Back With Some Bits And Pieces
RIGHT I'm back recharged and tanned after two lazy lappyless weeks out of the loop - Tenerife, yeah, fantastic thanks - and I'm fired up and ready to resume multi-media tub-thumpery. So, what have I missed?
I'll be working my way through two weeks worth of Gazettes over the next few days but all that wading through inky paperware is so old school. Far easier to "crowd-source" and ask you to filter the news for me, adding colour and comment as you go.
Here's some things to chew over while I get back up to full match fitness.
Boro summer targets scouted via YouTube (Pt 1 of an occasional summer series): Bristol Rovers goal getting wide lefty Mustapha Carayol
Of course, as we know from reality TV, the clip package "let's have a look at your best bits" can be deceiving. Remember how good Lee Dong Gook was on Youtube? But I've sat through this nine minutes of indie-backed Muzzy compilation and I have to say it ticks a lot of boxes. He has a bit of pace, a trick or two, a decent left peg and he can cross a ball. He scored a few for Rovers last year and with a decent striker to get on the end of some of his balls in, we would have got a lot more assists.
Would he add something different? Can he step up a level? can we afford him? We'll see. Boro have been watching him for a few months and Mogga has been to see him in person. He is certainly on the list.
Golden Moments From European Championship History - In LEGOVISION!
Still on YouTube, this exquisitely crafted Legovision montage should get you in the mood for England's upcoming hysterical biannual slog through to the quarters and subsequent dejected trudge back home through an ankle deep mess of discarded cross bedecked car flags and beer cans.
Brilliant toomuchtimeontheirhandstastic entertainment. Just look at his face!
Someone who knows these things tells me mighty England have only won SEVEN games in 90 minutes in the entire history of the Euro's - two in 2004 and 1996, one each in 2000, 1980 and 1968 . I'm not expecting any dramatic improvement on that this time round. And, as regular readers will know, I'm not that bothered but the histrionics of the media should fill out the two weeks until the fixtures come out.
Bairdy's Writing A Book
And it sounds like it will be a fittingly put-yourself-about-a-bit take-no-prisoners affair. Here's a taster with an interview he did in the Sunday Sun last week.
Boro Crowned Kings of the North East
Let's see what you could have won... staunch republican I may be but its quiet out there and Boro-based colour is thin on the ground so had I been here last week I think I'd have done a Jubilee flashback feature to this game: the 1953 Coronation Cup.
Boro beat local rivals Sunderland 4-3 at Roker Park in a post-season celebration of the impending regal pageantry. One report refers to it as "the final" but there is no record of Boro playing a previous game in the competition so possibly Sunderland saw off Newcastle first for the right to play our heroes.
The game was slotted in on the weekend between the end of season 4-1 win at Portsmouth - their sixth victory on the bounce - and the 'Matthews' Cup Final. Today's players jet off to Barbados or Bali the minute the season ends but back then Boro had a lively few weeks looming because after this clash they then embarked on a tour of Holland, arranged by Ayresome hero George Hardwick, then busy inventing total voetball as part of his role as coaching director at the Dutch FA.
With Wilf Mannion pulling the strings Boro went two up with goals from Arthur Fitzsimmons and Geoff Walker added another before Sunderland pegged two back through Trevor Ford. Bill Edwards made it four for Boro before Ford completed his hat-trick with a late consolation in what had been a ding-dong game.
The crowd was a meagre 5,896 on a scorching day and organisers conceded that with Sunderland limping to the end of the season and Boro finishing like a train, had the game been staged at Ayresome "the gate would likely have been three times as many."
The team: Ugolini, Bilcliffe, Corbett, Bell, Dicks, Mulholland, Delapenha, Mannion, Edwards, Fitzsimmons, Walker.
Just out of interest, to pad out some space, look at how times have changed (or not) and to throw a bone to the youngsters out there I though I'd look at the Boro teams at the time of the other big Jubilee landmarks.
For the last game before the Sex Pistols Jubilee in 1977, the Summer of Punk, Boro had drawn 0-0 at home to Bristol City in front of 14, 849 to finish ninth in the top flight.
The team: Platt, Craggs, Ramage, Boam, Maddren, Souness, McAndrew, Mills, Wood, Hedley, Armstrong. Sub: Boersma
For the Golden Jubilee, back in the halcyon days of 2002, Boro had just finished Steve McClaren's first season with a nice bit of symmetry. Having started with four straight defeats under the new boss they ended with another four losses on the bounce, the last a 1-0 reverse away at Leeds in front of 40,218 to finish 12th.
Pallister Park prodigy Stewart Downing - just 17 - started for the third game running and fellow teenager David Murphy was on the bench. Leeds included Rio Ferdinand, Lee Bowyer, Robbie Keane and Seth Johnson. Jonathan Woodgate was injured.
The team: Schwarzer, Stockdale, Ehiogu, Southgate, Cooper, Greening, Ince, Mustoe, Downing, Nemeth, Whelan. Subs: Murphy, Debeve, Windass, Crossley, Johnston.