Boro 2 – 0 Ipswich

Middlesbrough Ipswich Town
On target
On target

Bamford blasts the blues away

Redcar Red reports on Boro’s victory over Ipswich at the Riverside…

Perhaps this afternoon’s game should have been played at high noon to compliment the pre match build up over the last week. For many home fans it was do or die for our Manager after some pretty disappointing results of late. Just about everything was dissected, from selections, tactics, omissions, confidence, and belief right through to potential changing room trouble makers stirring the pot. Regardless of who had or hadn’t done what and when this afternoon was going to be about 90 minutes of football that for many felt would decide GM’s Boro fate rightly or wrongly.

In a game with so much at stake the amateur psychoanalysts amongst us would be dissecting GM’s team selection first and formation second to get a clue of what goes on inside Garry Monks mind. Old tried and tested with Grant and Clayts in the engine room or perhaps three at the back to cover for the wing backs that had been badly exposed lately. Downing left or left out, Traore on the right or on the bench? The eagerly awaited team sheet at 2.00 declared that Grant was indeed restored but partnered with Howson but the biggest change was Bamford starting with Traore dropping to the bench.

The atmosphere was very subdued not helped by the cold and the seemingly growing expanse of Red Plastic with the home crowd now slipping to 22,500. Boro started off bright and lively which was just as well as anything other than a win and a convincing one at that was the order of the day. Paddy was in the hole behind Britt with Stewy on the right and Braithwaite on the left. Within the first ten minutes it was very clear that words had been said about passing it out from the back and passing sideways. The inclusion of Bamford was more than an appeasement or act of contrition from a Manager trying to avoid the sack for the second time in his career on the same day. Paddy was quick, mobile, running into space, looking for the ball and creating, playing clever intelligent passes linking up Britt with the middle of the park and integrating with both Braithwaite and Downing.

Tension filled the Riverside as Ipswich stood firm, frustrating Boro and obviously under instruction to keep their heads, keep Boro quiet and the home fans would do the rest. Celina on loan from Man City had cut through the Boro defence only for Ayala to clear the danger. After 15 minutes the tempo like the temperature dipped a little and the Riverside resembled a still pond. The lack of noise from the stands was deafening, pressure was building but not on the pitch. A roll out from Randolph saw Christie and Ayala closed down quickly and one of those self-inflicted wounds seen so commonly of late avoided as the North Stand vented their spleen at the return of bad habits creeping in. It was exactly this type of slow monotonous passing about at the back build up that has seen us adrift of the play offs let alone automatic promotion.

Downing was looking lively and trying to create while Fabio was a bundle of energy winning a succession of headers as high balls were played out to his flank in an orchestrated attempt to gain a height advantage. Mick’s game plan wasn’t working as the diminutive Brazilian out leapt everyone in a blue shirt timing his headers to perfection. Grant was dominating the midfield and was a true Captain and leader flying into tackles, breaking up play but encouragingly setting up Bamford, Braithwaite and Downing to do their thing. Howson was trying to keep the forward momentum going with a few speculative balls that were being played into space that just weren’t coming off. It was the right approach but a brave one given the quiet nature of the church like Riverside.

A free kick from Stewy fell to Ben who sliced his attempt goal wards only to see Bialkowski get down to save. A quick break out from Ipswich saw Spence their RB surge forward leaving Boro stranded up field and Grant having to takeone for the Team as he simply took the lad out thereby ending any threat. Clearly the Players knew that if Ipswich went a goal to the good the flat atmosphere could quickly turn toxic. You could almost sense 21,000 Boro fans mentally saying to their side “go on then, prove it”.

Just before the half hour mark Downing in a crowded area spotted Fabio free and pinged a brilliant 35 yard cross field ball to the on rushing wing back who hit the ball on the volley only to see it go just wide. At this stage it would have been just reward for Boro as they totally dominated the game and more importantly were showing zest and zeal and looked up for the fight. For the first time in weeks they looked like they wanted it more than the opposition and prepared to put a shift in, none more so than Braithwaite put in a show worthy of the famous battery brand. He was running, chasing, closing down, setting up attacks and shooting himself.

Waghorn was a bit of a pain, moaning constantly and proving a handful and so the inevitable yellow for Ayala came as he clattered through him upending the mouthy Geordie striker. There was definitely more urgency and the intent was much improved but both Grant and Dani had now collected Yellows and after Christie, Randolphs and Ayala’s passing faux pas the home fans were sensing a “Typical Boro” moment. Against Derby we were excellent in the opening 13 minutes until going behind and imploding. Would the Tractor men do the same and kill off the nervy hopes that we all had watching from the stands, too anxious to sing, too desperate to get excited about the more positive slicker Boro, watching in relative silence interspersed with the odd moan about the Ref who seemed to see the game somewhat different from the majority in Red.

There were some really clever enjoyable passages of play namely between Bamford, Braithwaite and Britt but nothing bringing any ultimate joy. Stewy had a wild effort as did Britt as chances were limited and despite playing most of the game in the Blue half no desperately needed nerve breaking opener would come. Someone behind me remarked about what does Downing bring to the team and just at that moment he stopped the ball from going out of play, twisted and turned the Ipswich defender in front of him leaving him unceremoniously on his backside crossing for Britt through a packed 6 yard box, the ball bobbled about before breaking back across to Braithwaite on the edge of the 6 yard box and lashed in a close range right footed shot to lance the boil that had been ready to burst all afternoon. The Riverside was relieved rather than erupted and with only a minute until half time cool heads were required to see the half out.

The second half saw a change for Ipswich as Huws came off and Garner came on but the Ref also retired himself much to the pleasure of those around me with the 4th official taking charge for the second 45 minutes. The half started with Boro still dominant but with a bit more intent from McCarthy’s men with Garner now providing more attacking threat. Five minutes had passed and Christie slid a ball through to Paddy just ahead of Downing and danced his way as only Bamford can towards the 18 yard box. Braithwaite made an opening to receive the ball to Paddy’s left and Britt was running through on goal anticipating the pass but Paddy had other ideas and hit a low shot with the ball going past the stranded Bialkowski hitting the bottom of the upright rebounding into the net. That was the moment the Riverside relieved itself literally with joyous celebrations, going two up, easing the anxiety but most of all to see Paddy celebrate. All afternoon he had been the catalyst which enabled faster more pacier movement and passages of play and the goal was a well-earned and just reward. Moments later Paddy put the ball through for Britt who was just blocked by Knudsen getting back in a last desperate block. Boro were now in charge of the game with Grant bossing the middle, Howson covering when Christie went up field and clattering into challenges showing grit and determination. Celina pulled Grant back to go into the Ref’s book as frustration started building in the Ipswich ranks as they saw their frustrate and niggle policy founder.

Big Mick made a double substitution but the game looked well beyond them at this stage as Christie, Fabio, Downing, Bamford and Braithwaite were running the show with Grant still impeccably pulling the strings. Randolph had become a virtual spectator and GM decided to put on some fresh legs and take a few of his heroes off. Johnson came on for Downing and shortly after Gestede for Bamford. The logic was understandable but once those two went off the impetus was handed back to the Tractor men. Johnson didn’t quite get up to speed and wasn’t as effective as Downing and whilst Gestede won headers and knock downs for Britt they were nearer the half way line than Bialkowski ‘s goal line. Had Ipswich scored the consequences could have been horrific, as it was we held on for those last few minutes and ran the clock down with Forshaw coming on for Grant. All three of those substituted richly deserved their standing ovations. The game ended 2-0 to Boro in what was a really surreal afternoon. A much needed win for the Manager, far more positivity from Boro actually “passing forwards” but it remains to be seen if it is too little too late despite it being only December.

MOM for me was Bamford; his languid grace was the main difference in this Boro side adding intelligence, pace and movement. Special recognition however goes to Downing, Leadbitter, Braithwaite and Fabio who were worthy nominees.

Monk hopes not to come a cropper

Werdermouth previews the visit of Ipswich to the Riverside…

As Boro spent the week preparing for the arrival of the Tractor Boys, Garry Monk has perhaps been left to plough a lone furrow as he searches for a combination that will harvest the three points for Boro this weekend. The question for many supporters though is whether the Boro manager has reaped what he has sown after scattering seeds of doubt among the faithful as the team’s performances have wilted under the heat of the promotion challenge. Others have argued that the current crop of players, which were unearthed in the summer transfer window, have been rotated accordingly but have still been unable to flourish – leaving the managerial prospects of the new boss looking more than a tinge blighted in the process.

Whatever the reasons for the failure of Boro’s team to grow as the season has progressed, one thing is pretty much certain on Saturday, defeat is not an option for Garry Monk. Not only is it not an option but it will most likely leave him facing having to dress up in a red suit and donning a fake white beard if he is to be gainfully employed this Christmas – though he’d probably make good use of the sack for that particular job. Though having said that it’s perhaps not the right job for a man who cancelled Christmas this week – yes, spare a thought for the poor children of the unfortunate Boro players who face the prospect of empty designer Gucci stockings after the long-planned collective Crimbo shopping trip in the bright lights of London was unplugged after the team displayed a somewhat festering spirit against the unfestive Robins.

Apparently it was alarm bells rather than slay bells that started ringing for Garry and he panicked when the players said they’re going to shop until they drop – one thing is failing to gain promotion but talk of a relegation battle was surely a step too far! OK it’s another thing for Steve Gibson to let his managers shop until they drop but the players have already been gift-wrapping presents for the opposition in recent weeks. Though as promotion now seems half a world away, perhaps Steve Gibson will be inspired by the John Lewis man on the moon advert from a couple of years back and start contemplating looking through his telescope to see if he can find a rather thrifty Mogga once the parachute payments run out.

After a good start to the season that left them in second spot, Ipswich went on a run that saw them lose 7 games in the next 10 as they plunged down the table. However, Mick McCarthy’s men seemed to have regained their composure of late and have lost just one of their last six to put them three points ahead of Boro in seventh spot. Defeat for Boro could see the notion of promotion slip out the consciousness for many supporters as it could leave the club as much as 9 points off the play-off pack. Indeed many may start looking over their shoulders as Garry Monk’s team is only three points above 15th place and 4 defeats in 5 would start to look like something more terminal.

Middlesbrough Ipswich Town
Garry Monk Mick McCarthy
P20 – W8 – D5 – L7 – F25 – A20 P20 – W10 – D2 – L8 – F35 – A30
Points per game
Projected points
Points per game
Projected points
Last 6 Games
Bristol City (A)
Derby (H)
Birmingham (H)
Leeds (A)
Sunderland (H)
Hull (A)
1:2 (0:0) L
0:3 (0:1) L
2:0 (2:0) W
1:2 (0:1) L
1:0 (1:0) W
3:1 (2:0) W
Last 6 Games
Nottm Forest (H)
Derby (A)
Aston Villa (A)
Sheff Wed (H)
Hull (A)
Preston (H)
F-T (H-T)
4:2 (2:2) W
1:0 (1:0) W
0:2 (0:1) L
2:2 (0:0) D
2:2 (1:1) D
3:0 (1:0) W

Whilst many supporters have been vocal in their lack of confidence in Garry Monk, others are seemingly waiting in silence for a change in direction to materialise one way or the other. This pregnant pause in proceedings, following the Bristol debacle, means everyone is now holding their breath in anticipation of what will happen against Ipswich – though I imagine Steve Gibson is surely reluctant to dismiss his third manager within nine months despite this promotion campaign proving to be a difficult birth. Having thrown out the baby with the the bañera-aqua at the end of last season, many Boro followers are beginning to think that there is still much work to do on the discarding side.

