Is Woodgate approaching the final act of his Boro tragedy

Championship 2019-20: Weeks 30-31

Mon  2 Mar – 19:45: Boro v Forest
Sat  7 Mar – 15:00: Charlton v Boro
Sat 14 Mar – 15:00: Boro v Swansea

Werdermouth prepares to watch the relegation drama unfold…

As the amateur dramatics of another Boro season take on some of the similarities of an ancient Greek tragedy (and possibly even a comedy) many on Teesside are seriously beginning to wonder if those in charge are showing signs of having already lost the plot. Perhaps now is a good time for an intervention of Deus ex machina (god from the machine), a technique introduced in Greek theatre whereby a seemingly unsolvable problem in a story is suddenly and abruptly resolved by an unexpected and unlikely occurrence to bring the tale to a happy ending – which in Boro’s case would involve the unexpected case of winning a game. Incidentally, Deus ex machina was something like the VAR of its day, where the action is halted by the appearance of an unforeseen character or through the intervention of a god – with the god literally arriving on stage by means of a machine such as a crane.

Whether or not Boro’s season will be saved by some form of unexpected divine intervention remains to be seen but it’s unlikely that we’ll see an exasperated Steve Gibson being lowered from the director’s box by an overhead crane at half-time to unveil a new manager. Though many of the lapsed faithful on Teesside now believe that only the emergence of white smoke over Hurworth and the appointment of a new man to pontificate on team matters will save the club from the cardinal sin of relegation. Others are still awaiting the sight of more acrid black smoke in a pre-match ritual that signals Jonthan Woodgate has finally seen sense by setting fire to his jinxed manager-of-the-month award in a desperate bid to demonstrate to his players the curse of being unable to win has been lifted.

No doubt as the sacrificial molten lump of offending perspex burns impressively at the centre of the Riverside pitch, the message of renewal could be further reinforced by staging an impromptu performance that takes its inspiration from another Greek legacy and the worthy sentiments of the Olympic movement’s pursuit of excellence that it embodies. In an act of homage to the traditional ceremony that heralds the lighting of the Olympic flame, eleven vested virgins from the Boro squad slowly move forward from the centre-circle. They then solemnly light their makeshift torches of rolled-up matchday programmes from that all-consuming infernal flame, before one by one quickly heading off down the tunnel holding their symbolic torches aloft to hopefully ignite the embers their less than glowing season and extinguish any prospects of relegation.

However, the prospects that Boro will set the Championship alight in the remaining eleven games is looking bleak and it seems even Adam Clayton may have now given up hope of reaching the play-offs. Perhaps the well-inked Boro midfielder has already taken precautions and left a suitable space on his torso for his League One Runners-up 2020-21 tattoo to celebrate ending his Boro career on a less ambitious high. Although, Jonathan Woodgate will be hoping his Boro career doesn’t end on a low as he plots ending the campaign at the dizzy heights of 21st place in the table.

Talking of those who are in danger of getting their fingers burnt, Steve Gibson has increasingly come under fire for appointing an inexperienced head coach and he must be hoping Jonathan Woodgate can find a way out of the current predicament. He’s reportedly reluctant to abandon the apparent three-year strategy of developing a sustainable team through the promotion of young players and finding a like-minded alternative for Woodgate who could rescue the season would not be an easy matter. Another option would seem to involve bringing in a more senior coach to assist Woodgate – though again that would publicly totally undermine his head coach and make his position as one of being in charge in name only. It subsequently must mean the temptation to procrastinate and do nothing is an attractive one, which possibly increases the risk that League One is where the club are heading.

Although, given Boro’s status as the Championship’s lowest scorers, it’s surprising that Robbie Keane’s position hasn’t come under more scrutiny. Perhaps we could still see him as the first sacrifice with a more experienced ‘attacking coach’ brought in to replace him. Boro have only managed two attempts on target in five hours of football and you have to wonder what it is exactly he has got the forwards to visualise? Maybe they’ve just ended up in a complete meditative state of bliss and can now only envisage nothingness – much like the those who turn up at the Riverside.

OK, Keane may point to what he’s had to work with and the problems of our strikers profligacy started well before he joined Boro. Indeed, there appears to have been an issue at Boro in scoring goals for many a season, which does make it a brave decision for any manager on Teesside to contemplate developing a team that will blow away the opposition – especially on a budget as the best strikers seldom come cheap or even the not so good ones come to mention it.

The footballing gods have seemingly not been kind to Woodgate in his first season in charge with a series of ill-timed injuries to key players that may have possibly made the difference in avoiding getting dragged back into the relegation mire. Those same gods have also contrived to revive the fortunes of the bottom three clubs as they continue to build momentum for escaping the drop, who incidentally all now sit in the top eight of the six-game form table as Boro languish at the foot with free-falling Hull. Ahead of the Monday evening Riverside clash against Forest, Wigan have continued their winning ways by gaining three points at leaders West Brom to send Woodgate’s team into the bottom three, three points off the bottom and two from safety.

After nine games without a win and three successive defeats without a goal, the situation is getting critical for Boro and the reality of football management means it can’t continue for much longer. If Woodgate fails to win any of these next three crucial games, his tenure must surely become untenable. Anything but victory on Monday will see Boro remain in the relegation zone and another defeat will further erode confidence that the only place the club are heading is League One.

Forest currently sit in fourth place with a chance of finishing in automatic spot looking increasingly unlikely now that Leeds have returned to winning ways. However, Sabri Lamouchi’s side will be keen to consolidate their play-off slot after just one victory in their last four since beating Marco Biesla team, which at the time had taken them to within a point of second but that gap is currently now up to nine. With Boro only winning one of their last six encounters against the Tricky Trees, few will be hopeful that Monday is going to be the start of the revival. However, Woodgate desperately needs to add to that last Riverside victory on Boxing Day against Huddersfield if he is to avoid Steve Gibson’s reluctant intervention.

While Woodgate may escape the consequences of a defeat at Forest, the next game is away at Charlton, who are currently just two points and one place above Boro. At this stage of the season it becomes the proverbial six-pointer and not a game that will likely end well for the head coach if it leaves Boro five points behind his old friend Lee Bowyer’s team – especially as the other club level on points with the Lactics are Stoke and they are at home to Championship whipping boys Hull who seem to gift everyone three points of late. The only cause for hope is that Charlton were thrashed 4-0 by Huddersfield on Saturday but of course they did beat Luton 3-1 in their last home game.

It’s quite easy to imagine Boro not being able to find a way to win a game at the moment as it’s getting harder to see where the goals are coming from – something that has been exacerbated by conceding the first goal in the last ten games. Scraping a lucky 1-0 win is one thing but then needing to score two and then hanging on is another prospect altogether. Woodgate says he wants to see more from his strikers – something which I think he’s not alone in. However, the real problem appears to be the team are not creating decent chances to even give the forwards an opportunity to fluff their lines.

By the time Swansea arrive on Teesside, it could be looking rather grim for both Woodgate and Boro but it’s still a game that provides a good opportunity to gain three points. Steve Cooper’s side have proved to be a bit unpredictable this season and now look to be heading for mid-table obscurity unless they gain some late consistency. The Swans also knocked four past Hull recently but unfortunately they also conceded four against the Tigers too and also lost 3-2 at home to Derby when leading. In truth, Boro would probably have gone on to win in the reverse fixture at the Liberty Stadium but for those red cards received by Browne and McNair. If Boro manage to keep all eleven on the pitch at the Riverside it would help but then again knowing which eleven to select seems to be just as difficult a problem for Woodgate.

Anyway, it’s not impossible that Boro could defeat Forest and also get a result at Charlton but should the bad results continue, in what is essentially a results-based business, then time would surely be over if the chairman didn’t want to entertain fixtures at the likes of Fleetwood, Gillingham, Accrington, Lincoln or Rochdale – all of whom will no doubt be more keen to give everything to beat a relative big name like Middlesbrough than our players would feel motivated for life in the third tier. Dropping to League One would be more than a tragedy (Greek or otherwise), it would put at risk any notion of persuading our better youngsters that their careers remain on Teesside when offers this summer come in from Championship promotion hopefuls or even Premier League strugglers.

There is a mood that even the most patient of Boro followers are not prepared to extend that patience to the prospect of a meek exit out of the wrong end of Championship. There are murmurs on the message boards on possibly getting Tony Pulis back to reprise his relegation-avoidance trick one more time but what then? Some even would like to see the return or Aitor Karanka with his more methodical approach and a promise not to meltdown and fume silently at perceived injustice at the business in transfer window. It would be one of life’s great ironies if defeat at Charlton would herald the return of the Spaniard but perhaps its the kind of contrived plot twist that even Aristotle would approve with his penchant for Deus ex machina – the question is would it provide a happy ending?

627 thoughts on “Is Woodgate approaching the final act of his Boro tragedy

  1. As ever Werder, a work of art and entertainment. I didn’t say ‘White Rabbit’ this morning as I’ve failed to do over the whole of my existence on this beautiful blue sphere, so that means more of the same when it comes to luck this month, I wonder who else failed to do the same this morning?

    Seeing as I sneaked in last on the previous post with my submission, I’d like to post it again here if I can please, let’s just call it a ‘schoolboy’ fascination.

    “I could take umbrage by being labelled as having a playground mentality and the IQ to match, but being able to define an insult from an aside obviously only takes a schoolmasters intelligence to evaluate, and not someone of my apparently limited education. So, I plead innocent by means of being educated by masters of the same calibre of some critics on here, that deem me of being a retarded of sixty five year old. You must be a blast on a night out with the lads after a few pints.”

  2. To quote Aliens I believe it is “game over man” I say this with a heavy heart but given our performances over the last 4 matches, not being able win a game against 10 men and then three matches where we had one shot on target I dont think I’m been melodramatic.
    It appears that the 4 wins over christmas were the exception and not the norm.
    I dont get the chairman’s obsession for inexperienced managers and I dint want the current one, did we ever really interview anybody else for the job? But on the flipside for all the people decrying him would anybody else waste their own money to keep the club going, I know that the losses are useful to offset the profits of other business ventures.
    Can I see us getting anything from mondays game not really but then it’s the hope that kills you. Also I dont see us coming straight back up if relegated as RR has said the players you want to keep will enticed away by other clubs.
    On a positive note I dont think I’ve got the virus yet

  3. Cheers Werder. As entertaining and informative as ever.

    It will be interesting to see if Steve Gibson does act at any point before the start of next season, whichever division we’re in. The reasons you mention make me think he probably won’t but it will be very tough not to if we lose at Charlton.

    Another pivotal fortnight of fixtures ahead. As posters have said on the previous blog, I think the best thing Woodgate can do now is decide on a system, stick with it and work at it relentlessly. The players need some structure and familiarity to work from. The regular changes may keep the opposition guessing but our team looks confused and disjointed.

    1. Thanks Andy, it was interesting to hear on MOTD how they thought Chelsea were inconsistent because Lampard didn’t seem to know who his best XI were and was prone to keep making changes – perhaps this is the problem with inexperienced managers who always think they have to keep trying things to see if it works better.

  4. Werder,

    A wonderful review and appraisal of Boro’s season so far. Just to cheer everyone up I think Woodgate will be here to the bitter hemlock flavoured herbal drink end.

    I can almost agree with my friend OFB, otherwise known as Fredstotle, the lesser known brother of ‘arry on a 0 – 0 but I fear that after another bout of tinkering, checking the tea leaves and ignoring RR’s tea lady, fingering the entrails into some kind of order it’s 0 – 2 for me. No paranormal at work just typical Boro.

    Matches and time are slipping by…

    UTB,

    John

  5. Thanks Werder for another great leader. Let’s hope the next three games don’t end up being a trilogy of tragedies!

    Can’t see anything beyond a Forest win as I think the pressure is beginning to build and it’s seems a long time since a Boro team handled the pressure well.

    Boro 0-2 Forest 😎🙁

  6. Possibly a fortuitous TV pick. The squad will have had plenty of time to digest the weekends results and consider the frailty of their current league position.

    I would hope a concentrated effort will be made to rectify it tomorrow evening. In a league where no result is a foregone conclusion I think a win can be achieved.

    2-1

  7. Just a question: – if, Heaven forbid, we should drop into League One, are we allowed to keep our grade 1 academy? If not, that would be an absolute disaster.

    1. Clive

      It should not affect as the status relates to such things as training, support and facilities etc. Whether MFC will be able to sustain all those things on much reduced income is another matter. 😎

  8. If Woodgate is not sacked and the team is relegated then he’ll not be the manager next year.
    If he somehow avoids relegation then why should he be retained if that’s his sole achievement? The crowd will not be with him. So surely his reign is likely to end as there’s no evidence to say he’ll go from just about avoiding relegation to a top 6 team

    Is he the best bet to avoid relegation?
    Clearly not , so why wait and gamble ? Get someone in now. What’s more important, staying in the Championship , or giving Woodgate more time when he has failed badly so far?

    Perhaps the job is a poisoned chalice.
    If the team is not relegated and virtually all the high earners leave then the task becomes attracting cheap players to add to a small number of promising players eg Pears, Spence, Coulson, Fry, Wing and Tavernier .
    If the team is relegated then surely it is worse as eg crowds drop etc

    But , as always , we’ll wait for the next game and hope that ……………. !

    1. Philip
      Southgate was allowed to keep his job after three seasons of dreadful decision making, pitiful leadership and general failure.
      This chairman has an unsinkable optimism when it comes to managers, with an add on for local, inexperienced ones.
      His attention span does not extend to the supporters, who, of course have called every disaster in plenty of time to do something about it.
      So, just for the record, can we record this disaster, before it has happened.
      This hero is going to the wall in support of the deadly duo of Britt and Gestede.
      Whatever the question is? They are not the answer.
      Whilst on the subject, can we put in a good word for Spence. Yes, yes, Woodgate does not like him, but to us fans that is an enormous plus, every one that this person has blanked has put up great performances for this team, but of course the wasters got fit, and that was the end of our decent results.
      He should not really be here, should he?

  9. Yet again another show stopper Werder so thank you for brightening up a dull day although the writing is probably on the walll for Boro.

    We need some kind of divine intervention to stay up and if we do, then the gods will have been smiling on us.

    Whilst I try to be an optimist and never say never until the bitter end and the final curtain has come down, I do fear that the large lady is making her progress to the wings before she makes her entrance onto the stage! She still has to warm up mind so maybe she will lose her voice.

    I am still of the opinion that SG will not dispense with JW even should we go down and that his lack of apparent interest is concerning. That said, I cannot believe that SG seriously thinks that the club would be sustainable in league 1.

    It will be what it will be and us supporters just have to look on and hope that JW can somehow, turn it round. Not sure how though!

    So tomorrow I will predict a nervy 1 0 win for Boro to give us some hope.

    UTB

    1. Thanks BBD, let’s hope we don’t get an encore…

      btw The drop in income associated with relegation to League One will be quite significant

      – currently Boro in the Championship receive £4.5m solidarity payments plus the Basic Award of £2.3m, which is together £6.8m.

      – League One clubs only receive £675,000 solidarity payments and a Basic Award of around £732,000, which together is just over £1.4m – so essentially Boro will lose a minimum of £5.4m – plus you’d expect gate revenues to fall also with lower attendances.

      – In addition there is a total salary cap in League One that is limited to 60% of turnover

      Given Boro’s revenue currently match the clubs running costs, it means yet more downsizing and most likely more player sales than planned.

      So in conclusion relegation would be quite a disaster for Boro and every year spent in League One would see further cost cutting.

      1. With Rockliffe seemingly struggling and Boro in League One the financial outlook could be the stuff nightmares are made of. With more cost cutting and downsizing its unlikely the Club would be sustainable for long and a quick return would be a necessity otherwise we could be staring at the dreaded “L” word.

      2. I fully expected that a drop to league 1 would be costly but even I had not appreciated the exact figures involved, which for a club of MFC’s standing is frightening.

        The general running costs/overheads far exceed these payments and with gate recents likely to be halved then FFP becomes a nightmare.

        As you say, we are likely to see major downsizing not only to playing staff but also to MFC staff in general.

        Parts of the stadium may have to be closed off and more than one season outside the Championship could, as RR has alluded to, be the beginning of the end.

        I am appalled that this prospect could be facing the club I have loved and supported for over 50 years.

        Truly shocking if it materialises and those involved should feel ashamed. 😎

  10. Another gem form Werder and like Dimi’s restaurant a possible Greek Tragedy in the making. Euripide’s realism deals with his characters’ psychological challenges which would appear to perhaps have parallels with present day Boro. The hero in his tragedies is no longer the resolute character he once was having become more insecure and worried by internal conflict. Sound familiar?

    Tomorrow night is a must win game, a draw just cements Wigan’s weekend escape. A defeat shouldn’t bear thinking about but I’m not so sure. Like the diminishing number of fans, the interest levels from the Gods or in this case God also seems to be on the wane. Without a convincing performance from somewhere which has to include that rarest of Boro things, goals its not going to end well.

    1. Thanks RR, Indeed many parallels – though my favourite Euripides quote is “Whom the gods would destroy, they first make mad”

      Anyway, I’d agree tomorrow is probably must win as it puts too much pressure on the Charlton game.

  11. We are getting to the point where every game is a must win game, especially after we lose the last must min game!

    Shame that nobody appears to tell the players or even sets the team up to try and win the game!

    Just remind me again how much these professionals get paid to do their job?

    I know I am a broken record on this but if I had performed as badly as our manager and players are at the moment, then I may not have had a job for long.

  12. Thank you a Werder for another brilliant History Lesson. Greek tragedy being played out in real time down at the Riverside.
    Whilst it once more made me laugh with its one liners, it was also sad to see the tragedy that is MFC. You could have written this script in the summer of 2019.

  13. Just a few facts about the 3 clubs who were recently in Division One yet have been outstanding this season in the Premier League :-
    I. Leicester City were Champions of League One with 96 points
    in 2009, were Championship winners with 102 points, and of course Premier League winners with 81 points in 2016.
    2. Wolves were Champions of League One with 103 points in 2014, and Championship winners with 99 points in 2018.
    3. Sheffield Utd were Champions of League One with 100 points in 2017, and were promoted from the Championship last season with 89 points.
    All 3 of these teams are at present in the top 8 in the Premier League and playing good football. I don’t wish or expect Boro to
    be relegated this season, but if the worst happens surely it gives hope for the likes of Boro in the long term. Both Leicester and Wolves have had foreign investment, but as far as I’m aware Sheffield Utd haven’t. Obviously some clubs like Sunderland have found life tough in Division One, but Wigan despite being relegated twice have come back as Champions in 2016 and 2018. So would it really be such a disaster if Boro were relegated? Just posing the question?

    1. I think the problem of relegation to League One could be managed if Boro came straight back up but it would probably mean selling an asset to offset the drop in income. Of course the other problem is what kind of players Boro could attract compared to being in the Championship. No doubt any potential deals for Howson and Ayala would be ditched and it would make them vulnerable to hostile offers for their better younger players – simply on potential wages alone.

      Given this summer requires a lot of outgoing players to be replaced it makes it harder to find players who are both looking to forward their careers and drop down to League One. Boro may end up building a top-end League One squad that is only good enough for competing in that division. Plus just how good is our recruitment given past experiences.

      btw Sheffield United are now owned by Prince Abdullah bin Musa’ad bin Abdulaziz Al Saud (to give him his full name) from the Saudi royal family – Though apparently he claims not to be that rich and acquired the remaining 50% of the club for just £5m from Kevin McCabe following a legal twist in a court case. McCabe has previously invested £100m into the club so has lost out big time.

      https://www.bbc.com/news/uk-england-south-yorkshire-49715558

  14. Interesting interview with Steve Gibson in the Gazette where it seems Jonathan Woodgate will remain manager even if Boro are relegated…

    Jonathan has my support no matter what happens. My total support. He is dedicated to this football club and has a vision for a style and approach that we all endorse. He has had a difficult first season but there is a real talent there. I am convinced of that. Where we are right now as a club is not the fault of Jonathan Woodgate.

    https://www.gazettelive.co.uk/sport/football/football-news/steve-gibson-exclusive-middlesbroughs-relegation-17841031

    1. I guess Gibson saying Woodgate will remain in charge is one thing but what happens if results don’t improve and he loses the crowd? The manager’s position can’t be independent of results otherwise it would mean Woodgate doesn’t have accountability.

        1. I never believed he had lost interest but he’s maybe been too quiet and should probably have explained more to the supporters on what the club’s strategy is and how he expects things to move forward. Saying Woodgate and others at the club have ambition to play exciting football and then see the team as the lowest scorers in the league doesn’t really add confidence that it’s an ambition which will be readily achieved.

  15. Tottenham 2-3 Wolves: I’ll save judgement on Jose Mourinho until summer – Jermaine Jenas

    Interesting piece where Jenas says that Tottenham are struggling due to regular changes in system. Seems even the most experienced and successful managers are capable of overthinking it.

    1. Yes I did note that when I heard it – although, perhaps Mourinho is one of those coaches whose best times are behind him as his the likes of Liverpool, Man City, Wolves and maybe now Arsenal and Chelsea have moved on from his more rigid methodology.

      If you have a system then players can be rotated if they understand their roles – but if you’re still experimenting then the understanding and partnerships on the pitch are lacking. OK, top players can still win you games under any system but average players will struggle to make an impact if they don’t gel into a system.

      1. Yes I do agree. Sometimes the element of surprise can benefit you but overall I think a clear system of play allows the players to do things naturally and instinctively, and those extra split seconds can make all the difference.

        Mourinho would no doubt argue that he’s only been in the job for X months, rather than since the summer.

      2. Synergy is a powerful tool but if there is no intuitive understanding then its impossible to leverage the full benefit of synergy. As Andy says those split seconds, in truth probably milliseconds make all the difference. I remarked on here previously about how Wing and Tav seemed to play better together and they seemed to have an almost telepathic understanding of each others whereabouts and movements. Its been banjaxed now but last season they seemed to be capable of anticipating where their colleague was going to run to or how he would want to receive it. Instead of culturing and nurturing that Pulis just about destroyed it and as for this season well nobody seems to know where anybody is or what they are supposed to be doing.

        Surprise can be a great tool as well but not if its your own players who are surprised!

  16. Thanks for another entertaining read Werder. Quite brilliant.

    If it wasnt a Greek tragedy, you might have made the theme a French farce, having players coming in the team through one door and out the other in case they bump into the one coming in that covets the same position. And others contorting themselves into strange positions to try and not get noticed. Always, of course appearing to forget the script, fluffing any goal lines they are given and waiting on the prompt from the technical area that never comes, to get the narrative back on track.

