Bubbling Boro Mackem Weep

By Anthony Vickers on Oct 30, 12 10:16 PM

BATTLING Boro Mackem Weep! An industrious show of Teesside steel. Top flight strugglers left derby dazed. The tabloid phrases and praises were spinning in a superlative charged night at the Stadium of Light as the Mogganaut ruined Marty's party.

Boro bossed the game. Seriously. Boro dominated pretty much throughout with a superb team display: they were well balanced, determined, organised, hard-working and dangerous on the break. Shaky Sunderland by contrast were sterile, one-dimensional, nervous, toothless and for long spells clueless.

A neutral looking in would be hard pushed to say which of those teams was in the Premier League. Or indeed, which of them was at home.

It seemed a strangely muted Mackem display. It was, with respect, their cup final. They have little else to play. At least we have promotion to aim at. On that showing a push for Europe is out of the question. In fact, on that showing they should be looking over their shoulders. For Sunderland a long hard slog beckons. They don't have an Earthly chance of winning anything this season and should have been giving it their best shot.

Or maybe that was their best shot. It was pretty much a first choice team packed with expensive internationals of supposedly far higher quality than Boro's collection of free-transfers, locals and lower league bargain buys that outplayed them in every department. If I was a Sunderland fan I would be deeply worried by that.

And worried too by the downbeat demeanour of Martin O'Neill after the game. He looked broken as he begrudgingly admitted Boro, just about, on balance, deserved to win and that sterile Sunderland just weren't quite good enough.

Boro though look like a rising team that can only get better. They are a side that are just starting to click, beginning to buzz and who are playing with a confident swagger.

Boro are now unbeaten in six. They have won five in a row. And five on the bounce on the road as well. Just think what it will be like when they can get a full strength side out!

They were superb. They had a simple enough game plan: to stifle and frustrate Sunderland, stop the supply line to their only real threat - Stephen Fletcher - and hit on the break. And it worked.

They set out in a 4321 shape (Mogga tactics card collectors will be delighted to secure such a rare beast) and applied it with a practised panache and passion.

Boro out-worked Sunderland in midfield, man-for-man and as a well drilled unit. It was functional and effective and ruthlessly applied. They closed and pressed and tackled with incredible industry and an energy that quickly wore Sunderland down.

Lee Cattermole, tipped by Martin O'Neill this week as a future England player when he signed his new deal, was completely overshadowed and outworked by Wearside 'reject' Grant Leadbitter.

Leadbitter and Bailey hit everything that moved to build a solid platform while Faris Haroun - finally hitting his best form again after a sluggish start to the season - charged around closing and crashing in a dynamic display of engine room physicality.

If Cattermole was quiet, another Boro old boy, Adam Johnson, was practically mute. He barely got a look in on the wing. The Academy product and Sessegnon on the other side got no joy down the flanks as they were neutralised early on by assertive Boro full-backs Justin Hoyte and the excellent George Friend. And when McClean came on towards the end in a bid to resuscitate a flagging side he too was quickly shackled.

And without the service to Fletcher, Sunderland had nothing to offer. Their only league scorer this season (except Newcastle oggie scorer Demba Ba, and they couldn't put him on) had one downward close range header that brought a routine diving low save from Jason Steele and Sessegnon sent one hopefull low effort flashing just wide from distance in the second half. And that was it.

Sunderland resorted to the O'Neill default and pumped long balls forward - he was jumping up and down and stamping in his technical area like Yosemite Sam, steam coming out of his ears as he jabbed and pointed indicating high, long, faster - despite diminishing returns. His idea of changing it tactically late on when they were chasing the game was to pump them slightly wider for his wingers to swing the high balls in from a slightly different angle.

As those balls came in Andre Bikey grew in stature by the minute until he was like and Easter Island statute dominating the landscape, headed high balls away for fun as puny opponents bounced off him.