What has become clearer, or indeed less clear, as each game has been witnessed and dissected is what is it that Boro are trying to achieve on the pitch. Is it back to the solid less adventurous model that brought Karanka his promotion success? or will we see at any point the supposedly planned expansive game materialise that the chairman sanctioned the spending of all those millions in the summer. The reality is that Garry Monk doesn’t appear to be on message on either of those scenarios – he’s not a manager who looks to organise his team and execute a meticulous game plan – nor is he particularly driven to put out a team that delivers free-flowing attacking football. At the moment we just have a manager looking to just somehow win each game by picking a safe combination of players who just don’t make a costly error.

It’s this almost frozen by fear of failure approach that has left many of the players looking ponderous on the pitch and uncertain of whether to stick or twist when they receive the ball. The free kick just outside the box in the dying seconds at Ashton Gate perhaps summed up the entire season – Nobody wanted the responsibility of taking the risk that the right ball could be delivered into the box that could earn Boro an unlikely point. Instead a meaningless short sideways kick passed the responsibility to someone else and the opportunity was gone in that instance.

At this moment in time I feel almost that I couldn’t tell you what XI should be picked to play for any particular game – there appears to be nobody screaming pick me and I’ll show you what the team are missing. Confidence has left the building and it’s now unclear what it’s going to take to rebuild it other than a string of victories – it’s that Catch 22 situation that leaves the outcome of successful season relying on success manifesting on the pitch. If the players don’t believe in themselves and each other or the manager then this is the stuff that bad runs are made of.

Though for some players, perhaps they are prone to getting carried away after a few good results against limited opposition and forget that there is no right for Boro to win games by just turning up with their multi-million pound teamsheet acting as some kind of Championship top trump card. This kind of talk was for me summed up by an article from early November, which had initially passed me by at the time but a link appeared at the bottom of one about the Bristol inquest in the Northern Echo. Stuart Downing announced ‘Martin Braithwaite is showing he’s too good for the Championship’ adding that he wants ‘everyone connected with Boro to help Braithwaite reach the Premier League’. This is a dangerous thought to have and it’s the kind of mindset that leads to complacency – a couple of good personal performances doesn’t make you into a Premier League player, for that you need to perform consistently well week in week out and take your chances when the team is not playing well. Besides Premier League forwards occasionally attempt to score goals from their own half like Wayne Rooney did last week – not attempt an ill-judged back-pass to their own keeper from within the opposition half.

There is a feeling that it’s possible many players arrived at Boro believing the pre-season hype that they were the Championship supergroup getting ready to go on tour and soak up the adulation and envy of other clubs. Whether the out-of-tune band needs breaking up and some being left to pursue a solo career in self-promotion elsewhere is not certain – but we urgently need a team not a collection of individuals looking for a better gig more suitable for their imagined talents.

So will Garry Monk be able to avoid becoming the next Boro manager to pick up his golden trowel and head off to Middlesbrough Garden City? Or will all the money ploughed into the summer recruitment finally start showing some green shoots of recovery against the Tractor Boys? As usual your predictions on score, scorers and team selection – plus will Steve Gibson be able to spot where his investment on the pitch is hiding with his new telescope?

272 thoughts on “Boro 2 – 0 Ipswich

  1. First in it is then. A match with a potentially toxic atmosphere if Boro don’t sort their own lack of chemistry out. Score prediction?

    Carthorses 1 – 3 Tractors

    We just don’t seem to have the pulling power or staying power any more. On a more serious note if Boro do lose the atmosphere inside the stadium will be very unpleasant.

    As always I hope for a win but…



  2. Crimbo!!! That’s the trouble with some Christmas shoppers, devaluing what Christmas means. As for Xmas, the letter X is the unknown, a puzzle to be solved. It’s almost suggesting that Christ didn’t exist. If one doesn’t believe that, then why celebrate his birth. Sorry if that offends anyone, but Christians are offended by the use of such slang words and abbreviations. Rant over.

    1. Sorry Ken, they’re just commonly used slang and shorthand words that I’m sure people are not using for the purpose of offending and you’re probably the first person I’ve come across that has said they were actually offended by the word ‘xmas’ – Personally as an atheist I’d much prefer if it went back to being the mid-winter festival so we don’t have to try to explain all the god stuff to our son. Indeed for many kids they associate Christmas with Father Christmas and elves and fairies – So the festival is a jumbled up mixture of pagan and religion anyway with just as much pagan symbolism with trees and lights – a bit like Easter really.

      Incidentally, my seven-year old asked last week ‘Did god exist before the big bang’? before we could work out what to tell him he said ‘I don’t think it’s possible he could have and I’m beginning to wonder if god even actually exists’.

      1. Pagans were and are religious. Saturnalia, the ancient Roman festival celebrated on the 17th of December (my birthday & shared with the present pope’s Pope Francis) was in honour of the god Saturn.
        Atheists or present day atheists trace their beginnings to the 18th C and exist purely as a reactionary sect contrary to theism. The reasons for atheism are many but ultimately it resides on opinion that there is no god.
        My stance on the atheist opinion is ‘Have you looked?’
        Btw. the Xmas tree is a historical gift introduced to the UK by the Germans just over approx 150 years ago- might be somert to do with the Royal family’s direct links to the House of Hannover.
        Humour alert!
        Britain leaves EU keeps German heritage Queen- Britain ruled by German decendents since 1896. Maybe the next Boro manager could be a German – oohhhh the irony!*

        *Spartak waits the slashing pen of the censor. 🙂

        1. Perhaps religion is one of those subjects best avoided as it’s even less likely than politics to be resolved in a football blog. Though yes I’m probably just a reactionary at heart who is against the power held over people by any religious organisation. But you’re right about Paganism being a religion too and they probably even invented the power of symbolism, which has been used and borrowed for millennia with reinforcement through ceremonies carried out by the priests. Though I wouldn’t at all be upset if the existence of God was one day proved – which I suspect is not something that works in the other direction.

  3. My typing/posting seems about as effective as Boro’s on the pitch performances recently. I was 90% through a lengthy one, and lost it. Hit the wrong key or something.

    I won’t repeat it all….but I did suggest that preparing a match preview for this Boro team is a difficult task because no-one, not even the players and staff, have any idea what the team performance is likely to be. Probably more Whitby Town (and well done there Redcar Town!!) than Bayern or Real Madrid.

    I was going on to speculate why that might be. But the day is young, I am off work, and I think a trip into the N Y Moors is calling me…… The countryside never lets you down.

    1. Sorry Dormo, but it was Redcar Athletic who play at Green Lane in the Wearside League who beat Whitby Town. Redcar Town play at Mo Mowlam Memorial Park in the North Riding Senior League who unfortunately lost to Pickering Town in the First Round.

  4. My heart wants a Boro victory but my head tells me that long term that may only be delaying the inevitable. I read an interview in the Gazette with Leeds Live writer Tom Marshall-Bailey who said, “They look to me a team which has all the various components in place but they are lacking a strategy and you wouldn’t be able to say there’s a clear identity you would attach to that team.”

    I think that is a fair and accurate summing up. How we have got to November without a clear strategy is open to debate but we have and it is the state we find ourselves in. The players look shot of belief and confidence unless they have Grant urging them on, that said I don’t think that Grant missing is the problem. I think that the lack of identity with what their roles are is merely masked by Grant’s adrenalin and passion, driving, urging and enthusing thereby covering up for the glaring obvious deficit.

    Astonished would be the only word I could think of if GM turned this around. He may by good fortune get a result tomorrow but thats only delaying the inevitable. To date his sides have looked well short of their collective abilities and its not as if he was working with a shoestring budget and a lack of numbers. He has credible at this level alternatives for every single position. Injuries haven’t majorly impacted nor suspensions his line ups.

    Should tomorrow follow the pattern of Leeds, Derby and Bristol where we were out thought, out paced and out of sorts then the Riverside will turn toxic. The key however isn’t that tomorrow is a potential day of destiny it is that this was seen coming a few months back and yet GM seemed incapable of regaining control of the situation. The brief run of wins against the dregs of the division merely papered over cracks. I think its gone too far and its too late regardless of the outcome tomorrow. My faint hope is that its maybe taken this weeks “feedback” to shake the Management team out of what ever comatose state they were in and get their act together, any act will do but like the Players seemingly I haven’t the belief and confidence in them.

    Heart says 2-1 Boro, my head says 1-3 to Ipswich.

  5. Yet again a lovely play on words Weder, you have the knack!

    I think the frozen bit was very apt, maybe someone should Let it Go!

    The static performances and ponderous approach must be down to the managers tactics and team talks which is the concern for me. Monk does not appear to have the ability to motivate the players or change a game at half time.

    I can foresee ugly scenes if we don’t come out fighting from the start and look like we want to win as if the crowd get on their backs, then it could be Monk that is told to Let it Go with his sack.

    I am hoping for 3 points and a positive performance although the realist in me says a 1 1 draw to give SG a dilemma.

    As for the team, maybe the same as last time?


  6. I don’t know what to predict anymore than finding life elsewhere in the universe.

    I like managers to be given a chance but I like them to show me that there is evidence to allow that to happen.

    I regularly mention the managerial charge sheet by which they are judged, as I have pointed out before Garry Monk has little in the plus column as yet.

    Mogga got the wage bill down and had a couple of attempts at the play offs before the negatives built up.

    AK solidified the team, got to the play off final, got us promoted before his man management skills did for him aided by iffy recruitment.

    Garry Monk doesn’t have a fund of goodwill to lean on other than not being AK. It is difficult to see how he can turn things around but I will be delighted if he does.

    Saturday, haven’t a clue, I hope for a win.

    1. In his early few weeks for me GM got off to a good start and seemed like a much needed breath of fresh air. I had very high hopes and was positive towards him as he tried different formations and made his Subs early on and changed things around. The impression I had was that he was astute and flexible in his management style.

      Fast forward and perhaps GM is too flexible and as a consequence has lost focus and dithering like a kid in a sweet shop. It seems like he is still deliberating over who he signed, who he has and what system to play them in and still no clearer in his own mind. With AK (love him or loathe him) he arrived with a very fixed immovable mindset on how he wanted “his teams” to play and what they had to do to effect that. I think he was too blinkered and in the end it proved his downfall, just a little more inventiveness and creativity and I really think he could have been a genius but like all geniuses they usually have a self destruct button. The contrast between the two styles is huge. I’m not saying this “contrast” is the reason for the poor start its that GM’s apparent lack of any evident plan or strategy is the cause of it.

