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Boro v Forest

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Original Fat Bob
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Boro v Forest

Boxing Day 26/12/21 k.o. 3 p.m.

 

It’s an occasion to savour, the traditional Boxing Day Home game against good opposition both teams vying for promotion. A quick pint or two, some cold Turkey sandwiches, maybe a cold pork pie or two. Some more beer in the ground, a sneaky sip from a hidden hip flask a nice Xmas present. Then watching the Boro, cheering on our heroes to a well deserved victory. Oh happy days.

 

Hopefully we will not have a pandemic outbreak to prevent this happening or a reduction in the numbers of players available to play for both teams due to the pandemic.

 

I notice that I’m not the only one to have developed foam hands and looking upwards at the table  and the play off spots. Make no mistake this is not going to be an easy game as our opponents are on a roll and are looking to be invited to the promotion party as well as us.

 

Hopefully we can all wear our Xmas hats with pride and have a cracker of a game and no stale turkeys to make it a foul day. To all those doom sayers I say “get stuffed” we are going places and it’s the gravy trail for us all. So you can stick your Brussels sprouts as I’m singing away for a win. No I can’t hear the moans as after all the sherry, sponge and custard I’m a trifle deaf.

 

Steve Gibson gave us all an early Xmas present when he went out shopping and came back with Chris Wilder and his team. He’s a cracker and hopefully we will sleigh the opposition on Boxing Day. Even I cannot believe the difference in the players and performance of the Boro since Wilder has taken charge. We look a different team and are playing with spirit, purpose and wait for it ….skill !

 

The team looks settled, our wing backs and centre back partnership look to have totally absorbed the patterns of play required by our manager. Wilder likes to put an arm around the younger players and coax them to new heights and extol the virtues and leadership of our senior pros.

 

 

Another manager who has made a big difference in a short time  is the visiting manager on Sunday.  Come Tuesday, it will be exactly three months since Steve Cooper was appointed Nottingham Forest  head coach. Three months? Really, can that be all? The transformation in that time is utterly remarkable.  A team which was rock-bottom, both in morale and in the Championship table, is now just one point from the top six after winning 2-1 against Hull City. They have confidence, composure, resilience, passion and provide bags of entertainment. Lewis Grabban and Brennan Johnson scored the goals as the Reds came behind to defeat the Tigers.

 

Nottingham Forest now have concerns after Jordi Osei-Tutu concern after a fresh injury setback. The on-loan Arsenal defender was forced off with an injury after 40 minutes of Forest's victory over Hull City

 

Forest are looking into a surprise loan swoop for Newcastle’s forgotten midfielder Sean Longstaff.

 

Longstaff, 24, is on the fringes at the Toon and Steve Cooper can add players as Forest chiefs think they have a chance of promotion.

 

Longstaff's chances of game time are only likely to get slimmer in the new year.

 

He can't get into the struggling Magpies' team at the moment and mega-rich Toon are set to add more players during the next transfer window.

 

Forest have at least six players who can feature in central midfield. James Garner, Jack Colback, Ryan Yates, Braian Ojeda, Cafu and Joao Carvalho are all capable of featuring in the position.

Instead, Reds fans would rather Cooper focuses on turning Djed Spence's loan from Middlesbrough permanent and the addition of a striker.

We know Wilder has spoken to Spence and rumours abound is that Spence wants to stay with Forest. Either way he won’t be playing against us as he’s ineligible.

So what’s the score going to be ?

Difficult game, very good opponents I’ll settle for a 1 - 1 draw !

OFB


Andy R
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Excellent opener, Bob. Well played.


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Forever Dormo
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OFB,

I think you must have opened the box of Christmas crackers and snaffled all the punny Christmas gags for use in your Starter For Ten. I bet you were a really naughty boy at school, if you can remember that far back.

I also think the form team in our division is Blackburn Rovers.  I wouldn't take a bet against their finishing above Bournemouth if we are looking for automatic promotion teams.  But what do I know? 

The real issue is whether football matches are to be played on Boxing Day at all, bearing in mind the number postponed for Covid reasons in the last week, so depleting the squads that full teams & a few reserves couldn't be guaranteed.  If (as I understand) there is a Premier League meeting on Monday and the PL games are called off for a couple of weeks, is it realistic that Football League games will continue?  We MIGHT have seen our last game of 2021.  But then again, what do I know?  (No replies here about what the Government knows/doesn't know, please, this is not a political Blog!).

