In2views: Gary Pallister

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 a chat and asking a few questions. Our Diasboro special guest this week is Gary Pallister.

1. The Overview – the man and his career

Gary was born in Ramsgate, Kent although he has always been considered by most of us a local lad. He is one of those football players who began and ended his professional career with the Boro. When you see him strolling down Yarm High Street, or still patrolling the corridors of Middlesbrough and Manchester United, where he usually acts as a match host at their grounds, he is welcomed and greeted with smiles at every turn. Tall, greying at the temples and still handsome and athletic looking, he has the appearance, now in his early fifties, of being self-assured and a man comfortable with life. This can be evidenced when seen on Television, when he appears as a guest football summarizer on Sky Sports and other Televised Sports Channels.

He says “I didn’t come into the game until late. I was 19 when I turned pro and I hadn’t done an apprenticeship or anything like that, so I was privileged to end up having such a good career. You take it for granted at the time but, looking back now, I realise how lucky I was.”

He is always ready to laugh, and joke and he obviously loves still being in the football environment, where he can enjoy the craic with his fellow former team mates, as they playfully make digs at one another. Just like the young lads they once were and how we all remember them.

Pallister - Young

Pally was signed as a youth player from Billingham Town when spotted by the late great Willie Maddren and his management team. A fee was agreed and paid to them of a new football strip (a bargain signing OFB). I remember seeing him as a tall gangly youth and he was quickly packed off to Darlington on loan, to get used to the rough and tumble of lower league football. He came back determined to make his mark and he was helped in that, because he was to have alongside him another Boro legend, in the form of Tony Mowbray. He played as a centre-half and made the rare achievement of representing the English national side in 1988 before appearing in the top flight. He did this whilst playing in the Second Division for the Boro. I remember listening to that game on the radio, in my Managing Director’s office at work. We were surrounded by another ten keen Boro fans, eager to hear how he was doing. Well the boy done well; he was capped 22 times by England between 1988 and 1996 and I tried to see every one of them, proud that we had one of our own, playing for our Country.

Partnered by Mogga, the defensive partnership went from strength to strength and is still considered by many (including me – OFB) as one of the best that the Boro have ever had. Later that year Pally helped ‘Boro win our second successive promotion and reach the First Division, just two years after we almost went out of business. However we were relegated on the final day of the 1988–89 season. As one of the highest regarded defenders in England, his days at Ayresome Park were looking numbered as soon as Boro were relegated, but he did begin the 1989–90 season. He was still at the club in the Second Division, before his move to Manchester United was completed.

He played for Manchester United from 1989-1998, for which was then a club-record of £2.3 million for a Second Division defender. It was also the highest fee between British clubs, and the second highest fee to be paid by a British club (second only to Ian Rush’s return to Liverpool, from Juventus a year earlier).

A few eyebrows were raised when Alex Ferguson paid such an amount of money for him, but Fergie needed a centre-back to partner Steve Bruce. Pally was the only man to feature in the first 10 major trophy successes for the manager at United where he won four Premier League titles and three FA Cups.

Pallister and Fergie PFA

Following a blazing row with the Manchester United boss, Gary tells how he feared his career under Sir Alex Ferguson would last just 12 months, though as we now know he survived the dressing room confrontation with Fergie as an Old Trafford novice. Speaking in a documentary to celebrate Ferguson’s 25 years at United, he reminisces about that incident and it reveals a different side of Fergie to that we think we know.

“I’ve certainly witnessed the good cop, bad cop versions of Sir Alex Ferguson. I could take you through a whole file of them! There are far too many to mention. But he does have a public persona and a private one. We all see the fiery Scotsman on TV, at loggerheads with the press, and referees, but I can tell you he is a well-balanced individual. Yes, he put the fear of God into players, but you wouldn’t last 25 years at United if that was all you were about. There is so much more to him than the facade the public get to see. His man-management is great. He’ll rip into you if you deserve it, but publicly he’ll protect his players.”

“I recall once at Anfield, when I was having a shocker and he took me off at half-time, but when I read the papers, I discovered I had an injury. He’d told the press that was why he’d substituted me.”

“But one incident that really stands out for me happened after about a season at the club. I’d joined in 1989 from Middlesbrough, for a British club record of £2.3m and it is no secret that the first few months were difficult for me.”

“In that first year it always seemed to be me, Lee Sharpe and Steve Bruce who copped for the hairdryer. But in one match he really laid into me at half-time in the dressing room. I thought he had over-stepped the mark with what he came out with and I’d had enough. He pushed me too far and I responded.”

“I had an almighty bust-up with him. I thought my United career was going to be over as a result of that. A couple of days later I was called to his office. I went there expecting to get my P45 and be told I was on my way. I entered his room and I was still full of anger and adamant I had been right. I was readying myself for another argument and to be told I was being put on the transfer list.”

“But he really took the wind out of my sails. He deflated my balloon by apologising. He said he had crossed the mark and was wrong for what he had said. I was so taken aback, I forgot to say sorry myself.”

“It was a pivotal moment in my United career, because my respect for the manager grew enormously. He was man enough to admit he was wrong. More than ever before I knew from that day on that this was a manager I could work for.”

“He has dealt with so many different personalities and nationalities and has managed to adapt from pre-Premier League days when the job was so different, to the modern-day game and how the power of the player has changed. He was an old-school style boss, but has managed to adjust. He embraced everything and took new styles on board.”

It seems unfair to point to Pally’s lack of goals, when his main job was keeping out the opposition at the other end. The two headers at Liverpool to virtually clinch the 1996/97 title for Manchester United were truly special but there was something magical about his free-kick in the final home game of the 1992/93 campaign against Blackburn, when Old Trafford celebrated ending the 26-year wait for the championship. Everybody was willing him to get off the mark for the season and his perfectly-placed set-piece proved he was no ordinary centre-half and that he had skill in abundance.

By the time of his departure from Old Trafford after nine years, he was the only player to have collected winner’s medals in all of the club’s successes under Alex Ferguson’s management, and second only to Brian McClair (who left United at the same time) he was the club’s longest serving player.

Pallister Returns

Pally came back to the Boro for £2.5million, signed by Bryan Robson who had played alongside him until 1994. The fee was actually more than the money Manchester United had paid for him nine years earlier in July 1998. He scored once against Southampton in 55 League appearances, as well as appearing in two FA Cup matches and four League Cup matches.

His final playing season, in which we finished 14th in the table, was season 2000–01. He retired from playing due to a succession of injuries on 4 July 2001, at the age of 36. This was just three weeks after the appointment of Steve McClaren as our new manager. I was always grateful that I saw him play and he talks to us now.

2. The Interview – a quick chat

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

GP: I joined the boro in 1984.

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

GP: I was living with my parents in Norton, so I didn’t have to live in digs.

OFB: Who was your favourite Boro player and others that you have played with?

GP: The best Boro players I played with were Alan Boksic and Gazza.

OFB: Who were the best and worst trainers in the team?

GP: The best trainers in the Boro team were Curtis Fleming and Gary Hamilton.

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

GP: It was usually the day before and nearly always by bus.

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

GP: In my first spell it would be a squad of 15 then about 18 in my 2nd spell, no Directors came with us.

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

GP: It was always a decent hotel that we stayed in.

OFB: Who did you room with for away matches?