    Usually a French farce also resolves into a satisfactory outcome and here’s hoping. But, given the possibly origins of the word tragedy as in Greek tragedy, meaning ‘song of the goats’ and all the evidence from our recent performances, you might just say “Yer kidding aren’t yer. ”

    As for Forest. I am past trying to predict. I desperately want to see us get 3 points and I couldn’t give a fig if it is pretty, or convincing, or lucky or if it is thoroughly deserved. Just 3 points.

    The problem with predicting is that you do it after thinking about form and motivation. The problem is none of us can predict if the coaching team will be able to motivate the playing team, let alone that the players might be able to self-motivate.

    We will either scrape it by an odd goal, or get humiliated on the TV.

    No, I’ll go with Bob on this one, 0-0.

  17. Well that is quite a long interview and at least Mr Gibson has finally come out from behind the sofa. So I applaud him for that.

    However actions speak louder than words. Let’s see what happens if we do indeed get relegated and everything implodes.
    Then his promise to strengthen the squad could be just a hollow echo.

    1. I found it meaningless and pointless, he admitted that Woodgate is the symptom but not the cause of the problems but said absolutely nothing whatsoever about who, what, where, when and why there have been problems for the last 14 years? That’s a very long time to be under performing and doing nothing about it apart from the Karanka years. He has thrown another sacrifice to the fans as he did Southgate in the form of Woodgate but those causes are obviously still rotting away at the core with absolutely nothing about what exactly is wrong.

      We all know that there are problems behind the scenes caused by outdated micromanagement of the club and the repeated appointment of individuals not up to scratch. So what has he learnt, why have things repeatedly gone wrong and what is he actually doing about it if Woodgate is only the tip of the problem? Those are the pertinent questions that weren’t asked in what appears almost like a prepared set of sanitised questions and answers. Is he going to relinquish control to a DOF or does he still think that 1990’s solutions to 2020’s footballing challenges is the way forward? Was it an actual face to face interview or was it just a dictated publication from the club to be published, it reads to me more like the latter?

      Massively underwhelming white noise to the point where I think it would have been better to say nothing. I’m shuddering to wonder whats coming up next, Keane leaves in the summer for Downing to come in and then Gestede signs a much reduced contract to see out his career and sign Adam Johnson to give the lad a chance?

  18. No great surprise in anything from the ‘interview’.

    Of more importance is what happens tonight and in the remaining games then we can move on to the summer.

    I do have worries over the rebuild. We will be moving on the high earners and relying our academy and recruitment team to take us forward. I am ok with the first part of that equation, the second fills me with dread.

  19. We all knew this was going to be a difficult season but I can’t believe relegation was ever considered as part of the plan. SG seems to be falling into the trap of believing that relegation won’t be that bad, we can shed the high earners and come storming back with our young team. History has shown whilst some have done that, certainly not all.

    If we did get relegated, how many of that young team would we still have anyway? I can see Tav, Coulson, Pears, Fry at least leaving.

  20. When Pulis left SG told us “He has ensured that the club is stable and strong for the future. He leaves us in excellent condition.”

    But now Woodgate has inherited a mess seemingly? which is it or was it? which part is true or wasn’t and why?

    I don’t think it was an interview at all and just a press release construed to give the appearance of an interview which was timed to try and quell any likely dissent tonight. Where are the photographs of him sat with AV having a cup of coffee at Rockliffe or overlooking the Riverside pitch if it was an interview?

    Sorry but I’m not buying it, I’ve been around the block too many times not to be able to sniff the blindingly obvious. No answers to any of the questions that fans would have asked and wanted answering (and that I’m sure AV would have asked on the fans behalf).

  21. Nice statement, meant zilch of course.
    It could be construed as ‘ everything is OK, Woodgate is great, I agree with every thing that is happening’
    The idea that we are just unfortunate is laughable, Spence, anybody, Maurino loved him but what does he know?
    Our local manager knows how many beans make five, and Britt and Gestede are not the reason we cannot score a goal , no matter who or what the opposition. Yea! That will solve all our problems.

  22. I agree in thinking that it’s fairly clear that piece is staged. I’m not sure it’s being presented as anything else. Not with any particular vigour anyway.

    I don’t agree that it’s pointless or that it would have been better to say nothing. Yes, we all know that problems lie in the senior management and structure of the club but having the top man say as much certainly gives me a little more reason to think we might improve. The first step is always to realise where the faults are and it seems that SG may have done that.

    I don’t blame him for not going into detail about those errors. In many cases that would be the unprofessional thing to do in a public forum.

    1. I think we would be astonished if he thought that the problems didn’t rest with himself. He has made proclamations before that didn’t stack up but I guess this time he couldn’t use the “I didn’t see it coming” one again.

      It would have been more credible to simply issue a statement on the MFC website rather than to try and dress it up as an interview. We can only draw our own conclusions as to why it was done this way and the timing of it. Taking his first step is about ten years too late and I doubt that he is suddenly going to change at all and recruit people that will challenge him.

      If he did genuinely realise where the faults are and that they are indeed with himself then the very way that this publication has been aired tells me that absolutely nothing whatsoever has changed. Isolated and seemingly deluded he believed that this will satisfy the fans and keep them on board. The reaction so far on social media to it has been pretty savage so its backfired already, purely because he is out of touch and nobody dare take him to one side.

    2. Andy R
      I fail to see what was in it for us fans, when the head man says it is not the fault of the manager.
      This team has no tactical idea.
      They are going out there and winging it, with at least three of them failing to give everything, not backing up, not clearing the ball from their own area, not running off the ball, not passing into space.
      We will not speak of using your chief scorer as the supplier of chances to colleagues who do not do scoring, it’s a bit vulgar you know.
      And while we are on the subject of scoring, can this management stop this foolish habit of leaving the field in a mass pile up lasting five minutes every time we score.
      Sooner or later some Ref is going to allow the opposition to restart the game without us, it is naff, so please get over it.

  23. Regarding the ‘interview’ I fall into the same category as my twelve year old grandson when his mum made him try lettuce for the first time. After a minute of chewing chewing his mum asked him, ‘well?’, he replied ‘what’s the point?’

    My feelings entirely.

    UTB,

    John

  24. Just some of the reactions to our Chairman’s speech, sorry interview:

    https://footballleagueworld.co.uk/league-one-here-we-come-absolutely-deluded-these-middlesbrough-fans-cant-believe-club-chairmans-huge-admission/

    Suffice to say it didn’t go down too well and as we have said on here before “You can fool some of the people all of the time, and all of the people some of the time, but you can not fool all of the people all of the time.”

  25. The new FMTTM site and even the old FMTTM site are equally damning with the Oneboro site highly disparaging to say the least. Again I hear ringing in my ears “you don’t get yourself into those situations”.

      1. Are you therefore saying that they are wrong Andy?
        Woodgate was a poor choice and whilst the majority on here have given him some leaway, because of what he inherited, he has proven that he has not being able to get the best out of what we have.

        Next season could be just as bad.

  26. Or if we want to be positive about it all, then could it be the Chairman’s statement that “of course the manager has my full support and that of the board at this difficult time” closely followed by his dismissal!

    Or with SG in stubborn mode, probably not!

  27. The statement reminds me a bit like a Chancellor trying to calm a run on the pound by saying he will back the currency whatever happens. Normally one of two things will happen the markets are calmed or they test his resolve knowing the position is weak and unsustainable.

    Saying Woodgate will remain in charge whatever happens is not a sustainable position and Gibson knows that – the statement seems purely designed to buy a bit more time for Woodgate in the hope it will avoid a toxic atmosphere at the Riverside now that Boro have dropped into the relegation places.

    It was light on specifics and amounted to trust me trust my manager and it will all be better in the future because we know what needs doing – although it was mainly a piece that countered the accusation that the club no longer had ambition.

    I still don’t see how Woodgate can remain in charge if he fails to get results unless the chairman is saying nobody can stop Boro’s run of poor results – and if relegation happens it’s because we were just not good enough.

    1. I think if Gibson is true to his word about retaining Woodgate, then he must truly believe he’s a talented manager in the making or even right now. He can’t be retaining him out of fairness in the belief that JW has been dealt a bad hand, as fairness to JW would have to come a distant second to fairness to his own back pocket, the fans and the future health of the club. You don’t get to be a successful businessman by avoiding difficult decisions, even unfair ones (if that’s what it is).

      There is also an argument about which decent or ambitious manager would take over from him at a club that is staring at League One, seemingly without planning for it, with no major financial backing to help get back on track.

      I think your point about “trust me trust my manager” is right. That is classic Gibson. We’ve heard it before from him, without it necessarily working out I’m afraid.

      Ultimately, I don’t think that Steve Gibson has changed anyone’s mind with his statement – views have long been entrenched for many – but I’m pleased to hear from him nonetheless.

    2. “ and if relegation happens it’s because we were just not good enough”

      Anybody who has watched recent displays would be forgiven for totally agreeing with that statement.

    3. The use of the Royal “we” is an interesting one. By “we” I’m guessing he means himself and that he has learned from employing Club servants like Southgate and Mogga and seeing their reputations tarnished and then replacing Karanka with the untried and unknown Agnew.

      Learning would certainly prevent most individuals from repeating the same error of having two previous inexperienced Managers promoted from within fall flat on their faces. As they saying goes, “once is an accident, twice is unfortunate but three times is deliberate”. Then along comes Woodgate as number three which you literally couldn’t make up.

      1. If he thinks appointing Rookie Managers hasn’t cost the Club then he may as well pack up, give it up and save his money. Its just one of many problems within the Club that he has failed to address and remedy for over a decade and yet he keeps repeating them. It is however the most obvious and headline grabbing one so you would think that he would at least realise it and stop repeating the same mistake.

        I don’t think SG really knows (or accepts) what the problems are as clearly nobody dare tell him unless someone has bought him a Mirror for Christmas. it would however be interesting to know what he has actually identified this time. I seem to recall a root and branch, no stone unturned overhaul after Mogga that went very silent. I thought that was why he brought Pulis in to go through the Club from top to bottom.

        just weeks after Pulis leaves with an endorsing he left us in a great place statement he then rips everything up and starts with a new 180 degree style of football with an inexperienced manager and no players to play in that manner. I’m genuinely struggling to see or remotely believe that he has learnt anything.

  28. An interesting experiment for tonight’s game would be for posters to make a team selection of their preference and see how much it differs from the actual one chosen by JW.

    Pears
    Spence Shotton Moukoudi Coulson
    Howson McNair Saville Clayton
    Assombalonga Fletcher

    Formation to be a rigid 4-4-2

    1. —————– Pears ——————-
      — Shotton – Howson – Moukoudi —
      Spence ———————- Coulson
      ——– McNair – Saville ————–
      —- Wing ————– Tavernier —-
      —————- Fletcher —————-

      1. I would go with that because I think a five is still best for us. Morrison up top as it looks like Fletcher will be out.

        We need some pace from the two wing backs to help cope with the pace that Forrest have.

    2. I’d prefer three at the back but sticking with 442 I’d go with:

      Pears
      Howson Shotton Moukoudi Johnson
      Spence McNair Saville Coulson
      Wing Tavernier

      I wouldn’t play any of our “recognised” Strikers. Fletcher I think is injured, Nmecha hasn’t done it for me and Britt just looks overweight and disinterested,

  29. The thing is that when he appointed so called experienced managers, that didn’t work out either. Look at Strachan, Monk and to a degree Pulis.

    So where I does the problem lie I wonder?

    1. BBD
      We are now deep in the Championship, a million miles away from the Prem.
      And he is talking about supporting our ‘Manager’. Who is taking us down.
      Yet he did not support our Manager when we were fighting to stay in the Prem.
      With the prospect of going down with a bundle of money and a manager who was a bit of a wizz at handling the Champ. And we might have stayed up.
      He was also not bad at turning a profit on players.
      So a different story for a different ‘ Manager’ and it hurts to use that title.

      1. Tend to agree – the same manager who he “gifted” players to where the manager apparently didn’t want them!

        I have tended to be supportive of what SG has done for the club over the years but some of his recent decisions have been somewhat strange to say the least!

        I am sure that he hasn’t and wouldn’t make the same decisions and appointments within Bulkhaul!

        Can you imagine the scenario whereby the new MD of the company was only a few years ago driving one of the trucks although has done the required management training course and sat next to the MD for a year!

  30. With all the changes and players playing in different positions I actually have no idea what my preferred team is.

    All things being equal I’d probably go with

    Pears

    Spence
    Coulson

    Mokoudi
    Friend
    Shotton

    Howson
    McNair
    Saville

    Tavernier
    Fletcher

    1. Not bad, but I would replace McNair with Lewis Wing and Tavernier with Ravel Morrison.

      But as said before, we will be missing Ayala and a fully fit Assombalonga. Perhaps we should start Britt against his former club?

      Up the Boro!

  31. In theory, the system I think best suiting the squad is the 3-4-2-1:

    Pears
    Shotton Moukoudi Friend
    Spence Howson Clayton Coulson
    Wing Tav
    Fletcher

    Bus as the most important thing is the players knowing what they’re doing, I will go for a 4-2-3-1 as the system that has been decided upon from the Leeds game:

    Pears
    Spence Shotton Moukoudi Friend
    Howson Clayton
    Tav Wing Coulson
    Fletcher

    In reality, Spence would be left out with Howson at right back and Saville into midfield, but the above is the 4-2-3-1 I’d go for.

  32. I personally haven’t clue how to shuffle the park to be successful tonight.

    Th3e best idea would be to get as close as possible to the teams that did well over Christmas, injuries permitting.

    Coulson and Spence should be shoe ins along with Howson, Wing and Tav. They appear to be the ones with drive and flair.

  33. Thing is, if SG does have a light bulb moment and realise that his senior management sycophants are not up to scratch and wields the axe, then realises that his methods of running the club are both outdated and are most of the present problem, and changes, we’re still going to be left with a management team that can’t do their job. How can anyone say that no matter how this bloke and his sidekicks perform, he’ll still have a job at the end of the day, it beggars belief to not be held accountable for ineptitude. As I stated previously, after fifty years in being at the work face, nobody has ever offered me a highly paid, three year contract to not be able to do my job.

    I’ve inherited personnel on projects in the past that are real hard workers, genuinely nice people and are prepared to put in lengthy shifts to reach their goals, but when you know full well that these same people could be working all the hours the clock in a day allows (and bursting the project budget in the process) and still not get where they’re supposed to be, then it’s time to give them a thank you, a handshake and a plastic bag to empty their desks of personal effects in to.

    This latest edition of ‘fake news’ hasn’t helped one bit, especially the news that we’re stuck with this bloke regardless, that will drive more fans away than draw them back in, his credibility is shot to pieces and SG must know that to even think about issuing the statement that he has. If he can’t (and looking at the scene right now, won’t) keep us up with the players he has at his disposal at present, then next season will see him go even further back in progress with half of what he has at the moment, and in a stadium that will have tumbleweeds rolling around in the stands.

    It’s all very depressing and I think that the depression will be deepened after tonight.

  34. Today’s team will be trickier than the Trees if both Friend and Fletcher are still suffering from their hamstring injuries that saw them go off against Leeds – it’s probably not wise to risk either and have to waste another two subs.

    I thought Britt was beginning to look a bit sharper in recent games and his first touch looked to have improved. Morrison also has shown he has quality on the ball and could play in that number ten role.

    Unfortunately Mcnair hasn’t really readjusted to playing in midfield and has looked a little disinterested, Clayton has for me looked slow this season and that means it’s Saville and Wing in the central roles even though neither has excelled.

    I’d therefor play Spence and Tav as wide players and hope to use their pace – if Friend is injured then Coulson will have to play left-back.

    Therefore I’d go with the following…

                  Pears
    Howson - Shotton - Moukoudi - Coulson
     Spence - Saville - Wing - Tavernier
                 Morrison
               Assombalonga
    
  35. I tend to agree that 4-2-3-1 seems like the best formation for the Championship in general but if Friend’s playing days are basically over we simply don’t have a left back. Plus we don’t really have a good lone striker or players for the front 3 who are able to link up properly with the striker. So, assuming Friend and Fletcher are out, I would have to go with 3-5-2

    Pears
    Shotton Mokoudi Howson
    Spence Tav Clayton Wing Coulson
    Britt Nmecha

    Shotton has been a disaster on the left of a three so that leaves Howson or McNair to fill in there. Looks to me like McNair’s lost interest.

    Clayton or Saville to play a holding role. If Howson was free I would put him there. I don’t think Saville has the footballing smarts to play the role so that leaves Clayton.

    I assume Spence has been disciplined for something behind the scenes which is why he was out last time but we have no one else better to provide width and pace down the right so hopefully he’s back off the naughty step.

    Wing has struggled recently so Ravel could replace him as could Saville if we need to manage the game.

    Frankly neither Britt or Nmecha has earned their place so hopefully Fletcher will be fit.

    Why wouldn’t I pick this team? Because it’s yet another new formation and selection and if they haven’t been drilled to play in this formation then it’s not going to work. But no one formation has worked for more than a game or two. About the only thing I have noticed is that if you only put one striker on, the whole team seems to go into their shell.

    What do I think Woodgate will do? I think he’ll pick the team that started at Leeds if he can.
    Pears
    Howson Shotton Moukoudi Friend/Coulson
    Clayton Saville
    Tav Wing Coulson/Johnson
    Fletcher/Britt

    But there’s a fair chance he tries something mad like 4-1-4-1 to “surprise” Forest.
    Pears
    Howson Shotton Moukoudi Friend/Coulson
    Saville
    Tav Ravel Wing Coulson/Johnson
    Fletcher/Britt

    Frankly, I’m just hoping for football randomness to roll lucky dice tonight.

    1. I’m with you deleriad, in that I am hoping against hope that whatever team plays it clicks and we get the rub of the green. Nothing else will help, even Mr Gibson’s statement to the fans.

  36. So far, in his various games against Forest since we signed him, Britt has failed to score. It has been said that he was perhaps trying too hard to impress his former employers. Regardless of the opposition tonight, he’s due a goal, so with Fletcher probably injured, I think he has to play. Neither Tav nor Nmecha made much impression up front against Leeds, but Forest are not as effective as the dirties, so either could serve tonight as a partner for Britt. I have a feeling in my bones that Woodgate will try something different, to see if he can surprise Forest as he did West Brom. I hope I’m wrong, but I can see Gestede starting. God, I hope I’m wrong.

    As for the rest of the side, not a clue! I think Coulson and Howson must start, and I’d definitely pick Pears, Spence and Wing. I’d prefer wing backs to a straight back four. But as I say, I rather think Woody might throw in another curve-ball.

    1. I think that after Barnsley like Newport last season Gestede will be taking a back seat out of the spotlight. Leaving aside that he offers very little it won’t take much to set the fans off and get on his back and by default the Manager and the Club itself. I think that is the very last thing Woodgate needs to invite upon himself under the circumstances.

  37. Muhammad Saeed al-Sahhaf

    Does that name strike a chord? He was the Iraqi spokesman who told us about the Americans being swept out of Bagdad with American armoured divisions pouring forward behind him.

    Wonder where he works now?

    1. I did actually mention Comical Gibbo sorry Ali in my Barnsley match report.

      “Perhaps they will find Mohammed Saeed al-Sahhaf to come out of retirement and convince us all that we are wrong and need to get behind the golden thread fairy-tale”.

      Maybe he now works in the Riverside PR department Ian?

  38. Well what the comments above all show is that we haven’t a clue what JW will do. Trouble is, I fear that nor does JW know either!

    Like others I feel that 3 5 2 seems to work best albeit with players who have the motivation, speed and skill to do the job. Which is where it tends to go wrong, sadly!

    We appeared to be playing better when we had our makeshift back 3 so on that basis I would go for

    Pears

    Howson Shotton Moukoudi

    Spence Wing Saville Tav Coulson

    Fletcher Britt

    And whatever, I hope that he doesn’t play Saville and Clayton together!

    Still going for a nervy 1 0 win for Boro with us hanging in for grim life for the last 30 minutes.

    UTB

  39. Whoever plays and in what formation lets hope for a resounding spirit lifting do or die 3-0 win. A defeat helps nobody at this stage and the most important thing is for the club to hang on in the Championship by whatever means necessary. One important caveat however is that if we get a penalty keep Assombalonga well away from it, those terrible misses would have put a different complexion on our current plight.

  40. Whatever players are chosen I just hope that there is some pattern/ plan to the play where players move into position to receive the ball rather than the player with the ball looking unsure what to do with it.
    These remaining matches also needs players who will fight to the end – like eg Coulson.
    Having said that, scraping results by whatever means is the single most important objective in the coming games.

    As for tonight, I can’t see the team coming from behind to win, not least of which requires scoring a minimum of two goals, and so I hope the team can snatch a goal and then hang on.

  41. Interestingly the MFC Twitter feed showing some of the players arriving at the Riverside included a happy looking Paddy McNair, a glum-faced Lewis Wing, a chirpy Marcus Tavernier and a smiling Rudy Gestede – whether that’s an indication of who will be selected will soon be revealed…

  42. Team news: Well it seems Paddy McNair couldn’t contain his excitement when he arrived as he starts and Big Rudy was also smiling for a reason as he starts as the lone striker. It looks like both George and Fletcher are out injured but Lewis Wing had no reason to be glum as he also starts with Clayton in midfield.

    It could well be a back four with Howson and Johnson as the full-backs unless McNair has returned to defence with Shotton and Moukoudi. Perhaps Coulson and Tav will provide the ammunition for Big Rudy and Britt is also not in the squad (perhaps he let his standards drop and upset Woodgate)

    Starting XI: Pears, Howson, Shotton, Moukoudi, Johnson, Clayton, McNair, Wing, Coulson, Tavernier, Gestede.

    Subs: Mejias, Spence, Wood, Saville, Morrison, Nmecha, O’Neil

  43. Starting XI: Pears, Howson, Shotton, Moukoudi, Johnson, Clayton, McNair, Wing, Tavernier, Coulson, Gestede

    Subs: Mejias, Spence, Wood, Saville, Morrison, Nmecha, O’Neill

    Formation guesses?

  44. Back when I said Woodgate might try something mad like 4-1-4-1 I originally put Gestede in the line up but then I thought people would think I was having a turn. So I didn’t.

    The most positive thing I can think of to say is that this is brave of Woodgate because it’ll take just a couple of bad touches from Gestede and I think the crowd will turn. If we win, Woodgate’s a genius but this team looks more like a resignation note.

    For what it’s worth, Forest are one of the lowest scoring teams in the league but have the second best defence. I presume our players on the pitch haven’t actually scored 10 goals between them but we do have one of the best defensive records in the league. This probably has 0-0 all over it with an outside chance of us going down 4-0 after an early goal.

  45. Well, we’re going to need Clayton and McNair to have good games getting a grip of the midfield against a talented Forest team. The pace of Tav and Coulson on the break is likely to become the main threat for us, along with Wing’s ability from distance.

