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Unleash The Fogs Of War

By Anthony Vickers on Nov 24, 12 10:15 PM


BORO lost their way in the fog in a disappointing 3-1 home defeat to basement boys Bristol City. As the eerie b-movie wispy white shroud inched in over the East Stand roof it became harder to see the shape, the dynamic and the logic of what was happening on the pitch. There was no focus, no clarity, no sharpness.

It was like that game at Ayresome against Manchester City when the fog poured in from the floodlights like dry ice at a Spinal Tap concert raising real fears that the game would be abandoned before wierdly, suddenly dispersing . Only this time we lost.

Ironically, the fog was at its thickest when Boro were on the attack. Having clawed back into it when Big Ish poked home from six yards out - his longest distance goal yet - Boro were piling on the pressure and had what looked a good goal as their keeper flapped at yet another wicked inswinging corner from Leadbitter pushing it via a defender's back onto the post and it bounced back and over the line before Kilkenny clawed it out.

foggy.jpeg

For me that is well over the line but in the fog of war and the chaos of a crowd in the box the ref and lino - Sian Massey who apparantly got some serious unreconstructed sexist stick for her mistake - it was waved away.

Then, with Boro piling forward Bristol piled forward, sent a diagonal stealth cross looming out of the mist into the box to score a second. Then, with Teesside imploring the gods of wintery precipitation to deepen the peasouper and get the game off, it suddenly, inexplicably lifted. Bloody typical.

Pushing forward chasing the leveller they got caught again. Ouch. Bristol City had only scored six away all term, had only won one away game - at rock bottom Peterborough - and had just come off a run of seven successive defeats. And they scored three against Boro and rattled the bar plus brought a couple of good saves. It was fated. The only surprise is that Matthew Bates didn't play and score.

It wasn't for want of trying. Boro started with two up front and Emnes and Ledesma wide so set up with plenty of attacking intent and had the ghost goal stood we would have won it and gone away breathing a sigh of relief and chuntering about how it was scrappy as hell but wed' have taken it.

As it happens, most went away frustrated and disappointed. There was some booing, incrediibly some aimed at a Boro player - Kevin Thomson - before he had even touched a ball.... I can never get my head around that self-defeating pre-emptive disdain ... and with many pointing accusing fingers at selection, shape and tempo afterwards.

Admittedly it was far from a classice display. Both full-backs were regulary roasted by the pace of Bristol on the break (Adomah was very impressive again) and the central-defensive pairing was creaky. Up front it didn't quite gel - although with a better header from Jutkiewicz for the sitter early on and it would have been a different game. Miller scored but was generally ineffective up front - although he looked far better as a wide left player later on when his pace and power several times took him surging into the box.

So Boro lost. It's no disaster. Yes it was to a team in the bottom two but it happens. And it must be said, they worked very hard to contain Boro's massed attacks and looked very sharp on the break with quick diagonals putting pressure on Boro's full-nacks. And in a karma-type balance, Bristol have also beaten Cardiff and Palace this term so there is a certain perverse democracy about the result. The important thing is to bounce back from this wobble - one point from three games - and build another long unbeaten run.

The biggest set-back was political. It wasn't a great spectacle for the bumper BOGOF crowd - the second biggest gate of the season - that had responded to the club's ticket offer. It wasn't the worst game ever - it was end to end stuff and the fog made the game funny and one for the memory banks - but it wasn't the resounding victory and pulsating atmosphere that the Sheff Wed game was. But that is what you get in this league.

On to Huddersfield now. We need to win that one to get the Mogganaut rolling again.

36 Comments

Colin Fairlamb said:

I'll say it, save everyone else the bother.... that bird Lino wouldn't have missed it had it been a Sale in a shoe shop. (With thanks to Bernard Manning)


**AV writes: Seriously, I never even noticed until afterwards when someone told me there had been some old school seventies sexist chanting. Generally I take no notice of the officials unless there is a major dropped clanger and I have to ask "who is this clown?" We've had her before and she's done well.