Seb Hines did his share too until he went off injured then Friend slotted into the centre to take over heading duties and Stuart Parnaby went to left back and was immediately into the groove. After a slow start he has started to show signs of understated quality.

With Boro's defence in such fine form Sunderland never looked like scoring. It didn't stop the tension building but even in the frantic final few minutes they were woeful.

Their best effort late on came as keeper Westwood carried the ball forward then pumped a high ball forward that skidded through the box and at least forced Steele to scramble across and make a 'save.'

Bubbling Boro though looked a potent and positive presence throughout. They had a real cutting edge that repeatedly scythed through a brittle backline to get into dangerous positions. McDonald grazed the bar and Miller, Leadbitter, Haroun and Friend all had decent chances. Boro really should have had a goal or two more to seal it and settle nerves, but you can't have everything.

With Ishmael Miller getting fitter and sharper with every game Boro have a powerful punch up front, a handful in the box combining physicality with a burst of pace.

His shooting and reactions are still suspect. Twice balls came at him awkwardly in the box - one bounced off his shins and spun invitingly in front of him - only for his stingless shot to be weak and wide. But his presence is creating problems for defences, his surging runs are hard to stop and increasingly he is getting wide to turn provider: it was his neat ball in that set up McDonald to score.

And the two behind him had storming displays too. Emmanual Ledesma has hinted at a magical touch in flashes at times but at Sunderland he added work-rate too.

And McDonald was fantastic. He worked tireless and unselfishly, closing down and movement on the flank and dropping deep to help out at the back.

And instead of getting the ball and haring off on his own he had developed an eye for an incisive long range diagonal. Twice he sparked threatening raids with superb diagonals for Ledesma wide on the right.

His spell in the cold has brought him back red hot - and as a team player - and even without the goal he was a strong candidate for man of the match. Throw the potent streak into the mix and you have a player now at his best.

Arguably half-a-dozen players turned in their best displays of the season so far - Bikey, Friend, Leadbitter, Ledesma McDonald and Miller - but it was the terrific team display that mattered. And that was pure steel.


JUST a quick note: Boro fans may have been up in the Gods but that didn't give them the moral high-ground. The horrible chanting aimed at Lee Cattermole and his "dad" (incidentally, Catt's dad Barry was a Boro player himself as a youngster) was just sick. It was widespread, it was clearly audible and it was a step too far.

As Boro fans we have had to put up with years of vile taunting over the child abuse scandal at the hands of fans from three clubs and have rightly been irate at something that goes beyond banter and beyond the pale. To descend to that level surrenders our moral authority and will be used in the future to justify renewed hostility by idiots.


paul bell said:

Not surprised Boro won to be honest. In fact I would have been very annoyed if they hadn't bearing in mind that Sunderland have on had just 12 shots on target ALL season and that Newcastle's top scorer is also Sunderlands second top scorer.
Sunderland are garbage and the #partywithmarty is going gloriously pear shaped.


Nigel reeve said:

Life with the Boro just gets better and better! Bradford in the next round please, I'm not interested in a money spinning next round tie, I want to go to Wembley!

CroydonBoro said:

Was at work watching the game on twitter. We attacked, scored, attacked, defended and attacked some more. A goal, a clean sheet, bragging rights and a quarter final.

I don't care about the money (fortunately I don't have to, that's Gibbo's job) I don't want an away draw at Old Trafford, I want an easy draw. If we win two games (ok two rounds you pedants) we're at Wembley.

I want the glory of winning, I want to dream again.

And yes I want promotion as well. If you're going to dream, why not dream big?

All in all, five on the bounce and the club engaging with the fans in a meaningful way, it's been a tremendous week for the Boro. Very excited about Charlton now.

What's the news on Hines AV?

