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Stoke v Boro
 

Stoke v Boro

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Martin Bellamy
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I’ve just read this article in the Guardian - my first thought was, “be careful what you wish for”. 

https://www.theguardian.com/football/who-scored-blog/2024/feb/28/premier-league-sheffield-united-burnley-luton-everton-forest-brentford?CMP=Share_iOSApp_Other


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@martin-bellamy 

Some frightening stats in that article and almost hard to believe how few wins supporters of the bottom six have witnessed!


Pedro de Espana
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@martin-bellamy.   Great Headliner Martin, the more so given the despondency within the blog following the Boro's Plymouth game.

As said by others, just the lift we needed. If only our Team and Coaches were as capable as yourself and the other Healine Contrbutors on here.

Unfortunately it is very difficult at this time to see past another defeat and more excuses. Let's hope I am wrong and they rediscover the Leicester passion.


Clive Hurren
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KP and Martin

Thanks for those addenda to my chant post. Your memories are stronger than mine. I thought we’d lost 3-2 that day at Derby, but I can’t honestly remember. And I think you both might be right about the coach and the smell chant. We can be cruel at times, we football fans, can’t we? 

Poor old George. He took some stick. 


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@martin-bellamy 

Indeed, Martin. It amounts to depressingly conclusive evidence that any failure to reach the play-offs would only be a case of disappointment deferred.

We would have very little chance of being promoted, and, if we were, we would find ourselves way out of our depth in the Premier League

The fact that the three sides who came down last season will almost certainly be promoted, whilst the three teams who went up will be coming straight back down is a remarkable statistic which tells its own story.

It almost goes without saying that Burnley, Sheff U and Luton will be the favourites to go straight back up again next season.

Equally concerning is that the teams outside of the Premier League relegation spots also have achieved very few wins over the course of the season.

It's pitifully thin gruel for the supporters of any team in the bottom third of the League.

The message this situation sends to Championship players is just as pessimistic.

Suppose the Boro were to win all of their games and go up. It would be the end of the road at the club for the vast majority of the current squad. Only two or three of them might be able to hack it at a higher level, and that is being optimistic.

The implications of that for player motivation, even when we are doing well in the Championship, is worth pondering.

 

 


Martin Bellamy
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@lenmasterman I’ve often thought about how the players feel about promotion. If you’re one of the star players, then you’ll be excited about playing at the top level, but if you’re more of a make weight, then you’re days at the club are probably numbered. 
I guess they’ll all earn bonuses for promotion, but whether the money makes up for the disruption to you and your family’s lives if you have to find a new club is anyone’s guess.


 gt
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Well this club can certainly make you look a fool, one week all kinds of possibilities,the next ,just forget it.its obvious it's a fragmented squad , a lack of leadership,and consistency meaning unprofessional concentration, and not just one or two.

Last off-season knowing we needed a RB I mentioned Badley at Liverpool, well .well , this time I'll mention a young kid at Man City he's only eighteen, but a very scillfull winger can play both sides, Joel Ndala watch for him.

Stoke are similar in many ways to Boro , ambitious to a point but end up fading, signing big names but some how not realizing their potential, back in the day signing world cup winners like Banks , Hurst , England internationals like Alan Hudson , others later on, and we know what we've tried over the years , maybe it's destiny .

I wonder if they changed it to six up and six down we'd finish seventh.

Nevermind COB


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@martin-bellamy 

I remember reading that the average time a player stays with a Premier League club is just 3 years and just read a study that if you only include players who have been brought into the club (i.e. transfers) then it's just 2.2 years. So the life of a footballer is not a stable one and I guess most realise that they not going to be putting down roots. I suspect that is mainly down to the rate at which managers or head coaches are changed as stability is related to the guy picking the team.

I guess that kind of fits in with my theory that you only get two seasons to build a team and as Len said how many Championship players can step up to the PL? It's different for newly relegated PL teams as many of their players will have already played at the top but the rest of the clubs in the Championship can't afford to pay the wages of players with PL ability so it's a self selecting problem.

You probably need a good young team to progress together to stand a chance but can you get enough of them at the same time? 


