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Boro v Norwich City
 

Boro v Norwich City

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Clive Hurren
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Norwich City

Wednesday 6 March, 7.45.

Only a few weeks ago, we might have looked on this game as a potential ‘6 pointer’ for the playoff positions. How things have deteriorated: our season has fallen apart. With Boro’s hopes now in tatters, we’re starting to look anxiously over our shoulders and must now avoid defeat to prevent a further slide towards the relegation trapdoor.

For Norwich, it’s a different story.  They’ve been the archetypal yo-yo club over recent seasons, a story of being too good for the Championship but not quite good enough for the Prem. Promoted as Championship winners in 2019 and 2021, they came straight back down both times, finishing bottom on each occasion. This season their usual Championship form had deserted them somewhat and the season was stuttering along indifferently, much to the joy of their East Anglian Old Farm rivals, who are enjoying a second stellar season in succession. But manager David Wagner, who took unfancied Huddersfield to the Premiership via the playoffs in 2017, has now got City performing again. Suddenly they’re bang in form again and lie in 7th position currently just a point behind 6th place Hull. They’ll consider they have every chance of making the playoffs, and, unbeaten in six, will come to The Riverside full of confidence and probably in expectation of a good result. They’ve won 4 of their last 6 and drawn 2, though all 4 of their wins were at home.

It would be nice to see Jonny Howson back in against his old club, where he’s still very popular, but this game may come too soon for him. In the opposition ranks, expect to see Ben Gibson, who’s a regular in their defence - a player who perhaps personifies the Norwich thing of ‘being too good for the Championship but not quite good enough for the Prem.’  Danny Batth and Onel Hernandez are also in their squad, but are not fixtures, unlike our Ben.

That Michael Carrick is failing to get the best out of the limited resources at his disposal at the moment is an understatement. Terribly porous at the back, misfiring up front, pedestrian in midfield. Four losses in 5. We’ve been very badly hit by injuries, of course, but as one of you pointed out after Stoke, there seems little confidence that the return of some of those injured would make much difference. Carrick faces increasing calls to change tack and tactics: playing three centre-backs and wing-backs has worked well for us this season, for example twice against Leicester. We also beat West Brom and Southampton at home, though I can’t recall if he used that system in either game. What is essential is that we stop leaking goals, so I would definitely play 3 at the back; McNair is normally solid enough and might mentor Rav through the game. That obviously doesn’t solve all the issues, but it might give us a more solid foundation to build on. The return of Howson can’t come soon enough for me in place of liability Barlaser. I would also definitely play Engel instead of Thomas, who has been poor, and ditto Azaz instead of Greenwood. Even so, I can’t see where our goals are going to come from.

There is a glimmer of light in the gloom: although Norwich have scored 60 goals, they’ve conceded 51, which is very surprisingly the same as Boro. Only PNE in the top 12 have conceded more, so they can clearly be vulnerable. I don’t expect them to park the bus, as they’ll want to win, so that gives us a chance to get at them. And Boro don’t often lose at The Riverside under the lights. Surely we can’t be as bad again? And we have a much stronger record against sides above us in the table. Let’s not forget, too, that the raw statistic of four losses in five masks the fact we won well at Leicester and played very well at Preston, where we should have got at least a point. But Norwich are stronger going forward and will pose a threat. Three players, Josh Sargent (11), Jonathan Rowe (13) and Gabriel Sara (8) share 32 goals. Whoever Carrick chooses and in whatever formation, we’re going to have to defend very well. Eeeek.

I dread to think what might be the crowd dynamics were we to lose again on Wednesday, and I can only imagine what the knock-on impact might be on season card renewals. Here’s hoping for the best, a hard fought draw at the very least. Let’s give them a real game. I’m going to be sensible for a change and will watch this one from the comfort of our lounge. I really don’t fancy another arrival back home at 1.30 or 2.00 am, especially as our friends, the highway maintenance sadists, seem to store up all their motorway closures and diversions for Boro’s home night matches. I hope that those Norwich fans who brave the journey - usually about 5 hours - will have better luck on their journeys home than I usually get.

