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Swansea v Boro
 

Swansea v Boro

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Powmill-Naemore
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Swansea.com stadium, Swansea

15h00 Saturday 16th December 2023

  Played W D L GF GA PTS POS'n
BORO 21 8 3 10 32 33 27 13th
Swansea 21 6 7 8 29 29 25 17th

 

Felly dyma ni felly, bron i hanner yr ymgyrch wedi'i chwblhau ac o edrych i lawr ac allan i ddechrau, i edrych yn debygol o guro pawb sy'n dod, mae'n ymddangos ein bod bellach wedi dychwelyd i edrych yn benderfynol ar ddeunydd yr hanner gwaelod. Yn dipyn o rollercoaster mae wedi bod hyd yn hyn.

Sorry…. I got a bit carried away there. I hope that makes sense to any lurkers from South Wales that may be out there. For the rest of us what I hope it says is:

So here we are then, almost half the campaign complete and from initially looking down and out, to then looking likely to beat all-comers, we now appear to have reverted to looking decidedly bottom half material. Quite a rollercoaster it has been so far.

(If it didn’t say that, I blame Google 😉)

 

Why did he start in Welsh I can hear you ask?

Well, an away fixture at Swansea will always remind me of the time both Swansea and Middlesbrough were in [the real] Division One together for the first and only time in season 1981/82. That was a relegation year for Boro, but we did take all three points from our visit to the Vetch Field. However, the reason I remember it is because as a final year student in Liverpool I spent that Saturday afternoon listening to the only radio commentary I could find of the game. That commentary came from a Welsh radio station and was delivered entirely in Welsh. It is quite amazing how well you can follow the ebb and flow of a game even though the only words you understand are the names of the players and the occasional English word subsumed into Welsh. For the record, Boro snatched victory with a Gary Stanley own goal in the 89th minute, following Heine Otto’s (remember him?) equalizing goal in the 84th minute after Bob Latchford (yes, that Bob Latchford) had put the Swans in front 7 minutes earlier. Although that is the only time the clubs met in Division One, they did later share one season in the Premiership which was in 2016/17.

Of course, on Saturday it will not be the Vetch Field where the game is played, but in the snappily entitled Swansea.com stadium. The Vetch Field was named for the pea-like legume that used to be grown on the site the football ground was laid out. I don’t know for certain if this was being grown as animal fodder or possibly for human consumption as “poor-man’s peas” or even just growing wild, all the same the Vetch Field was home to the Swans from its formation in 1912 as Swansea Town AFC until moving into the newly built Liberty Stadium in the summer of 2005. The Liberty Stadium itself was renamed as the Swansea.com stadium in August 2021 following a 10-year naming rights deal having been agreed with the (local) investment company Swansea.com, which happens to be a business owned and chaired by the successful local entrepreneur Martin Morgan, who is also one of the directors of the football club.

Swansea Town was admitted into the Football League as one of the founding members of the new Division Three in season 1920/21. After five years Swansea Town achieved its first promotion into Division Two where Swansea and Boro met for the very first time on 12th September 1925. The Welsh side ran out comfortable winners at Vetch Field by 4-0 in that fixture, going on to complete the double later that season by winning 3-0 at Ayresome Park. The following season saw Middlesbrough exact some revenge by doing the double back over Swansea and including Boro’s record score against them in the match at Ayresome Park on December 18th 1926 which ended 7-1. George Camsell put 4 goals away that day, with two from James McClelland and one from William Pearce.

I am sure most of our readers will recall that the present King was invested as Prince of Wales by the late Queen at Caernarfon Castle in 1969. As part of the full year of official “celebration” across the country (Wales) for that event, the town of Swansea was granted its City status.  The football club, of course, followed suit and renamed itself to become Swansea City AFC the same year.