I'd say several thousands stayed away and therefore didn't attend the Bournemouth game.  Some, no doubt will have been elderly or vulnerable people shielding.  Others may have done the equation which I think was put out there in a recent Downing Street briefing (but I'm not sure if it was by the PM or by Prof Whitty) when it was suggested people should decide what is important to them this Christmas - whether that means at Christmas itself or a New Year's Party etc. or other things.  If it is to protect their Family Gathering rather than going to the pub, or a works party, or rather than going to a match where there will be many thousands in attendance, some will have decided their Family Christmas or New Year counts more highly and therefore will have put the social gatherings to one side.  They don't want to cancel their Family Christmas/New Year gathering plans by increasing the risk of catching an infection at the match/office party etc. 

On the other hand if the football is more important to them, they will go to the match as a first priority (or go to the works' party etc) and hope the family gathering will not be compromised.  Personally, going to the office party would always have been (in even the most normal of times) well down my list of priorities.  We will all have our own list. 

I DID go to the Bournemouth game.  It was really enjoyable.  We played well but obviously made some mistakes which on another day might have been punished. Maybe if we had won 3-2 it would have more reflected the play because both teams had chances they should have put away. However on balance I felt we were on top irrespective of possession stats (more shots etc).   Bournemouth has a good team but is having a difficult spell at the moment, which I am glad we were able to continue.  That may not carry on for long, though, and there are plenty of other teams above us - and games against them will not often be easy games.  But we are on an upward trajectory and therefore our eyes are raised rather than lowered.  I am hopeful and think Top Six is eminently achievable.  But those in charge may not rule out even better than that, if we go on a good run from here.

And this is another good place to thank MFC and to acknowledge the efforts the club made to publicise in advance the measures which would be employed in order to comply with Government Covid guidelines.  My own personal experience was good, with virtually no delay or inconvenience caused before being allowed to use the turnstiles. If it had been bad, there would be no end of complaints so, when it is good and the club has done well, we should ackowledge that.

In case we do not meet again electronically before then, can I say:

1.  Thanks Jarkko and Eija for your card which has safely arrived.  You will not be surprised that I have (as usual) been my old curmudgeonly self and I have not sent one back.  Well, it would be too late now...  But it was nice to receive yours. Thanks again.

2.  I hope everyone on here, whether those who post articles or post replies, or those who just look in without contributing (I guess there will be many of those - I read the letters in the newspapers but I can't remember sending one myself "to the Editor"), have a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.  You would think it would struggle not to be a better 2022 than 2021 has been, but I appreciate everyone may have had a different personal experience of 2021.  For some, 2021 may have been a great year if they married, had a child or passed their exams, or were simply delighted by Chris Wilder's appointment.  But we can still hope for better!

3.  Try to stay safe from You Know What.....

This post was modified 4 weeks ago by Forever Dormo

Original Fat Bob
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@forever-dormo

Great Post I enjoyed that 

OFB


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Original Fat Bob
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A merry Xmas to all Diasborians far and wide including family, friends and hopefully we all have a safe and enjoyable festive period.

OFB


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Original Fat Bob
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@forever-dormo

yes I was a really naughty boy at school !

OFB


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Andy R
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Lovely post, FD.

Happy Christmas to all and stay safe.


jarkko
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@original-fat-bob thanks for a great opener, again.

Since we played at Forest on Wednesday 15th September and won by 0-2, they have been through 16 matches unbeaten. That is quite remarkable as they had not won a game and were rock bottom after the Boro game.

They sacked Chris Houghton immediately after the game, won the next game and appointed a new head coach in Steve Cooper.

So Forest have won ten matches and drawing six since the Boro defeat. During those 16 games they have collected 36 points. That is an excellent average of 2.25 points per match over the same 16-match period.

It won't be an easy match on Boxing day (I hope the match will be on 😊).  So I hope OFB is correct with his prediction. A 1-1 result would do nicely, thank you.

Boro have now played six matches under Wilder (his average is 1.8 points per match). I hope we can see an average of 2.25 points after 16 games under Winder. But that would be really exceptional, me thinks.

Up the Boro!

This post was modified 4 weeks ago by jarkko

Powmill-Naemore
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A sparkling and seasonal opening post OFB , thank you.  Let's hope that Boro will be in true festive spirit for their guests on Sunday, making sure their Boxing Day goose is well and truly cooked.

