Sunderland v Boro
Sunderland v Boro
Sunday 22nd January 2023
K.O 12:00 Stadium Of Light
After grinding out a determined performance against Millwall, we now turn to our next fixture on Saturday, for what promises to be an exciting game against the black cats (Sunderland).
A local Derby against rivals managed by our own Mogga, who is still held dear in the hearts of Boro fans (and our own Jarkko!). Although most Boro fans consider this a derby game against our nearest local rivals, the Mackems and Mags (otherwise known as Sunderland and Newcastle) have always considered that they alone have the only derby games played in the North East. They have always contemptuously ignored the claims by Boro to have a seat at the derby game table. One site thing is, It will be a long time before the Boro can claim bragging rights to be “top dog” for the North East clubs, as with all the money available at Newcastle United now, they appear to be in the super league category.
I too, also have fond memories of Tony Mowbray who used to coach my eldest sons football team on a Sunday whilst Tony was still a young player at the Boro. We had many a constructive chat standing on the touch line and he always confided confidently to me that he would one day “manage the Boro.” He is still living in Nunthorpe today and using the local fish and chip shops and stores, for sure he is still a Boro lad through and through. His son plays for the local youth team and Mowbray always supports him from the sidelines. Mogga’s departure was a sad day for many of us when he was dismissed from the Boro whilst performing miracles on the pitch with loan and free transfer players forming his team. His greatest achievement in my view was signing Leadbitter, who proved to be one of our greatest captains and will take his place on Saturday in the stands with a phone link to the bench acting as a supplementary tactical coach for the Boro.
Michael Carrick will know only too well how much Mowbray will want to win this game. I therefore expect an intense tactical challenge to emerge during a hard fought match (or battle) by two teams fighting for a promotion place.
Boro are fourth after their latest win, but it's such a congested league table right now. Such is Boro's form, there's the temptation to think higher than just play-offs, with Boro just 12 points behind second-placed Sheffield United with 57 points still to play for between now and the end of the season.
The Blades and Burnley look to be breaking away, but if Boro can sustain their form, there has to be hope that they can catch at least one of them. Since the start of October - which includes Chris Wilder's final game in charge and Leo Percovich's interim games in charge - Boro are averaging more points per game than Sheffield United, though Burnley are another level altogether at 2.47 points per game. But since Carrick arrived Boro's points-per-game ratio is 2.27!
The Sunderland game with the Swans was turned on its head in the 18th minute when Luke O’Nien received a straight red card for a mistimed challenge on Ollie Cooper. Whilst Sunderland attempted to hold on with ten men for more than 70 minutes, they eventually slipped to a 3-1 defeat that saw them fall to tenth position in the Championship table.
With O’Nien’s dismissal having completely changed the complexion of Saturday’s game, Sunderland skipper Corey Evans is reported in the local news saying
“there is no point dwelling on what went wrong. For the first 20 minutes, I thought we were well on top and were playing really well, were aggressive in our press,” said Evans.
“We sort of kept nicking the ball off them and were using the ball well too. Obviously, the sending off changes the game and these things happen in football. I think it’s a different type of game when it goes to ten men with the sending off, and our focus is on Middlesbrough next week now. I’m more than confident we can go on another run, hopefully starting next week with Middlesbrough,” said the Sunderland skipper. “If you look at every game, I don’t think there has been one where we have been outplayed. Obviously, there have been moments in games where teams have been better than us. I think the West Brom game in the second half and Burnley in the second half. But if you look at the squad (those teams) have and the manner they have spent, I think where we have come from in League One, it gives us great confidence. On our day, we are more than a match for anyone, and we just have to continue as a team and club.”
It is interesting to note for the form table that Sunderland were on a five-game unbeaten run heading into the Swansea game, and Sunderland will be looking to win the game against Boro as they look to thrust themselves back into the play-off mix.
I expect Boro to name an unchanged team on Saturday (barring injuries) to keep the same playing style and carrickature !
It was pleasing that McNair played well alongside Fry, who was immense and back to his best against Millwall and it only goes to show what a difference our manager has made to the players, giving them back their confidence and putting an arm around them. Our previous manager totally destroyed Fry and others in the team by not giving them support and encouragement. Credit must also be given to Woodgate for reorganising the defence and achieving a clean sheet although I do expect our goal to be breached on Saturday.
