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Huddersfield v BORO
 

Huddersfield v BORO

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Selwynoz
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Topic starter  

BORO Away v Huddersfield Town

John Smith Stadium

7.45pm, Friday 29th December

With games coming thick and fast, I’m writing most of this before the Rotherham game. I might add a quick paragraph after the game  but I’m not going to edit my text with the advantage of twenty-twenty hindsight as the Rotherham game isn’t really relevant to this intro.

Well folks, the season is exactly half way through and there is the Rotherham game to come before we turn our attention to Huddersfield. If you double our total that would take us to 66 points which would leave us three points outside the points total needed to make the 2023 playoffs. We’re ahead of where we were at the same point last season so, given the likely improvement from new players and players returning from injury, we have every reason to look forward to a really positive second half of the season in the Championship. When you add in a semi-final of the Carabao and a ‘free hit’ in the FA Cup against Aston Villa, it’s an easy time to be positive.

I would also throw in a major tip of the hat to the recruitment team. There was a fair bit of moaning about some of our acquisitions but, with the possible exception of Alex Gilbert who hasn’t really figured, everybody has done a bit for the side and seems to be a better player than they were at the start of the season. Seny Dieng is a quality keeper, Rav Van Den Berg and Lukas Engel look to be top class and Morgan Rogers could be anything. Sammy Silvera is improving week on week and Latte Lath and Alex Bangura are solid members of the squad. I’m impressed and I’m looking forward to what they are able to achieve in January. The whole club seems to be set on an upward trajectory and, hopefully, a return to the top tier where we belong.

I’ve highlighted the ‘where we belong’ because I’ve been thinking about where we stand in the hierarchy of football and what it takes to be considered a ‘big club’.

Here is a trivia question for the members of Diasboro. Let us imagine that we have a king on the throne, haircuts are incredibly short with most men shaving their hair above their ears. Middlesbrough are due to play a team that in the prior season has been runners-up in the top division. In the fourteen seasons before that, this club has won the top division three times (in consecutive seasons), been runners-up twice more, has won the FA Cup once and lost in the final three times.

What year are we looking at and who is this club who could be said to have dominated the football scene? I don’t know if anyone guessed it, but the year is 1935 and the club is Huddersfield.

Huddersfield won Division One in 1924, 1925 and 1926 and were runners-up in 1927, 1928 and 1934. On top of that they won the FA Cup in 1922 and were losing semi-finalists in 1920, 1928 and 1930. That remarkable record would surely have qualified Huddersfield to be called a top club and that was further underlined in 1938 – the last season before the second world war – when they again were runners-up in the FA Cup.

How did this happen? One of the major people in the ascension of Huddersfield was Herbert Chapman. Many people may know that name from his great years at Arsenal where he managed them to the Division One title in 1931, 1933 and 1934. What people may not remember is that he was appointed manager of Huddersfield in 1921 and, incredibly, led them to the Division One title in 1924 and 1925. He then went to Arsenal but Huddersfield continued their success, winning the title for a third consecutive year in 1926. Chapman had died suddenly in mid-season 1934 but Arsenal continued as a very successful club, winning the League in 1935 and 1938 and the FA Cup in 1936.

Arsenal and Huddersfield would certainly have been considered ‘top clubs’ in the immediate pre-WW2 period but where did Boro stand and who was the top team in the North East in those same years.

If we look at the 1938 table, we can see that Arsenal won the league with 52 points (two for a win) and we can see Middlesbrough in fifth with 46 points. Manchester City and West Brom were relegated and Manchester United and Aston Villa were promoted from Division 2. Moving on to 1939, Everton won the league with 59 points and Middlesbrough took fourth with 49 points.

We were certainly doing well enough to be considered a top club. With Sunderland mid-table in Division One and Newcastle in Division Two, we were also the top club in the North East.

Huddersfield by then were doing less well in Division One, but they were still a big club and their games with Middlesbrough would have been big games. A little bit different from today. In fact, from 1920-1954 Middlesbrough v Huddersfield was a top tier (Division One) game. Since 1954, there has only been one year – 1997 – when that was the case. The record over the years is

  • Played 102, Huddersfield won 35, Draws 22, Boro won 45

Boro’s record post the 1953-1954 season is certainly a bit spotty. Two second division titles and a Carling Cup. Whether this is due to my having been born in summer 1953 is a question that I refuse to answer. As for Huddersfield, their collapse is, possibly, even worse. Since 1954 they can total one Division 2 title and one Division 4 title. Not very impressive.

