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. “Make America Great again!”

    I know it meant to say bring the work places back from China and employ more people locally.

    I have wondered for a long time how Mr Putin has been so popular in Russia. Perhaps it is the same thing. Make Russia Great Again. In there it has meant more political power and aggressive foreign policy.

    I hope the same won’t happen in the USA that they start to fight with their neighbours. Especially so if Trump is not able to bring more work for the voters. They need to make good products first to sell before one can expect more working places.

    So let’s hope it doesn’t go sour and we won’t see more wars like we did with Mr Putin.

    At least Boro are unbeaten in three (including Arsenal and Mqn City away). There is hope we won’t get relagated. Up the Boro!

  2. Nice that Trump wants to make America great again and has become the self-styled champion of the struggling working people by promising to bring back their jobs from abroad – especially given how he has both made his billions building skyscrapers using imported steel that ultimately contributed to the loss of their jobs in the first place – and hasn’t paid any taxes whilst amassing that personal fortune over the last ten years, which again hasn’t helped pay for the services that the same communities need.

    Perhaps ‘Great’ has a different definition for the ‘haves’…

  3. Werder

    There is a subtle difference between various haves. The Clinton haves have there have through being in Government.

    The Trump have is through endeavour however we like or dislike. Come to think of it isn’t the Riverside made with German steel? Didn’t Bulkhaul export jobs for manufacturing it’s vessels?

    Just being balanced like.

    1. Ian said


      I said the same during the run up to the Brexit vote. It is a common theme across Europe and the world.

      Well Ian I know you appreciate the world is a big big place and when Gordon Brown said of the crash in 2008 that it was a global phenomenon, I looked at the telly and said he was talking out his backside because not so far away (2 hour flight from LHR), absolutely nothing had happened nor had changed. The banks here were all solvent. They had maximum cash reserves coz the EU impressed upon them that they had to. So when certain politicians get a backlash from screwing their own populations it should come as no surprise that at some point the plebs bite back.

      Here in this Central European backwater of my residence it may come as a surprise to you that there is still an unprivatised health service and doctors and dentists get below the average salary. Some move to richer fields but many stay out of a sense of duty to community and nation. Even more surprising for a country that IS poorer than the multi-billion pound spending UK (on Trident perhaps), here ALL school students are given free travel on public transport, trains and buses alike. If they so wished they could travel from one end of the country to the other (6 hrs on the train) and it wouldn’t cost them a cent.

      I could list SO many countries that were not effected by 2008 financial troubles in the Middle East, Africa, Scandinavia, South America. Gordon was BSing to save face. Spread the blame ‘Hey guys everyone is in it up to their necks!’ No they ain’t. Some are a lot worse than others and the ones deep in it are not the 1% who simply want to keep sucking on the tit. Their appetite is voracious and never satisfied. Their greed is a sickness and it’s making societies who bear these parasites ill.

      As AV once said austerity is a choice not a necessity. The shame is only those who can least afford to fight back are the ones hit. The 1% are rewarded. But many are now waking up to the stitch up and they ain’t happy. Hence Conservatives are now the new Far Right wing to mop up discontent – yet another con! They still introduced the benefit cuts to those who can least afford to see benefits disappear. The message is ‘work for a pittance or starve and become homeless, kids and all’.

      And the 1%ers will get more tax breaks because don’t yer know it’ll trickle down. Really!!

      Well Ian, thanks for reading and it’s back to the comfort of the Torygraph for you.


      Have a better one

      1. You are correct Spartak,

        In fact in my wife’s village at the foot of the Rhodope mountains there has been no world financial crisis, no banks crashed and life just carried on – even the Trabbie and the moscovitch still work. …. and no-one really cares who the president of USA may be next year.

        For the same reason, their banks had not allowed to dabble in credit or other instruments and had been forced by IMF to carry reserves.

        Here in ME of course, we had a boom until 2012 until the boyos started their interfering.

        So really – no world shattering event.

  4. SpartaK

    Are we talking about different things? What has Gordon Brown got to do with me?

    My view is that the establishment doesn’t understand the normal people. nothing to do with policies, they just meander along within their own agendas.

    Forget the Torygraph, it tends to mention Boro occasionally!

    1. Ian said

      Are we talking about different things? What has Gordon Brown got to do with me?

      Ian said

      I said the same during the run up to the Brexit vote. It is a common theme across Europe and the world.

      Gordon Brown said

      The 2008 financial crash was a worldwide phenomenon (a world event)

      Spartak said

      Nonsense! Brexit and Trumpie are NOT worldwide events. It just seems in our bubble that the USA and Europe are the world – they’re not.

      It’s like considering the EPL to be the be all and end all of footie – it’s not.

      It’s like saying that ‘We’re all in this together!’ Hell no, we’re not (unfortunately).

      Statements to hide from responsibility. Statements to fool the unwashed masses. Trumpie statements, Gordon Brown statements, Tony Blair statements – BS, lies, untruths.


  5. Spartak

    Now I get it, we are talking about different things.

    Brexit and Trump are not world events, they are symptoms of establishment disconnect with ordinary people and I am sure that is not unique to USA and here.

    I agree with all you say about BS and your list of culprits could be even longer if you wanted.

  6. What people say to pollsters and where they put their X in the privacy of the polling booth have proven to be two different things in Brexit and the presidential election.

    1. GHW

      A common statement, but unfortunately quite wrong. Elections are played out in the full glare of the public eye, this makes it very important to, in some way, control the press. This is normally done by employing people with sound political views who can be depended on not to rock the boat. If you can corner the market in newspapers, should we say six of the eight newspapers singing your song, then you can keep a pretty firm grip on things.

      This is pretty important, because some incredible things surface at the most inconvenient moment during elections. To take the British election, sailing along peacefully, Cameron regarded as unlikely to be in employment when the music stopped, the polls frantically assuring the British that Cameron would be safely returned from whense he came. Not by much, but hey! enough.

      Two things, afterwards, turned out that a small opinion pollster had the news that the dreaded Cameron was going to get a majority of twenty? three days before the vote. He was gently told not to publish it, it might upset things. A week after the vote the story broke that our hero had an unfortunate encounter with a boars head in a place of entertainment? Might the result have been different if these choice items had been published before the great vote took place? Just asking like.

      Now to the great American vote. We were speaking to an American citizen a few weeks ago, she quietly told us that the great body of people that she spoke to (Florida) were strongly for Trump, and, no, I did not rush out and have a bet. But I certainly remembered her words.

