Boro return to negotiating a successful Championship exit

Championship 2018-19: Week 17

Sat 24 Nov – 17:30: Brentford v Boro

Werdermouth looks ahead to the resumption of the Championship…

There’s been much talk this week about leaving a European institution and the financial implications of doing so – though reports of whether a so-called group of elite clubs have indeed secretly struck a deal to usurp the Champions League and form a European Super League have so far been denied. It’s unclear at this point whether Boro are among the 16 who hope to get an even bigger slice of pie in the Sky deal under the proposed breakaway plan – though as yet the club have neither denied or admitted any involvement in the matter. However, before people on Teesside are prepared to associate the words ‘Middlesbrough’ and ‘elite’ with more than just a Taxi firm (other less exclusive named mini-cabs are available), Boro must first breakaway from the financial constraints of the Championship league. Especially after the somewhat loose change new TV deal was sneaked past the clubs, which wouldn’t even allow the club to pay for half a Rudy Gestede or Britt Assombalonga’s devalued left leg.

Indeed, it seems not only football supporters have become pre-occupied with European breakaways and paying billions for a new deal. I may be missing some details but it appears to involve pretending to read a very dense book before embarking on the longest game in history of ‘Call my bluff’ where the panellists struggle to offer a convincing definition of the the word ‘Brexit’ – all that is missing is a frustrated hologram of Robert Robinson in a bowler hat setting fire to the only ‘True’ card live on air. As the people desperately look for leadership, the international breaks at least provided us with one man who appears to be both popular and articulate – yes the odds on Gareth Southgate becoming the next prime minister have been further slashed after qualification to yet another semi-final. One can only imagine the scenes should a future Lord Gareth of Southgate actually win a trophy as the petition to make him UK President for life exceeds the 17 million mark in an unstoppable populist uprising.

One man who is unlikely to be distracted by pleasing the crowd is Tony Pulis and his steady approach of playing the percentages has been the basis of his footballing philosophy over the years. He’s also a man who has previously appeared ambivalent about remaining in Europe – with his only venture being in 2012-13 Europa League with Stoke where he exited in the last 32 after fielding a second-string side in a 1-0 defeat at Valencia. Perhaps the only withdrawal agreement he’ll be spending much time contemplating is the one from Steve Gibson’s bank account in January as he prepares to bolster his squad for an orderly exit from the Championship.

You will recall Pulis was thwarted in the summer from bringing in pacey wide players when Boro’s chief negotiator, Neil Bausor, maintained no deal was better than a bad deal as the club opted against signing up to the financial packages being floated. After failing to get their targets, it was then decided, any deal was better than no deal, as the holes in the squad were quickly filled with loan players who didn’t have much pitch time under their belts after limited opportunities at their parent clubs.

The Boro manager will hope that the lack of freedom of movement between his midfield and forwards can be resolved before a single market intervention in the upcoming transfer window. The stability of Boro’s position in the table has probably become an issue of supply and confidence when it comes to the performance of their strikers – it may still be possible for the coaching staff to whip the players into shape but the team can not always rely on the opposition to get them over the line with defensive errors and crucial own-goals.

The next six weeks may determine the futures of some of Boro’s strikers and whether they will become remainers or leavers in the January window. After his brace against Wigan and all-round performance, it is now hoped Jordan Hugill will offer a much-needed spearhead for a promotion campaign. The problem is that there has been little to suggest the club have a credible alternatives if the West Ham loanee is unable to build on that much welcome display or indeed is unavailable for selection. While it’s possible that Britt and Rudy are kept in the shop window over the next 9 games or so, it’s becoming harder to envisage they will be viewed as the players who will lead the line under Pulis. One player who is not looking to leave in January is Martin Braithwaite, he confirmed while on international duty that he’s committed to helping Boro to achieve promotion this season – though he was non-committal beyond the summer. Whether Ashley Fletcher has an opportunity to revive his Boro career may depend on impressing from the bench – though he first must win a seat on that crowded bench of mainly summer acquisitions.

As for who could be on the Tony Pulis’s wish-list in January? Well the usual ageing suspects have been linked and even Peter Crouch, who has been mention tongue-in-cheek in previous articles, has started to get serious mentions from some pundits in the media – perhaps more out of lack of imagination and due to him being a big former-player under Pulis at Stoke. Though if you’re looking for a name that shouts buy, then Borussia Dortmund’s hot property Christian Pulisic must certainly tick the nomenclature boxes for a regular church-going Boro manager – however, he’s apparently keen on a Premier League switch with Chelsea being reported as favourites for his signature. Still, I’m sure the club will be keen to find another Pulisic striker who fits their manager’s profile.

Although, those on Teesside hoping for an early intervention in January may need to be patient as any significant deals usually go down to the wire. Whether Tony Pulis will be prepared once more to have his patience tested beyond the eleventh hour in order to get his man is unclear. He may be resigned to the fact that playing the waiting game has become something of a national pastime in post-referendum Britain and being able to stare at a ticking clock without blinking as it’s poised to strike twelve has now become regarded as a sign of cool negotiation rather than an inability to tell the time.

The sight of Brexit’s Midnight Runners as they prepare in vain to sing yet another chorus of ‘Come on Arlene’, in the hope of persuading the DUP leader not to trip everyone up as the marathon approaches the finishing line, may further dishearten the Boro manager that good things do indeed come to those who wait. Nevertheless, Jacob Rees-Mogga has worked himself up into a complete vassal state over the proposed deal but has yet to convince many that ‘it is what it is’ makes any more sense than ‘leave means leave’ or ‘Brexit means Brexit’. His well-spoken old-school tie cavalier tone insists that it’s perfectly reasonable for the UK to trade on something which I think is known technically as WTF rules.

