In2views: Ian Bailey

In the latest in a series of profiles and interviews, Orginal Fat Bob gives his personal view on the life and career of a footballing guest before sitting down for chat and asking a few questions. Our Diasboro special guest this week is Ian Bailey…

1. The Overview – the man and his career

Ian Bailey was born in Middlesbrough on the 20 October 1956 (age 61). Another local lad to play for his home town club, he was an accomplished defender. His best position was as a left back from the years 1975 to 1982 making over 144 appearances. He made his debut for us on Saturday, 20th December 1975 in a 1-0 win at home to Tottenham Hotspur. His long flowing blonde locks used to stream behind him in the wind. Whilst talking to him, I pointed at his head (which was most indelicate of me) and asked what had happened to his blonde tresses. He ruefully grinned and passed his hand over his follicle challenged scalp and replied, “they’ve been long gone, years ago!” Fans may remember the cracking goal he scored against Sunderland at Roker Park which I believe was the only goal he ever scored for the Boro.

Reminiscing, he recalled being involved in a serious encounter in an FA Cup game with our own Bruce Rioch, who at that time was playing for Everton. Rioch made a horrendous tackle on Ian which Jim Platt has said was the worst thing he had ever seen in football. Ian was laid on the ground after the tackle, when both sets of trainers and medical staff raced onto the pitch to attend to him. Rioch was immediately surrounded by both Boro and Everton players who were jostling and remonstrating with him over the tackle. Ian was stretchered off the pitch and fortunately had not broken his leg, or suffered any long-term damage. Not so for Rioch, who was promptly told by the Everton Directors and Manager that this was not the standards expected by their club and he was shipped out of the club a short time later.

Ian Bailey collection 8

After having a great career with his home town club, Ian was signed in 1982 by our own Big Jack Charlton, who was by then the Sheffield Wednesday manager. He made over 35 appearances for them and would have made more, but he broke his leg. He left in 1984 to go to Blackpool, then Bolton Wanderers, but talking to me, he felt that he was never the same player again after his injury. After retiring as a professional footballer, Ian went on to become a physio starting at Rotherham. Whilst qualifying to be a physiotherapist, Ian had to undertake some on the job training and worked with Steve Smelt who was the physio for the Boro at that time. Strangely enough for Ian, the manager at Boro was a certain Bruce Rioch. Now this was a man who was always known for not shirking his duty. He made a point of meeting up with Ian at the Boro and personally apologis ing for that awful tackle he had made on Ian years previously. The apology made, Ian being the nice guy he is, graciously accepted. Incident closed, but not forgotten.

I remember Ian making his way into professional football because I was one of the referees who watched his rapid progress from the juniors, to the reserves and then first team football at 19 years of age. As part of a three-man refereeing team and newly promoted myself, we worked with Harold Shepherdson, who was a wonderful man and a strict disciplinarian. Harold insisted that all the junior players were respectful of all refereeing decisions and would not allow his lads to swear on the pitch. I cannot ever remember Ian being booked or even sternly talked to, so he must have been one of the nice guys. It says a lot for the junior team in those days (which was pre-academy) that so many local lads were turned into professional footballers. The always cold, open field at Hutton Road with the many training pitches, was surrounded by nice houses at the Longlands. The neighbours were used to footballs going over the high wire fence into their back gardens and generally would throw them back. Sometimes if a junior hadn’t been training very well, he was sent off to round up any missing footballs. These were usually located at a house where a large dog was barking fiercely. It certainly encouraged the lads to train well and make sure there were no wayward footballs.

Ian is today the same as he always was, quiet, softly spoken and a gentleman, whose love of football still shines through, to whoever has the pleasure to meet him.

2. The Interview – a quick chat

OFB: What year did you join Boro as a professional footballer?

IB: I joined the Boro in 1975.

OFB: Where did you stay? Did you rent, or did you live in digs?

IB: I lived in Middlesbrough when I signed for the club, so I still lived at home.

OFB: Who was your favourite Boro player that you played with at the time?

IB: It was Graeme Souness, a player with skill and the steel and grit to be a winner.

OFB: Who was the best trainer in the team?

IB: It was the late Willie Maddren who was a lovely lad and used to train very hard, even with a dodgy knee!

OFB: How do you think the match day has changed from the time that you played professional football to the present day?

IB: Everything is done for the professional players these days. The players only turn up for training and for match days. They have masseurs, fitness coaches and someone to look after their kit. They have their strip laid out and boots cleaned and polished, all ready to put on and go out playing. When I was a professional footballer, we had to clean our own boots, do our own warm up routines and stretching exercises and get ourselves ready to play. Mind, thinking back to those days, we wouldn’t have had it any other way.

OFB: When did the team travel for away games, how did they get there, by bus or by train?

IB: We used to set off to away games every Friday and always by coach. We never used the train or charter-planes!

OFB: How many players usually travelled and did the Directors travel with you?

IB: There was usually about 15 or 16 of us in case anyone felt ill the next day. I can never remember any Directors being on the coach with us.

OFB: Did you have nice hotels or was it just bed and breakfast?

IB: It was always hotels and never a bed and breakfast and they were always good hotels.

OFB: Who did you room with for away matches?

