In2views: Lauri Cox

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 Lauri Cox

1. The Overview – the woman and her career

Lauri is best known as a well-respected and experienced sports journalist. She contributes to UTB, the Boro matchday programme, compiling a six-page spread on the visitors. Now that I know this is part of her work, I read it avidly prior to watching the game as I can feel an insight into the writing.

She also does a behind the scenes interview, to give the readers more of a perception into things that people may not ordinarily see. She also works on a freelance basis as a Broadcast Assistant with BBC Tees and has been to around 80 different grounds. She regularly posts on Twitter expressing her views and her support for the Boro and since the interview, we now regularly exchange views and comments, together with our own Jarkko. Just your average typical Boro football fans, who share our love of the Boro.

Lauri_Cox_Cropped 2Sports journalist Lauri Cox, pictured here at the Riverside, is the
daughter of journalist Gordon Cox and niece of Alistair Brownlee

She has always been connected with football, being the Daughter of Gordon Cox the Football Journalist and Broadcaster and also through her “Uncle Ali” Alistair Brownlee. Gordon and Ali both owned the publication house, Linthorpe Publishing, writing and printing works on Middlesbrough F.C. Their books included The Road to Eindhoven and The Class of ’86 and I have copies of these in my bookcase. Over the years, it is not therefore surprising that Lauri developed a love for all things associated with Middlesbrough and of course in particular, our very own football Club, the Boro. I have been working on this In2Views piece with Lauri for a few weeks and I’ve decided that this In2Views format will be a little bit different. I’ve done this as she has been so close to people who have suffered tragedy and it has impacted on all of us at Diasboro too.

Ali Brownlee

I am not going to try and write about how much Ali meant to her, instead she has send me a post she did on twitter on February 18th, 2016, which says it all and probably expresses too the sentiments of many here on Diasboro…

Firstly, I would like to say thank you to all the well-wishers and thoughts that have come in this week. To apologise for the quietness, and if I haven’t replied, but they are very much appreciated. 

Lots of people have sent love and asked about dad too – and on behalf of him I would like to say thank you, as he ‘doesn’t do social media’ ha. 

Lastly; I would like to share some funny anecdotes that will hopefully raise a smile…

It’s not a secret that Boro gushed through Ali’s veins. On more than one occasion, if the family had stayed at ours after a party – he would wake up frightfully early, sprightly, stretch out and shout ‘UP THE BORO’ before going to read his morning paper. (Yes, really!) 

There were the junior reds, run by him and dad – where I would be religiously, one of only 5 or 6 girls most times! 

Or the parties at his house. Notorious New Year’s Eve gatherings – where we would inevitably spend more time round next door after midnight, after standing in the middle of the street singing Auld Lang Sine. It was always Christmas at ours, new year at theirs. That’s just what we did.

Everybody was welcome. Even if he had never met you, the door was open to join in the fun. 

I remember too, he wanted to interview me about collecting advent calendars for his breakfast show – but decided he wouldn’t phone me until ‘later’ as I liked a lie in. He phoned at 8:30. Thanks for the lie in!! 

You could always add in the lot of us, crowded round a tiny iPad mini screen at Ali’s wedding last year watching the play off semi first leg! Football, families and weddings! 

Alistair Brownlee crop Lauri recalls how her uncle Ali would usually wake up early, then stretch
out and shout ‘UP THE BORO’ before going to read his morning paper

I could go on and on, but this is just a short, sweet, and hopefully smiley memory to share – and a thank you to all of you far and wide for the love that has poured in. 

I guess from the start in life, and with him and my dad in my life – I never had a chance really did I? Boro and football was always going to be a priority (otherwise I’m sure they would have had something to say!) 

Teesside has lost a brother this week. But he was a brother to look up to. If I can grow to be half of the broadcaster he was, then I’ll be happy. 

So, Uncle Ali, the Holgate in the sky awaits you. Slide in, two footed, shouting UTB & let them know you have arrived. Too early, undoubtedly, but being early was your thing wasn’t it? 

It was an absolute privilege to not only know you, but to call you my family. You are an inspiration to so many, and the legacy you leave behind is a testament to the man that you are.

It won’t be the same without you, and you can never be replaced – but you can always be remembered. 

I’ll see you soon, and in the meantime – I’m off round yours for a parmo.

