Reading "Do A Boro" At The Riverside

By Anthony Vickers on Feb 25, 12 06:13 PM

READING did to Boro what we did to countless teams earlier this season.

The form side in the division soaked up the pressure with a highly organised defence and hard working midfield sticking tenaciously to the task - much as bubbling Boro did in August and September - then hit quickly on the break to make their few chances count.

You think having done it themselves so often Boro would know how to deal with it.

Credit where it is due: it was a fantastic archetypal Championship away performance. While Boro's display was, well, just average. And that is not good enough.

It wasn't necessarily the most entertaining display. There was no cavalier intent from Reading, no enterprising attacking intent. No sustained spells of pressure. Boro certainly weren't 'out-played'.

But they were well beaten by a professional and confident side with an effective game plan executed to perfection.

Reading's players all did their job: Ian Harte is a creaking football pensioners but put in a one deadly ball from a corner and scored a rocket free-kick. Experienced Jason Roberts was involved three time and set up two chances, just nudging Seb Hines aside. In midfield Jem Karacan and Michael Liegertwood closed and tackled and harried.

The Royals have built a platform to push for promotion that echoes the watertight record Boro put together in a sizzling start. They have now won five in a row and gone 473 minutes without conceding. And that is no accident.

Reading sat deep with two well drilled banks of four and deliberately surrendered possession and let Boro probe and pass harmlessly 25 yards out.

They held a rigid line and actively denied space behind their back four so Boro found it hard to find angles and width to deliver too many telling quality balls into the box.

And their industrious midfield four closed Boro down quickly, frustrating them and forcing them to pick their way side to side, to the edge of the box then back again into their own half to start again in an impotent ritual dance.

And when they knocked it forward quickly Jason Roberts, the archetypal one-in-four lumbering top flight targetman, held it up, barged Boro's defenders aside and caused penalty box problems.

Laboured Boro huffed and puffed and beavered away and did well enough in the middle third but lacked a touch of magic - or luck - where it mattered in the box and and couldn't break rigid Reading down.

It wasn't from any lack of effort on their part. Boro pressed and pushed and passed and picked their way forward with Marvin Emnes in particular showing some neat flashes of trickery in the first half but they couldn't find a way through. They weren't "cute" or clever enough Mogga said. And he was right. It was all a bit dull and predictable.

There was a dearth of creative alchemy on the edge of the box, no well weighted killer ball to spring the trap, and with Barry Robson off-key no-one to either able to physically drive through the last line. It was very frustrating.

Despite the lion's share of the ball, Boro had very few real chances. Rhys Williams and Lukas Jutkiewicz put stinging angled 20 yarders straight at the keeper and the Juke put a looping header over too. And Julio Arca sent a volley dipping just over after a half-cleared corner dropped to him at the edge of the box.

The best moment, at 1-0 down, was squandered when after a crisp four man move carved Reading open for the only time in the game, unmarked Robson was found with time and space on the right of the box but with the chance to carry it forward he lashed a weak and hurried shot that was easily gathered. And that was that.

Reading in contrast made two of their three real chances count. Game over.

For many angst ridden Riverside regulars it was also an archetypal 'typical Boro' performance too. Boro bossed the early stages but couldn't draw first blood then fell behind to Reading's first real attack. How often has that happened?

Ironically, for all the threat of Reading hitting on the break in width areas, for the third game running an old flaw reared its head as Boro were undone by a self-inflicted wound, leaking from a cheaply conceded and poorly defended set-play.

Reading made their breakthrough from a short corner routine that caused chaos in the Boro box with a whole posse of defenders failing to track the assertive runs of attackers before a free header at the far post nodded it back for Noel Hunt to bundle home.

But the problems had started before that as Boro twice failed to clear their lines. Then, when it came to Joe Bennett, he had the chance to hoof it upfield or put it in Row Z but instead poked a weak 10 yard pass from inside his own box to no-one in particular that was easily intercepted and played quickly back into the danger area for Kebe forcing Matthew Bates to put in a blocking tackle and give away the corner.

The killer second goal was also from a dead ball, long time irritant Ian Harte smashing home a sizzling 25 yard free-kick after a foul by Seb Hines as, caught cold, he tried to stop a quick counter.

This time Boro's habitual costly dead ball problem led directly to defeat. In the previous game a free-kick just before the break led to a free header for Darius Henderson and gave Millwall - who should have been dead a buried - a way back just before the break and set up a tense second half before Boro broke out to seal a 3-1 win.

