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Boro v Sunderland
 

Boro v Sunderland

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Clive Hurren
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Saturday 7 October 2023

Sunderland 0 Boro 4. (Greenwood ⚽️, Crooks ⚽️⚽️, Jones ⚽️⚽️⚽️, Forss ⚽️⚽️⚽️⚽️

To whet your appetite for Sunday, here’s the mfc match report, which amply records how magnificently we hammered them!

https://www.mfc.co.uk/news/2023/october/07/Match-Review--Sunderland-0-Boro-4/

I’m still laughing maniacally every time I think about it!

Oh, and Mogga’s gone. I’m glad actually. I didn’t like the idea of him managing that lot.

 

That’s it. There’s nowt else to say.


   
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Clive Hurren
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Ha, fooled you! I do have a few other titbits for you to ponder:

Now what might you think are the hottest, most tempestuous derby matches in world football? Celtic v Rangers? Tottenham v Arsenal? Roma v Lazio? Ajax v Feyenoord? River Plate v Boca Juniors? Baggies v Wolves (especially after Sunday’s game?) Benfica v Sporting Lisbon? Everton v Liverpool? Or perhaps you’d think of the intense rivalry between East Fife and Cowdenbeath (sadly no longer currently a fixture since the latter’s 2002 relegation to the Lowland League.)

Pah! Piddling confrontations all! They all pale into insignificance in comparison to the really big one: Boro v Sunderland. This is the one we all look forward to with eager anticipation, the one we all note down in our diaries when the fixtures are released, the one none of us wants to miss. And yes, I know Sunderland fans will tell you this is not the real derby, referring instead presumably to a minor game against some black and white outfit up the road, but we Boro fans, we know different. This is the derby that really matters, which is why we’re still singing, dancing and laughing about that 4-0 pasting we handed them in October!

It’s not that I dislike Sunderland, you understand. It’s just that I hate them. Can’t help it. Not the people, not the city, just the football club. I’m not sure where this hatred comes from: I don’t think it’s a legacy of some primordial instinct that has infected my DNA since birth; rather, I assume it’s part of our conditioning as Boro fans - they’ve always been our biggest rivals and from an early age following Boro I’ve been brought up to see them that way. My wife calls it infantile. I prefer to justify it as tribal.

Tim Marshall, in his amusing book on terrace culture, ‘Dirty Northern B****ards,’ writes that Sunland are called the Mackems because Geordies ‘believe you can Mackem do anything.’ I must admit I’d never heard that. My understanding was that it was Sunland shipyard workers who coined the phrase; apparently they used to complain that all their preparatory building of ships went unappreciated because the ships were then finished off on the Tyne: ‘We mak’ em, and they tak’ em!’ Again, how true that is, I know not. Does anybody here know for sure? Anyway, these days I much prefer to call them the Deckchairs: it’s so much more disrespectful, and therefore much more satisfying!

Marshall goes on to describe how Sunland (how ironic!) fans called us Smoggies and took to wearing gas masks and hazmat suits to the Riverside, until their club and the police banned the practice. I think that’s very creative and quite good banter, and besides, I like being a Smoggie. I’d like a Boro shirt with ‘Smoggies on tour’ printed on it!

Tony Mowbray was surprisingly (and harshly) sacked early December, with the Mackems in 9th position and just 3 points outside the play-offs. He had done wonders last season to drag a newly promoted side into 6th position. The Northern Echo quoted possible tensions between him and sporting director, Kristjaan Speakman. Mogga had apparently made it known on a few occasions that he (Mogga) wasn’t responsible for Sunderland’s recruitment.  He had nonetheless helped develop a host of young players, nurturing the likes of Anthony Patterson, Dan Ballard, Dan Neil and Jack Clarke, who all blossomed under his tutelage.

Sunderland appointed ex Rangers boss, Michael Beale, as the new manager in December. He had a relatively successful spell in his first manager’s job at QPR before being sought by the other Rangers North of the border, where he had worked previously as first team coach under Stevie Gerrard. However, Rangers finished the 2022–23 season without a trophy, and Beale failed to break Celtic’s smothering league domination. Beale was sacked on 1 October 2023, after a third defeat in the first seven league matches of this season. For a side with the resources and ambition of Rangers, that’s distinctly underwhelming.

Sunderland’s home defeat to Hull this month marked a third successive loss and the fourth in Beale's first seven fixtures as head coach, and he was met with widespread criticism from Sunderland supporters, including calls for his dismissal.. The 3-1 home win over Stoke at the weekend was only their third win in 8 and it may just have stopped the rot. Like Boro they have been consistently inconsistent. A loss to Boro on Sunday will not be received well, I suspect. Cue a chorus of ‘You’re getting sacked in the morning,’ probably from both sets of supporters!