So does any of this mean that Middlesbrough and Huddersfield are not, in any sense, top clubs. For the football historians amongst us, the answer may be less clear. Many would say ’yes’ despite the great history of Huddersfield in particular. I’m not so sure how to answer the question. However, they are undeniably clubs which have a deep, long link to their communities. They are ‘important’ in a way that is not really linked to their absolute success in any season. Why do we still obsess about MFC? It is in our blood and we will continue to care about them whether or not the league is won by some petro-dollar behemoth.

----------------------------------------------

When the full-time whistle went in the Rotherham game, frankly, I was nearly speechless. If we had won 4-0 it wouldn’t have felt out of touch with the way the game went except for the obvious fact that a team that can’t take its chances doesn’t deserve to win. The only true ‘bad luck’ was the Bangura penalty claim which looked clearcut to me. He got there first, pushed the ball ahead and got hit by the defender. Anyone who wants to comment more on how the game went should probably do so on the Rotherham blog. 

My only thought is that we have to beat Huddersfield to avoid going into the New Year with a severe hit to our morale. Certainly, it won’t be definitive because there are so many clubs beating each other that the fifth and sixth spots could go to a lower total than usual.

Anyway, Merry Christmas and a happy and healthy New Year to all Diasborians and their families.

UP THE BORO


Powmill-Naemore
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An excellent introduction to our next game Selwyn and a really good perspective on the cheaply traded label of "Big Club".

Perhaps money has distorted things in the modern world, but then again, the big clubs of their day were often as not also the richest. Are we a big club? Do we belong in the top tier? Those are good questions to ask. I think in the overall scheme of things we are a club with a sufficiently long pedigree in the top tier that definitely merits being described a a bigger club than most, but we have never ever really been successful enough to merit the "Big" label.

I think statistically over the years our collection of points puts us in the top 20. Well it did a few years ago when last I looked. So absolutely fair to think of ourselves generally as a top tier club. However, as for belonging in the top tier: that is something you earn on merit and latterly we would have to admit we have not really deserved to be there.

This coming game against former giants Huddersfield is important. We do need to win to go into 1924 on a positive note and still looking up the way. Lose it and we could look like being drawn down.

I hope MC and his team are working on finishing. Even the fanciest of footballing teams know when to be direct, especially in front of goal. We could do with some of that attitude now.

No prediction from me. Just hope.

CoB

 

This post was modified 4 months ago 2 times by Powmill-Naemore

jarkko
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Posted by: @powmillnaemore

This coming game against former giants Huddersfield is important. We do need to win to go into 1924 on a positive note and still looking up the way. Lose it and we could look like being drawn down.

There was a lot to look forward to in 1923. We would go on to win the EFL Cup during the McClaren era, Juninho signing, UEFA CUP, etc. So don't worriy.

In 2024 we could add to the list something more. But we need to beat Hudds first. At least they do not have Warnock any more to hount us down there. 

Up the Boro!

 


Powmill-Naemore
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P.S. 

Just had a quick look and we re currently 17th overall in the all time ranking.

https://alltimeleaguetable.co.uk/


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Selwynoz 

A great piece and very well researched. I must admit it cheered me up after the disappointment of losing in such a lack lustre fashion the other day.

Onwards and hopefully upwards !

Many thanks and here’s to a happy 2024 for the Boro and all the Diasborians and their families 

Boro3 on Friday !

OFB


Selwynoz
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Topic starter  

Thanks @Powmill-Naemore, so on points we make the top twenty.

However, if one leaves aside the League Cup and looks only at the League, I wonder how many clubs there are who have a ‘best ever’ result that is higher than our ‘best ever’ of third in 1913-14.

Am I the only one struck by the strange coincidence that our rise to our strongest position in the league was twice cut short by a world war. It seems like an extreme measure to ensure that we didn’t win a title. Forget the Balkans or Poland, we have to stop Middlesbrough!

utb


jarkko
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I have always thought Boro should be in the top division, 1st tier, or what ever it is called. Premier League, perhaps?

I see that Chelsea and Man City are there above us, but this has happened after they got Russian and Arabic money and it has happened quite recently (remember us beating Citeh by 8-1). Before Premier League, they were same size as Boro, me thinks.

If we get promoted one day, we should do as well as clubs that are now in the EPL and below us in the all time ranking. We should do equal or better than Leicester (winning the League recently), Nott'm Forest, West Ham, (Leeds),  Burnley, Fulham, Luton, Crystal Palace (ranked 41st), Brighton (53rd), Brentford (57th) and Bournemouth (68th and capacity of 11,307). 

As we have a stable owner, we should finish above the teams I mentioned above. On average. So we should expect a longish run in the EPL anytime soon. We have been in the second tier far too many years now.

