could b wrong mind, like, like, like!


      **AV writes: Yet Boro have an exceptional injury record over the past two or three years… just saying.

  11. I don’t think AK could make it any clearer how he feels about “anklegate”, so there only seems to be one outcome, as GHW and RR suggest.

  12. An interesting piece from the Guardian:

    “9) Karanka happy to play Scrooge as Boro aim to extend run

    In an interview this week, Aitor Karanka, who joined the club precisely three years ago last Sunday, was asked to pick out his worst moment at Middlesbrough. His mind immediately went back to a moment in 2014 when his players asked if they could stay in London after a league game against Millwall to do a bit of Christmas shopping. “We’ve won one game in four and you are talking about Christmas shopping?” he apparently responded. “I am sorry. You are going to spend money you earn from Middlesbrough Football Club? I think you need to win some games!”

    From this we learn two things: firstly, nothing genuinely bad has happened to Karanka on Teesside, and secondly, this man is the very embodiment of the Grinch, Dr Seuss’s Christmas-stealing grump. After all, while it is true to say that when he was asked to green-light the shopping spree the side had indeed won one game in four, they had won the one before that as well, had only lost once in 15 matches and were two points off the top of the table, and then they capped that by putting five past the Lions. Still their coach wasn’t happy. This is a man who has adapted to England’s yuletide feast of football with the unabashed relish of someone who doesn’t much like presents, tinsel and goodwill to all men much anyway.

    “The players will be training on Christmas Day,” he said in 2014. “My decision is clear. It is important to be here and prepare. We don’t have a lot of time to be with our families, but we are professional and we have to train.” In 2015 he added: “We know it’s an important day for everybody but we have chosen our style of life.” If that was how Karanka reacted to a run of one defeat in 15, Boro’s players – having lost four of their last eight – can look forward to a particularly frosty winter this year, at least unless there’s a very significant upturn over the next few weeks. So if they add to the commendable points they have recently earned against Arsenal and Manchester City, they should refrain from asking their manager if he’d like to celebrate with a nice mince pie and a festive movie. It’s a Wonderful Life? Don’t get him started. SB”

    **AV writes: I don’t like to knock other papers but I think they may have the wrong Millwall game. I think it was the one the year earlier when he had only just taken over, they were still down at the wrong end after a very sticky start and Ledesma got them off the hook. A very important moment.

  13. Well the results today have gone well for us with nobody overtaking us and thus keeping us out of the bottom three. Just hoping Spurs recover from being a goal down and beat the Stadium stealers tonight!

    A point tomorrow would be great and all three would put a very different view of the table. Chelsea have five wins on the trot, it has to end sometime and Boro are due a decent performance for the Premiership cameras, probably too good to be true though.

    Next weeks fixtures are looking interesting. Leicester are no longer the Champions to be feared, if anything their anxieties will be rising and looking over their shoulders. Burnley host Man City, Hull are at home to the Baggies, Sunderland are at Liverpool, Swansea play five in a row losers Palace and on Sunday West Ham go to see Mourinho’s men.

  14. Just thinking about the match tomorrow is a pleasure, a very good team on a trot coming to visit. We ourselves seemingly getting our heads round the fact that a solid defence is a girls best friend, should be good.
    Overall, great to be in the top div. Long may it continue.

    1. If Chelsea win they go top, its another of those nothing to lose games for us which suited us at the Emirates and the Etihad. The difference is that we are the home team this time but the incentive for top spot will be huge so I’m expecting a playing away at home performance tomorrow.

      Wonder if AK will surprise and tweak his tactics to adjust to Chelsea’s 3-4-3 system especially if Friend isn’t fit?

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