IB: My roomy was Spike, the great David Armstrong.

OFB: Who was the joker in the team?

IB: There were always jokers in the Boro team over the years. I do remember though that Brian Taylor and Patt Cuff were comical and funny characters.

OFB: Who was in your opinion the best manager that Boro have ever had?

IB: Without any doubt it was Jack Charlton.

OFB: Why?

IB: Because he was the man who gave me my first pre-contract as a professional player. The other reason is he got the Boro into the First Division in his first season.

OFB: Who is your favourite Boro player of all time?

IB: Juninho

OFB: Who is your current favourite Boro player?

IB: Patrick Bamford

OFB: Do you still follow the Boro, their results and where do you live now?

IB: Yes, I always look out for their result and these days I am retired and live in Rotherham.

OFB: What do you think of the current Boro team?

IB: Presently they look disjointed and they don’t go forward enough especially at home. As a former Left Back, I don’t think Fabio is enough of a team player and is too individual. Unfortunately, I don’t think they will get promoted this year. The midfield is poor and play too many passes sideways and back. The midfield also doesn’t help the strikers and score enough goals. What I do know is I wouldn’t have liked to play against Traore! If it was up to me I would stick him in the middle of the park and play balls over the top and get him to run at defences, he terrifies defenders!

OFB: A huge thank you to Ian for taking the time to talk to Diasboro and our readers.

117 thoughts on “In2views: Ian Bailey

  1. Yes, a good contribution Bob about a player I remember well.

    Reflecting on Boro’s last game, it seems that Bamford played well overall. Like Downing, he has blown hot and cold since returning so it was nice to see him and Stewie getting back to something resembling their best.

    This reminded me of the old saying: ‘form is temporary; class is permanent.’ So which of our current squad do I consider to have class, notwithstanding the ups & downs of performances?

    Working from defence, my vote would be: Gibson, Leadbitter, Downing, Braithwaite, Bamford. Based mostly on his performance against us at Wembley, I would possibly include Howson.

    Any thoughts?

  2. Thanks OFB … and my thanks extend to the Jim Platt interview too. Both really enjoyable reading and both bringing memories of the great Boro teams in the 70s.

    I had been looking forward to your Jim Platt interview, but when it was published I was laid low and unable to read it. Apart from his performances between the sticks for the Boro, one of my most abiding memories of Jim Platt was seeing him in the cinema one evening. He was out with his girl friend and I was out with my (teenage) pals. we had blagged our way in as 15 or 16 year olds to see Woody Allen’s “Everything you anted to know about sex, but was afraid to ask” (or did we really go to see Linda Lovelace in “Deep Throat” on the same bill !!). After the film I approached him in the stalls and being to too embarrassed to appear the youngster I was, I asked for his autograph on behalf of my younger brother …. The gentleman he was he happily obliged, I shook his hand and away he went.

    Anyways, as it is I’ve been laid low for the last couple of weeks with a nasty bout of prostatitis (which has helped me to sympathise with your more permanent condition, Ken). Anyway, I have only today finished catching up with all the posts ….. my my my, lets not go where some of those posts were leading. I will only reaffirm that one of the delights of this place is the breadth of thought and opinion that we are blessed to have been shared. So, everybody, stick in there and keep posting. Respect is not a thing to be earned, but a gift to be offered as freely as I would expect to be receive it myself.

    Talking of presents, I think we have to hope that the Boro will be given a couple of presents over the next half a dozen fixtures. I hope and hope that the Ipswich result will represent a watershed for us, but I am not convinced we will come away with more than 6 points out of the next 6 matches. (I’m tempting fate as much as anything else with this pessimistic outlook, in that my predictions are more than often wrong.)

  3. Many thanks OFB, lovely material and an interesting insight into the life and times, a unique and interesting approach for the blog. I have to say that it is far better than Untypical although it is probably fairer to say the blog has developed and matured, it is now more of a thoughtful magazine.

    Once again thanks.



    PS, a technical question here. How do I attach a photograph or illustration?
    Help please!

  4. Remember Ian ,he stepped into the great Terry Cooper’s shoes, technically very good,if he’d had a little more speed it would have helped him,but his injuries did set him back.
    Veri incisive on his thoughts of Boro today,he obviously sees what we all see, pity S.Gibson doesn’t?

    1. I agree with GT’s comment. Having read the piece by OFB (thanks for it, by the way, OFB), I was intending to post a little comment saying how it seemed from his comments about the current team and its performances that Ian Baird must have been watching the same Boro games as me – and many on this blog. But I thought I’d read the posts by others first, and I see GT got there before me.

  5. Later this evening, after I’ve done some important photo work – I’m about to launch a special Christmas offer on my site – I would like to nominate my favourite DiasBoro post of the year. (Just so you know, it’s not one of my Talking Points, lol.)

    1. One on the file with Werder and four in the melting pot

      Andy Campbell
      John Hendrie
      Alan Peacock
      Jeff Winter (I used to ref with )
      Alan Foggon
      And European TV Broadcaster
      MFC security a day in the life
      MFC hospitality staff

  6. Simon,

    Yes, please nominate your post of the year. And can I ask bloggers to think about doing the same thing for the New Year. Or anything else about the blog they would like to nominate (best match report; funniest blog; best rant ; best piece of research; something they learned from; a piece that changed their minds; best contribution by a new contributor etc). Anything you fancy really; anything that you found particularly interesting or inspiring .