I’m sorry to start this opener with such a downbeat and sombre mood, especially as you were hoping for something miraculously uplifting from me! When I started jotting down notes for this one a couple of weeks ago, I thought I was going to regale you all with an unmissable panoply of amazing facts (🤭😉🤣) about Norwich the city and its football club. Unfortunately, things have not turned out quite as we had hoped. Apologies. I hate football, me. Just to cheer myself up, I’m going to listen to Morrissey’s ‘Heaven knows I’m miserable now.’ On continuous loop.

Anyway, just to attempt to lighten the mood, if that is in any way possible, here’s some of what you nearly missed:

When I first started making my notes, I wrote that Norwich is the gateway to the Broads (no sexist jokes, please.) My spell checker promptly changed this to B-roads! Dead right. How perceptive! Norwich is hundreds of miles from anywhere and for years the main roads to get there - especially from the West and the North - have been dire, encumbered as they are by sugar beet wagons, tractors and combined harvesters which clog the single carriageways for miles. Then there’s that rounded, mellifluous, local-yokel, warm-as-one-of-Delia’s-plum-crumbles accent. You might be forgiven for thinking it’s the back of beyond, rustic and sleepy. Dont be fooled. Norwich is a sophisticated, modern and vibrant city with a lively cultural ethos.

It’s also one of our best mediaeval cities, given its first charter in 1158. It retains many beautiful mediaeval buildings and one of England’s finest cathedrals with its soaring spire. This is what Britannica has to say about it:

Until the late 18th century Norwich was one of the most prosperous of English provincial towns, challenged only by Bristol and York. The prosperity of the mediaeval town is reflected in the number of churches dating from this period, 30 of which still exist. The town’s prosperity was based upon the woollen industry, which was aided by Edward III, who induced Flemish weavers to settle in Norwich in 1336, and also by the influx of immigrants (mainly from the Low Countries) during the reign of Elizabeth I.

From the 18th century Norwich declined in relation to the new industrial centres of the north. However, the city developed as one of England’s largest centres of footwear manufacturing. Although some of that manufacturing has remained, much of the focus has shifted toward footwear wholesaling. Engineering, printing, and food processing (notably mustard) are also important, but services (including tourism) now constitute much of the local economic activity. Norwich is one of England’s major agricultural and livestock markets and serves as a shopping and entertainment centre for an extensive area. The city is the traditional regional capital of East Anglia and an important centre of modern administration.”

Ah, mustard. I’m keen to talk about that. Colman’s has been producing mustard in Norwich since 1814 and still proudly boasts that it uses local seeds which it mills locally in Norfolk. Very traditional, except that, as is sadly very much the case these days with family businesses, it’s now a part of the vast Unilever empire. Boo hiss. Dormo has reminded me that Bernard Matthews, the poultry product manufacturers, also has its headquarters in Norfolk. Bootiful, especially with mustard. Hot stuff.

The football club was founded in 1902. Ha! Mere youngsters. Are they a big club? Attendances would say so. They average around 25000. Let’s not forget they qualified for the UEFA Cup in 1993 by dint of finishing 3rd in the inaugural Premier League, and beat the mighty Bayern 3-2 on aggregate in the second round. Ah, but they didn’t make the final, I hear you cry! Maybe not, but they’re definitely the biggest club in Norfolk anyway, and apparently their song, ‘On the Ball, City’ is the oldest football chant in the world.

They’re known as the Canaries, of course. I’d always thought it was because they play in canary yellow shirts, which beautifully complement their budgerigar green shorts. It’s an attractive mix, but on Wednesday they’ll no doubt worry about the colour clash with Boro’s red and turn out in some nondescript black number, or maybe some designer-concept lilac and turquoise affair. I digress. It seems they were called the ‘Canaries’ because of ‘the history of when the birds had come over with ‘The Strangers’ in the 16th century (presumably Elizabeth I’s immigrants?) The birds sang to the workers when working on the machines, and when the machines would make noise, the Canaries would reply and would keep the workers company throughout the night of work.’ So that clears up that mystery.