      I do not believe that Players are not playing for him I believe the Players are genuinely confused and befuddled. There is a massive difference between the two. The squad at his disposal is comprehensive, if there was a bad egg he doesn’t have to select him. Downing seems to be the main target again after a poor game yet he was brought back in from the cold, why? Johnson, Traore, Fletcher, Tavernier, Bamford and even Fabio to name a few could play wide if required.

      Why would GM stick with a player who was a part of the problem. Why would Downing be regularly mentioned as one of the best performers by newspaper reports if he wasn’t trying? I can understand if fans thought that about Ayala or Traore after ridiculous sending’s off but of all the problems we have Downing is the least of them. None of them are producing not just one, if one player stands out as a massive under performer this season its Ben who has lost his mojo totally and is a mere shadow of his former self. There has to be a common denominator in all of this surely?

      Why was Fletcher constantly picked when the lad was clearly off form (being kind to him)? Is that because he was super nice to GM and our record Riverside scorer since Rav wasn’t? Grant was ignored, restored then presumably injured or dropped. Clayts was playing as a midfielder come stop gap CB and then dropped for doing exactly what his Manager had presumably requested of him, then there followed a difference of opinion allegedly. Forshaw in and out, hokey cokeying with the best of them. Traore on the left? Have we forgotten the derision that AK received for playing him on the wrong side so he could keep him near his coaching area?

      Rather than open revolt or gunpowder plots GM has singularly failed to be clear what his mantra is. If the Gazette were speaking to the club I would suggest they do an article entitled, “Garry Monk, who and what are you” because after 6 months we don’t know (or at least I certainly don’t anymore) and I don’t think the players do either.

  7. I must go for a 3-2 win for the (once) mighty Boro.

    Someone was suggesting a change of the manager. Perhaps a chap called Mogga who has won the Manager of the Month gong after four wins from four.

    I think Mogga would do OK with the money we have now. What a person and a good guy. And a club legend.

    Up the Boro!

  8. Jarkko

    We don’t want Mogga back, let the poor bloke rest in peace. He does have a history of confused players after a time, may be all managers do, whatever, let him get on with the rest of his career

    1. Had Mogga even had a sniff of the funds awash at the Club this season I think he would have done well for us but I agree he does like all of us have his foibles and there is a reason why he is in League 1. One day I’d love to see him return to the Prem restoring his CV in the process but I think its best he does it elsewhere.

      1. Mogga has the third lowest win rates of Celtic managers in the club’s history. Only Jimmy McGrory (49.7%) and Lou Macari (35.29%) have had lower win rates than Mogga at Celtic Park since 1897.

        In the nine years before Willie Maley took over in 1897 the team was picked by committee from their inception in 1888. Even John (Super Cali Go Ballistic Celtic Are Atrocious) Barnes recorded a 65.52% win rate. The late great Jock Stein achieved 70.14%, MON 75.53% and Strachan 65.02%. Brendan Rodgers is currently standing at 73.33%.

        Amazingly Jock Stein was only the Clubs 4th ever Manager since 1897 when he took the reins in 1965 and one of them was Jimmy McStay who was Manager during the 2nd World War from 1940-45 with no recorded League or Cup matches due to domestic football being suspended.

  9. I see that AV has produced a piece for the Gazette today on why the players should take some responsibility for the club’s poor form; not an argument that has previously been on the paper’s agenda.

  10. I fear the atmosphere at the Riverside will be tense in the extreme at the start of the game and will be felt by the players. Unless they can shrug it off and start in a positive manner by taking the game to Ipswich with decent forward looking football the tension will change to frustration with the fans voicing their disapproval. If nothing improves and if, heaven forbid, Ipswich score first then the dispproval will turn to outright hostility.

    Can Monk avoid all this by picking the right team, motivating them as a group and giving them the necessary tactical tools to win the game convincingly? I’m afraid I don’t think so.

    My score forecast is 1-3 and echoes what others have said. I think it will be a depressing day at the Riverside brightened up only by an incredible individual goal from Traore who will be brought on with five minutes to go to rescue the Boro from 3-0 down. Alas there won’t be many fans left in the ground to see it.

  11. Werdermouth

    Another great article and loved your agricultural references, especially as I lived 20 miles from Ipswich for 20 years.

    Christie, Fry, Gibson & Fabio
    Leadbitter & Howson
    Adama Bamford & Braitwaite

    Crowd: 22,222

    I always want Boro to win but I am finding it difficult to see where the inspiration to do so will come from given performances to date.

    Boro 0 – 1 Ipswich

    I am still of the view that SG will not dismiss GM until the play offs are mathematically beyond us but if the crowd turns hostile it might hasten a decision.

    Not sure if I made a wise decision last week when I purchased the next three Boro matches on iFOLLOW!

    CoB do an untypical and surprise us all! 😎

  12. To save himself Monk needs some brave, bold and very public gestures.

    Put Ayala, Downing and Fletcher on the transfer list

    Send Baker back to Chelsea

    Let Braithwaite, Howson and Johnson know that they are drinking in the Last Chance Saloon.

    Make Christie prove that he can defend.

    It’s his skin or theirs.

    1. What about Friend, Shotton, Roberts and Mejias. Arguably Bamford and Traore as he rarely uses them, come to that Ben’s value is going down faster than a Makem’s bid for city of culture and Grant’s creaking limbs are getting on and then there is Clayts who doesn’t see eye to eye and the crab that is Forshaw. Oh and of course Guedioura, if he can find him.

      Thats about 18 I make in total, all of whom have been either poor, lost form, carrying niggles or just not fancied. Problem with that is that I don’t think it will solve the problems just merely address the symptoms.

    2. I never understand why there isn’t just straight talking from managers instead of trying to spin events – Monk needs to really come out and say what it is he’s trying to do with the group as a whole. For example does he believe that to progress as a team you need to pass the decision making on the pitch to the players themselves rather than enforcing a rigid structure. At this point in time he may well be still learning which players are able to handle the responsibility given to them and can play with the expectations that are demanded by the club.

      I suspect Baker will be going back to Chelsea in January as there is no point him being an unused squad player. Fletcher clearly needs game time and maybe will go out on loan to prevent the club making a massive loss – though I believe he got an offer he couldn’t refuse from Boro so he’s probably on wages no Championship club could match.

      Monk has to last until the January window for any player to leave, otherwise they’ll all be on clean slates again and we’ll be none the wiser until the summer whether they are a problem or not.

      1. Or a few weeks and games over Christmas and New Year will give a new Manager a chance to evaluate what the squad consists of and who needs to stay and who needs to go.

        1. I think a lot depends on which side of the argument you lean towards – those who favour the theory that disruptive elements still remain and players were purchased in the summer that have failed to apply themselves will fear a new manager will not have enough time to establish who needs to be moved on. Whereas the camp that has not seen any indication from Monk that he’s got the capability and experience to build a team will want to give any new manager enough time to make a qualified assessment of what he needs to change in terms of playing staff.

          It’s quite possible both scenarios are not mutually exclusive and perhaps what the club really needs is a proper director of football that can have the strategic overview without stepping on the head coach’s shoes. If Steve Gibson has to sack his third manager in nine months he will be mortified – but what it will indicate is that there is a judgement deficit at the club and there will be no guarantee that the next appointment will be the correct one either – let alone the choice of incoming players. Boro need to get it right otherwise we will be squandering our parachute payments and the club may well be left to rue this for many years to come.

          1. WELL

            I had a few chats tonight and the news is……..

            Zilch !

            everyone absolutely schtum!

            Wouldn’t talk very vague one said Monk has until January ,,,,,,

            So in the end I know

            Nawthing !?

            Roll on tomorrow

  13. Great piece Werder
    I still think that noses have been put out of joint.
    All must think they deserve more game time.
    I agree that the players are confused but they must also be peeved at lack of minutes.
    The squad is heavy with players who would get game time at most other clubs.
    Most championship teams have squad players without the same expectations.
    This must be causing friction in the dressing room.
    Not what a 38 year old rookie manager without a number two needs.

    🔴 Thanks and I corrected your spelling of peeved for you 😉 Werdermouth

  14. As always, it is never just one or two players, it is never just the manager and coaching team, it is never just recruitment.

    It is a blend, sadly the manager carrys the can

  15. I think I clamoured, rather heavily, for Monk to find an identity and fast in my last Talking Point. Otherwise there is no meaning behind what Boro are supposed to be and what we are meant to be cheering.

    Apathy is worse than pain. That, for me, is why Monk is in severe danger of ranking alongside Strachan as the worst boss in the post-Riverside era. Although there might be those who will make cases for Southgate, Karanka, and even Robson, despite their greater levels of success.

    With Karanka, and Robson, I think, the anger was partly down to the pain of seeing those we once believed to be our saviours have their weaknesses so brutally exposed. There were genuinely those who worried, in 1996, that Robbo was “set to leave”.

    Me, I still remember my sixteen-year-old self taking utter delight at Emerson running the midfield against Liverpool, then really playing his part in the fifteen goal haul against West Ham, Coventry and Hereford.

    A week and a half later he phoned in his work at the Dell as winless Southampton, a team previously struggling to score, ran riot.

    We wouldn’t win again in the league until Boxing Day.

      1. If they do then you’ll have
        To fly over from Germany and RR come from Redcar as a joint team!

        If the Gazette have to have a team them we’ll match them!

  16. Now, Ipswich.

    My memories of Riverside clashes against them are not the fondest. Back in 1997-98 we had the perfect opportunity to bounce back against a good Ipswich team with Mogga (and Venus?) in defence, but conceded a late equaliser and almost a late winner after Festa was sent off early on.

    When they joined us in the PL, they were enjoying a miraculous season. As is Typical of Boro, a matter of hours after winning at Arsenal we limply folded against the Tractor Boys. 2-1 to them flattered us. Also, as is Typical of Boro, Alun Armstrong scored both Ipswich goals!

    Things got a bit quiet then, I think, until we went down and Southgate’s Boro swept aside Keane’s boys with the rarity of an Aliadiere double. The score was reversed the following year as Strachan’s title charge was made a mockery of on the opening day.

    It took until 2012 for Boro to finally win again against Ipswich at home, Luke Williams and Carayol on the score sheet in a 2-0 win. Then came AK, and doubles for Danny Graham (2-0) and Paddy Bam Bam (4-1). Would that it were always so easy for Boro strikers v Ipswich. Not so… Mr Rhodes found the post and the goalkeeper a serious nuisance in the 0-0 draw which nonetheless helped get us over the line.

    So what now?

  17. I always fancy the opposition to score against GM’s Boro. From the off, Monk has pushed our FBs forward like WBs and left our defence exposed. Initially we had Clayton dropping back when needed to make a 3-man defence but now it’s left to just the two CBs. We have been paying the price for this cavalier approach for weeks because it’s open knowledge that we are wide open down the wings.