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@martin-bellamy - Football is said to be a cruel game (maybe not as cruel as Rugby League but maybe that is another subject).  I remember when Newcastle United had a promotion to the PL under Kevin Keegan and I seem to recall that apart from those he thought could make it at the top level, he basically got rid of many of the players who had won promotion for the club.  Many at the time thought it a little harsh.  Why not at least give those players a chance to show whether they could, in fact, come up with the goods?  Managers and scouts aren't always right about which players will make it or not.  After all, proof of the pudding is in the eating. And if they COULD do it, the players who took the team up would save the club money on transfer fees as well as avoiding any "settling in period" with the new players (what if the players and/or family can't settle in the area?).  Quite apart from the fact that any newly-signed players might want to be away again if the team is relegated after one season in the top flight, and the players who have proved they ARE good enough to earn promotion will by then have been sold on, so the whole recruitment thing has to be started again...

It's mostly cruel on the spectators, though.  The players at least get paid, and at BORO's level, very well paid, for playing. Obviously not the enormous sums paid to the players at the massive clubs like ManC, Liverpool, ManU etc, but even at MFC the interwebby tells us that, as of 2 months ago, the top earners at BORO were Sam Greenwood on £30K a week, Howson on £25K, McNair on £20K, Crooks (now gone but then on £15K) and O'Brien on £15K a week.   So the top earning player at our lower-mid table Championship club is on more than £1.5M a year  (the others get proportionately less, of course, but there'll be precious few surgeons earning THAT in the UK even if they are amongst the very best surgeons in the world, let alone the 2nd tier surgeons amongst the domestic crop). So I suppose they can at least wrap up in comfort if things on the field don't go well. 

Imagine if, like amateurs, the players had to pay a match-fee every game, and a membership fee to the club for which they play?**  The supporters pay without even getting the exercise of running around a bit and if they see precious few wins all season, you could understand their frustration. So the bottom 2 Premier teams (SheffU and Burnley) have won 3 games each out of 26 so far and have lost 19, whilst Luton above them has done little better (winning 5, losing 15). Imagine scoring over 100 points in the previous Championship season, and then seeing the team you follow being battered regularly the next season in the PL.  Sheffield United with a goal difference of -44 in 26 games and Burnley on -33. So for Sheffield the AVERAGE result is getting beaten by 2 goals EVERY week!  And the supporters pay (heavily) for the privilege!

Football supporters must be certifiable.

         **Let's say you support your local amateur or even part-time professional team - so a team in the levels BELOW Hartlepool, which is in the National League (5th tier football). Maybe you only have to pay a tenner to stand to watch the game, but it's YOUR local team and you can probably walk to the game and go into the club house for a pint before and after the game. Presumably you'd get the same joy a Man City supporter or an Arsenal supporter gets if your team wins - and I bet you'll get little change out of £1K for your Arsenal ST - and whereas your local team would be battered out of sight every week if it played in the PL, I assume it can hold its own in its own local league, so there's no reason to suspect your team wouldn't win its fair share of games at its level.  Maybe supporters of local teams have MORE enjoyment out of their football (apart from the supporters of the aforementioned ManC, Liverpool, Arsenal etc)?

This post was modified 2 months ago by Forever Dormo

Martin Bellamy
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@forever-dormo I wonder whether Burnley fans regret promotion - as you say, it’s very much a case of after the Lord Mayor’s Show for them after last season - surely they can’t be enjoying their foray into the EPL. 

Re your comment about surgeons - I suspect their careers will last much longer than that of a professional footballer (and if I ever need one, I’d prefer not to have my surgery done by a 2nd tier example!) 


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@werdermouth 

I have heard that Boro are currently negotiating a new contract with Michael Carrick and that he is willing to sign. Apparently negotiations are also ongoing with other key players including McGree.

Hopefully we will have the basis of a good team for next season and that we won’t have to assimilate 10 players into the squad like we have done this season.

OFB


Clive Hurren
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@martin-bellamy 

Indeed, Martin. My Burnley-supporting mate is in despair. He gave up hope of salvation 3 or 4 games ago. He says Kompany has been naive, attempting to play the same kind of open, expansive football they romped to the Championship title with, and thus far, has been unwilling to change. John absolutely loved Kompany last year - he shared several videos of him talking via the BFC website, which showed him to be a highly intelligent, highly sensitive and very decent human being (not quite the image Dyche projected!!) The club in the past would probably have stuck with him, as they did with Dyche when his team was relegated, but with the new American owners, who knows what will happen? 