GP: During my first spell with the club it was Bernie Slaven, then Colin Cooper in my 2nd spell.

OFB: Who was the joker in the team?

GP: First it was probably Slav, then it was Gazza.

OFB: Can you tell us any amusing anecdotes or pranks that were played?

GP: None that I could tell publicly!

OFB: Whose boots did you clean as an apprentice and who cleaned yours?

GP: I was never an apprentice, so I never had to clean any boots.

OFB: Did you try and emulate your style of play, on any individual player who played in your position?

GP: Alan Hansen

OFB: What was your most memorable game, your own individual performance and best experience with the fans?

GP: The Chelsea play-off game in 1988 at Stamford Bridge

OFB: What was your worst game or experience and why?

GP: I suppose it has to be the Leicester game, the last game of the season in 1988 when we failed to win the game and get automatic promotion.

OFB: Is there a game that you wished you had played in, either for Boro or another team?

GP: The 1999 European cup final for United.

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

GP: Jack Charlton.

OFB: Who was the manager that had the greatest influence on your career and why?

GP: Willie Madren, he took me under his wing and pushed me to be a success.

OFB: Which opposing team and which player did you fear playing against?

GP: I used to hate playing at Plough Lane, home of Wimbledon and never really feared playing against anyone.

OFB: Which opposing team and which player did you like playing against?

GP: I liked playing at Anfield, it was always the biggest test for me.

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

GP: Willie Maddren, because he believed in me.

OFB: Who is your current favourite Boro player and why?

GP: Ben Gibson, I like the way he’s developing as a leader of the team.

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

GP: I Think the pitches have changed dramatically, it’s so much better to play good football on now.

OFB: If you could be a fly on the wall, is there any dressing room you would wish to eavesdrop on?

GP: Pep Guardiola at Man City.

Pallister picks up Trophy

OFB: Do you have any regrets in your career, or missed opportunities?

GP: It’s hard to have any regrets, when I was so fortunate to have the career that I did have.

OFB: Do you still follow the Boro and their results

GP: Yeh, I go to most of the home games.

OFB: Whereabouts in the Country do you live these days and what do you do?

GP: I still live on Teesside in Yarm (He is also a TV Pundit – OFB)

OFB: Whom have you made a lifelong friend through football?

GP: Slav, Mogga, Brucey.

OFB: Finally, if you hadn’t had a professional career as a footballer, what do you think you would have done as a career?

GP: Ha Ha, not got a clue, probably something involving sport.

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

151 thoughts on “In2views: Gary Pallister

  1. Brilliant read again OFB about one of our own and a great centre back.

    He lived next door to my brother in Norton and used to get told off for kicking the ball against their wall as a youngster!

  2. I met Gary once at Villa Park, it was the semi against West Ham when we lost 1-0. I

    It was corporate hospitality and I was sat opposite Mark Benton, he didn’t recognise me, he featured in TV ads for the hosting company.

    Had a very brief chat with Pally and the comment I remember was he was the only true blond in Rioch’s team!!

    Seemed a smashing chap.

  3. I see that Sky have ignored Boro in the latest set of televised matches, which includes all bar the last two fixtures. I guess they do not see us as a realistic play off contender as they are not interested in our matches versus Shef Utd (A), Bristol City (H) and Derby (A).

    Maybe they are waiting until Millwall (H) to see if we are there or thereabouts before considering if we are worth watching. Personally I don’t mind us not being “live” as it means no rescheduled kick offs, leading to disruption to fans travelling arrangements etc.

    Come on BORO.

    1. Sky have a love in with a few clubs and the rest can burn in hell for all they care. They love the Dirties and Villa due presumably to the logic that they have a bigger fan base and therefore will be more attractive to advertisers and their money.

      Our final game away to Ipswich could be interesting as the Tractor fans are organising a protest against the Directors lack of investment at their next Home game against Millwall over Easter with a boycott.If it drags on to the final game it may be destabilising for them or it may have a Charlton effect (the London Club not Jack).

  4. After a sticky few months Ben seems to be settling down now and getting back to his best so lets hope he keeps developing as Pally suggests!

    If not we shouldn’t worry as it appears we are going to buy the entire West Brom squad according to the Nationals over the last week. Brunt and Morrison are returning to Teesside along with Craig Dawson, Ben Foster and Grzegorz Krychowiak. It should please Paul Scharner who has apparently accused Pulis of destroying the Baggies DNA. He apparently enjoyed the Mogga (I presume) style of play more and them going up and down (hence the Boing, Boing, Baggies thing I guess).

    How many days, hours and minutes to the next game?

  5. Anyone else notice the grandiose titles that the Gazette are now giving to some of their “Reporters”?

    Dom is now “Advanced Content Sports Writer” whilst Jonno is now “Multimedia Journalist”.

    Philip Tallentire is still “Philip Tallentire”, AV is still merely AV and glad to see that Eric Paylor is still simply “Eric Paylor”.

    I wonder what “Advanced Content” is exactly as oppose to the not so advanced content? I’m guessing “Multimedia Journalist” Journalist means you spend all day looking at tweets and players facebook pages? Perhaps its a way of rebuilding relations with the Club for next season by moving certain individuals sideways?

    1. RR
      The journo’s are just the pawns of the national press, they carry out their duties as they are told, and they take the flack when things turn sour.
      It would not be wise to give them the flack, rather, the mirror group which of course owns the Gazette.


    Whilst formulating the league table at the end of Part 1, I have noticed errors in two entries:

    werdermouth – You have predicted Cardiff v Derby as both teams to lose, although we would all like that to happen I would like to know your prediction for that fixture.

    Martin Bellamy – 2 errors, Cardiff to Draw v Derby but Derby to win ? also Brentford to win v Boro but Boro to draw ?

    Cardiff v Derby is still to be played so I would like the amendment as soon as possible.

    Martin, I trust the integrity of everyone on this site and it is a fun competition so I will except what you meant as your prediction for Brentford v Boro but I need to know before I can complete the league table for Part 1.

    As Derby v Cardiff was “snowed off” I will carry forward the prediction everyone made for that match and produce an amended table for Part 1 after the rearranged match has been played, providing it is not called off by Derby FC because of snow, fog, rain or it is too hot in the sun.

    Later I will post the fixtures for Part 2 and it will be no surprise to find tha Brentford have dropped out of the top ten (contenders for the top 6) to be replaced by Millwall. The main question will be, how many and which teams will still be in with a chance of the top 6 after Part 2.

    Come on BORO.

    1. Exmil

      In your deliberations on the Derby v. Cardiff rearranged fixture you missed off the possibility of a national frangipane and flaked almond shortage which could result in it being far too dangerous to walk the streets of neighbouring Derbyshire towns and villages for fear of the Bakewell Tarts exacting revenge on unsuspecting away supporters (and employees of DCFC).

      I’m sure we will be told that hell hath no fury like a Bakewell Tart and that the safety advisory committee emailed their support for the club and the local council because to hold a meeting would have also been deemed too dangerous. Meanwhile Derbyshire Constabulary will have issued a statement that they have ample supply of Oatcakes and were unaware of any Tarts misbehaving outside their Ripley HQ. They have however warned travelling supporters not to risk any old tarts well past their sell by date and not to approach Mary Berry who is believed roaming the area armed with a rolling pin.

