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BORO v Watford
 

BORO v Watford

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BORO v WATFORD (The Riverside Stadium, Sat 4th May 2024 - ko 3pm)

This Is Your Starter For - a bit of Blue Moves there, for Elton John fans - the match between BORO and Watford on Saturday 4th May 2024. Star Wars devotees will no doubt add: "May the Fourth be with BORO this Saturday". Shall we get down to it?

If you're the sort of chap who believes that Saturday Night's Alright for Fighting, when it's possible to get a little action in, then I have good news for you! This fixture is the last match in the 2023-24 Championship season for both clubs. There will soon be a lot more time for you to engage in your hobby of regular weekend combat activity, undisturbed by the unseemly intervention of having to watch teams of men running around a field chasing a football. After this last game, attention can go back to the martial arts. We can, perhaps at a later time, enter into a debate about how this season has turned out - dreams against reality or whatever - but for the last time this season let's open the discussion on the forthcoming game.

Andy R kindly provided the Starter for this season's reverse fixture when Watford played BORO at Vicarage Road as long ago as 30th September 2023. That now seems so distant as to be almost in another era. When Andy previewed that game Watford stood in 16th position in the table, 4 above BORO (the team in red & white found itself in 20th and therefore in VERY close proximity to the 3 teams then occupying the relegation positions). Watford now stands 2 places higher at 14th whilst BORO has ascended to the heady altitude of 8th place as I type this on Sunday 28th April. Clearly Watford has continued along its lower-mid table trajectory as BORO has altered course, having at one stage flirted with relegation but then diverted upwards to a place just outside the fabled Play-Off positions. Whatever the result of this game or the games to be played elsewhere, the basic geography of the Championship is set, and the finishing positions of both Watford and BORO will not be very different to how things currently stand.

One thing that HAS changed is that Valerian Ismael was the recipient of the "almost" fabled horse's head in the bed last month (March 2024). When Andy R referred to Ismael as being the 19th manager in charge of Watford since the Pozzo Family took ownership of the club in 2012, he must have known that was both to tempt fate and the patience of the owners. Therefore number 20 to enter the revolving door is young (34 years) Tom Cleverely who is described as Watford's Head Coach. It seems as if this is fast becoming a qualification to enter managerial/coaching roles in English football, but he was for 8 years (2000-2008) in the youth set-up and then 7 years (2008-2015) as a senior, with Manchester United. Let's hope that, after this final game of BORO's season has been entered into the record books, Cleverley and Watford have some success together.

Of course it's not only for Watford that so much has changed. Looking back at that away game on 30th September last, you might recall the result was Watford 2-3 BORO. But hidden away behind that score is the detail: BORO's first 2 goals which put BORO into a 0-2 lead, were both scored by McGree within the first 12 minutes (the first with an assist by Howson, the second with an assist by Matt Crooks). Who here can remember what McGree looks like? Will he be at the club next season? BORO's winning goal, scored after goals scored by Bayo and then Porteous brought Watford level, was by Coburn, again with an assist by Matt Crooks. Coburn hasn't featured much this season but has been largely and long-term injured and, of course, Crooks has been transferred out. So it would be more than a surprise if any of BORO's 3 goals in the away fixture were to be replicated in the game at The Riverside.

Whilst BORO was enjoying a final away fixture of the season on 27th April by crushing Cardiff 4-1, Watford scraped a 1-0 home victory against a Sunderland team which appears to have given up early for this season, and which is currently languishing in 15th place in the table, sharing 56 points with Watford and Millwall. That was only the 2nd win by Watford under Tom Cleverley since his first game in charge - the 0-1 away win at the now-relegation-threatened Birmingham on 16th March 2024.

So, looking at Watford's (last 6) recent results:

Watford  1-0  Sunderland       (W)     27.04.24
Watford  0-0  Hull City           (D)      20.04.24
So'ton    3-2  Watford            (L)       13.04.24
Ipswich  0-0  Watford            (D)      10.04.24
Watford  0-0  PNE                 (D)      06.04.24
WBA      2-2  Watford            (D)      01.04.24

....we see that Watford has kept 4 clean sheets in the last 6 games yet has won only ONE of those games (largely because, in 3 of the games, Watford has failed to score)*. What might we discern from that? Perhaps that Watford isn't an easy team to score against, the aberrations against WBA and Southamption aside. But as BORO has entered a high-scoring run, with 3 goals against Leeds followed by 4 away at Cardiff, and with Latte Lath on a golden period having scored 10 goals plus one assist in his last 11 games, and with contributions now coming in from elsewhere, BORO might very well fancy piercing that Watford defensive baloon.