People outside Teesside consider Boro as a biggish club - especially the younger generation. It was a couple of weeks ago I was playing futsal with my old Boro away shirt on (white, 3rd). A teenager player I did not know, came over to me after the session and asked if he was right I was wearing a Boro shirt. And this was in Finland. People do regognize a Boro shirt nowadays.

The above is why I expect and hope Boro to get promoted every year. We belong to the top tier. Up the boro!

This post was modified 4 months ago 3 times by jarkko

Martin Bellamy
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@Selwynos - another brilliant opener. 

For me, to be a “big club” you have to attract supporters from outside your own catchment area. Most clubs that’s we automatically think of as being “big clubs” have overseas supporters, worldwide merchandising and make headlines in the red tops. They have players who are household names and genuine celebrity status. They are expected to win competitions, to have international players in their teams and to attract full houses wherever they play.

 
I appreciate that we have the most loyal of overseas fans in @Jarkko but I definitely don’t see us as a “big club”. 


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@Selwynoz - Thanks for that Opener. I feel better now that I have read it, than I did in the dim glow of reality emitted by yesterday's defeat at Mighty Rotherham.

You raised the interesting issue of what makes a club a "Big Club".  I suppose it's partly an issue of relativity. Relative to Stockon and Norton Ancients, Northallerton Town or York City, Middlesbrough is certainly a Big Club the likes of which you'd LOVE to draw if you got as far as the 3rd round of the FA Cup. To be serious about it though, it must be a combination of years of success ("show us your trophies"), league positions over the years (even if you didn't win any trophies, if you finish runners-up in the top tier you must surely be Big), and the size of the club's following (seen in matchday attendances and support generally) that decides a club's status.  Of course success in the 1880s to 1930s might represent Big Club status over an extended period (60 years, to be precise!) but if there has been a decline and obscurity in the 90 or so following years, there surely must be the application of some Statute of Limitations, which has the effect of drawing a curtain on that historical Big Club status. "In Antiquity, your club may have been a Big Club once, but it's not a Big Club now".

I'm sure I've said it before on here (certainly in the Untypical Boro days) that giants in the early days of Association Football, teams which won the FA Cup in its early days, sometimes quite a few times (teams like the Wanderers who won the cup FIVE times, Old Carthusians, Old Etonians (twice), Royal Engineers etc, even Oxford University - BOOOO!), whilst giants in their day are either pygmies now or no longer exist. Remember that the team which is 17th in the All-Time League Table to which a link was sent by @Powmill-Naemore (ie the Mighty Middlesbrough) has still never won the FA Cup. Not even once, a long time ago "when we were good".  So those old Forces teams, Public Schools Old-Boys etc teams have climbed a mountain - sometimes more than once - when the team we on this Blog support hasn't summitted even once.

Middlesbrough has finished 3rd in the top tier and 4th, and has finished runners-up in the FA Cup and the League Cup (as well as that EUFA Cup runners-up adventure in 2006), and memorably WON the League Cup in 2004, but that single piece of professional silverware seems scant reward for a club founded earlier than most in 1876 (147 years ago, and which, to be fair, won the FA Amateur Cup in 1895 and 1898) but which became professional in 1889, returned to amateur status in 1892 and then finally reverted back to being a professional club on a full time basis in 1899. So even from 1899, a total of 124 seasons in which, apart from winning the 2nd tier title, that one League Cup is the only Cup or proper silverwear ever won by the club in such a long history. For a large chunk of that time there was a maximum wage structure in place in English professional football and no oil Sheikhs or foreign billionaires to bale out the opposition clubs, so Boro could presumably have paid the same wages as Arsenal or Liverpool paid their players.

Teams now well below Boro in the football pecking-order have had their days in the sun, even if those days are now long gone.  But Boro's long term failure in the "Glory Game" as it was described in Hunter Davies' book about Tottenham Hotspur (other Big Clubs are available) can't JUST be down to the Germans' hunger for European hegemony in 1914 and 1939.  The almost exclusive failure (apart from the solitary League Cup success) to get its fair share of the Glory that has been on offer in the last 124 years MUST be down to poor management/organisation.  You can only be SO unlucky for SO long. If it keeps on happening for decade after decade after decade, it must be structural, surely?  For goodness sake, some of the players who have put the shirt on are amongst the best ever to grace a football field.