One thing I have discovered while researching for this opener is that the football team we often refer to as the Swans actually has another local nickname, Swansea Jacks or just the Jacks. As with many teams’ nicknames the origin of the nickname itself is not really known for certain. For Swansea there are two competing stories. The first is that sailors out of Swansea in the Victorian era would wear clothing that was jack-tarred in order to provide some protection from the harsh elements of the sea. Hence Swansea Jacks. The other and much more romantic theory is that there was a dog living near Swansea docks during the 1930s. The dog, which was apparently scared of water, saved the life of a boy that had fallen into the dock by jumping in and helping the boy to safety. The story goes on that over the years the dog saved a further 26 people from drowning. You will have guessed by now that the dog’s name was Jack! Anyway, I have never heard that nickname used. Is it familiar to any of you?

The clubs have now clashed 50 times in the league and it is Boro that has edged the results by winning 22 times and drawing on 11 occasions, while Swansea has recorded 17 victories in total. These teams also enjoy scoring against each other. Swansea has scored 79 league goals in total past Boro, averaging 1.58 per game and getting to score 2 or more goals 22 times. Boro on the other hand has scored 93 times at an average of 1.86 goals per game and netting 2 or more times on 24 different occasions. These clubs have only ever completed 3 goalless draws playing each other, so if history can tell us anything about the future, perhaps we can anticipate some goals on Saturday. 

Other than those 50 league meetings, the teams have been drawn together twice in the 3rd round of the FA Cup and once in the League Cup over the years. The FA Cup tie at the Vetch in January 1981 was chosen for Match of the Day, with the BBC clearly sensing an upset as Second Division Swansea hosted First Division Middlesbrough, only for the Welsh side to go down 5-0.  One of Jarkko’s favorites, Terry Cochrane, shone on that day and scored a spectacular overhead goal. Swansea did go on to win promotion to the First Division that season pipping Blackburn to 3rd place on goal difference. The other time these clubs came together in the FA Cup was in 1995 when the game ended all square in South Wales, 1 goal apiece. However, Boro were dumped out in the replay at Ayresome Park (the last ever FA Cup game to be played there) with the 2-1 scoreline favouring the Swans. The one occasion the clubs have clashed in the League Cup (the Capital One Cup in that year’s iteration) was in the 5th round tie at The Liberty Stadium in December 2012 when Swansea shattered Boro’s dreams, going through to the semi-finals 1-0. Boro beware then heading to Port Vale next week...

As I am sure you will all be aware Swansea parted company with Michael Duff, their head coach of only 6 months, not two weeks ago following an 8 match run from which the team had only achieved 6 points (1 win, 3 draws and 4 defeats) from a possible 24. With the Swans down in 18th place the board acted hopefully to stem the tide before the team be sucked into a relegation battle. Assistant head coach  Alan Sheehan was immediately appointed as caretaker head coach in time to prepare for the match away at Boro’s Boxing Day opponents Rotherham last Saturday. The Millers went down to 10 men after only 17 minutes, but despite enjoying 70% of possession, Swansea only managed to win the game by 2 goals to 1, with goals from Patino and substitute Yates.

On Tuesday evening Swansea took to the field at the bet365 (formerly Britannia) stadium in the Potteries and came away with a well-earned point having equalized in the 89th minute with a headed goal from central defender Harry Darling, who had earlier given away the penalty that had gifted Stoke the lead. Although Swansea edged possession (57%) in this game, they only created half the scoring opportunities of Stoke, perhaps suggesting a lot of possession but without too much of an end-result. (Does that sound familiar?)

Earlier in the season Swansea took to the field in several different formations, eventually settling on a 4-2-3-1 shape both at home and away. Sheehan has stuck by this shape for his two games in charge so far. However, Saturday will be his first home game since taking the reins, so it will be interesting to see if he persists with that formation or whether he will change things around.

Boro’s injury woes did finally catch up with the team last Saturday with the team succumbing (quite weakly by accounts) to the high flying Tractor Boys. The malaise that appears to be settling in continued on Wednesday evening as Boro squandered the chance to bury Hull City in the first half at the Riverside to lose for the third game in succession.

