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Leeds v Boro
 

Leeds v Boro

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Clive Hurren
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Leeds United.  Elland Road. Saturday 2nd December. 15.00

We all hate Leeds ****. I have never sung this terrace ditty, even though I do hate Leeds, at least as much as I hate The Mackems, The Barcodes and Chelsea. I just find the final word distasteful and goes too far to describe fellow human beings, wherever they come from, whomever they support. It amazes me, though, that today’s fans still sing this. In our case, the enmity probably arises because in the dim and distant past Leeds were originally our biggest (and nearest) Yorkshire rivals, in  an age when the other 2 NE sides were playing in a higher division. That, and the fact that they once had a highly successful but notoriously very dirty team, in which Billy Bremner, Johnny Giles, Norman Bites Yer Leg Hunter, Jack Little Black Book Charlton, Terry Cooper and Peter Lorimer regularly kicked lumps out of all opponents. In an era when hard, uncompromising tackling was the norm - you virtually had to kill someone to get sent off ! - they were ruthless exponents of the dark arts. Yet they were terrific footballers and collectively a great team who didn’t really need to play that way - they could beat most opponents simply by playing their natural game. Their hard-man methods so disgruntled Brian Clough that when he became manager after fellow Teessider Don Revie left he told them they’d won the league by cheating. That didn’t go down terribly well in the dressing room, as you might imagine. The Leeds thugs stopped playing for Clough and he was sacked after just 44 days.

 

But the terrace chant persists today, and not just with Boro fans. In our cup tie at Bradford, both sets of fans sang it together, Boro fans picking up on it after Bradford began it. Even on Tuesday, at the PNE game, the South Stand gave it a quick rendition. I’m sure it’s also sung by fans of Huddersfield and the Sheffield clubs. In their cases, perhaps you can understand it more, given the intense local rivalry in that part of Yorkshire and the fact that Leeds has often been seen as the ‘big club’ down the road. But young Boro fans surely can have little knowledge of that great 1970s Leeds team or memories of our distant rivalry? Perhaps they’ve been taught to hate Leeds by their fathers, mothers and grandfathers and are now merely carrying on a terrace tradition? Or perhaps it’s because Leeds had often been linked with violent and aggressive fans in the past - it’s still an intimidating, hostile ground to go to. Of course, by hating Leeds, I may myself simply be perpetuating terrace lore. Where does my hatred of Leeds come from? Have I just learned this behaviour from other Boro fans over the years? Is it expected of us to hate Leeds? Have you any theories, Diasborians?

One final thought: I’m sure the Leeds fans themselves sing, ‘We all love Leeds, we all love Leeds……. ‘ Does anyone know if they were the originators of the chant and other fans simply added the final distasteful word to provoke them? Or do Leeds fans chant it in order simply to oppose the chant of other fans and to express their solidarity?

Leeds, of course, had 3 recent seasons in the Prem. Once promoted, they took the division by storm and surprised a lot of teams, finishing ninth in their first season back, playing breathless kamikaze football of the ‘You score 3, we’ll score 4’ variety, at least until other coaches worked out how to counter their nine man attacks! It was such exhilarating, daring football that we almost started liking Leeds. Almost. They were great box office for a while. Marcelo Bielsa’s philosophy, complete with stylish blue bucket, was hugely entertaining, but physically draining of the players. It ultimately wasn’t sustainable. Bielsa was sacked in February 2022, Leeds’ second Prem season. The likeable American Jesse Marsch took over, and kept them up. Just. But he tried to maintain Leeds’ attacking philosophy, again making significant demands of the players, several of whom ran out of steam towards the end of the season. Marsch was sacked after one year with the club again in danger of relegation. Then Leeds experimented with the hapless Javier Garcia, and for the final few games of the season, a desperate throw of the dice with Allardyceosaurus, who, for the first time in a long career, failed to keep them up. (I can’t think of many clubs that would go from the joys of Bielsa / Marsch to the grind of Allardyce. Oh hang on, didn’t we do the same once upon a time, swinging from Woodgate to Pulis in one easy movement?)

The latest manager is the experienced Daniel Farke, who looks to have brought some much needed stability. The German has good pedigree, having led Norwich to two Championship titles, the second with a record-breaking 97 points. However, in their first season in the Prem, Norwich came straight back down and looked certain to do so again second time when Farke was sacked. Before going to Leeds he had been manager at Russian Premier League Club, Krasnodar.