      Trump won in the three greatest concentrations of collegiate votes in the states, and he won by a distance. By a spooky coincidence these were the areas which the Democrats put the least effort, the least posters, the least visits, and certainly the least handholding of the locals. Because they regarded them as theirs. They were too busy smoozing the middle class elsewhere.

      The people who deserted them told the world exactly what they were going to do, but nobody listened. They made no secret of their intentions, but nobody listened. And we, at the moment, have the same problem. We gently tell them that it would be a good idea if all entry into this country were to be stopped until we get a handle on the situation, then, and only then could a sensible system be brought into use.

      But no, all leaders carry on spouting rubbish at top speed, then exit stage left, as though they were in a bad farce.

      1. I disagree Plato. I venture that a lot of people when asked who they were going to vote for said Trump was Sexist/Racist/Homphobic and would never get their vote, but in the privacy of the polling booth did in fact vote for him.

        Take the Scottish referendum as an example, practically every ascot I know say they voted to leave the Union. Makes you wonder where all the votes to stay came from.

        The most damning statistic of all though is that over 100 million eligible US voters didn’t bother.

        **AV writes: Trump got fewer votes than the Republican candidate in the last three elections so there was no Trump surge, secret or otherwise. The real issue was that (like here with Labour in the last few elections) the Democrat vote collapsed. Possibly that was mainly down to the Afro-American vote delivered by Obama not being replicated. But yes, the turn-out was just over 50% meaning Trump is in power on a lower share of the popular vote in a pitiful exercise of democracy. “The first thing I wanna say is ‘mandate my ass’ “

        1. GHW

          American elections!

          The states are not equal in Electoral votes, lots of them have pitiful numbers( 2-6) therefore if someone can lock up the four giants it’s a slam dunk. The giants are all in the rust belt, pay increase two per cent in the last twenty years (that’s total, not per year) their lives have been obliterated by the elite. Cannot send their kids to college, cannot buy a house, cannot change their car every few years, no health insurance. These people live in the rust belt.

          The famous American writer Michael Moore, born in the rust belt, and still living there, says today in the Times that he knew and said many times, that Trump would romp it. He was told freely by all that he talked to that they would vote for Trump. Not only that, they all knew that he would win.

          He knows England well, and said that Brexit was in no way different to Trump, same reasons, same outcome. Further , he said that the ruling class in both cases were in denial. Theft on a grand scale, greed unlimited, the desire to have it all and damn the rest. Oh, and by the way, he added several other nations to the list, Italy, France, Holland, Germany. All about to find out the hard way that it ain’t working.

  7. I wondered upon looking at photos of the Obama’s and Trumps niceing it up around the White House, if Michelle O will invite Hillary for one last dinner before they pack up the silver and the kids toys for the off. She could show her around one last time before sayin ‘Well Hillary, this is what you could’ve won!’


  8. Trump won the prize spending $367,000,000.

    Second place for Hillary, aka lost, cost $534,000,000.

    Throw in the fact the White House was backing Hillary with all its muscle, probably the media as well, that is some bandwagon.

    And we worry about some receipts for the Ed Stone.

  9. No doubt some archaeologists in about the 26th century will unearth the Ed Stone and wonder what it was all about. Surely it must have had some religious or cultural significance? But then they might discover some digital record about Strictly Come Dancing and find out there was a Labour politician on there, who had massive public support despite the views of the experts, and kept on being re-elected…..

    Maybe you COULD make it up, but it would have to be a good story.

    1. FD
      we are not even in the same street as the fat newsreader who waddled around the floor and scored so highly that he had to order the BBC to give him the boot during the semi final. Now that’s making it up as you go along.

  10. Just watched a replay of Uruguay vs Ecuador and it was a real buzz to see both Stuani and Ramirez on the field together. Stuani interchanged with Suarez up front and stayed on for the whole game. Ramirex played for the last half hour. .

    It wasn’t exactly a two-man front line but Stuani and Suarez were close together a lot of the time and Stuani was the target for a lot of balls in the air which he handled very well, flicking them on for Suarez and others. It certainly gave me the impression that he could have a good shot at the Negredo role if he had to.

    I was interested to see how well organised the contract position is at the club. Just another example of the progress that has been made in creating a really professional operation.

    It’s all good.


  11. Something to keep everyone busy until the real football resumes……
    Would you rather we
    A…beat Watford 3-0, then lost 2-0 to both arsenal and man city?
    B …. drew with Watford, drew with arsenal and lost to man city 1-0?
    C….. had the results we had?
    The Bournemouth result stays consistent as a win.
    Discuss ur answer please and no short hand!!!

    1. brisbanephil, definitely option A, a 3 point postive to us and a 3 point deficit to Watford is more advantageous than the two points gained against likely Champions League teams and that is aside from the extra point gained.

      That scenario would have pulled Watford down to the same points tally as ourselves. As Mogga would say, it is what it is and the Watford defeat was hopefully a defining and watershed moment in realising that we had to be more creative. Sometimes bad things happen for a reason and in this case I think it bottomed out our numbing lack of pace and creativity.

      1. ‘Numbing lack of pace & creativity’

        RR, I am shocked, shocked I tell you! How can you be sooo negative? I’ve enjoyed every minute of every match. No, I’ve enjoyed every second of every match, even when we weren’t playing or picking the ball out of our own net or playin the ball sudeways and especially backwards.

        Are you perhaps criticising our team, our manager? He’s a god I tell you. Better than Guardiola. No, he’s better than 10 Guardiolas. In fact, AK is better than 10 Guardiloas, 9 Mourinios, 8 Klopps, 7 dancing Contes, 6 Arnsen Wengers, 5 Garth Southgates …… and any poxy partridges in any poxy pear trees.

        In all my days


  12. Talking of a numbing lack of pace and creativity, my brother is down for the weekend and we sort of watched England v Scotland. Our wives watched it with us.

    It seemed tedious even though we won, it was too easy to get involved in general discussions. A look at the stats appeared to reinforce that view. Three shots on target from England and two from Scotland is meagre fayre.

    I wonder when the only shots on target for a team were headers and they scored all three.

    1. Cloughie said that it didn’t matter on which part of the anatomy the ball hit as long as it went in the goal.

      Just sayin like, like, like!

      Perhaps yer a purist, Ian – only the best will do.



    2. Scotland played the more enjoyable to watch football but the calibre of players available to them meant that it inevitably fizzled out. How Stricken rates Griffiths over Rhodes (is Ross McCormack injured or he he not “rated” either?) after watching that performance is staggering. The lad was so far out of his depth it was uncomfortable to watch. Morrison had a decent game but was subbed strangely. The young lad Forrest looked useful but with no one to link up with meant he ran down blind alleys.