The 6-match form table for the two protagonists on Saturday currently looks like this:

Swansea              : LDLDWD – 18th overall                 (home form - WLLDDD - 21st overall)

Boro                      : WLWLLL – 17th overall                  (away form  - WWWDLL - 4th overall)

You have to say that on current form there is perhaps little to choose between these sides, except the trend looks worse for Boro. It is also difficult to take any succour from the comparative home/away form which perhaps flatters a Middlesbrough side having to contend with so many otherwise first-choice players on the treatment table.

Boro ought to be too strong for Swansea, but with that worrying inability to convert good possession and chances into goals it is difficult to see us enhancing our away form this time out. So, with Swansea being at home under their caretaker for the first time and with Boro on the back of three straight defeats and not looking at all confident I fear that Swansea just might overtake Boro in the league this weekend.

Over to you.

This topic was modified 4 months ago by Powmill-Naemore

jarkko
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A really nice starter there, Powmill-Naemore!  And how did you remember my all time favourite player? I will always remember Terry as I met him and had a cuppa of tea in 1980 - my first visit ever to see Boro live.  Naturally I have seen the Terry Cochrane over-head kick a few times on YouTube. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8CzUudsLzH8

I hope we will be able to field the same starting eleven and get a point or three for a change - even we need consistency more than anything other. I know Crooks might need a rest but who could play there at nr. 10? Perhaps Rogers?

I wish we play as well as in the first half against Hull. And continue so the whole game. Mind, we are usually playing better in the second half under Carrick - except against Hull that is!

But we need points, don't we. Up the Boro!


Powmill-Naemore
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Posted by: @jarkko

... And how did you remember my all time favourite player? ...

Just demonstrating that I pay attention to what everyone says in here 😉

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

   
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Thanks PMN for a very informative and enjoyable article; history, sport and languages, this blog just keeps on giving.

Regrettably I am not feeling very positive about tomorrow given our last few performances and MC’s apparent lack of ability to do anything to change the situation when players or the team are underperforming.

A few weeks back I would have thought this was a match we could take all three points but now……

To get any points it often helps to keep a clean sheet but as far as Boro is concerned they are rarer than hens teeth.  

Swans 1-0 Boro is what my head says but hoping for at least a point and would settle for 0-0. 😎


   
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Nice one, Powmill!

It would require someone with much better command of Welsh than me to comment on the quality of Google's translation but it's good to see the Old Language (Hen Iaith) being used.

The stats you have contained in your Opener suggest BORO and Swansea are well matched.  I suppose these days, especially in light of recent results, we should assess the form of the two teams when considering the likely outcome of any game and then, because we support BORO, we should add one goal to the opposition and deduct one goal from the total we expect BORO to reach in order to counteract the natural rose-tinted glasses secenario. Maybe our expectations outmatch BORO's ability to perform.

Maybe I will look a "right Charlie" and an all-conquering BORO team will appear out of the mists at Swansea tomorrow. However I suspect that an injection of realism may now have been administered to all connected with the BORO. I think that it is perhaps unrealistic to expect THIS BORO squad to get near to promotion this season. Ipswich (24 points ahead of BORO) and Leicester City (25 points) are receding from sight at the speed of light and soon will be visible only to radio telescopes. Leeds (14 points ahead of BORO), Southampton (12 points ahead), West Brom and Sunderland (whom WE comprehensively beat at their place not so long ago) all seem rather more potent than Boro.  The Sunderland team which has just sacked its manager, and the less-than-mighty Hull team which beat our heroes at the Riverside on Wednesday, both stand 6 points ahead on BORO at present.