What a difference one man can make to a community.

I'm becoming expectant that It's a Wilderful Life is going to go on an extended run at our former theatre of screams. Let's hope that lots of angels will be getting their wings as our Boro sets the alarm bells ringing for all of our promotion rivals.

Having raised Frank Capra's seasonal classic, let each of you never forget that your being here has been, and continues to be, a gift to us all. This year, as always, it has been a pleasure to share my occasional thoughts with you in here, but especially to read all the things that you have all posted in here too. Long may that continue to be.

Keep safe everyone.


John Richardson
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OFB,

A great opener, just puntastic and punsational stuff. You obviously had a lengthy tour of the the 'Pun Department' at the local Christmas Cracker Factory. I'm trying to rein(deer) in my hopes and expectations because there's going to be a bumpy patch, just look at Bournemouth.

The weather over Christmas weekend doesn't look too good here in Norfolk, a lot of wet stuff is being promised, maybe further north it will be more seasonal.

A merry Christmas and a happy and above all healthy New Year to everyone and stay safe and Ken, you look after yourself.

UTB,

John


Powmill-Naemore
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Here’s my message of hope for everyone this Yule-tide.

I hope you enjoy this and (I know it’s a few days early yet) I wish you all your heart for Christmas and I wish for us all success with the Boro in the New Year.

 

Boro in Bleak Winter

 

      On the pitch last winter

      Boro made us groan

      When it seemed a sin t’

      String two wins at home

      Drawn and lost games

      More than won, more than won

      Meant our New Year slump hurt

      Once it had begun

 

      No football supporters

      Could have travelled there

      Covid and its variants

      Kept us all beware

      Warnock ball was meant to

      Get us to the top

      Still, let us give thanks we

      Kept clear of the drop

 

      Wilder times this winter

      Time for us to hope

      Seems we have a hint o’

      Better things in scope

      If I were a prophet

      I think I’d predict

      With foam hands promotion

      This year could be it

      This year could be it ….

 

 


Original Fat Bob
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@powmillnaemore

Great stuff !

We have some talented posters on this blog !

OFB


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lenmasterman
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@powmillnaemore

Lovely stuff, Powmill.

 I sang it and it scans perfectly.

And what with the Cole Porter type rhymes , it's a bit of a Christmas Boro classic

Congratulations and many thanks


exmil
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Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to everyone, let’s all hope 2022 sees the rise of the mighty Boro and the demise of Covid.

Come on BORO.


Allan in Bahrain
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We watched the NUFC match last night. Christmas has come early!!

My 11 year old has come home for the holidays from UK school and so has been watching footy all weekend.

He can't do much else until boxing day as he brought our friend Covid with him and was found out by the Airport arrival test, but happily no symptoms.

So we are all restlocked down for Xmas and are having a quiet celebration.

So you all take care and enjoy the holiday, lets hope for a Boxing day bonanza - I think we have 3 goals in us for that match!!

Here's to 2022 and to a well deserved trip to Wembley in May!!

UTB from Bahrain.

 

 

 


Ken Smith
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Brilliant twist on “In the bleak mid-winter” to Gustav Holst’s music to Charles Wesley’s original lyrics. My favourite Christmas hymn is “Hark the herald angels come” the music composed by Felix Mendelssohn, with original lyrics also written by Charles Wesley the prolific hymn writer and brother of John Wesley, the founder of Methodism in Britain. Now I can’t emulate Powmill Naemore’s excellent story, but with apologies to Charles Wesley, here is my three verse rendition of a very brief story of Boro’s history over the last 55 years:-

Hark, old Ayresome Angels sing  
When John O’Rourke was Boro’s king.            
“Give us a goal “ sang every child          
Stan Anderson’s fans now reconciled. 
Joyful all Boro fans arise        
When big John scores, it’s no surprise,    
Whilst Ayresome Angels do proclaim        
Another goal will win the game.           
Hark, those Angels began to sing        
When John O’Rourke was Boro’s king.

Now over fifty years have passed              
Whilst six promotions have elapsed,       
Though relegations have become           
A frequent task to overcome.         
We’re now esconsed at Riverside          
And Premier League we did abide.        
Pleased to have won some silverware,        
Though repeating that may be rather rare.         
But hark Steve Gibson may have found        
The man to change our fortunes round!