Ian Gill said:

I wish I had stayed in York with Mrs G but I dropped her off then headed for the misty Riverside.


In true 'Stars in Your Eyes' style Boro came out of the mist and said 'Matthew, today we are going to be ... Wimbledon'.


Mogga admitted he had made the changes for the right reason but it hadnt worked out. Listening to Higgy as I set off back to pick up Judith and he explained the logic of two big men getting the ball forward but that Emnes and Ledesma cutting back inside to cross diagonals up to the big men.


That was why Mogga had them on those wings so the full bcks could bomb on. Hoyte at left back is not the same beast who has been marauding down the right nor has that been Parnabys strength down the right.


Whatever, it does beg the question why we changed what we had been doing in the previous matches against a team in disaray with a dismal away record?


I wonder if the India cricket authorities thought about leaving grass on their wickets because England like to play three seam bowlers? I suspect they never even thought about it and it was a case of business as normal, dry dusty pitches and spinners in the team.


Oh well, at least there is another match Tuesday. Hopefully normal service will be resumed. The question is what is normal service? Are we back to Mystic Mog?


I cant make it back due to work commitments but hopefully as someone said on the phone in at least the crowd are locked in.

Masham Wiggy said:

The championship is a lava lamp, as a very wise man at work pointed out to me recently.

David of Redcar said:

The whole day was surreal - we got a whole collection of margins wrong; too many playing just below the standard they had recently set for themselves, Mogga not quite getting the balance of the line up right, the officials not quite seeing what we in the east could all see, City playing better than they previously have.


All those combined to produce a result as cold and miserable as I felt at the end. God it was cold.


I am sure they don't walk out deciding to have a bad day, but they did look complacent and lost. Poor Parnaby especially looked like a reserve in a first team game and the decision to go from Big-Man Big-Man to Little-Man Little-Man up front was far to clever a tactic for my frozen misty brain to understand.


Will be there on Tuesday to occupy my "free seat" so once again thanks to all for subsidising by footy experience.

Ian Gill said:

A few PS's...


Bristol looked anything but ship shape in the first half when we got near their goal, as Miller said later you could sense they were nervous.


Higgy said we gave them the time and space to get in to the game and be comfortable because we started so slowly.


There are two teams on the pitch so well done City.


The non goal is a non issue because it wasnt given, we should not be in the position to winge about it.

John Dobson said:

This is ridiculous. B.City must have been 100:1 for this result.

Deserves FA investigation.

Redcar Red said:

Following his Manager of the Month curse Swarbrick and Massey just about edged Mogga out on worst performance of the week award.


Their performance became so woeful that at one stage in the 2nd half they were looking for the reaction of the players before making their minds up. Its just a shame that Ms Massey didn’t react when 6,000 or so Boro fans jumped up simultaneously when Bristol scored an own goal. For her to not see something that was so obviously over the line was unbelievable, I will desist from cheap digs about mascara and ponytails but clearly there was more than fog in her eyes.


Had that goal stood at 2-1 Boro possibly would have scraped an undeserved win, as it was the incredulity and frustration spilled from the terraces onto the pitch and a few red shirts seen red mist which was far from ideal under the conditions.


The Chief Architect of our complacent downfall was our very own Mogga. I congratulated his resolve in sticking to his footballing principles at Cardiff last week when something a little more robust was more than a little tempting considering the Redbirds (oops sorry Bluebirds) had a rookie CB at the heart of their defence.


This week we were without Friend so rather than make one change at the back he shuffled Hoyte across to LB (oh no we were all saying when the team lined up), the position in which he has taken more stick than any Boro player in recent history (apart from Tommo or course). Defensively he looked like a wrong finned fish out of water, the player he moved out of position to “accommodate” was Parnaby who looked like he was either half fit or full of painkillers which hampered his ability to run, turn and generally read the game. At best his was a pedestrian performance.