Whilst Howson was made mom by Radio Tees on Saturday he is due to turn 35 in May and in certain games his legs look tired and sometimes off the pace. Boro should also not place too much of a burden on 20-year-old Hackney, who as we are all aware, is only in his first full season and cannot control the midfield as the senior professional. Boro are therefore expected to make a renewed approach for midfielder Barlaser from Rotherham before the transfer window closes at the end of the month, with Carrick keen to secure a central-midfield alternative to his current first-choice pairing.
Boro have alternative options in case they are unable to pull off a deal for Barlaser as his former club Newcastle would be entitled to 40% of the fee which is currently proving a stumbling block. The Boro scouting team are therefore seriously looking at St Mirren’s Australian international Keanu Baccus who joined St Mirren in the summer from Australian side Western Sydney. He was one of the breakthrough stars of the Socceroos squad that made it through to the knockout stages of the recent World Cup in Qatar.
The 24-year-old, who only signed a two-year deal when he moved to Scotland, is valued at around £350,000, with St Mirren’s financial position meaning they will struggle to turn down concrete offers around that sum. Boro midfielder Riley McGree was one of Baccus’ team-mates in Qatar, with the pair having played alongside each other in the starting line-up for the Socceroos’ defeat to eventual world champions Argentina in the round of 16 game. Carrick is understood to be on board with the scouting team on these targets and it’s nice to finally see a united front by the Boro management team at long last.
Akpom was not at his best on Saturday but was only slightly off target from increasing his goal tally. He does bring other players into the game and his impact on the Boro team will have been closely monitored by opposing managers and coaches looking to nullify his contribution.
Whilst Forss is not a genuine right wing player he understands the role that is required from him by his manager and his whole hearted effort has resulted in him scoring some vital goals.
On the whole the Boro appear to be playing unitedly for their teammates and seem to have embraced a genuine team spirit. It’s nice to hear players like local lad Dael Fry comments on the fact that they all join in together playing table tennis and pool. No separate groups are formed and everyone is included. This has to be down to the management style of Carrick and Woodgate not forgetting Leadbitter.
I hope that dropping Jones from the squad on Saturday has given him the kick up the backside that he needed to rejuvenate his career. For the majority of this season he has been resting on the laurels of his past performances. He has been going to ground too easily looking for refereeing decisions to go his way and not playing forward passes or crosses for his team mates. In other words he has been believing the words and reports in the press and considered that he had made it as a professional footballer! The action by his manager in dropping him from the squad may have been the catalyst he needed. Don’t get me wrong, I really rate Jones but like all young lads he needs keeping in check and guided along the way.
The forecast for the game on Saturday is 33% for a draw and 67% for a Boro away win.
Sunderland are 8th in the form table and Boro are 4th but does that really mean anything when it’s local pride at stake?
Surprisingly all the other statistics are remarkably similar and this is going to be a closely matched contest with a full crowd capacity roaring on their local team.
So what do we think the result will be Diasborians?
I’m going for 1-2 win for Boro!
Splendid opener OFB.
Loved "carrickature" 😂
I don't know what to add. We have become a team that is prepared to give any other team a decent game and capable of beating any of them. I worry about our ability to repeat a clean sheet many more times. I am sure Sunderland will be well prepared to make the most of our goalkeeping weak link and I am sure they will score once if not twice with a full house behind them. (It's always a full house for your local rivals isn't it....).
However, we are resilient and we too know how to score goals now... so I will go 2-2 after a full blooded, highly entertaining game.
Though I hope I am wrong and we carry on our winning streak.
Well done OFB and Powmill-Naemore - especially after the brief "loss in availablilty" from the Diasboro site.
Like Powmill I enjoyed the "carrickature" reference.
I'd be delighted with a 2-1 win at Sunderland. We have got to the stage in the season where wins, any wins, are what count and I wouldn't be hung up on any particular score so long as we score one more than the opposition.
I was intrigued by the forecast percentages - 33% the draw and 67% for a Boro win. Is that YOUR percentage OFB? If it were any betting company I'm sure Sunderland would expect SOME percentage aimed towards a home win! The feeling in my waters (as they used to say) is that the percentages might be 25% Sunderland, 45% Boro and 30% the draw. But (1) I support Boro and therefore might be using the famed rose-tinted spectacles (2) home advantage is perhaps being downplayed in my figures especially as there will be a lower Boro attendance than normal in light of the ticket allocation (3) I haven't done research to confirm this but I guess the real proportion of draws in any fixture list is smaller than we might surmise.