   *(IN THE SAME PERIOD BORO WON 3, DREW 2 LOST 1. LIKE WATFORD, BORO DREW WITH IPSWICH & HULL,  BUT  BORO SCORED IN ALL 6 GAMES).

Watford's number 9, Mileta Rajovic, has 9 league goals this season with Vakoun Bayo and Yaser Asprilla (the latter apparently walked around Vicarage Road after the Sunderland game yesterday as if to wave goodbye to the club) sharing the silver medal spot with 6 goals each. It doesn't LOOK like a team which is prolific up front. However, Watford's 60 goals scored and 58 conceded in the 45 league games to date compares to BORO's similar figures of 68 scored and 61 conceded.

Sometimes the season-long stats don't paint the prevailing recent picture, though, and I have to say that the that views set out in "The Hornets' Nest" (Watford supporters' web chatroom), which I have decided not to quote here, contain much that is less-than-effusive about Watford's season so far. I suspect that comes from a feeling that BORO in the recent past seems to have been improving from an earlier less than stellar level of performance whereas Watford has continued to plough its 2023-24 fairly low-level trench. It is fair to say that the Watford keeper, Bachmann, seems to be generally well thought-of by the supporters.

Roll up! Roll-up! This is the last call for your predictions for matches in the 2023-24 season. There will, of course, be plenty of time over the summer (if that time of the year is still permitted in the UK) to dissect this season once it is over, to give your views on the players who have done well and those who have not, a glimpse at the transfer market and your various hopes and fears for the NEXT (2024-25) season. Whether we are likely to have a trip up the Yellow Brick Road or a walk down the Brown Dirt that this particular Cowboy has had quite enough of, is a question that will have to wait its turn. Maybe in a thread or two's time?

I won't need anyone to Tell Me When the Whistle Blows as I will be at the Riverside for the game but, despite the fact it will then be months before the new season kicks off, supporting BORO should not be seen as a Part-Time Love. It's funny but that feeling inside tells me supporting this team isn't always a bed of roses, however I'm Still Standing. It Ain't Going to be Easy against a usually tight Watford defence but coming back to good winning form at home would be a welcome Return to Paradise for our BORO heroes.

In light of that, it remains necessary only to finish in the way you'd expect, for a Starter piece before the final league game of the season. To slightly amend Andy R's sign-off from his Watford v BORO thread last September: "...Are we seeing the BORO starting to take flight, or will the Hornets sting (BORO) at the Riverside? Over to you, Diasborians"...

The request remains the same even if both the date and venue for the match are different. Don't be shy. Predictions are free.

Forever Dormo 28.04.24

This topic was modified 2 months ago by Forever Dormo

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Forever Dormo

The last but certainly not the least in quality of the previews for this season. A very enjoyable read many thanks for putting this together it’s appreciated.

As you say we will dwell on other topics after the season has ended and concentrating on the result of this game what can I say ?

Boro3 ! Watford 1

Thats my final Boro3 of the season !

OFB


   
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@original-fat-bob - I had faith that you'd suggest BORO 3 despite the general mean-ness of the Watford defence. But maybe realistic about BORO managing to concede one, as well!  I'd be content with 3-1.


   
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@Forever Dormo

Many thanks for a well scripted season ending preview which perhaps could have been titled “It’s Over” courtesy of Roy Orbison.

I hope we can finish with a win and a season ending which is much better than last time around, despite not having qualified for the play offs.

Hoping to see another solid defensive display and for Azaz and Gilbert to continue their good performances from last week; it will also be good if a few of the youngsters get a bit more game time.

Boro 2-0 Watford CoB 😎

PS kick off is 12:30 so it could nearly be all over if you’re going for a 3:00 kick off! 🤔🤣😎

 

 

This post was modified 2 months ago by K P in Spain

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@k-p-in-spain - ARGHHH !!!

Those terrible people at Sky are perhaps responsible for the change?

To be fair the BBC Sport App is now showing Saturday 12.30pm as the kick-off time for all the Championship games to round off the season.

TOO LATE FOR ME TO EDIT THE PIECE NOW BUT HOPEFULLY YOUR EARLY COMMENT AND THIS POST WILL AVOID "ISSUES" ARISING.

Sorry Seems To Be The Hardest Word, but it is appropriate here....


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@forever-dormo. Unfortunately we can’t blame Sky on this occasion.  The EFL decided that all final games in the Championship would kick off on the same day and at the same time.  I am not certain but believe that none will be televised.

PS no apologies necessary, we are privileged to have so many excellent contributors. 😎

This post was modified 2 months ago by K P in Spain

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@k-p-in-spain - Cheers!