The sacking of Mowbray and appointment of Beale might suggest club leadership and a board that don’t really know what they’re doing. It’s been a turbulent few years as regards ownership of the club. And If you need further evidence of ongoing management dysfunctionality up the A19, look no further than the unbelievably crass decision someone made to decorate their own Black Cats bar in black and white and Toon banners just prior to the recent FA Cup derby game. This caused great mirth on Tyneside, of course, but Mackems fans understandably went ballistic with outrage. How anyone associated with the club could fail to understand such obvious local sensibilities is quite beyond me. It would be like Boro inviting Sunland fans to take over the Holgate or the South Stand for the afternoon!

The majority owner is Swiss-French billionaire, Kyle Louis-Dreyfus. I doubt he is related to army captain, Alfred Dreyfus, who suffered an infamous, grave miscarriage of justice at the hands of the French government from 1894-1906, but who knows? Whatever, he doesn’t appear to have spent much of his dosh so far, though how far that is as a response to the EFL profit and sustainability rules, I know not. As Mogga pointed out, this is a team of largely inexperienced youngsters, apparently on lower wages than at any other club in the the top 12. Beale reckons it’s the youngest side in the Championship.

The turbulence just goes on and on! Beale had urged fans to be more positive and get behind the team after a three-game losing streak. However, his preparations for the Stoke game were hampered by Alex Pritchard's decision to withdraw his services and declare his intent to leave just a day before. Just a few days earlier,  sporting director Speakman had told the media the club were in dialogue with their playmaker about remaining with the Black Cats: “Alex has been an absolutely integral part of how we find ourselves today in a really good position in the Championship. He's a really important player for the group and I'm really pleased he's got back in the team.” You really couldn’t make it up!

Our overall record against them, including cup games, is on the debit side: W52 D38 L62. We did the double over them in 2001-02  in the Premiership, and we did so again the following season, again in the Prem, which was the last time we recorded a league double against them. So it’s been 20 years. Time to put that right on Sunday. Mind, for several of those years, Sunland were languishing in the depths of League One. How we laughed each time they missed out on promotion. Our dear old friend, Ken Smith, used to say he wanted all the NE teams to do well, including the Deckchairs and the Barcodes. Not me!! I want them to lose every game and I give my Schadenfreude full vent whenever they do.

They head into our game with 43 points, 3 more than Boro. Their WLD record is almost the same as ours, but they’ve won 13 (we’ve won 12) having played one game more. W13 D4 L12. We’ve scored 2 more goals than them - 42 against 40, but they have a superior goal difference, having conceded 32 against our 41.

They’re not exactly prolific. By early December none of Mogga’s recognised strikers had scored! He had no real centre forward, Ross Stewart having gone to Southampton and Ahmad Diallo returned to MU. They had had lots of shots, apparently, but few goals. Mogga had been reduced to rotating 4 youngsters up front - Mason Burstow, Ukrainian Nazariy Rusyn, Portuguese Luis Semedo and 18 year old Spaniard Eliezer Mayenda. Even now, the foursome only have 2 goals between them. However, current top scorer is flying youngster, Jack Clarke, with an impressive 13 league goals. He’ll need to be watched - a job for Luke Ayling. But next come Dan Neil and Jobe Bellingham (not as good as his brother) with just 4 each.

Patrick Roberts and captain Corry Evans, absent since rupturing his cruciate ligament in last January's win over Boro, will miss the game on Sunday, as will Pritchard presumably. Young winger Jewison Bennett has gone out on loan. Does this leave them short of options in the attacking midfield area? We will need to be wary of ex Blackburn midfielder, Bradley Dack, who may be past his best now but always seems to score against us.

For Boro this is a huge game, not just because of the local bragging rights, but also because we need to reignite our playoff push. Our form has been inconsistent of late and we need to go on an unbeaten run of a few games to put pressure on those above us. Otherwise, we might find the gap to 5th and 6th places rapidly becomes unbridgeable.

It is to be hoped that Boro bounce back immediately from the Chelsea disappointment, and that there is no hangover in terms of a knock to our confidence. Several of the former walking wounded will be back - Hackney, O’Brien, Forss, McNair, Dijksteel. The transfer window will have closed and we may still have Rogers, if we’re lucky. And we’ll have recent recruits in Ayling, Azaz and Thomas. It’s almost a full XI! It gives us options, though we may still be short up top and down the right wing unless Isaiah and Josh are close to a return. Nonetheless, this has the look of a very experienced squad of players.