Against a team with only six away goals all season and their worst start for 30 some years here was a perfect opportunity to blood (as Cardiff did last week) a rookie at the back. Reach or Halliday, both were more likely to be similar in style and threat to George Friend than our right footed born again RB shuffled across onto his left foot.


That wasn’t the worst of it, in front of poor Justin we were also treated to right footed Mediocre Marvin whose dribbling skills were more suited to a nursing home after Sunday lunch. He dropped his shoulder and dribbled to the left and then dribbled to the right and were it not for the ref finding and blowing his whistle after 96 painful minutes he would still be out there now dribbling around going nowhere.

His dribbles didn’t link up with anyone or ghost past defenders in the box, put simply apart from one shot outside the 18 yard box in the 2nd half there was no end product.


Up front we were treated to a new strike partnership - or at least I think that was the intention. As partnerships go it was like B & Spencers or Marks and Q. Miller was a threat and hustled their defence, scored and generally was an effective presence but his “partner” was on another planet to him or put more accurately on his backside most of the time being pushed and barged all over.


Poor Juke just looked like he wasn’t sure what the tactics were other than try and win some headers but then what?


It was no surprise then that Mogga eventually decided to change things ( about 40 minutes too late) and bring on Scotty as his partnership with Miller has been fruitful but Mogga then played his final joker and hauled Miller off as well as Juke, leaving a diminutive and yet new combo strikeforce. Unbelievable!


On a positive Tommo done OK when he came on which is just as well because Josh and Grant looked knackered. Overall we were beaten before we kicked off because Mogga paid more attention to adapting to the threat of the opposition rather than focussing on playing our game. I had hoped that was something he had learnt from earlier on in the season, apparently the temptation to tinker under the guise of injuries, reshuffling or whatever was too strong for him to resist.


Good job admission is free on Tuesday because on the strength of that the attendance would have been sub 10K. Back to the drawing board, lick wounds and give youth a chance on Tuesday night!

angry_pirate said:

TBF Thomson coming on can induce a groan in the most rational of fans, particularly when the more effective Bailey is on the bench. His time here has been a complete failure.

Nikeboro said:

Complacent, arrogant, foolhardy.


Mogga picked a team in the expectation we would dominate. He thought four forwards would pin Bristol back, we hardly needed a MF and didn't need a ball-winner. It was just a question of when we'd score the first and how many there's be.


This communicated itself to the team. TM's attitude and thinking was clear from his selection and setup. The players bought into this and thought they only had to turn up and get their snouts in the trough.


As a result, they didn't turn up. We looked lethargic, slapdash, uncohesive and unmotivated. With wide open spaces in MF, and little challenge, Bristol thought it was Xmas come early and soon looked the better team. With a defence of strangers that was fragile and porous, even the Robins' powder-puff attack soon made headway.


Why does Tony over-think these games? He changed the selection and, in particular, the setup thinking we would dominate comfortably and have a goal-feast. He could tweak it, but why not stick close to the formula that has served us so well in recent weeks? If Boro were so much better, why not impose our game plan on them?


In the event, he'd got it so wrong that there was no way back once it was obviously not working. Worst of all, the complacency and arrogance showed through in the setup and communicated iteslf to the players.

kev B said:

Awful, but typical! I think the most refreshing thing following this defeat was that Mogga didn't use the ghost goal as an excuse, and that's how it should be. Mogga is an honest bloke, where other managers would have been all over that to make an excuse. We were awful, let's move on.

Percypieblocks said:

Wonder if the comments now will be reasonable and considerate after that non show?


I knew as soon as I saw the team that we were heading for a fall, to me if you are going to play four forwards, you require two holding players, that game was made for Bailey but for some reason he's out of favour.


I said it before and I'll say it until I'm blue in the face, 'We need a settled side and formation', theres just too many changes from game to game. We all know that most footballers are not the most intelligent of people, yesterday most of them looked totaly confused.


Roll on the Huddersfield match, it will be interestng to see how many changes Mogga makes.