**AV writes: Touch and go for Charlton but Woody should be back.

BoroPhil said:

Absolutely incredible, the relief and celebrations at the end were almost Cardiff-esque, it's been a long time since we've had a result like that. Fully deserved, yet I didn't dare believe it was going to happen until the ref blew his whistle. Fourteen heroes, fourteen awesome performances, led by Grant Leadbitter who was truly magnificent.

Richard said:

In my carefully considered opinion, this is good!

Bob said:

I really must try to keep up. I had no idea Adam Johnson had joined Sunderland. When did that happen? Is it permanent or just a loan? A bit of a drop from the dizzy heights of Champions to a lower-mid table division 1 club, but probably reflects his likely level.

With Downing still struggling at Liverpool and Wheater back in division two I think it shows we have done pretty good transfer business over the last couple of years (I notice young Joe Bennett got sent off at the weekend as well!). People often ask where we would be if only we'd kept our "stars". Probably lower-mid table in division 1 I expect!

Good result...anyone but Leeds in the next round please.

r00fie said:

Tony Mowbray should be granted the right to graze his sheep on the pitch at The Riverside and feel free to walk on the Tees whenever he wants. Its great being a Boro fan and even better when we send the Mackems packing ;@))

timfromsa said:

Lost for words.

Scotty must be paying for himself right now. Very happy for him as i said before the season started if he plays and hits form its a win win situation for all involved.
We get goals he gets the shop window he needs to get the move he wants.
Who next surely a home game.

Well done to the boss the team the fans this is one to remember.

Ian Gill said:

I was just sitting thinking about the recent run of results and something popped in to the back of my mind. It seems a long time since the defeat by Leicester. That was our last game in September.

October has seen 5 wins and a draw. Then it dawned on me.

Mogga may be a shoe in for Manager of the Month.


Jarkko said:

Even for me - who tries to be optimistic here - the season has started much better than I ever hoped for. Especially so if we consider how much (or little) money was spent in the summer as well as how many injuries we have had recently.

Mogga deserved all the praise he gets now. Magnificent Boro! As Higgy said this could have been the defining moment of our season. Only if we can keep on going until the injuries start to heal in December.

The Boro is going up. Up the Boro!

Nigel (Pattaya, formerly Mumbai) said:

isn't it great to have a manager who can get the better of Martin O'Neill in a cup-tie...

this could turn out to be one hell of a season

Nikeboro said:

Other than in spells, we're not playing much good football. There's little (so far) of the free-flowing, expansive stle anticipated when Mogga arrived.

What we have got is doggedness, togetherness, resilience, spirit and fight. In trumps. It might rarely be pretty by, by god, it works. We're winning regularly, which is a fabulous habit to have.

There seems to be incipient belief and confidence reminiscent of '86. I get the feeling the club is feeding off the adversity it faces, instead of being cowed by it and feeling sorry for themselves, as was previously the case. We've finally made the transition. We're no longer a Premier club fallen on hard times; we're now a thrusting top Championship team on the up-and-up.

Wimbledon made a boast of 'nobody likes us but we don't care', thus working the trick of turning a negative into a positive. Boro have faced penury for several years and currently have a team injured. Perhaps Mogga's slogan should be: 'we've got nothing to work with but we don't care - we'll win anyway'.

With the belief in their manager, durability and balance, this team can go a long way, especially when (and if) injuries reduce and key players return. What can we achieve when Woodgate, Carayol, Williams, Jutkiewicz, Bates (?) and Thomson (??) are back?

wiggy's mate said:

Has anyone heard from our old friend FT Maxwell lately? I am starting to get a bit worried for him. Perhaps he has had his broadband cut off? If that’s the case, as we are a pretty generous bunch maybe we can all pledge a pound each to get him reconnected. #seasonfallingapartywithmarty!!!

Nikeboro said:

Ignore anything I say. When it comes to judging players, I know nowt. After some unconvincing signings last season, I was sceptical about the latest crop.