      England looked uncomfortable for huge parts, defensively Cahill and Stones are as poor a pairing as I have witnessed at this level. No understanding and tactically seemingly uncoordinated and totally disconnected. Rooney had a better game than of late but overall the better quality of Englands players won the game rather than a tactical masterclass by Southgate. My thoughts at the end of the whistle was thank god neither of those two are still managing Boro but for two entirely different reasons.

      The biggest talking point was the shameful disrespect to national anthems before the KO. Regardless of rivalry a few minutes of decency isn’t a lot to expect especially given the circumstances of the date. Sadly the drunken heathens of both sides disgraced their respective countries yet again.

      I was exasperated at the minutes silence being destroyed by the feckless presumably Police Helicopter in the sky buzzing overhead clearly detracting from the moment. Should we blame those in charge at the Met for not having the nous to get the Chopper to simply clear off for just 3 or 4 minutes prior to and during the silence, or those poppy bedecked morons whose behaviour required it in the first place. Classless, disrespectful and disgraceful on all counts.

      “At the going down of the sun and in the morning, We will remember them”, clearly wasn’t the case during the occasion or indeed this morning when half of them probably won’t remember a thing from last night.

  13. Just finished reading the piece on Gazettelive bout Traore written by AV. Of course AV makes a few mistakes (none of us is perfect) :), relies on slippery prose and misses the important point that AK, at the point he gave Traore his first full game was in the muck upto his earses coz his team were struggling and calls for his head were becoming more audible. Still Traore came to his rescue just as much as shifting Ramirez to the left and the dropping (our best striker) Stuani also helped.

    As an aside, why is it that there has been little discussion on how this momentous decision came into being, given AK said he wasn’t for shifting and was 150% happy with the ‘Boro Grind’ which was his preferred ‘I’m not going to change’ strategy. Maybe it’s something that those who offer unconditional support, nay hero worship for AK, wish to erase from the historical narrative as not fitting the hero worshipping mind set?

    Anyways, I was just looking at the price we paid for him, which I haven’t been able to find, but the Villains paid £7 million, so how much did we pay? Therefore, I was just thinking that if this lad continues to tear up opposition defences and plays really well, will he be sold at the end of the season for £40 maybe £50 million? Is it not the ‘Way of the Boro’, to sell the very best? After all we, the Boro that is, are an entertainment business are we not?


    **AV writes: Traore doesn’t have a set price. As is the vogue these days it is a sliding free based on games, goals, individual and team performances. You can take it that if Boro stay up and he features in, say 20 plus games, then it will cost around £5m. If he stays and plays the same the following year then it could tick up another couple of millions. Villa we happy to agree a structured deal because they had agreed a similar deal and if he had stayed and played a certain number of games for them it would have triggered extra payments and a wage rise.

    That is why so many deals these days are “undisclosed fees” – because no-one really knows how much it will have cost overall until a player leaves. And that’s why it take ages to sort out some deals these days, because there are so many over-lapping incentive clauses to unravel.

    1. Sparta

      You have just made the most compelling case for a pure blinding shoot out with Chelsea at home. Might be good if we lost in a seven -six shoot out, sadly it would probably be record home defeat.

      Common sense says field our most powerful defence, go for a shut out and see what happens, after all City showed us just how to attack, control the game, and get a worthy draw, at least that’s what the papers said.

      Notice that Mr Wright said that we were rubbish, in the first half, silent about the second half. Never take up management Ian, no matter how tempting the money, you know it makes sense.

  14. Spartak

    I just thought how unusual to have no ‘shots’ on target, even when we won 3-0 at Arsenal with two own goals the third was a shot.

    I will happily settle for a 3-0 win by headers against Chelsea.

  15. Great to see John Stones adding compelling evidence for the inclusion of Ben Gibson.
    Stones’ performance was a brilliant tribute to Sean St. Ledger at his very best – pure comedy.

    1. MS
      I’m afraid its a case of, the Emperors new clothes, no pundit will knock him, ever, so that means that he will get the chance to take us out of the world cup before his reign comes to an end.
      Puzzling, because all the press were spilling their drinks (alcohol, nach) each time he panicked and shovelled it to his keeper, or somebody, anybody, anywhere, in any direction.

  16. I wish Strachan had picked Rhodes for the game against England , I reckon he could have got a goal or two . Strachan’s selections are baffling at times , for example why pick Grant Hanley who has only played 1 game for Newcastle. I am expecting him to resign this week.

    1. Strachen- as a football manager he’s a numpty. What does that say about the people who appointed him? Super Scots numpties.

      Carry on!


  17. Excellent new podcast from the Gazette guys on Aitor’s first three years at Boro. For once they have given themselves a reasonable amount of time to develop some of the different viewpoints among the group, and for me what stood out and surprised me was the extent to which they seem to expect Aitor to leave, certainly within three years and maybe even sooner.

    Clearly AK’s chances of moving to a ‘big’ / ‘bigger’ club depend on keeping Boro up, but I’d have thought a ‘big’ club would also want to see evidence of him moving the team into the top half and winning games more attractively – in other words, regular re-runs of the Bournemouth performance as well as the achievements at Arsenal and City.

    And as we’ve been told, Boro are in the top thirty European clubs by income – AK is already a fair way up the ladder in those terms. How many alternatives would give him more resources and an equally supportive and reliable chairman elsewhere? Would he not think in terms of the sort of level Steve McLaren got us to as a valid personal target for future seasons? (Top half of the league and reaching a cup final.)

    But of course, if it was Real Madrid who came knocking…a rather big if at this stage, I’d have thought…

    1. Mark

      I thought it was an excellent podcast by the guys at gazette towers too.

      Unless they know something we don’t I would hope we have AK for at least another three years.

      I know what they mean about shelf life for managers and I remember Jack Charlton moved on for that reason bit admitted later that he moved too soon

      But and here’s the but we haven’t won anything yet. Not even the championship we went up as runners up.

      McClaren won a cup and got us into Europe and a European final so that was success and a club like Real Madrid or Athletico would need a proven winner.

      Let’s just try and stay up this season and enjoy what we’ve got and as AK himself says take it one game at a time

      **AV writes: If AK is still here in three years then it means Boro have enjoyed a period of massive success. It also means that no bigger club will have come calling. I think the first would probably make the second inevitable. And he is an ambitious man.