Leeds are obviously one of this season’s promotion favourites. So far, that’s going well, with The Whites currently in 3rd place after their 3-1 win over Swansea last night. Their record reads

P 18.  W10 D5 L3

They’ve scored 31 and conceded 18. GD+ 13

They started the season at home with 3 consecutive draws, against Cardiff, W Brom and Sheffield Wednesday, but have since won their last 6 on the trot at home, though mainly against sides in the bottom half. They’ve won 7 of their last 9 Championship games and are unbeaten all season at home. Everything points to this being a very challenging game.

Leeds have enjoyed good away wins at Ipswich, Leicester, Millwall and Norwich. Leicester was particularly impressive, United stifling the Foxes’ creativity, (and perhaps providing MC with a blueprint for Boro to do the same?) So they’re firmly back into the top 6 and looking good to mount a serious promotion challenge. However, last week’s  1-1 draw at lowly Rotherham suggests they may not yet be the finished article.

In recent seasons, they’ve unearthed a crop of exciting youngsters. There are threats all over the pitch. Crysencio Summerville is currently joint top scorer with 7 goals, equal with striker Joel Piroe, a terrific acquisition from Swansea. Welsh winger Dan James has 5. Somerville had apparently been involved in more goals than any other Championship player by last week, and got another assist last night.

They’ve retained enough of their Premiership squad to make them a serious proposition. The young Frenchman, Ilian Meslier is still in goal; if I were MC, I would want Boro to shoot on sight at every opportunity, as the keeper definitely has a mistake or 6 in his make-up. Put him under pressure, lads!  Other names you will probably recognise from the Premiership are Ayling, Struik, Cooper, Byram, Bamford, Firpo and Italy U21 winger Wilfried Gnonto, now reconciled with the club following his refusal to play in the summer when he was trying to force a transfer,

Will we see the return of Patrick Bamford on Saturday? I think it’s unlikely he’ll make the starting XI,  but he may come on as a substitute, which he did last night after 70 minutes. The poor lad has had more than his fair share of bad injuries over recent times, and he’s struggling for game  time right now. He hasn’t scored yet this season - perhaps his days as a striker to be feared are over? That would be sad, but even so, we don’t want him to come off the bench this weekend and score against us!

Their squad is valued at €204.9 million by Transfermarkt, the 3rd highest in the Championship, with thanks to Selwynoz for that detail. In comparison, Boro’s squad is said to be worth €66.75 million. So, on paper, we should lose this one. But that’s what we said before the Southampton and Leicester games! Even so, I can’t see us winning it. We’ll have to cope with the Elland Road white-hot, bearpit atmosphere and I dare say they’ll be throwing everything at us, especially if they have noticed our occasional tendency to give away silly goals! I’ll be happy with a draw. Jonnys Howson and Woodgate will be desperate to get something from their old club, while ineligible Sam Greenwood will no doubt be cheering Boro on from the sidelines. As at Sunland, he seems not to worry about allegiances!

There have been memorable encounters over the years:- Bosco Jankovic inspiring Boro to a 3-1 win over the newly crowned champions in the first game of the season; centre-half Lucas Radebe going in goal at their place in the days before multiple subs but unable to prevent Boro winning 1-0; Jason Steele sent off in Karanka’s first game, a 2-1 defeat at Elland Road; Patrick Bamford scoring a hat-trick against them at home; Juninho crying on the pitch after a 0-0 draw relegated Boro in the 3 points season. You can probably recall many more. Some of you may even remember our last visit to Elland Road, if you grit your teeth, a 4-0 hammering of Woodgate’s leaky side. Curiously, I’d forgotten that one……..

This is always a big game, always hugely anticipated. Boro have sold all our tickets, so once again we’ll be taking a huge following - 2900 - packing out that awful away end, marching on together. I’ll be there, too, for the first time since that first Karanka match. And nothing would give me greater pleasure than to send the Whites scurrying back to their dressing room with their tails between their legs after a resounding defeat and home fans’ boos ringing in their ears!

 


Martin Bellamy
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Another superb starter - thanks Clive. 

I’d certainly settle for a draw from this game - I’ll go for 1-1. 


   
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Powmill-Naemore
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What a great read Clive. Thank you.

Like you I have many memories of visiting Elland Road. Worst has to have been when I went along with  a Leeds supporting friend to see Boro, but we stood in the Gelderd End. Not a pleasant experience.