Leo Percovich

Incidentally, my meeting with Lauri was also not long after the tragic accident that had eventually claimed the two daughters of her good friend Leo Percovich and she wanted to express in the interview the sorrow that she has felt towards him and his family. She told me that Leo became a good friend to her and her family and in her own words she says:

Leo Percovich – we were close throughout his time here, a real loyal, fierce man. A man you love to have on your side. We stayed in touch when he left too, ‘friends always’ was our motto. In fact, it was ‘wherever, whenever, whatever, you have a friend in me’ we’ve been in almost constant contact since the terrible events too, my heart goes out to him and his family. You won’t meet a more loyal, genuine, man. An abiding favourite memory away from the sadness is him singing along to 500 miles behind the counter in the Mockingbird in Yarm.

So, we have two poignant memories of what the Boro has meant to Lauri and her family and it helps to highlight that football in the end is just a game really.

Leo and FamilyLeo pictured a few days ago with his wife and son Pietro lifting the
Rio Cup that the Fluminense under-20s he coaches have just won

2. The Interview – a quick chat

OFB: What was the first Boro match you remember going to see?

LC: It was at Ayresome Park, I lived on the same road as the ground – and used to wave at all the fans as they walked down my street! I can’t actually remember who the opponent was though! I remember going with my uncle, and as a young girl I didn’t quite understand the offside rule and he kept telling me that when the linesman put his flag up he had spotted a worm…

Oh, I couldn’t remember my first game but I do now! It was Boro v Spurs at Ayresome Park it was 3 0 and the Boro won!

OFB: Who was your favourite Boro player then and others that you watched at that time?

LC: John Hendrie! And Paul Wilkinson, he was a great forward. I used to think his cycling shorts were cool!

OFB: What has been your most memorable game, and best experience with the fans?

LC: It’s a tie between Steaua and The Carling Cup Final. I cried after both. I don’t think I ever thought I would see my team win a cup after three Wembley defeats as a kid. Eindhoven was special too, just being part of a European Cup Final was something I never imagined – despite the result. The Boro square before and after was excellent too, everyone was just in such good spirits.

OFB: Is your job as glamorous as it looks?

LC: Nope! Having said that, I now have the stats for every single Championship Player saved on my laptop! Oh, and last season’s Premier League Players. I have found out some very interesting quirky facts about our opposition over the last few years though which is always interesting.

OFB: Is your job as exciting as it seems?

LC: Nope! It requires a lot of deadlines, research and working out stats, which I do by hand. I tend to work out my stats sat at my dining room table, with pen and paper – old school! I actually found a piece of paper in my handbag the other day which was from a home game, where me and Sam (Loughran) were working something out, in tallies of five. Anyone else picking that up wouldn’t have had a clue what it was about, but I knew as soon as I looked at it.

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

LC: Chelsea in the Cup Final when Di Matteo broke my heart after 46 seconds. I wasn’t that old and I was so excited leading up to the game. I just knew it was over after 46 seconds and it ruined the whole experience. I still don’t think I have forgiven him to be honest. Not sure I ever will!

di-matteo cropItalian ‘Heart-breaker’ Roberto Di Matteo unleashes the shot after just
46 seconds that shattered Lauri’s and  Boro’s Wembley dreams

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

LC: Although I wasn’t around at the time, I would say Jack Charlton. My dad wrote a book about him and from everything I know and have read he was brilliant. In my life time I have to say Steve McClaren; a cup final win, and two European runs (and a final) – just unbelievable. We hadn’t won a cup in 128 years and all of a sudden all of this was happening, it was hard to believe. I know he may not be everyone’s choice but there is absolutely no denying what he did for our club.

OFB: Who has been the greatest influence on your career and why?

LC: My dad and my Uncle Ali. I grew up with them and they taught me a lot about journalism, different aspects of it, and long hours travelling. I know I can send my dad anything I write now and he will be brutally honest, and he always has been. I’ve been around them that long I was around when match reports were done on Typewriters! A VERY VERY valuable lesson they taught me from a young age too is that your team is your team, and sometimes although it’s difficult to separate yourself from it – you have to. You accept what’s happened and move on.

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

LC: Arsenal. Some of the best goals I’ve seen scored against us came from them (Kanu). Chelsea too as they ALWAYS beat us!

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

LC: Stewart Downing. I love the fact he’s a local lad who came back to his hometown club, he’s played at the highest level domestically and internationally and is still quite the player – even if he’s not as fast as he used to be. He commands the players on the field, his experience shines through and still has one heck of a delivery.

