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Preston v Boro
 

Preston v Boro

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Martin Bellamy
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There’s a saying in Lancashire that can encompass many things and might well be the response to any of these questions:

  • When can we expect the Boro to win 8 games in a row?
  • How often do we have a goal scorer who scores 20 goals in a season?
  • When did we manage to beat Chelsea in a Cup game?
  • How often does Chris Wilder take responsibility for his team losing a game?

In the language of the County Palatine, the answer to all of these questions could easily be, “Once every Preston Guild”.

The aforementioned Guild is a celebration of all things Preston and has been held since 1179. It takes place every 20 years (hence the expression) and is due round again in 2032, by which time Neil Warnock will probably be in charge of <insert name of struggling football club here>

I read that Matt Crooks may be off to play for Salt Lake City, the home of the Church of the Latter Day Saints, which is topical, given that the first Mormons in the UK were baptised in the River Ribble in Preston in 1837. In the 1990s the LDS Church built on this history, by constructing a huge temple near Chorley, which has become a well known landmark, seen from the M61 motorway. One of my daughters went to school with the architect’s son and got to have a look around before it officially opened – she said it was absolutely spectacular inside, but I’m happy to take her word for it. I’m more likely to visit KFC than a temple, which is apposite as the first UK branch of Colonel Sanders brand was opened in Preston in 1965.

Preston North End are our opponents on Wednesday – they claim that their stadium, Deepdale, is the oldest continually used football ground in the world, having first been played on in 1875. They’re certainly an old club, formed in 1860, albeit initially as a cricket team, and have a long history of success which hasn’t stretched into the modern era. Their most famous player is Tom Finney who played for them for 14 years until 1960  He had a very successful plumbing business in the town after he retired from playing and is still universally revered in the town.

You’ll recall that Dave, a former neighbour of mine, helped out with my starter for the home game and that we produced a magnificent 4-0 win. He’s on holiday in Florida at the moment, potentially hiding so I don’t ask him to get involved again. Both teams have been very inconsistent all season but the Coffin Parade in the nearby village of Bamber Bridge seems unlikely to take place this year. Since 1948, whenever Preston have been relegated, supporters have carried a coffin through the Main Street before “burying” it in the cellar of the Trades Halls Club. Originally, the coffin contained vegetables to represent the team, but these days they use a dummy called Chucky, dressed in the club’s kit. Strangely, Blackburn Rovers fans used to do something similar on the same route until police intervened in 2012 and insisted it be moved to Blackburn, for fear of violence between rival fans.

So, let’s look forward to Wednesday, if that’s possible after this weekend’s results. PNE won 0-2 against Cardiff to go to 9th, 4 points ahead of the Boro, who managed to lose 1-2 to Bristol City. Suddenly, I’m pleased that Dave is on holiday, as I genuinely can’t see us getting anything from our trip to Deepdale.

The tactic of opposing teams pressing our defence and midfield to prevent us passing our way forward seems to be paying dividends and must be forcing head-in-the-hands moments for fans watching live at the match. Will we continue to pretend we can replicate Man City’s skill levels or should we revert to our keeper putting his laces through the ball to launch it upfield? – who knows? - but hopefully MC has a plan. If I was a betting man (unlike our PM, apparently), I’d say he’ll stick with it and hope for the best.

I’m not really one for predictions (as you’ll have seen from my position in Powmill’s COTS league table) and I don’t want to be negative, but I can’t see beyond a 0-2 loss to the Lilywhites on Wednesday. I’m hoping others have got their foam hands on and are feeling more positive. The playoffs look less likely to involve the Boro as each match goes by, so perhaps the best we can look forward to are a few more wins and some attractive football, before we start again, with hope in our hearts, next season.


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Excellent opener thank you Martin with some interesting local facts of which I knew absolutely nothing until now.

As for Wednesday, as you suggest, it will be more of the same in terms of both playing style and outcome.  

It is still possible mathematically to achieve a top six place but even the most optimistic supporters must now be having doubts, based on Saturday and the fact that it is becoming more clear each week that the squad is just not strong enough.

As I believe you have mentioned before, it’s the hope that kills you.😎


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Thanks for the opener, Martin. It did occur to me at yesterday's game, that Carrick is still a relative rookie coach who is learning on the job. I know he wants to play in a certain way and play out a la Man City but we haven't got those sort of technical players, particularly at the back.  I remember thinking at the play off semi final, that Robins out thought him and they did a job on us. No criticism of him just that we seem a very "streaky" team who can get found out and it takes ages to come up with solutions. On the seat next to me, my teenage son pointed out some suggestions. Play Hackney in his normal position. Move the ball quicker so opposition players have less time to set etc.  Pretty basic observations that are not acted on in game time until it is too late. Anyway 1 2 to Boro on Wednesday! UTB.