And before that a rash challenge gave Nottingham Forest - who should also have been out of it - a late lifeline as Andy Reid's free-kick was nodded on at the near post (a familiar flaw) for Joel Lynch to score.

It has become a fatal flaw: Burnley also carved Boro open with a routine set-play. And, as they say on compilation albums, many, many more.

Losing to Reading was disappointing and frustrating - not least because the game presented a golden chance to barge back among the play-off front-runner - but it wasn't totally surprising. Reading are flying, playing with a swagger and very hard to beat. It was the worse time to play them.

Boro, in contrast, are just edging back towards their pre-Christmas form as the impact of injuries and suspensions on a thin squad ease and are still a bit clunky and ill at ease.

This is a division of very fine margins and unless Boro can get their best XI on the pitch they will always struggle against the top few teams. And some of the middling ones too if truth be told. We know that.

But defeat wasn't a disaster. Incredibly, despite a poor start to the year, Boro are still very much in touch with the play-off places - which says as much about the lack of consistent, clinical quality among our rivals as it does about the strength of Boro.

We are outside the play-off places again but the scrum is tightly packed, everyone above us have their own flaws (often the same flaws as Boro), have tough games looming and are just as inconsistent. It is still all to play for.

And with the walking wounded returning - much missed Nicky Bailey should be back next week - Boro can rebuild their own form and start doing 'a Reading' to team again.

The next two - Portsmouth away and Barnsley at home - are winnable games and can launch Boro right back into the pack before a flurry of crunch games against Leeds, West Ham and Birmingham that could prove decisive.

There's a long way to go.


David of Redcar said:

We huffed and puffed but could we hell blow that house down. Credit where it is due they did a job on the Boro. What is disappointing is that it highlights the lack of: pace, wing trickery, intelligent movement, decision making, and quality in delivery that has defined THE ceiling for this cohort.

Federici could have got his barbie out and opened up a few tinnies as we didn’t even provide him with catching practice. What worried me is they had nothing to interesting to offer, they looked like mid-table fodder – yet they walk away with the playoff place. Cue strange moment music – this time last year Reading were the leagues form team and reached 3rd in the league.

Boro’s “work in progress” has lots of progress to undertake if next year we hope to put up a serious punt for the premiership. I have always believed that we would squeeze into the play-offs, Mmmmm now I am not that sure. I think at home we have been sussed, and we don’t have enough guile to unlock the door – on the bright side we have eight away games left.

Percypieblocks said:

Very dissapointed with the performance today especially as Reading were no great shakes, both the goals were self inflicted although the freekick was top drawer.

The main problem was (again) our midfield, Mogga has to either pull something out of the hat regarding loan deals or completely change the system, as we are just too one dimensional.

I'm afraid we should be calling time on the likes of Arca and Hoyte, surely Park or Reach have to be given a chance on the left which will inject a bit more pace, which we are crying out for at the moment.

Unless we can bring some new blood in I can see both Bailey and Thompson in next week and the side being sent out being difficult to beat and probably in a 3.5.2 formation.

Mogga has some serious thinking today after today.

On the plus side, a solid performance from Bates, good hold up at times from the Duke.

boro1953 said:

Good sum up AV we passed the ball around for 15 minutes getting nowhere then the inevitable happened. We gave the ball away twice, first Rhys (which we just got away with) then shortly after, Bennett ,resulting in the corner from which they scored.To add insult to injury we just ball watched while they took a short corner from which they scored(how many times have we done that this season)

I don't want to criticise Mogga too much because he has turned the club around and got us playing decent football, but, especially at home,we have not been direct enough and dropped loads of points and i don't agree with his policy of blooding the younsters slowly. I believe if your good enough you're old enough,

I remember John Neal bringing in four younsters simultaniously in the 70,s and that was in the first division,they were Craig Johnston,Ian Baily, Mark Procter,and David Hodgson and they settled in straight away.

Most people agree that the present team if they get into the play offs wont go up so he may as well bring in the likes of Park, Smallwood, Williams,and Reach.

I personally will not be going again this season unless he does this as i am sick of seeing the likes of Arca, Haroun and Emnes etc passing the ball around in pretty circles getting nowhere.UTB.

gt said:

Im sorry AV , I dont want this to sound like a knee jerk reaction but that was awful and its been like this for the last 15 games or so.