    I used to do my own awards on New year’s Day, just to record my appreciation for everyone’s efforts, and to recall my own highlights of the past year. I didn’t do them last year, responding to my young daughter’s comment, “Who are you? To be dishing out the gongs.” It was a good point. So I was a little concerned when a few people made reference on the previous thread to the forthcoming “masterman’s”. The idea of everyone chipping in and having a say is much closer to the democratic spirit of this blog, so I am suggesting that we try and do that.

    It might be difficult, since, for my own part, I can’t see beyond RR, Werdermouth and Bob making a clean sweep. And rightly so. The work all three has been heroic, and we are all in their debt. Without any one of them the blog just wouldn’t be the same. The truly amazing thing about them is that their skills and contributions are wonderfully complementary. We couldn’t have had a better integration of their respective skill-sets had we advertised nationally for the posts. How lucky are we that the demise of Untypical Boro should give birth to such hitherto relatively hidden talents?

    Yet there are many other pleasures to be had and many new contributors to celebrate. So let’s give it our best shot.

    1. The only person that I know who does this meticulously and keeps records is Si!

      He quotes posts from years back.

      Either he’s got a great memory or a good database

      Thanks for the good wishes


    1. Agreed, Bob. Simon’s contributions, and especially his lead pieces, are absolutely invaluable, and I apologise to him for the omission. I was thinking as much about the sheer quantity,as well as the quality, of the names I mentioned. They are the high quality staple. Simon is the icing on the cake.

  7. Gosh, this will be difficult, is it the season or the year. As somebody posted earlier, in the words of young Mr Grace, you have all done very well.

    You have to feel sorry for the Gazette Gang, well nearly. There they are posting a few paragraphs interspersed with adds and videos.

    Our ace artists can build an article, inform and entertain without the same limitations. But that damns the excellent work with faint praise, Diasboro must be the best fans blog by a country mile and that is thanks to Werder, RR, Si and latterly OFB.

    It is an unmissable read, first stop everyday and when I log on.

        1. Funnily enough after I’d finished the interviews on Saturday Mrs OFB asked why didn’t I ask the same thing !

          Behind every poor man stands a great woman

  8. Ian,

    My first stop every morning too, then I do my own blog. Importance or what! I left Teesside in 1964 and the blog is a great touchstone to my root now. Football, history, Ken’s facts all just a good read.

    Werder, RR and OFB great work and not taken for granted but the important thing is that your major contributions provide the catalyst for the rest of the ‘posters’ to voice their opinions and make the blog greater than the sum of its parts. Unlike the Boro at the moment.

    Whether they are fans, fans on the fringe,(like me in the wilds of Norfolk), fans all over the world or even the odd nihilist. The blog is better for it all. Excellent.

    Well I enjoy it.

    AS always,



  9. Thanks for that OFB, I very much enjoyed learning about one of Boro’s unsung heroes.
    When I first starting going to Ayresome, Nattress and then Mogga were left back.
    It’s great to hear from such a stalwart.

    Please do award your Masterman’s, I’m sure any references to them were affectionate. Certainly I enjoyed reading them.
    Obviously RR, Werder, Si, OFB are shoo-ins for MVP’s, but many other posters contribute great stuff.
    Plus it would take a bit of pressure off the main lads for a post, for which I’m sure they’d be very grateful!

  10. Werder,
    As blogmeister, can you tell us how many different people read the blog in an average week. I’m curious to see how far we are reaching. I dare say that you can also see more about the people behind the names, but assume that privacy legislation prevents you from passing on any of that info. I’d be very interested to know how many are based outside of the UK.

    It will be a tough assignment to pick the MVPs for the year. There are so many people who are contributing in different areas to making this blog such a good read. For me, the greatest compliment that is paid to the blog is by the EG team who seem to pick up so many of our topics after we’ve launched them. We also have our own fifth columnist who appears to have better access than they do 🙂

    Given the content of the blog and the nature and tenor of the disagreements, I get the strong impression that many of us are on the mature side of the Boro supporter profile. That makes for good reminiscences and a certain amount of detachment in the writing but we don’t seem to have much input from the younger crowd. Is that a problem? Probably not.

    Thanks again for the effort in your interviews. Do you ever have any contact with Mendieta. I’d love to get an outsiders view of the club and it’s culture, particularly from someone who enjoyed the area. There are others who seem to have really enjoyed the experience.

    Anyway, here’s to 13 points out of 15 and Boro back in the race.


  11. OFB
    Great read. I thought that Ian played slightly later than he did. Hard to believe he last played for us 35 years ago!
    On a completely different tack. Burnley are 4th in the Premier league, they have played more games than they have goals scored and won 9 games. This is something like I had envisaged the AK Boro would have done, but it was not to be. Wonder what went wrong?

      1. I think we had the right one… up to a point. His end fate was little different to a host of short-term successful managers who succeeded for a while then crashed and burned. The manner of how he engineered his own demise was unprecedented, alas.