It would take such a remarkable set of results from here to the end of the season for BORO to get into an automatic promotion spot, that mind-bending drugs would be required to even contemplate the possibility.  With BORO already 12 point behind 4th place and 8 points behind 5th place, there really only remains ONE play-off place within dreaming-distance.  And for BORO to secure that one place, the team would have to perform better than all 6 teams ahead of our heroes from now to the end of the season - in some cases considerably better as those teams start off on rather higher points totals.  That is unlikely to happen. ONE or two of those teams will also string together a patch of really good results, too.  Even if the remarkable were to happen, BORO would then only be in the play-offs and we all know how that tends to turn out.

I feel like a Roman in "Up Pompeii!".  Woe, woe is me... Beware the Ides of December. Tomorrow may not be that good, either.


Pedro de Espana
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Great Headliner Powmill. with another completely different take and content. 

I just have no idea where the Boro are going right now, and I am sure MC does not know either. Whilst we do not want to criticise our Head Coach, there have been some valid posts on here, well thought out, that do question his inability to change the team tactically and with substitutions, when we obviously need to, even when in a winning position.

Unless, and it is probably too big an ask, we start putting away some of the chances we create and stop playing too many passes around the 18 yard box, which lose the impetus to create, then nothing other than a defeat will come to pass.

There is nothing MC can do in reality to change the team from Wednesday night given our lack of players to choose from. We can only hope that Crooks, if picked ahead of possibly Rogers, puts in a good performance, along with probably another 6/7 players. A minor miracle at the moment.

As for Swansea, I did notice that they had signed Yannick Bolasie (remember him, probably not) He came off the bench last Tuesday and played the second 45 in the draw at Stoke.


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Powmill,

A great opener, thank you for all your hard work and research onon that. Just a thought but maybe the Boro players will understand their tactics described and briefed to them in Welsh rather than English. Couldn't make any less sense than the way they are playing at the moment.

Or is this cunning board level tactics to put the manager poachers off? No I didn't think so either. If some players put more effort in and don't give up and substitutes are used tactically and sooner rather than wastefully it would help but something has gone wrong somewhere never mind injuries suspensions and good old loss of form. If Boro can turn it around upper mid-table calls and at the moment that would be success.

No optimism and no prediction here and I can't see Boro keeping a clean sheet either.

Do Boro look good on paper? No. As the saying goes they aren't good on grass either.

Sorry about the pessimism, it's been a tough week.

UTB,

John


   
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Diolch yn fawr Powmill for a very well written and researched piece which provided everything one might need to contextualise Saturday's game.

 


Martin Bellamy
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@powmillnaemore Another great opener.

I’m just back from a beach walk at Hunmanby Gap followed by fish and chips in Staxton - a lovely afternoon on an almost deserted beach with Mrs B and Ralf 🐕‍🦺, which blew the cobwebs away and will set us up for a long week of travels next week. Sunday is a trip across the Pennines to the wet county to see two sets of relatives, Monday sees us drive to Stratford to meet up with another daughter and two grand kids and then the longest one of all, to Roybridge on Wednesday for a one night stay with our eldest daughter and her family. It’s going to be a long pre-Xmas week, hopefully following a Boro win on Saturday, although I’m anticipating a 1-1 draw. 


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Just on Sunderland at the moment. Tony Mowbray must be wondering what he did wrong up there. Reports are that they   are going to appoint Michael Beale as Manager. He was sacked by Glasgow Rangers after poor results.


 gt
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I could speak about tomorrow's game , I'll leave that to the fantastic members of this unique Boro union,although I expect a win,

I'd like to follow up on my last comment on realizing some players need to be moved out, even for their own sake,

I find it strange we are not developing defenders, we bought Rav, ,19 years old, and looks like a real find, what is going on at our club regarding fullback, Central defenders etc, should we disband the u21, and go B team like Brentford,  you can play teams both here and abroad your not fixed, 

I think this is were the club is struggling , we are depending on defenders , who when off form or defisionsees are obvious, something as to change,maybe someone who watches the reserves can elaborate 

Just a thought

 

 

 


   
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Clive Hurren
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Many thanks for a fabulous opener, Powmill, which was very well researched and very interesting. I’ve been learning Welsh for 3 years. Because it has very few linguistic connections to English, it is one of the hardest languages I’ve ever attempted - there are simply so many words and expressions that bear no resemblance at all to English. Your translation uses a number of words I’m not familiar with yet, but the gist looks sound: it looks a reasonable approximation of the main points to me. 