Yes I know we are still around it, but the way we are playing, it might look good on the eye at times,but to be honest its become boring, no goalmouth incidents, no fast wing play getting corners etc, no penetration (and they want bigger crowds, I dont think so). We have defenders who can play nice football,but are frightened to death to mark man on man in their own box. Steele, try punching it out.

Before the season started Mogga made the statement that basically you needed to score an average of close to two goals a game,and he was right. So where are we then

W.Ham, Pld 32 sco 51
Soton 33 61
Blackpool 33 56
Brum 32 51
Cardiff 32 51
Reading 32 41
Boro 32 38 (17 at home)

So as far as we can see ,we are way off the pace, for that and the entertainment value. It must be a concern at the top. I want promotion ,I pray we get promotion this season,but as of now its looking like it is what it is.

Do we need another midfielder? I dont think so. We need some direct fast forwards who,can help us against the stubborn teams ,and put teams under pressure in a variety of ways, Variety being the optimum word

Over to you Mogga

Andy said:

Extremely surprised Mowbray didn't recognise his own tactics - pretty poor management that. What did he think Reading were going to do? Hit us with all out attack?

This was a great opportunity to get back in the mix and he failed miserably, admitting his team had no clue how beat the opposition and were without a plan B. Promotion? I seriously doubt it...

Denis said:

Driving home it occurred to me that overall this season our home form is only marginally better than when Strachan was in charge and Mogga has to take some responsibility for this situation.

A quick analysis, Reading were organised, efficient, defensively minded but not exceptional.

In comparison we were complacent, fell apart after the first goal, had no creativity in midfield and throughout the afternoon our forward play was abysmal. Too slow, too predictable, Robson was half fit, Main looked a boy amongst men, Bennett is unable to cross the ball and has serious lapses of concentration. If the game was only played sideways we would be tops.

We are reaching our level, near to a play off place or just below. A shame because we keep gifting teams with no more ability than ourselves daft goals.The last four goals have all been from dead ball positions. Very frustrating and my patience is wearing thin with the same mistakes being repeated

Nicholas said:

Up front something is happening but it will take a while: Main coming through; Jutkiewicz looking really sharp; Marvin looking confident, thanks to the above.

But this is all about play offs this year, promotion next year.

PS I thought Williams was excellent.

Sandy said:

At this stage of the season, you would want Boro to string together an undefeated run, with wins particularly against sides such as Reading, thus consolidating our league position and pushing hard for the play offs.

However dreadful inconsistency and very poor home form confirms there is still lots to do for this work in progress team. Forget about promotion rose coloured glasses brigade, there were no positives from this performance.

Redcar Red said:

We completely dominated the game in the opening spell, passing it around, passing to the left then switching and passing it to the right then passing backwards and then passing it imto the midfield, passing it out wide and passing it into the edge of their 18 yard box then passing it out wide, then passing it back into the middle then get the picture.

Reading had no idea how to deal with our passing game such was our total possession so they went upfield, applied a bit of pressure, we then passed it to them, gave them a set piece and reverted to type.

1-0 down and after that it was game over. For some reason the art of volleying the ball appears to be beyond us. Three, four and more touches to control, then put your foot on it, look around pick out a pass, allow the opposition to read your game, they get back in position so then we pass sideways or backwards and so it continues.

Having Main and Ogbeche on the bench was luxuriously strange. Its time that Reach, Luke Williams, Park and/or Halliday were thrown in. What was obvious yesterday was that the lack of pace allied to raw drive and determintaion was absent in totality. We have overachieved this season and Mogga and Venus have to take the plaudits for that but we have hit the summit of what the pedestrian, predictable, mono paced teamplay has to offer.

Play offs is the best we can hope for and lets face it even that is beyond what we dreamt back in August but unless something changes tactically in terms of pace, set piece defending and predictability then 8th to 10th is where we will end up. Any loans need to provide some zip and more importantly something to swell the 17,000 loyalists up to the 20,000 mark.

John Powls said:

Archetypal? Absolutely.

And if it's archetypal (both of Reading and Boro) what's stopping Mogga working out how to get round it or over it - instead of repeatedly failing to go through the middle of it - in training during the week?

I won't repeat what others have said above about the repeat errors and the frustrations of the lads not getting near the matchday squad in favour of the routinely under-performing oldies or, like Curtis Main, having their breakthrough threatened with being 'put back in it's box' rather than having him in the box with talk of loans for the likes of Miller and Scotland.

