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Birmingham v BORO
 

Birmingham v BORO

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Birmingham City v BORO (St Andrew's 12th March 2024 ko 3pm).

Well, here we are at last! This game was supposed to be played on 27th January 2024, but was postponed due to the Blues' continued presence in the FA Cup, and is therefore now back in the fixture list. So MUCH has changed...

Birmingham City away, the former Small Heath Rangers, whose supporters revel in the nickname "Bluenoses". The team from England's 2nd city - a city which finds itself currently in financial disarray, like others such as Nottingham. The story of the cities seem almost an allegory for the financial health of many football clubs, generally. Birmingham City is one of the oldest of all English (and by extension, the world's) Football league clubs.

We will leave aside for the moment Crystal Palace, recently arguing it was founded in 1861 (a date which would, by miraculous coincidence, have made it the oldest league club still playing football!). Apparently Crystal Palace FC ceased playing fixtures in 1876 and newspapers in 1905 reported the founding of the "current" Crystal Palace as a new club (whose club crest, as one might expect, gave the founding date as 1905). In June 2022 the club altered the crest date to 1861. Who said you can't re-write history? Winston Smith disagrees! The oldest league clubs still in existence and playing football are generally OFFICIALLY accepted to be Notts County (1862), Stoke City (1863) the mighty Wrexham (Wrecsam) (1864), Nottingham Forest (1865), Sheffield Wednesday (1867), Reading (1871), Aston Villa AND Bolton Wanderers (1874) and then Birmingham City and Blackburn Rovers (1875). For information BORO comes next (18th February) and Port Vale, both in 1876 (though recent research suggests 1879 is the more likely date for Vale). In other words, Birmingham City would appear to be the 9th or 10th oldest club (and BORO a noteworthy 11th) in England & Wales.

In Scotland we have Queen's Park (1867), Kilmarnock (1869), Rangers FC (1872) and Heart of Midlothian (1874) which are the only clubs founded around the time of the above-named English Clubs. Adding those early Scottish clubs would relegate Birmingham to 13th or 14th and BORO to 15th in the "all-time list" (excluding schools and university teams). No other country in the world has continuing league football clubs founded so long ago.

If we go into the rest of Europe and the Rest of the World, Le Havre AC was founded in France as an athletics and rugby club in 1872 but didn't start to play ASSOCIATION football on a regular basis until 1894. Kjobenhvns Boldklub in Denmark was founded in 1876 as a multi-sports club but despite on some sites being said to be one of the very first football clubs, football and cricket only started to be played there from 1879 which still makes it the oldest football club in continental Europe (ie not including the UK or Ireland), but not older than Birmingham or BORO. Lima Cricket & Football Club was founded by the city's British expat community in Peru in 1859 but the entity has changed its name many times as different sports became popular (it was known as Lima Cricket & Lawn Tennis Club in 1865) but its first recorded Association Football game was in 1892 so, again, not older than Birmingham or BORO. Although the Calcutta Cricket & Football Club was founded early, it was really a social, cricket and RUGBY football club for the British upper classes in India at first and the Indian FA for ASSOCIATION football was only established in 1893. In case anyone reading this should be interested, Helsingin Ponnistus was founded in Helsinki in 1887 and therefore is Finland's oldest club. In 1893 Argentina established the first national football league outside the UK.

So the purpose of this extended essay (which has grown like Topsy in the typing) is to make the point that the game between BORO and Birmingham City is a game between two of Association Football's really venerable "oldies". But where are those clubs now that 149 years have passed in the case of Birmingham City - 148 years in the case of BORO? In fact the Team in Red & White, reputed to play like Dynamite, finds itself in a better position in the football pyramid than most of the other "oldies" with only Aston Villa (lying 4th in the PL) and Forest (17th in the PL at the time of typing) above our Heroes. With BORO third highest in the list of 11 English clubs I listed, the rest of those venerable clubs can be found lower in The Championship table or in lower divisions, having fallen on hard times. So maybe NOT all as bad in our BORO-centric world as it sometimes feels.

And as befits two of the oldest clubs, out of all the teams currently in The Championship, and with only one exception, BORO has played more matches against Birmingham City (the earlier ones under that club's Small Heath name) than against any other club in England's second tier. The "exception" is the "It's NOT a derby Club" from Wearside. Against our northern neighbours the table kindly shown by @deleriad in his Opener for the QPR game, played on Saturday before this game, indicates BORO has played 80 games (W31, D24, L25), and against Birmingham City the figures are played 76 games (W32, D18, L26). So, to that extent, BORO has spent A LOT of seasons in the same league/division as Birmingham City though the figures relate to games between the clubs in whichever division the two clubs found themselves together. The two clubs are almost Family!