      1. AK’s climb up the learning curve is the reason Boro didn’t win the Championship in his 2nd season. It’s the reason Norwich came shooting out the blocks in the play off final (the deliberate delayin tactics riled them up on the visit to Carrow Road). It’s the reason he played so cautiously when we were first promo’d. The reason he played Stuani and the ‘Boro Grind’ strategy was due to his intransigence. This intransigence led, in part, to the bust up in the changies that dare not be spoken of.

        Well, question is, has AK now learnt the lessons on the curve? Has he now realised that ‘my way or the highway’ isn’t always best management practice? Do the changes in team personnel mean we have reached a turning point? Or will he return to El Muleo and backs against the wall grind again?

        Time will tell of course. Chelski up next with yer man Conte and his team on a flyer. They’re not coming off a mid-week exhaustion game. Chances are they’ll be fresh and raring to go. Big big challenge for AK and the lads. Are they up to the task?

        Oh, & AK moving on to bigger things and greener grass – I doubt it! At least not here in the EPL. There are three types if team 1. The Champions League chasers 2. The middle of the table stalwarts 3. The desperate to avoid the drop desperadoes. Given AK’s present CV what does 2 seasons as a Championship team manager and 10 games in the EPL represent – very little. Nar it’ll be back to Spain to a middling La Liga team and a few seasons there, whilst the sentimental amongst us here will wax lyrical about how great the times were under AK and the roaring Leo.


        1. Sparta

          You are a living example of why bookies ride in rollers and punters pedal bikes. Always study the facts not your own prejudices. Karanka is well perceived in the football world, and for good reason, the team he took over was one to make the blood run cold, and it is important to list the gaping wounds in the body of the club. It had no idea where it was going, no idea who it might want to manage it, no players worth selling, no saying how the team would play on any given occasion, except poorly.

          An ambition to get into the premier league ( from the base of the championship) is not even dignified, its just silly, and as for building a team when we had no idea how to buy or sell, witness the utter dross which passed though our portals before he came. Any club which is suffering the torture of the damned(at least three pretty good clubs) must be envious of us right now.

          Just a thought on Traore, he came as a wild dribbler, and AK said he would cure him of that, it took a few games, but over all, not bad.

      2. OFB
        what has AK done for the club? Forget the pots, the biggest prize in football is membership of the premier league, an absolute must for any club to move forward.
        Second prize is staying in the premier league.
        will AK keep us in the league? Yes, I think he will, It will be achieved by fielding a premier class defence(oh, oh, incoming, tin hats will be worn)
        about the attack, I think it is improving(traore) but to field a premier league attack will require two things. One, very clever recruitment, two a bit of luck, because when you find your jewel he must be unwanted by the giants, or you will lose him.

        1. Plato

          One of the things that AK and his coaches have succeeded in doing is turning good players into excellent players

          The emergence of Gibson the improvement in Friend and Ayala and also that of Forshaw and Clayton have been great to see. We have the odd poor signing without naming names but we also have the likes of Rhodes who is keen to perform on the premier stage. I don’t think he will go in January unless we have a more than adequate replacement for him

          It only takes a suspension or injury to change things dramatically look how Forshaw took his chance

          Still need a back up for Gaston bit just hope we stay up


          1. OFB

            Regarding the bad buys, please remember the team builder, whoever he is, must look forward to having at least a dozen players who, for various reasons do not cut it, and move on.

            This means that to build a team requires, certainly approx. Twenty five players coming in. The trick is to buy cheaply and, hopefully, get good prices for those you sell on. That way you could end up rich.

            I will leave it to you to judge whether AK is ahead of the game.

  18. Aitor leaving?

    Of course he will at some point. He will leave because he has done so well a bigger club will come calling or because we stagnate and need a change.

    Ben Gibson will leave because a big club wants a left footed, quality centre half or we get relegated and he moves to pastures new to further his career.

    Ronaldo left ManU to go to Real.

    People move on, they always do. The examples of Sralex and Arsene are rare. We can get so immersed in the Boro bubble we ignore the rest of football, managers and players move on.

    1. Two weeks ago I posted:

      “Like Southgate AK may be sacked because of poor performances at some future point, maybe in the Premiership or maybe back in the Championship. He may decide to leave of his own accord because like McClaren he feels he gets an offer elsewhere that he cannot refuse. Nobody knows what the circumstances will be but I am absolutely certain that he will definitely leave.

      I genuinely hope its after ten plus years because if it is that means he has been a resounding success and elevated the club to new levels. If results and performances do not reflect the continually evolving needs of the club however then he will be relieved of his duties of that I have no doubt, 50% Championship win rate or not. He is now entering his 4th year, that is credible for any Manager and makes him something around I think the fifth from memory longest serving Manager in the Premiership.

      We will still be supporting Boro long after he is gone just as we were well before he arrived.”

      In the words of Carly Simon “nothing stays the same,” Managers and Players are just passing through, some stay a little longer than others but ultimately their careers are transient by nature. If as Ian predicts Ben Gibson leaves in the future we know that there will be CB’s long after Ben just as there were after Rooks, Boam, Pally, Mogga, Pearson, Festa, Ugo and Southgate etc.There will be Managers long after AK and there will be Owners and Directors long after Steve Gibson.

      As Spartak has pointed out AK is on a learning curve, he has made and makes mistakes and the quicker he learns from them, adapts, refines and improves the better he and Boro will do. His overall trajectory to date has been upward which suggests he gets more right than wrong albeit with the few frustrating blips and dips. If it continues northwards then his time at Boro will end sooner rather than later for a bigger challenge no doubt. If however Boro stall or fall then things may not follow the intended path, Robbo’s managerial fate comes to mind.

      If as we suspect AK’s ambitions are to succeed at the highest level then he may well have to get Boro back into Europe to get the level of opportunity a Champions League side will demand from a new Manager’s CV. From where I’m sat despite the recent uplifting three game improvement there is still a fair bit of development required for that to happen short term. Let’s hope that one day he is managing Madrid, if so then we all win.

      1. ‘ … there will be CB’s long after Ben just as there were after Rooks, Boam, Pally, Mogga, Pearson, Festa, Ugo and Southgate etc.There will be Managers long after AK and there will be Owners and Directors long after Steve Gibson.’

        Good God, RR, it’s bad enough feeling old without you making me feel transient too!