I didn't fancy Friend. The CB-turned-into-a-LB thing was off-putting. I imagined a defender who wouldn't cross the half way line. In his first few games, he looked lost and tentative and confirmed my worst suspicions. I was amazed and devastated when Bennett was sold. I have to say Friend has been a revelation, to me anyway, and one of the best Boro baragains in years.

Similarly, I couldn't see much potential in Jutkiewicz. His record was mediocre and, other than his physique (much needed) and his heading, I couldn't see what he offered to the team. After half a season, I saw him as a squad player. However, although it's still early days, he has shown enough to give me second thoughts. He's more mobile than I thought and more of a finisher. The jury is still out but I can now see what Mogga saw in him.

I think this kind of up-and-coming, hungry young player is the secret to the togetherness and impetus we're now seeing in Boro. Even the likes of Scotty has things to prove and there's only one place he can prove them.

Ian Gill said:

All I wanted was a good performance and no extra time with limited injuries.

Job done.

Smile, smirk, grin, snigger, laugh, guffaw, howls, stitch in side. Sorry about that.

Black Cats, Bob Stokoe, Steve Cram, sons of monkey hangers, Kate Adie, Makckems in general, Adam Johnson, Lee Catermole, your team took a hell of a beating.

So did my birthday bottle of Talisker.

Totally ignoring the chance of a home draw.

Nigel reeve said:

Just picking up on nikeboro's observations, I think what Mogga has done is create a 'team', a brotherhood, a togetherness, among the players. It is the magic intangible ingredient that defines all successfull teams. Not many managers can do it, I know I've said it before but I really believe that Tony Mowbray is a cut above most managers and for that I am truly grateful.

Once a strong team spirit is established then the style of play can be developed from there, this week may be a turning point but that turning point I don't believe is the Sunderland result, for me the turning point was Steve Gibson being seen to be listening and to engage with the fans, that immediately translated itself into the fans giving Boro strong backing against Bolton.

The Sunderland result has added to the momentum. Maybe Steve Gibson doesn't realise just how important he is to the fans, to have two local boys owning and managing the club is a unique position, let's hope it delivers us a little glory somewhere down the road.

Ian Gill said:

Something has changed. I think it is linked to the clubs change in approach both off and on the pitch.

Off the pitch is obvious with the ticketing incentive and boardroom entente with Vic et al.

On the pitch there has been a change at the Riverside, some may deny it has happened but that single sentence from AV summed it up about going for the jugular rather than waiting for things to unfold.

It seemed to start with Mogga talking about trying to engage with the fans. Again, many will deny it has happened.

Both Hull and Bolton saw us largely in charge from the off. I cant remember that happening for one game in a row never mind two - I exaggerate but for literary reasons.

I listened to Mogga's post match interview after the Bolton match and he was talking about pressing, possession and getting about the opposition.

When Soton changed their team in its entirety for the tie at Leeds Warnock said he threw his detailed sheets in the air and told his team to go out and play.

It isn't that simplistic but at home you should be looking to impose yourself not just stop the other team and see what happens. It isn't just about wage cuts, squad trimming etc, it is about how you use what you have got.

Look at how the midfields were set out for Leicester/Derby and Hull/Bolton.

Doing what we are doing will gradually bring the crowds back, I don't know in what numbers but when Mrs G next goes to York it will conveniently fall on a home match day. There will be disappointments but don't let it be because we didn't give it a go. Long may it continue.

Nikeboro said:

'One game in a row', Ian Gill. That's good. I'll use that.

carltonp said:

When a few of the regulars met in the concourse, we thought that our crowd was not the usual suspects and we wondered about how raucous the support would be; then when a couple of us went out and experienced the vertiginous and detached position from which we were meant to view this subbuteo performance, we further wondered about whether the team would hear us, especially at the far end, which seemed miles away.

Obviously, we need not have worried! Perhaps Sunderland's best tactic on the night was to re-position the away fans in a discouraging position; like everything else they did, it failed miserably!