As chance would have it, I had the pleasure of preparing the Thread Starter for the reverse fixture, when BORO played Birmingham City at the Riverside Stadium on 21st October 2023. That match resulted in a pleasing 1-0 win courtesy of an 89th minute goal by Morgan Rogers after a Matt Crooks assist. It will not have escaped notice that both of those players were transferred from BORO in the January transfer window.

My earlier Birmingham Thread Starter contained references to the mountains of the world against which the match between the two teams, or even BORO's anticipated performance, might have been compared. Sadly, since then, BORO's results have rarely hit the sunlit peaks (none brighter or higher than Leicester City 1-2 BORO on 17th February at the same time Birmingham also won 2-1, at home to Sunderland). However, to continue the physical geography analogies which seem so apt for a Birmingham game, the occasional nunatak represented by the double achieved over Leicester City or the home win against similarly high-flying Southampton on 23rd September 2023 has been more than overridden by other poor results representing the sunless base underneath the continental ice sheet which surrounds the nunatak. For the most part those results have seen BORO buried deep below the level expected for a promotion-seeking Championship side. No sun shines deep down there, where the ice ends and rock begins.

I started this piece by saying that much has changed. At the time of the earlier fixture between the 2 clubs, Wayne Rooney had just taken up his appointment as manager of The Blues, with the club having sacked previous manager John Eustace despite Birmingham having just beaten local rivals West Brom in the previous match, and despite the club then being in a play-off position. Sadly the dreams of a march to glory under Wayne Rooney's leadership proved to be just that - dreams - as Rooney was sacked by the club in January after 15 games in charge (W2, D4, L9). Rooneys brief reign saw the club plummet from a Play-Off position to 20th place in the league (currently 21st whilst BORO stands in 11th place) and a potential relegation. Following Rooney into the dugout, on 8th January 2024 Birmingham City announced the appointment of BORO legend Tony Mowbray as its new manager. Mowbray had been been unaccountably sacked by Sunderland in December 2023 despite having done well at the Wearside club. To contine the merry-go-round, Sunderland has ALREADY parted company with Mowbray's replacement (Michael Beale who lasted for 12 games between 18th December 2023 and 19th February 2024) and appointed Mike Dodds to take over. Unfortunately it was announced on 19th February that Mowbray would step aside from day-to-day management of Birmingham City for 6-8 weeks to undergo medical treatment, so Mark Venus, who those at BORO know well, currently has charge of the team. More than merely "much" has changed, therefore! It seems as though nearly EVERYTHING has changed!

Since Our Legend took over at Birmingham, that team's League results can be compared with Boro's as follows:

Birmingham City (oldest first, most recent last)        BORO (same format)

CITY 2-2 Swansea (D)       13th Jan '24                   Millwall 3-1 BORO (L)
Stoke 1-2 CITY (W)           20th Jan                        BORO 1-1 Rotherham (D)
WBA 1-0 CITY (L)              3 Feb/4 Feb                   BORO 1-1 S'land (D)
SheffW 2-0 CITY (L)          9 Feb/10 Feb                 BORO 1-2 Bristol C (L)
CITY 1-0 Blackburn (W)    13 Feb/14 Feb                PNE 2-1 BORO (L)
CITY 2-1 S'land (W)            17th Feb                     Leicester 1-2 BORO (W)
Ipswich 3-1 CITY (L)           24th Feb                     BORO 0-2 Plymouth (L)
CITY 3-4 S'oton (L)           2nd March                    Stoke 2-0 BORO (L)
Hull 1-1 CITY (D)             5 Mar/6 Mar                  BORO 3-1 Norwich (W)
Millwall 1 -0 CITY (L)           8th Mar                     QPR 0 -2 BORO (W )

In short: BORO 10 games (W3, D2, L5), Birmingham 10 league games (W3, D2, L5). Identical records! Somehow it doesn't FEEL so great currently following BORO, but we are now on a run of 2 successive wins (!). The first win, against Norwich, seemed perhaps fortuitous as the game turned completely on the red card awared to Sainz (but very quickly afterwards rescinded) The second, yesterday at QPR,was a more assured performance particularly at the back and with the team unchanged from the midweek game, and a clean sheet resulted. On the other hand Birmingham is on a run of 3 defeats and a draw in their last 4 games, and the pain of the last minute goal that sealed their defeat at Millwall yesterday will still burn deep. Perhaps, despite the 10-game history suggesting the teams are on a par, the last few games suggest that BORO might, at last, be on the "up" again.