    2. hi exmil, i missed the deadline but had it written down so am keeping track of the scores ,i just need the scoring system. I used to post as rich and have done the last couple of challenges. Could you fill me in(not in a craig david way)?

      1. Richard, the way I score the entries is as follows:

        Each entry has a total number of points for each team at the end of Part 1. If the total number of points is correct the entry scores 10 but for every point + or – , deduct one point. Example if for a particular team you predicted 80 points and they finished with either 82 or 78 then you would score 8 for that team. Do the same for each team and you will have your total points for Part 1, then the same for Parts 2 and 3 adding the previous totals as you progress.

        Hope this helps.

        Come on BORO.

  7. werdermouth I went to copy the above post via the “Exmil Challenge 2018” banner but it has not appeared, can the same banner be used for entries into Parts 2 & 3 please.

    Come on BORO.

  8. Redcar Red

    The Bakewell tart is a reviled item in Bakewell, the true identity of the desert is the Bakewell Pudding. There is much use of almond etc but I can guarantee a full size pudding with cream and/or custard would even slow Adama down to mortal speeds.

    Maybe Sky wont show us because they have decided we are nailed on for the play offs.


      1. They cafe above the shop serves them warm and they take some getting through. You require great fortitude and a sweet tooth. Oh, and somewhere to lie down afterwards! Don’t go to the fish and chip shop beforehand.

  9. Another good background and Q&A OFB, from a class act, both on and off the field. Thank you for that.
    It’s the same story with all our truly great players over these last 5 decades isn’t it. Always we lose them to one of the prevailing giants of the day. Just think what we may have been able to achieve over that same period had we retained the services of Pally, Souness, Mills, Downing, Johnston, Hodgson and more while in their primes.

    1. Another good interview Bob. Got me thinking though, wouldn’t it have been nice if the internet had been invented in the early 60’s. I would love to have heard interviews of players who I’d heard so much about but never seen play. George Camsell died in 1966, but I can’t ever recall his being interviewed by the media. It just didn’t seem to happen in those days. Sad really😔

    2. Powmill
      What really hurt was paying the same money as we received for him, thus being on the losing end of the longest ( free) loan in the history of the game,( to add insult to injury, he was crocked, and remained crocked)
      As we were taught by AK you must first be a winner in the search for good players before you can be a winner on the field of play.
      There was one word missing in the above, and there are no prizes for spotting that it was the word “young ” as in players.

  10. Powmill

    I a sure they will deliver or if you pay for Mrs G and myself we can pop over with some. Don’t know what the customs would make of them.

  11. Exmil –

    Try posting again to your Exmil Challenge Page – I’ve reset the publish date of the page to today as WordPress only allows comments to be made on all pages for around 14 days – it helps prevent spam comments, which tend to sneak in comments on old articles so I don’t want to change that global setting. I did a test comment with the ‘Diasboro’ poster and it seemed to work OK.

    1. Thanks werdermouth, it has worked but does that mean we can only post for 14 days from now or does it close 14 days after the last post.

      Come on BORO.

      1. I will just need to keep adjusting the publishing date to keep it live for posting comments – though there shouldn’t be a problem now until after Easter and the next deadline for Part II of the challenge.

  12. It’s all gone quiet on the Diasboro front. Must be another of those pesky International breaks. Dare we mention c…..t? Apologies to RR and other non followers but desperate times and all that.

  13. There’ve been a few comments on the Gazette forum from fans suggesting that Derby County should be deducted 3 points for cancelling last Sunday’s match. The reason behind that is that a precedent had been set when Boro failed to play a fixture against Blackburn in 1996.

    My view is that these two incidents are not comparable. The match in 1996 was not called off by the home team; the reason it was postponed was that Boro said at the time that they were unable to fulfill the fixture because of sickness and injuries to a majority of its playing staff.
    In the case of Derby’s postponement, the decision was taken because the home club deemed the surrounding areas and routes to the stadium were dangerous. Suspicions have been aroused that the club, having several players injured, used weather conditions as an excuse for postponement.

    This raises a point as to whether the HOME club has the authority to postpone a match using any reasonable basis. To our chagrin we know that the AWAY team has no such authority.

    1. Clearly I must have been anticipating that Derby would win but would also get a three points deduction for calling off the original game 😉

      Though to simplify matters I’ll go for a win for Cardiff.

  14. I see that the Derby v Cardiff fixture has been rescheduled for April 24th, which gives Derby 3 home fixtures out of their last four matches.

    Come on BORO.

  15. Very fortuitous rearrangement for Derby, after very dubiously postponing the original fixture. I can understand Warnock’s chagrin, he must have been champing at the bit to make that game.

    I know there is no precedent to do this, but I would love it if the league said that they can play the rearranged fixture, but they can only play the same squad that would have been available at the time of the original fixture. I suspect it’s a not a goer, because teams don’t declare their squads far in advance of the game, and thus who knows how badly injured some of the players were, but it would call a halt to any of these postponements due to long injury lists.

  16. Some great topics raised, and another great interview Bob.

    Always liked “Pally”. Terrific pro. After being half of the best centre back partnership of the 1990s, and probably half of our favourite centre back partnership of the eighties, he came back and helped Robbo and El Tel lay the initial foundations for our stay in the PL.

    In other news… Uwe has made the Guardian’s “Joy Of Six” regarding loans…

    “It wasn’t just his goals that endeared him to fans – there were rumours of a romance with Jet from Gladiators and tales of his quirky foreign habits became the subject of fevered debate. He liked, for example, to warm down after a match with six laps of the pitch – ‘I used to warm down with several pints of lager’, sniffed former Boro midfielder Gary Gill.

    “But then, suddenly, it was over: he was sent off against Sheffield United – ‘There have been some excellent foreign imports to this country, but Fuchs is a disgrace,’ raged Dave Bassett – and suspended for the season’s final game. Bryan Robson declined to trigger a £500,000 pre-agreed permanent fee and he ended up moving to, and being rubbish for, Millwall.”

  17. OFB, excellent interview as ever and a really important player in our history after 1986.

    Saved my day sitting at the Dusseldorf airport waiting to get back home. Still 1 h 30 min to wait for the flight.

    I love this blog me, like. Up the Boro!

  18. Powmill
    If AV was still the Blogmeister, you would have received a Yellow Card. Werder is a more lenient master, so we can get away with a little bit of discussion about most Yorkshiremen’s favourite sport. Note that Cloughie was a big cricket fan, so we’re in good company.

  19. OFB,

    I finally got a little time to read about Pally. Great article and I remember I was driving on the motorway when I heard he’d been transferred. I’m sure the cars and lorries around me heard my outburst, along the lines of; ‘Oh never, I don’t believe it, never, why do we always transfer our best players out. What are those clever people at Boro doing?’ You get my drift.



  20. Hit the wrong button…. We’ve already had LBW in here (Lots of Bakewell Words) so thought I might just get away with an innocent ‘c’ reference..

  21. jarsue

    There was no chance Pally would stay, we tend to impose our football feeling on our teams footballers but many of use on here moved away from Teesside.

    We are still supporters but we moved for work, players like Pally are the same. I am sure he balanced playing for his home town club with playing at the highest level. I don’t even hate Peter Beagrie too much.

  22. Ian,

    You are quite right but we do take it personally, part of being a supporter and fan. the paradox then is that you love to see the player do well and realise his potential.