One of those games, surely, when man of the match awards are meaningless. Sure, Leadbitter was immense, but so were almost all the others (Ishmael needs shooting practice, though he put in a performance full of heart and power as a target man, and we began to see the speed Mogga claimed for him).

Bikey is turning out to be an inspired signing. Hines was gutsy and very good while he lasted. Hoyte lacks a bit of his early season confidence going forward but was solid. Friend we all love now and his central defensive work was a revelation. Bailey was immense and he and Grant made life too hot for Catts to get involved, which was nice to see. Ledesma put himself about more than we've seen him do yet.

Scott tackled back loads and organised the defence as well as going on several bold and direct charges at the opposition, and his goal was very finely taken.

We've got the best Steele in the world, of course! And the doubters are fading away fast into their grumbly corners!! Harpoon never stopped harassing those poor overpaid, overwhelmed mercenaries.

Never give up on Boro said:

Fantastic win, great performance throughout the whole team,got to carry it on into Saturday and get three points at Charlton.

Ledesma had his best game so far and looks much better wide than as a striker.

How pleasing that Mowbray and McDonald have sorted out their differences and it has had such a positive effect on the team. Four goals and five wins on the bounce now and a great team spirit amongst the players.

It's good that despite a team full of injuries bar a keeper we can still keep getting results,what a headache for Tony when the injured start coming back.

Be nice to have a home draw next round but the way we play away I don't think it matters and if we can reproduce play like last night at home we should start bringing a few thousand more back to the Riverside soon.

uxter said:

Excellent result. But enough about that - what are the odds on an away draw? If I knew how to bet I would take a punt. Can I get Boro each way?

Boro fan for 70 years said:

Well done AV for condemning the vile abuse sadly coming from Boro fans. They let down the club and all of Teesside by that behaviour.

BoroPhil said:

What a night. Looking back at it now, it was never in doubt but at the game I didn't dare believe we were going to win until the final whistle.

The celebrations and relief at the end were almost Cardiff-esque, it’s been a while since we’ve had a win like that. Leadbitter was absolutely awesome, I’ve been told all season how by my mackem colleague how he is a decent player, but not good enough for the Premiership. Well if he isn’t, neither is Cattermole on last night’s showing.

It was nice to see him leave the pitch last after applauding our fans and kissing the pitch, presumably where his Dad’s ashes are buried. I wonder if he apologised as well!

I got about 4 hours sleep last night, but coming into work made it all worthwhile – to be fair they all acknowledged we were by far the better team.

Let’s hope we finally get a home draw next, and remember League cup success is a good omen, we’ve reached at least the semis in 2 of our last 3 promotions.

Grove Hill wallah said:

Three more Premier League teams will be eliminated tonight. If not Bradford, I quite fancy Aston Villa.

Ian Gill said:

21.57 and we still dont know who we are away to yet.

Chelsea or ManU. looks like Chelsea but you feel a bit for young Wootton having given away a 93rd min pen for the equaliser then a blunder for Sturridge to score.

Not bothered who wins but you dont like to see a young lad suffer.

Away at manu or Arsenal would be best because of the size of the crowd. Knowing our luck it will be away at Swansea or Norwich.

Should the bizarre happen and we come out of the hat first then we, hang on, dont be so daft.

When the draw goes ahead there will be two bowls, one will hold seven balls and there will be one with four for the away team. In there will be ball number five plus three blanks.

A ball will be drawn for the home team then one out of the away bowl. If the away ball has no number then a second will be drawn from the main bowl to give the away team.

The process will be repeated until we are drawn away.

Forever Dormo said:

Swansea away it is, then, in the League Cup Quarter Finals.

Could hardly be at home, could it? Boro's oficial twitter site @Boro mentioned the club had already travelled almost 3,500 miles since last drawn at home in a cup game. You can now add a few hundred extra to that total.

Have we, as a club, done something to offend The Almighty? Or is it payback for all those years when the Dark One was Chief Executive - especially on "his" night.