      2. RR
        disagree most firmly.
        AK will not be fired. Period.
        This club have always, repeat, always, given the worst managers in the world(bold statement) many seasons, much angst, and quite violent anger amongst the fans over a number of seasons before they call them in,(as in ‘ come in number ten your time is up)
        it therefore follows that anyone footing the bills, will, at this moment in time, be extatic, Never mind wins losses, good results and bad results, the club are, at this moment, swimming in money, full of players who are wanted by other clubs, for actual money, quite a lot of money. Players who will possibly play for England.
        we are eagerly looking forward to Chelsea at the weekend, optimistically, I might say.

  19. Anyway, I read the report showing us with the fourth lowest wage bill in the top flight.

    Re read it and realised it seemed to be last years! I think.

  20. Re re read the figures cant decide if they are historic or current salaries.

    If they are current and taken alongside the low transfer spend in the summer that would seem to give a fair amount of wriggle room in January.

    **AV writes: I’m dubious. The wage figure seems very conservative to me. January pushed the wage bill well over £20m and we’ve added a lot more since then. I think that estimate could be well short.

    1. Ian,

      I couldn’t figure it out either. We have been in the PL just a few months, so I suspect it included some of our Champo time. Also Burnley and Hull were there down with us.

      About AK, he won’t be leaving without a trophy. If we won’t win the FA Cup this season, he will be with Boro at least a further year or two. Actually I feel he will be here for one European season at a mínimum.

      Happy times. Up the Boro!

  21. Plato

    Interesting comment on Traore.

    Jose is not every fans cup of tea, many loathe him but fair play to the chap, being objectionable seems to come naturally. In his first stay with Chelsea he kept giving Joe Cole the hook because he was doing show pony tricks to the detriment of the team.

    He worked on Joe Cole and turned him in to a really effective footballer playing his tricks in the right time and place. He went to the World Cup with England and started well but away from the influence of Jose gradually reverted to type.

    Players like Messi and Ronaldo work hard and show their tricks high up the pitch. If AK can continue to get Traore to be dangerous in the opposition half and reliable in his own that will do me.

  22. Having listened to Don and Vic on the main site it appears that whilst the figures are probably not accurate they wont be a 100% out.

    That puts us down towards the bottom in both transfer spend and wages. As I posted building a squad to compete in the mini bottom part of the table.

    The key will be value for money, the gazette reports an interview with AK, supplied by Trinity Mirror but from what I have read it was in the Torygraph as well.

    Which was the original and which was cut and paste? Was it a joint interview?

    **AV writes: Yes, he did a bit with all the national big hitters together last week. That’s how it works. Only very rarely does anyone get a real one-to-one with anyone these days.

  23. Greetings Plato et al,

    for your information, I write that which I consider to be a balanced appraisal of what I believe to be the management performance of AK and his team, based on previous evidence as I read it.

    What more can you ask? It is honestly shared and I do not insult anyone that doesn’t deserve it 🙂

    I prefer to speak truth to power or about those who have influence. It may rattle a few cages, ruffle a few feathers or incense the ultra sensitive (especially Ian 🙂 ).

    But I shall continue to do so (unless AV rubs me out and discards me as a waste of space not fit to breathe God’s good air).

    I may get somethings wrong but on the whole I think I get most things right and that is what rubs up the wrong way many of the doe eyed, worshipping types. So be it, if the cap fits wear it. But you will never see me write total fantasy based on a) denial or b) misplaced hero worship where it doesn’t belong.

    Happy Days

    Have a better one.


    1. Spartak

      I like a lot of others enjoy your posts if everyone had the same views this blog would be boring

      It also serves as a catalyst to provoke thought and come up with a balanced and reasoned argument

      All through life I’ve upset people but hey what the hell lets live and let live

      We all shar one common goal and that to see our team do well and be successful and really that’s all that matters


    2. Sparta
      write what you wish, always, that’s what is good about this blog.
      my remarks about AK were a straight opinion, nothing more , and nothing less, I thought that was clear, I did not say he did not deserve to be sacked(pretty obvious) I said he would not be, based, I might say, on my knowledge of the club.

  24. Quick one for you on the politics front.

    Government ie Conservatives, have been revealed to have NO co-ordinated plan whatsoever for the forthcoming Brexit negotiations. BIG surprises there. Put a bunch of complete arses in charge who only know how to be sycophants and media manipulators and what do you get? Yes, chaos! A complete repeat of the conduct of many wars no less, all the way back to the Crimea upto the recent conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan not to mention Syria

    So, it is the necessary nature of power and the consequence is the suffering of the many.

    Now, I don’t care what your preference is in terms of political party, but I will say this. Whatever the persuasion or label be it Tory or Socialist, Communist or Capitalist, what’s important are the values and principles of the people in charge. If they have few or none, then it doesn’t matter what they call themselves, they are simply charlatans and do not deserve to breathe God’s good air and anyone regardless of their motivation should/must realise the damage such idiots do to communities and nations.

    The biggest bonus for these parasites is the ignorance and stupidity, and the selfishness of the voting public that hands them power.

    God help us all.

    You may now continue to vote chaos for your country and continue to read the Torygraph.

    Have a better one

  25. I didn’t like their kits at the time (still don’t, too garish and tacky for my liking) but they were groundbreaking and led to a revolution in club strips. Sadly their fate seemed to follow the rest of British Industry of the era with the Germans and Italians in this case learning from it, then doing it better.

        1. I noticed Pools were wearing an Avec shirt (from Avec’s Montpellier catalogue range retailing at £12.99) on Saturday against Cheltenham. They usually wear a blue and white shadow striped shirt from Nike but apparently it was a one off fund raising Poppy appeal special to auction off afterwards. Hope they ordered them 18 months in advance!

  26. I don’t believe that there ever was a detailed plan should the vote to leave come to fruition. Why plan for something that may never happen and most thought at the time wouldn’t happen. Who was to make that plan? Boris, Farage, Gove, Bank of England the Foreign Secretary who elected them as planners or indeed who elected anyone in the campaign stakes, they were all given to us as a fait accompli be they inners or outers.

    The vote was “Yes or No”, “In or Out” no “Shaking it all about” which is what I suspect most would have wanted and agreed upon. The calibre of debate from both camps was dire and intellectually insulting but light years ahead of the recent Presidential one (although I do feel there are many in the corridors in Brussels that should be locked up for individual heinous crimes).

    “It” wasn’t fought along party political lines so the Conservatives not having a plan is no more absurd than the Lib Dems or Labour not having a plan. I don’t hear much from those in opposition to article 50 presenting a shadow “Plan”, just valueless sniping. The Country as a whole needs a plan not just one political party. Farage has moved on, Cameron quit, Labour was in a state of mutiny and 95% of the population have no idea who Tim Farron is let alone what he does for a living. There were no plans in place for either eventuality from any side, I am yet to hear what the plan for staying was unless it was just more of the same which doesn’t sound like a plan to me just more sufferance of inevitability.