    I am never confident of this Boro scoring, even with our expensively-assembled array of attackers. None of our forwards are clinical finishers and our MF create very few chances. Watching Bristol City last week was a reminder of how to slide an incisive pass for a forward to gobble up. The word is out, which is resulting in other teams attacking our fragile defence with confidence and impunity.

    So my guess is 1 or 2 to Ipswich and none to Boro.

  18. If Monk plays 3-5-2 we might just win as McCarthy will probably be expecting us to play 4-2-3-1, a system that exposes our defence and also isolates Assombalonga up front, in which I fear goals conceded and none scored. In that case it could be another 0-3 defeat or worse.

    Incidentally I’ve just been watching a re-run of Ch4’s “The Manageress” and Cherie Lunghi,bwho plays the main part, looks like getting her team promoted, so maybe she might be available if SG sacks Monk.

  19. I bumped into an Ipswich supporting colleague this week. He knew of our high spending and not awful league position. He seemed surprised when I described our lot as a team in flux.
    I think he’s more concerned with the state of his own team to realise other clubs’ fans are equally unhappy with their own teams form.
    I suspect he may be pleasantly surprised by Saturday evening,
    A one all draw, assuming we score first.

    1. You’re right to hope that we score first as Boro have only won one game this season when the opposition have scored before us and that was the 3-2 win over QPR back in mid-september when those lesser-spotted players Baker and Fletcher netted. Boro have also managed three draws when the opposition scored first – Fulham, Brentford and Barnsley.

  20. Weder I know I am constantly repeating myself, but the level and consistency of your articles continues to amaze for a non professional journalist.

    Hope to buy my ticket for tomorrows game. Has everybody else found it easy to sign in???

    Who knows which team will turn up tomorrow, although no fan can feel confident. Once again hoping for a win to leave SG with a route out of the painted corner.

  21. One wish. I hope that Monk has worked on our wide defence which seems so vulnerable to counter attacks. Whether that is by playing 3 at the back and taking the pressure of Christie and Fabio to play attack and defence at the same time or some other tactical trick, I don’t care but any opposing manager can see the weakness. Not reacting to that problem would be terminally stupid and I dont think Monk is stupid.

    2-1 win and breathing space. Bamford and Assombalonga.

    Didn’t think that Bristol City would win at Sheffield United. It’s a crazy division.


  22. Seems like he’s listening to fans and or board too much. He should just play Shotton, stick with Clayton dropping back as a third centre back to solve defensive fragility, play baker as the only goal scoring midfielder we have and Bamford needs to play. Downing should’ve gone – looks pretty but zero assists or goals. You can’t build a team around Britt – zero assists – you almost need to assume you’re down to ten and he’s a big bonus

  23. I lived and worked in Ipswich for ten years in the late 70’s and 80’s. My wife and all of her family all support the Town. Saw some great games at Portman Road including Cruyff playing for Barcelona. Unfortunately none involving the Boro. Was also 4th official there on two occasions when it wasn’t an official appointment and they used a local referee. I sat in the Ipswich dugout for one of the games which was interesting.
    So going for a draw to keep the family peace.

    1. Sheffield United have now taken only one point from their last four matches, yet I don’t hear their fans screaming to sack Chris Wilder. Maybe that’s because they have had a good start to the season, or have overachieved, or perhaps their fans hadn’t got such high expectations despite the fact they accumulated 100 points and scored 92 goals last season, whereas Boro have underachieved, accumulated only 28 points and scored only 27 goals last season albeit in a higher league. Is it the fact that momentum breeds confidence the main reason for the difference? Or is it that our fans expectations were too high?

      1. Good morning Ken,

        I think that winning creates momentum, they seem to feed on one another with the by-product of growing confidence and belief, then the wheel just goes around and around with the odd bump. Our expectations were too high but ambition is fine when it’s down to you to fulfil it, not those you are watching.



      2. Ken

        It was SG who raised the fans intentions with the intention to try and smash the league.

        This statement coupled with the purchase of a large outlay mostly on proven championship players also seemed to male people think we would do a Burnley or Newcastle and go straight back up.

        The difference was we changed our manager but them so did wolves and look where they are ……


      1. OFB
        Yes, I agree that the Chairman’s remarks must have been a contributory factor, and possibly put more pressure on the players and the manager too, although I wouldn’t expect him to admit it.

  24. Ken Smith

    Maybe the blades fans can see coherence on the pitch, evidence of a plan?

    Some good news, an omen.

    A couple of years ago we helped my daughter move in to her flat in Nottingham. She is moving out this weekend and we are helping her again, that is what parents are for.

    That day we beat Ipswich 4-1 with two from Bamford.

    You read it here first, it is nailed on.

    Time to buy my lottery tickets.

  25. Werder

    The good thing is she is moving back in with us for a couple of months whilst she commutes each week until she finds somewhere to live south of Oxford. In essence living out of a suitcase with furniture in storage.

    Do you think that counts? It might just mitigate post Christmas slump.

  26. Top read again Werder.

    Well there’s a lot of doom and gloom about and unfortunately I’m afraid I have to go along with most, not all, of it.

    Today is a possible tipping point re the crowd and the manager. If it all goes horribly wrong then I feel there could well be the first outright vocal dissent against Garry Monk. Me I’ve made up my mind and want him gone, but will save any verbals until the end if I’m still there. I want Boro to win every game they play in so even though I want Monk out I’d never come out and say I want us to lose to get rid of the manager. I’m sure he’s more than capable of doing that himself.

    Well a few of our regular number of Riverside attendees won’t be there for various reasons, wife’s 40th, visiting kids and grandkids in Somerset, you know really weak excuses. Heck even the granddaughter won’t be there as she’s got a craft fair with the Brownies she helps run. My point being why couldn’t I come up with a decent excuse myself, I’ve had all week to think of one! Suppose I’ll have to drink beer and suffer instead. 3-1 Boro in blind hope rather than blind faith.

  27. My sister was married on September 27, 1975.
    I was a teenager at the time and told her I would not have gone if Boro were at home.
    Fortunately they were away at Ipswich and won 3-0.
    I don’t think we have had a better game there since.

  28. I also remember a home game when Ipswich we going for the title and we beat Bobby Robsons lot 2-1 and Villa won the league.
    Think it was 1981. I am sure Ken will correct me if I am wrong.
    Villa won the European cup the following year.

  29. Werder
    Fyi – religious symbolism predates 12 millenium aka 12000 years 🙂

    Your welcome!

    Btw. lose today & you can scratch Boro’s autopromo for this season IMHO. The barcodes lost a total of 10 games and just claimed the title last season. Correct me if I’m wrong, but we lose today and that’s 7 loses and we haven’t reached 23 games yet.


    1. Spartakboro
      Whilst on leave during my RAF days I visited a Buddhist temple where swastikas were prominent on the altar and they were depicted north, east, south and west whereas the Nazi emblem was depicted diagonally in each corner in saltire fashion. Not sure of the significance of the difference.

      1. Read the link, Ken. You may find an answer there.

        Btw. I love the Hindu swastika, it represents bags of positive energy.

        Hindu religion has a rich symbol history. Probably the richest of all religions. And that’s saying something.

  30. Well, I don’t know about GM finding his voice but it’s definitely time for MFC to feel the Force and make sure that the Ipswich Tractor beam gets well and truly turned off.

  31. Thanks for the link Werder.
    I do not know why I always seem to have problems with either iFollow or the Club site. Had to reset my password….why,– who knows, although these days I blame everything that goes wrong on Microsoft and their Windows 10 OS.

    The number of times things disappear or are changed, especially after an up-date and items associated with Google. I think there is a secret war going on between these two.

    Well, hoping that the video stream pops up and we have a match to enjoy. We do not want to be dissecting another awful performance and looking under stones for alternative Managers. For goodness sake, give us all a break, one especially for Mr Gibson.

    1. Or maybe a cynic would say he has selected a team broadly in line with what the fans have been asking for so that if it all goes belly-up he has someone to blame.

  32. Mixed thoughts on team selection…….glad to see PB getting a start, Grant to give some more passion to the team and Ayala, has to be for his experience. Just hope he has been given a good talking to. SD in once again. Not for me as he has done nothing of any sorts. May be this will be his day to prove me wrong. Hope so as I do not mind eating humble pie when needs must.

  33. Changed my campaign from ” iwontfollow” to “sod it- iwillfollow”
    I cannot give up on Boro no matter how bad they play so paid me $9 and prepared for the poor stream.

  34. Looks like Monk has gone for Bamford on the left rather than Adama given how the speedy one played on his wrong side – the return of Leadbitter is OK but I thought Forshaw looked better than Howson last week but not by much. I wouldn’t have brought Ayala back as his last performance was far worse than the one that caused Fry to be dropped for many weeks. I think it all depends on Boro getting an early goal and then maybe we’ll see how they play with a crowd behind them – not convinced Ipswich are a particularly good side but then again it hasn’t needed good sides to beat Boro this season. Basically Monk needs to win this one and probably convincingly – this could be a season defining game!

  35. Sorry to hear people having trouble with the iFollow feed – mine has been working ok, though the quality is a little below normal. I was playing my laptop through the TV so couldn’t read the comments until HT.

    I’m viewing it from this page…

    There should be a button to press to ‘watch live now’ at the bottom of the header graphic.

    I’m using Firefox in Windows 10 – though iFollow recommend Chrome.

  36. As for the game – well the players seemed to have a bit more intensity but passes going astray and quite a few over-hit balls – I don’t know if I’m just tired but was struggling to stay awake watching the first half – Boro really needed that goal and it was good work from Downing on the right (a Cruyff turn I recall) to get the cross in and then Braithwaite pounced on the second ball – he’s too good for these league!

  37. Well blow me down! A double B and not the one i expected

    Hope we can hang on and Monks prayers have been answered. He lives to fight another day! Unless SG has benn Christmas shopping already!

  38. MOM Captain Grant. Energetic and disciplined display considering he was on an early yellow.
    Paddy showed why he should be in the team.
    Pleased for Monk that we won but still not sure he can get the team firing and grinding out results against the better teams.
    RR,’ s job is a little bit easier this week

    1. It will be easier in some ways although the danger is that we may be papering over the cracks and maybe the early Christmas present will have to be returned in the New Year?

  39. Finally a win against a top 12 team but Ipswich offered hardly no threat at all and didn’t look a good side. For Boro more intensity from the players but other than the two great pieces of skill for the goals (Downing’s trickery to get the cross over for the first and Bamford’s brilliant solo effort) it was all a bit scrappy and disjointed from the passing point of view. Gives us something to build on but still a work in progress as we reach the halfway point – we need to average two points per game for the rest of the season just to make the playoffs so winning needs to become the norm not the exception.

  40. Werder

    Two points a game would see us with 82 and probably 4th or 5th.

    My view is we need to be unbeaten going in to the New Year, preferably with at least two wins, three would be better especially if one is against Villa but one game at a time is the mantra.

    Promoted teams keep getting points then start playing better.