        1. Si
          I too believe Karanka had the makings of a great manager.

          Unfortunately like most great managers he was human and had flaws

          His demise was when he refused to share his role and micro managed everything

          His alienation with Leo and others, accusing players, medical staff,management and finally the crowd of letting him down showed the classic traits of paranoia.

          It was the away game at Stoke when everyone could see the stress that he was under and it was the point when he and SG agreed he had to go for his own good.

          Robson amd McClaren have both been welcomed back to the Riverside after they had left for
          Some time amd I believe that in due time the crowd will recognise his achievements


  12. Many thanks for all the appreciative comments on the blog and I think Len has always done a great job of reviewing the year and reminding us of what has been posted and said. The 3rd January is actually our one year anniversary so maybe that would be a good time to look back. The Diasboro contributors have posted nearly 150 articles in 2017 as well as over 17,000 comments being made by the wider community – so a big thanks to everyone for their continued support of the post-AV project.

    I think I kicked off Diasboro with words along the line: ‘I’ve no plans to start a football blog but here is a place we can meet up just in case’ – I may need to revise that initial sentiment…

  13. Thanks to all for the continually informative and illuminating reads, in particular in this case to OFB for reminiscing about his days when he was perhaps YTB (Young Thin Bob) and refereeing many of Boro’s subsequent stars.

    It gives a fascinating insight into the vintage of some of our number to find out how many people resonate with players that for me are slightly before my time. When I first started attending regularly I was a huge fan of Pally, Ripley, Wilkinson, Hendrie and just about the back-end of Bernie’s time. Which is why I’m very excited to hear from Hendrie in the future as he was one of my favourite players of that time and I fondly recall his goal-scoring final game at Ayresome against Luton.

    My favourite player of my youth was undoubtedly Stuart Ripley. Being a namesake, I long dreamed of pulling on the white shoulder-striped shirt of the Boro, bearing the name “Evening Gazette” across the front and pelting down the left wing like Rippers. Given that I was also a left-footer and played there in my school team at the time there was a certain synergy. I wasn’t to know at that time that although my dreams would not come to fruition, that Ripley wasn’t the last of our left-sided Stuart/Stewart’s.

    Anyway, I digress into sepia-tinged moments of youth. Back to the here and now. Good result last weekend, but especially pleasing was the return of Bamford to the starting 11. Monk has finally wrested control of that thin, languid stick that was being used to beat him with and restored it to the starting line up, and with positive results. It also seems to push Braithwaite into what I would assume is his “natural” position, a left-sided inside forward. With Fabio behind we should be able to retain width, although I do echo Ian’s point above that it leaves us somewhat exposed defensively and that perhaps George would be more disciplined.

    I still think we lack balance on the right and for all his reading of the game I think Downing is straying into latter day Steven Gerrard territory – spraying around Hollywood balls, because he can, but doing so in far less effective areas than his youth. At the end of the day his goals and assists tally must be lower than, or no better than, Traore’s, which given his limited playing time is alarming.

    A new right-winger in the January sales please!

    1. OFB
      Just catching up with Diasboro this afternoon and enjoyed reading your interview with Ian Bailey. Well done.
      I also recently listened to Philip Tallertine’s interview with Alan Peacock (who is my generation being 3 months older than me) and his reminiscences of life in Middlesbrough as a youngster. I know you are friendly with him and wonder whether he is on your list of interviewees, or whether you don’t wish to cover some ground that might have been covered in the Gazette interview.

      However, he holds a proud record of being one of only four Boro players to have scored 4 goals or more in a match more than once, and he is the last Boro player to score 4 times in an away match :-
      29th Aug 1959 Away 7-1 Derby County
      30th Aug 1961 Home 5-1 Rotherham United

      The Derby match is quite interesting also because Brian Clough failed to score, and there were rumours that he wasn’t best pleased with Alan’s achievement. I’d like to hear Alan’s take on those rumours, true or false?

      To score four or more goals in a match is quite an achievement, but to do it twice is remarkable. Camsell did it 11 times and Clough 6 times (but never in an away match) and apart from Alan Peacock only Mickey Fenton did it twice (never in an away match either). Is Alan aware he is in such exalted company, considering Steve Bloomer, Billy Pease, Charlie Wayman, John Hickton, Mickey Burns, Craig Hignett and Fabrizio Ravanelli (in a League Cup match) have all scored 4 in a match but never twice

      As an aside, I wonder if anyone can remember Astor with the booming voice, who used to stand in the terrace below the main stand at Ayresome Park in the 1950s and 1960s. He was a black West Indian whose vociferous encouragement, especially to Delapenha, often amused the crowd.

  14. OFB, thank you for another excellent piece. Really enjoyed that. And you have now got two of my few favourite players already. Thanks for sharing, mate!

    Hutton Road. The legendary training ground. I wonder if I met Terry Cochrane (OFB, note) in there in 1980’s and had a tee with him. Where was the cafeteria the players went to after training? And was the Café run by Chris Rea’s parents?

    I am a bit confused as I know Chris’ family where in the ice cream business but did they have a Café near Hutton Road.

    Anyway, thanks for some memories, OFB. Greatly appreciated. Up the Boro!