The club has some very famous supporters - let’s start with former Chancellor, ex-Strictly contestant, and current Good Morning Britain presenter, Ed Balls, who is now the Vice-Chairman. Ubiquitous Über-personality Stephen Fry is a big fan, and Hugh Jackman too, apparently. I guess it’s because Norwich play in yellow and green, so that must remind him of his native Australia! Either that or he loves budgies. Then there’s musician and broadcaster, Mylene Klaas, and Philip Pullman, author of His Dark Materials. And let’s not forget Mr Marmite - love him or hate him - ex Norwich, Blackburn and Celtic striker, pundit Chris Sutton.

 I’ve left Delia Smith till last. Ex owner and Chairperson, she’s now the majority club shareholder with her husband. Most of us will fondly remember prissy, school-ma’amish, butter-wouldn’t-melt-in-my-mouth Delia as one of the first TV celebrity chefs. A national treasure. She taught generations of us to cook. Some of us even had a crush on her, and we didn’t ‘arf fancy her pies! It was therefore a huge surprise - gobsmackingly so - when a somewhat inebriated and obviously worse-for-wear Delia grabbed the microphone at half time in Norwich’s match at home to Man City in 2005. In an attempt to get fans behind the relegation-threatened home  team, who had given away a two goal lead, she bawled, ‘We need a 12th man here! Where are you? Where are you? Let’s be avin you! Come on!’
Pure football gold. That wasn’t the end of the entertainment either, as a team of Royal Marines abseiled down from the stand roof after Delia had done her bit for comedy.

Here it is again. Savour it in all its gory glory! It didn’t work by the way - Man City won the game 3-2 with a last-minute winner.

 

https://x.com/footballremind/status/1762826515899634027?s=61&t=7UwM53c6gZb9VdTrCDzpJg

 

This topic was modified 2 months ago by Clive Hurren

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Clive - I very much enjoyed reading this Starter.  I shouldn't worry about the Leonard Cohen vibes: if you'd written about the confidence you were harbouring for Boro's likely performance, it would have seemed ridiculously unrealistic in light of recent experiences. Given even tolerable form we SHOULD, of course, have been able to dine for several weeks, basking in the warm glow of the performance against Leicester City (away) and the unikely double we therefore achieved against the League Leaders. However the fine taste on the lips has been overpowered by the results on either side of that Leicester game: the defeats by Bristol City (1-2) on 10th February and by PNE (2-1) on 14th February before the Leicester game and by Plymouth (0-2) on 24th February followed most recently by Stoke City (2-0) on 2nd March.  So, the aberration of Leicester apart, what that run of grim results tells us is that BORO has adopted the tradition of conceding 2 goals every game.

Should that tradition be followed in 2 days time, there would be very little chance of our heroes in red+white scoring the THREE needed to get a win at home in the league (the last home win was 1-0 against WBA last 23rd December and the last time we scored THREE or more was the four scored against PNE on 28th November, so no real sign of that being repeated these days!).

I think you struck the right note, Clive!


   
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Pedro de Espana
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Clive an excellent Headliner and you deserve a medal for buckling down and producing it following the abysmal performances of late. Well done and thank you.

I just cannot say anything at all about this upcoming game. Whilst not a "must win" if we do not start putting some results together soon, then the fans will really start to get angry and any thoughts of Mr Gibson having a good solid bedrock of Season Ticket money in the bank, will probably disappear like the early morning mist.

I hope to be at the Riverside on Wednesday night, why one would ask, I can only say, I do not know. 


Martin Bellamy
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Fantastic work, Clive. I really like Norwich  in particular and Norfolk in general - I’d recommend a trip there any time. 

I’ve just got a feeling that we’re going to win this game - I think I must have picked up some fumes from ofb’s foam hands. We desperately need a couple of wins to ease away from any possibility of relegation, so we might as well start on Wednesday. 