Grove Hill wallah said:

Well, what can I say. After the success of FansTastic Friday I went to the game yesterday. I'm reminded of Michael Corleone in Godfather 111.....


"Just when I thought I was out... they pull me back in"

Grove Hill wallah said:

P.S. Redcar Red and Nikeboro got it spot on.


The only thing I would add was that Neil Danns was MOM. Head and shoulders above everyone else on the pitch.


Particularly impressive as he looked like he had been on "The Mido Diet"

Matt A said:

As soon as I heard the line up I had one thought: two big men up front, oh God, we're going to play like Stoke !


How tremendously disappointing to be proven right. The performance was slow and below standard from the very start. Watching long balls drilled up to Big Ish and the Duke up front was depressing. It is a tactic that may well have been fruitful had the (awful throughout) referee given either so much as a modicum of protection from the constant pushing, pulling, climbing and shirt pulling of the defenders who were visibly nervous and worried about their giant opponents.


Our midfield simply did not work. We effectively played with two wingers but spent all of our time pumping balls long, instead of playing the ball in front of Emnes and Ledesma to run on to. As others have said, these were tactics that I did not agree with and failed us miserably.


I can understand Mogga, and others here, saying that the "ghost goal" was not to blame for the result. The officials cannot be blamed for our poor performance. However, nobody can argue that had we rightly gone ahead in the game, an out of form City team, with their appalling away record would have been able to take three points from that position.


Their confidence is low and that goal would have been a hammer blow to them. They were handed a get out of jail free card by the officials and cashed it in handsomely.


I believe the sex of the lines person (is that the correct term?) has no bearing at all. We have seen some appalling decisions by male officials at the Riverside over the years but no one has claimed it is because they were blokes. Incompetence, it seems, is not bound by the gender of the official. Miss Massey got plenty of her decisions right, but it is a shame that the only big decision she had to make all afternoon was the one she got horribly wrong.


I've heard a few people people saying that the crowd on Tuesday will still be large due to those tickets already being purchased. So will I be driving over from Whitby on Tuesday, burning another £20 of diesel to watch any more of that ? Will I hell !


I'm sorry, but losing at home, while shipping three goals to one of the worst teams in the League is simply unacceptable. I am not a fair weather supporter, but that performance really has annoyed me and removed any enthusiasm I had for attending an evening game.


I know that in a few weeks I will be back at the Riverside, metaphorical foam hand in place, ready to cheer the guys on again. For now however, I will abstain in the firm belief that those players and coaches do not really deserve any better following Saturdays inept show.

Smogonthetyne said:

On the disallowed goal, I sit next to that corner flag where the linesperson stood. The ball took an unusual route into the goal, but at no point did the linesperson give any indication of seeing the incident.


No contact or gesture to players or ref. I think she completely missed it, and may have been watching something else in the box. My concern is not her gender but her age. At 27 how can she be experienced enough to run the line on one of the top ten games in the country. As I find everyday, there is no substitute for experience.


Since relegation the standard of officiating has been poor, at times farcical.

peterboroangel said:

A result like this should be a shock, but is never a suprise.

Ian Gill said:

Matt A -


The crowd will still be 20k+ because the tickets have alreday been 'bought'. If it looks like 15000 it will be a massive own goal on the football front.


Oddly I wont be using £45+ of diesel either, I have work commitments but it would be doubtful if I woukd have travelled in any case. Two hours of driving at ten pm isnt much fun.

Richard said:

I chose this as my first match of the season to re-attend, following on from what by most accounts seemed to indicate a "new Boro" and the prospect of an improved football spectacle.


I wasn't put off by the Cardiff result last week, as the radio commentary suggested we'd done everything right other than score and the chances created suggested there was some positivity and creativity in the new-look approach.


Also, the evidence in the form of league position suggested the same, so, I took advantage of the two for one offer (why not? - although I've previously indicated it's not all about price - it's about perceived value, a view to which I strongly adhere!).


Ian Gill said: "I cant make it back due to work commitments but hopefully as someone said on the phone in at least the crowd are locked in."