Jarkko said:

Yes, it is a disappointment. The biggest down point of the month was yesterday's draw for the Cup. Away again - bugger. But apart from that it has been the best of all Octobers. Up the Boro!

Ian Gill said:

Missed the bit about chanting at Catt. Every club has boneheads. Banter is great, such chanting is appalling but as Claridge said you have to be very brave to report such people to the stewards.

I have a meeting with a Trophy Virgin shortly and we will both have some fun. Then I am due to call a Mackem but will phone his long suffering wife first to check the water.

timfromsa said:

Nice to see the Gazette doing its bit with engagement of the fans.

Some great pictures of the fans in yesterdays gallery. Do I sense a coming together of all concerned with Boro? I can even feel it in Africa.

Vic Wearmouth said:

I am Vic not V.

Brilliant result.

Predictable away journey for the next round. Swansea are beatable as they expect to win, and all the pressure is off us.

I used to look forward to Martin O'Neil's comments, and to see his tactics, but he has not done a great deal at Sunderland despite the millions spent.

Sunderland were abyssmal, and The Boro.... how on Earth to Mogga do it? He had next to nowt in real terms to work with, yet he has moulded that hotch potch into a formidable outfit.

I know the football could be better, the shots taken to scored ratio could be too, but at the end of the day, it is results that count, and with three points for a win, a draw is nearer nothing than something. This makes wins vital. And Mogga's win ratio compared with ANY other Boro manager in living memory is superior.

Mr Gibson... wrap this bloke in cotton wool, and come the next transfer window, give him whatever he needs to get us up in May 2013! If this means going down the back of the settee for some transfer cash..... do it... or rue it!

Ian Gill said:

I notice that there is squad rotation for the video duties. Is it the poison chalice?

**AV writes: There was a suggestion last week that they let any old idiot do it.

Ian Gill said:

AV -

Two games a week, they come thick and fast in this division. Dont want you or Phil tweaking a hammie.

As I have just put the curse on Boro by purchasing a ticket for the place by the Trent I suggest you sort out who will be doing the sombre post match piece.

I will take as much blame as you want, I dont know whether we do badly because I go or we do badly and I happen to be there. Poor Smog.

Redcar Red said:

Some brilliant performances on the pitch, in fact not a single average or poor one. Shame about the moronic idiots and even greater shame to the ones that joined in!

As Nikeboro mentioned above about being underwhelmed at the signing of Friend and the Juke plus the selling of Bennett I can concur with that but also add Parnaby, Leadbitter, Bikey and Ledesma not forgetting Carayol to the list. Plus for me the prospect of starting the season with Steele in goal didn't exactly instil a great deal of hope or belief. I did however believe that Miller and MacDonald would make a good Partnership.

The nearest I can relate to this was when Blue Peter made Tracy Island out of some egg boxes and sticky back plastic. OK I was a little old for Blue Peter at the time but not Anthea Turner (Ahem)!

Marske Red said:

Mr Vickers,

regarding the Jimmy Saville chant. Do you not think you are misinterpretting things a little? I did not join in with the chant because I felt a little uncomfortable with and also knew how easily it could be misinterpretted as you have done.

Nobody from Middlesbrough would call another bloke from Middlesbrough a paedophile because he was from Middlesbrough, it makes no sense. The chant was aimed at Sunderland fans, we have had 30 years of abuse chats aimed at us, defo for the 20 years I have been attending derbies - Newcastle and Leeds do the same. This was a chance to put a point across, it was a simple in your face expression to state look, if people from Teesside are paedophile, child molesters etc, maybe you are saying your own club captain is one.

The press have not stuck up for Boro fans on this one over the decades and for once the fans had a chance to stick up for their team and town. No we are not peadophiles, neither is the Sunderland captains dad. But your captain and his dad are from a town tarred wrongly with the actions and ethics of one consultant who was proved to be wrong and removed from her position. For 20 years+ you have gotten away with these chants.