    I expect a lot of Forest possession and a largely isolated Gestede if I’m honest.

  46. Well if I must make a prediction then I’m now edging towards 0-0 after seeing the team selection – the problem is not just Gestede as a lone striker but it’s yet again another new formation and another set of players in another experiment.

  47. Kryten up front. Bugger.

    We had a meeting in the office. The Rams fan hoped for a Boro win until he listened to the Forest fan and myself. He plumped for an OFB wit his fingers crossed.

    1. Perhaps Rudy is the unlikely Deus ex machina rather than a goal machine…

      Although Coulson has been Boro’s best player and looks a threat when he gets the ball – great run to set up Wing for the second.

      Before that Boro had looked ponderous with a continuation of their poor passing and set-piece deliveries.

  48. Not quite the 0-0 envisaged, it was a high tempo game where Boro showed lots of energy and at times threatened to score on the break with the pace of Coulson and Tavernier. As usual the final ball was not good enough but Boro had their chances to make the game safe but in the end it was a soft late goal that stole three valuable points.

    I thought it was a decent performance in the second half and I can see a way forward if we can work on that shape and it was also a welcome return of the high press. The main problem is neither McNair, Clayton or Wing could produce the kind of passing needed in midfield and set-pieces on the whole were terrible – particularly from McNair. Enjoyed the game but not the result.

    1. I should add to be fair to McNair he showed a lot more drive from midfield than of late and couldn’t be accused of not showing interest – as with all the other Boro players. No complaints with the performance other than it was just lacking in quality and composure when it was needed.

  49. Fair assessment, Werder.

    Very disappointed but to be fair to Forest, they deserved something from the game. I felt that we really tired as the game went on – Wing looked leggy from about an hour in and I was surprised he got another twenty minutes before being replaced.

    Plenty of positives but still a little disheartening at the end.

    1. Andy R
      Yes wing was not as fast at the end, but he is now man marked in every game, so when he was taken off near the end, it meant they had the use of his marker to run wherever he wanted on the field, it did not help.

      1. I haven’t noticed Wing being man-marked to be honest, Plato. Certainly not in the old-fashioned sense of being followed around the park and less so in the deeper role he’s occupied for most of the season.

        I would have taken him off for Morrison after 65mins to give us some legs and a bit of class on the ball to help us keep hold of it higher up the pitch.

  50. Plenty of endeavour but not of any real quality.
    Thought that we got caught too many times once more through the middle of midfield. Clayton was poor, does not get the tackles in, which is why he is there and McNair although better than late also generally continued with his poor dead ball deliveries.

    Biggest disappointment was when Forrest came back into it and changed things with their subs, Woodgate did nothing. There were some tired legs and he left it all too late once more.
    Morrison must just be making up the numbers on the bench. Someone with a little pace, he should of replaced Wing.
    But no we get Saville and lose more of the MF. Spence also should of been on earlier.

    Woodgate is learning very little especially when he needs to tweak things.

  51. Boro fans headed to the Riverside yesterday with Steve Gibson’s ringing endorsement of Jonathan Woodgate still ringing in their ears, which for the tinnitus suffers on Teesside had exacerbated their condition after the alarm bells of relegation had been well and truly sounded at the weekend.

    Despite the chairman declaring he was fully behind his head coach, Boro fans were hoping that their team weren’t going to get fully behind Forest by once again conceding the first goal. So could Boro avoid being lured into League One by the siren voices? Here’s a man who always adds bells and whistles to his writings when he sounds off on Boro performances – it’s Redcar Red with his match report…

    https://diasboro.club/2020/03/03/boro-2-2-forest/

    1. Unbelievable how well and quickly the report is done by RR. Really amazing!

      Werder, have him signed up now before the Gazette or Echo comes calling. Especially so if we went down …

      Up the Boro!

  52. Fair report RR,

    My only quibble is with the possession stats which look worthy of government statisticians.

    Going forward, Coulson looks a cut above the rest of them at the moment and works pretty well with Johnson. In defence, Howson always delivers a performance and Shotton and Moukoudi did a solid enough job. Dare I say that Gestede did as much as one would expect and got a goal. Pears was again beaten by a low shot that looked as if it might have been near enough to save. The second goal was a marginal foul but it would probably have been given if he’d gone down clutching his face. Tavernier had a very poor first half and I wonder what Morrison is doing wrong not to get a chance. Clayton works hard but I’m not sure why he would be first choice over Saville. Wing flatters to deceive and he and McNair both give the impression that they could do much more if they could just work out what it is that they’re trying to do.

    The frustrating thing is not that its a game that we should have won but its a game that we could have won and that has happened so many times this year. Normally, you win some, you lose some but this seems to be a season where nothing goes our way.

    Looking at the table, I’m still targeting Hull and Charlton as the best bet to save us from relegation along with Luton and Barnsley. This coming weekend a win could see us jump a couple of spots but, above all, it is a games that we must not lose. I’m batting 100% on Boro’s results so far in the challenge and I had us down for a draw at Charlton and a win, finally, against Swansea. I hope that we can sneak a bit better than that.

    UTB

    1. Oops, sorry my mistake I forgot to edit the away team possession stats – I’ve amended it! I’m always a bit tired in the mornings after a midweek game as it usually means less than six hours sleep. The first thing I do when getting up is to make a coffee and prepare the match graphics and read through RR’s report and publish it.

      1. Sterling work as always Werder. Maybe one of these days you will get a lie in and we will all have to wait a little longer for RR’s report.

        1. Thanks Pedro, though there’s not much prospect of a lie in as our household has a tight morning schedule that basically determines matters – Mrs Werder gets up around 4:30am as she catches the 6:00am train to work so she can be home at 4pm to have time to run through the endless homework and preparation for school tests that our 9-year old needs to deal with on a daily basis. All of which means I need to get up at 5:15am to do the morning ablutions and that would usually give 45 minutes ‘me time’, which I normally prepare the match report before I get my son out of bed at 6:45am and make breakfast and get him ready to leave for school at 7:35am. Then there’s the evening kitchen duties as I’m also in charge of cooking and kitchen clear up 🙁

  53. Many thanks to RR for the report, I’m always amazed how he can keep track of all the events during the game as I only usually remember the good and the bad bits. Although, I’d agree with his analysis that Tavernier is not at his best when playing wide on the right and surely Spence is a far better option – who for some reason seems to have fallen out of favour.

    1. Yes many thanks to RR. But I think to you Werdermouth and to Mrs Werdermouth. That is some daily routine you have there and all the more for us to appreciate your effort in maintaining Diasboro.

      1. Thanks Powmill – Sadly parents have become the overspill default teachers of an education system that is attempting to raise standards by increasing homework and perpetual grading. We could just leave our son to his own devices of not being particularly interested in studying (which now begins at seven) as he’s essentially still a young boy.

        However, you can see the result of what happens to children of parents who either don’t have the time or inclination as they then often have to repeat the year and now face the prospect of not being accepted into the more academic focused middle schools and subsequently face their futures being already limited and decided. These schools ideally want to see grades of 1 or 2 (which laughably is 95%+ for a 1 and 85%+ for 2) with a minimum of a 3 (70%+).

        Sadly without being pushed few children under 10 would get 70% or higher in both tests, homework and classwork (which are all now graded) as well as their contribution in lessons. Unfortunately, our son needs 2s in the tests as he needs to offset his generally apathy at taking part in the class as he prefers to daydream about his current obsession with drawing tanks and other more interesting activities.

  54. Many thanks RR for another fair and balanced report.

    Plenty of endeavour but as usual a lack of quality and composure continues to contribute to our slide toward League 1. 😎

  55. My thanks also RR for an amusing start to your report, followed by an accurate analysis of the game.

    Plenty of effort and high work rate and as KP says, it is the lack of any real quality upfront that fails us.

    I am still seething though over the poor substitutions by Woodgate compared to those by Lamouchi. He made theirs work Woodgate didn’t.

  56. Yet again thanks to RR for his sterling work in putting the report together and for Weder for pulling it together so quickly. We are really spoilt on here. Loved the reference to Mental Health Week, sums up what it is like to be a Boro supporter at the moment, no it was always like that!

    Whilst the result was disappointing, there are some. Signs of hope that we can pull off the great escape providing JW sticks to a plan. Conceding goals towards the end of the game should not happen with the frequency that it does and that is down to poor discipline and maybe tired legs. With hindsight, the last sub should have been made earlier?

    It does appear that some things are the same, I.e. our inability to find another red shirt and to create attacking moves from mild field.

    Still we didn’t lose which I guess is a small bonus but still a lot of work to be done and when Saturday comes, it is with another must win and certainly not lose game!

    UTB

  57. Echo what others have said really, we clearly tired no doubt due to the pressing and effort put in. I couldn’t understand why JW didn’t make subs earlier. Saville for Clayton and Spence/Nmecha for Tav were the obvious ones.

    I think we have played pretty well in these two home games but only one point to show.

    I saw a league table based on expected goals on Twitter and we were about 10 places lower than we should be. You could say therefore that ‘the table is lying ‘or perhaps we just aren’t being smart enough.

    Thought Coulson was excellent, Wing looked loads better as a no 10 and Gestede was a real threat.

  58. Thanks for the report, RR (and for getting it uploaded Werder).Agree with 99% of it but I thought Tav was more involved and did a little better than you did. He’s always busy and works pretty hard. He’s not a right winger admittedly but I thought he put in a decent shift tracking back, offered himself for the ball and ran at defenders a few times. He looked very left footed last night, more so than usual.

    I was shouting at the telly for Wing to be replaced by Morrison after 60/65 minutes as he looked shot to me but it didn’t happen. Agree that the subs were needed earlier. I thought Gestede did quite well and justified his selection ahead of Nmecha.

    Overall, for the second successive game, I thought we looked determined and tried hard. I think there was a little more attacking cohesion than against Leeds which I hope means we’ve settled on a shape to the end of season to work at.

    On the downside, one of the standout notes for me was just how poor we are with the ball in central midfield. We have some physicality, some drive, some desire but are really devoid of quality on the ball in that area. Something that has to be addressed in the summer no matter what league we’re in.

    Easiest MOM of the season? Maybe.

    1. Tav done his best and was effective in pockets but he isn’t a Winger and in that role to me he was wasted and it restricted our effectiveness. Had Spence been playing in that role I feel we could have won that game. To me Tav needs to be played more centrally, possibly him and Wing getting forward in a 433 feeding off Gestede with Coulson and Spence on the flanks and Clayton or McNair anchoring.

      I thought Gestede had his best game in a Boro shirt and had he played like that throughout his time here he would have been a great signing, just a pity that he waits until there is only two months playing time left of his contract. In the run in if he keeps that level up I think he is more viable than Britt or Fletcher in a no nonsense get at the opposition kind of way.

    2. Andy, I would agree with you on Tav. Although he did not have a great game, he is always looking for the balls, complains to his colleagues (shows he cares) and does track probably more than majority……because he has some pace.

      Even I would choose Gestede over Nmeche

  59. If Boro play as badly as they did in the first 35 minutes I’d have to revise my comments that Boro won’t be relegated. They were dire, slow moving, unable to make a decent pass, and unlikely to score a goal for the rest of the season unless gifted one by the opposition. What was also disconcerting was that the sound effects were a few seconds behind the picture, completely out of sync. Did anyone else have this problem? Every incident on goal had me wondering why there was no reaction from the crowd till a couple of seconds later. In fact I was wondering if my eyes were deceiving me as especially Forest’s first goal I thought had hit the net, then suddenly thought it must have missed when there was no immediate reaction from the commentators.

    Anyway back to those first 35 minutes when Boro were woeful. I couldn’t believe how poor they were, and although Forest were quicker the post match comments by Forest fans were critical of their team’s performance for all but the final 20 minutes. As for Boro, they looked nervous but transformed once they equalised until those last 20 minutes when they reverted to type. In the end Forest should have won, and probably would have done so if the game had gone on for another 5 minutes or so which overall would have been unfair on Boro as for most of the second half Boro were much the better team until Forest made their substitutes.

    All in all a draw was a fair result as neither team did enough to win the match. Forest seem to have the same problem as Boro in missing chances, but their equaliser was a very clever centre forward’s play and I’m sure if Boro had scored a goal like that Woodgate would have been overjoyed and praised the referee for his decision to allow it. But of course like his predecessor he is completely biased, a sign of the pressure he is under perhaps.

    Avoiding relegation is in the player’s hands. Play like they did in the first 35 minutes and they’re doomed; play like they did for most of the second half and they should finish well safe. It’s all about confidence now, and scoring first in matches. But to have only scored 3 goals in a match once this match shows where the problem is. But perhaps now the players feel more confident as are the Wigan players, because the Charlton and Hull players seem to have lost their confidence. It’s going to be a nervy start for those two clubs as it is especially for all teams playing at home when facing relegation and indeed promotion Like Boro they’ll look upon their encounters with Boro as ‘must win matches’. On paper Boro have better players than most of the teams in this league, so let’s go out and show that on the field of play.

    1. We need to get at Hull and Charlton from the off and give them no respite. We need goals and we need victories now, to the Victor the spoils and all that good stuff.

  60. Thanks to RR for a fair and balanced account. As others have said, it was a match we could have won because Forest were so poor for so much of it. We do have character, determination and effort. We also have players with quality and a squad that, on paper, is comfortably better than anyone in the bottom 10. What we lack is a system and self-belief plus I suspect we have a few players who have given up and are going through the motions.

    Gestede was interesting. On one hand he scored a goal and worked hard for the team. But, look where he is when Wing scores. When Coulson has the ball, Gestede is in the perfect position to receive a pass with a run on goal. Wing though is busting a gut to get in position to score: and does. What is Gestede doing, he’s just carefully staying out of the way, making sure he doesn’t have to deal with a pass. He absolutely doesn’t want the responsibility of trying to score in case he fails. Same in the second half when he gets the ball with an open goal and nods it back across. Even his goal was as much about keeping the ball alive than it was actually scoring. It wasn’t that he wasn’t putting in the work; at one point in the second half I watched him run 50 metres pressing a Forest player, it’s just that he has no confidence in his ability to score. He’s a striker who is literally trying to avoid scoring opportunities in case he screws up. This is not meant to be an attack on Gestede but an example of what happens when players lose self-belief.

    At this point, I think the third relegation place is between us and Hull. I make us ever so slight favourites to avoid the drop.

    1. I was impressed by Wing for his goal. He bust a gut running up through the middle of the pitch from his own half with only one thing on his mind. When he received the ball (brilliant vision and placement from Coulson) he was cream crackered and there was just about enough on his shot to beat Samba. He drifts in and out of games and is by no means the best midfielder but he has a knack of scoring goals which is something we desperately need.

      1. Good assessment of Wing, RR.

        Especially in this second season of his, he has been little more than a goalscoring midfielder, but in a team that’s scores so few, that’s really important. It’s why he’s been so wasted playing deeper.

        Alluding to my earlier point, I suspect JW has played LW deeper because we lack quality on the ball in central midfield, and he’s the best of them. But trying to address that issue has created another of robbing us of our most likely midfield goalscorer and ultimately I think we’ve come off worse for it.

    2. Agree with all that except I think Charlton are still very much in it and even more so if we could get a win at their place.

      That being said, I am still expecting “typical Boro” to be ever present for the remaining games and likely to take us down to the final game, where we need to win and hope other results go our way!

      It wouldn’t be the Boro if we were safe before the end of the season! 😎

    3. Not helped deleriad, that there was booing when his name was announced from the team sheet. He had to hear that. Whatever I think of him, one should not pick out an individual. The team OK.
      Also thought Pears should have done better for both their goals.

      1. He hasn’t helped his situation before he came here with the court case and has been somewhat underwhelming since arriving. Those times when he has been fit (which have been rare) haven’t impressed and but for his profligacy in front of goal AK may still be here and we may still be in the Premiership. Then there’s the two (Newport and Barnsley) direct confrontations with the Travelling Army. He has made his own cross with the fans and has to carry it along with his huge pay packet which only rubs more salt into the wounds. His wage for last night was probably greater than Pears, Wing, Coulson, Tavernier and Johnson’s put together!

  61. Good posts, mates. And thanks to RR and Werder for sterling and exceptional service well beyond the call of duty.

    I couldn’t get to the game last night, so watched on TV. I’ve seen Forest’s second goal replayed several times over, and I agree with the commentary team that it wasn’t a foul on Pears, but a fine piece of centre forward play. Mind, Grabban was very lucky with the bounce of the ball: once he had flicked it, it spun wickedly off the turf into the goal. A leg-spinner would have been proud of that! I also thought Boro were very lucky not to give away a penalty in the second half as Howson clearly handled the ball over the bar.

    But this was generally a much more encouraging Boro performance than of late. We played with spirit and caused a leading team some problems. I agree with several comments on here that Gestede had a good game (well, a good 60 minutes) and that Coulson was far and away our best player. His part in Wingy’s brilliant goal, and Pears’ excellent quick thinking and fine throw-out, were superb.

    I also agree that for much of the game we lacked quality. We scored our first goal from a set piece, but generally our corners and free kicks were poor, as they have been all season.

    And what was perhaps most disappointing was that we retreated into our shells in the last 20 minutes, defending ever deeper, and having no outlet forward, which meant inevitably that long-ball booted clearances just kept on coming back. We allowed Forest back into the game because we couldn’t relieve the pressure. How many times have we seen that in recent seasons?

    1. Not helped Clive by the poor substitutions. If Woodgate had made the correct ones earlier and used all three I think we may have controlled the game better.
      As it was we were in some ways lucky to get a draw.

  62. Redcar Red,

    Belatedly thank you for the report. I had to take someone home when there were ten minutes to play and I worried all the way there and back that Boro would concede late… Then I saw AV’s post and knew two points had evaporated. Oh how often do Boro concede late on? Sure the substitutes should be played earlier? What did Maclaren call, a red zone?

    Charlton on Saturday and they play in red too… A must win game to the power of ten or maybe hundreds.

    Disappointing but a point is better than none, however the draws are killing us, proper relegation form.

    1. 33% of the goals we have conceded this season have come in the last twenty minutes. I don’t think the Saville substitution made a great deal of sense and I would have preferred Spence coming on much sooner and Morrison or Nmecha for Gestede who was blowing out of his backside.

  63. I might be in the minority here but I was impressed with the performance last night. This was in light of some of the desperately bad shows that have been put forward lately.

    To put it in perspective when Forest scored the vast majority would have expected yet another defeat. Heads didn’t drop and the effort to get back into the game and manage to go in front was admirable. But for a contentious decision on the equaliser we would have been celebrating a welcome three points this morning.

    Forest are on a good run of form and I don’t need to point out how our form has been of late. I was impressed with the midfield performance of Hayden Coulson, something I suggested a while ago as worth considering as without having to worry about his full back responsibilities, allowed him to make an impact with his ability to take the ball forward with pace.

    I saw plenty from the team to envisage enough points being secured to avoid relegation. Still a long way to go yet, but the cloud of disinterest and lack of confidence seems to have been lifted ( albeit for only one game) from their shoulders.

    The rigid back four and high tempo midfield would appear to be the way forward. A midfield five with Spence operating in a similar role to Coulson might be very effective.

    Like him or loathe him, Gestede was much better than Fletcher or Nmecha have been of late. I would continue with him. He obviously has a point to prove and a run in the team would be good for him and the team as a whole.

    1. He is obviously desperately playing for a new contract somewhere. Whatever his reasons for motivation it is of value to us in the run in and if he wants to put himself about like that then we may as well try and get some benefit from his huge fee and wages. Better late than never I suppose.

  64. AV wrote today that if Boro go down, one of the fatal factors will be the failure to see games out in the ‘red zone’ closing phase.

    “Forest was the third time this term Boro have leaked a last gasp equaliser in the last five minutes.”

    I think this is much do with experience of the players. I cannot see how Woody can affect this from the touch line. Other than substitution. And now he bought Saville late on for more experience.

    It is what it is with the young squad we have. At least we played better yesterday – Wing and McNair are improving. Let’s hope we get some points at Charlton next.

    Up the Boro!

  65. Thought that all our good work to win the game was thrown away by our vile habit of dropping back and letting very moderate teams score late (a recurring theme of our season) they were there for the taking at 2-1 but we constantly pass to the opposition when in full flow (very bad habit) has cost a few goals this season.
    Their fans were quite right to denigrate their own team , they were poor and will not be going anywhere this season, I wish it was not so, but it is.
    Our fault lines are there to be seen by anyone who looks.
    We will not clear the ball when given the chance, this costs us time and time again.
    When besieged we have the awful habit of doing a gentle clearance, which of course is collected unchallenged by some lump of a defender, who takes 30 minutes to decide which team mate to pass to (it’s always the one inside our box) this leads to problems, and how.
    When all the opposition are in our box we have no one in their half, yet we still punt it up field, we seem unable to grasp that an angled ball that goes out for a throw in in their half is going to cause them endless irritation by dragging them all back for the throw in.
    Wing belongs in the front group up field, end of, he won it for us, but of course we were too lazy to defend our lead.
    As a manager I would want an urgent answer to the question, ‘ why did you head the perfect cross, away from goal to no one, when a header back across into the corner of the net was nailed on to score. It was unforgivable, shaming, and various other adjectives, mostly unprintable.
    I am still frightened, relegation looms.

  66. RR

    Many thanks for the match report great post as always and as always much appreciated by all of us on the blog.

    Managed to see the second half on TV after a quick visit to see one of my granddaughters plays she had written and directed at York for the University.

    So a great night came to an end when Forest equalised and to be fair I thought it was a goal and a mistake by 🍐 Pears.

    News tonight on Twitter that Britt has had a major bust up with Boro coaches and doesn’t want to play for us anymore
    That much has been obvious for a while.

    I remember Gaza having a busy up with Boro coach but it was all mended I’m the end.!

    RR please keep these reports coming we need them !

    OFB

    1. There are similar rumours about Morrison proving troublesome already, whether true or not its typical of what happens when things are going wrong and frustrations start spilling over in clubs. Lets hope it means a bit of passion rather than things falling apart.

    2. OFB,

      If he doesn’t want to play for us anymore can Boro cancel his contract because they don’t want to pay him anymore, I suppose it doesn’t work like that does it.

      I wonder what Brian Clough’s reply would have been?

      UTB,

      John

      1. Ironically he is one of the ones whose contract doesn’t expire in the summer. Imagine the hit we will have to take on a non playing, non scoring £15m striker who has a beef with his manager playing for a club relegated to League One.

      2. RR,

        Better than the hit we’d be taking on continuing to pay a non-playing, non-scoring £15m striker.