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

LC: Well for starters it’s all seated now! Light shows and goal music (I’ll admit I’m not a fan of goal music) Also – money – the money in football these days is obscene and in my opinion prices some out of the game. The transfer fees bandied around these days make my eyes bleed. I think some of the money that’s floating around the game could be passed back to the fans by means of ticket prices etc. I’m really pleased we have frozen our season ticket prices for next season.

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

LC: Any dressing room with Pep in. The man is an absolute genius, I want to know what he says to his players. He’s won pretty much everything there is to win, and I actually met him last season and he’s a really nice man to boot.

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

LC: I don’t like to live with regrets – just lessons to learn from.

OFB: Who is the nicest person that you have interviewed or written about and why?

LC: David ‘Bumble’ Lloyd. We just laughed all the way through the interview. He’s brilliant, blunt, and just great. I was almost crying laughing when I asked him if he would rather be a referee or cricket umpire and he replied “Referee, take your tattoos and stupid hair and go and stand over there.”

OFB: Whereabouts do you live these days and what are your career ambitions?

LC: Still on Teesside! It will always be my home, but the end goal is Spain. I love La Liga, especially Barcelona, oh and it’s pretty much always warm!

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

LC: There are too many to mention, but one who has become a very good friend is Peter Smith from Sky Sports Soccer Saturday.

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

LC: I qualified as a sports therapist before journalism, so I would more than likely be doing that somewhere!

OFB: A huge thank you to Lauri for taking the time to talk to Diasboro and all our readers, posters and bloggers.

56 thoughts on “In2views: Lauri Cox

  1. Good, and very moving interview, Bob. Many thanks. Do you have to pay to get to interview these talented and charismatic young women ? I’m happy to take on the task of interviewing Mrs Karambeau if you’re able to locate her. Distance and expense no object.

    Hearty congratulations to Mogga. Chuffed fro him.

    GHW: I made a point of missing the Wenger- Fergie mind-games programme, for reasons you’ll understand, but since I assiduously follow your links, I’ll give it a whirl. Probably not anytime soon, though but.

    1. Quite a bit of unseen footage revealing what a nasty piece of work Ferguson really is, and more damingly the way his players bought in to it.

      1. I’ll have to watch that, GHW. Many thanks for the link. It also brings to mind some frankly brilliant words from Len, at the time of Fergie’s retirement. I’ll post those further down.

  2. Not having been to the Riverside Stadium or seen a Boro match day programme for many years I hadn’t heard of this young lady although I had heard of her father via the BBC Radio Tees match day commentaries. I was then quite surprised about her accomplishments but also her sense of humour. For one thing to interview Bumble must have been hilarious, for his sessions on the mike at Sky Cricket commentaries is often more entertaining than the cricket itself.

    She also is a bit of a stats person which goes down well with someone like me, and to have visited some 80 football grounds is more more than the number of countries in the World that I have visited – well slightly more! But what strikes me most is her obvious passion, but also compassion. Well done, young lady and well done to OFB.

    1. Stats people are awesome, Ken. We know that they (stats) never tell the full story, but how they shape one’s perception of even the most awful of games is quite astounding.

      Ian’s two examples, from Big Jack’s time, were probably the best. The terrific home game where we battered the opposition but didn’t score in a 0-0 vs the dire home game where we pushed Tony McAndrew up front and he had our only three shots on target. But they all went in, we won 3-0, so “great game” was the view.

      More recently, remember the two home matches against Leeds in 2015. What cases in point those are! 64% possession and 27 (twenty-seven!!) shots on goal in the February match, which we lost 1-0, yet just two shots on target and 41% possession in the 3-0 win in September. The one where their defence handed two goals to us on a platter.

      It may be as simple as saying that we had all the luck in September and none of it in February.

  3. Moving and enjoyable interview. Very well done, Bob.

    I have all the time in the world for Lauri. Grounded, knowledgeable and a very nice person to boot.

    One of my favourite tweets of hers was when she said, “Stop laughing at Sunderland. How long until we join them?” near the end of 2016-17. And we did.

    It ties into why I didn’t laugh at Sunderland’s drop into League One, and was ashamed at Newcastle fans all those years ago for their “Let’s All Laugh At Sunderland” placards.

    My first thought was, “What if they were you?”

  4. Great piece OFB from some one I had not heard of but is clearly an intelligent, compassionate and talented individual who is very much one of our own. Thanks.