Pedro de Espana
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Thanks for the Headliner Martin.

Lots of interesting information as KP said, much of it I knew nothing about.

It is certainly a town steeped in history.

As to our chances of a result, I was hoping for a draw, but then I was also hoping for two wins against Bristol and Sunderland in exmil's, wish for results.

After Saturday's MC starting pick, let's hope this time he can choose a better around team, with the players in their best positions.

McGree to start. I would also consider a back three, to possibly utilise Ayling's ability to get forward. Thomas on the left. After that, probably a throw of the dice. Maybe we could get a couple of sixes.


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Thanks Martin

That is a well rounded and thoughtful starter for 10.

I can only aswer with 🙌 

It’s the hoping that gets you down in the end !

Thanks for all the birthday wishes I’ve started to get dyslexia and put my age in reverse and even that looks pretty high !

OFB


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Martin - as expected, a very good Starter.  Crikey, we play again as soon as Wednesday? 

Does God have no mercy on BORO fans?


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Thanks Martin, I really enjoyed that opener and learnt of quite few local traditions that left me with the possibility of the new crime of 'coffin rage' between Preston and Rovers supporters - though a 60th-anniversary cremation at the local KFC may be on the bucket list of some.

Not sure if we'll see any tactical changes from Carrick but can't see much joy in the keeper putting his laces through the ball when Boro have no strikers to receive it - though I'm open to Pedro's suggestion of playing a back three with McNair on the left and RvdB on the right of the traditional Fry or Clarke in the centre with Thomas and Ayling as wing-backs. It might be worth trying at Preston ahead of the trip to Leicester, where Boro will surely need to defend better.

As mention on the Bristol City thread, Boro are reaching the point in the season where they need to win three-quarters of their remaining games just to keep it alive and make the play-offs - the task is win 12 from 16 or maybe just 11 if those above us have a slight dip in form. Looks unlikely but I guess Boro need a very good week to avoid extinguishing that flickering flame that carry our faint hopes for another campaign.


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btw Happy Birthday OFB - I hope Boro can give you a belated present this week as I seem to have noticed they enjoy giving gifts 😉 


jarkko
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@forever-dormo I am happy we play on Wednesday. We are due a good performance by the Mighty Boro!!!

Actually I quite enjoyed the second half on Saturday. The result was a shock and the two minutes in the first half, naturally! But the football and attitude Boro showed in the second half was not that bad. Pity that the ref disallowed a good goal we scored - it was NOT an offside.

So looking forward to see a better game of footy on Wednesday. Up the Boro!

 

PS. Excellent starter, Martin. And your memory is working now that you do not have to worry about the rain as you live happily in Yorkshire, again.

PPS. Happy Birthday, Bob! Been travelling last week so missed the most of the blog. But I did practice my English as I was travelling with a work collegue from Burton. 

 

 


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@jarkko - Burton:  the centre of the beer-brewing industry (not gentlemens' suit-making)!

Greenwood certainly had a wonderful strike for goal that was ruled offside. For a second or two it seemed as if a bright spot had opended up in the sky but the flag went up and the darkness of the afternoon continued.  I haven't seen a video of it (yet) so can't give my view.  I know that some others have said the decision given by the linesman was wrong but there is no VAR in the Championship.  We can only look in the newspapers the next day, and they confirm that a goal was not allowed.

I had planned to go to the Battered Badger on Wednesday. I wonder if the Boro game will be on SkyTV. which is shown there.   If not, it's going to look odd with me wearing earplugs attached to my radio which might make the converstation a little unusual if I suddenly shout out after a BORO goal. Mind you, how likely is it that BORO will score...?

OFB wasn't born but was forged out of granite in the Pre-Cambrian era.

This post was modified 2 months ago by Forever Dormo

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@forever-dormo.  It is available via the Sky red button if that is any help.

I am out Wednesday evening, friends birthday and Valentine’s Day to celebrate, so will record and watch when we get back. 😎

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

   
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HOT NEWS !!!!  

EARLY BIRD RENEWAL OF SEASON TICKETS - announced today and you have until 15th March 2024 to guarrantee your seat (!). Different prices for different parts of the ground, naturally.  By way of example:

 West Stand Upper -      £671 (Adult Early Bird renewal)

                                   £735 (Adult Early Bird new applicant)

                                   £524 (Over 65, Early Bird Renewal)

                                   £578 (Over 65, Early Bird new applicant)

North & South Stands - £510 (Adult Early Bird renewal)

                                   £574 (Adult Early Bird new applicant)

Roll Up!  Roll Up!

I will take a principled stand against this.  Until about Wednesday 13th March 2024.

This post was modified 2 months ago by Forever Dormo

   
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@forever-dormo 

My two east stand upper £620 each to watch players who seem incapable of passing to each other, can't score more than 1 goal.