The Deckchairs will no doubt give us a tough game. I doubt they will park the bus à la Rotherham. They and their fans will want revenge for October, so I expect them to attack. But this is a young, callow Sunderland side that is eminently beatable, with a manager whose position can’t be considered secure.

Come on Boro, let’s stick it to them! Any win will do.


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Well, that's got me suitably fired up, Clive, full of appropriately calibrated bile and grudge.

I'm taking our eldest granddaughter for her first taste of the Riverside. So I'm hoping it'll be a wonderful experience which will ignite a lifelong love of the Boro. It didn't work with my daughter at a Sunderland match about 20 years ago which was very drab as I recall.

But this time.....

Martin Bellamy
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Good work, Clive. I’m away with family for the weekend in the County Pallatine, but hopefully I’ll be able to watch the game on my iPad. Let’s hope we’re all celebrating a win and the return of a number of key players. 


   
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Great intro Clive, thoroughly enjoyable, you have the same feelings about Sunderland as I do. For some reason I was hoping Beale wouldn’t be sacked until after our game.

Come on BORO.


   
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I'm not a Sunderland fan but I would rather have them than Newcastle, I absolutely loathe them. 


   
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@clive-hurren 

 

Great stuff Clive, as the saying goes “ life is like a box of chocolates”  “and you ain’t sure what you gonna get next!”

I certainly didn’t expect that preview and it’s a corker!

Just hoping Mrs OFB and I can make it in Sunday both suffering from hacking coughs and feeling poorly!

She’s on the malt tonight as a warm toddy and hope it ,makes her feel better 

Many thanks Clive 

 

OFB


   
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jarkko
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@clive-hurren Brilliant, Clive. Looks like you will get your turn only when we play your favourite opponents!

Brilliant Boro ensured the Wear-Tees bragging rights headed back down the A19 with our biggest-ever victory at Sunderland. So agent Mogga did what a Boro lad must do!

But the return visit of the Mackems might be a potential banana skin, too. After a record win, we might be hit with a surprice,  though.

I hope we have a strong bench on Sunday and as many of the wouded ones back as possible. Up the Boro!

This post was modified 3 months ago by jarkko

Clive Hurren
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@original-fat-bob 

Sorry to hear about the aches and pains. Hope you and Mrs OFB are soon feeling much better and that you get to the game on Sunday. Yelling abuse at Sunland players, whilst cheering on our lads’ goals, will do your throats the world of good! 


   
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Hope you both get better soon. UTB

 


   
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Great opener thanks Clive from which I have come to the conclusion that you are not favourably disposed towards that team from up the road!😂

I am with you on this one, a win any win will do but why do I have an uneasy feeling about this one.  

I hope I am wrong as it could turn out to be the game which sees the start of the demise of our top six aspirations. 

Fingers and everything else crossed that we have a convincing win and the start of some consistency in both terms of selection and positive results. 😎

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

   
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Inspired openers, Clive. Two for the price of one. Both excellent. Thanks for all of your hard work.

Bob, hope you are both back in full voice soon


   
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FD

Birmingham game rearranged for Tuesday March 12

OFB


   
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Pedro de Espana
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@clive   Thank you Clive for the great Headliner and an added bonus thrown in. As Len said, two for the price of one.

As for this match on Sunday, I am never confident, never knowing which Boro will turn up, especially after the Rotherham display.

This month we have five games, 3 at home and two away, PNE midweek and Leicester. So plenty of recovery time.

I would expect us to get beat at Leicester, so to have any chance of that sixth spot, we will need, IMO, to pick up at least ten points. Keeping PNE and Bristol below us and hopefully climbing the table and closing the gap if we gain those points.

Coventry are on a roll, WBA are 5 points ahead with a superior goal difference. So, as KP said, anything other than a win on Sunday and I think we can say goodbye to any aspirations for another season.


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Breaking news:

https://www.thenorthernecho.co.uk/sport/24084980.aston-villa-agree-deal-middlesbrough-morgan-rogers/

£16m with £10m upfront 🤔

Come on BORO.


   
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Clive,

Many thanks for the BOGOF opener a great approach to get us all in the mood for the bread and butter of proper Championship football! As always more imponderables than probables but it has always been the way with Boro and sadly as the games come thick and fast so do the injuries it would seem. Injury management is now definitely a major part of the game. I want to see us beat our near neighbours, don't we all, but without any more walking wounded or crowd aggro on the day.