I was interested in your suggestions about the Jacks nickname and have often wondered about it, as you never see it mentioned anywhere officially. However, I do know that Cardiff fans chant, ‘You Jack b******s’ at their Swansea counterparts, so it’s obviously a familiar term (of endearment!😂😉) in S Wales. 

I’ve no idea what to expect from this game, or which Boro will turn up, nor indeed from Swansea, who had apparently moved away from their habitual passing and possession-based game under Duff, much to the chagrin of their fans and the board. Who knows how their interim coach will approach tomorrow - but if he wants the job full-time the betting must be on him reverting to type to what the club has done best over several years? As for Boro, our evident lack of confidence at the moment suggests we might have a difficult afternoon, but Swansea are no great shakes, are they, so a win shouldn’t be beyond us. Frankly, I see this as a must-not-lose game, if we want to hang onto the coat-tails of the play-off contenders. But a point would set us on the front foot again and might be a good base from which to build as we come to a run of fixtures against bottom half sides (The Baggies apart). 

 


   
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 gt
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Name the homegrown defenders Boro have produced, 

McNeil, Mowbray, Pallister, Jones, Butler, Ramage. Macandrew, Bailey, Gates, 

I think of who made the first team regularly 


   
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@gt How dare you leave out Willie Maddren, Frank Spraggon, Colin Cooper and George Hardwick?  They're just off the top of my head, now let's get the thinking cap on.  Cyril Knowles dropped in to mind as well, made his name at Spurs but I'm certain that he started at the Boro.

This post was modified 4 months ago 2 times by Peasepudinperth

   
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You've heard the drill: if the defence is weak it's because the midfield isn't giving proper support; if the attack is weak it's because the midfield isn't providing the ammunition; if the midfield is weak it's all down to the midfield.  The midfield isn't called the engine room of the team for nothing. Strong teams have strong midfields. Weak teams don't. The eleven picked by Boro for several weeks has not included a strong midfield and the results highlight that.


Powmill-Naemore
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Thanks to everyone for the kind comments, responding in kind (Len), and giving me a little confidence in the translation (Clive)!

As I have woken up this morning  I am still battling with the foam-induced rose-tinted tendentious and wholly partisan instinct which sees all things Boro with a child-like faith  that "knows" the team is going to deliver the outcome we all want to see, and with my 64 years' old sensible head that has taken in the evidence of the last few weeks and that has seen it all before over so many different seasons and cannot see any logical reason Swansea will not win all three points this afternoon. Who'd be a Middlesbrough fan eh?

I suppose it is the hope that on the day and regardless of form or experience, any performance and any result is possible.

I have been thinking about us missing Coburn as the focal point up front with the strength and ability to hold up the ball and to play others into good positions and opportunities. Several have commented how we miss that when Latte Lath plays. Maybe we should give Crooks that role. He has the strength to win and hold up the ball, to have a decent enough aerial presence, with  the ability and experience to find the right player to feed the ball to as well as a reasonable enough eye for a goal himself. Then, assuming we do  not have any of the injured back yet,  use Barlasser further up the field to be the link with Jones/Djiksteel out right and also to find the through balls for Crooks.

While that might not be anyone's first choice, given the limited options MC has just now it might be worth a try. As it is for today I expect MC will go with same eleven that started on Wednesday, meaning old head still thinks we will get nothing this afternoon, but irrational head clings to the hope that they will gel and that the passes won't go astray and that we will be ruthless up front... 