  5. Those great words from Len on Fergie, circa 2013. I kept them because they were a good read and an enjoyably contrary take in the midst of all the tributes.

    Paraphrased in parts.

    “People can talk about the anecdotal evidence that Ferguson was a decent bloke.

    “But haven’t we seen, with our own eyes in pretty well every United match, behaviour that would have disgraced a small child?

    “Indeed, psychologically, Ferguson seems to be stuck at a stage of maturity and development that characterises a four-year-old.

    “And as every parent will tell you, you don’t respect that or give in to it, you treat it with the contempt it deserves and refuse to indulge it.

    “Pretty much the same can be said of the bristling animosity that Ferguson displayed towards anyone who asked him a question. It was the stance of the schoolyard bully who threatens to resolve any dispute with his fists.

    “What I would wish to question is the uncritical adulation of ‘winners’, of anyone who is deemed to be ‘successful’, no matter what methods they used to achieve it, and no matter what the content of their character. What is needed is not so much respect, respect, respect, but discrimination, discrimination, discrimination.”

  6. Far too kind, Simon, but many thanks.

    I don’t recall writing that, but I tend to agree with it.

    What irritated me most about Fergie was the impact that his own and his team’s open bullying, intimidation and disrespecting of officials was having on the game at grassroots level. The immediate cause of my concern was the murder of a linesman by members of a team in Holland, and my experience of the way in which the abuse of referees on local pitches up and down the UK had reached epidemic proportions. As long as his team got the result he wanted, Fergie didn’t appear to give a tinker’s cuss about his responsibilities to the wider health of the game.

  7. Sorry to be off topic, but who on earth advises the club on legal matters.

    This High Court action they have launched is laughable and smacks of petty spitefulness.

    1. It does seem to stretch credibility that after sacking the guy who brought them in, the club want to dictate whether his chosen staff can then work again with him if he gets a job. The reality is if they have to wait until 28 December 2018 (i.e. 12 months gardening leave) then Monk would have had to either employ completely different backroom staff when he takes up a position (which means they would essentially miss out on re-joining him completely as the new team would already be in place) or Monk would have to also turn down offers for 12 months.

      What made me laugh was the reason: “The quartet also have knowledge of the weaknesses of Boro players which could make it ‘more difficult for Middlesbrough to sell players during the transfer window’ – I think most people who had watched Boro this season would also fall into that category. Besides are they expecting the quartet to inform every club in the market that our players are rubbish and not worth the money?

      The club should just accept they sacked Monk and subsequently his staff and that’s just the way it is – instead of starting this ridiculous legal action, which makes the club look a little petty in what should be a time for confidently moving forward.

      1. It doesn’t stop at the Boro for gardening leave.

        It is rumoured that a non league club geographically close to Boro put their manager on gardening leave and even when he found a job refused to let him take it even when their finances were critical!

      2. In business there is usually a restraint on a former employee opening a similar business within a specified area of his former employer. How this could affect the oncoming court case seems intangible to me and a possible restriction of trade. However, although many clubs try to circumvent the law, touting players from another club either directly or indirectly without permission is illegal, but this court action by Middlesbrough FC seems to go beyond what I understood to be existing parameters. Nevertheless lawyers often seem to find a way, but puzzling to a layman like me.

  8. My late wife and I had a dear friend who was born and bred in Aberdeen and had been in Fergie’s company several times at functions in the city when he was manager of the local football club. To say that she hadn’t a good word to say about him as a person would be an understatement. How people like him receive a knighthood makes a total mockery of the whole honours system in my opinion.

  9. Many thanks to OFB for another excellent read and some very personal thoughts from Lauri about her uncle Ali and Leo – plus she was lucky enough to grow up at a time when the Riverside revolution was just about to begin and brought all the exciting glamorous players to Boro and those memorable games. I had to make do with Heine Otto and Billy Ashcroft in my late teens and the 4-0 drubbings at home to the likes of Grimsby.

    Anyway, it sounds like Lauri is a very capable woman and has had a great apprenticeship from her dad and uncle so hopefully she can go on to equal their achievements in journalism – and if she’s lucky make it to Barcelona to live the dream – hopefully watching Boro in a few years or so in the Champions League 😉

    1. I have seen a couple of la Liga matches at Nou Camp. Messi has scored every time but looks like Traore at worst. Just standing still and waiting 80 per cent of the match.

      In the two matches he has defended less than Traore does in a halv.