In the cold light of the day after, the table looks not as bad as it might have been - but the frustration is that, having seen this division through three quarters of it's passage, we could and should have been so much better placed.

John Powls said:

And where - despite all the pre-match hype from Mogga and the club website, doubtless to try (and fail) to sell more tickets to an unconvinced Teesside - was Nicky Bailey?

A deafening silence surrounds that one.

peaeye said:

Read yesterday that we are looking at a Liverpool bench warmer whose name escapes me and Jason Scotland. That news did not make me go WOW! Any truth in it AV?

**AV writes: Mogga says not.

Pedro de Espana said:

Although there still plenty of games and points to be won, I do not feel overly confident that Boro are going to be able to break back into the promotion play off places and stay there.

After reading John Powls synopsis, he must be able to write the script without going to the match almost, its the same old.

The midfield is NOT capable, and without Bailey, there is no protection for the defence and so they look ordinary to say the least at times.

I agree with John here, give the likes of Adam Reach a chance for a couple of games, Thomson will not make much difference but then we may have Bailey back next week after all.

boro1953 said:

In my list of names to be given a chance I forgot about Halliday. In his only outing this season I believe he played quite well. We certainly need some quality from out wide because the deliveries from the likes of Hoyte, Bennett,and Robson etc is pretty abysmal. Also I would have Mcmahon in for Hoyte any day.

Another thing worth trying would be to move Bailey further forward as an attacking midfielder (he did score regular when at Charlton) as it is make or break time and we have to go for it,after all fortune favours the brave and who knows the punters may return too.

peterboroangel said:

A bit concerned about all the negativity on here and the anti Mowbray comments.

The club have made huge strides this season. Will we reach the play offs? Don't know and not too bothered if we don't. It's all about progress for me. Let's make sure we have a chance of staying up before we get too greedy too quickly.

Great Carling Cup final today. Brought back some fantastic memories.

Ian Gill said:

boro1953 -

Just wish Bailey was fit enough to discuss where to play him.

Peterborough Angel -

I dont think we have overachieved, play off form was how we finished last season and that is where we are, in the play off mix.

Our problem is the points we have thrown away at home through not killing games off, poor use of the bench (at times if at all).

The big surprise has been the lack of chances for the kids with cameos at the back end of last season but as Mogga says only enough room for five on the bench.

The irony is his comment that you musnt bring in players just to clog up the becnh and prevent kids playing. Martin, Arca, Haroun, Nimely, Ogbeche against Coventry springs to mind.

It is odd that at one time we had Downing and Johnson trying to get in to the same spot and now we cant find or use one for love nor money.

To be fair Mogga has used 4-3-3 a lot in the past but had the players to do so. Saturdays middle three were not going to scorch the whitewash so cant blame them for what they cant do.

I dont know enough about the kids coming through so dont know who would give a bit of guile and width but Park and Reach seem the obvious candidates.

John Stone said:

Time to throw the kitchen sink at it !

Our away tactics are ideal for this division.

We arent going to get relegated,and they are up to 12 teams who could get into the playoffs. The only good draws now are against teams around us if we cant win so we can deny them three points.

So there are 14 "Cup Ties" left. Just go for it. If we miss out so what, if we give everything the fans will stick with it.

Time to throw caution to the wind!

Come on Boro!

Jarkko said:

Missed the match completely on Saturday (but with good reasons - RIP, mum). Saw the highlights on Boro+. So I suppose a tight fight match.

Even the result was terrible I hope we get our best team out soon. We have lost FEWER matches than anybody in the league so far. If we can put a unbeaten run together there is still a change for the second place and play-offs at the minimum. We just need to start play like we played during the year 2011 on average. No more than that - so back to normal.

Secondly we now have better strikers there - Juke and Main, for example. We will miss McDonald, of course. So a loan striker is needed on loan.

I totally agree that Halliday, Park or Reach must be give a chance. They will add energy and width to the side. And they are more committed than a loan signing from the PL (they usually give a player recovering from an injury and not fully fit, anyway).

So disappointed but I have not lost any belief in the mogganaut. Just put a kid in there, a fully fit Robbo running and causing havoc - and then Bailey back there to defend from midfield. We have a chance, still.

Up the Boro!

spartakboro said:

I mentioned on this blog sometime ago that we lacked creativity in the centre of midfield. I also mentioned that we weren't good enough to get auto promo sometime ago. Finally, I mentioned that a one dimensional style wouldn't be enough, sometime ago.