At least everyone on Teesside is more than happy with the Irish backstop as Darren Randolph continues to ensure a hard border is maintained on the Boro goal-line with the fewest goals conceded in the Football League. Boro’s place in the automatic positions has been built on being strong and stable in defence – it’s more solid rather than spectacular – though the hope is that Tony Pulis will be able to successfully negotiate a transition period towards a more potent style in the final third. Nevertheless, despite a lack of goals from Boro, our tight defence means we now have the second best goal difference – just one behind Leeds and West Brom, who have jointly conceded 42 compared to our miserly 8.

Sadly, only a very late injury-time winner from Norwich prevented Boro from going into the international break in top spot – something that is quite unexpected given that Tony Pulis’s team have only won four of their last ten games after that first defeat of the season at Carrow Road. In some ways, Boro have been lucky that only a previously struggling Canaries side have gone on any kind of winning run after picking up 25 points from a possible 30. The next best ten clubs have only managed up to two points more or less than Boro’s total of 17 over those last ten games. It means the table is congested and still waiting for someone to make a decisive move to escape the pack.

Boro resume their campaign on Saturday evening with the televised trip to Brentford – a game that was perhaps chosen for live viewing back in September as a possible top-of-the-table encounter. The Bees had been buzzing at the start of the season and had established themselves as top-six contenders. Despite a few draws, they were still sixth after ten games just three points behind Boro and Leeds. However, they’ve managed just one win from their last ten games, with the departure of their former manager Dean Smith to become Villa boss no doubt being a major factor. Brentford are now down in 15th spot under Danish assistant Thomas Frank after he was promoted to head coach in October. In theory, this could be an opportunity for Tony Pulis’s men to pick up three points but it should be noted that the Bees have only been stung once at home this season with a 1-0 defeat at the hands of Bristol City – they’ve actually won five and drawn two of their other Championship games at Griffin Park.

Naturally, Boro’s aim is to win promotion and as things stand they are as well placed as anyone else. Interestingly, if the team were to lose at Brentford they would only be two points better off than Garry Monk was at the same stage last season. The difference is perhaps that Tony Pulis has developed a style of play that the players have both bought into and understand. Whether Boro can kick on and become effective at both ends of the pitch will determine if those on Teesside stay loyal to the manager. It was at this point last season that after Monk lost three games from his next four that Steve Gibson decided to pull the plug – Derby (H) 0-3, Bristol (A) 1-2, Millwall (A) 1-2. I doubt very much that if Pulis lost three from the next four, the chairman would even consider dismissing him. It seems the current manager is trusted to get it right and he has been helped by being part of a Championship that doesn’t currently have any outstanding sides to measure him against.

Football may be driven by the fear of missing out and each year the stakes are raised as the gap between being part of the elite or the aspirational masses becoming ever greater. We saw how some of the richest clubs in Europe thought they could flex their muscles and demand even more by creating a ring-fenced Super League with guaranteed no relegation for 20 years. Whether they actually intended to go through with the idea is anyone’s guess, but just the threat meant UEFA will offer them more. Talks of a Premier League 2 is perhaps just rebranding hype but the truth is that there are always those ready to buy into it as the fear of missing out also drives the media companies too. It is a bubble that will probably one day burst but right now nobody believes it will.

Of course, the masters of making money from football are FIFA and this week an article claimed that they are in the process of transferring their assets. Reports in the German newspaper Süddeutsche Zeitung claim they have received documents that have revealed secret plans by FIFA president Gianni Infantino to sell all the organistions rights to a consortium of British-based commercial banks that have close ties with Saudia Arabia. The $25 billion deal apparently includes the new Club World Cup, a proposed World League and even the World Cup itself. There are some suggestions in the article that it’s being done to escape the fallout from a corruption investigation into the awarding of the 2022 Qatar World Cup by FIFA. It essentially removes all of FIFA’s financial assets and places them under the control of a different company that will be headed by Infantino himself. It may even see the next World Cup being held in Saudia Arabia as part of the deal.

For the average fan, they are increasingly now just along for the ride and most will demand that their club tries to compete at the highest level possible. Most Boro supporters will want to see their club in the Premier League as it will at the very least promise another few years of parachute payments and a chance to compete with the ever-growing number of clubs in the Championship with overseas wealthy owners. Who know we may even get lucky and once more become an established top-flight club. For now we must hope the end justifies the means.

146 thoughts on “Boro return to negotiating a successful Championship exit

  1. Well I’ll go for a Boroexit from Brentford with a draw and a

    Wait for it …..

    Drum 🥁 Roll please …..


    Thanking you

    And a big thanks to Werder for another interesting and enjoyable post to set us all up again . Many thanks


    1. Thanks Allan – yes I find this Brexit malarkey is certainly a funny business and it looks like I’ll soon need to apply for my German citizenship, which involves a test of my knowledge of German culture and history.

  2. Absolutely splendid Werder, totally topical about typical Boro and, I have to say, alarmingly not at all contrived comparing our parochial interest with the national political story of the moment. Chuckled aloud at “Come on Arlene” and then laughed aloud at the dual thought of exiting under WTF rules. A delight to read this morning, thank you.

    There had been an international break, so as for the Brentford game I expect typically uninspiring performances from most individuals in the team and for us to come away with a lucky 0-0 draw after a MoM performance from Randolph.

  3. `Werder,

    A fine document on the necessary clauses and reasons for our team to negotiate a Borexit from the Championship.

    A post ‘International Break’ hangover from Boro as they warm-up and practice for the usual and regular post-Christmas hangover.