      Just for your info, there is more passion and noice at Riverside than in a local derby in Barcelona.

      I would take a Boro home match over a regular league match at Barca. The Champion League is a different matter in Nou Camp.

      And Mogga’s Boro tried to play like Borocelona, anyway. I wish we could have him back at Boro.

      Up the Boro!

  10. Agreed GHW. What are they thinking of? Like the banning of the two young local journalists, it smacks of a club which is paranoid, and far from at ease with itself.

    And if Monk and his staff are such founts of specialised knowledge and information, why on earth did we sack them all. The sackings themselves, just before Christmas, and after an outstanding win, were, whether you agreed with them or not, pretty brutal. If the people we were only too keen to be rid of will give their current struggling employers a significant competitive edge over us then more fool us.

    Even more far fetched is the notion that our recruitment strategies constitute privileged information, and are so successful that another club might wish to copy them. Would they be so foolish? And if they did, what harm would it do us? What insights will Monk and his team vouchsafe that will reveal the secrets of the marvellous value we got from our £40 million spend last summer?

    This is an ill thought-out action based upon paranoid fantasies, a complete waste of time and money, and something which is an embarrassment to the name and reputation of the club.

    1. Agree Len.

      This appears to be siege mentality taken to Monty Python proportions.

      The blame lies at the feet of our Chairman. Teesside grudge coming out?

      This is the kind of one eyed thinking that comes when a single person has complete control.

  11. I was quite surprised to hear that AV thinks that Millwall will probably be under greater pressure than Boro on Saturday. I would have thought the opposite, it’s Boro’s to lose in their position and I anticipate a nervy start. I’m still forecasting a draw.

  12. OFB, another great interview. I am pretty sure we will see more gems in the close season, too.

    I also hope more bloggers write stories – preferably football or Teessife related – during the close season. I am sure Ken can write some gems for us, for example.

    The wait for the start of the Premier League season to start could be long.

    Up the Boro!

  13. OFB,

    Another very interesting interview and an intriguing lateral view of a supporter I, and probably a few others, knew nothing about. It’s a tough job being an interviewer!

    That court case can’t believe how daft it is, they’ve been fired let them get on with their lives and Boro should just move on. It’ll cost a fortune in lawyers fees, they’d have got better PR giving the money in kind to the food bank. Pathetic. You really couldn’t make it up. Perhaps we should let all the clubs in our recruitment for this year, maybe they’ll buy the lemons off us.

    Right, rant over and back to boilers, builders and chaos.



    1. Thanks John appreciate your comments

      Re the court case

      Allegedly BCFC made offers to Boro juniors to join them instead of Boro which has caused the whole problem.


  14. Thanks OFB for another interview, I really enjoy the way this series is stretching out into people who have deep rooted connections to Boro and the matchday experience, as well as ex-players and heroes. This interview with Lauri is no exception, she has roots and connections with the club which will chime with many of the Diasboro posters, and the wider Boro fan-base, whilst also having the added level of Ali Brownlee into the mix.

    I have just read about the legal action via this forum and have to wonder what on earth the club is playing at. Firstly, it is an unwelcome distraction from the business of gaining promotion, which is what we should all be focussing on. In fact, you could argue that it suggests a lack of confidence at the club in our ability to gain promotion because if we were promoted who gives a fig whether Monk knows about the weaknesses or players we might try to sell, they would be “promotion winners” and some clubs would take a punt on that basis, plus we wouldn’t need the money in terms of sales.

    Secondly, what on earth does it matter if 4 people currently working in Birmingham know something about our club. There are 22 other football teams in the league who don’t have this “inside information”, and then again – they don’t need it. Any half decent football manager and Scout at this level can spot a crapper at 50 paces, Monk just has the advantage of having three additional crap spotters alongside him.

    Thirdly, we fired him! Presumably because we didn’t think that he and his team were doing a good job, so who cares where they have pitched up now. I can hardly see James Beattie and co ringing round the 22 other clubs in the Championship saying “I’ll tell you what lads, that Britt Assombalonga couldn’t hit a barn door – don’t bother signing him or marking him closely”. I’m pretty sure that their knowledge is of benefit to only one club (Birmingham) and that even if that loses us 6 points in some hypothetical situation that we are in the same league next year AND the starting line up bears any resemblance to the one Monk left us with, then it’s hardly the end of the world.

    This is petty, distracting and childish. I thought that the management knew better. Apparently not. I hope that Pulis’ much discussed role of clearing up the club includes recommending that we get rid of whichever idiot thought that this was a good idea.