  15. PS. I heard Chris Rea is ill now and he collapsed during a recent concert. Have anyone seen him at the Riverside as the rumour is that he is/was a season ticket holder?

    Also, anyone heard of his illness and well being since the lastest concert?

    Up the Boro!

    1. Jarkko,

      He collapsed on stage in Oxford and I think he is still in hospital there, probably the Radcliffe. I know no more than that but a root around the local Oxford papers may well reveal more.

      I still have his CDs and I think Shamrock Diaries must be almost worn out, the kids 42 and 37 have got me onto Spotify with a NAIM Cube. Technology’s great.



  16. Chris and Werder,

    Thanks for the nice comments on the awards. It was a pleasant and not an onerous task, but it did involve monitoring and making a note of the posts that impressed me throughout the year. So it was a year- long project.

    I was also helped by the existence of AV’s archive, which made the retrieval of pieces a relatively simple task.

    I didn’t do anything last year for the reasons I have given. I always feared that it might come across as being bit patronising. So I haven’t done the necessary monitoring for the current year. In addition the Diasboro archive only goes back for the previous ten threads making retrieval much more difficult. So I’m afraid I haven’t done the necessary background work throughout the year to make anything like a satisfactory job of it.

    Can I suggest that we try the more democratic approach this year? I’m sure it will be a great success.

    And, Werder, would it be possible to make the whole Diasboro archive available on a month-by -month basis? I’m not suggesting this as a task for you. The demands made on your time by the blog are already much greater than is fair. I’m just enquiring about its feasibility. I also seem to remember in the earliest days of Untypical that there was a filtering facility which allowed people to retrieve all of the contributions made by any individual contributor. Is that feasible ? If it is I’d be surprised if there weren’t some computer buff in the Brains Trust out there who could manage to do it. But I’m emphatic that it shouldn’t be yet one more task for you.

      1. You all don’t always remember the value of a local club like Boro. We do not have anything like Boro in Finland. The clubs are smaller.

        I had a local club where me and my wife used to have a season ticket. Because of financical problems, the club was sold to a Chinese business man. He was actually a criminal and was part of a betting scandal – he was involved in similar problems in Belgium.

        So my favourite other club were relagated from top tier to the fourth lever and went bust. There is an empty stadium now.

        So it might be easy to critizise a manager at the time or the chairman at Boro, but you won’t understand how lucky you are to have Boro. Just extremely lucky.

        So Let’s keep on enjoying the football precented by Boro. We lucky bastards. Up the Boro!

  17. Jarsue says he left in 1964 – I left Stockton 10 years later, never to return (graduated, no jobs in Teesside, on yer bike son). Like him, I find the blog a treasured conduit to my roots (especially since the last of my Stockton family died) as well as a much-valued natter and gossip about all things Boro.

    For many years I used to double up a visit to my folks with a trip to see the Boro. Sadly, with no relatives left on Teesside, I come back now only for Boro matches. However it’s a long trek (yes, I know some people make longer journeys) so it tends to be about once a year nowadays. Consequently I mostly see away games in recent years, mostly in the midlands.

    Selwynoz observes that many of us seem to be on the ‘mature’ side and, similarly, smoggyinexile talks about our ‘vintage’. I gather that some of you are considerably older than me (you know who you are!) but, speaking as a Smoggy pensioner, count me in that bracket. My first game was in ’61 so I’m mature like a ripe cheese and the vintage of a top class claret.

  18. Raich Carter was mentioned lately as Boros worst ever manager?
    His record was definitely one to forget, but did you know he had agreed a deal with Malcolm Allison for him to become his first team coach,
    But Joe Mercer hijacked him on his way to the club,and offered him the same job at Man City, were they went on to be first division champions.
    Alison did of course end up here at Boro,but that was too late,he had lost his mojo by then and Boro were in a mess.
    Another if only?

    1. gt
      Thanks for that info about Raich Carter. I didn’t know that he wanted Malcolm Allison as his chief coach. That certainly would have made a difference as Allison was a great success at Man. City and also did a reasonable job at Palace.

  19. Hi Len

    if I may impose on you on behalf of us all to provide a definitive list, maybe a dozen or whatever the format was previously, of categories, then we would all be able to pitch in with our nominations. We’d all be grateful and would remove the potential for a chaotic free for all.

    Re: Chris Rea
    I’ve no idea if he’s a season ticket holder, but his brother in law, John Barry had a long standing connection to the club and was the Academy’s head of education and welfare. He may still well be, though he must be close to retirement age now.
    A lovely bloke, he lived a couple of doors down and when I was a teenager he kindly treated me to my first experience of seating at Ayresome Park. It was an evening games against Southampton and one of the Wallace brothers scored a hattrick. Oh well. OFB – If you know him and ever bump into him, please give him my best regards, if you can get a word in that is!

    1. Ok

      I’ll check that out on Sunday but don’t know who will be there

      Taking all the family for Xmas lunch at the Riverside so I might have had a glass or three !

  20. Len – As you enquired about organising a Diasboro archive, I was just mentioning to OFB this morning it was one of the things on my background activities, along with a few other useful pages as and when I get time. My WordPress template doesn’t offer too much to help me produce something that easily but I’ve started looking through the historic stuff and have worked out a format for a month by month archive.