What is frightening, as you, Len and Werder have said, is just how vast the gap is. Burnley brought in several new players to complement those who played so brilliantly last year, but their squad has been nowhere near good enough for the Premiership. Ditto, Sheffield United. And Luton will probably also not survive, despite their incredible spirit. If the gap continues to widen every year, as Premiership clubs grow ever richer, is this the fate that awaits all of us if we ever get there? 


Pedro de Espana
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@original-fat-bob    Craig Johns leads with an article today along those lines.

https://www.gazettelive.co.uk/sport/football/transfer-news/middlesbrough-already-thinking-next-season-28715030


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FRIGHTENING !!!!!

I have just watched Liverpool, with even more kids starting, one of the last ones to come on didn’t look old enough for a paper round, let alone play at Anfield in the FA cup. This team of kids took out a full Southampton side 3-0, that put into perspective the difference between the Premier League and the Championship.

Come on BORO.


Selwynoz
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@werdermouth 

I totally agree about young players. Not only is it a way to improve a side it gives the supporters the chance to identify with a group who are working together. Thus, even if they don’t make it in the end, the club and supporters can enjoy the collective experience of building towards a peak. 

it’s interesting to see how Australian Rules clubs operate. They have a draft system based on position - Worst first - and can use draft picks as trading value - like the NFL. The clubs build their skills until they see themselves as being in a ‘championship window - which could last four or five years - and then start again. This doesn’t mean a return to the bottom but they do trade out older players for a younger squad with which they can rebuild.

Coming back to Boro, everyone identifies our transition weaknesses and I wonder why Carrick hasn’t tried Dijksteel as a midfield destroyer. He’s big and strong and, together with a back three behind him, could help lock down the centre…..just a thought.

utb


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@pedro 

I heard it yesterday and obviously so did Craig from the same source !

OFB


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With Leicester progressing to the FA Cup quarter finals, their match against Southampton has to be rearranged from 15 March, which has a knock on for Boro because when we play them on 29 March ( Good Friday and my birthday) Southampton will not have played a championship match since 9 March, nearly 3 weeks (incidentally they at home to Sunderland).

Come on BORO.


   
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@forever-dormo 

I can only deduce that either Sky need to start screening live operations to inflate the surgeon market or clearly top surgeons need to start getting more tattoos to prove they're worth more money 🤔 


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@selwynoz 

I guess the only problem with a draft system in football is that academies are club-based whereas players in the NFL draft system are not affiliated to any club and are playing at college level. I'm not sure how the Aussie Rules draft system works and whether clubs have academies or get preference to players they've developed. Though anything that makes football more of a level playing field would be welcome but I guess in the end it's down to clubs identifying the best quality players and getting the best out of them.


   
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On the subject of PL v Championship, I repost part of my comments following our second leg of the cup game against Chelsea:

“This game has clearly exposed the difference in class between the leagues and one has to wonder if the majority of Championship sides can really bridge it.”

The current plight of the teams who were promoted last season and the comments by previous posters clearly demonstrate that as the years go by the gap gets wider and wider not helped by the amount of cash available to an elite few. 🙁


Martin Bellamy
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I’ve just realised that it’s 20 years ago today - who on here was at Cardiff?

I bought two tickets for my eldest daughter and I but we had to collect them on the day. I was so nervous that they wouldn’t turn up or they’d be forged ones- we waited and waited, then saw the Boro players coach arrive, before very shortly afterwards a guy came over with the tickets. I’d paid way over the odds but we were in great seats behind the goal. The tickets were marked “complimentary”, so someone was obviously cashing in. 
That Sunday was my greatest day in sport and it still seems like a dream now. My partner and I had just completed a deal to buy our business, effective from 1st March, so it was quite a week. 


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An interesting article from the Guardian which suggests the PL are about to vote on and agree to change their financial rules.  