Your opener got the Teesside pride fire burning nicely so come on Boro get the new boys to realise how important this match is.

Look after yourselves everybody and Boro look after us please.

UTB,

John


   
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Posted by: @exmil

Breaking news:

https://www.thenorthernecho.co.uk/sport/24084980.aston-villa-agree-deal-middlesbrough-morgan-rogers/

£16m with £10m upfront 🤔

Come on BORO.

Is it a good deal only time will tell, he wants to go, he has played for us for 7 months is it a good return on investment as I said only time will tell. It is what it is.

Players are transient only fans stay

 

This post was modified 3 months ago by PaulInBoro

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@john-richardson 

 

Even though some of the new boys are leaving us, I think the home atmosphere created for the Chelsea home game absolutely blew away the players concept of the size of the club they had joined. It showed them what could be achieved with moderate success and fervent support. The home ‘Derby’ game against Sunderland will again produce a tremendous atmosphere that the players will want to hear every time they step out onto the turf of the Riverside.

The players will also realise that with the Roger’s deal that they too can play their best and be rewarded to play at the highest level. I just hope that the big clubs don’t come snooping around for our coaching team as I think they have learned a lot this season and will go on to do even better.

OFB


 gt
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I'll never forget Dec 1962 Boro 3 v Sunderland 3 after going 3 nil down. What a game 43,000 there , Cloughy for them 


   
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According to the MFC ticket website only 211 tickets left for the Sunderland game.

Come on BORO.


   
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@original-fat-bob   -  NOTED, OFB. Thanks for that.... I've written down the new date for Starter article purposes.


   
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@clive-hurren - Loved the Starter piece, Clive.  Well done.  Sunderland supporters embarass themsleves by their repeated insistence that "this game is not a derby match".  I heard one gentleman taking the time (during a video recorded for the recent FA Cup tie between Sunderland and Newcastle) to deny emphatically that BORO v Sunderland was a derby.  Nobody had even asked him about the BORO so it was very illuminating that he felt it necessary to raise the issue.  As I said elsewhere: the Sunderland supporters protest too much, Methinks.

For virtually all of its history since its foundation in 1876 Middlesbough's nearest league rivals in the Football League and the Premier League, against which league fixtures have been possible, has been Sunderland (itself founded in 1879). There is little point Gateshead or Durham City claiming Sunderland to be their "local derby" as Sunderland will hardly ever (if at all) have found itself playing league games against those teams, any more than Hartlepool or Marske claiming BORO to be their "local derby".  However Sunderland has been the nearest league opponent that BORO has had to play for a very considerable proportion of the league careers of both clubs.


   
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Powmill-Naemore
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Bravo Clive.

What I might describe as a bit of a tour de force to kick off this Sunderland thread. I was just considering posting to congratulate you on the brevity of your germane introduction when the uncensored part-two landed. You absolutely had me at “That’s it. There’s nowt else to say.”, but boy oh boy, how much else you did have to say in your no holds barred and extensive supplement. Quite brilliant and a highly original approach to starting a thread.

I can’t bring myself to hate either of the Deckchairs or the Barcodes. In my ideal world, each of the big teams from Vin Garbutt’s ‘Land of Three Rivers’ (Where the Tyne, Wear and Tees meet the North's rolling sea) would be competing in the top division: I am happy just so long as Boro (as the original ‘Cocks o’the North’) does better than either of our noisy junior northern neighbours. If I was to be pushed, I might tend more to Malcolm’s position, having more antipathy to the team in black and white, but primarily  as a reaction to what I perceive as mis-placed arrogance than anything else.

My favourite ever moment to remember against Sunderland was standing in the Holgate watching that young pocket dynamo (😉) Bobby Murdoch race onto Souness’ though ball in the mud to equalise in our FA Cup 4th round tie at Ayresome Park back in 1975.

Our demolition of the Makems at their place in October has been one of the highs of our season so far. A repeat of that result would see us not only joining them on 43 points, but actually overtaking them on goal difference. Bring it on!

We will be without Rogers of course, but if I am honest about it, I do not think he is going to be missed. For me he is a player that has flattered to deceive and I do not think he has shown any consistent form to suggest he is worth even the £1million we paid for him, let alone the £16millions that Villa are prepared to invest. Good business all round for Boro so far as I am concerned. Rogers was not a player to be able to hold the ball up… we need Coburn to be fit to start on Sunday as he is the one forward we have that has demonstrated he can do that (although I wouldn’t be averse to seeing Apkom back on loan if that was at all possible and he could slip straight into the team). With the window well closed by the time Sunday comes around, I am also sure we will get better focus from Hackney, who must surely rediscover a bit of his form.