    I’m with OFB on this one and there won’t be a no-confidence letter in the post from me about his prediction.

    Bees 0 – 0 Boro

    The nils have it.



  4. What a brilliantly crafted piece of journalism and an excellent read. I don’t know what your day time job is Werder but you could give some of the EG hacks more than a run for their money!

    I will go with OFB’s Boroexit Brentford after a 0-0 backstop performance from Randolph.

  5. Following on from the piece at the end of my article yesterday in which the German newspaper Süddeutsche Zeitung (summarised here in this English language Bavarian football blog) claimed FIFA were preparing to sell all their rights for the World Cup and other tournaments to a consortium for $25 billion – which included investors from Saudia Arabia…

    An article in today’s Guardian from David Conn is also suggesting that FIFA president Gianni Infantino has said he wants to extend the Qatar 2022 tournament from 32 to 48 teams with the extra games being played in other countries in the region, such as (you’ve guessed it) Saudia Arabia.

    His stated reason was that it may help to build bridges in the region, ease hostilities and promote peace. When specifically asked if Saudi Arabia could become a host, he replied: “We need to take into account the geopolitical situation, hoping that matters will evolve, not for football but for the world. And if any discussion around the World Cup can help in any way whatsoever to make the situation evolve in that region, with regard to Saudi Arabia, it’s a nice impact maybe.”

    Whether the move is related to wanting to please his potential Saudi investors would of course be a cynical view. After all, Infantino also pointed to FIFA’s ability to promote social progress with the permission in Iran given to around 1,000 women (from a crowd of 80,000) to attend the Asian Champions League final between Tehran’s Persepolis and Kashima Antlers from Japan.

    He concluded with something of an understatement: “I’m not pretending we are doing everything perfectly, by far not. We are making a lot of mistakes, but we are trying to work in an honest way.”

    I suspect the facts around these stories may start to become clearer in the coming months. My hunch is that decisions in FIFA are more likely to be led by money than a more altruistic motive.

  6. Werder, another interesting read right up to your high standard.
    The Boro lads after been showed how to do highflying by the boys in blue, we should be able to shoot down the the bees, 0-1 to the boys in red @ white

  7. I do not think that Boro should contemplate missing out on an away win, the form says it’s on and they should step up to the plate and deliver.
    We possess a very good defence, and some tasty attack minded players, we should play them, and stop this messing about.
    The talk of needing players at the window is foolish in the extreme, play our good young lads, ( no, I’m not going to name them, it gets boring) They are so good that we could be in clover by the window, and on our way to the Prem. One thing is for sure, we will never know until we play them.
    Do not die wondering.

    1. I’d agree with you that before we take a punt on some PL over-priced loanee, I’d rather the likes of Wing and Tavernier were given a chance to prove themselves before the transfer window – though I’m no longer convinced either Assombalonga or Gestede can deliver under Pulis and would like to see a better option arrive in January.

  8. Gestede, I think, might be lacking hunger and/or the right “partner”.

    But we have to be fair. It’s hard to get the right desire back when the momentum has deserted you, you’ve suffered a bad injury or two, there’s no Rhodes, Bamford or Adama to sync with successfully and the boss insists on one up front.

    But I maintain that the player also needs to adapt and if he can’t, that says more about his limitations.

    Britt’s a strange one. I’d put him alongside McDonald in that his goal tally is good by Boro standards but there’s a feeling that he hasn’t and doesn’t look like repaying his fee.

  9. Brilliant Werder, “ Come on Arlene” has to be the best thing I have read this week, never mind today.
    It now amazes me how you keep it up.

    What will Saturday night bring, apart from a delayed dinner at home. The wine will be uncorked,will it celebration or numbing the senses??

    1. Thanks Pedro – I’m still hearing the song in my head!

      Talking of dinner… I’ve just been reminded this morning by Mrs Werder that tomorrow is our wedding anniversary and we are most definitely going out for dinner when the game is on. I just hope the restaurant she books has got a decent wifi connection and somewhere to plug in my laptop…

  10. Thanks again folks for your concern about my health problems. My consultation as an out-patient took more of a quick decision yesterday. The problem has been for a while that I’ve been unable to empty my bladder properly with the urine being forced back towards the kidneys forcing a potential possibility of complete kidney failure if not treated within a few weeks. I was advised to be admitted immediately to be catheterised, not a pleasant experience, but once a vacant bed became available I’m pleased to report that the problem which was not caused by the spread of the cancer but the fact that the prostrate had become too enlarged was solved at least temporarily overnight. I was discharged earlier today with a month’s supply of catheter bags and will have a further consultation within the next few weeks when a decision willl be made as to whether the catheter is to become permanent or whether surgery will be required, but the prognosis does seem positive. I had no change of clothing and had to sleep in my daytime clothes, so feeling grubby I was so glad just to get back home for a shave and shower which I found a little awkward at first, but with I’m sure I’ll soon get the hang of it. As Mogga used to say, it is what it is, but I encountered far more serious cases of bowel cancers in my short stay, so should be grateful for my good fortune. On a brighter note I should now be able to get uninterrupted sleep for the first time for months if not years.

    I’m just catching up with Diasboro and found Werder’s article very interesting, so thanks for that and once again to the friends on this forum for their kind thoughts.

    1. Good news Ken, a bit like Boro maybe not as good as we would have liked but its as good as we will get and as you say there were poor souls in there with far worse challenges!

      Selfishly of course it also means that we get a lot more posts from you!

      1. All the very best Ken it shows what friends you have here at Diasboro

        Keep fighting and let’s see the Boro get promoted automatically at the end of the season

  11. If ever the EFL money thing was brought into sharp reality:

    “Millwall have sold 14-year-old midfielder Darko Gyabi to Manchester City for £1million”.