        In all honesty, player-not-getting-picked-falling-out-with-coaching-team doesn’t sound too controversial or uncommon, particularly in a struggling side as you say.. Perhaps it’s better than siting on the bench and not caring anyway.

      3. Just read this John, after posting something similar. If I stopped working because I don’t like my current boss, I’d soon be out of a job and wouldn’t have any valid objection to make about it.

    3. Isn’t that Britt in breach of his contract then, so would/should it be legitimate to suspend his pay or some other financial sanction.

      1. Powmill- Naemore,

        I think HR would be waiting by your desk the next morning. Then there’s the poor performance aspect too. Contracts only seem to work one way it seems and that is guaranteeing salary.

        UTB,

        John

    4. OFB
      The goal was hard to take, because of several factors, which, I suppose could count as excuses.
      1 why did our defenders allow him to stand in front of our keeper, it is routine to see two heavyweights come straight across and move him, forcefully is necessary in every match on the box
      2 if it was not a foul, then would the ref. have allowed the keeper to shove him out of the way? I would not have risked it, because it would have been a penalty.
      Which means of course that the attacker was in that most wonderful position of
      ” Heads I win, and tails you lose”.

  67. I see that the government’s cheery scenario gives me, as someone over 80, a 15% chance of the coronavirus proving fatal if I catch it.

    In racing parlance, I’m a sporting 11/2 shot to fail to survive the year.

    They are the mathematical odds. At Ladbrokes I’d be lucky to get 4-1.

    Or to put it another way, if I were a runner in the Grand National at those odds, I’d be the hottest favourite in the race’s history.

    Indeed if I could get 5-1 on myself I’d put the house on it, since I probably won’t be needing it.

    As a result of this, I have instigated my own Personal Protection Plan.

    I hope to get to as many of the Boro’s remaining fixtures as I can in order to follow the government’s advice to avoid large crowds.

    UTB, and Good Health to all.

    1. Len

      I’m not sure that getting to as many of Boro’s remaining fixtures as you can is a clever health strategy. The odd’s on having a heart attack or a seizure must be a lot higher than the Coronavirus.

      1. Thinking on the above a few quotes came to mind, the first from Oscar Wilde and the second from Mother Theresa:

        “When the Gods wish to punish us they answer our prayers”

        “More tears are shed over answered prayers than unanswered ones”

        Who in their wildest dreams would have thought that this time last year Boro could have consciously managed to get themselves into the mess we are now in and worse that SG walked us right into it and yet seemingly still can’t see. Wealth and eccentricity seem interminably linked over time.

      2. I think your memory might be playing tricks on you, RR! There was more entertainment on Monday night than there was last season. I remember beating Sheff Utd 3-0 at the start of last season and being bored to tears! Still, I’d take those kind of results and a bit of boredom until the end of the season.

      3. And if that lot does not get you, Well you certainly will end up with depression and probably a drink problem as well. It will be needed to numb the pain as paracetamol won’t help,

      4. Think my memory is fine Andy. I’ve just double checked the Goals Scored and games won under Pulis and I definitely enjoyed that far more than the dysfunctional farce which unfolds every time we take to the pitch now.

        20 more points, in the Play Offs in fifth place after 36 games to 22nd and League One beckoning was infinitely more enjoyable despite wanting to stick pins in my eyes at the time. I’ve now resorted to knitting needles, the pins just don’t cut it any more in what has been the worst Football and Management I can recall in 50 years of watching Boro. Still its puts Maddren and Murdoch in a good light.

    2. Don’t worry Len with the risks of the NHS being unable to cope, panic buying due to a worry there’ll be a shortage of goods in the shops and a lack of workers – the coronavirus is probably just a hoax so that the country can better prepare for a no-deal Brexit at the end of the year…

      Still, remember to gamble responsibly as they say and it’s probably better to bet your house that you’ll survive – OK the odds maybe less generous at around 7-1 on but at least if you win you can collect 😉 and far better than the current interest rates!

      btw on a more serious matter, hopefully the older generation won’t be encouraged to elbow bump instead of shaking hands as we don’t want any unnecessary injuries turning up at A&E

      Anyway, hopefully the virus doesn’t get too widespread and we have a hot spring and it peters out before it even gets started. We’ve had just one case in Bremen so far and that was a woman who returned from Iran.

    1. Said it before but the individuals that Monk brought in were largely sound signings for me. Randolph, Shotton, Christie, Howson and Assombalonga were all amongst the better players available. Fletcher was unnecessary, Braithwaite a big risk (but look at him now) and Johnson so-so but overall, a decent quality group.

      The problem was not the quality. The problem was the number of new faces at once, the blend of individuals – and Monk’s ability to shape them – into a team, and in most cases clearly the fees and wages involved.

  68. Len

    You have my every sympathy. I’m 67 and I’m worried about the virus. I reckon that we are all about to pay the price of the Tories’ running down of the NHS. Johnson talks about the health service being well prepared, which is obviously just another incredible lie. How can it be? We still have loads of people spending hours on trollies in hospital. Today, I tried 15 shops, including chemists’, looking for hand gel. Not one shop had any left, and most had no idea when their next batch will come in.

    By the way, your post made me laugh out loud! As others have said, I reckon you’d just be better off taking your chances at the Riverside. And as you yourself said, there’s unlikely to be a crowd!!

    Keep smiling, and good luck.

  69. With just 2 months of the football season remaining I’ve been delving into how our local Teesside non-League clubs are performing :-

    1.NATIONAL LEAGUE (5th in the pyramid system)
    Hartlepools United relegated from League Two 3 years ago are well placed for a playoff place with 54 points from 37 matches and with 9 matches remaining are in 8th position, one place from a playoff place.

    2. NATIONAL LEAGUE NORTH (6th in the pyramid system)
    Darlington after being demoted to the 8th Division won back-to-back promotions but have since stuttered. They qualified for a playoff place a couple of years ago, but were denied a place because they didn’t have a suitable home venue. It’s virtually certain that they are safe from relegation in 10th place with 45 points with 11 matches remaining, but also unlikely to be in contention for a playoff place. Sadly it’s only 9 years ago that they won the FA Trophy Final by beating Mansfield Town 1-0 at Wembley Stadium.

    3. NORTHERN PREMIER LEAGUE DIVISION 2 NORTH-WEST (9th in the pyramid system)
    Marske United, the real success story on Teesside. They were promoted from the Northern League Division One last season, and are currently 5th and in a playoff position with 44 points from 23 matches and with 15 matches still to play are strong favourites to stay in a playoff position.

    4. NORTHERN LEAGUE DIVISION ONE (10th in the pyramid system)
    Stockton Town head the table with 76 points from 29 matches (16 points above 2nd place Shildon) and virtually certain to emulate Marske United after only two seasons in this league. Two years ago they beat Marske United over two legs in the FA Vase Semifinal but sadly lost 1-0 to Thatcham Town in the Final at Wembley Stadium.
    Unfortunately Guisborough Town with 48 points from 28 matches and in 7th place are unlikely to be involved in the playoffs, nor are Billingham Town (promoted last season)
    with 42 points from 29 matches. Meanwhile Thornaby (also promoted last season) have only 21 points from 28 matches and face the possibility of being relegated after only one season.

    5. NORTHERN LEAGUE DIVISION TWO (11th in the pyramid system)
    Billingham Synthonia with 50 points from 27 matches are 6th in the table and very much in the running for a playoff position, but
    Redcar Athletic (the first club from Redcar to have played in this league since the 19th century) despite a few wobbles lately have 59 points from 28 matches in 3rd place and only a point behind Crook Town, are still very much in contention for automatic promotion.

    6. NORTH RIDING PREMIER LEAGUE
    Boro Rangers with 59 points from 21 matches are the pacesetters having the best statistics on Teesside with 19 wins and 2 draws, followed by Stockton West End with 56 points from 24 matches.

    In conclusion I just wanted to give some publicity to all our local football clubs who sometimes seem forgotten, and wish them all further success in the future. And as the Gazette sometimes forget that there is amateur football still thriving in our region and are rightly more concerned with the problems of Middlesbrough FC, I thought this forum was the best place to remind folks of that fact.

    1. Nice one, Ken. Thanks for this interesting post and the tip about the baby wipes. I doubt they contain enough alcohol to be really effective, but might be worth a try.

  70. Of course it is a worry that should the corona virus take hold then we kind of enter unknown territory as to how many people will be infected and what is the likelihood that you or I will become infected – especially with the statistical increased chance that people over 70 could suffer worse complications or even die.

    Interestingly, it’s currently stated that in China there have been 80,000 cases and 3,000 deaths since the virus was discovered in December. OK, it’s likely there will be cases not registered due to the symptoms of sufferers being quite mild. However, they say that cases have probably peaked and the curve has flattened – meaning that perhaps you’d expect another 80,000 cases as the outbreak declines over the next 2-3 months. All of which is just 160,000 cases and 6,000 deaths.

    The issue though is that with the virus no longer contained and spreading throughout the world then the chance of new and repeated outbreaks becomes more likely. Governments in the UK and Europe expect the virus to become endemic in the population but it’s not clear why the number of cases in the current outbreak would potentially infect up to 80% of the UK population (which is around 50 million people) if measures are taken to prevent the spread. Especially, as the UK government also predicted that any outbreak would peak after 2-3 months before declining.

    Perhaps, western governments are advocating we more or less continue as normal so as not to disrupt day-to-day life too much and the price of that freedom is possibly a lot more cases and subsequently deaths. Surely then the UK are not really expecting it would remotely reach 50m cases (and half a million deaths) as in the worst case scenario as if that were likely then they’d surely be advocating similar measures as undertaken in China.

    In the end everyone should just take sensible precautions and wash their hands when visiting public spaces and try to avoid touching their mouth or faces when away from home. Hand sanitisers were first produced as a means of cleaning hands when there were no facilities to wash them – washing hands with soap and water for 20 seconds is more effective than hand sanitisers at killing germs and viruses and you should also dry your hands thoroughly as it’s wet hands that can better carry the virus – that’s why apparently germs survive longer on metal door handles as they stay moist.

    Incidentally, the journal Nature reported that only 10% of people sharing a house with an infected person in China also got the disease so it probably means taking sensible precautions is quite effective.

    OK statistically the over 70s are at greater risk but that is probably because more people over 70 have underlying health issues – so far in Italy all the deaths were people between 67 and 92 but it was reported all of them had underlying health problems.

    One last point, perhaps the biggest risk to the disease spreading is the virus that is known as social media – a report on Newsnight yesterday revealed that most people are getting and sharing information about the corona virus by visiting websites that are known for publishing fake news and misinformation. Apparently these sites in recent days have received over 50m hits as opposed to the websites with official advice (such as the NHS) only receiving around 35,000 hits. As Joe Biden said at his recent rally “we’re going to talk truth not facts”.

    Anyway, that was a public information post from Diasboro – though please visit the official websites for advice as anything a non-expert publishes is essentially just opinion – informed or otherwise!

    1. Typically, the news programmes are full of experts giving advice – I just caught a professor of virology from the University of Manchester on BBC Breakfast give the complete opposite advice to that published on the NHS website when she said a virus lasts much longer on fabrics than on hard surfaces such as metal door handles.

      NHS website…

      The viruses can sometimes survive on indoor surfaces for more than 7 days. In general, viruses survive for longer on non-porous (water resistant) surfaces, such as stainless steel and plastics, than porous surfaces, such as fabrics and tissues.

      General scientific opinion supports the NHS view not the professor of virology.

      1. And that is why people start to disbelieve what the experts say!

        The other interesting observation that my wife made is that she wonders how many people have either got or had a mild form of the virus without it being diagnosed? Thus distorting the figures.

        It is a typical British thing to just carry on as best you can. Now we have been nowhere near any of the places where it is prevalent and not been, knowingly, in contact with anyone who may have the virus but if I developed symptoms, then I wouldn’t be rushing to ring 111 for a test unless I became really poorly.

        Is that right or wrong?

        1. I suspect in the early stages of an outbreak it makes sense to report a potential infection so it can be better contained but once the virus was deemed to be widespread it would probably make little difference as the measures would no longer be about containment.

          btw It’s possible the professor got muddled in the pressure of appearing on TV – but since the programme presenters wouldn’t know the difference there’s nobody to pick her up.

      2. Thanks to all for your generous comments on my little squib.

        An excellent post, Werder, and further confirmation that the discussions on pretty well any topic by the Diasboro brains trust can be far more illuminating than much of what is available on mainstream media.

        I still believe that the Brexit debate on here was one of the best that I saw anywhere, and that is why I think contributors should not feel inhibited from raising any social, personal or political issue that they wish to on here. There is an enviable pool of intelligence, and a vast range of experience available to us on this blog, and we have built up over the years a great deal of mutual respect for each others views, whether we happen to agree with them or not. It would be a pity not to make the best use of it for our common enlightenment on any topic.

        1. Thanks Len and wandering into other subjects is something I’ve no problem with but others have objected about straying into politics because often people take a position rather than being open to changing their ‘team’ so to speak – although Brexit was perhaps a subject in search of a meaning.

          Anyway, I’m always of the view that finding answers is about finding understanding and anything that constructively adds light to the debate or discussion is as always a worthy contribution – something that nearly everyone on Diasboro does with often great detail.

          I just worry that in general, the use of forums and social media creates more noise than light and often many people confuse wanting to agree or accept an opinion as being an alternative for finding out whether that opinion is indeed factually correct. Creating a false narrative has become equally valid as presenting a factually correct argument to the point where calling the truth fake news has become more acceptable than facing up to reality. Parts of the new politically biased media have become almost like a pseudo medieval catholic church who want to shut down reasoned argument.

      3. Viruses can survive within fibres and fabrics and the advice of “catch it and bin it” to me should be “catch it and flush it”. There is a reason why we boil wash fabrics as well as adding disinfectants and bleaching additives etc. In the food industry all the clothing in critical control areas have to be industrially laundered at certain temperatures to ensure that it cannot be a potential cause of contamination in your Coffee, Sandwiches, Soups etc.

        Adding fine silver yarn in fabric is known to help prevent bacterial growth (although it can cause other problems). Silver is a natural and proven antimicrobial against bacteria, fungus, mold and other microbes. Its commonly used in Military socks so they do not develop fungus growth inside their boots. Now I’m not saying we should all go out and invest in Silver (if anyone on Teesside has any investment money left after Sirius) but its use lends credence to the virology professor from Manchester.

        Bottom line is that general hygiene and personal cleanliness is paramount in preventing the spread and both hard surfaces and fabrics (especially towels etc, in warm, moist humid atmospheres) are both potential sources and neither should be ignored. So in other words both sets of advice are only partially correct but unlike the media you can always rely on Diasboro for the hard, blunt, cutting truth!

        1. From what I’ve read viruses can only survive around 8 hours on porous surfaces such as fabrics but 48 hours on non-porous surfaces such as metals – the reason being is that non-porous surfaces don’t dry out as fast. Incidentally, a virus is much less hardy than bacteria or fungi as it’s just essentially a strand of DNA with a protective coating – it’s not a cell and needs a host cell to survive otherwise they die off pretty quickly. Therefore I suspect a normal wash of fabric would kill off a virus and the boiling is required for bacteria and fungi. Although given that a virus survives for a number of hours on fabric it would be good practice to bag and bin.

      4. Ah, but then there hydrophobic fibres like polyester and acrylics that don’t absorb say like cotton or wool would and therefore deposits are more likely to remain on the surface. At this point my grandmother would would give me clip around the ear and tell me “just scrub your hands well, a bit of soap and water never hurt anyone”

    1. Totally agree with those views Len and OFB. We do appear to be able to discuss all sorts of issues without resorting to throwing stupid insults about as seen on other forums.

      Is that because a fair few of us are of a certain age that have grown up in different times where courtesy and respect where the norm? And that the younger contributors have been well brought up by their parents?

      It would be quite interesting to know the age of our youngest contributor? Not me although compared to some I am a youngster at 59 going on 60.

      1. Me, I’ll be 61 in a few months, me.

        Some bits of me feel it, some other bits feel more than it, and some other bits besides feel a lot less than it. Peculiar really.

      2. I’m still a young 55 and still hardly a grey hair – plus with the added accessories of a nine-year younger Mrs Werder and a nine-year old son, I’m often mistaken for being in my mid-forties – albeit a tired looking mid-forty year old man…

    1. Many happy returns KP – at least you got to hear happy birthday without having to wash your hands 😉

      btw I now regret passing on that tip to my nine year old given the enthusiasm and loudness he now sings it…

  71. I’m not sure about Coronavirus, but I have never had influenza nor even a cold since I retired from work 30 years ago, until this year. I put that down to air conditioning on my flight over here as hardly anybody seems to use a handkerchief nowadays. I have never had the flu jab either. In the 1960s there was a slogan that coughs and sneezes spread diseases, and of course that is intensified in air conditioning if people don’t use a handkerchief or tissue. I always have a handkerchief in my hand on an aircraft in case of the sudden need to sneeze, forever remembering the Spanish Flu epidemic years ago which caused more deaths than the Second World War or so we were led to believe.

    Of course people of my age are more vulnerable especially if they have major health problems. As well as having prostate cancer, I have a hiatus hernia and a tortuous colon which has the effect of periods of diarrhoea and constipation, so wear tena pads all the time. Also the wearing of a catheter bag causes kidney infections and the use of antibiotics has now become ineffective, so must drink plenty of water especially with the hormone drug of enzalutamide, a controlled drug the size of a suppository which I have 4 to swallow at the same time each morning. I also have plantar fasciitis which means I need to use a walking stick which is probably one of the most germ carrying utensil one can envisage.

    So on reflection despite getting the OK from my GP, my urologist and my Prostate Cancer consultant it was probably foolhardy of me to take a 10 week break in the Algarve. Although I have Airport assistance I’m not looking forward to the journey home next week. The plus side has been maximum daily temperatures of 18/19 degree temperatures over here with only one day of rain and just the gentleness of sea breezes whilst the UK has suffered such stormy weather. But I now realise I’m too old for all the hassle of air travel or the 1,700 mile drive down here which I used to do until my late wife was diagnosed with cervical cancer.

    I hope this doesn’t sound like a moan because it’s always been in my nature to be positive, and I’ve been so lucky to visit over 60 countries in my lifetime, but I’m tired now as age has caught up with me and this will be my last journey abroad. So yes I am concerned about Coronavirus, not ultimate death, but the pain and stress of the actual demise. It would appear that Portugal is considering making euthanasia legal, and I’ve always believed in that form of death when life becomes intolerable, but I hasten to add that I’m not in any pain just discomfort, so not contemplating that at the moment. I don’t want to think about the future but this latest disease has me worried and I just want to get home now and hopefully enjoy the summer of sport on television.

    1. Ken you are an inspiration to all of us! I have very admiration for the way that you deal with all that life throws at you and refuse to be beaten down. Hats off to you sir!

      I also believe that euthanasia should be available in very tightly controlled circumstances. We are watching my MIL go down hill with severe dementia (a horrible illness) where she has no quality of life and knows little of what is going on.

      Long may you continue to be able to keep your faculties and contribute to this blog amongst friends.

      Safe travels home next week.

      BBD

    2. I always hate return journeys as there isn’t the same excitement of looking forward to a break or holiday and its all about getting back to reality. I see them as a massive but necessary chore. Safe travels Ken!

    3. Ken, keep on plugging. Thanks for sharing your experiences with us all.

      But I think you wrote a year ago that you are not going to go to Portugal anymore. And there you are again!

      So my guessing is that you will be again in Portugal when the next winter is coming. As well as Boro will still be in the Championship next season.

      Up the Boro!

    4. I think coughs and sneezes spread diseases is a good one – I believe the reason aircon possibly spreads viruses is that it provides a cool low humidity environment that they like. Although, it sounds that in the case of the corona virus it is not passed on through airborne transmission and it’s the actual droplets from coughs and sneezes that need to be ingested through either the mouth, nose or eyes – hence the need to wash your hands before touching your face.

      Anyway, Ken hopefully your journey home is not too much of a ordeal and you continue to remain your usual positive stoic self for some time to come and enjoy another summer of watching sport!

    5. When Ken was a much younger man
      With his wife they had time on their hands
      They’d head off down south
      And go lounging about
      Still he goes there as oft as he can

      Echoing all the other replies Ken and who knows, Jarkko could be right!

      1. My wife always said I was a hypochondriac although most of the time I used to complain only in jest. I even wrote a poem of all my supposed ailments entitled ‘Ken’s not a well man’ and gave it to my doctor who was the same age as me and a former school colleague. Sadly he died a few years ago and I’m still here. Contrastingly my wife had never visited her GP for over 25 years and yet the poor lass is only here in spirit now.

        There is an old hymn called ‘God is working his purpose out as year succeeds to year, and the time is drawing near’. However he hasn’t contacted me yet, so perhaps it’s even getting overcrowded in Heaven. I even wrote my eulogy for my own funeral about 5 years ago as I thought I was outliving anybody who would be able to remember my eccentricities of which I was told I had many. I believe it was Spike Milligan who had the words ‘I told you I was ill’ engraved on his tombstone. Perhaps you need a weird sense of humour to remain on Earth, or is He punishing me for being a Boro supporter for over 70 years and will only call me if and when Boro get relegated.

  72. Just gone 70 myself but I agree that we are of a generation that knew the meaning of the word respect.
    I despair of those who feel that swearing and insults are necessary requirements to passing comment or “healthy” debate.

  73. As a young whippersnapper of 55, I will add that old people have been complaining about young people since people have existed. https://www.bbc.com/worklife/article/20171003-proof-that-people-have-always-complained-about-young-adults
    They have also always complained about the exact same thing. There’s a Japanese (I think) example of a priest complaining about how young people are too lazy to spell out words properly sometime in the 1300s.
    I’m pretty sure our grandparents complained about us for the same reasons too.

    1. Quite true and good to see Aristotle having a pop at the younger generation for thinking they know it all…

      btw I think the younger generation are becoming increasingly stressed out about constantly being told they need to do better – plus with smartphones and tablets with social media constantly vying for their attention they don’t gt much downtime from the world. Not to mention the climate crisis!

      At least we only had nuclear annihilation to worry about as kids…

      1. I remember going to school when the Cuban missile crisis was on and thought it was the end of the world.

        We also watched the government information films at school about what to do when the sirens went. Which really only consisted of hiding under your desk!!

        And we talk today about pathetic precautions !

        But remember all

        “You’ve never had it so good !”

        OFB

  74. Deleriad
    You’re right, of course, old people have always complained about the behaviour of young people from time immemorial. I do, however, still believe that behaviour in general has plummeted the depths. Swearing in public is the norm, even parents on the school run standing in the playground with their offspring don’t seem to bother that every sentence seems to include the f word. Aggression seems to be the default setting in the majority of those we meet. I could go on and generally do to anyone who’ll listen!
    When we were kids we daren’t tell our parents that a teacher or any other adult had told us off as we’d get no sympathy from them, just a clip round the ear.
    Advances in technology have provided a platform where bad behaviour is acceptable. This blog seems to be the exception. Long may it continue.