And, back to Huddersfield and to Herbert Chapman who was referred to in the Opener by @Selwynoz, he must surely be in the conversation when "Best Manager of All Time" is brought up.  A Yorkshireman and lucky enough to share a Christian names with one of cricket's greatest ever batsmen, Herbert Sutcliffe, Chapman took over as manager of Huddersfield where he won that club's first ever silverware in taking back-to-back League Titles (1923-24 after finishing runners-up 22-23, and in winning in 1924-25) and one FA Cup (1922).  Chapman was appointed as manager of Arsenal in 1925, a team which had been fighting relegation in the 2 previous seasons, yet Chapman turned the club around and steered Arsenal to 2nd place in the  league, 5 points behind the juggernaut he had created in his old team Huddersfield Town which won the League title for the 3rd successive season 1925-26 (the first English team to win 3 successive titles). Arsenal reached an unsuccessful  FA Cup Final in 1927 but Chapman's plan for Arsenal - for whom he is credited, together with his first signing the great Charlie Buchan, for introducing the WM formation as one of his football innovations - succeeded as The Gunners won their first ever League title in 1930-31, finished 2nd in the League and were runners-up in the FA Cup Final in 1932,  and won the League again in 1932-33. Chapman is said to have caught a cold which turned to pneumonia and died on 6th January 1934, at the very young age of 55.

Clearly a great manager when the word "Great" is so terribly over used. League Titles and FA Cup wins with two different clubs.

I'd say that Huddersfield Town HAS been a Big Club many years ago, but would not qualify for that description now. BORO has threatened on occasion to break into that "Big Club" group but the failure to win trophies to demonstrate that status has meant that those threats were never brought into action. A "hopeful" club with Big ideas....

As to Huddersfield v BORO as this year grinds slowly to its end, who knows? Frankly Boro might easily come out of the traps like a greyhound and tear into the home team, winning easily to dispel the concerns so evident after the display at Rotherham. But just as easily one can imagine a similar disappointing slow-collapse of hope into despair and yet another defeat. I really have NO IDEA. I wonder what the players and the manager feel?

This post was modified 4 months ago 3 times by Forever Dormo

Clive Hurren
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@selwynoz 

Many thanks for a really interesting and informative starter. I love the historical perspective that many of you come up with. That’s not to disparage anyone who does it differently: I think everybody’s individual starter content and style have been terrific. Keep them coming, friends! 

Before the Rotherham game I was hoping for a minimum of 7 points from these 3 games. After that dreadful loss, I feel we must now beat Huddersfield to stay in contact with the playoffs. However, I’m not especially confident, regardless of league positions. Town had a belting good win yesterday against Blackburn, which will have boosted their spirits. They’ll be up for this one, as Rotherham were. Our defence has tightened up a bit of late, but that’s scant consolation when we can’t put the ball in the opposition net. We’ll still be without Latte Lath, it seems, and may be able to use Josh only from the bench, and I don’t see Silvera and Greenwood as the answers to our striker problem. I think we’ll do well to get a draw, but that probably won’t be good enough. 

What I am certain of is that we desperately need reinforcements in January. I hope Kieran Scott has got all his plans in place and that we can get 2 or 3 in very quickly. If not, a disappointing mid-table finish looks likely. 


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A brilliantly constructed and well-written opener Selwyn and your referencing of the two clubs' past glory days provides a very interesting historical context to the game.

A timely one too, given the tendency in the modern game to draw sweeping conclusions from the last game played.

No better exemplified than by your statement before the Rotherham game that our recent form and cup run makes this "an easy time to be positive." Few would have disagreed with that only two days ago. Certainly no one put forward that view on this blog after West Brom. Even the keyboard warriors were reduced to silence.

But one result and three days later it's suddenly the last straw for some.

Yet with limited resources we are playing well and personally, like Peter, I am really enjoying our football in spite of some disappointing results.

I feel a bit sorry for Greenwood. I hold no particular candle for him, but only a few weeks ago he was our hero against Sunderland capping a good all-round display with a great goal. 

And a mere 10 days ago when the team were playing badly he seized on our only chance of the first half to put the ball away with outstanding confidence and precision, side footing the ball away from the keeper into the corner of the net. He never looked like missing it, and put to shame Swansea forwards who had spurned much easier opportunities.

His bad miss against West Brom was probably our worst in a season which has featured many other horrific contenders, and he will have been less than human if this had not dented his confidence.

Just as in cricket when a fielder drops an easy catch the ball seems to be attracted to him, so against Rotherham a series of acceptable chances all fell to Greenwood. I would have backed him to have put at least one of them away a week ago, but by the time an easy second -half opportunity came to him, his lack of assurance was such that he hit the ball straight at the keeper.

I don't know whether Greenwood would be a good signing for us or not. It's too early to tell. I would have said not on his early performances, given him a definite yes three weeks ago, and now I'm less sure. 

What I am sure of though is that any sport or game is far easier to play when you are sitting on the sidelines - I'm personally of international calibre in football, cricket and bowls and super-confident from that position-  than it is when you are out in the middle.