  12. It appears that we or at least TP has a full squad tom pick from including Shotton albeit not considered match fit as he has just returned to training. Hope I’m wrong but a tear on his ligament can be a nasty, niggly long term thing so the longer he is rested and healed the better rather than rushed back. With Liverpool, Chelsea, Spurs and now Celtic supposedly chasing his replacement rushing Ryan back shouldn’t be an issue hopefully.

    It will be interesting to see if Maupay is fit tomorrow after being stretchered off with a supposed slight concussion. Brentford are not enjoying the best of times at the minute and if they are without their talismanic Striker then they haven’t got a lot going for them. Personally I suspect that their Manager Frank knows that TP sometimes dabbles with a back four or a back five and is trying to keep him guessing, probably hoping that he goes with five and sits deep.

    I wonder if the results earlier in the day will impact on tactics at all. In theory the plan should be in place but if you know what you have to do to either stay the same or maybe even climb above the leaders should fate decree then it must play on minds.

  13. Just update from Jeff Winter

    We’re having lunch (not prawn sandwiches !). At the next Boro home game against the Villa.

    We’re meeting up with Chris Tomlinson the three times Olympic indoor and Outdoor Long jump medalist who is Boro daft!

    Hopefully we’ll get his views in a Diasboro interview


  14. A good night’s sleep, but being such a poor tipster, I’ll refrain from predicting tomorrow’s result but hoping for the best tomorrow for my beloved club, so ‘Up the Boro’is as far as I’ll commit myself.

  15. Great news Ken

    Here is something to cheer you up from Nasser Hussain.

    When India’s innings ended in World T20 setting England 113 to win poor Nasser a solemn prediction. Dont think it will be easy, dont expect England to knock off the runs losing only 3 wickets with three overs to spare.

    He was right, sort of! Target reached with two wickets down, 2 overs and five balls left.

    Commentators, tough job.

  16. What’s worrying me is that according to the BBC website stats, we have not lost a league game to the Bees 🐝 since the 1930s!

    Must mean that a “typical Boro” moment is imminent!

    After waiting two weeks for a game I am not sure how I could cope with a loss. I suppose I would just have to man up and open another Rioja or Cava!

    1. If results go against us we could find ourselves down to 6th place tonight. The GD column will probably spare us that fate hopefully and 5th is most likely the lowest spot should the worst happen. A heavy defeat at Brentford and a big Derby win at Wednesday (e.g. we lose 3-0 and the Rams win 4-0) would leave us in 6th.

      On a positive if the Swans beat the Canaries in the battle of the feathers in South Wales and we beat the Bees we could be sitting top. There is a hell of a lot at stake today so I expect a tight, well drilled Boro unit boring the armchair fans, keeping a clean sheet and looking to knick one at a set piece. Should it go pear shaped then I’d expect Wing and Tav to come on from the bench which is a bit ironic in hat they could be game changers yet can’t get a start. 0-1 to Boro.

  17. Werder

    Another great pre match pre amble Werder.

    “Come on Arlene” classic!


    Good to hear the news wasn’t as at first feared. Keep on fighting the good fight.

    Looking forward to the match later on as our tv appearances, especially away from home, have been very positive results wise. If we can up the attacking options I along with many others will be happy. If we don’t I’ll settle for a well drilled if uninspiring win and another 3 points.

    TP said his squad are all fit but that Shotten was still at least a week away from contention for a starting spot. I’m assuming he needs to get his fitness levels back up after his injury lay off. With the form of Fry and the impressive way Baath has played in his 2 (?) league starts Pulis will have a few tough decisions to make along the back line when Shotton is fully fit as well as having Ayala to think about as well.

    No score prediction from me again but I will stick my neck out and say that if we score first I expect us to win.

  18. I’ve just slept for NINE hours and only woke up once to empty my catheter bag. For someone who for years has at the most survived on six hours sleep with four or five toilet interruptions this is indeed a luxury. Think I must be in heaven – oh, hang on, don’t want to go there yet. I’ve never felt so alert since I can’t remember when. OFB is right about this forum – a band of brothers (with the occasional sister), a lifeline for people like me. I’ve given up reading some of the slanging matches on the Gazette forums where I swear some folk want Boro to fail (trolls I believe they’re called), the same thing happens on the Casforum. I’m sure I write controversial things at times, and I don’t mind people disagreeing with me, but this forum never resorts to name-calling of those who may have different opinions to themselves. We all want the same things – a successful Boro team. We may not like some of the football we see (even Jack Charlton took a lot of flak at first about boring Boro), but if the end justifies the means we’ll all be celebrating. I don’t know how many contributors we now have on this forum, but it seems to be increasing at a healthy rate, so that confirms to me that everyone is behind Middlesbrough FC, a club with a rich history, which admittedly should have won more trophies, but is OUR team and has been for nigh on 140 years. So as Jarkko and ExMil always finish their blogs, I say ‘Up the Boro’ and thanks again for those who have given me support and hope.

  19. KP

    Re that stat it would be interesting to see how many times we’ve actually played them in the league in the intervening 80 or so years. I think I read the other day we’ve won something like 11 of the last 12 including play offs and cup games. It’s either a great positive stat or a Typical Boro moment waiting to bite us in the backside!

    1. FAA
      Boro have actually only ever played Brentford 18 times in the League losing once at home, but away it’s 3 wins, 3 draws and 3 defeats with a goal deficit of 9-11, but of course none of that will have a bearing on tonight’s match.