  15. Nice In2view OFB and one a little different. Knew nothing of the young lady, but it is lovely to see Teessiders “doing good” in their lives. Credit to the area.

    You do have to wonder at the goings on at MFC and you start to think are there some people getting above their station and belief in themselves. There also appears to be more that needs putting right than that is acceptable and only needs tweaking.

    One wonders how deep TP will be allowed to dig if he stays after being asked by the Numero Uno, to give the club a looking over. May be nothing was said about putting it right.

    1. I think TP will be listened to with regards to footballing, recruitment, fitness regime and youth strategy etc. but I doubt he will have any input on the white band, ticketing fiasco’s or merchandise in the club shop. Mores the pity because its the simple basic stupid things that the Club seems to often excel at in foot shooting, not just footballing matters.

      I once worked for a Director who would listen intently to every discussion, debate and opinion in meetings and at the end his feedback was always the same “why would you want to do that”? The first three or four times I found it interesting, then it became amusing, then repetitive but as time wore on I realised that actually it was sheer brilliance because those that had heartily recommended something had to easily and simply summarise why they believed this was a great idea and the benefits it would bring. Needless to say more things were shelved than acted upon and in doing so many stupid ideas were simply killed off rather than acted upon.

  16. Maybe Boro are covering their business model, is Monk someone you can trust? Didn’t he supposedly enquire about the Swansea job,when here.
    I think his firing is deeper than just results,
    I know he stepped on some when at other clubs.

  17. Another brilliant article Bob and as Jarsue has mentioned above great that you are seeking out interesting interviews with people who have great affiliation with the club and not just the obvious old players etc. to keep the interest levels up.

    The court case I suspect is something which has blown up out of all proportion. I doubt anyone at MFC would have been all that bothered at GM taking over at BCFC along with Flahavan and Beattie etc. As its turned out he has just about rescued them so fair play to all of them and in doing so we have picked up three points against them and they have also taken points off the Blades all but ending their play off aspirations. So no complaints from me on that score.

    Regarding inside information on players all of us like Lauri above can indulge in a plethora of statistical websites on players performances, passing, tackles, assists etc and don’t really need to have met them personally to form an informed opinion (cites Barragan as exhibit A). Everyone knows about Britt, Grant, Paddy, Downing etc. and now even Traore is a high profile in the Championship and a marked man (literally).

    On the recruitment aspect well lets just say look at who came in over the summer and who now starts every game and who are either peripherals or out on loan. Arguably the greatest exponent of that is Mr Orta and I would have thought that there would have been the same restrictive covenant on Victor or perhaps MFC knew darn well what they were doing in letting him commence employment at Leeds. There is the cynical side of course that wonders if his gardening salary was as eye watering as the lawns requirement hence a more “open” mindset.

    My guess is that MFC let BCFC have their men knowing they were unlikely to make a sudden late Play Off push letting them get on with their careers but if “conversations” outside of acceptable protocols have taken place then that I suspect is where a line has been crossed and consequently the resultant court proceedings. I think its more a principled stance than actual damage. Had they conducted themselves openly and through the proper channels then I have no doubt that MFC would have seriously considered letting say Tav, Miller, Fletcher (maybe even Fry) etc.go out on loan to the Blues next season.

  18. I see the FA have received an offer to buy Wembley.

    What a marvellous opportunity to get their money back and then to build a national stadium in the centre of the country. No pressure on location as was the case with the old Wembley, they can choose somewhere with easy access from the motorway network and with easy public transport access and car parking.

    1. The cynic in me thinks that a huge fortune will be invested by the FA to further develop London Stadium (AKA the Taxpayers Stadium) should they sell Wembley not of course that I think the FA shows any bias to one particular club!

      To build a new Stadium somewhere equally accessible and central to all parts of England would take a huge shift in mindset of the stuffy navy blazers and white shirt brigade. The problem wouldn’t be just moving out of London but deciding where exactly is central. Meriden near Coventry claims to be the centre of England but I doubt many of us on here would say that Cov was central. My vote would probably be somewhere near the M1 Motorway with good rail and airport links for Internationals.

      Population demographics would also need to be considered as lets face it apart from Carlisle there is very little to argue that travelling fans from there would be greatly inconvenienced by a trip to Sheffield, Nottingham or Derby for example certainly not compared to a trip several hours more to London. should the FA take a piece of string between Newcastle and Plymouth and another piece of string between Brighton and Preston and where they cross is where the “Footballing” centre is? Which by my reckoning would be Bolton. For me East Midlands Airport and the MI around Castle Donington is reasonably central.