 

I would like to see us starting with three at the back with, left to right, Engel, Fry and Ayling). Jones and Bangura to play as wing backs with a brief to cover either of Engel and Ayling as and when they can overlap forward. I would have Hackney, Howson and Azaz across the midfield, even though both Hackney and Azaz prefer their right foot. Coburn must surely start as the target man with Forss playing off him and providing movement as well as goals! But what do I know. I am languishing near the foot of the COTS predictions table at the moment, so any bright ideas I have about how to set up a football team need to be taken with a huge pinch of salt.

I have agreed with Mrs P-N that we should go and watch the match at our local on Sunday. Hopefully we will not be embarrassed in front of the local St.Johnstone supporting fraternity.

CoB

This post was modified 3 months ago 4 times by Powmill-Naemore

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@powmillnaemore ;  Ah!  The Toon!  St John's Toon. Perth. 

I drove past their stadium last Wednesday lunchtime and back again on Monday afternoon.  I have camped at Scone Palace just outside Perth quite a few times and have enjoyed Perth itself and the area around.  Although recently made a city the Scottish metroplis that is Perth is, in English terms, effectively a large town, with a population of about 47K. I often look for St Johnstone's results.

For no other reasons than I have several times camped within yards of their ground, the fact they are the most northerly football league team in Great Britain, and the fact that Dingwall is the county town of Ross & Cromarty (extending from the North Sea coast on the east to The Minch on the west and which includes Ullapool), I have for many years followed Ross County's results, though I have nothing against the Perth team.  If ever there was a team punching above its weight, it's Ross County, still in the Scottish Premiership having been saved relegation in the play-offs last season.  With a population of only 5,360 at its mid-2020 estimate, Dingwall  is about a 9th the population of Perth, one 7th the population of Redcar (the town), less than a third the size of Guisborough, half the size of Northallerton and considertably less than Richmond, Yarm and Loftus - though at current rate of building, Northallerton and Yarm will at some stage both become the size of Manchester.  From the Camping & Caravanning Club Site in Dingwall you need only walk out of the front gate and cross the tarmac road to Ross County's ground - Victoria Park which obviously reminds us of Hartlepool. Three decent butchers in Dingwall (especially Cockburn's which is a reminder of another local place, Bedale) and an ENORMOUS town centre Tesco superstore with its cafe, toilets and fuel station.  You have to fill up there if going to the west coast, as the fuel is cheaper there.... Not to mention The Mallard Pub with its pub meals and TV sport, on the platform of Dingwall Railway Station just over the bridge from the football ground. 

And you've probably all heard now that Aberdeen yesterday sacked manager Barry Robson (yes, the same short-tempered midfielder who once played for Boro) and his assistant, the same Steve Agnew we all know from Boro. In football it's not about what you win, but how frequently you receive pay-offs and how much they add up to.


Pedro de Espana
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@powmillnaemore.  I cannot see us starting with only one recognised CB in Fry and two FB's either side.

Also Jones may not be fit, and Bangura definitely is not. 

I think it will be Ayling, Fry, Clarke and Engel.

Midfield, HH and Howson, possibly O'Brien playing deeper.

Hopefully Coburn is OK to start, so that would only leave two places. One if Jones is fit. So only two in midfield then, plus two from, Greenwood, Crooks, Azaz.

MC does not much to choose from. Oh dear, just forgot Forss. 🤣🤣 


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@forever-dormo 

A bit like Potto being in the Premier League?

https://www.bbc.com/sport/football/65292529.amp

UTB


   
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Martin Bellamy
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@eboroacum I actually had my 60th Birthday in a rented cottage in Potto with all the family. Good memories, although I recall Wigan Warriors losing the Grand Final as we ate my birthday meal in the Dog & Gun. 
It was also the last time I climbed Roseberry Topping. Happy days.

This post was modified 3 months ago by Martin Bellamy

   
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@eboroacum Thanks for the link. Now that IS a small village to host a top-flight team.


   
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jarkko
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Let's concentrate on the up-coming derby (looking from afar, looks like the places are close to each other). Here is what we got bar McGree and Silvera against Sunderland. 

Up the Boro! 


   
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Clive Hurren
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Thank you all for your kind comments re my starter(s). Much appreciated. 

This has seemed a very long week. But matchday is at last almost upon us. I can’t wait. With a full house behind us, let’s roar Boro on to a double-winning performance! UTB! 


   
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