Instead of using the name Spartak Boro I may change it to Mr. Sometimeago.

Mogga's done great with the resources at his disposal, I've no complaints there, yet the propensity to stick with the experienced veterans like Mr. Arca I felt should have been dropped sometimeago. Does Mogga not remember the days of Rioch and how Mogga and others achieved at such a young age? With points slipping down the toilet perhaps its time to fully blood the young that are our own.


Ian Gill said:

Jarkko -

Condolences on the loss, I am afraid many of us are at the age where we lose our parents, ours went some time ago.

I hope Boro can brighten the spirits a tad but it is only football.

jiffy said:

I would love to ask Tony Mowbray a few things.

1) How can you possibly claim to be a good judge of talent if you prefer Hoyte to McMahon? On saturday Hoyte could have been replaced by any bloke out the stands without any detriment to the side whatever. To McMahon I suggest he follow Taylor out the door to a manager who values him.

2) If you are any good at management or coaching Mr Mowbray how come you are incapable of passing on your experience of how to defend dead ball situations?

The first goal on Saturday was a variation on a theme that seems to happen every game at some point. As a defender you didnt screw up every week like Bates, Hines and Williams do. Sort it out. Or do we just need a keeper who deals with these situations isntead of just watching the game.

3) Why play Emnes in midfield? He was outstanding on Saturday as long as you like your front men playing 40 yards from goal. Did he get into the box ever during the game?

4) Lastly how can a club in supposedly such desperate financial straits pay £1.5-2 million for Jutkiewicz? At this level he is a 250K player at best.

'Ignorant' of boroland said:

We are very similar to Reading and if we had scored first then they would have to come out leaving space at the back. 90% possession counts for nowt it the opposition score when they get the ball. We miss the creativity of McDonald bigtime!

bishopswalthamboro said:

I wonder if too many of us are reading too much into this Jonjo Shelvey thing? Could it simply be he is up here for the U21 international (I hope not, but time will tell).

I have tried and failed to translate various correspondence in the Twitter-sphere but it would appear that #MrsBailey10 considered her husband fit to play on Saturday, shame she didn't pick the team then! Clearly saving him for Pompey.

BWB Jr and I look forward to seeing my 'Boro bretheren this weekend. Three points please.

**AV writes: How exclusives happen: No. 17.... the Shelvey rumour has been entirely fuelled by people adding 2+2 and getting 5 (or more) on twitter and through a combination of wishful thinking and mischief making it was given massive traction on first message boards. To that was added shoddy journalism by people who, eager to get a 'story' first said they "understood" it was a done deal and poised to happen - but made no attempt whatsoever to check with Mogga or either club if there was any substance before pressing the button.

The ripple in cyberspace stemmed from @mrsbaily10 tweeting an old friend (they were at Charlton together) and saying they would see him up on Teesside on Monday. Very quickly it became he was signing on Monday. In fact he was coming up for the Under-21s. Even a basic check could have established that.

We didn't use it. We texted Mogga and asked and he said there was nothing in it. And to be fair, it was not a name anyone in the club had ever mentioned before as a potential target. That's how we work, we put these things to the manager rather than go off half cock. We would rather preserve our relationship with the boss than recycle internet whispers. Old school.

The whole thing has caused considerable embarrassment to the club and to the manager who has had to phone Kenny Dalglish (on the eve of the Carling Cup final) to assure him he is not tapping up a player, has not made any approach, is not trying to unsettle anyone and that the story did not originate from anyone within the club. He was quite angry about it. So was Ian Holloway when he heard about it because Blackpool have some kind of gentleman's agreement first option agreement on Shelvey after his earlier stint there.

spartakboro said:

'Vindaloo' a meal (bridge) too far, AV? Thought it was a bit saucy to say the least. Perhaps not for all tastes eh! :) UTB

**AV writes: I'm glad you understand the little snip. You can have too much colour.

Andy R said:

Defeat to the league's form side is not a disaster. We can easily win our next two games and then it is all much brighter again.

That's life in this division with a work-in-progress squad. I'll be more inclined to criticise when Mowbray has put togther his own group of players.

**AV writes: I agree completely.

Percypieblocks said:

I chuckled to myself when you wrote: 'Reading closed our midfield down quickly'
Thats probably the only way our midfield and quickly could ever be used in one sentence.

Still no news on the loanees AV?