I am hopeful then, but certainly not holding my breath!

CoB

This post was modified 4 months ago by Powmill-Naemore

   
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Powmill

llawer o ddiolch am ddarn o waith sydd wedi'i ysgrifennu mor dda y mae'n ei werthfawrogi'n fawr

   
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Powmill

Many thanks for a great piece of work it’s greatly appreciated 

OFB


   
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It’s eyeballs 👀 in the sky for me this afternoon!

OFB


   
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Well, Fellow Diaborians, let's go down the rabbit hole which is YouTube.  It is a medium which contains much that is good (some travel videos by experienced travellers, some instructional videos showing those of us who are not the most practical how to remove and replace a widget for your vital piece of equipment, SOME of the reviews of caravans/motorhomes/camper vans, some music videos, some history channels by people who know what they're talking about, for example) and also much that is ridiculous (people ranting on about some perceived injustice, a raft of propaganda channels and some people for whom the brief window that is TikTok doesn't provide enough time for them to prove how self-centred and vacuus people can be).

One YouTube channel is "StuntPegg" run by Nieve, thankfully a supporter of Bolton Wanderers rather than some future Super League team. She does videos of herself visiting lots of clubs including many lower-league teams, and some foreign trips - not only to see Big Clubs but including, for example, a trip up to the Arctic Circle in Norway to see the northermost professional football club in the world, Tromso. She often shows a sense of humour and it is notable that when she visits "small clubs" she gets interviews for her channel with players and management.  She is a female version of Sam from  "Footy Adventures"  whose last post (yesterday) was a video from the Real Betis v Rangers Europa League decider from which Rangers emerged successfully - he'd been taken there as part of the TNTSports Foreign Exchange. TNTSports had TV rights to the match and presumably the company brings away fans to the UK to see how they like the away-fan-experience. The previous video by Footy Adventures (4 days old) was about the team at the bottom of the professional football leagues in Scotland, Clyde FC (a massive, but currently homeless club which in the past has won the Scottish FA Cup THREE times and had finished 3rd in the top division behind only Celtic and Rangers in the season when Celtic won the European Cup, but for Clyde FC oblivion is now a real possibility). Footy Adventures also goes far and wide including Ireland and Wales and abroad and goes down to the grass roots of football rather than showing only the "top clubs".  Both of the channels often carry brief interviews with supporters including youngsters who are usually VERY enthusiastic about their clubs.

Anyway... StuntPegg has just posted a long video which she started in broad daylight and finished in darkest night, where she gave her predictions for all 92 of the English League teams, and where they will finish in each division. Perhaps remarkably for us on here, she is more optimistic than most of us (I mean principally myself!). She has the league panning out as follows:

Leicester

Ipswich

Leeds

Southampton

Sunderland

Middlesbrough

I mean, I'd take it but I wouldn't put money on Boro coming out of the play-offs as the winner. On the other hand, for Boro even to qualify for the play-offs from here, there would have to be a major upturn of form so maybe the momentum would be with Boro.  It just goes to show there is a different viewpoint to be had.

And, if you have a spare moment, have a look at StuntPegg (266K subscribers) and Footy Adventures (185K subscribers). Football from top to bottom but with real enthusiasts following every club.


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Finally, maybe if I am "realistic" in my predicition it might have the "reverse result" and Fate would favour Boro for a change?  In that case I will go for Swansea 2-1 BORO (but in the hope that, in order to prove me wrong, the scores will be reversed).


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

Powmill

llawer o ddiolch am ddarn o waith sydd wedi'i ysgrifennu mor dda y mae'n ei werthfawrogi'n fawr

😊

 


   
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@powmillnaemore PNM, a great post but you released the genie from the bottle when you mentioned the word "hope", you should know full well that's the single word that makes us all look forlorn when the mirage shimmers in to the distance.  Bob Hope anyone?