In light of the news about "Mogga" we can see that football is, after all, only a game, despite the heartache it sometimes causes us between the occasional euphoric interludes. No doubt the readers here will all wish the best for the man Bruce Rioch would've liked to have by his side if he ever had to fly to the Moon. Get well soon, Tony. And hopefully AFTER this game against BORO, things at Birmingham City will take a turn for the better, too.

And Finally, I don't want to offer a downer here expecially after 2 wins (a Sundowner would be nice, though) but I am aware the Ides of March are approaching, and that is rarely a good sign...

Forever Dormo 10.03.24


Powmill-Naemore
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What an absolute cracker of an opener FD, informative, topical as well as geographical. Let's hope it portends well, that our recent glacial performances are now in full retreat and goals and victories are the new order the day, appearing like a swarm of drumlins to sweep away the eratics that define the inconsistencies of our team this epoch.

This post was modified 3 months ago by Powmill-Naemore

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@powmillnaemore - Thanks.  I appreciated the physical geography references.  BORO's season so far has been rather like a basket of eggs, too: some fresh and looking good but some having been out in the coup for several days before discovery and then finding their way late into the basket -  therefore, when cracked open, likely to give off a pungent smell.


   
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Powmill, A truly fine epistle for a starter and lets hope Boro continue their 'Road to Damascus' experience and possible turnaround with another win to further brighten the horizon. I'm going to read it again now with another cup of tea.

All the best everyone,

UTB,

John


   
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Thank you FD for an excellent and informative starter.  I hadn’t appreciated, until you mentioned it, just how far up the league we are relative to the dates of football league clubs’ formation.

I hope that by the time we reach our 150th year in a few years time, we will have returned to the top league.

In so far as Tuesday is concerned, I am hoping for and expecting us to build upon the defensive solidity shown of late and to use this to develop our attacking threat; a point should be the minimum expectation with the distinct possibility of all three, if we play to our strengths. CoB 😎

This post was modified 3 months ago by K P in Spain

   
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Pedro de Espana
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First off,  apologies and belated thanks for the excellent Headliner from deleriad and as a consequence, the welcome 3 points against QPR.

Dormo, I do not know where you get the energy from for your regular long and interesting posts and then you fit in another Headliner of a very high standard.

Like KP, I was was quite surprised at MFC being the 11th oldest club. Also it is surprising that it took us so long to win anything of note, some twenty years ago..

However, here we are in the present and let's hope on Tuesday the Boro can continue their points collection. 


Selwynoz
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@Forever Dormo

doubleplusgood starter. Let’s hope that you bring us good luck again.  

UTB


   
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  • @selwynoz - Can't beat a bit of George Orwell!  And thanks!

   
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@john-richardson - Maybe the Damascene moment was deciding to play three at the back? And at the same time not changing a winning team.


   
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@pedro - Very kind of you. But I think you MIGHT find my energy is not unlimited after all.
 
I have this afternoon realised that, like the old United 'bus, these things come in groups. I am also (unless mistaken) listed to do the Starter for Saturday's BORO v Blackburn match as well!  So you will get two of me in a row!
 
My fault for not spotting this earlier. I was fooled by the fact I had to do this Birmingham game as well but, as is clear from the Starter I provided on this thread, the Birmingham game was in fact due to be played in January.  It's just a coincidence the postponed Brum game was inserted into fixture list immediately before the Blackburn match but it resulted in my "forgetting" Blackburn.  D'oh!
 
The next Starter MIGHT be shorter. Or it might just be different. We'll have to see how it goes! 

   
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Forever Dormo

A great opener which is superlative  and raises the bar even further.

Many thanks 🙏 

The shift in our playing fortunes in my opinion is quite simple.

1 Boro have stopped playing the tip tap between defenders from goal kicks which caused misplaced passes and goal scoring opportunities and goals for the opposition 

2 Boro have replaced Glover between the sticks with a keeper who can not only save the ball whilst going down onto his left hand post, but can actually catch crosses and corner balls.

3 Moving Paddy into the team has added some experience, maturity and the ability to step into midfield providing an extra man when required.