    Yours sincerely
    Grumpy old man.

    1. Agree with that Steely and as time goes on, my wife tells me I get grumpier and less tolerant. Mind you so does she and she is a couple of years younger than me.

      I wonder if we get worse once we stop working and mixing with younger people as much? Technology and Social media plays a part in attitudes as does the “political correct”.

      Anyway, enough of that and onto football- I hope that JW has been getting the squad well prepared for the Charlton game so that 3 points will be ours!

  75. I remember being in the Endeavour with a group of mates in the very late 60’s. One had long hair and an old feller pulled it and asked what he was doing with such silly hair – or words to that effect.

    Quick as a flash the lad responded ‘I was born so the likes of you could say you fought a war for the likes of me’.

    I wish I had thought of that one

      1. John

        The very same, it was the local for lads from Acklam Hall – when we were 18 of course, coughI The Yellow Rose at the top of Burlam Road before football matches.

        My actual locals were the Coro and later on the Grenadier by Trimdon Road shops,

        1. Ian, I was a bricklayer working on that pub for Farmer Gray and all the surrounding houses and bungalows. Plus worked on the Yellow Rose pub and a few more pubs in the Boro.

          1. I worked for AE Gray as a QS which then became Calverley Construction

            OFB

          2. OFB, Do you remember the bricklaying squad that went to Shotton to build some show houses that were Canadian style, prefabricated wooden inside walls then brick or stone outside walls I was in that squad. We then built some on the Tollsby site, bungalows mostly.

      2. Nice one boys. I remember the building of that estate at the back of Parkfield Avenue that went up to Hall Grove and the Avenue of Trees. When mum and dad were alive I walked my then two terriers there many a time.

        The two farmhouses near the Endeavour’s plot, the one on the right, Pearson’s(?) had a pond and the last time we were up there the garages built where it was had huge cracks. Is the parade of shops still there too? When I was at Art School my summer holiday job was working on the Bass Lorries from Cargo Fleet Lane and we used to deliver there and all over the Boro and Teesside.

        I do remember Amos’ having the paper shop there as well as their shop near Harrogate Crescent, on the road that ran down to Fred Humphrey’s flower shop near Eastbourne Road.

        Amazing what comes back to you.

        I will revisit when we come up in the summer. A pint in the Endeavour!

        UTB,

        John

  76. The debate about declining social norms will endure as long as the human race hasn’t gone extinct. It’s up there in the same category as the debate about the decline in standards of English.

    The truth is every generation is uncomfortable with the way subsequent generations speak and behave. All that liberal use of the “F” word, for example, does, is to dilute its impact and effectively normalise it. There are other words now that I find greatly more offensive than that today. Indeed, listen to many of the Irish speak and its feck this and feck that and feck the other a hundred times in a conversation and while not imaginative use of the language, it creates almost no offence.

    Society will, indeed has to, evolve and there is a right of passage for the 50 somethings that it looks like most of us are, to be the grumpy old men with rose tinted memories of the way it used to be.

    And you try and tell the young people today that… to quote something from our younger days!

    1. Powmill
      If you want some comfort just consider the following.
      Any pure depiction of the Victorian middle classes is today unwatchable, because they had got a complete grip on society, and of course, had iron rules, which would cause them to have a fainting fit if anyone uttered any word in any way connected with body parts, that is any body parts.
      Mention of Sexual organs would require the services of a doctor, as for the sexual act, don’t even go there.
      Because they wish to make money, writers give them a free pass by having them behaving in a semi human way, but it is rubbish to lie about any people.
      They were badly damaged people and it is better to show them in all their glory.

  77. Ah the good old days! I once saw Tony Capstick (he of the Hovis bread TV advert) at the Coatham Bowl in Redcar reminiscing about how life used to be. “Tha’ could take tha’ girlfriend on a tram to the pictures, buy her two ounces of sweets, get fish and chips on the way home, and still have change from a farthing”.
    For those too young to remember pre-decimal currency a farthing was a quarter of an old penny, £0.0010416 in today’s currency.

  78. I’ve got a feeling that Simon was the youngest contributor. Hope he’s still around somewhere.

    As it happens it’s my birthday tomorrow. A competitive youngster at 41. I’m not sure if that means I should be swearing more?

      1. On the subject of quips in poor taste, I made one a couple of weeks back about this forum sometimes appearing to be a self-help group for grumpy old men.

        Whilst said in jest I now see that it was uncomfortably close to truth and apologise wholeheartedly!

  79. At least the youngters are drinking less than we did. At least in here.

    The problem is that they do not meet the their future wives and husbends that easily anymore …

    Up the Boro!

  80. Andy R – no need to apologize on my behalf – I know I can be a grumpy old man from time to time! Mrs BBD tells me all the time.

  81. Yes. Happy Birthday young Andy.

    KP got us to declare our age and it seems I’ve got all the grumpy old men to “come out”, although I suspect most regulars would, probably, have identified us from the tenor of our posts.

    Andy’s mention of Simon reminded me that we don’t seem to have heard from him for a while, which is a pity because I always found his posts interesting. Like Andy, I would guess that Simon is our youngest contributor.

    As for Saturday, I’m just hoping for any sort of win, as we’re running out of games now.
    Fingers, toes and eyes crossed.

    1. Sorry Steely, I think I may have started the “ coming out” thing by wondering aloud as to how old our youngest contributor was. I then compounded it my stating my tender years.

      As you say, I had already long suspected that many of us are people of a certain age given our Boro histories!

      Now at the risk of starting another ageism, I wonder what the combined number of years of supporting Boro on here would amount to! No need to answer that one of course.

      1. So, me and my kid brother were gifted a half season ticket to share for Christmas 1971 if I remember correctly. So I started going to the match in January 1972 I think, which would make it 48 years and 1 month now.
        I was regular then for many many years till leaving the area. I still try to get to at least one match a season now.

  82. I started supporting in 1962/3, I think, but my memory isn’t what it used to be.

    I have a vague memory of us scoring goals and winning but I am sure that is one of those things we oldies suffer from. Is Geoff Boycott still playing?

  83. You know I love statistics, but this one is weird. Including Leap Year days tomorrow will be my 30,000th day on Earth. Now that is old. I told you I was eccentric, but my wife and 1 actually celebrated my being a third of a century old on the 31st of March 1972. But like all eccentrics I didn’t think it was abnormal
    at the time.

    1. Congratulations on your 30,000 birthday Ken! I am sure that you know how many days since you first started following Boro!

      I knew I shouldn’t have mentioned length of time, now I will have to add up the years!

      It’s up to a combined 242 years so far with my 52.

  84. Now this is really weird, but I just wondered how many days I’ve been on Earth, so I’ve just done a calculation and discovered that including Leap Year days it will be exactly 30,000 days tomorrow. I honestly had no idea and just thought it would be a bit of fun, but gosh it does feel a long time, but tomorrow of all days??? I don’t know whether I should be celebrating or not.

  85. I remember Yorkshire playing the West Indies at Green Lane. I also remember the team including Vic Wilson, Ray Illingworth and a very young Hampshire and Boycott.

    At our ages, many will remember Jim Irvine, Ian Gibson and Bill Harris. I

    1. Remember all them Ian.
      When I was about 11 or 12 we played cricket in one of the alleys that ran behind our terraced houses.
      There was a West Indian who lived in the street, who would come and bowl to us. He was the professional at Middlesbrough CC. Can’t remember his name, though probably Ken would know. About 1957. That also tells you my age.

    1. Ian
      Went on holiday with my parents to Great Yarmouth the year I was called up for my National Service so that would be 1956, and met up with Geoff Butler, his older sister Margaret and their parents. I think his father was called George but can’t remember his mother’s name. I didn’t know then though he would become a Boro player.

      1. I drive a Ford Focus ST as a company car. But I have always been a Jaguar fan even I am not Coventry City fan.

        I dream of a Mark II from year 1961 or newer XE when I retire and not needing to drive 22 000 miles annually.

        Up

  86. I saw Clough and Peacock but only attended the occasional game which my elder brother took me to and then I had a Saturday job which meant midweek matches only.
    I became a regular offender, sorry attender, when I started full time work, coinciding with that glorious season 1966/7 and was hooked.
    Missed the Riverside revolution years, “typical me”, due to other priorities/financial imperatives relating to bringing up a family on one salary and had to make do with listening to Ali Brownlee take us through the agonies and ecstasies.
    Having subsequently returned in person I will continue to suffer first hand until I shuffle off this mortal coil.

  87. Hi guys,

    I’m checking in at 66. I was taken to my first game in the late fifties so can clock in at over 60 years supporting the Boro. I have a memory of being taken to a pre-season Cock of the North cup game when the ground was absolutely packed but I may be mixing things up. I used to get lifted up to sit on the big concrete barriers at the Clive Road end.

    UTB

  88. If you think Woodgate is bad, you should have been around at the end of the Dennison era, followed by the worst ,The Raich Carter period ,
    I’m not saying that period induced my heart attack in later years followed by a bypass ,and three stents , but I had many bad weekends to get through in those days.

  89. I am shamed that I only started supporting Boro around the age of 15. The first Boro match I can remember seeing live on the Finnish TV channel Two was Boro 4 Arsenal 1 in the FA Cup Fifth Round. If I remember correctly it was a sunny (litterally) day at Ayresome.

    The first match I saw live at Ayresome was in 1980 when I did my first trip to abroad. And Insaw Terry Cochrane in the Forest game.

    What a winger. I also met him and had a cuppa with him. Where was the the Rea Cafe in 1980’s?

    So around 20 trips to Teesside now. I love North Yorkshire and Boro. Up the Boro!

  90. Thanks for the effing birthday messages.

    Well, having gone to bed last night with a warm glow of feeling comparatively youthful (or was it the Malbec?), I’ve woken up to birthday presents from my wife and daughter that include a new drill, a leaf sucker and a portable tyre inflator. Somehow I fell more middle- aged today!

    1. All very useful things! You know you have got past middle age when you start getting furry slippers and reading glasses! And not forgetting the nose and ear hair trimmers!

  91. I’ve just been reading the story of the Ruhleben Football Association organised during the First World War by two Boro players, Steve Bloomer and Fred Pentland who were working in Germany at the time so were interned in a POW camp. This story had passed me by, so am grateful for Anthony Vickers bringing it to my attention. The full story is recorded in a book written by Paul Brown and can be purchased from Amazon for £10. More details can be found on http://www.stuffbypaulbrown.com

    Also another article by Anthony Vickers about George Hardwick which confirmed my recollection of what a stalwart he was. I can’t remember seeing Stanley Matthews play, but knew the story that he hated facing George and was often dropped by his two clubs Stoke City and Blackpool when facing Boro. What I hadn’t realised though was that when George made his debut for England he was immediately installed as captain. I’m not aware that that has ever happened since in my lifetime, but perhaps someone can confirm this. However once selected for England he played in 13 internationals always as captain, and also captained the Great Britain team in the Victory International against The Rest of Europe at Hampden Park before a full house of 134,000 which GB won 6-1. Wilf Mannion also played in that match and Middlesbrough FC were the only club to have more than one representative in the team. I well remember details of the match but haven’t seen any newsreels of it.

    Wilf Mannion got most of the attention at that time but the contributions of George Hardwick should never be underestimated, and as recorded by AV a fullback well before his time. What I’d give now to see them play for Boro in their prime. It’s little wonder then that despite never reaching any great heights, that the late 40s and early 50s was my favourite period of watching Boro.

    1. I met George Hardwick socially a few times as I used to be a friend of his son Anthony.
      He gave us both tickets for charity games and saw him play at Smiths Dock and remember I couldn’t believe the size of his thighs.

      After the game. He gave me a lift home in his car and my dad was impressed when I told him George Hardwick gave me a lift

      I also came across George many years later when I was working in construction and he was a director of a welding and ndt inspection company based in Darlington.

      A lovely guy who always had a smile on his face.

      OFB

  92. Current age 66.. Not sure when my first match was. I think my Dad took me to the reserves when the first team were away. The first match I can definitely remember seeing was in March 1965 against Derby. Looking at the records it was an Easter Saturday and I recall for some reason it was an early evening kick off. The reason I remember it was Don Ratcliffe was sent off. Just looked it up only the 11th player to be sent off since 1899 in the League.

  93. MW

    The first match I can definitely remember was a cup tie we lost 3-0 at home to Leicester. According to my book that was Feb 20th 1965. I am sure I had been before with my brother and going in the boys end but cant remember any detail and I am sure I had been to the odd match with new friends at Acklam Hall

    Three matches stuck out the following season. The first was a night match we won 5-2 against Portsmouth, the second was a 3-1 home win against the mighty Wolves, lastly a home defeat against Carlisle that sucked the life out of me. We had three away games left and spirits rose when we won at Norwich but defeats at Coventry and Cardiff sent us down.

    The memory of the last comes back to me having looked at the score, a Dickie Rooks hat trick but we lost 5-3.

    Next season was Ayresome Angels.

  94. So by my rough and ready reckoning with those who have remembered when their Boro game was we are up to a combined total of about 600 years of support! And given that a fair few haven’t declared yet, then I suspect that we probably have 1000 years of combined support!

    That is 525,600,000 minutes of pain and heartache!

    For the record I am told that my first game was against Mansfield in circa 1966/7 although my main memories start in the 68/69 season watching Boro when they played in London area. Still have the programmes in the loft somewhere!

    UTB

    1. Interestingly I had to think long and hard when it was and I narrowed it down to 49 years ago almost to the day for me. I had moved to Eston in October 1970, two or three days before my 10th birthday. My Dad took me to my first game a while later and I wracked my brain trying to think who it was against. I thought Oxford then Luton but the the longer I thought about it Orient came into my head but wasn’t 100% certain.

      I do remember it was a pretty dour affair but went again shortly afterwards. Armed with that sketchy detail an internet search this morning revealed the fixture list for that season showed that we played Orient on the 20th March 1971 and then Luton the following Saturday on March the 27th, both games at Ayresome Park so I’m pretty sure that they were my first two games and when I got on board. We lost 1-0 to Orient but beat Luton 2-1 so that would probably explain being unimpressed after my first game. Our next game up in the fixture list was away to Oxford where we drew 2-2 (I wasn’t there) but it probably explains why I had Oxford in the back of my mind at the time.

      1. http://stats.football.co.uk/results_fixtures/1970_1971/middlesbrough/index.shtml

        I also remember going to my first night match at Ayresome Park against Birmingham on the Tuesday 27th April when we drew 0-0. I seem to recall Bob Latchford playing for Birmingham (and/or possibly a brother of his?) and that Trevor Francis wasn’t playing which disappointed me. That’s the problem with nostalgia, once you start it all comes flooding back but the detail is somewhat distorted and skewed in the annals of time!

  95. My first Boro match was against Everton on the 11th October 1947 which Boro lost 0-1. I was surprised that Boro played in red as my infantile logic thought that they would be the team in blue as that then was the colour of the Corporation busses. However it wasn’t until the following season that I became a regular Boro fan and the first match was also against Everton on the 28th August 1948 which Boro won 1-0. It was also my first sighting of Rolando Ugolini in goal.

  96. Seeing as Boro were always in the second division during the fiftees and sixtees , my other team was Spurs, after watching them beat Leicester in the Fa Cup final 1961/2 season.
    I wrote to them I was a fan but lived too far away to see them , in return they sent me a letter ,with a recent programme and a club sheet with all of the players autographs, a classy thought on behalf of them.

  97. My first match was a 1-0 win over Sheffield Utd in December 1974. I went with my grandad who had a season ticket. (My dad hated football so no one told him I went.) There was a spare seat next to him with a pillar partly blocking the view. Thanks to RR’s link, I can identify the game as Thursday 26th December. I remember listening to the radio in the car on the way home and hearing that we had almost gone top. According to that link we ended the day in third, 1 point behind Liverpool and Ipswich.

      1. Here is that table from the site WorldFootball.net where they show the table with the 2 points for a win – interestingly it puts Ipswich down in 7th on that basis – which I guess is also on goal average rather than goal difference

        https://www.worldfootball.net/schedule/eng-premier-league-1974-1975-spieltag/24/

        Although looking closely it seems this table is also probably inaccurate as it’s based on rounds rather than dates and then sorted by three points rather than the two points (it gives both)

        So the search goes on…

  98. There was also an experiment, not sure of the seasons, when neither goal average nor goal difference separated teams with the same number of points, but goals scored. I think it was fairly
    recently, well maybe 20 or 30 years ago, but not sure whether it included the Premier League/Old First Division.

  99. Just thinking about that, I reckon goals scored would be fairer and encourage more attacking football although maybe not suiting Boro over the last few seasons.

  100. Memo from Egypt. I am 73. Moved to Redcar from the Scottish Borders in 1965 then to Skelton 1978. My first Boro game was in 1966. I went regularly after that and got a season ticket during Sir Bruce Rioch’s marvellous time. Wasn’t happy when Colin Henderson sacked him just before the Zenith cup final. Gave up my ticket when Colin Todd took over. Still went to a few games. Then got a season ticket for the Riverside and marvelled at the fantastic talent that was Juninho. Middlesbrough best player ever. When Terry Venables came to help Brian Robson out that was It for me and didn’t renew the following season. Never been to a game since and decided to spend my hard earned money on holidays instead.
    Never liked Steve McLaren as a person and believe he got his tactics wrong for the Euro final.
    I do of course follow and support Boro from the arm chair but have become totally disappointed with the last few years.
    I have no faith whatsoever in JW and I keep saying this but we have to stop the jobs for the boys regime which is damaging the club.
    In the summer there will be another clear out which in all honesty has been happening at the club for a few years now. There needs to be some ruthless decisions made by SG but I don’t believe for one minute that it will ever change.

    1. My ‘break’ from attending occurred in 1982 after the season started with three successive 4-1 home defeats – thankfully I was also heading off to university so the decision was made easier!

  101. Redcar Red

    For all your great reports and incisive comments there is a glaring inaccuracy.

    There is no vaccination for Boronavirus. This is a virus with no known cure, Stephen Hawking came up with many theories about the beginning of the Universe and Black Holes, Pasteur created many new ideas about infections but Boronavirus has defeated them all.

    The WHO has no answer to Post Christmas Slump. If only it was so easy.

    Elsewhere Millwall are winning at Forest by 3-0 at half time.

  102. Just looked on Whoscored.com and they had Gestede as Man of the Match on Monday and he was in the Championship team of the week. They gave him a score of 8.5 the next best was Wing at 7.8. I am not sure what metrics they use.

    1. I think Gestede is so slow they probably used Metros rather than metrics to measure performance and we all know how slow they were !

      OFB

  103. Some good news on the injury front – Patrick Roberts has recovered ahead of schedule and will resume training with the first team next week – he could even play a part against Swansea. Dael Fry is also set to return against Swansea too.

    As for today, both Fletcher and Britt as set to return for the trip to Charlton – but will they be able to oust the Deus ex ‘goal’ machina of Big Rudy Gestede…

  104. I will not be missing Gestede if he goes in the summer.

    But he did play well against Forest. And I am glad he is fit and an option for us. I will keep on supporting him as long as he is a Boro player.

    He also has started an Assosiation in Africa to help orphaned children. So well done to him and his wife.

    Up the Boro!

  105. Forget “Dodgy MOT’s”. The new trend on the streets of The Boro is for “ Dodgy Birth Certificates”.

    This new crime wave is down to football authorities considering banning over 70’s from attending football matches.

    1. It’s about time the grey faction were banned – what with their aggressive tutting and their overly loud rustling of Werther’s original sweet wrappers spoiling the game for others – I’m surprised it’s taken the corona virus to make the authorities see sense…

      1. 40 somethings disguised with flat caps and Jackets with leather elbows, demanding to be refused entry.

        “Not so fast Sonny Boy, with those designer trainers, you’re coming in!”

  106. No-one in my family was particularly into football, so it was the events of 1986 that brought the club to my attention.

    Football itself was new to me then – I remember the 1985 FA Cup Final between Spurs and Coventry being the first match I watched on TV, and the ‘86 World Cup in Mexico with Maradona and his “Hand of God”. not too long after.

    I started a long campaign of pestering my Dad to take me to Ayresome Park, a battle I finally won on 17th September 1988, presumably because we had nothing else on and my whinging had become unbearable.

    We played Wimbledon and won 1-0. I never looked back and to be fair, neither did my Dad. He loved it too and we started going semi-regularly until about 1992, before graduating to a season ticket. I was lucky enough to have a ST for five seasons, then saved myself a few quid by working on the turnstiles for a couple of years – not a bad way of seeing every home match bar the first fifteen or so minutes!

    I gather from most on here that the Jack Charlton years were the best of the Boro for many but I’m pretty pleased with my lot. Obviously starting with all those young local players and a huge, battling, underdog mentality as we went up the leagues despite so many obstacles. Then of course the Riverside/Robson years followed shortly after with all those thrills and spills. It was a great era to start supporting.

    The last fifteen years have been pretty barren bar the odd season or half-season but I never took the excitement from the late 80’s to the 2000s for granted and always knew it wasn’t “real”. I think Steve Gibson has got it mostly wrong for the past decade and a half but I’m still incredibly grateful for the twentyish years before that.

    1. The Jack Charlton years were all the more incredible because it was done with a few buys at low cost and through great management. It wasn’t to everyone’s taste even back then but it was effective football playing to the strengths and abilities of the players he had at his disposal. It put Boro back on the footballing map after being forgotten for a long period.

      He also adapted the white feature from kits of years gone by to create the white band which I think is now why for many of us it is almost sacrosanct, associated with a really successful Boro side in living memory.

      1. RR

        “It wasn’t to everyone’s taste even back then”

        I would agree with that in the latter part of Jack’s tenure but not the promotion winning season (which we won by a mile) or the first couple of years in Div 1 when we surprised a lot of teams.

        It was later when we got the boring boring Boro tag as we struggled to score (sound familiar) and Jack did not buy anyone to replace an ageing forward line.

        He did eventually buy Phil Boersma from Liverpool but he flattered to deceive – much like some recent buys! 😎

  107. After Nottingham Forest’s late equaliser I felt very despondent travelling home. The two points dropped look more significant than the one held. Can a team that hasn’t won any of the last 10 games win at least 4 of the last 10 (or win 3 and draw 3)? I expect Charlton, Stoke and Hull are looking at our form and thinking the games against us are a good chance to take 3 points.
    I will be opening my Malbec before kick off and hoping it will be to celebrate the start of a run to get out us of the relegation places.
    Unless the men in white coats get to me, I expect I will renew my 3 year season ticket by April 9 no matter what happens in the next few weeks. After more than 34 years living in Penrith I still belong to Teesside and Boro are the only team I can support.