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Very enjoyable, Clive. Your distinctive voice comes though in everything you write, and we need that positivity, albeit undermined by a natural Boro scepticism, in this of all weeks.

I think you are wise to watch the game from home. I share your frustration with late night motorway diversions, having once taken four hours to drive the 100 or so miles back from Derby to the Wirral.


   
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Half time scoreline:  Sheffield United 0   Arsenal  5

I wonder what Chris Wilder will be saying to his lads at the break:

"You useless lot haven't got the guts, the character or even a fraction of the skill that my lads at Middlesbrough used to have." ?


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Posted by: @lenmasterman

Half time scoreline:  Sheffield United 0   Arsenal  5

I wonder what Chris Wilder will be saying to his lads at the break:

"You useless lot haven't got the guts, the character or even a fraction of the skill that my lads at Middlesbrough used to have." ?

Post by a Norwich fan on the Beeb's live commentary on the SheffU/Arsenal match:

I can feel for Sheffield United fans from a personal experience and, parachute payments or not, it makes you wonder if, as a fan, promotion to the Premiership is worth it. We even had pundits saying Norwich should be banned from the top flight for bringing it into disrepute!

Strikes a chord....

 


   
Liked by 4 people: Peter Surtees, K P in Spain, Clive Hurren and jarkko
 
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@stircrazy - If we can have pundits deciding which teams should, or shouldn't, be banned from the Top Flight, can we please have a vote on which pundits should face the same fate of being banned from ever being found in possession of a microphone? 

(This isn't an invitation to re-hash the "Is Gary Lineker a good football pundit/frontman" discussion.  I REALLY DON'T want us to go down that road again.  But there are some faces/voices I don't want to see/hear.  I don't even know the identity of the pundit who made the comment referred to by the Norwich supporter).

As long as football retains the seasonal promotion/relegation scenario which we all love (or hate), there is one test as to which teams should grace the Top Flight and which should take a holiday from it: those teams which (1) win/draw enough Championship games to secure promotion or (2) fail to win/draw enough Premier League games to stay within that league.  Nothing to do with the colour of the teams' playing strips.  Nothing to do with where in the country the teams' home grounds may be located (even if it does make a long journey necessary for those cosseted London football groupies who occasionally have to get out of their comfort zones to visit the far reaches of England). Nothing to do with failing to have 45,000+ seats and more hospitality suites than you could shake a stick at - 10,000 seats are fine providing the ground is safe to access and safe for supporters to attend.

Of course, the rules COULD be changed.  We could, for example prevent forever having lowly teams like Norwich City, Sheffield United, Burnley (or BORO for that matter) playing the likes of Arsenal, Manchester City and Liverpool.  I think they called it a European Super League.  Those "Top" teams mentioned, no doubt with the likes of Manchester United, Bayern Munich, Dortmund, Inter Milan, PSG, Real Madrid, Atletico, Barcelona etc could all leave their domestic leagues to be available to play each other each week in a full Euro league season and leave the rest of us to take part in newly-competitive home leagues.  Of course those "Big Clubs" wouldn't be able to take part in their home country's domestic Cup Competitions, so they'd have to invent a  knock-out "European Cup" as well.  It has a sort of ring about it, doesn't it?  Domestic games like Spurs v Villa or Newcastle v Wolves shown on SkyTV (or, whisper it, live on terrestrial TV) might well get a bigger audience than the Super League games being played at the same time in face-to-face competition with them and shown on Discovery+/TNT (say PSV v PSG or Naples v Porto because, daggers would then be drawn between the national leagues and the Super League drop-outs).  No such thing in those circumstances as keeping the diary generally free of Top Flight games on Tuesdays & Wednesdays for those "juicy" European matches.  Bring it on....


Selwynoz
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@forever-dormo 

absolutely right. As it stands at the moment, the latter stages of the Champions league are genuinely worth watching because they bring together some seriously good teams and can highlight some good football. This overcomes the lack of having a team to support. However, the thought of seeing these same matches week in week out in a super league is the complete opposite. It would be mind-numbingly boring.