4 Whilst I dont like to criticise players the removal of Barlaser has made an enormous difference to the team. His misplaced passes at times caused panic in our defence and also goals scored against us.

5 A stable team with little or no changes shows in our play that the players all know their roles and trust each other.

6 The most important difference to the Boro team… the reemergence of a fit again and enthusiastic Jonny Howson who is playing for a new contract and deserves one !

OFB

 


Selwynoz
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Couldn't agree more about Howson. He's an absolute treasure. It will be interesting to see what happens when Hackney comes back. If they're both fully fit, will the old Howson/Hackney combo get going again?

Also, will O'Brien play instead of McGree?

UTB


   
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jarkko
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@forever-dormo An excellent and informative starter. I really enjoyed reading that and I even learned a new English word - nunatak. Hadn't heard the word before, it sounded like a word given by the Indians.

Your ref to Helsingin Ponnistus (founded in Helsinki in 1887) was a nice touch. They were the first football match where I took my son to. I like the club as it really has a long history for a Finnish club. Mind, the big local club in Helsinki is HJK and I just don't like them. Hence Ponnistus, but they have never played on the highest level during my life time.

I love the Championship as the matches come thick and fast in the League. Really enjoy it now that I can watch all matches on TV via ViaPlay or Riverside Live (more common). I know this is hard for the players as they need to relax the day after the previous match (Sunday), train a bit on Monday and travel to Birmingham, too. And be ready to play on Tuesday.

There is not much time to train and prepare before the following game. That is why the injuries have been preventing us to be consistent so far this season. It won't work if we need to chop and change the team after every match. And have two to three juniors on the bench as has been the case until QPR on Saturday. 

So I hope we will play well at St Andrew's on Tuesday. A draw will be OK but naturally a win will do nicely, thank you. We just seem to play less well when playing the bottom teams in League 🫣.

Up the Boro!

PS. The match will be played at 19:45 (not at 3pm). So an normal evening kick-off 😉.

This post was modified 3 months ago 3 times by jarkko

Pedro de Espana
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@selwynoz    For me, O’Brien coming back into the side and getting a run of games has been a big contribution to the better defending. Combined of course with the three CB’s, this has countered the severity of mistakes from Engel and Ayling in the defensive areas. 

I hope that a deal can be done to buy O’Brien as he brings a stability to the team and is a workhorse, which is needed for the rigours of the Championship.


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Excellent opener. I hadn't realised that we were quite so ancient.

Speaking of ancient, I must admit to always dreading matches against Birmingham since they beat us in the FA cup in 75. We should never have lost that game. Ever since then it always feels as though our games against them go wrong.

The last few years it's been odd because Birmingham always look like they have lots of good, exciting young players. Even this season, they seem to have a decent squad you would expect to be challenging at the top end of the table. If they ever get it right, you get the feeling that they could be challenging for promotion under Mowbray next season.


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@jarkko - Thanks, Jarkko.  I thought about you when referring to the venerable Helsinki team!  YES - I don't know WHY I typed 3pm for the kick-off time for the Brum game.  It is a midweek game for one and, for another, it is clearly written on our wall calendar as 7.45pm.  Too late to edit it now! (It's also too late to replace coup - as in "The General led a military coup against the Government" - with "coop" as in chicken coop, which I MEANT to type in my reply to @powmillnamore at 02.01pm yesterday. And in the Starter I really do know that "awarded" has a "d" near the middle!  I admit being a poor, as well as a slow, typist).

Nunatak is, indeed a work taken from the Greenland Inuit word "nunataq", and its first known usage in English was when Middlesbrough FC was but ONE year old, in 1877.

 

This post was modified 3 months ago by Forever Dormo

   
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@deleriad - Quite a few of us on here are beginning to feel ancient...


jarkko
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No team has ever been relegated from the Championship with 55 points. And the Boro has 50 points now. So only two wins away from safety ...

Up the Boro!

 


Powmill-Naemore
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Posted by: @forever-dormo

@deleriad - Quite a few of us on here are beginning to feel ancient...

🤣 

 


   
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Thanks Dormo for your very enjoyable opener. And apologies for my belated like and response. Your piece originally came up on a format that did not allow me to respond. Whether this was something I did incorrectly, or a function of either my computer or the Diasboro website, I'm not sure. Does anyone else have this problem?


   
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Powmill-Naemore
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Posted by: @lenmasterman

Thanks Dormo for your very enjoyable opener. And apologies for my belated like and response. Your piece originally came up on a format that did not allow me to respond. Whether this was something I did incorrectly, or a function of either my computer or the Diasboro website, I'm not sure. Does anyone else have this problem?