  20. Werder

    Maybe a discreet ear piece and the Tees audio commentary could help you out during your anniversary dinner. Congratulations by the way. Only problem might be when you jump up shouting “Gerrin there you beauty” when the third goes in during the dessert course😉

  21. Just finished the In2Views with Ron Bone and he is a very interesting guy

    I didn’t realise that he is now 75 and only just retired from Boro in the summer

    He scouted and saw over 90 of his protégés make a career in professional football and that is some achievement for anyone involved with football!

    Also just finished the In2Views with Uncle Eric Paylor and believe it or not he had heard of Diasboro!

    He also thought AV should be the political editor for the Sunday Mirror and is a fine journalist.

    So I’ll get those written up and Werder can sprinkle his magic on them and they can go into the Diasboro vault ready to be dusted off for the next International break.


  22. What we have known for the last year the world knows now, i am speaking of Fry, the people who run our club do not fill me with any confidence that we will tell them to go away( with of course accompanying abuse).
    The talk of Wing and Tavernier being loaned out fills me with foreboding, do we really know what a gem we have in Wing? I doubt it. And Tavernier should be playing now, in our team. Fulham have played their young fullback in every one of their last 60 matches, he is now in the England set up.
    Pulis is living in the past, we had better accept it and plan for a parting of the ways.

    1. In answer to your question

      Yes the club do know what the potential of Dael Fry is

      I’ve just finished an Interview with Ron Bone who was the Academy head of Recruitment before recently retiring in August and he rated Dael Fry as one of the best players Boro have ever had through the Academy


      1. It is also interesting to know that LEWIS WING was the last player to be recruited by Ron Bone for the Boro and he rates his progress as phenomenal!


      2. OFB
        They may think that they know how good he is but do they know how to, a. get a couple of seasons out of him, and b. get the giant fee he should bring?
        I am not optimistic looking at their past form.
        All the truly great centre backs have shown their talent early, all had a profile identical with his, all went on to have great careers at the very top, and all brought eye watering fees. So, we shall see.
        The fools on the blogs are saying that Celtic should snap him up at 1.8 million, have they been studying our track record in selling.

  23. I see Kike found the back of the net 20 minutes or so ago to put Eibar 3-0 up at home to the Galácticos…

    Nearer to home, The Blades are 1-0 up away to the Millers in the early match (against the run of play apparently), so currently top the table. Boro down to fourth for now. 🙁

    1. Allan,

      If it’s slant consolation, it’s on here in Oz on BeIn, I thought that you would be under the same sphere of influence, sorry if I’m no help.

  24. From the first whistle this game looked a straight forward 3 points as Brentford made a lot of mistakes but we increasingly played too deep.
    As a result Brentford had more possession and we ended up with 10 players in defensive positions.

    Interestingly the ex player before the game predicted Brentford’ s plan of pushing Boro back to make Hugill more and more isolated. This turned out correct and so the only way for Boro to score appears to be from breakaways or from corners.
    I’d like to see us with more possession of the ball and string together a few passes in the second half as sooner or later Brentford will get their passing better in the last third of the pitch.

    Given earlier results this is a must game to win – although I suppose a draw will not be the end of the world.

    Hope the football in the second half is better and I enjoy a nice bottle of white in celebrating a victory!!


  25. Very pleased with the3 points even though the last few minutes could have been difficult.
    So, it’s time for a favourite wine which I recommend-
    A Chardonnay, California with an unusual name of DARK HORSE

  26. Werder, thanks for the tip, the link was OK.

    We were in control after scoring the first. Pity that we let in the first goal from a corner all season. But who cares if we keep ourselves in the top two.

    Come on Boro!

  27. Delighted with the goals. I have been talking about the need to get that extra man in the box when the cross comes in so we have that other option. And so it was with the opener when Hugill picked up the pieces.

    Tav’s header was predatory, Fry’s cross a delight – accurately whipped in at pace.

    A note on Hugill – he may be the best we currently have at being a nuisance, at “making it stick” – allowing others to come into play. With that in mind the most gifted all round forward of the Riverside years was probably Viduka – he made it stick and he scored with his head and feet.

  28. Thanks for another excellent report RR and a fair reflection of the day.

    CoB now lets do a job on Preston to keep us in the hunt otherwise this good result will be devalued.

  29. I tweeted yesterday about Boro making the front page news in Finland exactly 50 years ago. I was visiting my daughter in Turku yesterday. While she and my wife did some shoping I escaped to the local library in Turku.

    There was the local news paper on show from November 24th 1964. The pools results were on the front page there – I saw that we lost 1-0 at Villa Park 50 years ago.

    As the English League were already on the pools coupons over half a centenary ago here in the Scandinavia, you can better understand the popularity of the League already back then. So my father did the pools already before I was born. But he was never able to pronounce Middlesbrough – that was too difficult for a gentleman born in 1915.

    Up the Boro!

  30. Thanks fo the alternative match report RR and a fair appraisal of the evening in my opinion.

    We did make hard work of it at times, but in all fairness Brentford are a decent side and are better than their recent results and league position certainly going forward. They pass the ball really well, better than we do, again Boro having to rely on Besic for nearly all the forward creative passing….no wonder he was knackered when taken off.

    However Brentford could and probably should of made more of their opportunities and for that I thought Randolf was MOtM. Brentford’s goal was disappointing from a defensive point and more than Besic should have got an ear bashing from TP for that poor cover.

    Still we took two of our chances, both well worked with Fry looking more and more like a future PL player if he continues to make the progress he is doing.
    I thought Clayton had another good game, just behind Randolf and I would then say Tav for his work ethic, tracking back to cover George more than once who got caught out a few times, then his superd anticipation to head in Fry´s cross.