I recall a time under Karanka when we created so few chances that when one was missed the culprit became a scapegoat for that entire week, personally vilified by all and sundry

We could have won the game or scraped a draw if only Leadbitter at Preston or Reach at Bolton or some one else somewhere else hadn't missed a sitter.

The consequences were predictable: players, understandably reluctant to be that week's fall guy, didn't put themselves in a position to score . Leadbitter's goal tally was permanently decimated in a single season, for example, and goals dried up for the entire team even further.

It's to Greenwood's credit that, so far, he has not attempted to hide. And to Carrick's credit that he always takes personal responsibility for his players failings when they are playing to his plan.

Can I just add that I was as disappointed as everyone else that our subs were not introduced earlier yesterday.  

But I have enough confidence in Carrick's assessment of the needs and fitness levels of his players and enough awareness of my own ignorance of such matters to seriously argue the case. 

 

 

 

This post was modified 4 months ago by lenmasterman

Martin Bellamy
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@lenmasterman Not for the first time, I find myself in total agreement with everything you’ve written. We can be quick to criticise the team as a whole and also to single out individual players.

I had a long and successful career which has allowed me to retire in a comfortable position, but I wouldn’t ever claim that I got everything right, nor that I didn’t make mistakes which I regretted later. I didn’t make those mistakes deliberately and I mainly learnt from them. Fortunately, I didn’t have 25,000 people watching my every move and the people who generally supported me didn’t suddenly think I was the worst employee/business owner who should never have been employed. 


Powmill-Naemore
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@martin-bellamy and @lenmasterman

Two excellent and reasoned posts. Common sense as always.


   
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Posted by: @powmillnaemore

P.S. 

Just had a quick look and we re currently 17th overall in the all time ranking.

https://alltimeleaguetable.co.uk/

This is very interesting. It's been done really simply, the author simply adds up every league position and takes an average. He also gives a median and a standard deviation.

If you look at those last two stats for us they read 22 median and 10.7 as a SD. What that means in plain English is that most of the time we finish between 10th in the top league and 12th in the second league.

Liverpool as an example nearly always finish between top and 14th in the top division. Crystal Palace, Brighton and Brentford are the teams that are massively over-performing compared to their historical average. Bolton, Sunderland and Sheff Wed the biggest under-performers who are normally in or around the top league.

 


Pedro de Espana
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@selwynoz         As others have said, an excellent "historical" piece about our next opponents. Well researched and written.

Sadly, the world has evolved and changed, a lot of it not for the better. It is a truly global world and the rich, whether, individuals, companies or petroleum states, now rule many aspects of everyday life.

MFC, have an Owner who is a fan, wants success for the team and has given it his best shot. We have had some memorable games and results over the last 20 odd years, not quite at the level Huddersfield achieved, but something to remember for us older supporters. Something my father always said would not happen in his lifetime. He was correct.

However, the truth is we are not a "big club". We do not have the resources of billionaires and given the current set up within the EPL and the cash rich teams that get relegated, Mr Gibson has a very, very difficult and almost impossible job to get MFC promoted, never mind the impossible dream of being a "big club"

No, we are now a small club in England, and one can only hope that all the cards fall in order, sometime in the future and that we can achieve what Luton have just done. Even if only for a year or two.


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@lenmasterman 

You most eloquently summed up my thoughts on things.

I should have paid even closer attention at Acklam !


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@lenmasterman - Stop being so utterly reasonable when making your points.  Such arguments are rarely put forward in that way in the Dog & Duck (and the pub is the worse for that).


jarkko
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A lot of people say we do not have enough strikers in the squad. But please remember that Marcus Forss has played most of his career as a number nine. So we had some options there when the season sterted.

Now we have Latte Lath, Coburn and Forss all out injured. It would have been nice to see the Finland International tried in his most natural position. A sign of too many injuries, again.

I would also like to see Rogers tested at number nine. I know he was playing there at the beginning of the season without much success. But I think the whole team was not funtioning back then. And especially Rogers is playing much better now - his confidence is on a higher level now.

I think we can do much better on Friday result wise, if we play like on Boxing day again. I mean the performance was there - if we score a goal or two we can return with a point or three. Our defence has played well recently and we have CREATED chances. We have scored 35 goals. So we have goals in our team generally.

I am not saying we will win tomorrow, but we cannot be as bad in converting the chances as on Boxing Day. If we create the chances, we can score. I trust the team in there. Of course it would be nice to have Latte Lath back or Coburn starting the game. But they need to be FULLY fit to do that.

Up the Boro!