    1. Well, nothing lasts forever in football. Every winning streak comes to an end and so does every losing streak.
      I agree that Charlton, Stoke and Hull are looking at us and hoping that our bad streak lasts until after they play us but we have to be looking at those matches and thinking survival’s in our own hands.

  108. Same team as Monday with the exception of Stojanovic in for Pears. Looks a bit harsh on Pears given JW’s post match comments on the equaliser. 😎

    1. That may depend if Pears might be feeling nervous about making another costly mistake. Possibly a good move by JW. I’m sure he will have discussed it with the lad and might have thought it would be a good idea to give him a rest.

  109. What a ridiculous situation at Anfield. The teams were not allowed to have the usual pre-game handshake, yet at the full time whistle there were lots of handshakes and hugs.

    Another stupid move from the PL but not quite on the level of the time Le Marseille was played before every game.

  110. A very poor Charlton side and despite our one goal lead we are failing to capitalise on a number of opportunities.

    As it stands, we risk a “typical Boro” outcome! 😎

  111. Boro have looked pretty sharp today in the first half and have linked up quite well together and created some decent moves – plus Boro have finally scored first in a game since the last time they won at Preston. It arrived from a bad defensive pass but Rudy showed good composure before giving a perfectly weighted pass to McNair as he arrived in the box, who stroked it calmly first time into the net. In fact Gestede has continued where he left off and has also held the ball well and challenged balls to make it hard for their defenders.

    Howson has also looked good and probably edging McNair as Boro’s best player. It’s been an entertaining open game played at a good pace but maybe Boro should have had a second to build on their dominance as Charlton have looked a bit shaky in defence. Let’s hope Boro don’t regret not scoring from any of those other 9 attempts as they were all off target – we need a win as it’s tight at the bottom.

  112. Got in and went to MFC website.

    Need a subscription to listen,

    Paid the subscription last August but lets pay it and sort it out later, only £11,25.

    Payment successful.

    Need a subscription to listen.

    Tried desktop, get the commentary box which goes black but no commentary.

    Tried the tablet, same as desktop.

    Rebooted all devices, results exactly the same.

    Resorting to tablets of a different sort – ibruprofen!

    Who is the expert to email on Monday, someone kindly sent me his email address way back in August.

    And we are winning, maybe that is the answer.

      1. Sorry to hear you had problems, Ian.

        I haven’t had a single problem with Riverside Live this season. At least an improvement by our beloved Boro.

        Great win today. Rudi and the boys were good to watch. Don’t miss Pulis a bit 😊.

        Up the Boro!

  113. Only playing with one CB here, Harold is having a stormer and Shotton an absolute mare. Some poor quality passing.

    We need back up in defence and I would swop Gestede for Fletcher

  114. Phew! A much needed 3 points – I was watching on the BBC website and was starting to get very nervy that we would throw it away!

    I can now enjoy my evening and a celebratory Malbec!

      1. OFB,

        A treat tonight, home-made steak pie and chips, suet crust, and a bottle of Italian red from our daughter at Christmas, well that and few others.

        Nebbiolo and I’m looking forward to it although I’ll have to weigh the wine out to make sure the division is perfect. Our daughter is a Master of Wine so it ought to be good.

        After a Boro win I feel content already.

        UTB,

        John

      1. Never been to Buenos Aires but, after having tried the usual Shiraz and Merlot, one day I asked at my local pub what reds they sold and never having heard of Malbec I tried it and was hooked.
        Only needed 1/2 bottle to get through the match (super control as the nerves were being shredded) so I will have a small glass later and finish it tomorrow to continue the celebrations.
        I was starting to wonder if there was a FA rule that Boro were not allowed to win a match.

  115. Massive three points, but by did we make hard work of that. Charlton should of scored in extra time and then we all of been complaining of our missed opportunities of which there were a few good chances.
    Still an away win and a clean sheet to boot.

  116. Well that was a hectic game where if Boro had shown a bit more composure in front of goal they would have won handsomely – 23 attempts on goal but just that calm McNair effort hit the net. Some of the approach play was very good but it was all a bit rushed when the players got in reach of the goal. Have to say Rudy Gestede played as well as any centre forward has played for Boro this season – won the battles in the air as expected but also showed good hold up play and even played some neat interchanges with others to create chances – plus was also very good defensively. Possibly his best performance in a Boro shirt.

    I’d agree that Tav lacked quality all game and wasted a lot of good possession in the final third. Still it was a much needed win and three valuable points in a table where the five teams above the drop zone are just separated by one point – with Boro up to 19th. Enjoyed the game as it was played at a good pace with lots of energy and signs that the team are improving – hopefully Woodgate won’t be tempted to mix it up too much when players become fit.

  117. Not sure about the four at the back, with neither FB’s—–full backs and it showed defensively. I think a better team would probably have taken more advantage of that.
    Shotton has been quite good since his return, but today after he got booked I thought he was so nervous and consequently poor.

    As a fan of Tav, he was disappointing. Lots of energy, but lots of wasteful final balls.
    Again Woodgate waited too long to bring on his subs and thought that taking McNair off was strange. There were a few tired legs and the defence needed more support. Saville and Spence after 70 minutes would have been my choice for Tav and probably Clayton.
    The goalie looked OK, especially his kicking out and Harold certainly looks good at this level.
    Have to admit, probably Gestede’s best game and show of endeavour. That was good to see.

  118. I thought Monday showed a new determination from the players and they carried it on today. A look at the table shows just how valuable those three points were.

    PS. Have we finally unearthed a keeper who can kick?

  119. As Middlesbrough supporters we don’t ask for much. A 1-0 win against a poor team feels very good and makes a bottle of Chardonnay taste amazingly well.There is still a long way to go but the table tonight looks a lot better.
    Philip of Huddersfield

    1. Dont like Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc is another matter as is the glass of Lagavulin I have following self diagnosed isolation to keep our season safe.

      I have Monkey’s Shoulder, Highland Park, Laphroaig, Bowmore and Glenfiddich. Was my choice of Lagavulin wise?

      Mrs G talked about making our own sanitising hand wash, she was left in no uncertain terms that the aforementioned varieties are unsuitable because they do not meet the 60% alcohol requirement.

  120. They say good things come to those who wait – well we’ve been waiting and waiting and staring into the distance and squinting like a sailor in the crow’s nest who has run out of rations and is desperately scouring the horizon in search of land. Yes finally after 10 league and 2 cup games, the Boro faithful have had their patience rewarded at the team landed a victory! Anyway, one man who many are often eagerly waiting to hear about from Diasboro’s highest vantage point is here to give his view – it’s Redcar Red and his match report…

    https://diasboro.club/2020/03/08/charlton-0-1-boro/

  121. Redcar Red,

    Thank you for the report and at least it was a win and no goals against, I’m surprised some of the travelling fans don’t bring life support for last ten minutes plus extras, apart from beers that is. Now Boro have to play the same way all the time and up the intensity even more.

    The new keeper sounds as if he had a good debut, I wonder if the stress was getting to Pears? Oh yes, is Gestede playing for a new contract or making the most of the shop window?

    Anyway Boro won, The wine was wonderful and I slept well too, everything looks better after a victory.

    UTB,

    John

  122. Thanks RR.

    I missed the game entirely yesterday due to family commitments but trust your report to be an accurate reflection of events.

    Glad to read that we created plenty of opportunities. Clearly finishing remains a major issue but the three points are all that matter at this stage.

    I was surprised to see Pears dropped but pleased to see consistency in the selection and shape otherwise. Steady improvement over the past three games it seems.

  123. Thanks RR for your report on a match which was lacking quality from both teams.

    Whilst it was a much needed win and three points we are far from out of the woods. On another day and against a better team Boro would have been made to pay for being so wasteful in front of goal.

    The new keeper looked dependable on a limited amount of work and his distribution, particularly when kicking, was very good.

    If Fry is fit then he has to play. I would put Shotten at right back where he has spent most of his time with us. Continue with Johnston at left back and put Howson back into midfield with McNair. I would drop Tavernier and replace him with Roberts on the right with Coulson on the left. That leaves a number of permutations for the front two.

    Let’s just hope we can build on this and go on a non losing run with 3/4 wins included. CoB 😎

  124. Good summary KP. As welcome as the result was Charlton looked a really poor side and I’m not sure if we can take much comfort from beating them although not beating them would have been really poor.

    Stojanovic didn’t have much to do but he can certainly start attacks by clearing the half way line with ease. Too early to judge but looks like he could be a useful addition providing how he deals with pressure in game where we are needing him to be on his mettle.

  125. Great report as ever RR.

    A relief to get a win and a better performance but I hope they don’t get complacent and think all they have to do is play the same in upcoming games because it won’t be good enough. They need to improve further and be 100% up for every game for the rest of the season and especially Stoke and Hull which will be real battles. I reckon that 50 points might be enough to stay up and if they can take points away from Stoke and Hull so much the better. I just hope they are fully prepared physically and mentally for what is to come and Woodgate resists the temptation to tinker too much with the team.

  126. I’m glad that Redcar Red mentioned the annoying term of ‘6 pointers’ as those results so far would show the current League table in hardly a different light. For an example Boro, Stoke
    and Huddersfield have each won 6 of these so-called matches, Luton 5, Barnsley 4, Charlton 3, Hull 2 and Wigan only 1. The current revised League table would look like this:-

    Stoke 60 (2 home and 1 away remaining)
    Hudds 60 (2 home and 0 away remaining)
    Boro 59 (0 home and 2 away remaining)
    Luton 50 (1 home and 2 away remaining)
    Charlton 48 (1 home and 1 away remaining)
    Hull 47 (3 home and 1 away remaining)
    Wigan 44 (2 home and 3 away remaining)
    Barnsley 38 (1 home and 2 away remaining)

    The only change would be that Luton and Wigan would swap places, but that would be the same result anyway on the matches played to date. As you can see though Wigan have still to play 5 matches against the bottom teams 3 of which are at home whilst Boro have only 2 to play and both away. So all in all it’s vital that teams win their home wins and don’t lose those away. In Boro’s case 4 points from their 2 away matches against teams fighting relegation would be excellent, for despite the poor form of Sheffield Wednesday that is certainly not the place to go needing a win or even a draw in the final match of the season to avoid relegation.

  127. Sent an email to Bob Tait and Alex Thompson this morning ready for Monday and got one reply quickly. Sadly it was from Bob Tait’s mailbox saying Bob Tait is no longer at MFC and to contact enquiries@mfc.co.uk.

    Hopefully Alex is still there.

    Far, far away, I hope Exmil is enjoying his trip.

    1. Ian

      Thanks for the update. Sorry to hear of Bob’s departure. Always found him to be approachable and helpful as is Alex who should be able to resolve you issues and provide a refund. 😎

  128. Seems a lot of nonsense to me these non-handling restrictions suggested by the EFL. It’s a good job Super League doesn’t bring in these restrictions or we’d have to watch rugby matches with players trying to control an oval shaped ball with just their feet for 80 minutes with no tries as the players wouldn’t be able to use their hands or fingers to touch the ball down being the sole purpose of scoring a try. Or can’t the virus be spread by people touching the same inanimate object?

  129. KP

    Such is life, it isn’t the refund that worries me though always nice to get some money back.

    The problem is that if we win when I cant follow on MFC is it worth the isolation, I will happily take one for the team.

  130. 8 days left here left in Egypt. Thanks to RR and everyone keeping me updated on the Boro news and reports.
    Just like to say away from Boro and I don’t think anyone will agree with me but I want Leeds to get promoted. They have had lots of Scottish top class players in the past and including Billy Bremer …Peter Lorimer ..David Harvey..Eddie Gray and others inc the the manager Jock Stein.. I don’t get this dirty Leeds at all. They are a very passionate club even when they were down and out at the very bottom. They have risen now from a impossible situation years ago.to now challenging for the top spot. Boro have to do the same and adopt a ruthless situation to get out of trouble. If it means playing dirty then do it.. No winners in being nice. Ask Sir Alex Ferguson.

  131. Stoke – who ar2 just one point above Boro – beat Hull yesterday by 5-1. So I am very worried about the club frpm Humber. We have played badly recently but how about Hull?

    So there will be a lot of twists before the season is over. I just hope Boro play as well as in the last three matches.

    Up the Boro!

  132. Ideally the aim is to win games against those at the bottom, or failing that to get a point but above all, not to lose. Charlton’s position after losing to Boro appears to have worsoned a lot – conversely Boro have gone the opposite way.
    It’s still very tight at the bottom and suddenly Charlton and Hull have come into the frame.
    Stoke look ok especially after scoring 5 yesterday

    1. We have some hard games to finish the season, you could argue the toughest of the bottom 7/8???

      It will not be easy, that’s for certain.

  133. No teams seem to be taking advantage of Preston’s poor form for the 4th playoff place. Preston have lost 4 of their last 5 matches but still retain that 6th position. Swansea have won only once in their last 8 matches, Bristol City haven’t won for 5 matches, Blackburn haven’t won for 4, yet Derby who were below Boro a few weeks ago are suddenly only 5 points behind Preston. Just goes to show what might have been for Boro.

  134. With a lot of frustration directed at SG as well as Woodgate of late there has been an interesting development down on the South Coast (no Harry Redknapp or Tony Pulis have not been spotted at Rockliffe).

    https://www.dailyecho.co.uk/news/18289982.southampton-put-sale-250m-according-reports/

    Considering the size of the club is not too dissimilar from Boro and it is in the Premiership the “valuation” of £250m is interesting. I would guess that taking into consideration the quality of the Playing personnel and League Status Boro would be worth considerably less than that.

    My understanding is that there is (or was) a loan of sorts from Gibson/O’Neil to the tune of over £100m and I would presume that that amount would need to be considered in the sale of the club if SG considered selling up. I would guess there wouldn’t be an awful lot left to show for all the time. effort and tens of millions he has ploughed into the Club.

    The question is why would anyone want to take on a money pit of that magnitude other than as a vanity project and a desire to lose a lot of money quickly which brings us back to the current Boro “model” of buying cheap and selling high in the same way that Southampton have excelled at since becoming the unofficial Liverpool development team.

  135. The develop locally/buy cheap/sell high model has a lot to commend it f you can make it work. I find it interesting to speculate how MFC will stack up next season and thereafter if they manage to avoid relegation. Their wage bill will drop by a substantial amount – can anybody do the calculation – and they are building up a reasonable stockpile of saleable assets. Assuming that the Academy and shrewd purchases ensure that there are new players coming through to replace them, how much could Boro realise in eighteen months time by selling two or three out of
    Fry
    Coulson
    Tavernier
    Spence
    Wing
    Pears.

    Southampton are one way to look at the Premier League. the other option is to look at Norwich. They finally managed to get promotion but have steadfastly refused to spend any money. I seem to have heard somewhere that they only spent Pds1 million or so on reinforcing their squad unlike the Pds100 million spent by Fulham. Does that mean that Norwich went into this season expecting to be relegated but knowing that the club would be Pds100 million better off and set up for the next five to ten years.

    UTB

    1. I think Norwich did not spend much last summer. But did Bournemouth or Sheffield United spend a lot when they went up either?

      In theory, if a club gets promoted, they should still be good enough to survive. There cannot be such a big difference in the quality of the players in the top two divisions.

      Look at Pukki, a free tranfer from Denmark, he played well at the Champioship level and has now done OK in the PL (or at least in the beginning).

      I personally think that if promoted and one is buying too many new players in a single window, one can strugle. As Boro did after buying about ten new players.

      Too many players bring too many changes and one loses half of the season and possibly the momentum of promotion.

      But football is full of what-ifs. If it would be exact science, we would be in the top ten of the PL by now.

      Up the Boro!

    2. Who knows Selwyn, but Boro went up, saints spend a great deal and look how we appear to be doing as a commercial ial enterprise, despite all that income from one season in the top flight.

  136. P-N
    We spent quite a bit and not very well and, as Jarkko has pointed out, found ourselves having to integrate new players into a functioning squad and not making it work. Maybe the trick is to buy a limited number of really good players rather than a job lot of potential.

    1. My memory is going. It didn’t seem like wholesale change to my recollection. Thay said, I’ve just had a look at the lineup for the Brighton game and then for the Stoke game the following season and, right enough, around half the team was different.
      That’s maybe not 10 players, but probably enough to disrupt a team that had obviously done well enough to get promoted in the first place.

    2. If we think about our best players from the last decade I would wager that Grant, Friend, Ayala etc. would be foremost on most supporters minds. If we think about value for money then they would most definitely be in the top ten if not five. If we then contrast that with our worst players from the same era then some of the biggest earners would be topping the list.

      I hope we have learned a bitter lesson should we ever see the Premiership again in our lifetime. I’ve mentioned on here before about Toon fans and Mike Ashley and their desire for Champions League football. How much higher up the table would they finish if he splashed another £100m or £200m? Two places maybe three and just as likely to finish in the same place or perhaps one or two lower.

      Expectations are also a critical factor. If Boro spend £15m on a Player or even £6m then instant and sustained brilliance is “anticipated” (as oppose to demanded or expected which deep down is really the benchmark). Spend £500k or even less and expectations are more realistic and if the player makes it and excels then they become a legend if they don’t at £6m they become a flop. Imagine how fans at the top end of the Premiership feel when their clubs waste upwards of £60m on four hooves.

      We have spent a fortune on Strikers when we had one in Jutkiewicz that was probably as good if not better then most that have filled his boots since he departed. Interestingly he too like the other mentioned above was a Mogga buy. The bottom line is that buying players is only as good as those scouting them.

  137. Jarkko, if you watch some of the EPL games it is obvious the difference between the two divisions players is huge. Well generally speaking.
    OK Sheff Utd have done very well, but that is an exception.

  138. There do seem to be two models on promotion to the Premier. One is the Norwich/Burnley/Sheff Utd one. Spend the minimum of money, figure that you will probably be relegated and, if you get relegated, keep the team together in order to get promoted straight away. Use the extra money to strengthen the team over a period of years. The risk of that is that having a bad season in the Premier can break a team.

    The other model is what Fulham/Villa/Wolves and, to a lesser extent, we tried. Try to buy a Premier league capable team in the summer and spend to stay up. People tend to forget that when we were promoted we were expected to survive comfortably in the Premier. Looking at the players we had, we really shouldn’t have been relegated. Even up to Christmas it looked like we ought to be ok provided we strengthened in January. The risk of this approach is what happened to us; you get relegated then you’re in a world of financial pain. If Villa get relegated and have to sell Grealish they are at risk of dropping like a stone.

    Because Gibson’s wallet is now fairly insignificant compared to Premier league income, we now have to take the go up without spending money approach because we can no longer compete financially with any team in the Premier league. Thing is, we’ve been used to Gibson’s wallet supporting the team. In the last 25 years we’ve probably only had about 18 months under Mowbray where we managed to build a competitive team out of lower league and academy players.

    1. Well said again, deleriad.

      Pedro, I mean that by paying a PL fee and PL salary, does not make the main difference in quality. There is lot of players in the Champioship who could do well in the PL.

      Ps. I needed to cancel a business trip to Barcelona at the beginning of next month. You can guess why 🤐. The virus starts with a C ….

      Up the Boro!

  139. I’m very much with Jarkko when it comes to the optimum amount of change between seasons. You could also point to QPR when they were promoted 6/7 years go but I think evidence goes beyond promoted teams – think Spurs when they sold Gareth Bale and spent the millions on 6 or 7 new players in one window. Those players largely turned out to be pretty good individuals – Eriksen, Lamala, Paulinho (went on to play for Barcelona), others I’ve forgotten – but the team bombed that season. Too much change. You can also think of Strachan at Boro.

    I think a promoted team should recognise that one if it’s greatest strengths is the unity it had in getting promoted in the first place, and protect that in the higher division. two to three first players to supplement, but not disrupt, that unity is, for me, the best plan both for performance and financial security.

    1. Andy

      I agree and in particular with your last paragraph. Teams that have won promotion and remained promoted have generally relied upon those players that won promotion, supplemented as you say by 2/3 purchases eg Boro under Jack and of late, Wolves, Burnley, Bournemouth and Brighton.

      You need to build a team/squad who are not only capable of winning promotion but also sustaining it.

      Unfortunately the introduction of the play offs has to a degree watered down the strength of some teams being promoted.

      If you can only finish 6th in the Championship but then gain promotion via the play offs it is highly unlikely that the team can hold its own in the higher division. Some clubs recognise this and try and compensate by splashing the cash often with disastrous consequences. 😎

      1. It was nice to read on Twitter On Saturday night about how the Boro fans reacted with the players on the train back from London.

        Leo went up and down the train laughing and joking “shaking hands!” and generally showing his enthusiasm for the club and promising Boro wouldn’t get relegated.

        Other Boro players were singing along with the fans and signing autographs proving what a spirit of togetherness there is between the club and supporters.

        Together we will beat relegation let’s all be positive.

        OFB

    1. Yep, it’s not going to suddenly be great next season even if we beat the drop.

      The best case scenario (within the realms of realism) in my view is to stay up this season, reset over the summer for a mid-table finish next season and put together a genuine play-off push the season after.

      The likelihood is it won’t be that straightforward but it all starts with staying up this year.

      1. Redcar Red

        My worry is that with my shape getting in to the water may attract Norwegian whalers.

        Talking of the sea, Exmil may be back sooner than expected as the C word bites.

  140. Marcus Browne scored his fourth goal of his loan spell to help Oxford United up to third in League One. He looks like playing regularly and been succesful there.

    Has anyone heard how Marcus Bola is doing at Blackpool? All I found is that he has played just five times for the Seasiders. Has he been injured or having problems to fit in?

    Up the Boro!

  141. Better than his brother E Bola!

    Talking of contagious diseases, I hope all are well especially in places suffering more than currently in the UK. I am sure we will get an increase in infections, just got to be careful.

    At least we can rely on newspapers not to exaggerate. I saw an article where the number of cases reported in the UK went from 60+ down to 40+ on successive days, this is apparently soaring.

    Goodness knows what they will say if (or when) it reaches the levels in France and Germany never mind Italy!

    1. Imagine how bad Coronavirus could have been if we hadn’t Brexited from Europe!

      Removes pin and walks away smiling and whistling 😉

      (I’m surprised Nigel and Boris haven’t come out with that one yet)

      1. I must admit I wondered if whether the channel had an effect with less travel across open borders such as Italy has with France and Germany. Same as the Scandinavian countries have the Balti as a buffer.

        Then you look at the maps and see other countries bordering those three with numbers like ours and realise maybe it is a matter of time before the virus really takes off.