    As a taster, here is the January page and I’ll work my way through when i get time – brought back a few memories and it all happened quite fast really…

    Hopefully I’ll get everything easily accessible soon so that other posters can look back and pick out some suggestions of their favourites.

  21. My nomination for DiasBoro blog of the year, and why?

    It all began when I asked a fellow Boro fan about AK’s ruthlessness with Steele, Higgy and Albert.

    I was pondering why such a big deal was made over every incident… after all, Sir Alex Ferguson had his succession of unfair droppings, backroom staff changeovers and naughty steps, and we all know how much he achieved.

    The fan’s answer was short and to the point.

    “That’s Man. United. We’re Boro. Invariably we don’t have the clout to bring in that influx of quality to replace.”

    Moving forward to more recent times, I read in “How To Win: Lessons From The Premier League”, by The Secret Footballer, about a little trick Mourinho would use to get the best out of Ibrahimovic at Inter.

    Zlatan’s ego was hungry for adulation, and still is. He’s used to receiving it from the whole of the football world. But every time he scored, Jose stood stony faced on the touchline.

    Result? Zlatan became obsessed with trying to get Jose to react. He scored. And scored again. And scored yet again. And so on. In time Zlatan caught on to what Jose was up to – clearly he didn’t like it, but respected it, and that’s probably why they reunited at United.

    It’s quite possible that AK tried the exact same trick on the opening day of 2016-17, standing still and emotionless when Negredo put us in front so early on. Unfortunately for him, this was a different and generally more humble environment.

    Here was a manager with the suits and the knowledge, gained from being a serious student of his mentor and several other successful continental managers, but not the common sense and hands-on know-how that his inspirations possessed. To quote Mr Spock, again, AK was intelligent but not experienced, with an approach that indicated two-dimensional thinking.

    Then you had the infamous “worst performance of the season” comment. Which kind of reminded me of that great moment in Airplane where Robert Stack decides not to turn on the search lights because “that’s just what they’ll be expecting us to do”. Like, you know, Mourinho not celebrating an Ibrahimovic goal as he was “expected” to.

    Except with Aitor, catching us off guard with a comment like that wasn’t an ingenious joke but part of his psychology. An attempt at “inspiring” his players to perform better. Something that you might get away with at a top four, or even top half, Premier League club, but not at the bottom and especially not to a group of fans starved of goals and forced to endure a horrifying, soulless home defeat to Watford.

    For once, could he not have played the game and promoted the positives? It was Christmas, after all, and regardless of the quality of the performance, we’d finally won by three goals in a season where there’d been little to smile about.

    My suspicion is this: now that AK was actually taking on the big boys, he decided to act the part of the Big Boss without the requisite qualities to justify it. I know we played much better at Arsenal and drew. But all the Swansea comment did, for the fans, was highlight a belief raised right back at the start of AK’s Boro reign, that he was merely happy not to lose. For the most part, all those binary scorelines were repeating themselves, and a faux pas like that comment did not help.

    I make negative comments about him here. Yet, as you all know, I didn’t, and to be frank still don’t, think he’s a bad manager. More a misguided one, in that he tried to apply a vision that just wouldn’t fit.

    What I’m saying, in short, is that perhaps, just perhaps, it’s simply not desirable to apply a big club methodology to a small town in Europe.

    A point Werder raised and argued quite persuasively in an enlightening and enriching blog post written on March 7 – my choice for blog post of the year.

    Well done Werder.

    1. Many thanks Simon, as always I greatly appreciate such feedback on what is still a bit of a surreal journey into writing. That was one of my occasional midweek non-match-preview articles that was also a serious piece too. I think I remember at the time the bad run had being going on for a couple of months with no sign of Karanka being able to adapt his style and the goals had just dried up. It almost seemed to me that he was stuck in constraints of his methodology and he believed in it completely even though it had stopped delivering on the pitch. I wanted to look at how he got to that position and whether indeed it was ultimately a suitable methodology for a small club like Boro.

  22. I haven’t seen George Friend this season but what I have read he hasn’t been the same since his latest injury.

    I don’t know what are his problems now but I was just wondering by seeing some pictures of him, if he is a bit over weight? That would make sence as his speed on the wing is not the same as before. Also he is a couple of years older now. And sometimes one is not the same players after an injury – as Ian Bailey told above.

    Hoping to see the old Friend one day. All the best to him. Up the Boro!

    1. I think this will be George’s last season with Boro

      A nice guy, who I used to see quite often within the west stand talking to the fans, signing autographs and posing for selfies. Nowadays he seems to be keeping a low profile.

      Of course he has had a new addition to the family which may be taking his time up!


  23. I am not the only supporter of English league clubs in Finland. Most people of my generation were watching the two channels on TV in the 1970’s. And we had live TV match from England every Saturday during the long dark winter nights (OK it was afternoon, but it is already dark at five local time, three o’clock GMT). Mind we played football from early May until late September because of snow in here.

    And the First division and Second Division of England were (and still are) on the pools coupons here – for longer than our own footy season. In the older days we also had another pools game where the Third and Fouth Division with Scottish League was included. But that was cancelled sometime in the late 1990, I think.

