Monday, 7 April 2008

Shite, shitola, Boro


Boro… the everlasting mystery of Middlesbrough. With form that generally ranges from shite to shitola most weeks they somehow have a few constants that not only keep them in the league but just about make having them around worthwhile… even when bloody Steve McClaren was in charge.

In no particular order there’s

- The chunky striker who raises his game for this big matches and hopes to one day move on to a club with real ambition. The present culprit is one Afonso Alves with previous entries including, but not exclusive to, Mark Viduka, Yakubu and Dean Windass (well, maybe not the last one but he was as chunky as the others mentioned)
- The ability to annoy the big teams. Even sides like Spurs tend to have a worse record against the big four than Boro do on a consistent basis. Let’s face it, Liverpool have a worse record against the big three than Boro this year and most of the years since Rafa took over. They get the odd spanking down at the Emirates to even things up every now and again but somehow they pluck a few points Man Utd, Arsenal and Chelsea every year – making their live games against the big sides required watching.
- The awful crowds… there’s something slightly brilliant about watching a side so routinely terrible that their own fans can’t be bothered watching them. Even the big games have empty seats.
- The quality centre back that digs them out of a hole. First it was Southgate himself (remember Fergie wanted him a few seasons back for cover in the pre-Vidic/forgetful Rio era); then Woodgate and now the excellent David Wheater.
- George Boateng. The happiest looking man in the league every week despite living in Middlesbrough. At last count I think he’s been playing with them for 22 years as well. Quality individual.

Usually I’d say “I’m sure there’s more” but on this occasion I’m pretty confident I’ve got the only reasons to like Boro right there, because there’s not a huge amount. Still though, they have more going for them than personality vacuums like Wigan, Birmingham, Derby, Fulham, Bolton and, dare I say it, even Man City.

Anyway, their efforts yesterday at the Riverside against United has put a bit of impetus back in the title race. There has been some dissenting voices about the crime it would be were Chelsea to win the league. Yes, it would be a crime against football but then again Real Madrid played their way to a dire title win (if there really is such a thing then this was it) last year despite looking dead and buried for much of the season.

Chelsea are capable of repeating this – capable I said, not likely – and in all fairness if United are the team that many believe them to be then surely such a side of superstars will be the ones to end Chelsea’s long unbeaten run at Stamford Bridge on 26 April. There’s still plenty of fight left in this one, though one suspects that even if Chelsea dig out a draw or win against United they’ll slip up somewhere, perhaps even in that rearranged Everton tie that so annoyed Avram Grant. Come the end of the season he may have a point.

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Moving away from title contenders and on to Liverpool… Crouchigol is making noises that he wants to leave and in all honesty I can’t blame him. When he sees Voronin go on ahead of him in the European Cup semi final last week, he can’t help but be annoyed. Crouch scores when he plays and at least deserves to be the first choice of attacking sub.

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Moving on from Champions League contenders to Everton and only today did I see these wonderful pics of Phil Neville’s gaff. Yes, I know I’m a week behind the times but seriously… what the fuck is going on here?

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And on that note, here’s a movie trailer that I have bored everyone I know with over the past week. I think it’s great, see how ye feel about it.

Thug life people, thug life
JJ

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

what a great night of football. liv v arse brilliant game and the icing on the cake a row in the rte studios again and a hissy fit from liam brady. souness on an ego trip blah blah liverpool in my day team of men blah and dunphy admiring wenger's ministry of funny walks quick look at pat dolan & keown on setanta shows the gulf in punditry entertainment value. Giles practically pleading with fabregas et al to retake control of the game but generous in praise of 'pool at end. Class lads great stuff!

Mark said...

twas a great game alright.

JJ - that movie doesn't look good