Hi Len. I find that when my phone or my laptop decide to log me out of Diasboro, then the options to like and reply disappear, as do "Member Only" forums, such as the Social Club section. I have to find the "Login" link to sign in afresh. I don't know if that is what happens to you, but might explain it.

 


   
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@powmillnaemore 

Thanks powmill. I'll try that next time.


   
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Posted by: @forever-dormo

@deleriad - Quite a few of us on here are beginning to feel ancient...

Personally I will get old, but never really grow up

 


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Posted by: @paulinboro

Personally I will get old, but never really grow up

There's a quote from Tom Baker. "The older I get, the older old is."

 


Clive Hurren
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An amazing starter, Dormo. Thank you for spending so much time and effort in producing it. It was certainly well worth it! 

I’m hoping for another good Boro performance. Above all, I’d like MC to stick with his back five, which gives us greater solidity and allows the wing-backs to get forward, as Ayling did on Saturday when he crossed for Forss to score. Another clean sheet would be most welcome. Oh, and three points. 


jarkko
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Yesterday Michael Carrick talked to the press about Emmanuel Latte Lath: "It's nice to have him back around the lads. He's sharp, he has an impact, I'm sure there's more to come from him. He's nowhere near fully fit. I'm sure between now and the end of the season there's even more to come from him."

I have high lighted the fitness part up there. When a player is back in the team from injury, they are not usually not fully fit nor up to match sharpness. It takes a few matches or more. We as fans often forget this.

So this full fitness is very important to get results constantly. It is not good for the results if the manager needs to chop and change the starting line up for every match. It just won't help getting the best out of the players.

If Latte Lath is "nowhere near fully fit", we can presume the situation is the same with Marcus Forss and Riley McGree, for example.  And it will be the same with Hayden Hackney, too when he will get back to the team after the international break.  Ditto Isaiah Jones,  too.

So if we can keep the players fit from now on, we can start to expect the results improve, too. So let's see if Carrick can field the same eleven at Birmingham today - or will the third match in a week be too much for Latte Lath and Johnny Howson. 

Up the Boro!

This post was modified 3 months ago by jarkko

   
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Pedro de Espana
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@jarkko    I guess the back room staff will use,  “the appliance of science”  whether they play or not. 😀


   
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Saw this and thought it might be of interest:

Team

Season Ticket Price

Sheffield Wednesday

£595

Norwich City

£542

Middlesbrough

£520

Coventry City

£480

Millwall

£473

Blackburn Rovers

£429

Leeds United

£420

Rotherham United

£405

Watford

£402

Preston North End

£400

Sunderland

£390

Leicester City

£385

Bristol City

£375

Plymouth Argyle

£370

Southampton

£359

Ipswich Town

£353

West Bromwich Albion

£349

Swansea City

£345

Stoke City

£344

Birmingham City

£300

Hull City

£300

Cardiff City

£299

Huddersfield Town

£249

Queens Park Rangers

£242

This post was modified 3 months ago by K P in Spain

   
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@k-p-in-spain - Great improvement* by BORO to rise to THIRD in the table (and I note it contains the FULL Championship list).  I assume that is the AVERAGE season ticket price because I'm sure my Early Bird renewal for 65+ in the WSU is more than that, and I assume the FULL price (ie not Early Bird) for a NEW season ticket there will be MUCH more.  I can't confirm that because when I tried to check on the club website before typing this, I got a message (404?) telling me the page was temporarily unavailable so I should try again later.

I didn't want to renew today.  I just wanted to see the other prices at MFC for comparison.  I'm not saying I won't renew - though I suspect the people on either side of me at the stadium will not do so - but it will be towards the end of the allowed period if I renew.  I think the Early Bird deadline has been extended to 29th/30th March(?). Lots of time!

      * Sarcasm doesn't really work on social media, does it?

This post was modified 3 months ago by Forever Dormo

   
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jarkko
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@k-p-in-spain How can QPR in London be less than half compared to Boro? Very difficult to understand as they have less spectators per a match than Boro. And they have to follow the same rules for income as the rest of the Championship. 

And Steve Gibson is helping financially as much as he is allowed to put in. About a million a month if I remember correctly.

The QPR price makes it about 10 GBP per match only. Strange. Up the Boro! 

This post was modified 3 months ago by jarkko

   
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