Oh no they're not! They may have my money, but, as I said, it's NOT just about the cost! As has been pointed out before by several on this column before, including I believe, Ian Gill, there's a gulf of difference between "price" and "value".


Those at the Bristol City match may have free access to Tuesday's match, but I know one, at least, who lives on Teesside, who won't be turning out - even with free admission already paid for on his activated Boro Pride Card! (Oh, yes, I even went THAT far!)


The football was dire. I spent another £4.40 on the smallest, most disgusting box of dried-out chips and insipid "coffee" you could imagine.


The whole experience was, frankly, poor. The pre-match outside "entertainment" rather typifies modern football. A Ramsden's money-grabber booth!


If the football had been worth watching, I could have put up with the rest. But from what I witnessed on Saturday, nothing's changed at all!


Even down to the ludicrous quality of decision-making by officials! That "goal" was, most certainly, a goal! Albeit a scruffy, scrambled one (like the one they scored and were allowed to keep!) and not the result of any kind of fluid football.


A long-standing (OK - sitting) season-ticket acquaintance next to me suggested before the match that Boro's football this season would see them in good stead in the Premier League. Reflecting on this, I've come to realise that calibration of expectation shifts when you continue to immerse yourself in mediocrity. There's no way on the face of this planet that that Boro team could survive in the Premier League with performances like that!


Bristol CIty weren't good to watch at all. They were dire. But Boro were worse.


I stopped attending at the Riverside towards the back end of last season because I realised I was leaving the ground after matches feeling frustrated, unfulfilled and not in any way uplifted by the experience. Value for money? Nope! Not even for free!


Nothing's changed at all.


When you're selling "entertainment" or "excitement", you've got to get the fundamental product right!


Some alterations to my post on AV's last blog, timed at 12:49AM on 24 Nov 2012, now seem appropriate (Richard Evans may wish to take special note):


Erratum:


Isotope A - (Positive) Sentimentium has a half-life of ONE (home?) match. (It decays quickly).


Addendum:


Isotope B - (Negative) Sentimentium has an indeterminate half-life, but is likely to be of at least two seasons. (It decays a lot more slowly).


It's going to take a lot more than ticket price incentives to get me back. And that's even without having to spend £45+ on diesel, Mr Gill!


And on sustainability of pricing discounts - where did the additional 8,000 extra go that had attended the Sheffield Wednesday, Friday evening match? I've done the sums- I've built the spreadsheet! And I recognise that the club is STILL up on where it would have been otherwise. BUT, where have the 8,000 gone in the space of one away defeat? I refer you to the pseudo-chemistry above for clues.


**AV writes: Scientifically speaking, I'm not sure one is a big enough sample to make those judgements. Generally speaking this season has been really entertaining, it has been producing results and performances. And goals. Most supporters I speak to believe the football - the product - has taken a quantum leap forward and that it is generally delivering value for money.

gt said:

Not just because of what happened on Saturday, but I've felt for a while this idea of assistants on the line making decisions other than what they did in the past is farcical.

In the past your duties where basically ball in/out, you followed the last defender looking for offsides, also any abuse or flagrant dangerous actions behind the play, there are obviously other things that may happen but generally that was the case ,


If I ran the middle I would tell my assistants I will manage decisions inside the box in other words just concentrate on the basics,


And I believe this was better, the reason being if you are trying to watch everything there will be things you miss. So if you are looking for say shoving or fouls on the goalie, actions like a quick scramble in the box and a ball that could or could not be over the line will be missed.


Not only that you could in some cases overrule the actual guy in the middle,
In my case I would tell both skippers tell your guys to play to the whistle, as I liked to use the play-on preference and allow the game to flow (less interuptions). If I have a linesman who is finicky and flags all day long where does that leave me?

stewart said:

Our midfield went AWOL leaving the defence exposed and the forwards without ammunition. I thought I had come to the Riverside in a time machine and arrived at last season. The only good part of the evening was the fog which prevented me seeing how bad they were at the other end of the pitch.