After our performance against PNE on Tuesday, I imagine the Boro will be up for this. Potentially this is the best Championship game of the week.

It is going to be interesting how MC chooses his eleven. Hope RDV keeps his central berth and the Djiksteel is retained at right back. I suspect Hackney will be back, but at whose expense? Barlasser probably and that will be a shame. Up front I think this one will suit Josh Coburn more than ELL..

Happily it is not me that has to make those decisions!

A draw would be a great result, but if the runes fall kindly we are capable if nicking all three points.

I am going to sit on my hands though and hope we will play a hard earned draw, one goal apiece.

 


   
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Thanks Clive. Great opener!!

 

The teams I loathe.

1 Newcastle...very bad experience up there at a Middlesbrough game. Also supported by Ant and Dec who make my blood boil. Plus the dodgy money from Saudia Arabia.

2 Chelsea...no time for them at all after thier antics in the past when playing Boro.

This may shock you but I have a soft spot for Sunderland especially with Tony in charge. I like Leeds, not when they are playing Boro of course but  I like  the city and spent many great nights there 😮

 

This post was modified 5 months ago by Malcolm

   
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Thank you Clive for a very entertaining read, to me this game is a “free hit”, with the injuries we have, outside Boro fans, everyone else will expect us to lose. Reading the gazette today, it seems that Hackney and Fry are unlikely to be available on Saturday, so it might be the same starting lineup as PNE and they didn’t disappoint.

Come on BORO.


   
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Clive, A great headliner and involving one too. Thank you. I don't like Leeds, Chelsea, Leicester and Newcastle and I'm with Malcolm on Sunderland but as always it's down to personal experiences. Boro could get a good result but it depends which Boro turns up, as we all know.

All the best everyone,

UTB,

John


   
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Happy days, I got a ticket for the quarter final cup match at Port Vale today.

Come on BORO.


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Lovely opener. Thank you, Clive. 

I definitely live in enemy territory here in Eboracum, with many locals confident for Saturday. I still remember going to Elland Road as a teenager with their fans above us in the away end and then bricking our bus windows. Not nice.

Prediction: 1 each. UTB


   
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Powmill-Naemore
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Posted by: @exmil

Happy days, I got a ticket for the quarter final cup match at Port Vale today.

Come on BORO.

Well done Exmil.

Take a Diasboro banner with you so we can spot you on TV (assuming it will be broadcast...does anyone know if it is on the TV or not?).

 


   
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Clive 

Great opener I really enjoyed it. 

Took me a while to manage to open my eyes after having injection for cataracts yesterday but it was certainly worth waiting for to be able to read your piece.

well done

I’m going for 1-1 🤔

OFB


   
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jarkko
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Re: 2023

No team have won more Championship points than Middlesbrough in 2023.
👏 The Michael Carrick effect.

Season 2023/4

We’ve played 13 games since drawing at Sheff Wed.
W - 10
D - 1
L - 2
Goals for = 29
Goals against = 14

That’s impressive. We move into a hectic December, let’s hope we carry on in the same manner.

We’ve got Super Michael Carrick. Up the Boro!


   
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Powmill-Naemore
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Posted by: @original-fat-bob

...

Took me a while to manage to open my eyes after having injection for cataracts yesterday but it was certainly worth waiting for to be able to read your piece.

well done

I’m going for 1-1 ...

Rather than 1-1 Bob, I thought that might have led to your famous eyes in the sky 😉

 


   
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Clive Hurren
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Topic starter  

@exmil, Powmill

I’ve got a Port Vale ticket, too.

I seem to recall the EG saying the Chelsea- Toon game had been selected for live coverage, not ours. There’s no accounting for taste, I suppose. 


   
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Powmill-Naemore
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Posted by: @clive-hurren

@exmil, Powmill

I’ve got a Port Vale ticket, too.

I seem to recall the EG saying the Chelsea- Toon game had been selected for live coverage, not ours. There’s no accounting for taste, I suppose. 

😥

 


   
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jarkko
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@clive-hurren Been travelllng 1a lot. And forgot to say what a fantastic opener. I bet Shteve McClaren would have even said: "Magnificent!"

I really enjoy that there are different type of writes on the blog. Well done everyone on turn. Up the Boro! 


   
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Just saw this posted today !

 

No team have won more Championship points than Middlesbrough in 2023.