**AV writes: They are currently doing a lot of work massaging the numbers on a couple of and/or potential deals. Maybe something before the weekend.

kev B said:

Jarkko and my mate Chris (from Beverley) -

so sorry for your losses this week, proving once again that it really is only a game and not that important in the great scheme of things.

Sandy said:

As an after thought to my earlier posting, I wonder how many of my fellow bloggers are of the same opinion as me in that I have no faith whatsoever in Boro when they are at the Riverside?

I have no faith even when we play a team towards the bottom of the table (lets not talk about those above us), we struggle to break teams down and when we score first we sit back and concede late on.

This has been Boro all season and is not what promotion chasing teams are about. This is still work in progress and I do not believe this current squad have what it takes to get us back to the top flight.

**AV writes: Boro have lost three at home this season - Reading, Burnley and Millwall - and just five in 12 months. For a flawed Championship side that isn't bad. Only Southampton have a better home record over the past year.

tim from sa said:

We definatly need to freshen things up a bit with a loan signing.

Bailey back would be a boost but I doubt he will be as effective as he was before he got injured so i dont think we should expect too much from him straight away.
Lets hope we get back to winning ways soon and get back in the top six which i think will be about it for this season.

Not complaining it will be better than last season, Just feel we have lost far too many points at home for a team that wants promotion.

Ian Gill said:

tim from sa -

Bailey could come back as good as ever but it wouldnt give us flair, pace and width.
Neither would the non arriving Shelvey.

AV -

On the subject of Shelvey, the only reason I thought it likely was Mogga's predilection for central midfield players. I was surpsrised he didnt get one in on emergency loan when Steele was injured.

Werdermouth said:

So the Shelvey loan has turned out to be untrue - even his Wikipedia entry has now removed the reference to him being on loan at Boro. I don't know, what's the world coming to when you can't even rely on Wikipedia being true these days.

Anyway, I thought it was odd that Boro were doing business with Liverpool after our tapping up spat over Zeige.

Reading was no big surprise as they've not conceded a goal now for over five games and we've hardly been prolific. Maybe it is time to inject some pace and youth on the wings to supply the phyical presence of Jukebox and Main - perhaps this is not Mogga's style of play.

Though a passing game is only effective if there's an end product - something we seem to be not as good at as most of other the teams fighting at the top.

Having said that, neither West Ham or Brum managed to score on Saturday following big away wins midweek - perhaps we shouldn't be expecting win after win after win - two wins out of every three would easily get us promoted.

I think the playoffs are easily achievable though we seem to lack the consistency to overtake the top two.

Sandy said:

Wotcha AV. Home points won by the top 8 sides in the Championship this season:

Southampton 41 points
West Ham 31 points
Reading 31 points
Blackpool 31 points
Birmingham 36 points
Cardiff 32 points
Brighton 31 points
Boro 26 points

I rest my case bro

Powmill said:

A bad day at the office and don't we all have them? But it is not the end of the world. We are still firmly in the mix for a play off position by the end of the season and even (as Jarkko said) possibly even 2nd place. There are still a lot of games to play so lets not all get too depressed about things and start writing off our chances.

Everyone should cast their minds back to August and to remember then just where they thought Boro would finish up this season. Overall, I reckon we are doing all right and it is still all there to play for.

I'll throw my voice behind giving Adam Reach a chance. I think he has demonstrated he has some of the guile we are missing at the moment.

Nigel Reeve said:

I'm with Powmill, Jarrko et al. Losing to Reading was not a disaster. We're still well poised to finish in the top six and if we dont then we'll have a blinding season next year which will be a joy to witness.

In fact even if we do finish in the top six the balance of probabilities would suggest we'll be in the championship next season.

What I'm enjoying is watching Mogga slowly but surely construct his squad, we should all still be celebrating Rhys W signing a new contract. That was a coup.

Gutted!! said:

Since when did the football programme go over the calendar year? I'm fed up of reading in the "past 12 months". It's what we've done since Aug 6th 2011 and how we perform till April 28th 2012 is what counts and they're the only stats I and I'm sure Mogga will be interested in.

Let's stop painting over the cracks and tell it how it really is!! We've drawn far too many games, we have no pace at all in midfield, and we are all hoping that our "WOW" signing comes in sharpish.

BoroBBoy said:

Now then. This Shelvey business a Twitterati deal then eh?