Coming back to the promotion - worth it or not - I would previously have thought that all fans would want to give it a go. However, the concentration of money in the EPL over recent years is very close to creating a de facto closed shop. Yes, some teams will come down but, as we have seen this year, they have the ability to spend heavily or keep stars and are odds on to go straight back up. Even with Leicester's hiccup, it would be brave to bet against the three relegated teams going back up. Furthermore, if by some miracle Ipswich, or someone else outside the relegated clubs were to make it, then we could anticipate the same problems as those suffered by Burnley or Sheffield United.

Do we now have a pattern whereby in year 1, three 'rich' EPL teams go down and three 'poor' EFL teams go up. In year 2 the 'rich' teams coast through the Championship and go up and the 'poor' teams suffer a bad season and then come down. Do the fans enjoy it? I don't know. Did we? There is always the hope that 'your team' will do a Notts Forest or Bournemouth who escape for a year or two and maybe crawl up onto the shelf of EPL survival. I suppose that's what keeps us going.

We are at a crossroads. The EPL must see the advantage of spreading the money so that the competition is more even. Will this happen? As likely as Mr Matthews' workforce above voting for Christmas?

UTB


Powmill-Naemore
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@forever-dormo hear hear


   
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Pedro de Espana
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Two very good posts above and my be in the not too distant future, that it really would be better if the “Big Clubs” did break away and formed their Super League.

Yes, a little of the glamour of losing six of the rich clubs would be lost, however a better around EPL and EFL structure could evolve. I would nor shed any tears. 


   
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jarkko
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@selwynoz Please remember that Bournemouth and Brighton have been able to hang on in the EPL for years. And quite frankly I see them as traditional 4th and 3rd tier clubs. Much smaller clubs than Boro, for example. Fulham and Crystal Palace are similar clubs, too.

So I do not buy in the idea it is impossible to stay up in the EPL after a couple of years as a yo-yo club between the EPL and the Championship.  Of course Steve Gibson will want Boro to get promoted.

Up the Boro!


   
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Martin Bellamy
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I’m still unconvinced that getting into the premier league should be the be all and end all of our wishes for our club. If everything else is a failure then maybe we’re doomed to disappointment year after year, as are almost 90% of teams in our division 


   
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Pedro de Espana
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@martin-bellamy. Whilst I can agree with what you say Martin, I think the majority on this blog have all aspired to greater and better things in our lives.


   
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Martin Bellamy
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@pedro I’m sure we have, but I’m equally sure that we managed our expectations a little. I spent a working lifetime aspiring to the next promotion, but, equally, I knew that there were jobs up the ladder that I’d never be able to do effectively with my skill set. 
If you’ve come from a non-league background as I did, getting to the top half of the Championship was some achievement - securing a position in the PL would have been a step too far and I’d most likely have failed. If my family are the equivalent of supporters, then I’d have been making them unhappy too.


   
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jarkko
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@Clive An excellent starter for the blog. I really enjoyed to read it. I have never been to Norwich (I think we took a ferry from Harwich to the Netherlands in 1989).

I think a promotion must be the target every year for every team (except in the EPL where winning the league is really difficult even though Leicester City did win it quite recently).

This is a sport even though the playing field is not level anymore. The English League football was better to follow before the Premier League.  It was so tight. Remember Cloughie winning the title with two promoted teams in Derby Co and Nottm Forest?

Up the Boro! 

This post was modified 2 months ago by jarkko

   
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@forever-dormo

Absolutely bang on. They should have let them go but money talks. Bring back football.

Can we have our ball(game?) back please Mister.