Still, I think momentum is a big factor in football. I recognise everything could be turned on its head by an early red card (as happened to Sunderland this last weekend) or by an "unfortunate decision" (imagine the sort of "offside goal" allowed at Old Trafford this last weekend), but I am happy to go along with OFB's 2-1 to Boro. In fact I'd be over the Moon with that result. A draw at the Stadium of Light would not, however, be fatal to Boro's promotion hopes though it would make the (admittedly difficult) chase to catch the top 2 all the more mountainous a climb!
Percentages quoted are from whoscored.com
I must admit I couldn’t believe it as well !
@OFB. Thanks for your “derby” opener, much appreciated as always. The match is live on Sky so will not be available via Riverside Live.
Given our current run of form and performances, player confidence must be sky high and they should think they can beat anyone in this league, barring the top two, home or away.
If our winning run has to end, then please not this weekend. I would take a point now but hope we could take all three. 1-1 CoB 😎
Thanks Bob for all of the work you have put into giving us such an excellent opener.
I hope the Boro win, but I will be backing Sunderland.
If there's a 67% forecast for a Boro win and 33% for the draw, I'm prepared to abandon all principles and have a little flutter on the Mackems at minimum odds of 100-1.
As Sergeant Bilko used to say,"It's not the principle of the thing, it's the money"
I think that Sunderland will miss Onions, whose terrier-like qualities were made for this kind of derby game. (I suspect that O'Nien is a bit like De'Ath, a concocted variation on a surname with unfortunate connotations). And I was particularly looking forward to Onions confrontations with Fry.
Hackney has been a revelation since making the first team, and has legitimate claims to being considered as our most important player over the past few weeks.
But I assume his professionalism, excellent so far, is still on probation after the disaster of his Scunthorpe loan.
The lad has been fortunate in having Jonny Howson as well as other solid senior pros guiding him through this period of his career. And how he has responded! But a fiery local derby with opponents out to provoke him, tackles flying in from all angles and even experienced players losing their cool will be the severest test yet, not of his ability, but of his temperament.
I wish him well, but it will be one aspect of Sunday's game that will be worth keeping a particularly close eye on.
Thanks OFB, a terrific opener.
We look the second or third best team in the league over the past couple of months without really blowing teams away (bar Wigan).
There’s no reason to think we can’t get a good result up the road but a few things concern me slightly for this one:
1. We didn’t miss Darragh Lenihan too much on Saturday but I wouldn’t expect that to last too long. He’s proved himself to be a top Championship operator and his leadership is crucial. I hope he’s back.
2. Tony Mowbray is an excellent student of Boro and regularly seems to find a way to beat us. We’re a tougher opponent for him these days but he does have the knack.
3. We’ve won our last 4 and 7 or our last 8. That’s ridiculous! This is Boro!
I definitely think we can win but will temper myself with a 1-1, which wouldn’t be the end of the world.
I’d love to win this one though.
I notice that my Rugby League club Castleford Tigers are issuing #heritage numbers onto each player’s shirts with #1 heritage being on the shirt of the fullback in their first game in 1926, as they reached #1000 heritage a couple of years ago. Of course if Boro were to adopt the #heritage system, the first league match being away to Lincoln City on the 2nd of September 1899 Edward George Smith (the goalkeeper) would be given the #1 heritage number. My records show that by the end of the 2003 season almost 800 players had made their debuts for Middlesbrough FC. In the last 20 years I would assume that figure will have increased to over 1,000 different players by now. However that doesn’t count the number of guest appearances by loanees during the two World Wars which should be discounted in any case, although normal loanees in the current climate perhaps could be included.
I don’t know if any major football clubs already indicate the # heritage numbers on their shirts or even shorts, but some international teams certainly do, as do both England Cricket Test and Yorkshire County Cricket Clubs, not the numbers shown on the reverse of the shirts, but smaller numbers on the front of the shirts located below the test and county emblems. I would imagine that players past and present would be proud to have a # heritage number allocated to them for posterity.
What do diasborians think?
I have always had a soft spot for Sunderland. I think they are similar in terms to Middlesbrough regarding support and work ethic of the region. I have no time at all for Newcastle F.C.