  23. Thank you all for your kind comments and of course talking to one of our heroes makes it very pleasant for me.

    I’ve found that to try and keep ahead I have to juggle a few targets at the same time. Potential Interviewees that I have asked for time to do an In2View suddenly appear willing to come up with the goods and knocks my schedule out!

    I’m currently talking to Neil Maddison who is a lovely guy and tries to keep getting my eldest grandson to play for his college team but means skipping classes!

    I’m also talking to Alan Moore and Andy Todd and Dean Gordon all nice guys


    1. Ofb
      Ah. Alan Moor
      I have personally, never been more disappointed at the failure of a young player to play at the highest level in world football.
      When he appeared in the team as a young boy, he was magical, and I do mean the difficult bits, like crashing the ball into the net from position impossible. He was truly great.
      I hope to discover from your interview what stopped his inevitable rise to fame and fortune.

  24. Interesting event coming up on Tuesday.

    MFC have invited me and Mrs OFB to am evening behind the scenes at the Riverside. I will be meeting TP and possibly SG too.

    I wondered if I dare ask them for an In2View?

    Can we have some questions we would like to ask and would have asked if we had the foresight to do so ?

    Questions please nothing harsh ! We don’t want to Mirror our rivals do we ?


  25. Once again thank you OFB for another interesting interview.

    Seems like there is a bit of a shake up with the Gazette guys with Jono leaving etc….time for peace talks with the club ?. Can only be good for everyone .

  26. OFB
    Two questions for SG
    1. How does he view the long term financial security of the club &
    2. Would he consider making available a portion of the shares, say 5-10%, for supporters to buy shares and maybe even have representation on the board.
    Also feel free to add my moan about the lack of Boro Live TV for foreign supporters.
    Questions for TP
    1. How does he see the difference between the middle/bottom of the Premiership and the top of the Championship?
    2. What is the balance in his mind between, on the one hand, playing one’s own style and, on the other hand, adjusting the game plan to counter the opposition?

    All the best

  27. I want to know more about Sir Gibson before he became a director. About his youth, being an ordinary fan and how he did his fortune. He is the most important person in the history or our club.

    About Pally. Didn’t we say that the club officials laughed all the way to the bank at the time as we felt the money Ferguson was forced to pay was out of this world? So were we generally happy for the money we got?

    Aitor said that Victor Valdes was the most decorated player ever to sign for Boro. But perhaps Pally was the most decorated player when he he came back to Boro. Any idea, Ken?

    Up the Boro!

    1. jarkko
      Every club that is foolish enough to sell a young player who is going to play at the highest level for the next ten years, and win all the honours, is by definition, badly managed.
      They often think they have scored a big fee and all is well with their world. It never is.
      Very few clubs have the nerve to demand a fee that will hurt the buying club, and that is a fact that will not alter.
      Man Utd were hurting over Pally, but only because they had convinced themselves that we were easy targets and would come quietly.
      But, my god, they must have laughed when we gave them back their fee after loaning him to united for ten years.
      Very funny in a horrible sort of way.
      Now to more important matters,
      About Traore, reading his stats on this blog is frightening, and we know, non better, that we are far from using him to his maximum.
      I only pray that when it comes to selling him, we have the bottle to confront the wannabee buyers and demand a telephone number fee, with a percentage of any sell on’s

  28. The beauty of supporting cricket is that it fills gaps between football as well being enjoyable so I got up with cricket to watch, New Zealand versus England.

    There was a rain affected start because so late in the day New Zealand were only 130-3.

    Then I saw that they were 72 ahead!! England bowled out for 58!!!

    For goodness sake.

    And an international break.

  29. I venture to say that tomorrow’s Super League match at Elland Road billed as ‘The Clash’ will be the biggest ball-game sporting event in England this weekend. As far as Rugby League is concerned it is probably now regarded as West Yorkshire’s top fixture since the demise of Bradford Bulls (or Northern) and will be the first meeting between the two sides to be held at Elland Road since the 1988 Yorkshire Cup Final, a competition no longer played since the formation of Super League. It is being shown on Sky TV’s Main Event Channel, and although only a league match, the fact that it is being held at the home of Leeds United gives it more significance.

    It is hoped that the record attendance for a Super League match of 25,004 between Wigan and St Helens several seasons ago will be broken, but that might be a shade optimistic. However it represents an evenly contested fixture between a small town and its big city neighbours; on population terms akin perhaps to Redcar or Stockton playing the mighty Boro. It is also the first competitive meeting between the two clubs since last season’s Grand Final at Old Trafford and many of the players on both sides being Leeds United fans, would rather tread the turf of Elland Road than Old Trafford.

    To Rhinos and Tigers fans it is similar to Tees/Wear football derby, so I’m really excited about this match. A weakened Rhinos team won 28-20 at a previously unbeaten St Helens side last week, and Cas had previously been trounced 46-6 at St Helens last month, but Rugby League’s top sides obviously prefer playing on dry fast surfaces, not the quagmire state of pitches endured so far this year. Therefore I make no predictions but hope for an evenly exciting contest, and as there are no Premier League or Championship matches tomorrow night, maybe some of you might prefer to watch a properly contested match than a meaningless International friendly football match.

    On another tack, I was glad to see a really committed performance from Hartlepools last night, only their second win in 17 matches. Like Boro they now have an important 8 remaining games which will define their season.

    1. It’s a big game, Ken, but it’s still not Wigan vs Saints, surely the biggest Derby game in World RL.

      The mercenerary Aussies who come over to play in Superleague are always amazed at the atmosphere at our games, especially the ones involving local rivalries. Long may it continue.

      Oh, and good luck to Cas who are quickly becoming my second team.

      1. Martin
        I was hoping to get a reaction from you. You’re quite correct, Wigan v Saints is the big one, and although a lot of publicity is given nowadays to the Humberside derby, since the demise of Bradford I think that Leeds v Cas is THE Yorkshire derby because in some ways it is like Goliath against David.

      1. Martin Bellamy
        It sure was! A game of guts, blood and thunder. It was as dramatic as the semifinal playoff against St Helens last season, and in both matches I have to admit that Cas were a tad lucky to win. In football terms we lost 5-3 in tries scored against Saints, and 5-4 in tries scored against Leeds. It’s hard to imagine a football team being 4 goals down half way through the first half yet winning 5-4 in the last minute, but credit to Leeds that is what would have happened if results were determined purely on tries scored. Neither side deserved to lose, but what an exhibition both sides were able to display when playing on a dry fast track. The match certainly lived up to its billing as ‘The Clash’ and I expect much the same from Saints and Wigan on Good Friday.

        I love Rugby League, me!

  30. OFB

    I am sure that you and Mrs OFB will enjoy your behind the scenes evening and it is a well deserved recognition for all the positive things that you do and say about our beloved MFC.



    1. What is the best and worst decision you have made with regard to MFC?

    2. In the event that MFC does not achieve promotion this season can he guarantee that MFC will provide live TV coverage for overseas supporters next season?

    3. Where does he see the club/himself in five years time?


    1. In the event that MFC do not gain promotion this season does he see himself continuing to manage the club for another tilt at promotion in 2018/2019?

    2. If we do gain promotion then how much change does he think he will need to make to the current squad to maintain a PL place?