    2. Would there be some Boro shirts embedded in it somewhere?

      Mind you they’ll never give up the prestige of London although I think their big training ground is in the Midlands. I remember the debate last time about Birmingham, NEC, etc., and it never happened, it would be London again and you could put a lot of money on it.

      If they moved away from London they could drop ticket prices…



  19. I was born in Redcar, apparently at my grandmothers bungalow behind East Halt Railway Station, and have lived in Redcar all my life. I’m proud of my roots and the fact that I’m also a Yorkshireman, but am I proud of Redcar’s recent sporting achievements? Well hardly. I don’t know how many bloggers on this site have Redcar roots, so for most of you this article will be of little interest, but what can one say about Redcar?

    Firstly, it has a nice Racecourse with a straight mile which I can’t ever recall being used in my lifetime. For some reason racegoers prefer a curve, a horseshoe left one at Redcar. It has an attractive grandstand and its premier race the Zetland Gold Cup once attracted a crowd approaching 40,000 on a Bank Holiday in the late 1950s. But that’s hardly what one could call a sporting achievement for the town.

    I used to attend Speedway fixtures at Cleveland Stadium when Boro Bears had a very successful team which actually won the British League (the second division to the Elite League) in 1981 and were one of the major teams for several years when a young Gary Havelock was a sensation. Gary left to ride for Bradford Dukes in the Eiite League and in 1992 was crowned World Champion. But after Cleveland Stadium closed the Bears moved to Cargo Fleet with Gary returning as its captain became known as Redcar Bears and have hardly distinguished themselves since.

    I used to help to man the scoreboard at Redcar Cricket Club in the early fifties and we actually won the NYSD League titlei in 1952 with a fast bowler called Arthur Fawcett who terrified the opposition. Redcar had a halcyon period from 1989 to 1994 when Clayton Lambert, the big West Indian Test batsmen smashed so many sixes into the gardens of the adjoining Victorian houses that several balls were never recovered. Redcar were unbeaten in 1992, won the League twice, runners up three times, third one year, and also won the Kerridge Cup. But look at them now. Relegated to the the third tier and the second XI couldn’t complete their fixtures last season for lack of players.

    But it’s football where things are really bad. How is it that a town of 40,000 plus inhabitants have never had a successful football team since reaching the quarterfinals of the FA Cup in 1886? In my youth Redcar boasted four clubs. Redcar Albion were the strongest but never reached the heights of the Northern League, mainly participating in the Teesside League. The other clubs were Redcar Crusaders, Redcar Park Rangers and Redcar Boys Club FC where the late England and Spurs player Bobby Smith was discovered. Much smaller Cleveland communities such as Guisborough and Marske have both been playing Nothern League football for several years. In fact Marske United with so many games in hand may well pip Morpeth Town to the title this season.

    The Northern League, purported to be the oldest amateur league in England, produced the most FA Amateur Cup winners. Bishop Auckland won it ten times and Crook Town five times, but South Bank won it in 1913 and were runners up twice more, and even Eston United were twice runners up. Stockton FC used to play in the North Eastern league after the Second World War along with the reserve teams of Middlesbrough and Sunderland, but were a very successful Northern League club previously and won the FA Amateur Cup three times and runners up five times and I send my belated congratulations to them as Stockton Town in reaching the FA Vase Final where they will play Thatcham Town at Wembley on 20th May and which I understand will be televised on a BT Sports channel.

    I started this blog complaining about the non-achievements in recent years of Redcar’s sports clubs. But perhaps I might see an upturn in fortunes on the football field. Redcar Athletic play in the Wearside League and are the most southerly club in that league. I know they have ambitions to play in the Northern League, a league which the former Redcar Albion never reached. Two seasons ago Stockton Town easily won the Wearside League title losing only one match, 0-2 at home to runners up Redcar Athletic. Stockton were elected to the Northern League Second Division and finished as Champions, and although they are mid table in the First Division, they have their big cup final day at Wembley to look forward to.

