WELL, that was a long night on radar watch and ringing up various national air traffic control centres demanding updates of all Transatlantic flights leaving Latin America. Bleary-eyed but lets do this….
THEY jinx its all over… it is now!
With perfect timing Boro shattered their long standing Hillsborough hoodoo to take the heat off Aitor Karaka and shore up sagging morale.
Adam Reach netted in a one sided first half that Boro bossed then after a brief Owls revival and deflected equaliser Aitor Karanka made some decisive substitutions and in a final flourish Diego Fabbrini and Cristhian Stuani wrapped up a 3-1 win.
Given the mood around the club – even the boss was prompted to issue a “don’t panic” message in the build up – Wednesday was the last place most Boro fans wanted to go.
Talk about a timely result. It may have taken extra time to squeeze past lower league opposition but it was crucial.
Not just to make progress in the cup and bounce back from the first defeat of the season. And not just to show that Boro could come from behind.
The fight-back that made the Brewers drop was the first time in just over a year that Aitor Karanka’s side had clawed back a deficit – the last occasion was at Bolton 12 months ago this week, a hard-fought 2-1 win. All that is great but it was routine box-ticking.
The real result on the night was that it helped settle the nerves of Teesside’s more nervous faction of fans.
WELL what better way to celebrate 20 years at the Riverside Stadium than with a demoralising defeat that sent frustrated fans home chuntering?
What could be more fitting than following the swaggering show against Bolton with a disjointed defeat to a limited side who had been leaking for fun?
You could pop back at midnight and Boro still wouldn’t have squeezed one in.
¡AY, CARAMBA! Scorchio. The much hyped battle of the Bernabéu supremo’s sidekicks was a feisty affair.
Honours were even as Aitor Karanka and Paul Clement, both former assistants to Real Madrid managers went head-to-head and their teams went toe-to-toe and Derby grabbed a late leveller in a 1-1 draw.
It was an eagerly anticipated encounter as the second tier proxies for Jose Mourinho and Carlo Ancelotti shaped-up against each other, promotion rivals but also cyphers for shadows of big egos elsewhere.
It was one of the narratives touted in the Championship trailers, a must-see managerial showdown heavy with sub-text. And round one was fantastic fare.
THAT is how you start the season at home: with a bang. A great big one. A sonic boom.
Slick Boro bamboozled Bolton and eased to an emphatic victory with a cavalier display of liquid football that lit the red touch paper on a season of promise.
After all the hype that came with the summer spending, the talk of a reshaped fluid front end and the dreaded bookies’ favourites tag – and after so many false dawns in seasons past – it was important that Aitor’s Army delivered.
Wow! They did that in spades.
SUMMER: so many repeats.
It was another chance to see what felt like a rerun last year’s exciting episode as once again Boro eased to an emphatic three goal Capital One Cup win at Oldham with a box fresh Spanish-speaking striker taking the plaudits.
Boro had to dig deep at times against a plucky home side but the quality shone through and fans went away raving about their new frontman and bubbling with optimism. But for Kike read Stuani.
The only real difference this time was the weather. Thank God.
ROY of the Rovers. Jumpers for goalposts. Everyone loves a football fairytale. And there were two to enjoy in the Boro’s slightly stodgy Championship curtain raiser at Deepdale.
The performance and result at Preston may have been disappointing. Given the summer spending you would expect the title favourites to beat a newly promoted side no matter how well organised and spirited.
Aitor wasn’t happy. But at least frustrated fans could relish two heart-warming stories of local lads from opposite ends of the career path and profile spectrum wearing the shirt of their home town club with pride.
RIGHT. After officially the longest ever gap between posts on here and a yaaaawning fallow two weeks nervously unchained from the secure laptop with the atomic codes, I’m back at work and wading through soul destroying pages of e-mails, google docs and memos and catching up on all the office gossip: fights, affairs, transfer demands etc.
So, what have I missed? Obviously the long waist high wade through a lake of treacle that is trying to make contact with the Venkeys over Jordan Rhodes. And obviously a string of red hot rumours that flared and faded as quickly as a flurry of hastily changed bookies odds. And obviously a long wait for the red tape over Stuani’s international clearance to be slowly unravelled by the “Manana” man. And obviously the twitter-storm rumour frenzy surrounding out of favour (and out of shape) Lee Tomlin’s sharp exit before the Getafe game as he was named as a sub, an incident that is no doubt being called ‘TummyGate.’
THE RETURN of Boro’s parmo-powered prodigal play-maker can galvanise the Riverside.
If Stewart Downing can hit the sizzling form he showed at West Ham last term, he can help fire his home town club back to the Premier League. He can be a game-changer. A hero.
This is a pivotal moment that feeds into the narrative of past glories, of the big name signing sweeping into town to energise the team and the town and to create some emotional momentum. It could be a ‘Merson moment.”