In all seriousness think this will hit attendances 


   
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@forever-dormo 

Mine were £590 each last season so 4.9% increase


   
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Pedro de Espana
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@paulinboro   I was surprised today when the "early bird renewal" dropped into my inbox. Blimey that is early!!!!

Then I looked up last years renewal date and it is around the same time.

I am lucky, in that I qualify for a "Pensioner's Special"  £350 for this season, £390 for next season.

Although I make that nearly a 11.50% increase for me. May be the financial people in MFC have said, well the overs 65's are getting a triple lock rise, so we can hit them harder. However, I must say, that I only probably see half of the Riverside games live, the other half generally on ifollow. So not a cheap ST. for me.

I just cannot see the ST renewals being anything like as high as this current season. There is just too much uncertainty around, player turnover.

Hackney probably moving on, although he will have to up his performances for us to get fee higher than Rodgers. McGree possibly, if his agent can find an interested club, outside of the EPL. Finding a (proven) striker we could afford. A new RB. Somebody with pace for the left side? Midfield to sort out?

Then possibly the biggest upheaval could be if Mr Carrick gets courted by one of the lower EPL clubs. Would you really want to stay another season if you got a realistic offer, knowing that next season will be probably very much like this one. Short changed.


   
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I  agree,ref to Hayden Hackney, that he has been very poor the last few games and needs to improve for Wednesday night. In reality the whole team need to.

On another note I wonder what MC actually says to his players at half time after a poor first half. I say this because he played under Sir Alex Ferguson for a long time. As we know very well he would give the players a right rollicking no matter what their status if they played poor. 

I would say that most of the Middlesbrough players at the moment need a bit of Fergie time!


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Great opener Martin with lots of info I was not aware of. Not sure what will happen tomorrow although some consolation we have taken more points this season against teams currently above us (22) against 19 from those below us. Just seen that MC is the 4th longest serving manager in the Championship and he has only been in the job 15 months. He takes on the 2nd longest , Ryan Lowe, on Wednesday.


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@pedro 

I too qualify for a pensioners special and after all the money I’ve spent on the Boro over the years I don’t mind spending a bit more. I’ve been to Wembley every time they have been, even flying from Argentina twice ! Cardiff, Rome, Eindhoven you make it I’ve been there.

But what a story to look back on from the rusty wreck of Ayresome Park to Hartlepool and locked gates to sell,out crowds at the Riverside beating Chelsea in the Carabao Cup Semi Fimal First leg !

I wouldn’t have missed any of it !

OFB


Pedro de Espana
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Apparently there has been quite a backlash on social media about the rises. 

I cannot confirm if true, as I don't do SM.


   
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@pedro 

I’ve had a look !

oh yes not very many happy people out there !!!

OFB


   
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Interesting Referee appointment for tomorrow. Tony Harrington who appears from what I can ascertain originates from Teesside and started refereeing in the Teesside Junior Alliance. He has refereed us before.


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Posted by: @original-fat-bob

@pedro 

I’ve had a look !

oh yes not very many happy people out there !!!

OFB

It's the optics of it all that look bad, just after a pathetic showing and a poor home season so far.

I get prices go up but its the small window of opportunity to pay and other clubs offer interest free payments over a number of months so why can't we.

I can afford my tickets in one hit but not everyone is as lucky as myself.

Hardly the face of a caring community club ( given the levels of poverty in its catchment area)

 

This post was modified 2 months ago by PaulInBoro

 gt
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All I know is if I was Gibson , I would have dragged Carrick and his staff in on Monday morning and ripped them a new one , 


   
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@pedro - Definitely true. I have a mate who doesn't "do" social media.  Yesterday at the Battered Badger we talked about the season ticket renewal message from the club (he had already received his email). I just picked up my phone and opened up "X, formerly Twitter" and the very first post visible was by Graeme Bandeira who retweeted a very arresting photograph from the back of one of the vertiginous stands at The Mestalla, Valencia, with the single comment: "Steeper than  a Boro season ticket".  Ouch!

This post was modified 2 months ago by Forever Dormo

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I see that Matt Crooks has finalised his move to Salt Lake City and I am sorry to see him go.  He was an honest, play almost anywhere footballer who gave his all for the club and scored some important goals.  I think he will be missed and I hope he does well in America and makes enough money to keep him comfortable when he retires from the game.

As for the current team, what really worries me about their recent performances is that the spirit, enthusiasm and positivity shown after Carrick arrived seems to be slipping away.  I felt the team took the field on Saturday with a more tentative, cautious approach and heads dropped when the two goals went in. Hopefully Carrick can lift the players and regain the positive vibes he created before and a win at Preston would be a good way to start.