👏 The Michael Carrick effect.

OFB


   
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Than you Clive for a very enjoyable read; I particularly liked "Allardyceosaurus", that made me chuckle and the mention of "Bosco Jankovic" was a blast from the past.

I think this could be our toughest game of the season given the strength of the Leeds squad and as you say, a bear pit of a ground/atmosphere to cope with. 

I hope that the Boro players keep their heads and are able to step up to the mark again as we could end up on the wrong end of a hiding.

I would be more than happy with a ⚽-⚽ but I am not holding my breath as I am certain it will be a long afternoon whatever the outcome.  I do, however, have my fingers crossed.  😎


   
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You turn your back for a day and suddenly there is a new Opening Piece on the Blog (this time by Clive Hurren) followed by about 16 responses, so far, in advance of the Leeds United match this weekend.

I have jobs to do at the moment but clearly this deserves some time devoted to it. So maybe with a pot of tea or even something a little more "daring" later today. In the words of a former Austrian bodybuilder, "I'll be back"....


   
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From Dominic Shaw

 

THERE'S been no shortage of highlights in Michael Carrick's time in charge of Middlesbrough so far, but right up there among the very best moments for the head coach on Teesside has been the opportunity to give four academy lads their first team league debuts.

Carrick cares deeply about Boro's academy and the youngsters coming through and he couldn't smile wide enough on Tuesday night in the Riverside media room as he talked with great delight about Law McCabe after the Middlesbrough-born 17-year-old had come off the bench for his first taste of first team action.

He followed in the footsteps of Sonny Finch, Pharrell Willis and Fin Cartwright in becoming the fourth academy youngster to make their debut under Carrick - and the head coach, who has also developed Hayden Hackney into a stand-out Championship star, hopes more will soon follow.

But backing for the club's young talent doesn't just come in the form of first team minutes. Carrick and his coaching team work closely with the club's academy staff and the head coach takes every opportunity to give the Under-21s and Under-18s players the chance to train with the first team and benefit from the experience of being in and around Boro's stars.

 
 

And if they impress - both in terms of attitude and performances on the pitch - Carrick, as he's demonstrated, won't be frightened to give the young players their opportunity.

“I think everyone needs a chance," said the head coach.

"I needed to be given a chance at one stage. All the boys in the first team needed that chance initially. There is so much talent and ability around the club, so we just try to give as many of them the opportunity as possible. That’s not just playing games, that’s sometimes training with the first team, travelling with us for away games, us going to watch their youth games.

"The academy has all that money and time and effort going into it and it’s there for a reason, which is to try and get players into the first team.

"Of course it’s down to them as well - to be good enough and to do enough to warrant the chance. But, for us, it’s a big part of what we’re trying to do - encouraging that and creating ways that we can get them up with us more often."

READ MORE:

Carrick came through the ranks at West Ham and later played at Manchester United, two clubs with a history of cherishing young talent. The same is obviously true at Boro, who have a rich past when it comes to producing players through their academy.

When Carrick sat down with Steve Gibson and Boro chiefs ahead of taking the head coach job last year, everyone was on the same wavelength when talk turned to the academy.

"Initial conversations were two-way really because I understood its importance, and obviously from the club’s point of view, it is (important)," said Carrick.

"Even forgetting the money side and what it might cost to buy players like Dael and Hayden, for the supporters to have local lads in the team, who you have that connection with, you can’t understate the value of that. It’s difficult to have a full team of academy players, but just having a few does create that connection. Hopefully it gives the supporters that extra bit of spice, feeling and connection towards the team.

"It’s something I’ve been brought up on. It’s a big part of the club at West Ham and then going to United later, they obviously have a huge history of it as well. So it’s kind of what I’ve been brought up with and what I’m used to. That’s why I care about it."

Whether McCabe and Cartwright are again involved at Elland Road on Saturday likely depends on injuries, but the next opportunity won't be far away.

“It was probably one of the standouts for me from the other night," said Carrick after giving McCabe his debut.

"It’s great for him and he’s trained for us a lot so it’s great he’s made his debut. I don’t want to put loads on his shoulders though because he is a young boy just making his way in the game. He’s learning and the biggest thing for me is his attitude, personality and character are spot on.