    OFB mentioned doing a Reading, we could do with a couple of the teams doing a Cardiff, Leicester, Derby or, dare I say it, a Boro and imploding.

  41. Werder, great though it is to get a win and pleasing though it is to see Bamford selected and scoring a beauty, in your opinion do you think that repeating the standard of today’s performance is going to generate a return of 1.9 or 2 points a game? My view is that I think Monk and the team will need to show a hello of a lot more to get anywhere near that. Question is can they?

    1. Extremely unlikely I’d say – I don’t really want to hear players declaring that they are back on track or any other such wildly optimistic claims until they’ve shown as a team they have won 7 out of the next 10 games. Anything said based on a couple of good results is meaningless talk and today’s performance wasn’t particularly great against a very ordinary Ipswich who I thought gave one of the meekest performance by any opposition we’ve faced this season.

      Today they’ve proved they can win but the passing was mostly wayward and it took a couple of great pieces of individual skill to get the two goals. It’s a start and a welcome three points but nothing more – the players and staff have eased the pressure a little and hopefully Monk learned that Boro with Bamford in a role where he can express himself is a better option than most others he’s tried.

  42. Pleased we got a win . Not many people may agree but I was pleased to see Ayala back. Also feel happy about Bamford . Proved that he should in the team from the off. Lets hope we can now move forward and get some wins.

  43. Should we be congratulating our YOUNGER brother at Newcastle United on the 125th anniversary of its formation today? I’m probably causing a bit of mischief here, but listed below are the order and years of some of the current clubs in the English Football League :-

    1 st Notts County 1862
    11th Middlesbrough 1876
    15th Everton 1878
    18th Manchester United 1878
    22nd Sunderland 1879
    39th Arsenal 1886
    51st Liverpool 1892
    52nd Newcastle United 1892
    73rd Chelsea 1905
    81st Leeds United 1919
    92nd Milton Keynes Dons 2004

    So Newcastle and Sunderland are merely SPROGS to quote an Armed Services expression!

  44. The last time we got promoted under that trouble causer Karanka, you know boring underachieving nobody liked?
    We went on a thirteen game unbeating streak winning eleven and drawing one.
    Anyone see that happening again, it should what with our new dynamic entertaining forward thinking group.

    1. Troglodytes v Cavaliars

      Boro Troglodytes 1 v 0 Boro Cavaliers

      Indeed, the Karanka Troglodytes achieved a winning run in a footballing style reminescent of the purgatory/hell of the 1stWW. We won’t mention AK’s meltdown, SG’s executive intervention or the Premiership catastrophe as it tends to paint a darker picture to the heavenly narrative and knocks AK’s halo askque just a touch.
      Broadening the point a touch, I believe we need to look at the recruitment essentials of our managers/coaches per se. It don’t paint a pretty picture.
      Finally, where is the present Assistant Coach/Manager? Oh, we don’t have one and the last but one is on gardening leave- his garden must be looking pretty good by now.
      Anyway, where would we be without Sir SG now, eh? Who knows, but if we are not in the Championship next season under GM’s supervision, then you can paint my nose red and I promise to repeat the word ‘nonsense’ non stop for a month.

      1. Sparta
        Footy fans? Who can make sense of them or their opinions?
        There’s you saying AK was rubbish.
        And there’s them pushing the crowd up to thirty thou. On occasions.
        It stayed at twenty five plus until the reality of mindless incompetents trying to show that anyone can be a manager finally kicked in.
        Plenty of teams have come down at the first attempt, what you do not do is start screaming, sack the manager, hire the office boy, concede a shedload of goals, sack the office boy, hire someone with no observable track record, give him your wallet, and stand well back.
        We have got what we so richly deserve.
        It proves what most people realise, it’s the manager.
        It would have made more sense to hire another German, we certainly had more fun with AK than we have had with our last five English jobs.

        1. ANd that’s why this is a good blog as everyone has a say

          Who would be a football chairman eh?

          One thing I found out recently is that our CEO Neil Bausor is widely respected within the game and is known to be a hard negotiator.

          I must confess it came as a surprise to me as well!

      2. Thinking of AK, I see Stuani is setting the heather aglow in Spain banging in a few goals here and there. Having been excited (and put hard cash on him) when he arrived and expecting him to be a striker to go down in Boro folklore I was a tad vexed when he was stuck out on the right. Even more so when Negredo was brought in last season because our then manager couldn’t see what was staring him in the face, if only. I wonder if AK watches the Spanish games on Sky thinking “and this is what I could have had”.

        Then there was Barragan who if I recall correctly was questioned by myself before he even kicked a ball for us and don’t start me on Espinosa who turned up crocked. Very strange qings on with our Spanish contingent last season, very strange indeed and note I never once mentioned the one with all the medals.

  45. Great Report RR – thank you.

    A win, two goals, a clean sheet, Bamford restored to the team but why am I not jumping for joy or even leaping out of my seat as I watched yesterday’s goals go in.

    It was better but that is not saying much given what has gone before and Ipswich again proved a point I have been making since the start of the season, that this is a very average league.

    Some strong performances from those mentioned by RR but i would give my MOTM to Leadbitter, who chased, harried won tackles and drove the team forward all afternoon.

    Still have an uneasy feeling that this could be yet another false dawn and that we have already missed the boat.

  46. Does anyone know the number of season tickets? We had 22500 home fans yesterday, I suspect many of the walk up fans are not walking up at the moment.

    It was only one match, we need to get some more points on the board before Christmas then we would get some decent crowds over the festive period. That might get some momentum in to the season

    1. There were a few empty season card holder seats near me which despite them probably being recorded as “sold” the club will be aware that many did not come through the actual turnstiles. Indifference by December is not a good indicator of a side smashing anything.

      1. Another fine report from Redcar Red. I’ve only seen the highlights on Ch5, but the reporters did seem enthused about Boro putting in a good performance, and Maddo seemed well pleased too. 17 attempts on goal with 6 on target seem much better statistics than of late, but that might be a reflection on Ipswich rather than Boro. The attendance figure was probably indicative of the bitterly cold weather, and on the two Saturdays mid December many folk are Christmas shopping. Boxing Day should see somewhere around the 28,000 mark despite the lowly opposition if Boro manage to stay unbeaten until then.

  47. I could’ve sworn we won yesterday, reading some of the comments on here I’m not so sure.

    A comfortable 2-0 win? Definitely.
    A classic? No.
    Only one side trying to win the game? Certainly.
    A deserved 3points? Absolutely.

    Randolph had very little to do all game, the back 4 looked very solid with hardly any problems, centre mid was controlled by my motm Grant, and while it took Howson 10 – 15 minutes to get up to speed from then on I thought he had a good game. Out of the front 4 only Britt didn’t do it imo. Strayed offside far too often, was wasteful with his attempts at goal and was just plain greedy when he should have layed Rudi in when we had a 3 v 1 on the right hand side of their box. Braithwaite and Downing hardly misplaced a pass all game and as for Paddy, that performance showed why he should be in the starting 11 every week. Hope you took notice of that Mr Monk!

    The only negative from the playing side for me was Johnson. Again. No issues with bringing Downing off, but to replace him with a much inferior and much less effective player was a step backwards and as RR pointed out seemed to give the Tractor Boys a bit of a lift. Personally for me Traore should have been given the nod. The back 4 and centre mid had the upper hand over the oppositions attacking threat so he wouldn’t have had to do much tracking back, and we all know his pace absolutely terrifies defences.

    Still don’t want Monk but if he can build some momentum and bag a good run of results then I am more than happy to hold my hand up and admit I’m wrong. I’ll be surprised if that were to happen but I like surprises me!

  48. It was by no means the finished article but the style of play did mark a departure from the backwards, sideways dross that the team clearly couldn’t conduct properly landing themselves in bother with time and again because they had no outlet from it. Yesterday there was more positivity than I have witnessed in a very, very long time indeed at the Riverside. Its a work in progress but a step in the right direction, there was something to build on, refine and improve.

    It should now be becoming very clear who his best players are and once recognised GM needs to stick to them and build momentum. Likewise his tactics and dare I use the word strategy. He may decide to revert to some of his previous “favourites” and in doing so undo the small progress evidenced yesterday and land himself back in the clart. I wouldn’t be surprised if he did unfortunately as I suspect that is the nature of the bloke or at least it has until now. This is a pivotal moment for him to refelct on what has gone wrong and why and what he has to do going forwards.

    I don’t think yesterday’s game convinced any of us that he is the man for the job but the game did offer a chink of light as to what could and should be with the talent at his disposal. I said a while back that Bamford, Downing, Braithwaite and Britt were all clever players and could link up well because of their abilities but crucially because of their nous and reading each other’s movements and ability to utilise that synergy. We seen small reasons to be optimistic yesterday as their individual skills were heightened by having like minded individuals around them. Gestede is good in the air, Traore is fast and Johnson does have something but those three (yet at least being kind) are not on the same wavelength as those four.

    On the subject of Grant he was definitely immense and again I suspect that it is easier to look good when you have players who can carry the ball away rather than pass it back to you so I would include him with the above mentioned four as their abilities need the mettle of a Grant destroying and backing up behind them giving them confidence to strut their stuff.

    1. You noticed a small well as I did that when they did revert to sideways or backwards passing the crowd reminded them to play the ball forward!!

      Injuries and suspensions apart he needs to stick with his team

      1. Absolutely. Stick with yesterday’s team and only make changes when they are forced. No more meddling please and if that means players acquired for vast sums can’t get a game then so be it.

  49. Thank you RR for the match report, your take on the match and filling me in on the lost minutes trying to access,
    Well I am blaming Windows 10 for my problems logging in, moved to my Tablet and all OK and a very good stream.

    Apart from two well taken goals, what is there to say.
    Positives…3 points at home, fans must have forgotten what that was. Obvious what Paddy brings to the table and he needs to be started for the next 5/6 matches irrespective of results or performance. Decent displays from Grant and SD. Braithwaite finally looking interested and putting some effort in.

    However as plenty have said on here, the League this season is poor overall or may be that is just the standard now. Ipswich looked ordinary and offered very little, but fair dooos to Mr McCarthy who has got his team up alongside ours spending almost nothing.
    As Allan said one swallow…..and it is the next performance that matters now, in fact the next four matches to the New Year, two away, then two at home over the Christmas period need to produce nine points IMO if we are to have any chance of breaking into the play off positions which all that is left to us now.

    It was not a great performance from the Boro, still too many passes played sideways and backwards, one in particular from Grant, passing backwards and ending up with Randolf, and that from a free kick in their half. The team overall once they were two up, took the foot of the pedal and just strolled through the rest of the game.
    In the next match at Millwall they will not get away playing like that. The starting team for next week can be the same, but on the bench I am not sure. Johnson just does not look the part and Gestede offered very little, although that may be fitness. Actually for all we have a large squad there are not many game changers available and on the bench.

    Breathing space for Mr Monk, but far far more required.