UTB,

John

PS Sorry Clive, a great headliner produced under difficult circumstances. Thank you


   
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It's a difficult conundrum: obviously Championship teams see promotion to the PL as their target yet, if achieved, in the large majority of cases that promotion is followed by a season filled with depressing results topped off by a relegation back to The Championship. In bad cases the return relegation is accompanied by a sale of players signed after promotion on wages that would be unsustainable in the likely event of relegation.  In the event of that relegation, sadly, you might end up with players it becomes difficult to sell in light of their poor preformances in the PL season, so they end up either sitting in the stands collecting their fat wage packet as their contract runs out, knowing that a pay cut would be inevitable if the player moved on (thinking of you, Rodwell, at Sunderland) OR the players have to be released on a "free" to entice other clubs to sign the players (to avoid paying those no-longer-affordable wages). 

Unless the club has a "special" manager (Jarkko, above, mentioned Clough at Derby County then at Nottingham Forest), then it probably needs VERY rich owners in order to make that promotion to the PL semi-permanent. Derby and Forest all returned downwards afterwards, and whether even a modern-day Clough could repeat his Derby and Forest exploits in the 2020s remains doubtful.  Could anyone see a small provincial 2nd tier football club (as Forest was) being promoted, then winning the top tier, then winning back-to-back European Cups?  I think I'm right in saying that Brighton and Bournemouth have VERY rich foreign backers. BORO has a local, loyal and generous owner but he isn't a billionaire or a country's sovereign wealth fund, so "rich" comes in different tiers, too.


   
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Thank you Clive for an excellent pre match starter which allowed me to reminisce about the 20 years we lived in East Anglia on the Norfolk/Suffolk border; a truly wonderful part of the country.

I was not, however, happy to remember the frustrating times stuck behind a tractor or sugar beet lorry when trying to get to a meeting!

I would like to think that tomorrow the other “typical Boro” will turn up but the Leicester game apart there has been little to suggest that is likely.

Given recent performances a point would be a good point at this stage but I am not holding my breath.  One can hope but……..😎


   
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jarkko
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Norwich boss David Wagner's pre-match assessment of Middlesbrough ahead of Wednesday's visit to Teesside. 

https://www.thenorthernecho.co.uk/sport/24162927.norwich-boss-david-wagners-pre-match-assessment-middlesbrough/

I quite agree with Wagner. He did not mention the injuries we have had this winter, though. But we can play and often create a lot of chances. The problem is taking those chances and having some consistency.

Up the Boro!


   
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Further to the post I made at 10.35am, I thought it might be interesting to look at the ownership of the EPL clubs and the estimated net worth of the various owners.  Only looking at Wikipedia for this so it isn't Nobel Prize for Economics level research....

Arsenal          -   Stan Kroenke (USA) $12.9Bn

Aston Villa      -   An Egyptian and 2 Americans ($17.9Bn)

Bournemouth  -   William P Foley (USA) ($1.6Bn)

Brentford        -   Matthew Benham (UK betting firms) $280M

Brighton         -    Tony Bloom (UK, gambling firms, property developments) $1.3Bn

Burnley           -   Alan Pace (USA, 15.38% - a capital company but no further details given)

Chelsea          -    Todd Boehly (USA) & a US investment company, another US investor and a Swiss B'naire ($15.8Bn)

C Palace         -    Three US investors and Steve Parish (UK but with only !0%) $5.5Bn

Everton          -    Farhad Moshiri (Iranian/UK steel/energy & theatre productions 94%) $2.9Bn

Fulham            -   Shahid Khan (Pakistan/USA - car parts and US sporting interests) $7.9Bn

Liverpool          -   John Henry & Tom Werner (USA - Fenway Sports Group) $9.8Bn

LUTON TOWN    -   LUTON TOWN FC 2020 LTD (SUPPORTER OWNED!!!)

Man City         -     (Abu Dhabi United Group 81%, Silver Lake USA 18% and 2 Chinese Groups 1%) $16.8Bn

Man Utd          -    Glazer Family (USA) 51.75%, Sir Jim Ratcliffe (UK) 25%  $24.9Bn

Newcastle       -     Saudi Public Investment Fund 80%,David & Simon Reuben 14% A Staveley 6%  $620Bn  (!!!)