    Any Brexit “Plan” will be far from one dimensional. It will by its very nature be multi faceted, becoming very complex in many places. What Mrs May and co. now have to do is play a game of Poker with the highest stakes possible and yet there are some screaming “show us your hand”, “what did you agree with Nissan”. In fairness to Theresa May she didn’t bring the nation to this decision but is now charged with delivering something she personally didn’t want to the best of her ability.

    Failing to plan is planning to fail so we allegedly have minions locked up in the corridors of power supposedly producing one. There are no doubt many who wish to see a 53,000 page report detailing every aspect of “the Plan”, a plan I doubt that will ever be produced let alone be seen. Those same individuals would of course be happy to dissect every single paragraph and then spend academic eternity condemning and pulling at it like a pack of hyena’s.

    I know of no conflict, discussion, debate, negotiation or indeed game of Poker where any side informs the others of their true intentions. By all means bluff and make outrageous and outlandish requests in the hope of settling somewhere North of what you want but never ever tell the opposition what your plan is in detail. A strategy of revealing your hand before play commences can only have one outcome and not a very good one.

    Cloak and dagger, keep them guessing, bluff when the going gets tough but do not under any circumstances show them your hand, at all times make them think you just might be holding a Royal Flush, better still make them think you have never played the game before.

    **AV writes: There can’t be a plan, either one page or 53,000 page, until there is agreement on the basics. The vote was to leave the political union…. but in or out of the single market? If in, then on what basis and with what restrictions on the four freedoms? Until the government decide on that then there are no cards to show or hide. It is not a case of revealing complex negotiating positions, just deciding a few pretty simple principles. The problem is not the multi-faceted, multi-lateral nature of talks.

    The problem is the government is hopelessly split on what to do. Most MPs want to stay. The Conservative manifesto at the last election (from which the current unelected PM derives her authority) explicitly commits the party to remain. And none of the Brexiters in government can agree on what form it should take. At the minute it is just a series of bizarre, intangible, shapeless slogans. It is a dog’s breakfast.

    1. And that is reflected across the political parties and the country at large.

      I suspect being on the opposition benches is a bit like being an injured player in the stands, their worth increases by the week as they watch what is happening in front of them. They don’t have to make a pass or tackle but would have done better than the incumbent.

      How you may ask and the response will be I just would.

      1. I suspect Ian, that Jeremy C & Labour will be secretly wetting themselves with laughter at May and the 3 Buffoons and not wanting an election anytime soon. Once again it’s a case of never interrupting your enemy whilst they make mistakes, and in this case a passing resemblance to the 4 Stooges. Now as for Boris, wouldn’t he do for the Stooge who wore the top hat, raincoat and always used the car horn. Trouble is he can’t keep his fat Bullington Boy mouth shut. Harpo, I believe he was called.

        You couldn’t it up!

        1. The Marx Brothers, a great act.

          If I was Jeremy I would be sending the message out amongst the troops to say nothing. If the Tories offered a commons select committee to discus the alternatives no one would take part, not even Keith Vaz!!

          1. I stand ever so slightly mixed up and corrected, Ian – Marx Brothers, 3 or 4 Stooges. I recall it was sometime ago now. Still, makes me smile to think of Theresa Mayhem as the one with the glasses, moustache and cigar – Groucho, that’s him!
            Can u imagine PM ‘Groucho’ Mayhem stridin around the cabinent kitchen table with cigar in hand, eyes wide, whilst Boris ‘Harpo’ Johnson leans over towards her flirtly flashing his lids whilst pumping his horn (careful). Meanwhile the Italian one pipes up ‘Whadda we a gonna do with this Brexit thing?’ Which of course sends Boris ‘Harpo’ into a flurry of uncontrollable pumping with a grimaced look on his face.



      2. IG
        I’m afraid that won’t wash, the entire affair was organised ( like the famous booze up in a brewery) by the poor old Tories, to tell you how stupid they are, their leader was left homeless and penniless by the affair, even had to retire from his skive as an MP to go wandering the world spouting rubbish to whoever will give him a few bob. No matter how it is resolved, no member of a non government party will be allowed to get his snout in that particular trough.

        1. Plato

          They all have their trotters in the troughs, I admit some troughs are more equal than others but troughs they remain.

          One place I worked the executive dining room was known as the golden trough.

          The staff car park also had the works social club in it. Within months of a plush new senior management office block being built at the entrance and their cars upgraded from Carlton’s to BMW 5 series the announcement was made the company could no longer afford to subsidise the social club.

    2. AV we do not elect a PM in this country. We elect a party to govern, and the leader of that party becomes PM.
      Quite why this has become an issue now escapes me, as I am sure most labour party members did not get their panties in a wad over the unelected Gordon Brown.

      **AV writes: I understand the mechanics. There wasn’t even a real election within the Tory Parliamentary party nor the party members in the country as their constitution requires. The current government as it stands are now divided between themselves over an issue fundamental importance and set on a course that their own manifesto (and most of their MPs) expressly oppose. It is an internal political and ethical minefield. And pointing to another party and saying “but look, they did it” doesn’t really address the question and illustrates exactly how low the standard of public debate is in this country.

      1. It’s a trend, AV! One could even suggest that it stretches across from the great pond and as if by osmosis it’s infected the land down under.

        Hysteria epidemis psychosis!

        It’s coming to a hustings near you soon.

        Head for the hills!

      2. AV

        The problem is we know that the view would be different with the labour party in power.

        Too many people take a partisan position. There is a disconnect between the establishment and ordinary people. We ignore it at our peril, if you keep going back to entrenched ideologies you end up with the same problem.

        Whilst I admit to being Torygraph rather than Mirror I have been making the same comments on here for ages, they are non political. It doesn’t mean others views are wrong, it means you haven’t got the message across. That is why the labour and liberal parties are slipping, it is why SNP have destroyed the labour party in Scotland.

        USA have the same problem, we know best yet they live in lifestyles not even Gazette reporters aspire to. Loads of elections in Europe may show some evidence of the same thing.

        It may stick in the craw but it appears to be true.

        Waiting for abuse

        **AV writes: I might have missed something but I don’t understand what point you are making.

        I was just pointing out that we now have a divided and dysfunctional government facing the biggest constitutional & economic dislocation in a generation without leadership, direction or even a map. Because an internal political stunt went wrong and has unleashed a political dynamic that no-one appears able to cope with. It is not about ideologies. It is about practicalities. It doesn’t matter what colour rosette they are wearing. And raising that – the other lot did X – as a kneejerk response, as an excuse for not addressing the situation or to shut down debate is adding to the paralysis.