For Tony Mowbray to take the job there,I admire him, because he sees a likeness to Boro in terms of fanactical support and not too much money to spend. So far, he has done a great job there.
I am no great forecaster for games at all but would be happy with a draw although something is nagging at me we will get a win. Hope for once I'm right. 🙂
Looking at the Super Computer which is updated by the Yorkshire Post each week for the Championship, it anticipates that Burnley will finish as Champions on 92 points, Sheffield United as runners-up with 87, Boro third on 74, West Brom 73, Millwall 71, and both Swansea and Norwich 69 each. How it comes to that conclusion in such a tight league is pure speculation. I agree about the assessment position wise, as I can’t see either Burnley nor the Blades being caught at this stage. So a Boro v West Brom playoff final seems to be the likely playoff final.
I would go along with that assessment as I can’t really see Boro making up a 13 point deficit on the Yorkshire club. Even allowing for some strange results from now on, Boro are also likely to slip up now and again in the remaining fixtures. Let’s not forget either what a great job that Carlos Corberan is also doing for the Baggies at the moment. They hadn’t conceded a goal in the previous ten matches before Saturday and have now recorded 9 successive wins in their last 11 matches. In some ways it’s immaterial whether Boro finish 3rd or 4th at the end of the season as I can’t see either Millwall or Swansea reaching the playoffs, though David Wagner could be an inspired appointment for Norwich though not as good as Michael Carrick.
I have to agree that at this point it looks unlikely we can overhaul the 13 point advantage The Blades has over us. But you can never know. We have to play them yet. Win that and it is then 10 points to catch up. Wobbles and losses of form and anxieties have seen other teams surrender that kind of advantage in the past. So: unlikely, yes; but never say never.
"It's a funny old game", as one celebrated Middlesbroughian used to say.
@lenmasterman - Cracking post. You certainly know your O'Niens.
@OFB - Thanks for letting me know where you got the 67% Boro win and 33% draw predictions from. I am not a betting man but, if I were, I'd make myself a promise not to visit that site for advice/predictions/odds! Apart from the last result, Sunderland has been on a very good run recently and, at home, you'd think they MUST have SOME chance of a win. If Boro played Real Madrid at home, the chances would heavily favour an away win but Boro would still have SOME chance. Maybe 5-10% but not nil. And Boro is closer to Sunderland than to Real Madrisd
@ken - I think the #Heritage shirt number is a good idea. One that costs nothing to the clubs other than maybe a bit of research through the old records. I imagine there might be a bit of interest in a Camsell/Hardwick/Mannion/Clough/Hickton/Mowbray/Pallister/Juninho/Downing shirt... In a perfect world, wouldn't it be great to be able to buy an authentic shirt in the original form with your favourite player's name on the back and #Heritage number underneath the crest or on the breast. Might be a better money-spinner for a club like Man U or Real Madrid to make available a select few in the original kit but, still, a nice idea.
Interesting interview between Jimmy Floyd and Micheal Carrick:
Come on BORO.
OFB, thank you for another excellent opener 👏
Come on BORO.
@exmil - Thanks for the link. He certainly sounds the part, doesn't he? And walking the walk as well, so far...
Great to hear Michael Carrick praising the influence of Sir Alex Ferguson on him.
I mentioned this player about 2 weeks on here and Blackburn are now interested. He would be a steal for Boro
Here’s a titbit tale that I had reported on in the past about the history between Boro and Sunderland, but probably worth repeating.
The season following George Camsell’s record haul of 59 goals, Boro were of course promoted to the First Division, and after beating Bury 6-1 with eleven matches remaining were 11th in the table and seemingly safe from relegation. However the next 9 matches yielded only 7 points from one win, 5 draws, and 3 defeats with Boro 20th in the table but needing a point from the final match of the season at home to Sunderland to avoid relegation and at the same time relegating Sunderland for the very first time. Camsell had already scored 32 goals, 4 of which in that match against Bury. However he only scored one more goal that season although missing 2 of the matches through injury. Boro were 0-3 down at halftime in that final match before a crowd of 41,997 and that proved to be the final score.
Before that fateful day, Spurs had 36 points, Boro 37 and Sunderland 37 each, but Sunderland finished 15th, one of 7 clubs finishing on 39 points in the closest ever relegation battle. In fact Derby County finished in 4th position with ony 44 points.