Hopefully a point has been made and we will have no repeat of the sick chants of the past. Somehow though I doubt it......

**AV writes: So are you telling me that the chant was actually a masterful act of nuanced irony predecated on the complex duality of Lee Cattermole's position as Mackem skipper and archetypal Teessider? I don't buy that for a second. It was a chant not an essay. It was an offensive chant.

The real issue for me is that whatever the intended content or message the reality is this: Sunderland fans will now feel vindicated in their own vile chanting and will try to lower the bar even further next time because "we" chanted it to them. All it has done has unleashed a new sick cycle of moronic "banter."

Forever Dormo said:

I like banter. I like witty chants. A bit of self-deprecation is always attractive ("there's only 1 Job on Teesside"). Even a gentle leg-pull ("Geordies at home, watching The Bill"... while a certain small town in Yorkshire briefly sparkled in a European sky).

I don't like obscenities (but I agree a witty, often unexpected one can cause a giggle of mirth even if one is trying to keep a straight face). Bolo Zenden must have smiled to hear how his apparent improvement in form was greeted by the fans - and to have noted how things were kept in proportion: no suggestion he was now a world-beater, just that he had graduated to being "alright".

I can't believe football would be the worse if we didn't ever hear again:

Liverpool or Leeds fans chanting about the Munich air disaster.

Manchester fans referring similarly to Hillsborough.

Spurs fans having to put up with Jewish cracks.

Elderly managers (we know who) being rebuked for their alleged smell of urine.

Boro fans being paedophiles (I'd like to have those chanting it, write it out 100 times, and if they get the spelling most would...).

Sexual practices being referred to - at least because he has been playing abroad we are spared the previous references to what David Beckham's wife is said to get up to. And I'd love to put everyone heard shouting about the referee's preference for self-excitement onto a lie detector test, with the proviso that anyone shown to be a hypocrite should receive a swift 240 volt jolt by way of punishment.

I hardly need to add racist chants to the list.

In short, there is no need for people to be offensive at a football match. Just because they are in a large crowd, perhaps some are emboldened and shout things they ordinarily wouldn't. It can cause retaliation or spark disorder between opposing groups of supporters, and that can throw football back into the dark ages of football violence and thuggery.

Do we want to attract supporters to football games? Do we want families to come? Do we want to have to explain what the crowd is chanting, to a 7 year old?

No need. Not grown up. Offensive. Sometimes downright illegal. Football is better off without it.

BoroPhil said:

"So are you telling me that the chant was actually a masterful act of nuanced irony predecated on the complex duality of Lee Cattermole's position as Mackem skipper and archetypal Teessider? I don't buy that for a second"

That was exactly as I saw it. Ok, maybe some singing it didn't mean it like that, but as soon as I heard it I thought it was ironic. I was uncomfortable with us singing it, but I understood why.

**AV writes: If so it was a spectacular own goal. I know there is a long history of oppressed group reclaiming perjorative terms as a badge of pride but I don't for a second think that is what happened.

I think some people, mostly not bright enough to understand the cultural intricacies of creative irony, thought they were being 'funny' by targetting a former Boro player using a recycled Geordie chant and hadn't thought it through. Now they are trying to defend it rather admit they crossed a line and made themselves look daft. It reminded me of when 3,000 Newcastle fans - all on their feet - chanted 'stand up if you've shagged your kids' and didn't realise how stupid they looked when the almost entirely seated Riverside fans laughed at them.

What do other posters think? Is the Boro singing 'paedo' songs ironic? Or moronic?

Jarkko said:

AV, can we recall Ben Gibson back from his loan at Trammere if needed? As everyone know we have more and more injuries among our defenders. I think the lad has played every match there and the club is top of the Division One. Or he won't be back before January?