Hail the man now Boro’s coach,          
Hail the attacks with a new approach               
More attacks Chris Wilder brings;            
Could he be our King of Kings?                 
Mild in manner and temp’rement               
Could see the Boro after Lent         
In pole position with a shout        
To again promotion ‘tis what’s it about.            
Hark, my friends for what it’s worth,        
The Premier League, our second birth!

     

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This post was modified 4 weeks ago 2 times by Ken Smith

Forever Dormo
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@powmillnaemore:. Loved the carol and I sang it, on my own, all the way through. That's official then - Christmas must have arrived...!


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Forever Dormo
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Ken - loved your  Boro version of Hark the Herald Angles Sing, too.

I was there in 1967 when John O'Rourke and John Hickton fired us to promotion when we beat Oxford United  4-1 at Ayresome Park, to which you referred in the amended lyrics.  What a night!  More than the official 39,000 odd were in the ground, but not the 100,000 Boro fans who swear blind they were present.  A bit like the first game of the season Boro played when Hartlepool allowed the club to use Victoria Park (otherwise I think our ground was still chained up or at least wasn't prepared for a game) where, again, many thousands CLAIM to have been present.  I was not but I know Jarkko WAS.  A (then) youngish lad from Finland exploring the delights of Hartlepool in order to support the Boro!  Commitment...!


jarkko
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Yes, I was there with Eija - the young lady I later married to. Driving an old Ford Fiesta 1.0 litre all the way from here to the UK.

Mind you, we did not know all the latest troubles as we did not have internet. I was posted all the sports articles from the Gazette and Echo but they arrived a couple of weeks later. But we listened to the radio in Great Ayton the eveing before the match!

One of the best matches I have seen. Pity we did not win as we were 2-0 up if I remember correctly. But we all Boro fans celebrated the draw as a win. That the match was played.

@Dormo Thanks for sharing the latest about Gordon McQueen. As you know, I have seen him a couple of times and was happy to talk to him quickly last time around. I am so sad to learn about his sickness. 

A very Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to all Boro fans. Up the Boro!

This post was modified 4 weeks ago 3 times by jarkko

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Powmill-Naemore
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Thanks to everyone for the kind words and Ken, I was singing along to hark the ayresome angels sing. Excellent.

I didn't start watching Boro till around 1972 or 1973, so I definitely wasn't at the Oxford promotion game, but I do recall hearing the crowd from where we lived on Clairville.

As an aside I am bitterly disappointed that Spurs have had to forfeit their match against Lille and so be knocked out of the Europa League. The poor dears had 8 playing staff ill, so how on earth could they be expected to fulfil the fixture? I'm sure that if it was our own beloved and trusted FA adjudicating instead of those self serving faceless grey suits at UEFA then they would have been all right. Most unfair 🙄

This post was modified 4 weeks ago by Powmill-Naemore

Liked by 4 people: jarkko, Original Fat Bob, Malcolm and Redcar Red
 
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Original Fat Bob
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@forever-dormo

i was at Hartlepool with my two lads and can prove it ! I was interviewed at the ground by Tyne Tees Television and should be on file (if it hasn’t been wiped  )

 

OFB


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Powmill-Naemore
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@original-fat-bob

I saw that and it wasn't OFB but YFB !


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Ken Smith
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Having yesterday changed words to a Boro theme in my favourite Christmas CAROL, I thought this morning I’d attempt to change some of the words of my favourite Christmas SONG written by American composer Irving Berlin to a Boro theme, so here goes:-

Have yourselves a happy Boro Christmas    
Let’s put things aright,   
From now on the Boro might be out of sight.       

Have yourself a ‘Wilder’ Boro Christmas,  
Let’s watch the Boro play.     
From now on Promotion won’t be far away.        

Here we are not the boring days,       
But the scoring days of yore.           
Boro stars who are near to us 
Will score goals for us once more.       

Through the years            
We have always been together,          
So if the fates allow        
A top six finish will be the Boro’s aim from now,     
So have yourselves a winning Boro Christmas now.