I am not sure what the impacts will be exactly and it would still appear to favour the larger clubs with bigger turnover but something needs to be done to try and address the inequalities.

https://www.theguardian.com/football/2024/feb/28/premier-league-clubs-set-to-back-uefa-style-framework-of-financial-rules 😎


   
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Local news from Stoke 

Steven Schumacher will have to weigh up his options in terms of personnel and shape as Stoke City take on Middlesbrough without Jordan Thompson.

Thompson has emerged as number one choice at left-back or left wing-back since Schumacher joined as head coach in mid-December but a 10th yellow card of the season, picked up in last weekend's defeat at Cardiff, means he is now suspended for two matches. Enda Stevens, who was signed last summer as first choice left-back, is still bidding for fitness following back-to-back calf and hamstring injuries.

 

It leaves Schumacher having to decide between Lynden Gooch, Ki-Jana Hoever and Junior Tchamadeu for who gets the nod on the left, whether Stoke play a back four or three. They are all primarily right-backs but have filled in on the left at times when required. Gooch, who has been moved around the team in the last month, seems the probable choice.

 

Captain Josh Laurent is also pushing for a recall in central midfield, with January signing Luke Cundle the most vulnerable. Million Manhoef could make his first home start - unless Schumacher goes back to a 3-2-2-3 with Laurent and Bae Junho behind Niall Ennis

 

Updates are expected later today in terms of injuries and team news, with Luke McNally expected to return to training next week.

 

Middlesbrough have been sucked into the depths of Championship mid-table and now sit 11 points behind the top six with 13 games to play.

We are getting towards that stage where we start to firm plans up for next season," said boss Michael Carrick last week.

Predicted Stoke starting XI vs Middlesbrough: Iversen, Tchamadeu, Gooch, Wilmot, Rose, Burger, Laurent, Baker, Junho, Manhoef, Ennis.

OFB


   
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@martin-bellamy 

Mrs OFB and I were there too. We stayed in a Hotel in Swansea and got the train to Cardiff with a lot of Bolton fans on the Sunday Morning. 

We all shared a drink or two but never saw them on the return journey unfortunately!

Happy Daze !

OFB


   
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I was at Cardiff for the cup final too, I went down with a few of my pre match drinking buddies from the Ironops, what a great day out. Funnily I can’t seem to remember too much about the journey back 😂.

Come on BORO.

This post was modified 2 months ago by exmil

   
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Clive Hurren
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I was at Cardiff. When the final whistle went I turned to my brother and yelled (above the astounding, joyous din coming from Boro fans), ‘Europe! We’re in Europe!’ An unbelievable feeling after 128 years of heartbreak! 


   
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@martin-bellamy - I was there at the Milennium Stadium, too.  Flew down from Teesside Airport to Cardiff with a mate and flew back very late the same day.

I couldn't believe what I saw at Teesside Airport at about 6am (maybe even earlier) that day.  The airport was crowded out with supporters and I guess it must have been one of the busiest days the airport had seen.  Some planes were flying to Bristol but mine went to Cariff directly. There was a group of Roman Catholic priests standing together in a circle at Teesside airport where the bar was open REALLY early, and shortly afterwards they could be seen downing the first of several pints of Guinness.  Apparently the priests had been absolving each other from their Lenten vows of abstention for the day.

A wonderful day. There were no arrests at or after the game I read afterwards, which the article said made it the first UK cup final of any type where that has been the case. There were no issues between the two sets of fans.  A great result at a stadium which is right in the heart of Cardiff (not miles outside like Wembley) and my view is that all Cup Finals should be played at that stadium, as BORO has 100% record there! The atmosphere was electric and the noise off the scale with the roof closed.


Martin Bellamy
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I found this article very interesting as one of my Boro bugbears is the way we never seem to have a strategy for throw-ins. Surely, this must be something that coaches work on, given the number of times we’ll get to take one during every game. 

https://www.theguardian.com/football/2024/feb/29/set-pieces-have-gone-from-ugly-duckling-to-game-changer-as-clubs-focus-on-details?CMP=Share_iOSApp_Other


   
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I should have said "abstinence" rather than "abstention" at the end of para 2 in the 15.59pm post, above.


   
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@forever-dormo 

It’s just made my heart grow fonder !

 

OFB


   
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