   
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So back in the game after a few days being absorbed with configuring a couple of wifi routers to replace the an ageing one and subsequently reconfiguring an endless list of smart devices that appear not to be as smart as they were making out to be!

Thanks again to Powmill for serving up another treat with his historical meander through the story of Swansea and preview of the game today. If I was to plump for an origin of the nickname Jacks then I would probably lean towards the naval roots as that's been a term associated with sailors for several hundred years - I suspect the story of the doggy paddling rescuer being the origin is of the shaggy variety.

Incidentally, just googled the naval element and interesting to see that it provides the language with quite a few phrases now in common use - I particularly liked 'show a leg', meaning to get out of bed, which is derives from when a ship was in port and sailors were allowed to have their girlfriends onboard to sleep the night. The girlfriends were allowed an extra 30 minutes in bed after the sailors had got up and to prove anyone still in the hammock was not a sailor they were asked to 'show a leg'.

Some may already know the Welsh name for Swansea is Abertawe - meaning mouth (Aber) of the river Tawe - Interestingly the English name Swansea is derived from the old Norse name for the settlement founded by King Sweyn Forkbeard around a thousand years ago. Meaning Swansea is basically Sweyn with the added suffix 'ey' meaning inlet or river mouth in Norse - so Swansea is Sweyn's inlet and in reality nothing to do with swans of the feathered kind.

While I'm at it, I may as well mention the English name for Cymru as we know is Wales but that comes from the old Anglo Saxon word meaning 'foreigners' - so glad to know that the English have had a long tradition of separating people into us and them 😉 

Anyway, onto the football that is not long away now - I'm not totally convinced of a Boro victory today if I'm honest the team is looking a little fragile at both ends. I suspect as always, an early goal or two would work wonders but likewise conceding early would have equal and opposite effect. Not expecting many changes from those who started in midweek as in reality there are few options available to Michael Carrick. A repeat of the energy showed in the first half against Hull would be good - especially if it has an end product this time. 

So can't imagine it will end 0-0 and more likely 3-2 to whichever side makes the fewest errors - hopefully Boro!

 

This post was modified 4 months ago by werdermouth

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Just before I sit down to my fish, chips & mushy peas...

I have just listened on BBC5Live to an interview with Hull City's manager, Mr Rosenior.  What a grounded, decent bloke he seems to be.  He said that the performance of Hull City against BORO was the worst he has yet seen. Perhaps that puts BORO's performance in that game into perspective.  Didn't have to be even average to beat BORO

And it is very mild outside (having been to the chippy) - 11C, sunny intervals, 0% chance of rain, south westerly wind.  It could almost be Spring. Helsinki is one of my "saved" locations on the BBC Weather App: 2C, light cloud and a moderate SW breeze there - positively Baltic.


   
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I agree with Michael Carrick. I thought we played well against Hull.

To call this a minority view would amount to self-flattery.

As far as I an aware there is no one -either on this erudite blog or across the whole of Teesside- who thinks our manager was anything other than in denial in expressing such a view.

Even the Gazette, generally subservient to a fault, thought that Carrick had got it all wrong.

So I must call upon the legendary patience and tolerance of readers of this blog in setting out the case for the defence. Though not necessarily our defence.

First of all some context.

I came to the match fearing the worst. The Ipswich performance was worrying. We were soundly beaten and unable to lay a glove on our opponents even after going behind.

What was most worrying was that this was a dispirited display. There was no fight or energy in the team and long before the end we had given up the ghost with players openly squabbling about the lack of cover they were being given.

So far this season, even at our most difficult moments we have shown a commendable fighting spirit. I think of the game at West Brom when, down to ten men and conceding a goal from a suicidal back pass from Engel at a crucial stage of the game, we kept playing, got a goal back, and the result was in doubt until the final minutes. Nobody gave up. No one threw in the towel.