 


Malcolm
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The Oxford game was my first after moving down from the Scottish Borders. Been hooked ever since. 😉 


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Andy R
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Marcus Tavernier stats update now that we're half way through the season:

  • Tackles per game: joint 3rd (1st Crooks, 2nd Howson)
  • Shots per game: 1st
  • Key passes per game: 1st
  • Successful dribbles per game: 1st
  • Pass success percentage: 2nd (1st Bamba)
  • Successful crosses per game: 2nd (1st McNair)
  • Successful through-balls per game: 1st

 

Some less good stats too, perhaps most notably goals and assists although it's not like anyone has high numbers for those, and he's still second worst for "Unsuccessful touches" (dispossessed after first touch).

Still, a player who may not be passing the eye test but is doing a lot of good, unnoticed, work with signs that yet another Boro manager rates him.

This post was modified 4 weeks ago 3 times by Andy R

Forever Dormo
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@malcolm: Well, at least you started out on a high!


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Forever Dormo
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@andy-r:

That is interesting. If the majority of stats point in one direction, it is likely they are correct. The manager seems happier with Tav than many of the supporters but that may be because:

(1) he sees Tav in training

(2) he knows what instructions he has given to Tav, and therefore the extent to which Tav is carrying out the job he has been given

(3) Chris Wilder knows more about football than the vast majority of supporters

(4) he may have a good idea about the extent to which he can further improve Tav as a footballer so that he is currently a "work in progress".


Ken Smith
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I just want to thank Grove Hill Wallah for sending me Chris Sutton’s latest book “You’re Better Than That!” subtitled ‘How to fix modern football’. I don’t know the whys or wherefores why GHW doesn’t contribute to Diasboro anymore, although he obviously still reads this forum. I’ve not knowingly met him but this is the third time he has sent me books through the post free of charge, and I just want to show my gratitude and wish him a Happy Christmas. 

One interesting fact he conveyed to me in a short note was that he had googled why Derby County’s former stadium was called The Baseball Ground. I did know that baseball was a favourite sport in England over a hundred years ago, but was not aware that Middlesbrough were crowned National Baseball Champions in 1892.


Redcar Red
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Commenced another new job a few weeks ago hence I have been busy and could only dip in and out of here and missed most of the Bournemouth build up and only catching the game in the second half due to shopping commitments which like everything else had been put on a "get round to it" back burner. Some excellent festive fayre on here with hidden talents clearly coming to the fore!

Hopefully the Festive fixtures themselves go ahead or at least Boro's games do and we can get a few points on the board. Games in hand are only useful if opponents win them and with a backlog they could come thick and fast piling more pressure on them. Forest have been on a great run but so have we under Wilder and Forest's run will come to an end at some point in time so why not against Boro who are now looking unfazed and confident plus keeping clean sheets.

The attendance will be interesting if the game does go ahead with the cloud of Covid hanging over Football generally and the cloud of Middlesbrough Council hanging over supporters parking habits. The parking has never been addressed let alone resolved in over 25 years and suddenly there seems to be enormous enthusiasm from the Council to deal with the symptoms yet again rather than the causation. As a consequence no doubt there will be a few more who don't bother attending the game in fear of being ticketed.

If 400 notices were stuck on Car windscreens then it doesn't take a genius to work out that there is a massive problem caused by a lack of suitable parking infrastructure for the areas major events arena. That of course doesn't excuse reckless, dangerous and lazy parking but when I attended I had to arrive no later than 1.30pm on Dockside Road to then walk fifteen minutes plus to the ground. Any later and I may as well have parked in Asda Southbank.

The "walk" was over a "footpath" covered in mud, silt and overhanging branches with various detritus dumped yet no sign of any Council responsibility in over a decade at least. On days with Rain or Sleet the footpath was (and probably still is) unwalkable due to sliding and slipping on the slimy mud and clay meaning walking in the road facing oncoming traffic was the safer option. I guess there is no money to be made in maintaining footpaths for law abiding motorists. No wonder people choose to park nearer to the ground and churning up grass verges, it's an improvement on the pavements law abiding fans are supposed to risk life and limb on.

This post was modified 4 weeks ago by Redcar Red

Forever Dormo
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Good to hear from you, Redcar Red.  Yes, the parking situation is a poor idea of a joke bearing in mind the length of time we have been playing at the Riverside.  Most of the land round and about is unused.  Why not park cars there?  The only good thing about the situation is that I get good exercise in walking a mile or more there, and a mile or so back after the game.  Not so good, however, if it is freezing cold or (God forbid) chucking it down with rain.


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