"He’s a humble lad who works hard and listens. He does all the right things and that gives him the best chance to have a good future. He’s certainly got attributes and ability to do that. He’s got to be patient too though, take it step by step because it’s a long road, but certainly he’s making good progress at the moment


   
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@clive-hurren - When I got back to the Blog I wrote a lengthy reply but "something went wrong with my data" and the reply disappeared. I KNOW I should prepare a saved document and then cut and paste it to this Blog.  That doesn't mean I actually do it...

In brief then:

1. Thanks for the Opening piece, Clive.  I enjoyed it.

2. Anything from the Leeds game would be good.  I will stick my neck out and suggest 1-1 but think it will be a nervous afternoon.

3. Will it be the Boro (and its defence) from the Bristol City game (in which case ... GULP) or the Boro from the PNE game (in which case all 3 points could be up for grabs)?

4. What ever happened to the mantra that you "never change a winning team"?   I'd like to see the team against PNE play again.


   
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@malcolm - I LOVE it when young players come through the ranks so I have to agree with the manager. A team at any level which imports all its players from Africa, Eastern Europe, Eastern Asia etc can't engage with its own supporters so well because those supporters want to see one/two/three/several "of their own" on the pitch. You can empathise with the players in a different way if they come from your town or your region. It's one thing if your team obtains players of quality from abroad but not if they are lesser players.  Obviously in 2023 nobody would suggest ALL of your players should be local or come through your team's youth system (the days of Fulham v Boro Academy Old Boys are long gone) but there should be enough in the squad and in the team to make their mark on the club.  I'd not object if there was a limit on "foreign" players (eg born more than 40 miles from the team's stadium, except where the nearest league club is further away than that) or a minimum number of "locals" the team must have in the matchday squad..


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I guess this means more debt turned into equity. Can anyone shed any more light on this? UTB


   
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@eboroacum - I suspect you'd need to be a commercial/company lawyer or a corporate accountant to know exactly what this means for The Chairman-owner/the Club/the supporters. I have no reason to doubt SG at this stage. I am not going to make up a worrying scenario just to scare myself or readers here. Let's worry about LU v MFC instead.


   
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 gt
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All we here these days is clubs are in debt, I don't dispute the fact it's all over in every division , however I believe this started to happen when they copied the European transfer window system, which helps the big clubs stack their teams , how can you run a business that can't turn assets into equity at any time, the old system , you could transfer in and out up until March, meaning a unhappy player or an asset that could sustain the club, you could move out, or if you were doing well could sign a better player , it's crazy now, clubs are basically held to Ransome, 


   
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 gt
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Follow up, 

We have got to be a viable club to buy ,by a schrewed multi billionaire,  own, training ground ,stadium , academy tier 1, 

The assets are their to see if you want to through the hotel,/golf in

The likes of Sheff Wed, Villa, Luton , many others just to build a new stadium your looking at hundreds of millions, 

I'm valuing Boro at at least £250m all in

 


   
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Thanks for the opener Clive. I would take a draw this afternoon at this point. Hard to believe we have most points in Championship this year since we started this season with 2 in seven games and finished last season picking up 8 points in 7 games. We moved from Teesside when I was still in primary school down to Yorkshire and this coincided with Leeds' rise in popularity. Everybody else at Secondary School were Leeds fans. At this time Boro were still in the second division so my first Boro game at Elland Road was in74-5 when we drew 2-2 under Big Jack. We had family friends who were Leeds season ticket holders and they had a spare that day. So was in the main stand that time. I think I sat still when we scored. It was an amazing day there were loads of Boro fans who couldn't get tickets milling round outside. Same score today would be good.


   
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Posted by: @eboroacum

I guess this means more debt turned into equity. Can anyone shed any more light on this? UTB

Simultaneously not a lot and a lot. 

 

Not a lot because there's no new money into the club and the club is still losing a fortune each year. The only way for us to get close to breaking even is to make a big profit in the transfer market each year or get promoted.

 

A lot because it will free up room in the financial fair play limits - though probably more next year than this year. 

 

Most importantly it provides a big statement of intent. Gibson has, in all practical ways, written off about £107 million and replaced it with £1 million in shares. You can argue that this is largely a paper exercise and Gibson was never getting that £100 million back anyway but it brings home the fact that Gibson has sunk over £100 million into the club that he'll never see again. 

 


   
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@eboroacum.  Yes precisely that.  Instead of the money being shown in the accounts as loans to the club from SG, he has now swapped the loans for shares. 😎


   
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