    Last season Jarrow won the Wearside League title with Redcar Athletic again runners up. Jarrow were promoted to the Northern League and will probably finish mid table in the Second Division. This season Redcar Athletic, having only lost one league match to date early in the season to mid-table Wolviston, are at the moment second three points behind Cleator Moor Celtic with two games in hand. However Redcar.have yet to play Cleator Moor away and defeat there would give Celtic the title as they have a far superior goal difference. Celtic are almost certain to win their three other remaining matches, whilst Redcar with four home games should win their other matches. So the reality is that Redcar must avoid defeat at Cleator Moor on the 5th May to win the title. But even if they do, will Redcar at last be admitted to the Northern League, albeit the Second Division? Fingers crossed here.

      1. Probably he will get the nod although Britt did well last week

        Interestingly enough Bamford Britt @ Adamah all hang around together and are good mates so there is no sign of jealousy when one is dropped to the bench


  20. I imagine the Wembley deal will be a sale and lease back, allowing the blazers brigade to have their jolly days out without having to move, keeping the advertisers on board and the TV companies sweet.
    And of course allowing the board members to show a huge profit at year’s end and so award themselves huge bonus’ for running such a profitable ship.
    Trebles all round, methinks.

  21. OFB, like most on here I’d never heard of the lass until you shone the spotlight on her, well done that man and good on her. Thing is, shouldn’t we be saving these little gems for the dark days of summer, when we’ve got nothing better to do than kick tins about in the back alley as the only form of football entertainment?

    For all the expat’s out there, the Boro game is being screened live on Beinsport tomorrow night, they’re also screening Aston Villa and Derby live beforehand with Fulham and Sunderland live tonight. We’re being spoilt out here in the colonies.

  22. Simon often gives us some quotes, so without wishing to rain on his parade, I was reminded of an old one which might be apposite as Boro enter the final straights of the season starting with tomorrow’s pressure fixture against Millwall tomorrow night.
    The word ‘pressure’ is often used today about life in general, and even more so in sport. Keith Miller, the great late Australian Test cricketer of the 1950s, was once asked how he coped with the pressures of Test Cricket. His terse reply was “Pressure is having a Messerschmitt up your backside”.

    Of course Miller had also been a fighter pilot during the Second World War.

  23. Been a bit busy of late (seriously!) so I’ve got a bit of catching up to do.

    I listened to the Derby game and it sounded like the type of performance away from home, against one of our rivals, we Boro fans have wanted for a long time.

    Once again RR captured what I was listening to and what I was later able to watch on the MFC website. Excellent stuff RR.

    Another very interesting and informative piece from OFB . You have to feel a great deal of sympathy for Lauri Cox. With her dad Gordon and her uncle Ali, what chance did the poor lass have apart from being a Boro fan!

    Tomorrow will be a toughie, not because Millwall are a good footballing side, but because of their, shall I be kind here, and say their physical style of play. If we are at it from the kick off then I hope we can overcome their physicality. If not tomorrow could be a bit of an anti climax. I’ll be watching tomorrow and I’m already getting a bit of a buzz on in anticipation. Alcohol free of course.


    I haven’t seen that quote from Keith Miller before but what a fantastic response. Another of the Greatest Generation we have so much to be grateful for.

    1. FAA

      It’s nice to catch up with all the posts when you’ve not looked at the blog for a few days.

      It’s like reading a magazine with all your favourite articles in with comments from your friends


  24. OK, it’s time to start the countdown to the battle for a top-six spot in the latest crucial game as Boro host the Lions in the Saturday early evening showdown for a place in the play-offs. It will surely be a no holds barred contest as a no-longer ring-rusty Boro hope to fight their corner and despatch their opponent with a knock-out blow – here is my preview for the game against Millwall…

  25. I really enjoy the historical summaries of Ken. Even the last Redcar related sports round-up was interesting. And I definately have no connection to Redcar other than the vikings gave the name for Röd Kärr.

    Ken. Keep them coming. They are often worth a blog of its own and I look forward to seeing them especially in the close season.

    Is there any interesting matches coming up during the weekend? Does Boro play….

    Up the Boro!

  26. Thanks Jarkko
    That’s interesting about the Vikings giving the name for Redcar. I’ve an old map with the spelling as Red ker, so ’ker’ could be a derivation of ‘karr’ meaning ‘scar’, as one of the rocks off the Redcar coastline is called ‘saltscar’ which incidentally is the name given to my Doctors’ Surgery. Of course 65kms south of Redcar we also have the seaside resort of Scarborough.
    As you know the Vikings invaded the northeastern part of England and many Geordie dialects and expressions are of Viking origin.

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