    Have a great evening. 😎


    Due to the rearranged fixture Derby v Cardiff being so late in the season (Part 3 of the challenge) and the possibilities of loss of form, injuries and suspensions I have decided to delete the fixture from Part 1 and adjust everyone’ final total for those two teams. The fixture will now appear in Part 3, I think this is the fairest way to proceed.

    I hope to post Part 2 and the league table later today or tomorrow at the latest, both on here and copied to the Exmil Challenge banner.

    Come on BORO.

  32. Ditto others OFB, hope you have a great night on Tuesday.

    My suggestions for questions to SG & TP:

    SG: Do you ever have even the smallest regret about getting so involved with MFC?

    SG: In your opinion, how do the dominant clubs in England view the likes of Middlesbrough?

    SG: Apart from smashing the league [ 😉 ] what is your dream for the Boro and how realistic is that?

    TP: Everyone “knows” what your philosophy of football is all about, but then we see your teams play. How would you describe your philosophy of football?

    TP: Which other manager or coach has had the biggest influence on you as a manager and why?

    TP: How difficult do you find it on a day to day, week to week basis working away from home?

  33. Early Warning: Boro v Bristol City April 14/04/18

    The above match is not being streamed by BCTV+ as it has been chosen as the main match by Channel 5, who will be including extended highlights.

    For those of us who are expats it will mean as an alternative, if we wish, listening via the MFC website. This will save us £9.50 as if it had been available from BCTV+ then the cost would have been £12.50 for a months subscription, as they do not make a match pass available!

  34. I see that the EFL are satisfied with DCFC calling off the match on Sunday so that well and truly opens floodgates now whenever Clubs have an injury or suspension crisis.

    If Lazarus isn’t fit to face Wolves on Good Friday I suggest we invoke Tees Barrage warnings about river levels on the incoming tide and fans not being able to travel in safety in case they get their feet wet and catch a chill. If thats not enough we could always have a Wilton Toxic cloud alert or what about a Sunshine alert piercing through the Teesside Smog resulting in a Factor 50 warning from the safety advisory group.

    When I think of the state the roads were in against Leeds, driving at a crawling pace and then walking for 25 minutes on packed Ice just to get to the Riverside let alone sitting for two hours plus in sub zero conditions, East Cleveland virtually a 4X4 zone only and yet our game went ahead. Bitter, angry, annoyed nah not much!

    Seriously though it may be worth clubs looking at their fixture lists now and seeing if there are any games they might like to keep up their sleeves “just in case” (our home game against the Robins?). A good fire sprinkler system pipe burst two hours before kick off ought to tick all the EFL boxes if required.

  35. When we sold Palister to Man U, the FMTTM front page was a skit on Paul Newman’s The Sting, suggesting Palisters fee was revenge for selling us Peter Davenport.
    Also, there was much giggling on the Holgate as it was widely believed they’d bought the wrong player as it was Mowbray who was the more effective player and we were robbing Man U blind.
    Of course Mogga and Pally were a great partnership with complementary skill sets. They’re certainly my favourite Boro centre half pairing. Though I am of a generation which would say that.

    1. Chris

      Although they weren’t a pairing as such because we did not play a back four in those days, Boam and Maddren were a formidable pair of central defenders who are as good if not better than anything in our defence since, in my view.

  36. You lucky man Bob to be privileged to meet with the hierarchy of our beloved football club. My biggest thrill was to be invited into Castleford’s board room prior to a match against Warrington in 1970 to have my photograph taken holding aloft the Rugby League Challenge Cup which Cas had won in two consecutive years at the time.

    Now, having done my best to promote my favourite sport of Rugby League, I wonder if any of you remember Middlesbrough RUFC winning t’owd tin cup (the affectionate name for the Yorkshire Rugby Union Cup) for the first and only time by beating Roundhay 10-9 after extra time at Otley in 1976. They reached the Centenary Final two years later at the same venue but lost 18-9 to Wakefield. Those were the days when Rugby Union was an amateur sport and apart from Cup matches, all club rugby were friendly matches – no league tables, so it was quite a prestigious competition to win. Unfortunately the top Yorkshire clubs no longer compete for this famous trophy.

    Following England’s cricketers dismal display yesterday, not to mention our Rugby Union’s abysmal six nations performances, as Steely writes, maybe we should have an ‘Untypical England’ blog, but as Werdermouth seems to give us a freer rein to discuss other sports (possibly through gritted teeth) than our former blogmeister I among others sometimes wander off the main subject of this forum which of course is Middlesbrough FC. Now though I prefer Rugby League to Football, my devotion to the Boro is equal to my devotion to Cas, so to redress the imbalance of my recent blogs, I thought I might reprise one of Boro’s historical seasons, but one not too far back in the distant past, but one many of you may recall with fondness. So, enough about RL, RU and cricket, let’s remember the 1966/67 season.

    Most of us were ecstatic about England’s World Cup win during the summer of 1966 but it didn’t console us that Boro had just been relegated to the Third Division for the first time in their history. One might have half expected it though, as Boro had just avoided relegation two years previously after winning four and drawing one of their last six matches to finish 17th on a measly 35 points (two points for a win in those days). The following season had followed a similar pattern, but despite Jim Irvine scoring 35 league goals during those two seasons, Boro couldn’t extricate themselves out of the bottom three from mid-March onwards despite centre half Dickie Rooks scoring a 🎩 trick in the last match, a 3-5 defeat at Cardiff.

    So what could the Boro fans expect under manager Stan Anderson the next season? Well, firstly a new centre forward as Jim Irvine switched to an inside forward position and in came John O’Rourke as the leader, Boro started the new season well enough with an opening day 3-2 away win at Colchester but that was followed by taking only one point from the next five matches with Boro now second from bottom. When Arthur Horsfield, who hadn’t featured much in the relegation season, scored a couple of second half goals to turn a 1-2 deficit into a 3-2 win at home to Workington and two days later he and O’Rourke both scored in a creditable 2-2 home draw against reventual Champions QPR, Boro fans may have imagined that the corner had been turned, but successive away defeats 1-5 at Gillingham and 0-2 at Watford suggested another relegation battle, this time to the Fourth Division.

    However what happened next was quite a revelation with Boro scoring a total of eight goals in the next two home matches with wins against Swindon and Swansea, a draw at Reading, followed by a home win over Doncaster, then a remarkable 5-4 away win at fourth placed Mansfield taking Boro up to mid-table. But typically Boro then took only one point from the next four matches and Boro had fallen down to 19th position. By now I among many others couldn’t see how Boro were to mount a promotion bid despite a much vaunted attacking trio of Horsefield, O’Rourke and Irvine although the latter didn’t feature too often that season.

    But we of little faith! From the 10th of December to 27th of March Boro went on a sensational run of eleven wins and four draws in their next 16 matches. This included two derby wins against Darlington over Christmas – 3-0 at Feethams before a crowd of 18,144 and 4-0 at Ayresome Park before a crowd of 25,213. That meant 11 goals with none conceded in three matches and Boro had now reached the lofty position of 6th. However, just as a push for second place became a possibility, Boro lost four of their next five matches and a promotion push seemed to have been derailed.