An entirely predictable result from such a horizontally organised medium. Anarchistic mayhem where the smallest indiscretion, bounced through a million mischievous "retweets," gives the unknowing a longed for legitimacy as a knowledgeable teller of the "Truth." FACT.

That Twitterati gossip is used by the media as a source only reflects on their ignorance and the unlimited contempt of people of the hegemonic forces.
Do you not see this in @Borolive? A sprawling, unfocussed, head of the River Tees palatic rambling, just like it used to be on the last Friday night Y bus from the Exchange to The Greenway.

Recall the jazz riffin', recipe rippin', funked out pure soul of the long, lamented Bosco Jancovic Virtual (really?) Terrace with it's Intercontinental penalty shoot outs; the civilised half time AV instructed Jarrkovian self dicipline of the global audience;the sheer joy at 4.30 am when it was clear that "The Gadgie From Peru" really was in Peru and a Borolad; the pride when the Aussie Borospora held voice aloft in their dawn; the spontaneous Snack-A-Rama reports that left me reaching for the cold bowl of old Gaeng Massaman and Roti Gluai.

AV often reported on the BJS as anarchistic. True, but a cold, hard, disciplined Conradian Anarchism based on one huge globalised notion of being "Boro."
There is a massive difference between the audacity and verve of the BJS Virtual Holgate surge, and the glib, Californian High Schoolisation of the 140 character libel lovers.

I was appalled to read that this has caused Mogga to lose face, in this case to the extent of needing to apologise to those who cannot ever be faulted for anything, ever, over and over and over again.

Poor Mogga. Anoint him with unguents: adorn him with fragrant pumelai. Request the Khmer Kontingent to make sparing use of their knowledge, skills and understanding of the, er, Dark Arts to provide him with that which is necessary, but cannot be spoken of, and which will never be Tweeted. FACT.

Quick: @OccupyBJS is trending.

**AV writes: Good post. Nice language.Some good points.

I don't think it is about twitter per se. Like any medium it is about how it is used and what norms and etiquette become established. It is at an early stage of evolution and so far there have been as many good things as bad. There have been a few signs lately that some in the media are embracing the bad.

Increasingly the issue is that, driven by the internet, speed of communication has replaced the need for accuracy in the established old media. The fear of being beaten to the drop, being displaced and replaced by smart phone shoot from the hip 'citizen journalists' has replaced the fear of getting it wrong (and the pride in getting it right, doing the job properly) . Velocity has replaced veracity as the key indicator of competence in some quarters.

There is also a problem with a devolution of accountability, as reporters can distance themselves from their own inaccurracy by pointing at the shapeless seething flux of cyber-space: "Twitter told me to do it." That trend is aided an abetted by the fact that if a story is wrong it is so easy to take an electronic page down and remove the evidence. The sanctions for inaccuracy are fading.

Newspapers are tied to print schedules so can't possibly compete with the speed of of the virtual media: We have to accept that we are very unlikely to be first any more so we have to strive to be the best in every area we possibly can.

Redcar Red said:

Assuming that nobody new arrives on loan my preference for the Pompey game is Main and Juke up front then Reach on one wing, Emnes on the other and Robbo and Bails/Arca in the Middle. Put Rhys back beside Bates (not that Hines has let us down) alongside Bennett and McMahon.

Goalkeeping wise I think Steele is a brilliant shotstopper but he is a clone of Brad Jones unfortunately. In the run in we can't afford to flap at free kicks and corners, they are far too costly because we cannot score enough at the other end. If he cannot command his box then we need to address that issue now and give him time to learn the art of yelling and screaming and taking opposition centre forwards out, oh and lose the dodgy hair cut.

Hoyte was back to his frustrating worst on Saturday, flying up the flanks then bottling it every time he came near the edge of the box and meekly passing it out wide or inside. At least Macca would have chanced his arm with a 30 yarder blast which may have gone over the stand roof or may have rattled around like a bagatelle in their box.

Arca did play some sublime balls but he took three touches to control it first and then paused before playing his cutting ball which was predictably read and covered by the Reading defence.

Bennett flew down the wings but his delivery into the box was always too late and too contrived. Some of his defensive clearances were wayward to say the least.

Something has to change because the rest of the league have sussed us out. Putting Reach and Emnes on the flanks may weaken our tenacity defensively but it will liven up our attack and pace giving more problems at the business end. I would even be tempted to put Martin into the middle instead of Arca if Bails is not fit to benefit from a shoot on sight rather than dribble and pass sideways.