    1. Great Post and I agree with what you have said

      I like others was disappointed when Bamford was taken off as Britt was the underperforming forward

      I though about the substitution and perhaps Paddy has not played matches for a while, the match was won, so perhaps it was to save injury when we have an important. Game next week


    2. Pedro
      Just a thought on Gestede, long time out, one of our very few big players, we cannot play in this league with a small team, we are going to need him in the rush of matches from now on.
      It is noticeable that we are keeping some sort of grip in the box now that we have Ayala back.
      Being a gentleman costs you goals in this league, hence the headlocks and body smashes and general mayhem he causes.

  50. If I were a footballer…….

    Well, that would take a few major assumptions: like winding about 40 years back, like giving me a different body, like discovering some athletic abilities and fitness etc. But, if I were a footballer……

    I reckon I could get Ayala sent off in every game. He seems so easily wound up and, once he sees the red mist he can’t calm down. Just a few sly niggles here, a few critical words there. I think a few choice phrases in Spanish, delivered sotto voce, would see his temperature rise. It would be like putting some bait in front of a hungry fish. He wouldn’t be able to stop himself. He looks like a walking yellow card, and when he has one, you always feel a second is just bubbling up inside him.

    It looked very much like a punch from Ayala in the first half yesterday. That could have been a red card on its own. I am SURE I could get him sent off. As long as I stay cool as he loses it, I will win the battle. Am I allowed to punch him back, ref?

  51. I saw the match live via the iFollow service of Ipswich Town. iFollow was easy to use as old passwords etc. worked. How I wish Boro would offer iFollow to their fans!

    I think this was a normal or routine performance from our team. We were not excellent but well above Ipswich. So the top half the division is not that far performance wise.

    I hope we can still improve. We played much better in the first half against Derby, for example. As Monk has said, if we can get the individual mistakes away, this is the level performance and results wise. Cardiff were as bad as Ipswich and Derby were no better. It was us who made us loosing the games vs. Cardiff and Derby Co.

    So the war wil continue. We lost a few battles recently but we need to keep yesterday as a minimum level. And improve on that. When we click as a team – and we are still waiting for that – we can reach the top six or even top two.

    I am not over the moon yet, but we can still dream of the play-offs. Nothing lost yet. We should only improve. Let’s be patient.

    Up the Boro!

  52. Great Report RR I showed a few people our blog yesterday on my phone and they were impressed with the quality of the writing from you and Werder.

    They couldn’t believe that it was a free service and signed up to join the blog

    If we could all promote the blog to friends and family we can swell our numbers as long as we don’t dilute the quality of the posts on here

    As Mr Grace used to say

    “You’ve all done very well”


      1. Have to agree with you, OFB. The headline articles are Premier League. Perhaps, and I say perhaps, only AV could match them. A testament to great talent that would otherwise go unrecognised.
        Btw. Any chance of an interview with thee Bernie Slaven?

        1. The short answer is yes!

          Bernie is on the Diasboro list.

          I was going to interview John Hendrie yesterday but he was away and Andy Campbell was standing in for him as a host.

          Andy gladly spoke to me at length and one thing that came out of his chat was surisingly that Bernie was his favourite Boro player of all time.

          So Andy’s interview will go in the stockpile for when we have gaps in the fixtures “to fill a hole”

          I also talked to Gary Pallister yesterday who said he would be delighted to talk to Diasboro so the list is growing !

          I’m conscious that I don’t want to put too much load on our Blogmeister who already puts in an extraordinary amount of time doing this blog.

          We Appreciate it Werder !


          1. Thanks OFB – It’s all part of my weekly schedule now so it would be hard to imagine not doing it – though December is quite a busy month and today was another list to work through – no problem with posting your interviews OFB if we have a midweek slot free and I just need a few days notice to prepare the layout and graphics. Thankfully we have Redcar Red showing great commitment week in week out to produce is usual excellent match reports too!

          2. You should have the Ian Bailey one today and there is an interesting point about Bruce Rioch !

            That’s all I’m saying

    1. As the saying goes ‘there’s no such thing as a free blog’ – or was that lunch? Anyway, yes we’re a non-commercial independent minded blog here for all those who enjoy an elevated discussion on all things Boro – BTW thanks to your friends for their kind remarks and I hope to see them posting their views and thoughts.

  53. Spartak, Bernie is a useless striker. When we (my team of 50 to 60 year olds) played against the Jim Platt Select team a few years back, he was not able score from the spot kick against us. The highlight of the career for our goalkeeper.

    But great chap. I am sure Bernie will give an interview to Bob. Up the Boro!

  54. You also need to be added to that list OFB for your marketing and promoting efforts in spreading the Diasboro word plus the quality of your posts generally but now elevating us onto a new level with your in2views puts you onto a well deserved pedestal!

    The same of course goes to all the regular contributors on here, Nigel, Spartak, Ken, Ian, Braveheart, GHW, Jarkko, Forever, Pedro, BBD, Boroexile, Selwyn, Borophil, FAA, Allan, GT, Old Billy and all the many others who I haven’t listed (apologies to the many who I have missed off that random list).The quality and diversity of opinions is what makes this blog an interesting read but lest we forget AV who was the creator and reason for us all being here.

    1. Just reading the above it almost sounds like an acceptance speech for the Masterman awards who of course I ironically missed off and who can forget the Exmil challenges!

      Like I said any omissions are down to the sheer quantity of the quality (and probably early onset of senility on my part)!

    2. Well said and don’t forget the annual Mastermans !

      I had a chat with our former Blogmeister at a Boro function at Rockliffe before the season started.

      He was pleased that we had managed to salvage a respectable blog from the ashes of Untypical !

      I asked him if he read the posts but his wife was standing next to him and he denied looking at it as he was far too busy! He had a smile on his face though!

      It should however be noted that as I post our blog on twitter and Facebook every week then I would be suprised if he didn’t dip in and out of it now and then

      Is it too early to say seasons greetings and a happy new year to all?

      Of course not best wishes everyone


  55. The line-up was about what I hoped. A few weeks ago I asked for Bamford in the middle alongside Britt. And Braithwaite on the left.

    This is our best eleven, me thinks. Leads was excellent yesterday but long term I would play Clayton there.

    Before the season started I would have said Friend as a left back but do not know now.

    I would play the same eleven most of the matches now. But of course injuries and suspension dictate the closer we get to the end of the season.

    Something positive to build on. Let me read about your opinions, mates.

    Up the Boro!

  56. Most of the blog omits the bleeding obvious.
    We had our usual four shots and scored twice.
    We will not get away with that very often.
    The relationship of shots on goal to goals scored is well established.
    A performing team will have 28 during a match(most on target)
    Four is about us.
    A couple of our most glaring faults were on display,
    We had the chance to put the ball in the net before we scored (do not know who) three yards out keeper not to be seen, he tried to gently push it over the line. keeper appeared from nowhere and grabbed it.
    Next downing ran at them, they retreated into their box leaving him room to join them, ball at feet. He stopped as though shot and tamely looked for a pass.
    Bamford through ball for assalomba, two strides and smash. Er! Not quite, he strode on and someone got a foot in and blew the chance.
    These errors are typical of our players at the moment.

  57. It’s been noted several times and by several posters, our players improve when they’re not playing.
    Banmford and Grant seem to be the exception, and improve when they’re on the pitch. Let’s hope they stay there.
    I’m happy we won and with a clean sheet. I share the reservations of many others we may be papering over the cracks.

  58. RR

    Many thanks for yet another full and excellent report. Hardly any need to seek out other accounts from the press, yours are so detailed and meticulous. They leave most of the professionals in the shade. Though, as Spartak says, AV -the reason we are all here – is an honourable exception.

    Werder- Brilliant as usual. Much appreciated.

  59. Hi Plato.

    I did some research on Eurocrat tactics – Claude Puel’s, to be exact – and found they related to Karanka’s in many ways. I think it may interest you, as it highlighted why Puel was sacked by the Saints despite a top-half finish and cup final place.

    For some time I believed that AK had a counter-attacking style in his tactical locker, as games like Millwall A (2014) and Arsenal A (2016) seemed to illustrate.

    But no, his priority was a slow-tempo possession game. And, if we occasionally looked better away from home, especially at Ipswich and Brighton in 2015-16, it was because the opposition in those games were under more pressure, or were simply more inclined, to come out and attack.

    Too often at home, if we lost the ball for any length of time, I think we’d effectively be in a 4-5-1 with the likes of Stuani, Adomah, Downing and Reach chasing full backs, and the Tomlins, Fabbrinis and Gastons standing shoulder-to-shoulder with the engine room.

    In other words – too many behind the ball to effectively break. When we won the ball we were too deep and thus the transition to an attacking mindset was, in general, not efficient enough.

    So the human “shields” and the back four would mostly pass it sideways amongst themselves every time they tried to run the ball forward. The idea then was that our wide men would have a little space, allowing everyone to get up the pitch.

    Except by then, alas, the opposition would have had more than enough time to get into space and prevent the attacking trifecta behind the front man from having the time, space and/or quality to get into the final third or provide the right final ball.

    How often, when AKBoro reached the phase in possession where the incisive pass is expected to be made, did they turn around, pass back and start again? I now sense we got away with it, and I believed in it, for so long because the majority of second tier sides frequently allowed us to.

    Now, I did read once that habitually, English players ran too much for teams that have to play so many matches, and that moving the ball sideways and backwards until the opposition was forced to change shape to attack and present an opening was the way forward. The conservation of energy and the surety of results, results which Boro needed. Hence “patience pays” and all that.

    But I didn’t realise how often we would still be prone to running back, in order to stop breaks when we over-committed. For our slow tempo made it very hard to create enough truly decent openings.

    Which essentially shut our front men out in the PL, come to think of it.

    Remarkable then, I suppose, that Negredo nearly made double figures.

    1. I remember hearing something about making the ball do the work which fits in to keeping possession and making the opposition do the running.

      Like others have said having all the players in the box for set pieces is folly as it leads to confusion rather than having a man or even two free for a break.

      But what do i know?!

    2. Simon
      Every point that you make is spot on, but, and it is a big but, we must take account of the absolute shambles which we were when he walked through the gate.
      We were a team without discipline, without a shape, no idea of consistency , going on a run of wins was beyond their ambition or understanding.
      They were a job lot out of the bargain bin, assembled without rhyme or reason, no part bearing any tactical relationship one to another.
      Quite apart from the bloggers on this site, the supporters got straight behind him, the six clean sheets were manna from heaven to them, a signpost to a better future.( they were anathema to the bloggers on this site)
      We even took for granted the transformation in our dealings in the market, to actually make money out of players was wonderful.
      Away we are now supported full on, every away match, that is down to him.
      The trouble started as we were getting out of the Champ.
      The players, who else?
      For the club not to take the axe to the troublemakers was beyond belief, and we are getting our just rewards now.
      We have now officially reverted to our shambolic norm.
      Sign a job lot, (one a thirty year old)
      Sign a manager without a track record.
      Possess a classy young striker, nineteen goals in a promotion season.
      Do not play him. (obviously a cunning plan)
      Collect together a small team( every team we play is full of giants)
      Possess no player worth more than the train fair to his new club, (I am assuming we would be paying it)

      1. I hear Barcelona are quite a nippy team given they are staffed with giants upfront. That gezzer Messi he’s huge he is. And that big striker – hang on they don’t play with a striker as such. Won a few tinpots as well they have.