This post was modified 4 months ago 2 times by jarkko

 gt
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I get Carrick wants a possession type progressive way to play, but against Rotherham I thought they had joined the football walking league, they allowed the opposition to funnel back with ease covering all areas, passes to each other seemed to take for ever, there as got to be a balanced approach,  between ball containment and aggressive forward play,  

Let's hope there's a reset , and the new season begins , UTB


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Thanks Selwyn for an excellent opener which has led to numerous other posts which are of a similar quality to your own and all have been thoroughly enjoyable to read.

I shall miss the game tomorrow as we are out to dinner with friends.  I was initially disappointed when I realised the diary clash but have become less so since the result at Rotherham.

I tend to side with Clive and fear that we may struggle to even get a draw and unless the Recruitment Team can conjure up some new recruits in January, who can have a similar affect as Archer and Ramsey did, then we will end up in mid table and disappointed again. 

It is still possible to make the top six but we need to eliminate the inconsistencies in our game and will need to go on a long unbeaten run, which at this stage appears beyond us.

I suspect by the end of January we will have a good idea as to our 2024 fate.  Best wishes to one and all, good health, a happy 2024 and hopefully a successful one for the Boro as well. 😎

 


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Thanks KP. Have a lovely evening.

The rest of us will biting our nails.

 

I will be DJing over at Glaisdale, New Years Eve and luckily we have a overnight stay.

 

Very best wishes to everyone for a very Happy and Healthy New Year. 🍾 


   
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Well guys, I celebrated Christmas on Christmas Eve, through Christmas Day and Boxing Day finishing yesterday afternoon, before going to the club tonight. So today I thought I would catch up on post Rotherham match contributions, I only got halfway through a lot of posts before I moved to the next one, so much negativity, these young players for most of this season have got us to the semi final of the Caraboa Cup and are 3 points off the playoffs. We have been missing a large number of first team players and they have had to play a large number of games that under normal circumstances they would not have been asked to play, instead they would have gradually been introduced to the first team.

Lets consider another perspective to the last two matches, we dominate against WBA, denied an nailed on penalty, then concede to a fluke cross that drops in at the far post and we lose 0-1, we then win 1-0 at Rotherham, so we then are 14th but only 3 points from the playoffs, would there be so much angst. Suddenly it’s Gibson, Carrick and Scott at fault, also all the “poor” players we purchased in the summer, yet I must be watching different matches to a lot of posters on here because I believe we bought some decent players, yes they have off days but so do a lot of Premiership players, unfortunately they are not like some posters who have never had a bad day at the office. I think most of these players will play an important part in MFC’s future, maybe not this season but in the future and I am not willing to write them off so far. As for Greenwood, not long ago on this blog, people were saying take up the £1.5m option now before other teams step in, now the same people think he is not worth £1.50, unbelievable.

In my opinion we didn’t play that badly against Rotherham, it just wasn’t going to happen for us, as people used to say “ the football gods were against us that day”

Come on BORO.


Martin Bellamy
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@exmil I’ve got to say that I was surprised (and, if I’m honest, a little disappointed) at how quickly the negativity set in after the Rotherham result,

It’s not what normally happens on Diasboro (but does often occur on other places online) and I’m glad that some posters have put things into perspective in a very erudite fashion. 

Maybe we’re all a bit stressed from the busy Xmas period and everything will seem better after we win tomorrow. 


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The good thing about disappointing results around this time of year is that you don't have to wait too long for the next game and move on. The other good thing is that it's also not too long before the next match preview comes along and many thanks to Selwynoz for another superb and very interesting opener - who knows, if it hadn't been for that deranged Austrian then Boro may well have won a few League titles in the early 1940s - he certainly has a lot to answer for.

Still, football has changed since then and Boro probably no longer match the profile of what defines a 'big club' today and are among what we could describe as 20-30 clubs looking for a way to become established as a top-tier club - or at the very least make it to the PL and get a financial boost that can improve the odds of a return.

I guess on the whole 3 points outside the top-six at the halfway point is not too bad given our horrendous start to the season - of course it could have been better as defeat at Rotherham, along with losing at home to Hull and a few other games where Boro were much the better side, has proved costly in terms of points. Anyway, a top two finish was always off the agenda by September so Boro must make sure they don't waste their chances to pick up three points - today is another chance and in the end it will probably be down to better finishing as the defence has seemed much better in recent weeks.

Hoping for a win today!


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Joined: 4 years ago
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Selwynoz,

Thank you for that headliner, very, very good and a fine perspective on two clubs and their achievements.

The abuse and misuse of words like 'legend', 'icon', 'big-club' is an interesting point too supporters just ignore what it or they mean and use them to increase their clubs importance we only have to look up the A19 to see that in action. Still who cares? We've always got Boro haven't we and they're a full-time job.