Very different against Ipswich and one feared that a corner had been turned in respect of the motivation, energy and willingness to put in the hard yards which is so essential to our game.

Come Hull and those fears were immediately allayed. We played a team above us in the table off the park in the first half, scoring early, missing a sitter and squandering a number of perfectly acceptable chances. It was a repeat of Preston in terms of quality if not in  the half-time scoreline.

I was about to post here at half-time , but Werder beat me to it using the precise phrase that I had in mind. We should have been out of sight.

What that first half showed to me was that we were a really well coached team, full of running and playing creative and controlled football through the thirds , but let down by a lack of individual quality at crucial moments.

 Crooks had all the time in the world to measure a cross ,but put the ball high into the crowd behind the goal. A dazzling move left Jones free, but with the goal yawning he sliced the ball horribly yards wide. Greenwood broke well from midfield, but in a two-on-one situation he overhit a simple pass that would have played Latte Lath in.

It was a repetition of the Birmingham game when Rogers overhit a simple pass that would have played Crooks in. Fortunately Crooks' telescopic legs saved the day and Rogers redeemed himself by scoring at the near post.

There was no such redemption against Hull. Latte Lath, forced wide, made the wrong choice, shooting weakly at the keeper rather than squaring the ball and keeping the situation alive.

In such situations there is little that a coach can do. He can help the team to create such promising situations, but he is at the mercy of the capabilities of the players he has been given.

He is like a card player making the best of a hand without aces or picture cards. Or on accomplished pianist trying to get a tune out of an old Joanna. (Oscar Peterson once complained about the piano at one of his performances. "Whadya mean", retorted the club owner, "I only had it painted last week").

I did fear at half-time that we had expended so much energy, done so much running, that we would run out of gas in the last half hour, a potential problem with such a skeletal subs bench.

But in fact we continued to dominate the game. We carved Hull open time and again down the right with Jones, Crooks and Dijksteel managing to create the spaces to leave one of them free on numerous occasions. Even down to the last kick we looked like scoring but it was not to be. We never gave up, as we had against Ipswich.

There were more individual mistakes throughout. Engel, Fry and Dijksteel gifted golden opportunities to the opposition.  It was Barlaser's misfortune that his mistakes were the ones which came under the microscope for obvious reasons. Latte Lath failed to play in Greenwood for an open run on goal. Individual errors again marring a positive team display.

The reaction of the Hull players on the final whistle said it all. It wasn't the reaction of a conventional Championship away win, but the kind of delirium that accompanies a major cup win by minnows against a major club. They had stolen the points.

So Carrick's post-match verdict was well justified in my view. The universal reaction against it may be attributable partly to the pall created by the result, and partly to the accumulation of individual errors that masked so much that was good about the team.

Oh, and it may be of significance that I watched the game from the warmth and comfort of my own home. Had I struggled through the traffic and had to endure the Riverside cold, I would almost certainly have felt less benevolent.

Diasporians, I throw myself on your good will and tolerance.

As for today, the two day gap will not have helped us, but I retain my faith in Michael and the lads and go for a 1-2 win.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


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Joined: 4 years ago
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@forever-dormo 

The glass half-full reason why Hull were so ineffective was down to our dominance ,particularly in the first half. As I said, we played them off the park


Selwynoz
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Joined: 4 years ago
Posts: 740
 

Posted by: @peasepudinperth

@gt How dare you leave out Willie Maddren, Frank Spraggon, Colin Cooper and George Hardwick?  They're just off the top of my head, now let's get the thinking cap on.  Cyril Knowles dropped in to mind as well, made his name at Spurs but I'm certain that he started at the Boro.

…David Wheater

 


   
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Member
Joined: 4 years ago
Posts: 2272
 

@lenmasterman.  Excellent post Len and case well made.

Hope your prediction for today comes to fruition. 😎


   
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Site Creator
Joined: 7 years ago
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Team News...

Just the one change with Bangura in for Engel

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