    Fortunately similar to the current season the teams vying for that second place were also having a touch of the wobbles, so going into the last half a dozen fixtures, Boro were still 7th and certainly in contention if they could show a little more consistency. Wins over Easter at Peterborough and at home to Orient raised hopes once more, and now that John Hickton was also joining the scoring ranks with a 🎩 trick against Torquay before a seasons best attendance of 27,160 Boro had risen to 4th. A disappointing draw at lowly Brighton didn’t seem to deter the fans as Boro’s last two fixtures were at home. Saturday 13th May saw an even larger crowd of 32,503 and another two Hickton goals beat Peterborough for the second time in three weeks.

    Finally came the coup de grace. In those days because of match postponements, not every club played their final match on the same day, never mind the same kick off time, so come the following Tuesday if Boro could win their last game promotion would be assured. I don’t think anyone doubted that Boro would win; it was destined to be. Another huge crowd were in celebratory mood as ten minutes after half time Hickton put Boro 3-0 up, and later as the crowd sang their anthem ‘John O’Rourke, give us a goal’ he obliged to complete his hat 🎩 trick in a 4-0 win. The official attendance was given as 39,683, but some thought the ground record had been broken with the number of gatecrashers.

    Boro finished 12 points behind QPR with 55 points, conceded 64 goals but scored 87 league goals with John O’Rourke scoring 27, Arthur Horsefield 22 and John Hickton 15. Of course the latter, having been converted from a fullback by Stan Anderson to a centre forward, subsequently became a legendary goal scoring centre forward for Boro with a total of 159 league goals in 415 matches making him the fourth highest goal scorer after George Camsell 325, George Elliott 203 and Brian Clough 197.

    As I wrote on a previous blog, I love a bit of nostalgia especially when there’s not much football to write about.

    1. Ken I remember it well……..
      Such was the crowd in the Holgate End that my friend and I climbed up one of the stanchions to get a better view when the match started. Unfortunately the crowd around us pointed upwards and started shouting, Hooligans, hooligans, hooligans.
      We had to make a hasty retreat downwards. A match to remember after a season of ups and downs.

      You would not be able to write that story now Ken…..Roy of the Rovers stuff.

    2. Ken,

      I was at Art College in Newcastle when I saw that 4 – 5 result from Mansfield,I’m sure it was a Friday night game but the memory plays tricks after all this time, however I knew Boro would be promoted that season and was at the last game with my wife to be. What a night!



      1. Sorry Jarsue, it was Guy Fawkes night and a Saturday afternoon match whilst I was part of a contingent of council employees watching Eston NALGO getting thumped by the Allertonshire league team Brompton 6-0 in a Cup match.

    3. A former work colleague and friend was at that promotion game with his mother who somehow managed to get J O’R’s shirt after the game.
      Years later he donated it to the club for their collection.
      Great days.

    4. I saw the Peterborogh match an shoot, my mum was from that neck of the woods, probably the first time I saw Boro. Didn’t the wall collapse during that match during the oxford game.

      I also think the score was 4-1 but I may be wrong.

  37. Been busy travelling between our two counties, so apologies for the late thank you to Redcar Red for his alternative match report and to OFB for his in2view with Mr Pallister.

    Both excellent as always. A very good fee at the time when we sold him, eyes taken out when we bought him back. Nothing appears to have changed in the recruitment department..

    League Table after Part 1

    I will remind everyone that I have deleted the Derby v Cardiff fixture from everyone’s prediction. The numbers after your name are the scores achieved for each team in the following order, Wolves,Cardiff,Fulham,Villa,Derby,Boro,Bristol City,Preston, Shef Utd and Brentford. After seeing my position in the league I decided to check everyone’s score three times but that does not mean I have not made an error, so please, if you think there is a mistake in your scores, let me know.

    1. exmil 2017 10,8,10,6,10,10,8,7,9,10 = 88
    2. Forever Dormo 8,10,6,6,8,8,10,9,10,9. = 84
    3. borobrie 9,7,6,8,10,10,9,7,10,8. = 84
    4. Redcar Red 9,8,8,8,9,8,9,7,10,8 = 84
    5. jarkko 8,7,5,9,9,10,8,8,10,9. = 83
    6. selwynoz 8,8,6,9,9,10,8,7,9,9 = 83
    7. MW in Darwin 9,8,8,8,9,8,8,9,7,8. = 82
    8. Pedro de Espana 10,7,8,6,10,7,10,9,9,4 = 80
    9. Ian Gill 9,8,8,6,7,9,8,9,10,6. = 80
    10. Suffolk’n’Boro 8,10,7,8,9,10,5,6,8,8 = 79
    11. originalfatbob. 8,8,8,6,9,8,9,5,8,10 = 79
    12. Powmill – Naemore 8,6,6,6,9,7,10,8,9,9 = 78
    13. lenmasterman 9,6,10,6,8,9,10,7,8,5. = 78
    14. KP in Spain 9,8,8,6,9,5,8,8,9,8 = 78
    15. Martin Bellamy 9,7,10,8,9,9,9,4,8,4 = 77
    16. werdermouth 8,8,9,7,6,7,7,7,9,8 = 76
    17. Andy R 8,8,7,3,9,6,8,9,10,7 = 75
    18. Ken Smith 8,7,10,8,9,7,9,4,8,4 = 74

    If two or more had the same number of points, I have placed them in the order of who had the most 10s, 9s, 8s etc.

    As can be seen “yours truly” and Forever Dormo are holding the automatic places, whilst borobrie,Redcar Red, jarkko and selwynoz are in the playoffs. Meanwhile Ken Smith, Andy R and werdermouth are fighting for survival. The scoring has been “remarkable Jeff” with the lowest score achieving 74% with Parts 2 & 3 to go, everyone is still in the chase for the title.

    Come on BORO.

    1. Hi exmil
      Here’s my effort at forecasting the results more wishful than scientific.
      WOLVES (82)
Boro (A) = 0
Hull (H) = 3
Cardiff (A)=1
Derby (H) = 3
      Total = 89
      CARDIFF (76)
Burton (H) = 3
Shef Utd (A)=1
Wolves (H) = 1
Villa (A) = 0
      Total = 81
      FULHAM (69)
Norwich (A) = 1
Leeds (H) = 3
Shef Wed (A)= 3
Reading (H) = 1
      Total = 77
      ASTON VILLA (69)
Hull (A) = 3
Reading (H) = 1
Norwich (A) = 1
Cardiff (H) = 3
      Total = 77
      DERBY (62)
Sunderland (H) = 3
Preston (A) = 1
Bolton (H) = 3
Wolves (A) = 0
      Total = 69
      BORO (62)
Wolves (H) = 3
Burton (A) = 3
Forest (H) = 3
Shef Utd (A)= 1
      Total = 72
      BRISTOL CITY (61)
Barnsley (A) = 3
Brentford (H)= 1
Millwall (A) = 0
Birmingham (H) = 3
      Total = 68
      PRESTON (60)
Shef Wed (A) = 1
Derby (H) = 1
Reading (A) = 1
Leeds (H) = 3
      Total = 66
      SHEF UTD (60)
Brentford (A) = 1
Cardiff (H) = 1
Barnsley (A)= 3
Boro (H) = 1
      Total = 66
      MILLWALL (58)
Forest (H) = 3
Ipswich (A) = 1
Bristol City (H)= 3
Bolton (A) = 3
      Total = 68

    1. Thanks for all the hard work Exmil, much appreciated especially during this “lull” in the season where the only other football interest is in seeing how many “news” sources are linking Boro with washed up has been thirty something ex Pulis players. After the Victor Valdes experience, no thanks!