        Footie- funny old game 😉

  60. Those of you with children of a certain age will remember those awkward conversations. My turn today with my daughter.

    I suggested she get to know someone down the street – we live in the old part of Mickleover in Derby, even Len and Ken would be considered young, What on earth for was the response.

    I squirmed a bit and started sweating, he is a nice bloke I said, nearly as old as you was the response.

    I plucked up courage and said we had never talked about the facts of life. Dad, I am 28, I don’t need any lessons form you.

    You don’t understand I pleaded, to no avail.

    I came clean with the facts. When you moved to Nottingham we beat Ipswich, now you have moved out we beat Ipswich again.


    Well, the chap down the road owns a Camper Van and it was suggested you live in that and keep moving around because it will help our season, not my idea but someone on Diasboro.

    I cant remember who it was be afraid, very afraid.

  61. Reading the reports on here from the game, the definite impression was that nobody wanted to praise Boro too much. Maybe it was just fear of jinxing a nascent revival but it sounded as if Boro were nothing special but just come out on top because that’s the way that the game went. I then watched the highlights on MFC which at over ten minutes give a reasonable chunk of the game and I must say that we looked pretty good. The combination of Bamford, Braithwaite and Downing supported by Fabio and Christie seemed to be finding space and creating good forward momentum and Assombalonga is always likely as not to get on the end of something. That group plus Traore for away games as a counter-punch and Gestede for variation would seem to be a strong attacking threat and would worry most teams.

    Are these highlights overly optimistic or was it perhaps a slightly better performance than has been suggested. Maybe I’ll have to watch the whole game.

    Anyway, as has been said above, the five games before round 3 of the Cup that make up the rest of 2017 plus NY Day is likely to determine the mood for this whole campaign. 11-15 points and we can look forward to 2018 with a degree of justifiable optimism. 7 points or less and its looking like a long year. 8-10 and, as usual, we’re teetering on the edge of achievement.

    All the very best to all fellow readers for a happy holiday and a healthy and safe 2018. We won’t be making it back to the UK this year-end as family health issues have intervened but ‘ll certainly be hanging onto the news and this blog is at the heart of that for all of us far-flung supporters. I laugh at the difference between Oz and England. Yesterday, my daughter in the UK posted a picture of a snowman in their back garden and today, here in Sydney, I just deposited one of the grand-kids at daycare wearing a tee shirt and shorts.


  62. I think that performance was as good as any this season considering the opposition.
    Ipswich came with back to back wins, one of which was away at Derby, and we made them look very ordinary.
    Having watched the stream live I saw the highlights this morning and was impressed with the intensity and desire that was sadly lacking at Bristol.
    We had a lot of chances that were squandered and the margin should have been bigger.
    There is no reason why this cannot become the norm rather than the exception, as long as the same 11 are selected.
    Great report RR although I did have Grant slightly ahead of Paddy for pure work rate and discipline considering he was on a yellow.
    Although Paddy had a great game, there was an incident where and Ipswich player breezed past him as if he wasn’t there. But that’s nitpicking, he would still be one of the first on my team sheet.
    Monk needs to ensure we repeat this consistently as he isn’t out of the woods yet.

    1. I think the main difference which RR pointed out as well was the number of forward passes that were made during the game.

      It created more chances and shots on goal than I have seen for a long time


  63. OFB, could you ask Monk the following after the next game? I asked this at the end of the Jim Platt interview and the Gazette chaps were wondering the same. But they cannot ask Monk as they do not attend the press conferences.

    So after captaining the team in the win over Birmingham, Leadbitter was dropped to the bench for the Derby defeat and out of the squad all together for the loss in Bristol.

    It would be interesting to know why. Was the 31-year-old battling a niggle? Is he managing his body? Or was it a tactical decision from the boss?

    Up the Boro!

    1. From what I have heard and understand he suffers from sciatica the result of old injuries

      He could have painkilling Injections but a course of those on a permanent basis is not recommended

      Also Monk is trying to find a method of play where he can rotate players so injuries and suspensions do not severely impact team play.

      So don’t know any more than that sorry


    1. Gosh! There must be a lot of Boro fans more dedicated than me. I would probably nod off if I watched a whole 90 minutes having known the result. Could be an age thing mind as I don’t usually sleep well in bed, but the TV screen I find soporific. I rarely watch anything live and many a time I wake up near the end of a programme and have to rewind to see what I have missed.

  64. Happens to me Ken when I have had a little too much red wine.
    I then wonder have I really missed anything at all.

    With the Boro and until the Ipswich match, it was just Groundhog Day. Hopefully we may have moved on. Saturday may answer that.

  65. How does Mr Gill do it?! I reckon he must have some fancy software programme set up so that when the time is near, he is “just passing” – or is it that work is so slow that he is constantly watching and lurking ready to pounce!

    Can he play on Saturday! Boro need his commitment and killer instinct in front of goal!

      1. Genuinely, I was just passing. Back again after yet more removals work.

        My daughter has cancelled the contract on OFB but I have had to a fair amount of good deeds to save his skin.

  66. Werdermouth
    I come in peace, and though not being an evangelist wishing to convert anyone, the magic of Christmas is summed up for me in German:-

    Bald ist heilige nacht
    Chor der engel erwacht
    Hort nur wie lieblich es schallt
    Freu dich, Christkind kommt bald.

    1. No worries Ken, I am indeed like an old Trabant 601… unconvertible

      Though in case anyone wants a translation I think it’s something like…

      Soon is holy night
      The choir of angels awakes
      Hear only how sweet it sounds
      Rejoice, the Christ child comes soon.

  67. There are some on here so old that Greek and Latin were “modern languages” when we were at school. And AV probably won’t want to advertise his presence by giving a translation, so……..would you be so kind, Ken?

    I realise it will be a carol, and I suspect the words “Choirs”, “angels”, “night” and “Christchild” will be in there. Maybe you could fill in the blanks for the rest of us?

    1. Google gives this:

      It will be holy night soon
      Chorus of the angels awakes
      Hear only how lovely it sounds
      Rejoice, Christ Child is coming soon

      As an Atheist, the sentiment means nothing to me, but each to his own. Xmas for me is a time for family, overeating, the joy of giving gifts to loved ones and a chance to recharge batteries before the onset of another year and/or a Typical Boro slump…

      1. Is Atheism contagious like the mumps?

        What is it? Well apart from a rejection of Theism, I guess atheists don’t really know. Do they care? Not as long as they can do a Saturnalia without having to recognise the Roman god Saturn, I suppose.

        Children of the Enlightenment who are hardly enlightened, yet still want their prezzies under the Xmas tree.

      2. I’ve just seen you’ve already done the translation Martin. That Google translator is pretty good – if only I could get a chip implanted in my head I’d be sorted. I still have to translate everything from German to English and then English to German when I’m having conversations, which means your brain needs to work at double speed and it gets quite tiring after a while. Though I find I’m much better after a couple of beers – unless that’s just the equivalent of beer goggles for the ears – not sure what you’s call them? beer ears or even beer plugs?

  68. ‘No one knows the nuances of the team better than the fans who study them in detail…’
    A Vickers 2017

    What’s his game then? We know he dips his beak in this ere blog but that’s a bit to near the knuckal ain’t it?

    OFB/RR you ain’t got ‘the call’ have you, from a certain chairman to attend interview by any chance?

  69. Spartak.

    Atheism for me is simply a rejection of any belief in a deity.

    I see no reason why I shouldn’t have a non religious celebration of my own. And it’s not the receiving of presents that I like, it’s the giving.

    I respect anyone else’s views or religion. That’s respect, by the way, Spartak. You should try it sometime.

    1. Respect is for those who deserve it, Martin – the superficial, the ignorant and the followers of fashion do not. Those caught up in a zeitgeist are at least to be pardoned and understood.
      Should I respect the views of a man who spits on Islam but who has never entered a mosque? Should I respect the burners of temples when they hold nothing sacred not even their own lives? Should I bow to those so arrogant that they cannot see, blinded as they are by there own sense of superiority? Perhaps I should kiss the feet of the powerful who would destroy nations for their own avarice?
      Respect is earnt not a given, Martin.

      Respect for my part is given to men and women who know and in words that they can best convey that which they know, do.

      1. Hey, I didn’t expect to stir up a hornet’s nest. I have visited mosques in Istanbul and attended a Church of England service in Girne (formerly Kyrenia) in the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus on Christmas Day which even Muslims attended. Christmas, or the winter solstice and the end of a year is in my opinion a time to reflect, and a time to show goodwill to one’s fellow beings whether one believes in a deity or not.

  70. I too noticed the AV comment about experienced fans recognising what is happening, or not, on the pitch.

    I guess Diasboro were included in the knowledgeable category. Are we clever or is it a case of if it looks like a duck etc. As he says, most fans are not daft, we do try to be fair.

    There are always the pointers and screamers who are on their scapegoat of the month at the earliest opportunity, often in the concourse when the team is announced!

  71. I see one of the lower half teams, Reading, are beating Cardiff 2 – 0 with Warnock just sent off again.

    Hang on, didn’t Reading also beat Derby, Forest and Leeds but then again they were a lower half team when Boro won away at their ground and now they are as high as 16th.

    Just saying like.

    Come on BORO.

      1. Unbelievable, can’t even hold on to a two goal lead, should bring in that Monk bloke up at the Boro and get rid of that clueless idiot Staam!

        Who’d be a football supporter.

  72. Spoke too soon two ex Boro players, Bennet and Tomlin make it 2 – 2 in the 83rd and 91st mins, although Reading hit the upright with the last kick of the game.

    Come on BORO.

  73. “Respect is for those who deserve it, Martin – the superficial, the ignorant and the followers of fashion do not. Those caught up in a zeitgeist are at least to be pardoned and understood”

    Taking the amoral high ground again?

    1. I’m trying to resist the urge to respond. I do know, that if someone spoke to me face to face in such a strident (and frankly incoherent) tone, then we probably wouldn’t ever speak together again.
      If this Blog is a virtual pub, I’m off outside for a while. I may have to look for another pub with different clientele.

      1. Let’s just remember chaps and chapess this is a football blog!

        It’s not political and not religious or sexist and the success of this blog is to remember why we are here

        Please don’t feel anyone has to not still support this as we have survived the past few years by being moderate and respectful of each other’s points

        Now have a virtual shake of hands and move on

  74. Analogy time.

    Just watched It’s A Wonderful Life. Again. Still brilliant.

    It’s a heck of a lot darker and downbeat than its “Capracorn” label would lead you to believe. Educational in that it raises ambition v pragmatism and dream v reality, with the latter winning out in both cases, most of the time, for George.