Initially I was very disappointed at the Rotheram result, who wasn't, but having seen the extended highlights Boro played some lovely football and didn't deserve to lose or to have that referee. He didn't give a blatant penalty and near the end when Bangura was brought down in the six yard box the man marking him had a massive handful of his shirt right between his shoulder blades. Obviously that's OK too.

On Mr Greenwood I thought he was good but unlucky and doesn't deserve the slagging some keyboard warriors are giving him on some sites and then there's the woodwork getting in the way too. If Boro play like that today they'll win, it's just that self-belief that needs to be nurtured by the coaches and the substitutions need to given more than a few minutes on the pitch. If you are winning by all means break the flow up at the end but not when you are chasing a goal.

On to today, no predictions just play as well again and don't concede.

All the best everyone.

UTB,

John


Philip of Huddersfield
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Joined: 4 years ago
Posts: 444
 

A couple of weeks ago this would have been a nailed on Boro victory with Huddersfield under their new manager only winning 2 out of 11 games as they slipped down the table.

Under their previous temporary manager , Neil Warnock, he had them playing to a mid table standard. They replaced him before the expected Xmas period with Mr. Moore who got Sheffield Wednesday promoted but has not pleased the fans with his style of play.  In recent home games some home supporters were heard to boo the team at half time - always a bad sign. The biggest criticism from the fans has been that they have no idea of his planned playing style. His pre match comments don’t help - they are laborious and can last around an hour.

There was a very strong local rumour here in Huddersfield that anything other than a win in their last match would be the end of Mr. Moore. He came up trumps with a resounding 3-0 win and the team will fancy their chances against Boro.

So what can we expect ? Huddersfield are a team who put in the physical effort,  epitomised by their captain Jonathon Hogg  with his Boro connections.   Above all they are content to surrender possession of the ball and wait for breakaways.  Their central defenders are particularly dangerous at corners and popping up in the penalty area when Huddersfield have moments of sustained pressure.  When they defend they clear the ball first rather than play the ball out from the back. Sorba Thomas is a lively outlet on the counter attack and Rodoni , a young midfielder who is liked for his initial intention to play the ball forward and likes taking players on, rather than the easy outlet of a sideways or backward pass.

So tonight ought to be a tough game  with Huddersfield and their fans thinking that they may have turned the corner. If Huddersfield score first, I’ll fear the worst as the home fans at a night match get behind their team and create a lively atmosphere .

Obviously, I’d be delighted with any kind of win especially as Boro lack a consistent goal scoring forward or two. We just don’t know what we’re going to get from the young attacking players - apart from their inconsistency and ability to miss sitters.

So, it’s fingers crossed…… and I’m sitting on the fence with a 1-1 draw. Clearly I’ve no idea of the result !!!
Philip of Huddersfield ( and formerly of slaggy island )


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The vast majority of people concerned with football react instinctively, sometimes extremely, to what goes on in front of them. I don't exclude myself in this - though I TRY to be more measured. Managers fly off the handle in post-match interviews, for example insisting their team's defeat can be put down to a poor decision by the referee or the failure of VAR to intervene, whilst ingoring the open goals missed by the team's striker which would have altered the result to a favourable one. Referees and players are Human and one of the attributes Human Beings have in common is that we may do good things but we are capable of bad things as well.  A moment of brilliance can be followed by a catastrophic mistake.  Referees miss what we may think to be an obvious foul (and at Boro's level of football there is no VAR to correct that bad decision).  The referee may make a number of poor decisons in a game but probably fewer than the errors made by some of the players in that same game: the forwards who ran a couple of times into offside positions before the pass was made to them, the midfielder who tried three or four "killer passes" in a game but saw all of them intercepted either thowing away goalscoring opportunities or presenting goals on a plate to the opposition, the striker who shoots 20 feet over the bar from the edge of the penalty area and then two minutes later tries another shot from a ridiculously tight angle whilst his team-mate stands free on the edge of the 6 yard box.  Few of those players making those decisions or missing those open goals will ever be criticised by their manager but the referee WILL be.