  39. I had a chuckle last night listening to the sports news. In golf Rory McIlroy was playing a match play round against a certain Johnny Vegas!

    Belfast meets Benidorm!

    Johnny isn’t spelt that way.

  40. Belated thanks to OFB for another very interesting piece.

    Pally was a classy player who will be, in my mind, forever remembered as one of that unique group of players, management, back room staff and investors who stood together and saved the club back in the dark days of 86. How he only got 22 caps is a mystery to me

    Mrs FAA has been down and renewed my season card for me although I’ll be lucky to get to half a dozen games depending when I’m back home on leave. With me it’s not just about the football but meeting up with mates some of whom I’ve known for over 45 years since we were in short trousers! Of the 9 of us I’m the only one who still actually lives in Middlesbrough, were spread about from north of Newcastle down to York, and getting together on a match day is a social event as well as watching our beloved Boro.

    Fortunately for me the England game kicks off around 11 pm local time so that’s a good reason for me not to bother watching as I could do with an early night. However I’ll be making the effort next Friday when we play Wolves😀

  41. I’m having a blog mini-break, catching up on jobs and it’s also school holidays to keep me on my toes.

    But forgot to post thanks to OFB for another excellent read with his Gary Pallister In2views piece and he’s probably one of Boro’s most successful players during my era – I noted that I’m actually a year older than Pally, which makes me feel a little old as I can remember explaining to an Man Utd supporting Aussie flat-mate when I first went to London who ‘Middlesbrough’ were when Pallister was transferred.

    Bruce and Pallister was one of those famous double acts that rolled off the tongue – a bit like Ant and Dec – or just Dec as they’re now known 🙂

    1. Thanks Werder it would have been nothing without your editorship !

      Talking to David Hodgson today who’s agreed to do an In2View a nice guy as are all of our ex players.

      I don’t expect to talk to SG or TP on Tuesday but bought a new 3 piece suite ! Or is that a suit? Anyway I’m well covered !

      Paid up for my season ticket today for me and Mrs OFB so having a glass of wine to recover..

      Just like my car Piston Broke.

      1. I think I only tweaked one para and added the pics so I’m not taking any credit – I look forward to the David Hodgson piece as he was along with Craig Johnson the first heroes viewed from the Holgate as the alternating chant of Hodgson Johnson Hodgson Johnson filled the air…

        1. Didn’t you go over to him and say that OFB was going to ask him some questions on Tuesday?

          That would have worried him for the next few days!


  42. Also quick thanks to Exmil for posting up the scores of Part I of the Challenge – glad to see I’m at least not bottom after a long deliberation of the fixtures and scientifically studying the recent form. Plus well done to Exmil for being top of the pile – at least you lead by example!

  43. I’m going to add the questions posted by the bloggers onto the In2View Q&A for TP and SG amd we will see if I get near them with all the other hangers on (me included!)


    1. OFB, Sir Gibson might know something about the issue with Gazette. But ask very politely indeed.

      And I like to know about Gibbo’s youth and how he become so hooked to Boro FC. As I said before how he become a fan as a child.

      Up the Boro!

  44. Forget what Tony Pulis is doing at the Boro. I’ve just read a touching story in the Northern Echo about the charity work he’s doing for the Donna Louise Children’s Centre in Stoke-in Trent, but the part of the article which brought tears to my eyes was relating his conversations with his little friend Lucas who has sadly died since. Shades of Jermaine DeFoe and Bradley Lowery.

    Whatever success Jermaine DeFoe has had in his career, and whatever success Tony Pulis might have in getting Boro promoted this season, pales into insignificance to what he has achieved and is about to achieve for the Donna Louise Children’s Centre.

  45. EXMIL CHALLENGE 2018 Part 2

    Listed below are the fixtures for Part 2, please note that Millwall have replaced Brentford in the top 10. Same rules as before and your total from Part 1 will be carried forward. All entries to be posted before 1300 hrs, Friday 30 Mar when Millwall kick off v Forest. We all have plenty of time to study form etc and in the case of Derby, the weather forecast.

    WOLVES (82)
    Boro (A)
    Hull (H)
    Cardiff (A)
    Derby (H)

    CARDIFF (76)
    Burton (H)
    Shef Utd (A)
    Wolves (H)
    Villa (A)

    FULHAM (69)
    Norwich (A)
    Leeds (H)
    Shef Wed (A)
    Reading (H)

    ASTON VILLA (69)
    Hull (A)
    Reading (H)
    Norwich (A)
    Cardiff (H)

    DERBY (62)
    Sunderland (H)
    Preston (A)
    Bolton (H)
    Wolves (A)

    BORO (62)
    Wolves (H)
    Burton (A)
    Forest (H)
    Shef Utd (A)

    Barnsley (A)
    Brentford (H)
    Millwall (A)
    Birmingham (H)

    PRESTON (60)
    Shef Wed (A)
    Derby (H)
    Reading (A)
    Leeds (H)

    SHEF UTD (60)
    Brentford (A)
    Cardiff (H)
    Barnsley (A)
    Boro (H)

    MILLWALL (58)
    Forest (H)
    Ipswich (A)
    Bristol City (H)
    Bolton (A)

    Could I ask that you post your predictions in the order the teams are listed above and post them on the “Exmil Challenge” banner, although I will check both sites. I will reply with “recorded” so you can be confident I have received your entry. Good luck everyone, especially the Boro.

    Come on BORO.

    1. OFB Submission
      EXMIL CHALLENGE 2018 Part 2

      Listed below are the fixtures for Part 2, please note that Millwall have replaced Brentford in the top 10. Same rules as before and your total from Part 1 will be carried forward. All entries to be posted before 1300 hrs, Friday 30 Mar when Millwall kick off v Forest. We all have plenty of time to study form etc and in the case of Derby, the weather forecast.

      WOLVES (82)
      Boro (A) 1
      Hull (H) 3
      Cardiff (A) 1
      Derby (H) 3

      CARDIFF (76)
      Burton (H) 3
      Shef Utd (A) 0
      Wolves (H) 1
      Villa (A) 1

      FULHAM (69)
      Norwich (A) 3
      Leeds (H) 3
      Shef Wed (A) 3
      Reading (H) 3

      ASTON VILLA (69)
      Hull (A) 3
      Reading (H)3
      Norwich (A)3
      Cardiff (H)1

      DERBY (62)
      Sunderland (H)3
      Preston (A)1
      Bolton (H)3
      Wolves (A)0

      BORO (62)
      Wolves (H)1
      Burton (A)3
      Forest (H)3
      Shef Utd (A)3

      BRISTOL CITY (61)
      Barnsley (A)3
      Brentford (H)1
      Millwall (A)0
      Birmingham (H)1

      PRESTON (60)
      Shef Wed (A)0
      Derby (H)1
      Reading (A)1
      Leeds (H)1

      SHEF UTD (60)
      Brentford (A)1
      Cardiff (H)3
      Barnsley (A)3
      Boro (H)0

      MILLWALL (58)
      Forest (H)3
      Ipswich (A)3
      Bristol City (H)3
      Bolton (A)3

  46. Something for the cricket fans.

    Bancroft guilty of ball tampering in the test between SA and the aussies. I saw the pictures and he had a yellow object in his hand as he rubbed the ball, spotted on TV then hid it down his trousers. When the umpires got him to turn out his packets nothing incriminating there.