Yesterday I ‘celebrated’ my 85th birthday by watching a recording of Andre Rieu’s concert in Sydney before a record crowd of over 38,000. It was the first time I had celebrated my birthday since my 80th in the Algarve with my Portuguese, Swedish and Canadian friends. I never expected to reach 85 when my wife died almost 14 years ago. but I suppose life must go on. However, yesterday was also a reflection of the past and how in some ways my life has been a failure, certainly as a sportsman. I enjoyed playing cricket and golf in my youth, but an absolute failure on the field of play.
Nevertheless, as a spectator I have seen Len Hutton, Fred Trueman, Frank Tyson and Geoffrey Boycott all play at Redcar, and Viv Richards and Darren Gough at Green Lane, Middlesbrough. I’ve also been lucky enough to see Tony Jackin, Jack Nicklaus, Arnold Palmer, Gary Player, Severiano Ballesteros, Greg Norman, Nick Faldo and Lee Westwood in British Open Championships and in Dubai. Yet my greatest sporting hero was someone I never actually saw play. That of course was George Camsell. He was my standout Boro player followed by Wilf Mannion and Brian Clough. I place them above Juninho principally because he is English and my happiest times of watching Boro live was at Ayresome Park with my school mates especially during the 1950s.
Of course watching any sport live is preferable to watching it on television, but Boro have given me great moments too on television, notably the two comeback wins against FC Basel and Steau Bucharest, also the promotion season in 2015/16. Nevertheless, Boro have frequently let me down in the past whereas music never has. I used to keep meticulous records of what was called the ‘‘hit parade” in the late 1950s when Johnnie Ray revolutionised popular music. I was also a Sinatra and Bing Crosby fan, and still am, but the only superstar singers I ever saw live were Ruby Murray and Ronnie Hilton, both several times, although I still have LP records of all of their hits. Today my favourite singer would be Neil Diamond, although my musical tastes have changed somewhat to classical music. For that reason my favourite musician and composer is Ludwig van Beethoven, who is the greatest of all my heroes, even above George Camsell.
I used to imitate Jonnie Ray in my youth, and although still a good baritone singer today, I would have loved to have been a classical pianist, though truth to tell in my youth I wasted all those hours of practice. OFB once kindly described me as Boro’s poet laureate, and although I’ve always had the knack of writing the odd verse celebrating my working colleagues birthdays, wedding anniversaries, or leaving does, including one I wrote about Paul Daniels when his career was recorded on “This is Your Life”, though I had to decline an appearance on the TV show as I spent my winters in the Algarve. Eventually I did make my TV debut on “Fifteen to One” although I was eliminated early on. But I leave proper poetry to the likes of Frank Skinner who has been quoting the merits of William Wordsworth and Samuel Taylor Coleridge on my favourite TV Channel ‘Sky Arts’.
My knowledge of classical music composers is fairly good, but not as good as Skinner’s on poets, essayists and artists. It’s a whole new world for me, and although my love for Middlesbrough FC or Yorkshire CCC will never waver, I often fall asleep nowadays watching sport on television, but never on Sky Arts where I’m learning about subjects that I should have been more interested in during my youth. Certainly in my eighties I have since moved on from sport being the most important part of my life, to the Arts such as opera and ballet which is far more relaxing than listening or watching sport on television. Perhaps my outlook would be different if I was still able to watch live sport, but that is no longer possible because of my incontinence, etc.
Gone are the days of foreign travel, horticulture and photography, three of my favourite pastimes in my life. Andre Rieu is so right when he states that music makes the World go round, and that singing and dancing keep one fit and healthy. Maybe too late for me now, but reflection on one’s life in one’s eighties can’t take away the wonderful memories that one has endured. Take care everyone and enjoy the rest of your lives. As I have often remarked, nostalgia is wasted on the young.
Happy Birthday Ken
I too watch Sky Arts and am constantly amazed at the breadth and depth of the range of subjects covered. I must confess that the more that I learn from the programme I realise the little that I do know and I thought my knowledge was quite far ranging.
I remember my father used to get the Daily Mirror when I was a child and he was admonished by my mother for getting a red top rag and over the years this was changed for the Daily Mail. I remember the cartoon strips in the Mirror with the Perishers and the “eyeballs in the sky” and the “old codgers.”
I suppose a lot of us on the blog are old codgers these days as a lot of us have the 73/74 team as our favourite Boro team. My favourite Boro player of all time is Graeme Souness and I have met him and shared a lunch at the Boro ground a few years ago and he seemed a nice guy.