   
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Forever Dormo, many thanks for a great headliner. A good read that is, in a way, part of the scene setting for the end of season. OFB is still a three so here's hoping the Marton Oracle is right, these days the eyes in the sky seem to be firmly shut tight and hopefully that is just how our defence will be on Saturday.

It all seems to be a bit of an anti-climax but as we know it could have been a whole lot worse. I feel quite optimistic on the recruitment front and those players that Boro already have, let's hope we can hang on to some of those coveted by other clubs. No prediction and I hope a festive atmosphere doesn't set in until the final whistle.

All the best everyone and thank you all of you headline writers, you did a great job.

UTB,

John


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Leicester 3-0 winners at Preston, promoted as champions tonight.

Come on BORO.


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@exmil 
With their three goals they take over the top away scorers position. I see that the club has released legacy numbers for all players since we turned professional and on Saturday we could see player 1000 if two players make a debut Lennon was number 998.


Pedro de Espana
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@forever-dormo    Great Headliner Dormo, and as OFB said, last but not least. Nice delivery.

I will be there on Saturday, hopefully, and hopefully the “boys” as MC continues to call them, will give us something to cheer about. 
Possibly we can then start dreaming about who we may sign, who we will retain and who we can say, thank you but, adios amigo.


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Thanks to Dormo and belated thanks to deleriad for two typically excellent openers. They both have such distinctive voices. Indeed that has been true of all of the leader writers all season, and it is this quality which has made them all such a delight to read. The variety of voices and the intelligence behind them irrespective of the views expressed make this a forum which is unique in my experience, along with an audience tolerant of and receptive to a variety of views.

Long may it continue.

Apologies for the lateness of this. Have been far too busy of late


Clive Hurren
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Dormo

Many thanks for another sparkling and enjoyable opener! Elton John references much appreciated. Here’s hoping Rocket Man Latte Lath fires us to a 2-0 win and that Watford’s season is extinguished like A Candle in the Wind. 


   
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Martin Bellamy
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A brilliant starter to end the season, @fdormo - let’s hope our resurgence in form doesn’t end up reflecting Reg Dwight’s short lived marriage to Renate i.e. a complete sham.


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Dormo since you included many Elton John (Watford fan) references to his songs in your excellent opener, here is one from a Boro lad for Watford fans, “The Road to Hell” by Chris Rea.

Come on BORO.


jarkko
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@dormo Many thanks for a great opener. And it was not as long as the previous one. Shall we call it progress ....

Also I hope to see you in a retro shirt and with a scarf on Saturday as it is a retro day ( https://www.mfc.co.uk/news/2024/april/30/retro-shirt-day-for-watford-match /). I hope you still fit in some of the old ones you have! If problems, you can wear foam hands as OFB often does.

I will go for a nice 2-0 win. Hope we play well in the last match to keep fans happy over the summer and to keep them looking forward to the next season, too. I hope to see Latte Lath to score a brace but one will do nicely, thank you. 

Next season I am happy if we could start the season with this line-up:

Dieng

right back(?), van den Berg, Clarke, Bangura

Howson, Hackney

Jones, Azaz, McGree

Latte Lath

On the bench: Glover, Fry, Dijksteel, Leninhan, Engel, Barlaser, Coburn, Forss and Gilbert

I hope we can keep O'Brien for next season, too. Also possibly Ayling. And then 3 to 4 new players with QUALITY. But we have the spine of a team ready for next season in there. Up the Boro! 

This post was modified 2 months ago 2 times by jarkko

   
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jarkko
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Posted by: @exmil

Dormo since you included many Elton John (Watford fan) references to his songs in your excellent opener, here is one from a Boro lad for Watford fans, “The Road to Hell” by Chris Rea.

Come on BORO.

Have anyone heard how our two local heroes are doing at the moment, health wise? I think Rea has had some issues in recent years but I haven't heard about him in here. Is he back on the road again or retired?

And secondly, have we heard anything about Mogga since he step away from Birmingham? He is not returning this season and while he has been away the club is heading to the third tier depending other results on Sturday. I hope he is well.

Up the Boro!

 


   
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Pedro de Espana
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@jarkko    Chris Rea does not tour due to his serious illnesses.

He joked with Bob Moritimer, a well known Middlesbrough born comedian and avid Boro supporter during a guest appearance a couple of years ago on the programme “Gone Fishing” with Mortimer and Whitehouse.

He said that he should not be alive and has defied the odds with a combination of pills and injections.
You do not even have to be a fisherman to enjoy the programmes.

I remember as young man in my early twenties going to the “Rea’s” house on Low Lane on News Years Eve, after going to the Kirk. (those of a certain age will remember it well)

Camillo Rea, his father, used to cook the food, and his signature dish was chicken in red wine.