Forever Dormo said:

I suppose there is an argument that many people using Twitter are Twits, and therefore not too much weight should be placed on any views they might express by tweeting.

The same might be said about some people using website message-boards.

As a rule of thumb, I would venture to suggest that the quicker and more anonymously a comment can be made, the more chance there is that the comment will be inaccurate, untrue, scurrilous, offensive or even illegal.

I guess that many e-mails are sent in the heat of the moment, or late at night in drink, than would be likely to be the case if the sender had to write out the letter longhand, put it in an envelope, and then slip it in the postbox the next morning on the way to work (by which time second thoughts might have come into play!).

But not all tweets are rubbish, or wrong, nor all posts on message-boards. Some tweets are amusing, some are very thought-provoking and many posts on message-boards well argued even though it is still possible to take a contrary view to the one expressed.

I can see that some people might misuse Twitter but I think Twitter still has some plus points: speed and humour for example. Of course that means that when someone in then public eye dies or suffers from misfortune, the news is very quickly followed by an avalanche of (sometimes tasteless) jokes. Some are still amusing.

Mind you, some newspaper articles are a waste of good fish+chip paper, whilst others might be a really good read. Good and bad everywhere. There are films many of us would agree were good, a welcome diversion, well worth the money etc, and others serve to remind us we will never get those 110 minutes of our lives back again.

In the final analysis I suspect it is the ability to post something immediately, without any financial cost and anonymously and that may be inaccurate (indeed it might be intended to be inaccurate and hurtful) that is the major downside of electronic media in a way that couldn't be true of the written media.

It would have been silly to have been expected to give a definitve assessment of the likely value of the printing press in England by, say 1503. So maybe it would be better to wait more than 30 years after the invention of the world wide web before forming a defintive view of its value to mankind (or even to journalism or the pursuit of truth).

Jarkko said:

Yes! I have just booked flights to be there to watch Boro in April. I booked two flights as my 20 yr-old son is joining me. So the attendance at home to Derby and away at Donny will go up - at least by two persons!

I hope the pitches are better in April and Boro start to play the Mogganite passing game again. I know we have mainly the same midfield we had during the Strachan era. But so what - that is more than a match in the Championship.

Halifaxp -

any chance of a lift back from the Donny match? And of course we must have the Blog Beano at Navi before the Derby County match. And afterwards a beer or two with Dormo at his local - nearby the fireplace. Oh, great!

Up the Boro!

**AV writes: Volunteers wanted to drink beer and talk Boro with our Finnish Ambassador. Details to follow.

Richard said:

Shelvey deal shelved:
A Big Hash Sign did it and ran away?

halifaxp said:

Jarkko - you are both welcome to lifts or accommodation as and when you need them! Looking forward to seeing you again, mate!

Ian Gill said:

Forever -

When emails starting taking a grip there was an article in the business section of The Sun. It highlighted the growth in emails in the workplace and the dangers they created.

The problems they pose are that they are not face to face nor do they involve verbal communication. Because of this the subtle nuances of communication cannot be used. Harmless fun becomes an insult. Words used to create emphasis become criticisms or threats.

Of greatest concern was their use to bully; people can shout at other people and be grossly unfair. Even worse is the fact you can slaughter people and copy in their boss and as we all know mud sticks.

My view has always been that we took millions of years to learn to walk and talk, communication is a skill that emails tend to waste and spoil. Have to use them.

I try not to abuse blogs and emails and check the content before sending but as you say it is awfully difficult to get it right, I have apologised several times on here when reading my posts for either the tone or the content.

Ian Gill said:

jarkko -

It is Derby away and Boro home. If you are off to the Derby match I will advise on the best watering hole.

Something to cheer you up, we have played 17 games at home and 15 away so that may go in our favour as the season comes to an end!

Redcar Stevie said:

Makes me wonder sometimes when I see how well we play away from home, that sometimes against better organised teams at home, when we are finding it difficult to break these teams down after 60 minutes or so, we don't adopt our away philosophy.

That is, sit back and subtley draw their defence out, let them THINK they are getting the better of it, then hit them on the break; once we are a goal up, they will have to commit more and leave spaces to exploit, which wasn't there earlier.

It might appear to be a bit risky, but its worked on eight occasions away, and hey, if it gets you promotion, i'm not bothered.

**AV writes: When they have done that at home (against Leicester for instance) they got a 0-0 draw and got booed off.

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