    Here is a link of a popular Finnish politician. He started to follow Millwall in1976 when he saw them on TV. He does use the Millwall scarf often on TV – it is OK in here. Some wonder why Millwall but it suits the status of his ego and his party.

    The chap in the pictures is our current Foreign Minister. He might wear the blue scarf sometimes in Brussels, too.

    I hope we win in London on Saturday as I do not like him or his party – they are too are National and I support the EU and don’t like see borders in travel or business. But I leave it there as you might disagree being British.

    Up the Boro!

  24. PS. Mr Soini, our Foreign Minister, has seen Millwall playing live over 40 times. I do not think I am that much behind him in seeing Boro at Ayresome and Riverside.

    But he has been a parliament member for well over 20 years and can combine some business trips to London to see Millwall. I have been able to do that only once last year. I do travel to Scotland occasionally on business nowadays but it is still difficult to drive down to Boro in the evening for a match – the distance is too much.

    On business I have seen Messi and Barca on two occasion as Barcelona is more easy to reach. I would take Boro any day and it’s greener in Yourshire, too.

    Aways, up the Boro!

  25. Well, I seem to be getting more lazy with my English. Yourshire should have been Yorkshire, of course. But it is YOUR Shire, too. An I love it, aLways. Up the Boro!

  26. Just to draw to your attention to a new menu item of ‘Archives’ at the top right of Diasboro pages – it will contain separate links for Jan – Dec 2017, with each month page showing the articles in the order they were published with some header graphics, author details and scores where appropriate. I’ve so far done January and February and will add them to the ‘Archives’ menu page when I’ve completed them.

  27. Who wants to be a millionaire? The name of the TV game show comes from Cole Porter’s film “High Society” famously sung by Frank Sinatra and Celeste Holm. But what is a million? Well a million pounds wouldn’t buy Boro a top notch player, yet most of us would consider ourselves rich if we had a million pounds in cash. But just suppose we had had a million pounds in £1 notes before the advent of £1 coins. How long do you think it would take to count it? Say it took 5 seconds to count up 10 notes, without stopping for sleep or food or anything else, it would take the best part of 6 days.

    As we approach Christmas and the end of the year, there have been less than 737,000 days in Anno Domini and it will be sometime in the year 2737 before anyone can celebrate the one millionth day AD.

    To date Boro have played 4,429 league matches and even allowing for up to a generous 10 minutes injury time per match that’s less than 443,000 minutes. Makes you think, doesn’t it. In football terms a million doesn’t seem to be a big number, but in real terms it’s massive.

    Incidentally Assombalonga’s penalty against Leeds United was the 6,500th league goal scored by Boro. At the current goal scoring average it will probably take another 9 or 10 years before someone scores our 7,000th. I’m not even going to contemplate when we’ll score the 10,000th but none of us will be alive to witness it.

    1. Ken you are the modern version of Encyclopaedia Britannica (anybody remember them) that my Father bought me in around 1955/56. They came by post, 10 or so hard backed volumes. I could not pick the box up if I remember.

  28. Thanks to OFB for his Ian Bailey interview. I also liked him because he was rather quick so a little more exciting than the normal FB’s in those days.

    However he was a little injury prone as is shown in 144 appearances in 6/7 years.
    Interesting to see his opinion on the Boro team, which of course he can give not living on Teesside any more. Bamford…tick, Poor midfield…tick. Nice to know a former professional has similar views as I do.

    1. Thank you KP…..will try and muddle my way through the quogmire that is iFollow. Well it is rather sticky for me.
      Windows 10 has just carried out its Fall update……and as always, there are always problems. This time all my websites on my favourites bar have disappeared. So having to remember what I had and upload them all again…..starting with DiasBoro of course.
      Wish I was as clever as Werder.

      1. Your welcome, give me a shout if you need further assistance.

        Sorry to hear about your update problems. My Windows 10 update took place on Tuesday and so far (fingers crossed) appears to be trouble free.

        That probably means the machine will crash on Saturday when I want to watch the match in typical Boro fashion! 🤣😎

  29. Well I’ve just completed the Diasboro archives from Jan to May and in doing so have relived our Premier League season in all its gory [sic] details. Though as well as despair there was plenty of dark humour on display and it was certainly a time where I sought refuge in header graphics – which could possibly almost tell the season without words. Maybe even posters could indulge me and choose their favourite header graphic too, something I’ve unfortunately had to cut back on this season due to time constraints.

    Just to remind the archives are available through the menu at the top of the page.

    1. The one I can most easily remember is one of the first ones. It was so good and somehow Ian Gill was really one of the characters. Top job!

      So my nomitation goes to January’s “Two old regulars look ahead to the game” at Watford where we had Statler and Waldorf in. So featuring Ian and John Powls.

      Excellent. Up the Boro!

      1. Thanks Jarkko for those kind words.

        Personally I think the standard has risen to such a level I am leaving it to the experts.

        I was out on our Christmas do yesterday so have just caught up.

  30. Another good interview Bob much appreciated. Think I modled my 70s hair style on IB until a RN barber got his clippers on it in 79!