        Maybe it wont be as severe, maybe that is wishful thinking

      2. Big difference RR, unlike our friends in Italy, and Germany, and France and Spain and everywhere else over there, we are not having it imposed on us, we are choosing this ….

    2. It’s probably only a matter of time before the corona virus takes off – after all Italy only had 17 reported cases less than three weeks ago.

      Here in Germany nearly half of the 1,300 cases are in the state of North Rhine Westphalia (which seemed to be down the carnival a couple of weeks ago) with around 500 in Bavaria and the south of the country. So far Bremen has 4 cases, at least two of which belong to a family who returned from Iran – The whole region of Lower Saxony, where we live 20km outside Bremen, currently has only 50 reported cases.

      It’s all a bit Donald Rumsfeld at the moment as we know there are things we don’t know – the medical expert who speaks daily on the Radio has said it’s vital that countries try to contain the virus for as long as possible and hope it slows down as the weather warms up. He also said it could kill up to 25% of the elderly unless it stops spreading. The German health minister says they are about to advise banning all events that are attended by more than 1,000 people and may yet close schools.

      The reality is that until there is a vaccine or unless corona mutates to a less transmittable form then most places are probably heading towards the Italian situation – which for many may be about avoiding the virus for six months or more.

      1. As I posted a while ago my own excel sheets showed a similar and inevitable trend – pity the relation chart is not as clear. Bahrain is a small island under lock down whilst all around us are in turmoil. They take my temperature when I get to work, face masks gloves and sanitizer is the norm. Exciting stuff unless you work with nervous people.

        The charts don’t lie and the number requiring hospital treatment is refreshingly low.

        They also show that the effect on the NHS is not too drastic around 2,000 hospital beds across the country will be needed over a period of 4 months So with 200 towns each allocating 10 beds it should be a cakewalk. So long as the daily increase stays below 15 percent of the previous days accumulated total

        This is going to disrupt our lives for the rest of the year – something to talk about instead of the Boro – take care chaps. If we drop into the bottom 3 we can always hope the season gets cancelled.

        1. Yes I remember your post and your spreadsheet predictions – the only good thing for me is that Bremen has kept at 4 cases since the beginning as those who had it were quickly isolated but Lower Saxony is on the 33% daily increase curve and is now up to 66 cases, which could theoretically mean over 250,000 cases in five weeks. I think the same is true of the North East of England and Humberside, which is still low with only 24 cases, with many of those isolated.

          Just how quickly it takes off region by region is hard to say but it will no doubt increase faster with more cases in other regions unless people restrict unnecessary travel and meetings – or indeed should football fans travel to away games at all? Although I noticed Forest’s chairman Evangelos Marinakis has tested positive for the virus but don’t know if he was at the Riverside last week 😷

        1. Good glad he didn’t make the trip, although I see the Arsenal v City match has been called off because some of the Arsenal players met Marinakis after their Olympiakos game so have gone into self isolation. Although UEFA won’t postpone Wolves tie with Olympiakos and it will go ahead behind closed doors – seems an odd decision.

  142. This Boro team does seem to have a rapport with the away support in particular, and in some respects I can understand the celebrations of ending such a long winless run, but Boro are still in a relegation dogfight and I’m glad that Jonathan Woodgate recognises that. But should a club like Boro be in this situation in the first place? Will we still have these wild celebrations when
    (not if, mind you) we escape relegation as I’ve always thought we will? Should we be awarded a trophy for doing so? After all the club that finishes winning the playoffs does. Forgive me my facetiousness, but it does sound a little incongruous to me. Not celebrating a win, but the whole concept of playoffs in any sport doesn’t sit well with me. I know it makes for more meaningful fixtures by extending the number of clubs involved with something to play for, but in my opinion the whole concept of playoffs can’t be considered fair.

    KP raised a point about how teams winning the playoffs have little chance of establishing themselves as bonafide long-standing Premiership League clubs and that is true when one looks at the records. The system of playoffs was established in 1987 when not only did the Final involve promotion on a two-leg system, but also included the club finishing third from bottom from the higher league. That system lasted for 3 seasons before the playoffs included those teams finishing 3rd to 6th (4th to 7th in League 2 for some illogical reason) and also a one-off match at Wembley (Millennium Stadium for 6 years) to decide the promoted club. So just concerning ourselves with the Championship, here is a list of the playoff winners and how they subsequently performed in the Premier League:-

    1987 Charlton (relegated after 3 seasons)
    1988 Middlesbrough (relegated after 1 season)
    1989 Crystal Palace (relegated after 4 seasons)
    1990 Swindon (demoted for financial irregularities)
    1991 Notts County (relegated after 1 season)
    1992 Blackburn (relegated after 7 seasons)
    1993 Swindon (relegated after 1 season)
    1994 Leicester (relegated after 1 season)
    1995 Bolton (relegated after 1 season)
    1996 Leicester (relegated after 6 seasons)
    1997 Crystal Palace (relegated after 1 season)
    1998 Charlton (relegated after 1 season)
    1999 Watford (relegated after 1 season)
    2000 Ipswich (relegated after 2 seasons)
    2001 Bolton (relegated after 11 seasons)
    2002 Birmingham (relegated after 4 seasons)
    2003 Wolves (relegated after 1 season)
    2004 Crystal Palace (relegated after 1 season)
    2005 West Ham (relegated after 6 seasons)
    2006 Watford (relegated after 1 season)
    2007 Derby (relegated after 1 season)
    2008 Hull (relegated after 2 seasons)
    2009 Burnley (relegated after 1 season)
    2010 Blackpool (relegated after 1 season)
    2011 Swansea (relegated after 7 seasons)
    2012 West Ham (still in Premier League)
    2013 Crystal Palace (still in Premier League)
    2014 QPR (relegated after 1 season)
    2015 Norwich (relegated after 1 season)
    2016 Hull (relegated after 1 season)
    2017 Huddersfield (relegated after 2 seasons)
    2018 Fulham (relegated after 1 season)
    2019 Aston Villa (possible relegation after 1 season)

    That’s 18 teams relegated after only one season and another 3 teams after only 2 seasons. Crystal Palace have been relegated 3 times, twice after only one season although only they, Watford and Aston Villa are at this moment the only clubs still in the Premier League after winning the playoffs, and only Blackburn, Bolton, Swansea, Leicester and West Ham can be said to have made a success of winning the playoffs, though the first 3 of those are no longer Premier League clubs. It’s a poor reflection of playoff winners and in my opinion no justification for continuing them in their present form as a means of gaining promotion.

    I expect to be in the minority here, but I would much prefer the 3rd placed Championship club to face the 18th Premier League club in a one match playoff. To my mind that would be the fairest way to determine promotion and relegation, but nevertheless would like to read other people’s views.

    1. I think the reality is that it was for commercial reasons only. A means of generating more income for the clubs and the TV companies and in fairness it has been successful financially unless of course the clubs like Boro urinate it up Agents trouser legs.

      It does add excitement and keep fans interested for far longer. Dragging the season on for fans of the 18th club having to play a two legged tie against the 3rd Championship club is too cruel I think. Imagine if on the final day of the season Boro fans faced having to play Sunderland as a realistic example a week later over two legs to know if they survive or go down. It would be like death by a series of slow cuts for both sets of fans.

      The bottom six Premiership clubs (arguably bottom eight or ten even) are just there to make up the numbers and perform their sacrificial lamb duties without upsetting the glass ceiling. The Premiership would of course prefer those lambs to be Newcastle, Villa and say Leeds than a Watford or a Swindon purely for greed purposes.

  143. In the EFL the top two teams get automatic promotion, and the following four teams playoff for the final promotion place. I’m surprised that for ( economic/ keeping the interest going/tv audiences reasons) that something similar doesn’t happen with regard to relegation from the premier league.

    I.E. The bottom two teams are automatically relegated and the next four teams have a set of playoff games with the two semifinal losers playing off at Wembley, with the losers being relegated.

    The same arguments would apply for justifying the promotion playoffs.

  144. Many of us can remember the old play offs when only two teams were promoted.

    The second bottom team in the top flight played the fourth team in the second division. Second played third in the second division. Both were over two legs.

    The winners played off over two legs. Boro were the only second tier team to get promotion under that method beating Chelsea over two legs.

    It was a system designed to favour the top flight.

  145. The promotion and relegation system is perfect, it works, clubs get to play in the premier league, no one stops them winning the thing, the world is full of players, all that is required is a brilliant understanding of what makes a player.
    There are no obstacles to finding such and playing them in your team, far from it.
    This great adventure is being played out all over the world, and the fans love it.
    The problems start when someone loves the ownership game but know nothing about it.
    The team is awful and rarely wins, the owner feels betrayed (all that money) and the fans are in despair.
    If you recognise the above situation, then you are a Boro fan, and the reason that you are suffering for, what? Ten seasons? Is because your owner is pretty rich, so no change, and none in prospect.

  146. Coronavirus.

    It is very difficult to know what will happen. As Mogga said ‘It is what it is’

    Early predictions said worst case scenario in the UK was 80% of the population and 1,000,000 fatalities. Or thereabouts.

    Last figures I saw were 80,000+ infections in China and the rate decreasing. They have a population of a billion.

    Question is, can you trust any of the figures? We will know in due course.

    1. I guess we won’t know how it will pan out until more time passes. China is interesting because they quickly went into lock-down and may soon decide to relax restrictions. However, apparently lock-down only temporarily delays the virus and once it ends the spread will inevitably continue to people who have no resistance. The policy of lock-down will ultimately only work if it lasts until there is a vaccine.

      Meanwhile Bremen cases jumped from 4 to 22 overnight – in theory Germany could be like Italy before the end of next week, which means people will probably be panic buying before lock-down – I’ve only done a bit for just essentials with plenty of chocolate and wine 🙂

      1. Werder,

        Sensible man, chocolate and wine. I’d have added some lovely German Beer but panic buying toilet rolls? Quite bizarre. Last year in Venezuela they were shooting one another over toilet rolls.

        We were going to Leigh on sea on Saturday for newest grandson’s first birthday but the Boss said we stay at home therefore it’s the two Bs, Boro and some Beer.

        Stay fit everyone,

        UTB,

        John

  147. When Patrick Roberts comes back Fletcher and Brit will start , because he will see their runs,
    The season now is at at a point ,when we should start showing some of the qualities other teams don’t have , other teams will burn out, Ferguson new this .
    Burn out because they depend on working their knackers off,
    I’m saying we should , but our players are inconsistent , that is our biggest problem, but I’m convinced it has to finally show.

  148. Sometimes you just have to smile.

    Virus conference gets cancelled due to virus
    A coronavirus conference has been cancelled because of the coronavirus, according to a Bloomberg report

  149. My favourite travel smile involved Ken Livingston when Mayor of London.

    He was on a flight to New York with two colleagues that was delayed by US air traffic control problems so he publicly lambasted the airline. A bit unfair really.

    The airline was Silverjet. It operated for a year and flew ex Thomson 767’s, business class only, seating 100 passengers rather than the 280 for holiday flights.

    Ken and his two colleagues were going to a conference on global warming.

    Couldn’t make it up.

  150. I’ve tried to be objective and unbiased on the Gazette Championship predictor and allowing for the prospect that Boro might only win one more game and thus accruing 48 points, that should be enough to stave off relegation by 2 points and finish in 20th position. But we all know how this League works and 53 points might not even be enough.

    As for covid19 this disease is almost making us all lepers and afraid to come into contact with anyone who might have been in
    contact with someone who might have been in contact with someone who might have been in contact with someone who might have been in contact with someone who might have been in contact with someone, etc.

    Surely if everyone just took sensible hygiene precautions etc, but it just takes one person to be part of the weakest link and there you have the current situation. I’m one of the brigade who is forever washing their hands, and some people might class that as excessive compulsion which is a habit hard to break, but with all my health problems I’m still alive at 82 years of age, but then what do I know?

  151. Ken
    I find it incredible in this day and age that people need to be told to wash their hands properly.
    I have to say I’m a compulsive hand washer like you.
    I encounter difficulty with this when using public facilities (try finding hot water and soap at the Riverside, for example) so I have Hand Gel in my car.
    Whilst accepting that this is a seriously bad virus, it seems that panic is the reaction to so many issues these days and common sense has gone by the board.
    But, like you, what do I know?

  152. Good news on the finance front with MFC posting a profit of nearly £2M in the year to June 2019.

    A review of the accounts at Companies House reveals that the support of subsidiary companies has increased by £12M during the year confirming just how much SG is committed to the club and how much the club is still reliant on his support.

    I think this indicates that SG is still fully committed to the club and that criticism to the contrary is unfounded.

    Undeniably mistakes have been made by both SG and senior officials and at least SG has recently acknowledged the fact publicly.

    It remains to be seen if lessons have been learnt, that mistakes of the past will not be repeated and that MFC do not find other ingenious ways of making a mess of things.

    Given recent past performance I, for one, am not holding my breath. 😎

    1. Thanks for that KP, funnily enough I checked out the companies house website yesterday and it said the club accounts had been submitted and were under review and would be available in 5 days – I guess the review was quicker than they thought 🙂

      Anyway, I’m not an accountant so sometimes struggle with the jargon in accounts but it looks to me like the running costs of the the club were around £6.5m and possibly the wage bill was £27.6m – which were offset by receipts from player sales of just over £33m. Turnover is listed at £55m, which I presume includes the £35m parachute payments plus income from ticket sales and sponsorship and EFL prize money.

      Though to be honest making sense of the vague labels in the accounts probably means something different – so I’ll leave the deciphering to the experts 🙂

      Here’s the link if anyone wants a look at the accounts…

        1. I’m not particularly surprised by that as I think Tony Pulis more or less said he had to sell Traore, Gibson and Bamford to balance the books. So I understood that ‘Profit on sales of registrations’ meant transfers but I’m not entirely sure what ‘Player amortisation and impairments’ exactly represents – whether it means both wages and money owed on transfers (i.e. the fee spread over the length of each players contract) plus any depreciation of a players current value. It’s hard to guess!

    2. My take on the accounts it is a negative one (I know, huge surprise). I may be misunderstanding or oversimplifying something but to me a £2 million profit in a season with parachute payments bolstered by the sales of Traore and Gibson for a combined 33 million means a huge black hole looming fast (i.e. this season).

      There have been some major wages jettisoned with the likes of Downing and Flint gone plus Besic and I’d imagine that JOM was on a good package and with Randolph sold in January but even so there will be around £60m difference because of the loss of Parachute income and those sales. Attendances are down as well which is now a major income source and those early bird season card sales will be going down faster than Hull City Tigers.

      Please someone tell me I don’t know what I’m looking at and reading too much into it all!

      1. Speaking as a non-accountant, football accounts always appear to be presented in such a way as to make what the amounts actually relate to be less obvious and unclear. There used to be a campaign for plain English to make legal speak actually have an understandable meaning but there should be a similar move in accountancy practice to make numbers and labels actually clear to what they are describing. I’ve never understand why it has to be something akin to a masonic ritual!

      2. Like any set of accounts you need to look at the underlying figures and not just rely upon the headlines which can sometimes be very misleading or give a false impression.

        The positives are that by taking the action they have done MFC have turned in a profit. Whilst the income is falling (expected as parachute payments run down) so are the expense figures.

        Salaries at the next accounts will be considerably lower. All of the players you mentioned were still on the books for the year in question and the savings on salary will not really impact until the next set of figures, added to which we will benefit further from those players whose contracts are not renewed at the end of June eg RG (fingers crossed).

        At the end of all this, MFC should be more sustainable but unlikely to cover its outgoings without continued support from SG and possibly through astute player turnover.

        Not ideal but I suspect no different from the majority of clubs in the Championship and a lot better than many. 😎

  153. It seems unfortunate that fiscal responsibility can be reflected in a poor league position. There seems to be a pattern of success only coming when clubs play fast and loose with P&S rules.

    Of course this can also lead to fines and point deductions. For every Bournemouth, Leicester, Wolves etc, there is a Birmingham, Sheffield Wednesday, QPR.

    SG may well be able to occupy the moral high ground against clubs like Derby County, but at what cost to success in the pitch?

    With regard to the latest reporting of Covid19, it seems my understanding of the term LOCKDOWN!!!! differs vastly to what is actually happening in Italy.

  154. A report in the Telegraph online shows that the biggest stock pilers of toilet rolls are in the South East with sales around 6 x normal.

    The north tends to be around to 1-2 times normal sales.

    My analysis?

    This could be due to the north being more frugal or using some common sense.

    It could also be due to southerners being full of ……

    1. Toilet Rolls? Decadent indulgence!

      What’s wring with cut up newspapers ( arguably their best use) threaded on a piece of string hanging off a nail.

  155. Five days left here in Egypt and no sign of the virus, fingers crossed. The manager said bookings are well down for April though. All the Egyptian staff are brilliant and very friendly and always like to shake your hand. But now they have be told that has to stop. We always carry antibacterial gel whatever country we are in. Tonight in the restaurant it is Italian night, no Italians just the food!

  156. It certainly is a problem for some people with IBS or in my case a tortuous colon. Occasionally I can use a whole toilet roll and half a packet of baby wipes in one sitting, and in some establishments abroad you are advised not to flush either down the toilet but use the waste bin provided. I’m not happy about that but it is preferable to the embarrassment of blocking the sewerage system.

    1. I can relate to that Ken. When Britt steps up to take a Penalty I can often go through a four pack of Cushelle and an entire packet of wipes and thats just during the run up!

      Thanks to Steely at least I now know to keep the iPad well out of the way!

  157. Catching up a bit and I have had a quick look at the accounts. As Werder says, they are designed to confuse and the historical nature of them means that they are out out date by the time we all look at them! Add to that the fact that the balance sheet is a snapshot on that one day.

    In my past life, I was always looking to see what has happened to the cash position and the liquidity so on that basis, whilst the net current liquidity has improved, although still insolvent, the amount of the loans to SG have seen a net increase of £13m.

    To my mind that shows that in cash terms a loss of £13m regardless of what the PNL shows!

    I will look at in more detail later.

    1. Edited to say that I have seen that a bank loan of £7m was paid off so only £6m worse off in cash terms. Without SG putting money in, then the club would have needed loans to stay afloat. But we all know that anyway!

      Difficult to fully understand without knowing what is included in the admin expenses element and how the amortization is calculated but if you exclude the profit on sales then a loss of £31m seen compared to loss of £21m the year before.

      My caveat is that football club accounts, just like football, are not like any normal business accounts!

      1. I feel a bit better BBD knowing that even people au fait with accountancy jargon are sometimes not entirely sure what the figures represent. It’s almost like football clubs don’t want us to know what and how they’re spending and receiving money…

  158. Just a quick update on the corona virus situation over here – It sounds like Germany is preparing for a big announcement, possibly on Friday, that may include measures to lock down the country – such as closing schools and encouraging working from home. Mrs Werder now works for the government and they’ve sent a mail about a meeting tomorrow where they’re planning on making arrangements for everyone to work at home.

    Angela Merkel mentioned today that unless Germany does something soon then 70% of the population could catch the virus. It all points to Italy-type measures being introduced sooner rather than later and perhaps they will start on Monday so everyone will need to be informed on Friday.

    I also wouldn’t be surprised to see the UK follow close behind – especially as the WHO have now officially declared the corona virus a global pandemic. Italy is warning other countries to take measures sooner rather than later before their health services become overwhelmed by the volume of cases.

    On the positive side, it seems they’ve been testing some drug that appear to work in treating the worst cases from becoming fatal. In addition, I learned today from the German expert on the radio that if you’ve regularly had the seasonal flu injection (which I thankfully I have) it normally includes a vaccine that protects against Pneumococcal infections, which are caused by the bacterium Streptococcus pneumoniae and can lead to pneumonia, septicaemia – this is one of the more serious conditions caused by the corona virus.

    I suspect this weekend will be the last time football games in the UK will be played in front of crowds as the evidence suggests large gatherings are too risky – particularly as it was reported today that Italy found that 45% of people who tested positive for corona virus displayed none or almost no symptoms – but they can still pass the virus on to others!

    1. I feel that there are some odd decisions being made, or rather not being made in this country and others.

      Singapore would appear to have kept it under control by being very disciplined at the start whilst others, Italy and IMHO the UK, have been a bit lax.

      I still am still amazed that we have been letting folk back in from high risk areas with the advice to self isolate only if they display symptoms. Surely too late by then!

      Still, we have our wonderful leader in charge to laugh it off as a but of a jape!

      1. Countries make decisions based on what they want to achieve – for many they don’t want to disrupt the economy until they have to. Trump has treated the virus much like he treats climate change in that if he pretends it’s not happening it will just go away – unfortunately, unlike climate change, it’s not something he’ll never discover the consequence of as it will happen in his lifetime!

  159. I feel sorry for Liverpool supporters. It looks like they might miss the chance to cheer on their first ever Premiership win, if games have to be played behind closed doors.

    1. Or even worse if the season is suspended if the players also catch the virus and whole clubs have to place their staff and players in quarantine – which would in theory be spread over many weeks for different clubs as it would unlikely happen all at the same time.

  160. It also now sounds like this year’s European Championships are unlikely to go ahead with UEFA now being asked to consider postponing them until next year. They were planned to take place in several countries (including Italy) but they are due to start in just three months and there’s no way the corona virus outbreak will be over by then – no country will want fans travelling from everywhere unless there’s no risk of spreading disease from countries who may possibly still be around peak cases.

    Apparently UEFA are still insisting the event will go ahead as scheduled – shakes head…

    1. Nothing to do with the money perchance!?

      Given where we are and where it looks like we are unfortunately heading, it should be an easy decision one would have thought.

  161. Werder

    Thanks for your insights in to the virus in the UK, Germany and Italy.

    It prompted me to do some digging in to figures. As you rightly say we are behind Germany in terms of numbers.

    Some figures in terms of diagnosed cases, F = France, the rest follow, G does not mean Guam!

    20/02 F 12, G 16, UK 9, I 3
    25/02 F 14, G 17, UK 13, I 332
    02/03 F 191, G 159, UK 39. I 2036
    07/03 F 949, G 800, UK 209, I 5883
    11/03 F 2281, G 1908, UK 456, I 12462

    I thought it was just because of where we are but countries in Europe seemed to prov me wrong. Then the penny dropped, Austria, Switzerland, the Benelux etc have smaller populations so the numbers may be lower, the percentage may be typical. I haven’t the figures

    My thoughts are it is demographics and our turn will come.

    There will be some who say our officials are stupid, they will be working off the same information and models as others. There will be some saying Brexit has kept the infections down, others that if we had voted to remain there would be – 456 case.

    Lets wait and see. batten the hatches.

    1. The other issue is that the more people you test for corona virus the more cases you will find and in theory better control the spread.