Chris was only about sixteen then, but his talent was obvious. He would entertain the guests playing the piano and singing.

Memories.


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Ipswich have one foot in the Premiership after winning 1-2 at Coventry, only need one point at home to Huddersfield, who themselves are virtually relegated. I wonder if Morsy and Luongo will be plying their trade in the Premiership next season 🤔.

Come on BORO.


   
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Selwynoz
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Posted by: @pedro

@jarkko    Chris Rea does not tour due to his serious illnesses.

He joked with Bob Moritimer, a well known Middlesbrough born comedian and avid Boro supporter during a guest appearance a couple of years ago on the programme “Gone Fishing” with Mortimer and Whitehouse.

He said that he should not be alive and has defied the odds with a combination of pills and injections.
You do not even have to be a fisherman to enjoy the programmes.

I remember as young man in my early twenties going to the “Rea’s” house on Low Lane on News Years Eve, after going to the Kirk. (those of a certain age will remember it well)

Camillo Rea, his father, used to cook the food, and his signature dish was chicken in red wine.

Chris was only about sixteen then, but his talent was obvious. He would entertain the guests playing the piano and singing.

Memories.

Did anybody say Knickerbocker Glory. I still remember the ice-cream shop.

His songs remain a source of comfort to this day.

UTB

 


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Looks like Ipswich are all but promoted after the win (2-1 away at Coventry) puts the Tractor Boys on 93 points.  If, as expected (but it would be foolish to count chickens etc) there should be final-match wins for Leicester and for Ipswich, those teams would end up with 100 points and 96 points respectively.  How should they NOT go up with those massive totals.

Leeds, of course with 90 points already, COULD get 93 but that would require a home win against Southampton. In which case a draw at home to lowly Huddersfield would be enough to see Ipswich promoted in any event.  What WILL they say in the Yorkshire Post? Prevailing wisdom always used to be that the team most likely to be promoted through the Play-Offs would be a team getting into the Play-Offs with a last-minute surge and therefore entering that short competition full of joy and with optimism, rather than a team feeling deflated, having just lost out on automatic promotion with disappointing results in the last couple of weeks or so.  We will see!

Surely, if promoted, the Ipswich manager MUST get Championship Manager of the Year, with his team having come up from the 3rd tier last season, so almost surely back-to-back promotions.  And not from a team relegated the previous season from the Premier League with pockets full of parachute money. Well done the lads from Suffolk.

 


Selwynoz
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Ipswich just need their draw a home to Huddersfield who are 'relegated' in all by name due to their terrible goal difference. I have a friend who supports Ipswich and everyone wonders whether they will have either the funds to replace most of their team - many of whom came up from League 1 - or the ability to create a fully functioning unit out of a group of new players. He must get Manager of the Year but his problems could just be starting. Still, a great place to be.

Talking of momentum, one could argue that, if West Brom fall apart and lose again and Hull make it, then Hull will have the best momentum followed by Norwich.

UTB

This post was modified 2 months ago by Selwynoz

Clive Hurren
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dormo, selwynoz

Kieran Maguire has already been voted Championship Manager of the Year, and quite rightly so in my view. 


   
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@clive-hurren - Thanks for that, Clive.  I must have missed it.  Very richly deserved by Kieran McGuire.


   
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@selwynoz I remember going to the 'Kirk', they had some good bands there: Graham Bond, John Mayall, Brian Auger and Julie Driscoll and a lot of others, wasn't the sort of resident band The Crawdaddies? As you say memories. Thanks for that memory jog!

ATB,

UTB,

John


   
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Pedro de Espana
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@john-richardson    Yes they had moved from the Red Lion to the Kirk, as the Redcar venu became too small. The group then became the Real McCoy, later splitting up into Tramline and Rivers Invitation. Some very good musicians in those bands.

In fact a number of them still perform at local gigs for a charity which supports the Respite Care at James Cook.

For those interested here is a Website link by Stan Loundon. It includes the history of the Kirk and lots of Teesside local bands from the sixties.

http://www.stanlaundon.com/kirk.html

They were new and exciting times for the baby boomers.


   
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@Pedro Thank s Pedro, Thank goodness my memory didn't deceive me! I went up to University in Newcastle in 1964 and I think I only visited once after that, then it was work in London. Some great bands there in that link.

ATB, UTB,

John


   
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Martin Bellamy
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@john-richardson I remember being thrown out of the Kirk after too much Southern Comfort at the tender age of 17. My first love was there that night, having dumped me a few weeks earlier. I still haven’t quite got over her.


   
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@martin-bellamy I won't tell anyone.

UTB,

John

PS I bet you were poorly the next morning if not that night!


   
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My reaction to the fact that Leeds will probably end up in playoffs

 


   
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