    And an appreciative shout out to Werder for his tireless work on the blog with the ongoing updates of the archive section.

    Well done to the both of you👏👏👍🏻

  31. Building on my point from earlier…

    I think of the communal nature of DiasBoro. I think of the communal nature of Middlesbrough as a whole, when I’ve visited. And I think of the club in general and how, during Mogga’s tenure, we felt like that. And felt good about it.

    It creates a paradox. I loved the McClaren years when times were good, and the Robson and Karanka years until they went backwards. But when Robbo brought in the superstars, and Karanka brought in the continental methodology, perhaps – and this is only a theory – one could see that, regardless of results, Boro were taking steps towards losing their identity and becoming “just another top level club” or worse, “just another wannabe top level club”. The latter was certainly how we were ultimately viewed under Robbo and AK… to borrow NikeBoro’s brilliant words, “a little club that tried to buy a place at the top table and failed pathetically”.

    The sale of Albert – who all of us took to our hearts – was seen as a betrayal of some of the values we believed in, regardless of whether or not it was the right thing to do. “He’s building a foreign, soulless team… Real Boro… Where’s the sense of connection to well-known and loved players?” wrote one fan.

    1. Si

      I’ve said it before

      Albert wanted to go !

      It was him or rather his brother that demanded more money

      It’s always been my mantra that if a player doesn’t want to play for the club then move them on and that applies to anyone

      The club is bigger than one man it belongs to all of us

  32. The paradox is, of course, that part of me feels sorry for those managers who are doing their best to take the club where they dream of going, even if, in both Robbo and Karanka’s case, they’re ultimately out of their depth. Too often I got the feeling that the progressive elements in AKBoro’s play (eg Bamford’s goals, some sublime passing) and some likable characteristics (the wife and family settling in well, or so I hear) were not enough, in many eyes, to compensate for a legacy of overly sterile, defensive play and needlessly ruthless, ill-timed and generally poor man management. (This is, of course, long before the paranoid attacks on the fans and board which took it to another level of pain altogether.)

    1. Just the tumbleweed blowing down the deserted streets whilst we are all waiting for a new exciting preview to be unleashed tomorrow by our Blogmeister Werder

  33. Now somebody is else is getting their stories ready-made from this blog. Before long, we’ll be providing source material for a big chunk of the UK media.

    UTB (Up the Blog)

  34. Heartwarming to see Boro’s Academy youngsters annual Christmas visit to Abbey Hill School near Stockton, a school for youngsters with learning difficulties, especially as the Academy youngsters buy and donate the Christmas presents themselves. Very uplifting story on the MFC website.

  35. Ken

    Ref your post about the academy players carrying out Xmas visits to this less fortunate it also serves the purpose of letting the lads know how lucky they are to have the chance of a career in football

    The downside is that a lot of the Academy players will fall by the wayside and not make it into professional football which is heartbreaking for them.

    I know from personal experience how many young players don’t make it but what the Boro do, like so many Premier class academies is to continue with their general education and if they are released to either stay in football or seek another career.

    My grandson was offered a place in Sunderland’s academy which surisingly to me he turned down. He was quite pragmatic about it as he intended to pursue an engineering apprenticeship and play northern League Football. Indeed one of his senior team mates signed for the Boro and when you see James Vardy a former non league player as an England International you can see why some players want a career as a back stop.

    For those Boro lads who have donated presents paid for by themselves I salute them and know the Boro will turn these lads into decent young men whatever they end up doing in life.


  36. This post is a repost to ensure my thanks to jarkko appear for his kind words on my piece with John Powls on Watford.

    Personally I think the standard has risen to such a level I am leaving it to the experts.

    I was out on our Christmas do yesterday so have just caught up.

  37. Watched the U18 s last night on utube anyone else?
    Very good standard ,excellent team work ,but we’re are those individual players with that little bit of magic, the kid on the right Ibriham name i think looks like there is potential, quick of thought, and a Chris Waddle type of skills.and this is the thing, does it come down to the kind of manager we have?
    Take Fletcher 7m spent, so obviously some one seen
    Something,is he getting the right kind of encouragement or ,and I’ve seen it, is he being constantly lambasted,and totally being destroyed.
    Like I said I’ve seen too many great kids have their carreers destroyed by coaches with big egos,who couldn’t touch their laces

  38. January sales coming , is that for another day ,don’t want to infringe on our board room.
    But I’d like a new left back.
    On a maybe ,I’d get Tomlin back, we don’t have anyone like him,and I think the lads would lonve him.

  39. Been away, so just catching up.

    Excellent piece on Mourinho, Simon, and a special thanks for re-posting Werder’s fantastic article on the AK- Special One relationship. I was away at the time and hadn’t seen it before. No need to look much further for blog of the year, I would’ve thought. The fact that I hadn’t caught it demonstrates the importance of everyone having a say.

    Chris, sorry for the delay in responding. I didn’t have anything that could be called a methodology, with pre-defined categories, apart from the obvious ones. What I would do was to make a note the things I liked, or the people whose overall contribution I most appreciated and then invent a category for them( eg the Robbie Mustoe award for someone who did a great deal of important but unfussy work in contributing to the blog).

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