    “Most of the time” in that he gets his “happy” and very Hollywood ending. I emphasise “happy” because the reality is that in time, George would surely be more than a little bitter again even after Clarence reassures him of how much he matters – the whole town is now dependent on his brain and trust. But it isn’t this, or even the giant monetary reward, that makes the film timeless, but the strength of and warmth from the community who unite to prevail against consistently unforgiving circumstances.

    I then thought, hmm, It’s A Wonderful Promotion, starring Aitor Bailey. For Billy misplacing the funds, read the goal conceded at Rotherham after the team has more than enough chances to win the game, triggering George/Aitor into a hissy fit – the fragility of his enterprise is exposed, the seemingly blossoming success apparently undone by a solitary turn of fate. He refuses to believe he needs help, unjustly taking it out on the very people who want to help him. And when he does beg for help, he’s not given it, leading him to run away and believe it’s best if he wasn’t around.

    Then comes Charlton, his Pottersville, with Gibson as his Clarence. A stark example of what Boro would be like without Aitor Bailey, the brains of the collective.

    He begs for another chance having realised the error of his ways. He gets it. And the Boro community reunite on the way to a rich and happy ending.

    Usually, this would be a cause for celebration, a triumph of re-unity and realisation against impossible odds for both a club and a human being who found himself in circumstances he wasn’t explicitly prepared to deal with.


    In Aitor’s case, how many of the community were really behind him? That’s the darker side.

    I’m probably reading too much into it. But it just goes to show how divisive our promotion was. Was it a memorable triumph against adversity for club and manager, or a task made much more difficult than it should have been?

    You decide. I want to believe the former but I think there is too strong a case for the latter to ignore it.

  75. Back in the days long before their was such a thing as credit cards or overdrafts, when if you had no extra money ,you had no money.
    The first football shirt present at Christmas I recieved was a West Ham shirt, how or why I got theirs I have no idea I had no affiliation with that club at all,
    This was around 1961?
    Dad used to work away sometimes ,so maybe he got pally with a suvverner.
    Anyone else get an oddball footy shirt?

    1. I remember buying my younger brother a Man City shirt only because it was different. First I believe to have a diagonal stripe if memory serves me well.
      Ken will probably confirm

      1. I don’t know whether Man.City were the first team to wear a diagonal striped shirt, but when Malcolm Allison was the manager I do recall that their away strip had a red and navy blue diagonal stripe. However their away kit last season was a favourite of mine.

        Later this week our thoughts will turn to Millwall, a club mainly supported by London dockers where the intimidating atmosphere is akin to that of the crowds of Galatasaray, Fenerbahce or Besiktas in Istanbul. Boro did win there 5-1 three years ago when Millwall were relegated, and in fact have won four times at the New Den in the last five meetings scoring 14 goals, but had only won there twice in the previous 15 visits.

        Although Millwall beat Sheffield United 3-1 in their last home match, Boro should be encouraged that both Barnsley and Burton Albion have won there recently, but it certainly isn’t a venue to concede the first goal. It really depends on which Boro team turns up.

    2. gt
      Soon after rationing ceased in the 1950’s and mail-order catalogues such as Freemans and Littlewoods made their appearance, an agent on commission used to sign up “weekly subscribers” who paid a shilling a week to buy a ticket and the proceeds went into a kitty. A weekly draw used to take place and the lucky winner could purchase goods to the value of the kitty at the time. Those lucky enough to have their numbers drawn early were thus getting their goods “on tick” but obviously had to still pay a shilling a week until the kitty was exhausted.

      It was hard luck for those whose numbers were drawn towards the end of the line for if there were say 52 members in the scheme, they would have been paying up to 52 shillings (£2.60) before receiving their purchases, after which the whole process started again. I must say the system didn’t prove very popular, and was eventually superseded with folks paying upfront for their purchases and the agent receiving commission 6 monthly.

  76. If millwall are supported by London Dockers they must have the smallest crowd in England.
    Every time I am on the river I see no sign of docks or ships, but plenty of luxury apartments.

  77. I love the idea of Bamford being discovered.
    Every time that he has managed to set foot on the pitch(not much time) he has been a treat to watch, his movement and touch setting up attacks seemingly without effort.
    One disturbing point to make, when he skated across the face of the goal and could have fed Assalonga, no goal would have resulted, as he was heading to the wrong position, which would have given him a near post shot at goal(not many score).
    The resulting goal was, of course, a curve shot inside the far post (about a forty per cent success rate) at least on match of the day.

  78. Football shirts.

    My brother married a lady from Glasgow, all Rangers supporters. Obviously my brother is a Boro fan.

    She bought a football shirt for the little lad, a West Ham shirt.

    Havent got a clue why.

  79. Martin,

    I quite understand and sympathise with your position in thinking about leaving the blog. This is the second time in a few weeks that you have been subjected to a quite intolerable level of personal abuse. Anyone else who received such treatment would feel exactly the same. Indeed many of the best and most regular contributors to this forum have, on occasion, been treated with a similar lack of respect , and have expressed the same view as your own, wondering why they take the time and trouble to write if this is the result.

    I would simply say to you what I have said to them: that I have always looked forward to, and valued what you have to say on whatever topic because, whether I agree with it or not, it is always thoughtfully, intelligently and elegantly expressed. It is always considered, and therefore worthy of consideration. And, it goes without saying, worthy of respect.

    If I may say so , the quality of your contributions on here has lead me to follow you on your own blog, which you write with such a generosity of spirit that it has given me a great deal of pleasure since I first discovered it. I do the same with the blogs of Simon and Paulista Park, for similar reasons and with the same happy results.

    You are a true Boro man, and long-time Boro supporter, who has travelled countless miles in supporting our team, over more years than you care to remember. Whilst I fully respect whatever decision you make, I do hope that you will reconsider your position.

    1. ‘Intolerable levels of personal abuse.’

      Okay, Len, you have me confused there. Exactly where is the ‘personal’ abuse. An example or two would be useful. My reply to Martin was in the plural – I addressed his personal reply as a statement in general not to him personally.

      If I didn’t know better I might think you personally have a grudge and were looking for excuses to complain. I’d like to think I’m wrong. Perhaps, you might even feel this post is abusive as well?

      1. Spartak – I see you.

        I see you throwing bombs into this Blog and standing back to watch the explosion. I see you trapped in your narrow minded view of your world and your inability to accept any other opinion. I see you grinning as you justify your comments as being “general” and not “personal”.

        I see you, looking from afar, happy to upset anyone because it’s not your “intention” is it? I see you, in your ivory tower, surrounded by your beliefs.

        I see you, Spartak, I see you.

    2. That’s very kind, Len and thanks for reading my own Blog (

      I really enjoy Diasboro – it links me to my Teesside past – and, you’re right, that I shouldn’t leave. I don’t contribute much but I do read the comments every day, for the MFC info and just as much for the off topic stuff.

      I don’t expect to agree with everyone’s comments but that wouldn’t ever lead me to giving others abuse or ridiculing their point of view. I live by a fairly strict moral code that insists on truthfulness and respect of other’s opinions, even when they are diametrically opposed to mine, so I get a bit peeved when I feel attacked in such strident tones.

      Once again, thanks for your support.

      I’ll reply separately to Spartak on his comment below.

  80. OK, I think this is all getting out of hand now – for some reason Spartak at some point you always end up winding up other posters with remarks that you may deem as throwaway but it more often or not ends up with them taking offence at what you have said. Surely you must be getting the message by now that people don’t want to be told what they think is wrong, especially in a manner that comes across as being somewhat patronising.

    I’m beginning to wonder if you just like having an argument and if that is what you want then please look for that kind of discourse elsewhere as the internet is full of places where that is welcomed – but Diasboro was set up for the purpose of discussion where we try to adhere to the basic rule of playing the ball not the man.

    I don’t want to spend my time sorting out disputes as it’s not why I’m here – so for the last time please stick to he rules and avoid having to have the last word – if someone has been upset by the manner of your posts then that should be a message not a challenge to write the next one.

    1. So now the new rule is no right of reply, Werder!

      I was accused of using personal abuse on two separate occasions. You state that I’m being patronising. Yet, when I request specific examples I’m told I am prohibited from doing so as that would be seen as inflammatory.

      I disagree with your stance, as you can probably guess.

      1. OK You can disagree, I think it’s the need to have the right to reply that may be the cause of the problem and you should accept that people are not faking the feeling of being personally affronted – but from what I understood of the post that Martin took exception to it was again just unnecessary to try to imply their view was somehow personally wrong – I presume the other instance referred to was calling someone else’s opinion ‘nonsense’ – which I’ve already mentioned is not acceptable.

        Look, I’m not keeping a record of what was posted and what was said and I don’t want to either – I did this exercise a few months ago and it’s very time consuming to go back through posts to check what was said and work out where blame if any lies.

        I’m just making the point now that you must accept that if you crossed the line in the eyes of several posters then that is not the start of more responses but a message that you went too far – I don’t want the comments section filled with arguments and counter-arguments on who is right on issues that will turn off far more posters from wanting to contribute.

        Besides it’s not even about Boro or football so chances are most visitors are not coming here to read this kind of discussion – it’s supposed to be an enjoyable experience for everyone and whilst you may not find it offensive, and maybe some others also don’t, enough posters have found it offensive to get quite angry and vocal.

        It’s not about right to reply – it’s about knowing where the boundaries are.

      2. Apologies for taking up your time on this issue, Werder.

        It’s nearly Xmas and in that spirit of good will to all men I will mention the slurs upon my integrity no more.

        However, if said miscreants come after me again I promise to get me rusty hacksaw out and amputate their Xmas decorations without anaestetic.

        Merry Xmas all.


  81. A point for discussion.
    Do the team put in the miles on the pitch?
    Just as a personal opinion they cannot be running the distance that many successful teams do on average.
    What is the number of miles they cover?
    The information is readily available on the top teams.
    Is it available on the Boro?

  82. If this was a gang from my youth then someone would be clipped around the lugs.
    The spirit in this blog gets dragged down unnecessarily at times , as they say these days “get a life”
    We are all friends united by our love of the “Boro” so act accordingly.
    Merry Xmas. 🎅🏽🎅🏽

  83. I am new to this site and as a Boro supporter living 90 miles away in Huddersfield I really enjoy the views of others and particularly the pre match and then the post match reports – they are exceptionally good.

    However what is exceptionally bad is the bickering between some of you – with each wanting to have the last word. Please stop and lets get back to what this site is all about.

    As an aside I am seeing a big similarity with Huddersfield fc and the Boro last year ie they both look ok at this stage of the season defensively ok but struggling to score goals. I think it will be touch and go for Huddersfield to stay in the premiership
    as for boro I have only seen 4 home games and thought the performances were uninspiring with above all no pattern to the play unlike we had with Karanka and so am not optimistic of being in the playoffs – hope I am wrong

    1. Welcome to the blog

      Believe me bickering is not normal for Diasboro

      We pride ourselves on being realistic level headed and respectful of others posts and comments

      Probably a bit of frustration has crept in because we haven’t smashed the league !

      But there’s still a long way to go


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