If we win at Charlton today, it will be the best start to a season for 26 years by Boro. After the win at Sunderland, this sounds like a probable banana skin. Untypical Boro to win 1-2, though. Up the Boro!

Bob said:

Definitely moronic.

Ian Gill said:

Where do you draw the line? In my view when it is offensive.

When banter spills into racism, misfortunes such as Munich or Hillsborough or overtly sexual overtones such as paedo chants.

The difficulty is when you get the chant to Liverpool fans about always the victims, never your fault. That is linked in to Hillsborough even though it is a view held by ManU supporters long before the tragedy.

The danger is that it spills over, there is always at least one bonehead who takes it too far, when he is surrounded by similar boneheads you end with the fan punching Kirkland or the fan doing a monkey chant at Welbeck.

Sometimes clubs dont help by painting themselves in to a corner. Dalglish now tells us the shirts supporting Suarez were the players idea not his to show support, he still wore one.

Chelsea look to be getting isolated over the Clattenberg incident with Wenger, Fergie, Big Sam amongst others saying they dont believe the accusation. A captain suspended for racist abuse, a fan doing monkey chants.

It all looks a bit of a mess but maybe we will see something better come out of it all.

sw2boro said:

It's both, AV.

Powmill said:

"What do other posters think?" for this one, one word, "INDEFENSIBLE".

Grey wolf said:

Great summing up AV, really positive review. Sad that those supporters verbally abused the Cattermole family, there is no excuse for such behaviour.

timfromsa said:

Come on guys we were just getting it together one for all and all for one that sought of thing.
Of course it was wrong we are now dragging ourselves down to the level of the others.
Anyway enough of that Charlton 1 Boro 4 and another for Scott.

Grove Hill wallah said:

Away Win Addicks!

This is getting to be a bit of a habit!

Ian Gill said:

Assuming you leave Charlton at 6.30pm then I am looking for a new thread at 6.30 plus 4.15 plus some scran. 11.45pm, latest and not one of these three liners saying talk amongst ourselves.

4-1 away from home, second in the table, unbeaten in seven, goodness knows how many away wins in a row, best start in 25 years.

Apart from that a pretty shoddy display not keeping a clean sheet and missing stacks of chances in the second half. Useless! Get a grip Mogga.

Richard said:

It's not worth making an issue of. Most people wouldn't even have known about it if you hadn't written about it. Boro supporters included. Because most of us were at home.

Some things are best left alone, unless you're a journalist and your motivations may be different? (Just saying', like!)

Making too much of it gives it gravitas that it doesn't deserve. I suggest most people ignore things like that and treat it with disdain and irrelevance and recognise it as tribal pressure relief - albeit inappropriate and in poor taste. They recognise it as mindless banter by a minority group.

There are all sorts of people get embroiled in such things and it's wrong to tar them all with the same brush. It's those with malicious intent that are the genuine nuisance in our midst. Not the lemmings. And thankfully, they are relatively few and usually far between until matchday brings them to critical mass.

Most of us recognise this and simply ignore it - until the issue IS given public issue gravitas that it doesn't deserve.

By picking the scab, you risk infection. Leave it as an isolated phenomenon; a nuisance. Don't elevate name calling to arrows and bricks status. We'd most prefer it if crime wasn't an intrinsic part of society too. But it is.

You'll never eliminate it completely. So isolate it and live with the occasional incidence in an appropriately low-key way.

Terrific result at Charlton! And the other results went for us too! All donations gratefully received in this league.

**AV writes: If the intent was to sensationalise it for whatever dark journalistic agenda you hint at I would have made it the main thrust of the article and I would have used it in the paper. I didn't. It was a heavy-hearted footnote.

I don't believe these things should be ignored. We - football, the media, fans - used to take that say nothing, its only banter line with abhorrent racist chanting too. It has to be challenged. We've put up with 25 years of bile on this issue. And the way to deal with it is certainly to to join our detractors in the gutter.

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