        We have a national emergency here: No one is steering! And anyone who points this out – from any point of the political spectrum – is shouted down by angry people wearing blindfolds and using a shapeless slogan as a weapon.

        1. AV said

          ‘We have a national emergency here: No one is steering!’

          Have to agree, AV. Just listened to PMQ’s and read descriptor of ques in the HoC on Brexit and it has to be said in all seriousness that the buffoons in charge are sailing the good ship HMS UK around and around in ever decreasing circles. You could say if it were a plane they are flying within the great cloud of unknowing.

          I said some months back that the bodies in the HoC are not fit for purpose and so it seems that I have been unfortunately proven correct.

          ‘Tories don’t talk, they act!’ Really???

          UK Foreign Minister Boris ‘Harpo’ Johnson ‘There is no such thing as freedom of movement in the EU.’

          Turning the country into a world wide laughing stock.

      3. I would not have posted my comment but for the insistence on shoehorning the “unelected PM” comment into any political thread. I completely appreciate what is being said, and the gravity of the situation – but this kind of points scoring comment is helping nobody, and nor is it raising the bar in the public debate arena.

  27. I notice that speculation about Rhodes has raised its head again. Villa seem very keen with 87% of their supporters wanting to reunite him with Gestede. Where that would leave McCormack and Kodjia would be interesting.

    Meanwhile in Gazetteshire here on Teesside 50% of Boro supporters rate Rhodes as the number one Striker at the club ahead of Negredo, Stuani and Nugent. My gut instinct tells me this could have the makings of “Typical Boro” all over it. I rate Negredo’s workrate and bustle but Jordan is a different proposition and whilst he won’t physically compete the way Negredo does he will compete by giving them the slip. Which would be of most benefit is open to debate but one that i feel needs to at least be explored.

    Good news is that the Riverside is all but a sell out for Sunday against Chelsea with literally about 30 seats left on sale. Bad news is that Pat Nevin reckons that they have the easiest fixture at the weekend of all the “top” Premiership sides. Since changing to 3-4-3 in October Conte’s side has won their last 5 games, scoring 16 and conceding none. No pressure then!

    1. Let’s see how well their 3 at the back perform when Traore goes screaming down the right wing and they’ve gotta keep an eye on either Negredo or Rhodes in the middle.

      I’ve said it befor Ian, that it’s going to be an interesting game and I for one wouldn’t rule out a Boro home 3pts.


      This Boro team deserves to be mid table at the very least.

  28. I see Goujons was unlucky against the mighty Costa Ricans… I wonder if Dimi may get the nod to go on the bench on Sunday.

    1. Powmill, the mighty Costa Rican’s were one of the few teams of the 2014 World Cup that were actually worth tuning in to watch and, I thought they were pretty handy to boot. I’m not defending Goujons by the way, just giving the minnows praise where it’s deserved.

        1. I just thought that Costa Rica were worth a pat on the back, they provided entertainment in what I can only say was the worst World Cup I’ve ever seen in regards to quality football. I didn’t even watch the final, mainly because one of them had to win, but as it turned out it was dire fare laid before the public once again.

  29. Ok, I’ve edited my Fantasy Football team. It’s cost me transfer points but that’s a sacrafice I’m willing to make. I’ve filled it with Chelsea players, made Hazard captain, taken out all trace of Boro players.

    I’ve done everything I can to ensure Boro plays a blinder and Chelsea have a bad day. Now its over to the players.

  30. Just read a match report on England v Spain.(the times) quite a good laugh actually.

    Just a few points. Vardy, desperate to impress, should have been sent off for a foul straight from the lower league’s, quite awful. England went ahead from a penalty by Lallana, oh Vardy was involved in the penalty, he got on the end of a pass and went down a bit easily, the second goal came when Vardy got lucky with a header. When he was substituted for Rushford there was enormous applause. This rubbish went on in the same vein for quite a while.

    A couple of points. Vardy did not foul the Spanish player, TV showed it in slow Mo. What happened was, Vardy got to the ball early and put boot to ball clearing it up field, long before the Spaniard got anywhere near the scene, said Spaniard didn’t bother with that little fact, he simply carried on charging in with the ball long gone, cue collision of Spanish shin with English boot, cue outrage of Spaniard, cue ref telling him to clear off.

    It is no surprise that Spain settled down to play when Vardy went off, he is really hard to mark with his speed and deadly in front of goal. Had he gone to Arsenal, he would have been a fixture in the English team.

  31. I think a certain American future president kept this blog alive during the past week or so. The football break will over a fortnight long. Desperate.

    AV, you must have a blog somewhere between the last and next match during an International btreak. (Luckily the next one is in March.)

    Anyone interested in the next match? It is against our all time favourites from Stamford Bridge. Nice owner, etc. Like us a bit.

    They are due to lose some points. Or at least conceding a goal. I hope for a point.

    Up the Boro!

  32. Yes the international break meant that I instead looked quite deeply into the whole President Trump phenomenon – I started writing a post about it and it got long – very long – and then it essentially became two feature articles, which meant I ended up actually creating my own Blog in WordPress rather than hijacking AV’s since to paraphrase the great leader ‘No-one respects Untypical Boro more than I do’…

    Anyway, if anyone fancies a long read I’ve finished edited the first part, which is essentially about how the role of Internet News and Social Media have impacted on the democratic process – It’s Titled:

    Was President Trump Really Created by a Populist Algorithm?

  33. Something else to fill in the tedium, tedium on the M1.

    Been away in North London and left this morning, got past the M25 and traffic moving quickly, fairly quiet for that stretch of the M1

    Inside couple of lanes with lorries doing the best they could keeping up a decent road speed. Outer couple of lanes occupied by cars travelling at a decent speed and moving up the M1.

    A bit like a Grand Prix where the slower cars keep out of the quicker cars way.

    No congestion and travelling smoothly.

    Then the overhead signals said 60 mph, next said 60 mph, the next said 50 mph and suddenly the traffic slowed right down.

    Another F1 analogy, just like a safety car. Everyone bunched up because the cars couldn’t get out of the way and we had bad congestion.

    There were no junctions in the stretch, just open four and five lane motorway. No backed up slip roads, no broken down cars on the hard shoulder, no accidents or incidents. Nothing to give a clue about the reason for the speed restrictions.