    Now onto Tuesday and away to rampant PNE. What will TP do with his squad? Bring in Dani to be even tighter at the back, but then leave Hugill possibly more isolated than he was in the first half. Decisions for Mr Pulis to mull over.

  31. RR

    Great report exactly as I saw it

    Twice Brentford players went down as if pole axed holding their face as if elbowed and it smacks of un gentlemenly conduct and downright thuggery amd should be stopped

    Hopefully the FA have been alerted as the sky commentary noted it as well

    Nice to see three academy players getting the last goal !

    Ron Bone rates Fry and Downing as two of his best signings and Wing was his last.

    Nice to see local lads making the grade

    Thanks once again it’s appreciated by all on this blog


  32. Great result, but can we stop this constant semi collapse at the end of the match( or even after going two up) yesterday was a clear chance to boost our goal difference, the third by my reckoning, and we did the opposite, is it because we is thick?

  33. We have introduced Tavernier, with great results, can we now introduce Wing, the two of them have a good understanding of each others play and an eye for goal, so we might just turn on the after burner and really motor.

  34. As per usual an accurate report from Redcar Red in the Cliff Mitchell mould. Talking of Cliff I thought this match was a throwback to his era with tension to the end. I actually enjoyed it, the thrill of the past not knowing if Boro would see it out, although much more confident that they would than had it been in the 50s or 60s. Boro do make it hard for themselves sometimes (it was ever thus), but I for one do enjoy tight finishes as long as we win of course.

  35. Thanks for the usual high standard of match report RR.

    I didn’t get to see the game as Bein didn’t have it scheduled but they did have 3 games of egg chasing on so I listened to Tees and watched Spuds beat Chelski. Which was nice.

    Glad that Tavernier got a start and repaid TP with a great glancing header for his goal. Once again we sounded very comfortable at the back until we slept in at another short corner and were duly punished.

    We then seemed to be all at sea for a few minutes which had all the makings of a typical Boro moment which thankfully never materialised. By then we should’ve been home and hosed but once again our finishing let us down. Our 1v1 conversion rate is really poor and from the commentary it sounded as though Wings chance was harder to miss than score.

    Not the most entertaining sounding game but another 3 points towards the promotion push.

    When McEachren was subbed Maddo said something along the lines of he takes the easy option, didn’t influence the game and offered very little in terms of linking midfield with the attack. Exactly the way he played when at the Boro. Nice to see somethings never change.

    Onto Preston on Tuesday which with the time difference will be a late start for me. Shame I’ve got an early start on Wednesday🙁

    1. As Ken said, I actually enjoyed the game. Maybe not one for the puritans or neutrals but it had me enthralled.

      Wing’s chance was a miss by his standards but it wasn’t as clear cut as you may have heard or read. It was the sort of chance that Clayts would have sent well over the stand roof or Stewy of late would have hit the corner flag. From my perspective it was curling as it headed for the top corner with Bentley well beaten but it kept curling and went past the wrong side of the upright.

  36. Should’ve been “home and hosed” but made more it difficult for ourselves than we should have.

    It would seem that this is the story of Boro. It’s not the story of any of their managers.

    Even Big Jack had European qualification denied by a last ditch Kevin Hector strike in 1975.

  37. FAA’s insight on McEachran was a good one.

    I think, at Boro, he came across at the natural predecessor to Forshaw – he looks like a very neat, tidy and useful player, and you sense that there’s got to be something really special there, but it never really materialises over a consistent period of time. You get tantalising glimpses of real talent, but not much more.

    One good half or third of a season each, those are their Boro careers in a nutshell.

    Eric Paylor on McEachran:

    “I was really surprised he played so much (in 2012-13). Early on he was getting these nice passing movements (going) with Leadbitter, and I thought he was really going to be a good player, but he never really progressed.

    “He wasn’t a great defensive player and certainly wasn’t a great attacking one. (He put) through a few fantastic balls during the season but (that was) certainly not enough… He played more games than he needed to in my opinion.”

    Bernie on McEachran:

    “(He) was voted the supporters’ player of the year (in 2012-13) and I can only think that the lads who voted for him had consumed too much alcohol… (He) purely flattered to deceive: nice on the eye but creativity nil. I don’t even know if he made a goal, he certainly didn’t score any.

    “…The first few games I was kidded, thinking (that he was) a good player, but as the season progressed there was no product… he was a bit lightweight.

    “…I’m sure he’s a good lad, but for us, he was no good.”

    1. Great post

      Just had some photos from Eric Paylor including one of him taken with the Carling Cup!

      A great guy and a great Boro supporter !

      And he’s heard of Diasboro !


  38. Simon, Don Goodman thought Mceachran dominated the middle in the first half.

    OFB, I would like to see the FA or whoever, look at some of these “fouls”. It has been said before that certain players and too many in general fall over too easy. The worst are the ones that roll around as though poleaxed, and more so the ones that clutch their face when they have been kicked on the ankle.

    A good and honest Manager would not allow it. TP even gave Hugill a public telling off for falling over to easy.

  39. Each to their own, Pedro.

    I must admit, I thought McEachran had something for a while but his influence faded.

    The turning point, for me, was a home match against Watford in January 2013. I’ve returned to one of my old pre-Gazette blogs to refresh my memory a little.

    In the first half, MoggaBoro were in control, stroking it around commandingly in the Teesside tiki-taka like manner we were hoping for. We were doing everything right… except the hardest thing of all. Scoring the goals.

    Roughly ten minutes or so before the break, with the score at 0-0, McEachran wriggled himself into a good shooting position… then he slipped. Watford regained possession and the chance was gone.