Ian Gill said:

Richard -


It was a hope that many go back and it is a good match, that the upturn in attacking intent evident post 'Im a defensive midfielder get me in to here' line up against Leicester.


The missing 8000? My fag packet maths on Saturday morning showed around 20,000 was the likely figure. At around five minutes before kick off I text John to say it looked a bit thin and sub 20K. Then the was a late influx at and after kcik off who got to the places half an hour before the defence.


So where were the rest. Maybe the pricing encouraged more families for a Friday night game? Maybe people didn't want to pay for two matches? Maybe fans just don't want to commit?


What was apparent around me was the fact fans clearly knew poor football when they saw it. Not just the fact we lost but he way the team was set out, the way they were going about their business, they were clearly unhappy at the long balls up to the strikers. In many ways reassuring that they don't want the ball lumping up to the strikers.


Value? You could use the term never mind the quality feel the width but there was no width either!


It reminded me of the time McDonalds offered BOGOF for Big Macs and forget to tell the supply chain what was going on. Disappointed customers.


**AV writes: I enjoyed it. The fog made it great fun and memorable. Like the game in the fog at Ayresome it will still be talked about in years to come. It has a certain cultural cachet. The fact that every game is unique and you can enjoy the spectacle irrespective of 'quality' or result is part of the appeal.

Grove Hill wallah said:

**AV writes: I enjoyed it....


In much the same way one of the Jungle celeb's would enjoy a Cockroach sandwich after a diet of "Jungle Oysters".


Come off it AV it was dire! The scheme was designed to bring back the faithful to the fold and it was let down by poor team selection and tactics plus one of the most inept displays by a group of players I have witnessed in a long time. I would be interested to see the Pro Zone stats, one of my pet hates is players standing still or barely moving and there were lots of candidates for my ire on Saturday.


There has to be a vast improvement tomorrow night or I fear it will all have been in vain.


**AV writes: Seriously. I enjoyed it. It was different. Like the monsoon at Preston and the abandonment at Ipswich. Irrespective of the result, these things lift the games above the mundane. You can never guarantee a win in football and even a lot of victories are far from sparkling. Anything that marks a game out is good.

wiggy's mate said:

A truly awful performance and an example of Mogga trying things that seemed like a good idea at five to three but look awful at quarter to five. Armed with that information I am sure he would do things differently if we were to play the same opposition again on Tuesday, but we are not, that's life.


In my opinion it’s the acceptable downside of having a tactically adventurous manager at the helm (you might even describe playing four up top as being evidence of starting on the front foot, going for it, the kind of high tempo approach that always works! Perhaps Mogga really has started to take his tactical lead from contributors to this blog, in which case maybe its time to go back to his own ideas, or not, who can say).


But all that said, if there are any club insiders who are against the reduced ticket offers then I think that they could do a lot worse than to cite Richard’s somewhat petulant outburst.


If the coffee and chips are such poor value, do yourself a favour and don’t have them, surely two hours without sustenance isn’t going to do you any harm is it? As for the football, for someone who prides himself as an engineer to chart a trend based on one observation is slightly odd.


He’s far from the only one, in the tunnel we had to suffer while one expert opined “well if they think performances like that are going to get ME to come back…”.


Funnily enough it hadn’t occurred to me that putting in such a poor performance was part of some marketing strategy.


Clearly that chucklehead is entitled to better, I hope he finds it. The most telling part of the day for me was the exodus when they got their third goal, suddenly the faces in the remaining sparse crowd looked a lot more familiar.


To be honest, I have rarely felt that Boro are offering me “entertainment” or “excitement” per se, more a sense of belonging. Excitement and entertainment, like success, are achievable and desirable but never guaranteed, and to be fair have been served up for most of the season so far.


I often remember the damning words of Len Shackleton on Boro’s fickle support
during John Neal’s era when as I recall in 79-80 we lost three home games whilst playing some neat attractive football in front of crowds around the 14,000 mark.