    He has admitted the offence and the captain Steve Smith said he knew about it beforehand, it was a scheme talked about by the (lack of) leadership group.

    This is fairly poor behaviour, it will be intriguing to see what actions are taken.

  47. Interesting that nobody has commented or even shown the remotest bit of interest in last nights Netherlands/England match. Just shows the abject lack of interest in these succession of meaningless matches.

    Surely the time is coming to switch them back to a Wednesday night letting the Players join on on the previous Sunday. Of course this would mean cancelling Sky’s precious Super Sunday games but thats better than an entire weekend being scrapped. I wont even pass comment on the matches being used as a gathering of like minded morons, maybe Russia hosting the World Cup isn’t such a bad idea after all!

  48. Steely

    The only thought I have of any compassion is that give due credit to Steve Smith, he came out and admitted the offence and took responsibility.

    I would hope Bancroft with only 6 or 7 tests isn’t hung out to dry and protecting the leadership group. It would be like little Johnny holding the ball as the shopkeeper rushes out to find a culprit.

  49. I can’t give much if any credit to Smith. No matter how “not proud” he is of his behaviour, he wasn’t being ” not proud” while he thought he, they, were getting away with it. The whole team needs making an example of, including the young lad left holding the ball. It’s a team game and team was complicit.

  50. Powmill

    Steve Smith taking responsibility does not absolve him, they are bang to rights.

    I don’t know what will happen, it is a team game and this is a pre conceived team offence. I cant see how you can ban the new boy and not at least the captain.

    1. I think I might have misunderstood you Ian. I thought you were suggesting Bancroft should be treated leniently because of his relatively junior status. Wrong, sorry!
      I agree the minimum is bans for Bancroft and Smith, but it is hoped that sanctions extend to the “leadership group” . I find it quite surprising that Smith hasn’t offered to resign as Captain.
      I hear there is great outrage over in Oz, so I won’t be surprised to see Cricket Ausralua (ne the ACB) taking action irrespective of any steps the ICC take.

      1. Ha. No sooner posted than I read that Captain and vice-president captain have (been?) stood down from their position for the rest of this test, but still taking part in the game.

  51. !2 month ban for the national team and no practice tests.

    Its one thing for blind eye to be turned but to actively participate in cheating thats another.

    Fancy getting caught and then having the arraogance to say it was done with the teams active consent.

  52. I’m still dumbfounded that, if they’d got away with it, Smith and co would have deemed it a good decision. How low can “sportsmen” sink in their desperation to be winners and I don’t just mean cricketers?
    They’ve all forgotten the basis of the word “sport”.

    1. Ian

      Its been universally condemned by all the hacks and ex-cricketers, even to the PM, who came out very quickly and said its not the Australian way . . . cough. It hit the headlines in all the media outlets when it happened and its still there with lots of opinion pieces as a sidebar. None offering the excuse that it’s widely practiced, and has been with plenty of similar incidents in the past. Smith will be finished, not just as the Australian captain but also his cricket career is over, despite his attempt at honesty. In Australia the captain of the Australian cricket team was second only to the Prime Minister in esteemed position, which might explain some of the media reaction.

      My 5 cents, for what its worth, is once money is involved in sport it changes everything, it seems that to gain as what AV used to call ‘fine margins’ everything is considered. This includes diving in the box, to use our game as an analogy. I’ve been watching and enjoying the women’s football, it doesn’t have the histrionics of the mens game; still, that will probably change with more money entering womens sport.


  53. Ian
    These events have a natural progression, it starts with an accusation, then a series of rows, with every one having their say, and everyone agreeing to be disgusted by the whole affair.
    The next stage is someone being caught red handed, which is the thing everyone has been avoiding for a long time( it would be the South Africans who spotted the pic’s)
    Now comes the big problem, the punishment should by rights be terminal, but this is the last thing that the Cricket bosses want.
    So now the search for an honourable escape from an embarrassing situation is on.
    Watch this space.
    It will probably end with the South African authorities making a full and heartfelt apology?

  54. GHW

    Atherton should keep schtum.


    I saw the action unfold, it was routine camera work we have seen thousands of times, the ball going back to the bowler via fielders and it looked a bit rum. Then the 12th man ran out with a drink for the needy fielder and gave him messages, suddenly something yellow went down his trousers.

    The umpires asked some questions of the fielder who pulled a some sunglasses case out of his pocket.

    It was truly embarrassing. Behaviour has been declining in cricket, Australia have always played tough but this team has a bit more edge,

    Kohli complained about the fact they were asking the balcony whether they should review decisions. They have become boorish under Lehman, the chief nasty has been Warner who is now vice captain, or was.

    We should be careful because there have several who are not angels throughout cricket, one of our squad is subject to the judiciary process.

    I would love our fans down under to post some thoughts.

  55. Cricket Australia have been hugely embarrassed by the whole episode and need to be seen to be doing something serious. The Aussie commentators have all been pretty unanimous in condemning the actions of their cricketers. The thing that I found the strangest aspect was Smith saying ‘yes, I did it but I still think that I am the best person to be captain’. Doesn’t he realise that he has just categorically demonstrated why he is exactly the wrong person to be captain. Given that the Aussie sportsmen, particularly the cricket team, are generally pretty arrogant when they win this is a pretty perfect example of nemesis striking.

    Anyway, Australia fell apart. All out for 107. Everything else is getting a bit crazy. Apparently the umpires are supposed to have told the SA fielders not to deliberately bounce the ball when throwing it back to the wicketkeeper.

    Moving on, has anyone noticed how, miraculously, the EG website suddenly has a long interview with a Boro-linked media personality. Isn’t it impressive how they suddenly come up with these ideas.

    Finally, with no first team football to follow, I’ve been catching up with the youth teams, courtesy of Liverpool TV! Our under 18s were hammered 6-0 by Gerard’s Liverpool team but I did think that’s the final scoreline was a bit unfair. We had a very strong forward line – O’Neill, Brahmini and Walker – and the defence wasn’t that bad but Liverpool were very strong in midfield and we didn’t match them, particularly when we were defending. Following on from that game, Walker got a match for England U-18s and scored twice. Nice to see some good forwards coming through and that doesn’t include Tavernier and maybe others who are out on loan.

    Then Boro U23s played Liverpool in the premiere league cup and beat them 3-1. I saw the highlights. Our goalie looked good. Another forward Mitchell Curry scored twice and then blasted a penalty high over the bar. I can guess who his hero is. Anyway, the team looked pretty good but it made me think just how good our true ‘best U-23’ team would be. I’m thinking of Wing, Cooke, Tavernier, Miller, Fry, Traore, Chapman, Soisalo and others who I have forgotten plus Fryer and Pears as two more keepers without even mentioning Ripley. Quite a production line. We seem to have some really solid players coming through the Academy system.

    Does anyone on here keep in touch with the youth side. It looks as if we might actually have some real prospects. Are people saying the same thing locally?

    Best to all


  56. The level of outrage in Australia is huge from the Prime minister, ex-players to the man in the street. This series has been a huge embarresment due to the behaviour of the players ( Warner in particular ) and a lot of people are sick of the childish sledging.
    I think the so called leadership group will not survive and you can add Lehman into the mix.
    A sad day for Australian cricket.

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