Nott'ham F      -     Evangelos Marinakis (Greek, shipping capital and trading) $620M

Sheff U           -     Abdullah bin Musa'ed (Saudi paper manufacturing company) $200M

Tottenham      -     Joe Lewis 60% & Daniel Levy (25%) both UK,currnecy trading $5.8Bn

West Ham       -    David Sullivan & Vanessa Gold (UK) with Czech billionaire Daniel Kretinsky $10.3Bn

Wolves            -   Chinese billionaires part of the Fosun International holdding company $6.9Bn

 

SO - A LOT OF CAPITAL behind most of them but well done, Luton Town.

To complete the picture in The Championship Steve Gibson's wealth is put at $263M but hats off again, this time to Wednesday's opponents, Norwch City whose owners are said to be backed by a mere $30M which is small change in football terms.  There are 24 teams in the Championship and some of them are backed by VERY rich people (QPR's $15.5Bn  owners include Lakshmi Mittal and there are other clubs there backed by billionaires). I would guess, because figures are not given for all clubs, that only 2 or three Championship clubs are backed by less money than Boro.  Steve Gisbson might be pumping into BORO, or putting at risk, a higher percentage of his wealth than the richer-on-paper backers of most of the other clubs.  And he has been doing so over a much longer period of time than several Johnny-come-Latelys elsewhere.  So, on balance, maybe Steve Gibson has allowed Boro to punch above its weight and maybe all is NOT doom and gloom.

 

This post was modified 2 months ago 2 times by Forever Dormo

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Brilliant starter Clive.

You managed to combine all of the interesting, illuminating and fun stuff about the Norwich clash, with the morose, morale-crunching despair of the situation we're now in. 
I too am glad, that you've decided to give the long, long, long mid-week journey a miss for once. I wouldn't like to imagine being stuck in a traffic jam, heading in the wrong direction from home due to a lovingly conceived diversion, without necessarily being bathed in the glow of a 5-0 win.
 
Regarding the European Super League, I thought it was telling that it was the true supporters of the breaking-away clubs who were among the first to rebel. It seems that, even after so many years of success, the supporters could easily see, even if the money-grabbing owners couldn't, that none of it means anything unless you've fought your away to the top of a pyramid that includes Hartlepool, Solihull Moors and Wealdstone and, theoretically at least, you could end up down there.

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Thanks Clive for rising well above the occasion ('rising to' would be a low bar) of Wednesday's Riverside clash with your inimitable preview - it's hard to see how the game will live up to the preview and with Michael Carrick in danger of parodying that other famous son of Norwich and going full Alan Partridge after he declared this week...

"We’d obviously like to finish top of the league and we’ll try to win every game, but you have to be realistic. We will just try to win as many games as we can and see where that takes us."

He's obviously not glanced at the top table recently and noticed winning all our remaining games to notch up 80 points wouldn't even get us close given Leicester already have 78 points. We can only hope it takes us somewhere less close to the bottom of the table and 'winning as many games as we can' wasn't intended to sound as if he wasn't expecting to win that many.

I guess our only chance is that Norwich are as bad at defending as Boro are but their extra 13 goals scored have seen them stay within a point of the play-offs. Not that defences that bad have any chance of avoiding doing a Sheff Utd in the PL - whose fans must be suffering from PTSD after seeing their team concede 21 goals in their last four home games!

Anyway, it's almost pointless to worry about the game tomorrow as it doesn't matter who plays unless they play with intent and look like they really want to win - the last two games have not given much confidence to either the supporters or players that Boro know how to win a game. 

If Boro fail to win against Norwich tomorrow then it will be just one home win in the Championship from the last ten - and that was before Christmas! If anything is impacting season ticket renewals then surely look no further than that.

 


Site Creator
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As for having a competitive league system - surely it's the job of the regulating bodies to ensure it has in place rules to make a league a collection of teams that have a chance to compete in it. The Championship is a good example of a league where most teams can beat any other team in the league - whereas the EPL has become even more of a nonsense league that is mainly run as a Champions League qualifying event for half-a-dozen clubs where a few have bought a permanent ticket.