    Back to normal and the traffic cleared as if by magic and later went through the three lane part of the M1 with no problem

    They must have some form of sensor that kicks in but at times the series of signals seem to create the congestion. I suppose the modelling is doing the best it can.

    Sorry about that.

    1. Ian as a retired Highways England Traffic Officer I may be able to show a bit of light on your experience today. Often we would get a call that there is debris or a stranded vehicle in one of the lanes and we would put on a Rolling Road Block to bring the traffic to a stop just before the hazard, our colleagues in the control center would set speed reduction signals further back to avoid vehicles approaching at high speed. Quite often, by the time you reach the location we have cleared the hazard and left the scene and it appears that there was no problem, which is a good thing because it means nobody hit the hazard causing injury or death.

      I hope that enlightens you.

      Come on BORO.

      1. That is very interesting Exmil. I’ve learned something there as I have always had that same frustration as Ian described. I shall no longer be frustrated when this happens to me next.

    1. And live on TV over here, too as in the UK. Also the luxury of a pundits etc. A Super Sunday for us abroad.

      I love the PL for the TV coverage. And Boro are doing alright, too. Life is good.

      Up the Boro!

  34. Great stuff, exmil.

    The glory of this blog: somebody mentions a subject, and we get an immediate well-informed and expert response.

    Same goes for Werder (see below).

  35. Exmill

    That makes sense. The lights were very close together, I wonder if it was some time earlier.

    Are there any sensors in them to automatically slow traffic because it is every time you pass that stretch of the M1, same goes for the M42.

    Authorities do claim it is traffic management in some cases.

    Devon removed a lot of traffic lights at roundabouts and found congestion eased. There are cases I know of in Derby where lights SEEM to make things worse.

    Several years ago there were consultants brought in to improve traffic on the A38 – equivalent to the A19 through Teesside. Cost £1.5 million. When I leave home there are five roundabouts before pulling off to park for the Riverside. One is local as I drop on to the A38, three are within five miles and the other 20 miles away. I could have told them that they needed flyovers for a pack of beer. That is the easy part, they difficulty is drawing up proposals, planning permission and funding!!

    Very difficult, the truth, is if it holds you up it you think it is poor planning.

    Anyway, back to proper football. Depending on the last part of the dreaded hedge I may miss the start of the match. I have a great record when I miss commentary. Forgot tosh about formations and selection, the Gill hedges seam crucial.

    There are some Leylandii at the front so I may have to move on to them next.

    Before I get accused of owning a Mansion, the people I bought from planted trees like bedding plantings!!

  36. Werdermouth.

    Thanks for giving us privileged access to your excellent piece. It deserves to have very wide circulation, and I wish you well in getting it placed.

    I wouldn’t disagree with any of it, but it stimulated a few immediate thoughts.

    It would be consoling in a way to believe that the Presidential result, with all of its possible horrifying consequences, was the result of voter manipulation via social media.

    But RR has rightly pointed out that Trump was actually addressing real problems, not least in relation to the politics of the rust-belt, and that he polled best generally amongst older white male high school graduates (the euphemism for those who didn’t make it to college.)

    What won him the election were the votes of a demographic that was most badly affected by globalisation. But they also happened to be the lightest users of social media.

    Conversely younger college graduates, heavy users of social media,voted overwhelmingly in favour of Clinton, as they had, indeed, for Bernie Sanders earlier.

    As for social media’s tendency towards confirmation bias, it has nothing on old media. Pretty well everyone who buys a national paper choses one that reflects his/her own prejudices- but it’s a confirmation bias that is politically heavily skewed to the right, much more so, I suspect, than social media.

    As for the manufacture of distortions and outright lies as news, traditional media have been doing this for years. The “truth” about Hillsborough was a fiction got up by two blokes in a pub, reported by a single hack, Kelvin Mackenzie, against the express wishes of the rest of his staff, and endorsed within 24 hours by Thatcher and the political establishment.

    Orgreave was reported by the BBC and every national paper as a story about picket violence, their preferred interpretative framework for understanding the miners’ strike. Reporting the facts? Digging for the real story of Orgreave? Forget it?

    It’s a pattern repeated every day in the national press. The Sun, Mirror, Telegraph, Mail and Express all have pre-set political and social agendas, and reporters write stories which confirm them. What would be the point of doing otherwise? The story wouldn’t be published, and the reporter would be hauled over the coals.

    It’s difficult to believe that these kind of major historical distortions could have been perpetrated in the age of the mobile phone and citizen reporter.

    What has been particularly pernicious about traditional media is that they have enjoyed a degree of credibility which they scarcely deserve, because they are national institutions, with mutually supportive agendas. Social media outlets, however abhorrent they may be in their content, do not, in spite of the American election, enjoy anything like the same degree of hegemonic dominance.

    I hope.

    **AV writes: Yes, Werder’s bit is an interesting read.

    I think it is worth pointing out that while there are layers of the (mainly white) working class that have been hit by an economic and cultural dislocation – in the US rust belt, the deindustrialised north of the UK and other similar areas – that has not led to the spontaneous growth of right-wing populism. It didn’t happen in a vacuum. In the US there is a residual under-current of race. It is only a generation ago that many of the deepest red states still had de facto segregation. That runs deep and when the pressure is on, that is a clear and present fault-line. The #BlackLivesMatter movement pre-dates Trump. His campaign has allowed a long simmering, unspoken backlash to form around it.

    Neither has this happened in a vacuum just because of the cosy inertia of old mainstream media that is wedded to the establishment and the structures of the civil state. It has been fostered by a persistent, pernicious and conscious campaign by overt right-wing forces that systematically poison the debate away from the mainstream media with nasty memes, smears and lies that once would fester in beer halls but now are easily injected into the body politic. In the US these forces are called the “alt-right” and it sucks in all manner of sinister StormFront types of white nationalism, racists, sexist, homophobes and anti-semites who are vitriolic and organised but who pass themselves off as ‘concerned citizens’ who claim they have been overlooked and silenced. In the UK that is mirrored by groups like the EDL and Britain First who have next to no physical presence but have created a jackboot footprint on Facebook.

    It is not all structural problems in the media machine and gaps in how news is shaped or consumed. There are sinister forces at work too. In the past the powers that be – both liberal and conservative – have mistakenly thought they could easily control or harness these forces for their own benefit but have made major miscalulations with catastrophic consequences.

    1. Have a look at the video I put up AV, although it’s meant as a joke it’s pretty accurate too.

      **AV writes: yes, I follow his stuff. Very funny.

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