Managers are therefore very partial in their expressed views.  Some would say that it isn't in the interests of a club or the player for the manager to criticise his own player(s) whilst feeling free to criticise match officials. I don't agree with that. Obviously wouldn't expect a manager to come to the microphone and say "My centre-forward is the worst I've ever seen at this level.  I saw him in training but thought he'd be better in a real match. I've never seen such a lack of timing, commitment or talent in an adult player and you can rest assured he will not be playing for the team again". But a more measured criticism is quite different: "Player X took a knock in training at the start of the week and wasn't able to fully train after that, but in view of the players available for selection I thought I'd give him the game today.  I was wrong and that was my decision. As his energy levels fell in the 2nd half he missed a couple of interceptions that he'd normally make and he was unable to track back for the opposition's first goal, which he'll obvously be disappointed with.  I should have substituted him earlier but hopefully after a bit of rest the physios can sort him out and he'll be in a position to play to his normal high levels in a couple of weeks".  It is POSSIBLE to criticise honestly. It isn't compulsory to pretend everything is alright when it is obvious to any observer that it isn't. If I've made mistakes in my job I'm not going to believe a manager who tells me that everything is fine.  Actually if that manager wanted to put that everything is fine in my appraisal, the company is going to have a bit of an issue if later it wants to get rid of me or argue that I shouldn't be getting a pay rise.

Supporters can be equally volatile.  Win one match and you're the greatest, lose the next and you are rubbish.  Manchester United supporters have been loud in their criticism of their team over its performances this season and doubts have been cast on how long EVT is going to remain in post, whilst the team is in 7th place in probably the most competitive Premier League we have ever seen. Arsenal fans were no doubt livid their team lost at home to West Ham last night in a result which, had it gone the other way, would have seen Arsenal go top of the League.  I won't give any detail about Spurs last night against Brighton.  Obviously if BORO were ever in such elevated company we'd all be delighted and we'd "cope" with Arsenal's position being second in the table at the half-way stage of the season.

Fans boo at half time if things are not going well. Actually it's probably fairer to say that fans are more likely to boo/jeer, or whatever, if the PERFORMANCE is poor, the selection seems wrong or the effort doesn't seem to be there.  If the team seems generally to be playing well but the opposing keeper is playing a "blinder", having made a number of good saves etc, most of us are able to take that and accept it was never going to be our team's day. We'd hope for better in the next game.

It's probably also fair to say that, although I have been tempted to do so, I have not booed my own team off the field. However I defend the right of the paying public to make its views known and booing is certainly the sort of customer feedback that is unmistakable. It would be ridiculous to expect adulation and player-worship when things are going well, but silence (without criticism) when it goes the other way.  The only other thing, apart from expressing disatisfaction, that most of the customers of a business can do is to turn away from the business if the customers are unhappy. It's not so easy in football.  If for some reason I am unhappy with the taste of a pint of Wainwright or a pint of Courage Directors I can try a pint of Sunbeam or a pint of Neck Oil.  But if I'm unhappy with BORO the odds are very low that I'd decide to give supporting Sunderland or Leeds United a try.

I understand that supporters become annoyed, disappointed, disillusioned with their football team.  That is the lot of a football supporter. I have expressed my own disappointment in this blog only this week! That's not to say I think there is any point resorting to abuse about a player or a manager and clearly that's not something we, on this Blog, are used to seeing on here. There are, of course, many other places where abuse is frequently heard. Where one day the team is the best thing since sliced bread (after a good win) or the worst thing since a new-recipe Cola (after the team slinks out of the FA Cup at the hands of a lower league team).

Life, as does sport, has its ups and downs. It makes some sense to have perspective. I think Michael Carrick is a "try to keep it level" sort of guy.  That will serve him well in his future managerial career. But it will still not stop supporters punching the air with joy after a good win and nor will it make us feel good when we suffer a disappointing defeat.  Probably something to keep in mind in the next few weeks with games to play home and away in the League Cup semi-final against Aston Villa (3rd in the PL at the time of typing) and Chelsea at home in the FA Cup (currently a "lowly" 10th in the PL). Neither of those ties would appear "odds-on" for Boro to progress, though I'd be delighted with an upset - in the League Cup if I could express a preference - so it will be in the League games where our expectations are likely to remain in a few short weeks.  That's why, with several months of the League season yet to run, the games against Huddersfield (tonight) and Coventry (on New Year's Day) remain important.

(With no real justification, I have a feeling BORO might get something out of the game: a 1-1 draw or a 0-1 win at Huddersfield).

  EDIT - this took me ages to type and I am dying for a pot of tea,  then the wood-burner will be lit as the daylight ebbs away.

This post was modified 4 months ago 2 times by Forever Dormo

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Huddersfield 0 Boro 2 (Greenwood, McGree)


   
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@lenmasterman. I do hope so despite the fact I won’t be at home to watch; might catch the last 15 mins if the service is good and we sup up quickly! 😎


   
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Site Creator
Joined: 7 years ago
Posts: 2242
 

Team News...

Looks like an unchanged team with Bangura retaining the left-back spot and McGree's last game before his international break on the bench.

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