      For example Bahrain is the best with nearly 5,000 tests per million population, then comes South Korea with 4,000 – Italy is currently up to 1,000 per million and the UK is at nearly 400 per million. Germany’s figures are hard to find as it’s a decentralised federation of states who control their own testing – the United States is ridiculously low at a about 25 per million people but that data is not even being shared with the government as it’s all done by private health companies. So the numbers are related to just how hard a country is often looking – or mostly based on hospitalised cases

      1. And of course it doesn’t help that the number of recovered people are not being mentioned, thus giving a different picture.

        The last time I looked there were something like 62,000 recovered whilst the media and to a degree the WHO keep saying the number who have tested positive, ignoring the recovery rates.

        The testing numbers is very relevant as I suspect that there are many people who have not been tested but probably have a mild form of Covid 19.

        1. In theory 99 percent of everyone who gets the corona virus will recover – it’s just that maybe if 15% require hospital treatment to do so then keeping the numbers down is critical if health systems are to cope. The problem is that while 45% may have little or no symptoms they can still pass on the infection to those who suffer a worse reaction. It’s whether some countries like the US will suddenly become unable to cope because they’re not set up to handle the unknown spread due to lack of testing and controls.

      2. We are coping very well in Bahrain but we have strict laws here and so far everyone is following them. We also have enough testing kits to cope with limited demand. This epidemic has been on the cards since the middle of January and everyone has been planning for it since then. As we a crossroads country we are always sensitive to these outbreaks. Still for 1.5 million people we still have nearly 200 cases but all of them have a known history and trace. So far there is relatively little unknown transmission. Take care you guys as it looks like UK is out of control.

  162. With Trump now declaring a ban on flights from Europe into the US for 30 days (apart from the UK and Ireland) it seems inevitable that at some stage the UK will likely impose travel restrictions to Europe and further afield as we enter an inevitable lockdown.

    In footballing terms as Werder has said Clubs will likely be struck down at different times so I think its highly likely that the Football season will have to be frozen and delayed until late Summer with a follow on delayed start to next season with maybe only a four week gap.

    1. I guess it is inevitable that games will be cancelled at some point. Although, it’s hard to say how a suspended season could be finished in late summer as some clubs will lose quite a lot of their players when their contracts finish at the end of June. In reality, after this weekend the Championship has 8 games remaining so it will probably be a scramble to get as many games played before they are suspended.

  163. Maybe they need to think about splitting each league into two for the next season if this one gets delayed till summer.

    That way they will be able to fit all the fixtures in the normal months and there could be a lot more excitement as promotion and relegation will be still a realistic possibility for most teams for most of the season….

    1. I guess cancelling the League Cup next season would help, perhaps also the FA Cup (at least replays) and I’m sure international breaks could be curtailed too as four two-week breaks are a bit of an indulgence. The difficulty in reducing games is whether something could be arranged that doesn’t leave clubs losing gate money. Perhaps there could be some kind of Championship-League One combination to make Championship A and B with 16 teams each, where the winners get promoted and others qualify for some kind of play-off for the other place.

  164. BBD – re MFC Accounts

    “but if you exclude the profit on sales then a loss of £31m seen compared to loss of £21m the year before.”

    Is that really a fare assessment of how the business is trading given that part of the business is the buying and selling of players?

    You would not assess the performance of a garage business which repairs cars and also buys and sells them based on excluding the profit/loss of car sales when assessing the overall performance. You could however isolate parts of the business to assess the individual contribution to overall performance.

    Irrespective of all that, we all know that football is a rich man’s hobby and very few operate a sustainable business model.

    What is clear is that without SG’s support MFC would quickly go to the wall.

    In my assessment, on the limited Information available, the club appears to be moving the model toward a more sustainable position. 😎

    1. KP – fair point. The underlying trend was for reducing losses as we cut our expenditure and I was trying to see by how much. The position has improved, I agree but still reliant on SG to a very large extent!

      As I said, the make up of the accounts make analysis difficult – for example does the player amortization include just the transfer fees paid or does it also include the write down of total value of the contract including wages?

  165. Just a quick update on the potential of having people work at home – Mrs Werder had her meeting this morning about the plan to have everyone working from home. Those in charge concluded that their IT systems wouldn’t be able to cope with the number of people needing to log-in to their server – so they decided to continue as normal until the situation gets worse and then just have everyone stay at home.

    I guess that’s what will happen in most places of work!

  166. It is very tricky. You cannot run factories with people sat at home, people in the building trade cant lay bricks sat watching the TV, buses and trains dont drive themselves, the emergency services cant operate remotely.

    1. And that is the dilemma facing our Government and others. How do you slow the transmission of the virus so that the health services are not over run and can’t cope with the serious cases.

      My wife and I were saying today that what is needed is some curbs and the population to self restrict movements for the greater good. Unfortunately in our society today that is unlikely to happen as many people only think of themselves.

      1. We were due to fly back to the UK toward the end of this month to meet our second grandchild whose arrival is imminent any day now.

        Flights and car hire all booked and paid for. Having discussed with my son, in the interests of every ones health we have now decided to postpone our trip until the position becomes much clearer and safer.

        Have managed to switch flights and car hire to October but at a cost of c.£300. Not cheap but needs must and health of self and family are priceless! 😎

      2. Likewise KP, we are due to take the ferry over to Hull for the Easter weekend but that looks extremely unlikely at the moment – though P&O’s ‘Super Saver’ ticket (which is neither super or in anyway a saver of money) is 100% non-refundable if you don’t travel on that particular date 🙁 so that’s €500 gone!

    1. No real surprise, many of us on here had been predicting this would happen some weeks ago once we got dragged back into the relegation mire.

      I suppose all we can hope for is that we stay up and that those who want to stay and who we can afford agree to new deals.

      If not, then the recruitment team are going to have their work cut out and the prospect of recruiting numerous players from lower leagues fills me with dread based on the previous purchases of Bola, Browne and Dijksteel! 😎

  167. So the Spanish league has been suspended for at least two weeks, Scotland looks likely to cancel events over 500 people and Ireland has now closed all schools and universities. It also sounds like German schools are going to close in the next week too.

    1. And waiting with baited breath as to what Johnson and gang will do! An article I read today said that a previous public health senior person was very scathing about what the U.K. were doing at the moment!

      1. Yes. Our beloved government are sticking to the ‘Keep calm and carry on’ angle. Keep on washing your hands, and if you’re aged and decrepit, think about cancelling your cruise. Breathtakingly complacent.

  168. I would be interested to see how the coronavirus compares to SARS, swine flu, Zika, and other epidemics from the past and what effect social media and 24hr rolling news has had on the reaction and impact to daily life.

    1. My view is that it makes a bad situation worse. Sadly folk tend to believe social media than the experts and the media have a tendency to have headlines that mislead.

      So I am waiting to see the headline that says how many people Will die from this.

      1. Well if the chief medical officer is saying that they’re still working on the assumption that up to 80% of the UK population could get the corona virus then you’re talking 1-2% of 80% of 67m – which is between 500,000 to a million people may die in countries like the UK and Germany.

        The other worry is that medical officials are suggesting that 10,000 people in the UK already have the virus – which is 20 times higher than the official number. The other concern is that a recent studies from Singapore and China show that between two-thirds and three-quarters of those who got infected were infected by people who weren’t displaying symptoms. Therefore, the recent advice to stay at home if you have symptoms such as a fever or cough are almost meaningless in stopping the spread.

        We’re are entering a period where we can’t be certain of any outcome and being confident of avoiding the virus may be almost impossible unless you just avoid people!

  169. And so we approach yet another ‘must not lose’ game. Number 7 in a series of 22. We’ve performed better in the three most recent games, and at last broke the losing/drawing streak last week. But that will count for very little if we don’t maintain the momentum. By all accounts we were better than Charlton, but still weren’t convincing, so although the win will have boosted confidence, I imagine that this must still be fragile. And after Swansea we have five tough away games and just 3 at home, with all three against difficult opponents. So this is one we mustn’t lose.

    Who plays this weekend will be critical. I notice that Gestede is once again injured. He must be tired after his recent exertions. Bless. I would definitely play two up front, and it would be good to give Morrison a run out. We might possibly have Fry and Roberts available against Swansea, but I would not play either of them just yet – I think they need more time, and I want to keep Patrick in particular fresh for the remaining fixtures. He could be crucial.

    Am I optimistic about Saturday? Not massively. We should have enough to beat the Swans, but if we were to concede first, that would make life difficult. Would I settle for a point? Only if we can’t force the win, obviously. And we must see every player busting a gut and fighting to win every ball.

    1. Agree that it is a must not lose game and preferably a win game.

      I am hoping to drive up as due to the vagaries of the fixtures and family events, will probably not be able to get again until the final must win game at home! I am hoping that we will be safe by then ………… hang in I have woken up from my dream!

      I too want to see every player giving it their all and JW will have to give a damn good motivational team talk – not that the players should need it though in the circumstances.

      Team wise, then I would like to see a 3 5 1 1 set up with Coulson and Spence as the wing backs, back 3 of Howson Moukoudi and Shotton. Clayton McNair and Tav with Wing playing a number 10 role to Fletcher our front.

      We shall see but my early prediction which is subject to change is for a 2 0 victory for Boro.

      UTB

  170. Werder

    Posting in hope, we started in the UK with the same numbers as Italy, France and Germany. We are now trailing them by some distance.

    Why that is I dont know but hopefully it will carry on, My thoughts are with everyone, anywhere, who may be affected. There may posters on here from different paces.

    Merkel says 70% may become infected – that is a worst case scenario. UK says 80%. That is chuff all difference.

    I think that for most countries the horse has bolted, in reality it probably bolted before anyone realised that Lord Lucan had already left the building on Shergar.

    Sadly there are journalists who just want a story to whom good news on not so bad news is distressing. I always watched Drop the Dead Donkey. What is more they would delight if things went wrong. It is a sad reflection on our media.

    1. Sadly so very true Ian. The media want to make it worse for some reason- it really frustrates me when the headlines do not reflect what was said or take things out of context

  171. As someone who works in palliative care, commenting on football seems rather trivial. There is a difference of opinion about how much to “lockdown”. I’m generally supportive of the government’s approach but there really should be a halt on large gatherings right now.

    As for the match. I think we play better with two strikers but I also think we need to keep with the basic shape and players who have, possibly, stopped the rot. I have been critical of McNair but I thought Woodgate’s comments were interesting and McNair has earned his recall. If Gestede is fit then he’s also earned the right to continue. I think Tav has struggled on the right of a three so perhaps Spence could get a start. Hopefully Roberts is fit enough for a place on the bench.

    If Coulson isn’t fit then we may have to play with wing-backs because no other player can close down from that position in the way Coulson can. In that case I would like to see us be brave with Spence and Johnson as wingbacks, Howson, Shotton and Moukoudi in centre. Wing, McNair and Clayton in midfield with Fletcher and Gestede up front.

    Absolutely no idea how this is going to go. I can see a situation where neither team is properly focused on the game.

    1. Maybe the football authorities should take their own decisions rather than rely on government. Don’t expect that to happen as there is too much money at stake which for them seems to be the driving force rather than health.

      1. I think its highly unlikely that games will go ahead tomorrow. Just think about the Swansea fans in a Coach for 12 hours there and back and the high likelihood of a carrier who isn’t presenting symptoms. Throw in a packed concourse with people coughing and sneezing and its a perfect storm.

        There is a lot of hysteria now because of the media and it seems to me to be almost an air of them revelling in it by having increased viewing figures and each trying to outdo the other in their doomsday scenarios. If this was the 50’s, 60’s or 70’s nobody would have a clue what was going on and would be just going about their business blissfully unaware.

        Ignorance isn’t bliss but unfortunately the Chinese authorities playing King Canute last Autumn left the stable doors wide open. At this stage I would be far more interested in some strong analysis and International Political pressure of exactly how and why it started and why the Chinese authorities thought that like the Internet they could just simply switch it off and hush it all up.

        As Mogga would say “it is what it is”, we can’t do much now but we can at least try and show some common sense. Football isn’t that important in the grand scheme of things.

      2. It sounds logical to at the very least to stop away fans travelling as they spend far longer together and often as you say confined in a bus. However, this is not the advice being given by the government. It’s far better to make stronger signals to change behaviour and not wait until it’s obvious that it’s better to avoid being too close to people that could be infected.

  172. Whilst you canno blame the Chinese for everything, this is one that you can. Once again.
    I think that Ian is correct in that the horse has bolted. How far the catch, that is the question.
    I am however not in agreement with all this “whinging” about the Government. They are taking “expert” advice. Whether it will turn out correct again time will tell.
    For me because people do not like Boris, any decision he makes is rubbish. I wonder what the take would be if Blair was still PM?

    1. The government are in a no win situation as whatever they do, someone will always criticize them. You only have to look at the press to see the reactions. Daily Mail readers moaning that nit doing enough but the same folk would complain if they couldn’t go about their normal lifestyle.

      And as for the coverage, I am with RR in that the sensational co edge does no one any favours and makes a bad situation worse.

      The herd nature of humans means that if the government say don’t panic, they will panic buy,witness the loo roll situation! It that I can understand that – we still have plenty from our Brexit stockpile that we accumulated over a period of time!!

  173. The argument being repeated by social behaviourists for doing nothing has been if you stop people going to the football and instead play games behind closed doors, then people will just go down the pub and watch the game in a confined indoor space – which is a more contagious environment. Rather amusingly, when challenged with the counter-argument that then just cancel the game, the reply was that then if people have nothing to do they’ll just go to the pub anyway.

    It sounds like the British are just going to go down the pub and get infected quicker than if everything continued as normal. Though it would be difficult to use that argument against closing schools – at least primary schools anyway…

  174. We wont know if our experts have got it right or not until the pandemic has largely played out.

    I still dont understand why we dont have similar numbers of cases as Germany, Italy, Spain with populations of roughly the same size.

    As posted before I did wonder if it was because the channel is a bit of a border but much smaller populations such as Norway have more cases and they have sea between them and mainland Europe. Sweden is similar.

    It is a case of wait and see. I cant see football matches being played for much longer.

  175. Ian, the UK don’t have as many confirmed cases as other countries because of two reasons – 1. they’re earlier on the curve (about five days behind Germany) but the rate of new cases are the same and will double every 3-4 days – 2. they’re probably not testing as much as other countries and the test results are taking longer to get back (average of 4 days versus 4 hours in China)

    They estimate that the UK has probably got 10,000 cases and an Italian doctor has said this morning that it takes around 4 weeks for a patient infected with corona virus to die from the effects. He also said the severity of the pneumonia in patients was worse than with seasonal flu and it also has been directly causing inflammation of the heart.

    The other issue for the UK is that it has far fewer intensive care beds than other European countries – for example the UK has just over 4,000 while Germany has almost 30,000 – Italy has around 8,000 but has said they’re now only a few days away from running out.

    That’s why I think it’s too big a risk to keep waiting before introducing measures to slow the virus down. Lower Saxony, where we live (and the whole of Germany), has just announced schools will now be closed for a month at least. The UK has to slow the spread by taking measures to avoid close contact otherwise the health service will soon be unable to cope.

    The chief scientific officer said they want to develop a herd immunity but he quantified that as 60% of the population – which can’t be allowed to happen in even 6 months otherwise you’re talking about 40m cases and no country could cope with that. The herd immunity theory is what will eventually happen after a few years not a few months. At the moment the UK is alone in the world in not taking serious measures – are all the other scientists from other countries wrong? I think the maths needs looking at.

    1. Talking to family and friends about the Covid and we started thinking that from around Xmas time we have all had a violent dose of flu which we had put down to having the jab.

      Really bad chest, temperature and lasted for three weeks. Some like me are still struggling.

      Could it be that perhaps we are already infected with Covid and didn’t know????

      OFB

  176. Well it’s D-day for me today, as it probably will be shortly for Malcolm and any other Boro fans needing to get home to Blighty. It’s not like the evacuation from Dunkirk when the enemy was the Germans, but it it’s still a concern when the enemy is a pandemic disease. I’m just keeping my fingers crossed to get home safely now.

    I anticipate that the meeting today will see the postponement of all football matches probably until June. The options then being for all clubs to play twice a week with the season ending in August and the new season starting in late September as no club wants to continue playing out the season behind closed doors. We’ll just have to wait and see, but at the moment football is the last thing on my mind.

    1. Safe journey Ken (and Malcolm) and as GHW just said it’s time to take control of what you can do to keep yourself as safe as possible.

      Whether the football season is either suspended or even curtailed completely only time will tell but general opinion is that a corona vaccine won’t be available until next year so even next season is likely to be disrupted too.

  177. I see the BBC, Sky, CH4, et al are wheeling out all the usual suspects to slag off Boris Johnson and the government.

    This is not surprising but it’s increasingly tiresome. The government can only act on the scientific advice they are given. I prefer to follow the advice of informed scientists rather than an embittered rent a quote individuals political agenda.

    1. Since the government and their scientific advisors have chosen to take a contrasting approach compared to nearly all other countries they have to defend their actions – OK scientific opinion is never universal but it has to be evidence based and at the moment the government is putting a lot of weight on social behaviourist arguments that people won’t be able to keep up with measures for too long – they may find when it becomes life or death people will put up with a lot. The German scientific arguments I’ve listened to has been urging far stronger measures for some time now and doing everything to slow the spread is vital to reducing the number of cases.

      1. I’ve had other issues to deal with this week as Mrs OFB had a TIA mini stroke Monday night which was a scare.

        Gave our season tickets away to my son and grandson and now they’ve cancelled all football !

        OFB

    2. Politicians have no more knowledge than most of us on here on most things let alone the virus. They are people employed to do a job and make decisions. Some you get right and some you get wrong but either way damned if they do and damned if they don’t.

      Even the “experts” seem to have conflicting views on when, where and how many will die as well as how to minimise the threat. If your doctor prescribes you something you generally follow their advice so in this instance the Government seem to be following what one set of experts are telling them even though experts in other countries are handling it differently.

      The cynic in me suspects that at the Cobra meeting there was perhaps a choice of putting the Country on lockdown creating panic and even more chaos with thousands dying and the NHS unable to cope or to keep things reasonably normal for as long as possible with the NHS unable to cope and thousands dying. If there are not enough medical resources and facilities to cope then maybe the decision was taken to accept the inevtable and choose “B” instead of “A”.

      I think its fair to say that whether we agree or disagree with the Government their decision is like Boro signing a new Striker, to some he will be the saviour and to others a donkey before even a ball is kicked. Only when the season is over will we know who was right and who was wrong and even then he will probably score thirteen goals leaving opinions split.

    3. Sorry to hear that OFB, its probably an age related thing but its the third TIA that I have heard about just this month! Hope she recovers fully and gets well soon.

    1. You may have a point there Werder.

      The Brexit Void has to be filled. Now that the Bushfires have all been extinguished and the floods have subsided along comes Coronavirus like manna from heaven, to keep the media rolling along.

      We need Nigel to form a new Crexit party to take back control of our NHS.

      How long before Crexit is a front page headline…..

    2. We will have Buses next with slogans declaring an extra Million a week for the NHS!

      How people interpret it of course could be the subject of much debate between the Remainers and the Lockdowners.

    1. Even so from memory I think it was in the winter of 1949 when the season finished in June. But certainly in 1963 I’m fairly sure that Boro didn’t play a match for at least 6 weeks between January and March with the FA Cup 3rd Round match at Blackburn being postponed several times. Typically when it was played it ended in a draw with the replay taking place a week later on a Monday which Boro won and had to play Leeds 5 days later which was the scheduled day for the 5th Round. I’ve not been able to find how many matches were postponed in those two winters, but it’s generally accepted that high falls of snow accounted for the 1948/49 winter postponements, but as well as snow it was the big freeze of ice in 1963 that was the problem.

  178. OFB

    So sorry to hear of Mrs OFB’s TIA. We send our best wishes to you both and wish her a full and speedy recovery.

    As always, there are more important things in life than a football game. 😎

  179. The Aussie government have also taken a softer line, although we are seeing stimulas and a halt in mass gatherings.
    No school closures, also no toilet rolls, seems the former inhabitants of the nation that started this were miles ahead of the ” she’ll be right ” aussies in stock piling. Who do you see on TV wearing masks? our company needs masked to survive and cannot get them. Personally havnt seen toilet rolls in store for two weeks and may have to see out the pandemic wiping my backside on kitchen roll.

  180. Dont mean to bang on about toilet roll but I dont have any confidence in the government’s ability to stem the pandemic when they cannot control the fair distribution of loo rolls through the supermarkets.
    On a lighter note,
    This virus could be Boros saviour

  181. A spin off from sport in general and football in particular being cancelled. Mrs G has got her eye on stockpiling. Not food or toilet rolls but paint.

    Yes, instead of watching sport it will be paint drying. And grass cutting and weed culling.

  182. Thankfully I’m fairly stocked up with toilet rolls and baby wipes at home. My main concern is will my car start as I have a huge amount of shopping to do and visits next week to my doctor for a blood test and hormone injection, and two visits to James Cook to see my cancer consultant to also receive my hormone tablets, and also my urologist to insert a new catheter tube.

    However, hope that OFB’s wife is feeling much better.

  183. If we ever get to see football played before June the good news is that hopefully we should have Fry and Ayala fit along with Roberts, Coulson, Gestede and maybe even Dijksteel and Friend. There again many Players may be out of contract and free agents by the time play resumes (assuming it does) so what sort of side do or can we field then? Maybe Contracts will have a rolling three month extension introduced in the meantime?

    June is supposed to be the peak month so perhaps it will be August before a modicum of “normality” returns. Two games a week would take 5 to 6 weeks to complete running into mid September. A four week Autumn break then would mean a new season kicking off in mid October.

    Cancelling all International breaks may help a bit and switching the Champions League to a straight Knock Out or even scrapping it altogether along with the Europa League and League Cup would ease build ups. Sky and BT will be feeling the pinch as there subscriptions drop out faster than Boro’s early bird renewals. The Euro finals surely cannot take place so the cash flowing into Football will be seriously curtailed.

    In the midst of all this how are Clubs going to survive and pay bills with many if not most trading at a loss? Some of those Clubs may be higher up the food chain than many would anticipate.

    1. Yes, it’s hard to see how if it’s not wise to play games now then exactly when circumstances have changed to make it a good idea. Personally, I don’t even think next season will be much better as the models predict another spike of cases later in the year once the current one subsides and restriction ease or the winter weather arrives – plus possibly the same next year until either a vaccine has been produced or as they say 60% of the population have had the virus.

  184. I can see many clubs unable to survive this and a glut of players scrapping for contracts going forward. This could get very ugly in a short space of time.
    But its only a game, not a matter of live and death, much less important than that