Powmill-Naemore
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Joined: 4 years ago
Posts: 1356
 

Thank you Clive. Out of the ashes of despair you have given us  a most worthy and remarkably well contained opener for the Norwich thread. All that despite thoughtless members (🙄) using up all the best one-liners before you had a chance to draft your third version!

I visited Norwich once in the dim and very distant past, but I only have a memory of the cathedral. You have whet my appetite to visit again and explore more extensively.

Our CEO is a big Canary. (Am I allowed to say that without putting my job at risk?). No bragging rights for me this season though, even if we do confound ourselves and ruffle their feathers on Wednesday.

As is often quoted in this place, the table doesn't lie. We are where we are, not because we have played great football, only to be unlucky in conceding a couple of goals, without creating, let alone taking any chances for ourselves. No, we are where we are because we are poor

 There is no separation of performance from result; from conceding to converting; from dominating to dithering. The sooner the management and coaches acknowledge that we are simply poor, then the sooner they can begin to effect change to alter that state. To continually claim we played well when we are constantly gifting opportunities for our opponents perhaps creates the wrong mental state for our players. It certainly doesn't do my mental state any good to keep hearing MC trot out the same line. Surely we have reached the point where some honesty to the supporters is required.

Rant over.

I have no idea what to expect tomorrow evening, but simply hope we will put in a professional and honest performance and play like we look what the game is all about - scoring goals 

This post was modified 2 months ago 2 times by Powmill-Naemore

Powmill-Naemore
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Joined: 4 years ago
Posts: 1356
 

Great discussions about the problems great wealth has brought into the game. I think the wealthiest clubs have always dominated the professional league(s), and that will always be true. I will agree that the modern Premier League era in England has distorted that reality much much further.

There is a lot inside my head that agrees with the idea we should simply let the self-determined elite shuffle off and amuse their bank accounts in tedious repetition playing with each other.

We would, for sure have a far more competitive league system left without them, although the same issue of wealthy clubs dominating that existed before the Premier League would most likely return. At least though, we would see more teams come and go at the top... just like before.

It would be important not to have any promotion or relegation to that obscene creation (sorry, I meant to say super league). Any teams that take part in that and then choose to leave it should be obliged to restart at the bottom of the pyramid. Any other team should be welcome to join them if they are invited to and want to. But if they do, they too would have to restart at the very bottom if they ever wanted to come out of that "special" league.

It'll not happen. We'll, if it does it won't happen the way I think it should.


   
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Powmill-Naemore
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Joined: 4 years ago
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@forever-dormo 

Great post with the owners' wealth information FD.

Still, it is most reassuring to see the limitations of great wealth in action when it seems that even $600+billion can't eradicate virginal tendencies when it comes to collecting silverware this century...


   
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Powmill-Naemore
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Joined: 4 years ago
Posts: 1356
 

Posted by: @powmillnaemore

@forever-dormo 

Great post with the owners' wealth information FD.

Still, it is most reassuring to see the limitations of great wealth in action when it seems that even $600+billion can't eradicate virginal tendencies when it comes to collecting silverware this century...

P.S.

Come on you Hatters..I truly hope you stay up this year for all your owners.

 


   
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Clive

Well Done that’s cheered me up after a few days of black dog which was caused by our own Boro.

Never felt so bad about results in such a long time. Normally I get over it and plod on but at this time it’s Doom ! Doom I say thrice said Doom!

 

Thanks  again great work 

 

OFB


   
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@powmillnaemore - I must say that when I went through the list of the money behind the Premier League Clubs, I felt a warm feeling towards Luton Town. Good to see a supporters-owned club in the top league. I have been pleased to see them apparently "giving it a go" and, although results recently may not have been all they'd like, I at least have respect for their efforts and attempts to do battle with the richest of the rich. It would be good if they could confound the critics and stay up this year. Good Luck to Luton. 

 


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