    Then, right on half-time, Rhys Williams decided to intercept a ball he should have left for Jason Steele – Vydra nipped in on his blind side and pounced to put Watford ahead. A transformed Watford then came out in the second half and won more easily than the 2-1 scoreline suggested.

    Neither McEachran’s nor Williams’ confidence really recovered after that.

  40. I must say that the run Norwich City are on at the moment is quite staggering considering that they only scored 49 goals last season and their fans had no great expectations prior to facing Boro on the 15th September. They have won 10 and drawn one of their last 12 matches, the only defeat being at home to Stoke City during that period. Their next three matches are away to Hull City followed by consecutive home matches against Rotherham and Bolton which might well extend that run. So it’s great credit to Boro for being only two points behind them at the moment. Boro are now on an unbeaten run of 6 matches, so whose to say that Boro can’t go on a similar run that Norwich are now enjoying. If they do they may well find themselves with a handy lead going into the New Year.

    1. I have a good mate who is a Norwich season ticket holder and before our trip to Carrow Road back then he asked us to take it easy and not destroy them such was his confidence.

      That game was a springboard for them. I wonder what would have happened to Norwich had we won (apart from Boro being four points clear at the top now).

  41. Thanks RR for a spot on summary of the game. I did feel that Wing should have scored but its hard to be upset after a solid win.

    Looking at our defence I think that opposing teams are starting to work out that the only way to cause us any concern is to get players in front of the near post so that they might get a flick on. Anything played in to the usual areas is usually dealt with brilliantly by a combination of the different players doing their jobs in the middle. I’m not sure what can be done against this but I’m sure that a coach as experienced as TP is aware of the problem. I’ve also noticed two elements in our defensive structure. One seems to be to keep upright at all costs – unless a block is needed – and the second is to be prepared to play a poor ball out of the penalty area if necessary rather than taking control of the ball in what is still a dangerous area. In that way, the structure can regroup and await the next attack.

    Looking at the way that we are playing, I would say that we should only add in one or two exceptional players in January and if they aren’t available it wouldn’t worry me that much. We have a strong squad that is still coming together and some top class youngsters who seem well able to stand up and be counted. Anyone coming in has to be potentially worth a place in the starting side and that means somebody else being dropped.

    I’m quite interested in who is going to be offloaded. has the club decided to pull the plug on Harry Chapman. Everyone says how quick he is but TP doesn’t seem ready to give him a chance. Any comments from our ‘man on the inside’?

    Finally, can anyone advise whether the Preston game is available overseas on the streaming service. There is something on the website about it being available on Sky and therefore not available for streaming but am nit sure if this applies to overseas. I cant see it on the Pay channels here in Oz but would appreciate any advice.


    1. Selwynoz

      As far as I’m aware Harry Chapman will go

      Boro are prepared to offer a 1 year deal Chapman wants three

      His agent has been talking to Mogga and one other club

      Mogga who is reluctant also to offer a long term contract would offer a 1 year contract also

      The problem is not Harry’s ability it’s his injury problems that keep manifesting themselves

      If he doesn’t sign a contract then he will be a free agent In the summer but Chapman should be wary as there have been plenty of young Boro players who have gone thinking that the grass was greener elsewhere


  42. Two comments, well, maybe more.
    After seeing the anticipation and movement of Tavernier for his headed goal, I am reassessing my rating of him (already high) he is better than good.
    Love the talk of Wing “missing” a chance. Creating and delivering a shot on goal after coming on with three minutes to go is not bad, just imagine him playing a full match.
    Brentford were a decent team, and will be winning matches from now on I would think.

  43. Oh dear
    TP should be barred from holding forth in full philosophical mode to the media.
    Commenting on DaelFry, he proceeded to trash him in full comedy mode.
    He is not good enough to play in the prem.
    He has not played enough games.
    He could be anything?
    All these young lads are seriously lacking in some mystery quality which only I can identify.
    And so on.
    As usual, he is miles behind the times.
    The style now is, play them in your first team, six games will bring them on wonderfully, and the rest is up to them.
    Tavernier would not be playing in our team without the fans ridiculing Pulis over his selections.
    In due course Wing will be a regular, as of course will Fry.
    Pulis is of course doing incredible damage to the club.
    His demands for more signings are, frankly silly, this defence with Wing and Tavernier should carry us up without too much trouble.

  44. Jim Platt used to say clean sheets win matches. Well, we have conceded only nine goals this season. The next best teams in the division are Leeds and Swansea with 17 conceded. Sheffield Wednesday is the worst – they have let in 32 goals so far.

    if we look at the last five matches, after three draws we have now won two in a row. But Preston are even better than us with WDDWW. That is very good and they are on the up. On Saturday they beat Mogga’s Blackburn.

    So a tough game ahead tomorrow. But I think we will be competitive and can get a point there at least.

    Up the Boro!

  45. Now here’s an historical fact I’d forgotten but reminded of on yesterday’s Match of the Day 2. Ten years ago this weekend Bournemouth were minus one point and second from bottom of Division 2 after going into administration and appointed Eddie Howe a few weeks later as manager when he lost his first league game in charge with a defeat at Darlington. How the fortunes of both teams have since changed. Quite amazing!

  46. Was always confident of a Boro win. Good job I didnt know the stat that Boro not losing to them in so long. I’d of been bricking it with Typical Boro in the back of my mind when they pulled one back🤞🤞

  47. I note that over the last week or so we seem to be getting linked to a few youngsters which may just be column fillers. Hopefully its a sea change and a sign that our Scouts are now actually doing what we need them to do and find the next great player early on instead of waiting until they get recognised at say a Peterborough or a fellow Championship side and then end up paying millions.