I did meet Wilf Mannion briefly at Wembley when the Boro played in the Micky Mouse cup and lost to Chelsea. He was surrounded by young Boro fans who had heard about him from their grandfathers and applauded him.
Please keep reminiscing because your memories will always be recorded on this blog for infinity and beyond…..
One of Your Diasboro friends
Now another couple of football titbits which I have mentioned in the past. I am not a great lover of London football clubs. It seems unfair to me that there are far too many local derbies in our Capital City, but I can’t see how that can be eradicated unless the structure of English football is changed to regional divisions, although that is unlikely to ever happen.
Nevertheless, I do have a little sympathy for Tottenham Hotspur especially their hatred for their near neighbours Arsenal. I’m now taking one back to the resumption of football after the First World War. The Football League decided to extend the First Division Championship from 20 clubs to 22. Nothing wrong about that at the time, but certainly too many clubs in this day and age. For the 1919/20 season this meant that the champions and runners-up of the Second Division, Derby County and Preston North End would be promoted, but that Chelsea and Tottenham, the two bottom clubs of the First Division would retain their First Division status.
Apparently Sir Henry Norris a former chairman of Fulham FC was miffed at not being able to afford the purchase of Chelsea FC so in 1910 bought 240 shares (18.75%) in Woolwich Arsenal instead to avoid the Gunners from going into liquidation, and thus at the AGM ‘persuaded’ the members to relegate Spurs and promote the Gunners who had finished only in 5th place in the pre-war Second Division league table. The Gunners forthwith dropped Woolwich from their name to plain Arsenal, and remain the only club in England to have never been relegated.
Such were the goings on in the world of football and politics at the time, and little wonder that Spurs have had this hatred of Arsenal ever since.
Some lovely memories there, Ken.
I’m finally writing this post from our new home, so hello everyone from North Yorkshire - it’s been quite a week, featuring awkward vendors (who didn’t leave the house until 8.30pm, hadn’t attempted any cleaning and informed us that there was an issue with two of the toilets, but “we’ve left you the parts to repair them”), a broken down removal van, delaying our stuff arriving until yesterday and, now, a house full of boxes.
Nevertheless, it’s an exciting start to our new adventure and, hopefully, we’ll soon be settled in. I’ve managed to get BT TV working (no satellite dishes allowed on the house, hence no Sky dish), so watching a win on Sunday would be the icing on the cake.
Onwards and upwards.
A similar hatred exists from Sunderland fans about Newcastle, though nothing to do about football. This feud goes back to the English Civil War when protestations about the advantages that Royalist Newcastle had over their Wearside counterparts that resulted in Sunderland becoming a Parliamentary stronghold. I’m not acquainted about those advantages, but no doubt some diasborian will be able to fill in the details.
Suffice to say that when Newcastle won their second league title in 1909 that the Black Cats will still savour that 9-1 win at St James’s Park on the 5th December of that season. Wasn’t it the great Jimmy Greaves who described football as a “funny old game”.
That reminds me also that today’s media still refers to football as if it only commenced in 1992, the first season of the Premier League. They seem to have become obsessed with Harry Kane and his Spurs scoring record, when we all know that Greavsie had a far superior scoring record. And lest we forget, George Camsell scored 312 of his 345 goals for Boro in the First Division.
Happy belated birthday Ken
Belated birthday wishes Ken from a sunny but very windy Spain. 😎
...I am not a great lover of London football clubs. It seems unfair to me that there are far too many local derbies in our Capital City...
It might well appear that the top tiers of English football are oversubscribed with London clubs. Afterall, there are currently 9 out of 44 clubs in the Premiership and Championship that are in Greater London, but only 3, for example, in the entire North East of England.
Let's look at it another way. That is 3 top clubs in a region (the NE) that has a population, give or take, of some 2.6 million people. Crudely speaking in averages that equates to roughly one top club per 820,000 souls.
Greater London currently has a population, more or less, of 10 million people. That means there is one top club per 1,100,000 souls.
So perhaps it is not quite so unfair or unreasonable after all.
Hello Ken. I thought it was your birthday today, 19th. Sorry if I got that wrong. Best wishes for today or yesterday, whichever. 85 not out, and still going strong! Shall I give Ben Stokes a call?
Just read your opener, OFB. Magnificent! Many thanks.