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@mw-in-darwin 

He is the grandson of former Hartlepool United player Tommy McGuigan. McGuigan is in the club's record books for being in the top 10 of the all time top goal scorers list.[7]

Prior to becoming a full-time referee, Harrington worked as a PE teacher at North Shore Academy.[8]


   
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Clive Hurren
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Great opener, Martin, thank you. I lived in and around Chorley for many years and I used to work in County Hall in Preston, so I know the area well. Deepdale is probably the ground I have been to most times following Boro. I’ll be there again on Wednesday, hoping for a revival in our fortunes. 

I have a very good friend, Mike, who has had a PNE season card for many years. He and I frequently exchange pleasantries (and gentle banter!) before and after our games against them. I said to him after Saturday’s results that PNE are back in the playoff picture. He thinks not. He thinks manager Ryan Lowe is simply too defensive minded for Preston to make it. So it’ll be 0-0 tomorrow, then, or more likely 1-0 to them. Our away form is actually better than our home form, however: we’ve won 3 out of our last 4 league games away from home and we really should have won the other one at Rotherham. So you never know. It’ll depend which Boro show up. Two things are certain - we need a performance, and we need a win. If we were to pick up as little as one point from PNE and Leicester, I fear the season would be over and would just fizzle out. 

Boro have now extended the early bird deadline to 30 March. It appears the club has listened to fans. This is welcome, but how many actually take up the offer if we continue to underperform is likely to be of significant concern to Steve Gibson and Neil Bausor. 


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1.  Why doesn't Riley McGree get a start in a Boro team that's hardly been pulling up trees in his absence on international duty, and when he looks both the most talented player in the squad & the most likely to "make things happen" for himself and others?

2.  Why, when things are going wrong (like in the Bristol City game - lucky to have been only 0-2 down at home in the first half), are subsititutes not used until about the 70th minute?  Is that part of some plan?

3. If this season's team (having lost last year's goals from Akpom and Archer and the threat & assists from Giles and Ramsey, and now having recently lost both Rogers and Crooks) is not as strong as last season's team, is it realistic to expect this team to qualify for the Play-Offs?

4. If it isn't realistic now to aim for the Play-Offs, were the Play-Offs realistic even as this season began, bearing in mind the goal threat and creativity taken away from the squad, and not replaced at the end of last season?

5. What are the plans for the next season and what changes should be made from the strategy adopted last summer if, as seems likely, the club finishes in a lower league position this year compared to last? Such a result would represent regression rather than progress and presumably that is NOT what the club intended?

6. Don't those running the club realise that without the supporters there could be no club and therefore, whilst accepting there may always be some commercial matters which are senstive, why doesn't the club let its customers/members/season ticket holders and those who want the club to succeed know what is going on? Why does the club appear to be failing to communicate with those people?

7.  When there is communication, as with the "Early Bird Season Ticket Renewal" email sent out yesterday, why does it appear insensitive to the point of being tone-deaf?  Does anyone read those emails before pressing "send", and do they imagine how they might read to the recipient?*

8.  Is there any chance questions like the above might be put to the club management at the regularly held Press Conferences? Surely those questions or ones like them must have occurred as relevant to the journalists who attend Pressers (if not, why not)?**

 

   *  Frankly even if the author of the email had shown it to a colleague (or a spouse, or someone with a vague interest in BORO) they'd have been told "that seems a little brusque - don't you like the fans?").  It wouldn't take much to have started by thanking ticket-holders for their support so far throughout this season, and an acknowledgment that maybe things haven't so far turned out as planned, but perhaps indicating that the club has plans for next season and that season tickets are now being offered for renewal in the hope that money will flow into the club coffers early to help it put those new plans into action...before dropping the information about the rise in ticket prices....  I think that is called tact, politeness or even marketing.  (I'm sure marketting had 2 letters "t" when I was young).

   **  I am NOT suggesting questions need to be put in an aggressive way.  It is surely possible for wordsmiths like journos to be tactful when raising issues rather than sounding threatening, for the journos to have a smile on the face or to use an appropriate tone of voice, or to put context to the question and why it is being asked? (The management team should surely know WHY questions are being asked and actually be EXPECTING them, and should surely know which of the journalists - you'd hope most, if not all? -  have the interests of the club at heart rather than just being interested in some back-page expose!).

 

FD.

This post was modified 2 months ago by Forever Dormo

Martin Bellamy
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Topic starter  

@forever-dormo Answers on a postcard?

On Q1 & Q2: I guess we’ll have to accept that MC has his reasons - let’s hope his reason isn’t just to wind up supporters, although why he’d do that when his job ultimately relies on results, is anyone’s guess. 

On Q3 & Q4: Probably not  

On Q5 to Q8: Who knows what the club are thinking? Alienating your customer base is, in my business experience, never a good idea.

 

 

 


 gt
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Saw PNE recently and they have that RIIS guy guy back ,CF looked really sharp


   
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