    Seventeen year old Swiss midfielder Stephane Cueni is supposedly being looked at by Boro as is Dru Yearwood from Southend.

  48. Preston North End extended their unbeaten run to eight games as they comfortably beat local rivals Blackburn Rovers at Deepdale by 4-1.

    Callum Robinson has scored nine goals in the Championship. But Preston’s top goalscorer Robinson could require a surgery on a hamstring injury that will keep him out for a minimum of three months.

    Hope this helps Boro tomorrow. Up the Boro!

  49. Preston beat Mogga’s Blackburn by 4-1 in the derby match on Saturday. Callum Robinson got one but Preston’s top goalscorer Robinson could require surgery on a hamstring injury that will keep him out for a minimum of three months. So he is not playing against Boro tomorrow.

    By the way, George Friend has played with a transparent mask on his face during the last two games. I have never read about his injury, so I wonder when we was injured?

    Up the Boro!

    1. Hi Jarkko

      From my Stoke match report:

      “A bloody and battered George was planned to make an exit after being on the receiving end of a forearm smash with Saville and then McNair stripped to replace him but our Captain wasn’t giving up any time soon and indicated his determination to carry on right until the end.”

      and then from the Wigan Report:

      “George wearing the seemingly now obligatory Boro Captains mask doing the same down the left flank. Our Captain Marvel seems to be suffering the after effects of a forearm smash at Stoke but Ben Gibson’s former fashion accessory was discarded into Randolph’s net after just fifteen minutes.”

  50. I think we’ll go up. It might not be all that exciting and goal fests will be hard, possibly near impossible to come by, but there’s a sense of stability to the club that we need after the toxicity and muddle which stained 2016 and 2017. That includes Monk’s tenure, where we didn’t seem to know how we wanted to play or where to go.

    Efficient and effective will do for now.

  51. I may be mistaken but we seem to be collecting young players from all over the place. From being utterly unable to shoehorne even one into our team, we now ( after a determined campaign of often severe criticism of our manager) seem to be in the mood to play 2 or3 of them, halleluiah ! It is lovely to see them attacking and scoring, and one would need to have a heart of stone not to love it.

  52. Back in the 1971/72 season Stan Anderson wanted to shift an underperforming unhappy midfielder called Johnny Vincent, He got Cardiff to bite,but they later insisted we took an overweight , homesick winger,who had ability but hadn’t shown it, as part of the deal, we did them a favour and signed Alan Foggon off them for £10.000 ,as they say the rest is history.
    Cardiff currently have a talented some say overweight midfield player,who managed properly could be a bargain buy, for say £500.000, he would certainly be different to what we have now.
    Lee Tomlin, could history repeat itself?

    1. Tomlin has had four clubs since leaving Boro three years ago, either permanent transfers or loans. There must be a reason why he hasn’t been able to convince a succession of Managers that he is worth keeping. For Lee however there will always be Man City and nobody can ever take that away from him.

  53. With nothing better to do I’ve been watching some of the cricket from Colombo and noticed two St George’s flags with Middlesbrough emblazoned over the centre. Seems that Boro fans get everywhere even during the football season.

    However what I find disturbing is the number of reviews where the umpires get the original decision incorrect, also the fact that they don’t seem to see no-balls. Twice Ben Stokes was on his way to the pavilion but recalled after the video umpire reversed the decision because of a no-ball. Also Josh Buttler was quite rightly given out stumped and actually back in the pavilion before the TV umpire gave him out. I’ve previously voiced my concerns about Rugby League matches taking so much time because of referrals to the video referee. I hope VAR in football isn’t going the same way, as if it does one might find matches lasting well over two hours.

  54. Tomlin is on his eighth club at 29. Much better than Mido, at least… his final club, Barnsley, was his 12th, and he retired at 29.

    But whereas Tomlinho will have his turn and a series of lovely goals to go with some eye-catching opportunistic build-up play, what will Mido have as far as Boro are concerned? Er… okay, turning the game at Fulham, excellent finishes at Anfield and at home to West Ham. Yet somehow they feel more hollow.

    In 2008, The Sunday Times wrote the following about Mido…

    “That the 25-year-old is already on his eighth club tells its own peripatetic tale, while his injury problems, bad attitude (Martin Jol, his manager at Tottenham, pronounced him ‘disrespectful and irresponsible’) and unathletic tubbiness have made him far from universally loved. He won’t take not being selected well.”

  55. I know Boro have a match tonight as we approach the halfway point of the season, but I still delve into the Yorkshire CCC website every day. Today they’re showing a short video entitled ‘Your County, Your Yorkshire’ so I was delighted to see one of the photographs showing the transporter bridge under the heading of ‘Your Middlesbrough, Your Yorkshire’. Over the years for us born south of the Tees we’ve been called Teesside, Langbaurgh and Cleveland, but it’s good to know that Yorkshire CCC still consider Middlesbrough as being part of the great acres. It’s such a pity though that the town has been devoid of First Class County Championship Cricket now for over 40 years.

  56. (Very) Belated thanks to Werdermouth and RR for their excellent contributions, as ever, for this week. Also belated pat on the back for Ken having come through a tough week of his own.

    Good win at Brentford. Professional and deserved in my view. Typical of a side with serious promotion credentials.

    Also great to see Tavernier starting and Wing featuring more and more regularly from the bench.

    Has TP settled on the fact the defence and team shape is now embedded and he’s starting to tune the front end a touch more? It appears that way to me.

    Interesting game tonight. Hopefully Preston’s recent form will encourage them to attack us. Which is just how we like it.

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