“What will they want if they get into Europe, free drinks and a bullfight at half time?” he asked. Some things never change.

Nigel Reeve said:

Losing to Bristol City wasn't in the script, these things happen, role on Tuesday. The gender of the lino is irrelevant, they're human so they make mistakes, move on.


I'm off to the Peterborough and Wolves matches with Reevelinho jnr, first time I've been to back to back matches for a long time. The trip to Peterborough is a reward for Reevelinho jnr for maintaing his piano practice (well done son!) Although what he and his mum don't know is we would be going anyway! Don't tell her son!

jiffy said:

Bates may not have played nor even been on the bench - but he clearly did supply his new team-mates with a detailed dossier on how to make complete dummies of his former defensive colleagues.


He should have been playing for us

Ian Gill said:

Wiggys mate -


When are the free drinks and bullfight? Do we have to get in to europe again?


On the tactics's, Mogga tried something and it didn't work. It happens. I think the general view around me was what happened to the passing and movement we had started to exhibit on a regular basis?


I certainly didn't see much front foot and attacking for a good part of the first half.


To show how bad Bristol were we still dominated statistics despite being clueless and disjointed.


The problem with the theoretical four attackers was the fact they were so narrow and there was no overlapping from the fullbacks of any note.


Tomorrow is another match.

Phil, Norton said:

The problem Mogga has at the moment is the fact he has four fit strikers .


The problem I have and most of the people around me have, he rates the worst of them . Yes I'm talking about Marvellous Marvin: this guy falls over too easy , loses possession too easy , and must have the worst pass completion % in the league.


The other problem is who he plays at left back. Hoyte has proved me and many others wrong and must be first choice on the right .

Ian Gill said:

Now that Miller has scored three from a collective six yards why dont we set up one of those church appeal poles and mark off his progress. I for one will be chuffed if he gets up to 50 yards by the seasons end as long it is a couple of yards at a time.


**AV writes: Love it. That's a great idea. Wonder if he would play for a piicture colouring in the next two yard portion with a big red marker?


Clive Hurren said:

I can't believe your negativity, Richard!


I was prepared to be really critical after Saturday's debacle - wrong tactics, square pegs, poor substitutions, kami-kaze defending - but everybody else has said it all above. It's a defeat. Let's move on.


But Richard, you've made your decision on the evidence of one poor game! You must know that Boro have been playing very positive football all season. We don't usually play the long-ball up to 2 big strikers - in fact that was very surprising - our passing game has been a real strength in most matches.


We're not up there with the promotion challengers for nothing, mate! We deserve to be there, because we're better than most sides in this league. I was at Blackpool when we got bladdered by a far superior side and I was incredibly pessimistic about the outlook after that, but this Mogga side bounced back with style and panache in the next game at Blackburn. There is no reason why we can't do so again.


So I would say to you, and and all the other doubters, get down to the ground tomorrow and give the lads your wholehearted support. After all, you've paid for your seat already. Come on, give Mogga and the lads another chance!! They really, really deserve it.

Forever Dormo said:

Please, Richard (yesterday at 10.48pm), come to the match tomorrow. Don't let one (admittedly very poor) performance put you off.


Unlike Vic, I didn't enjoy the game at all. Early on I had expected Boro to win but the whole experience was surreal. We played poorly. They could have been at least 2-0 up before we scored and yet, despite that, we could easily have won the game if the "phantom goal" had been given.


I don't blame the female lino for not flagging a goal - there must have been a lot of players in that goalmouth or she might have had a very poor view through the fog. At its worst I could barely see from the West Stand Upper to the middle of the pitch and there were times when I had no idea where the ball was. It had been misty in the first half but I was unprepared for the pea-souper that descended while my mates and I went onto the concourse at half time.


It didn't "feel" like a 20K+ crowd, nor sound like it, and probably the fog had something to do with that. It was a strangely disjointed performance, as if 8 or 9 of the team just happened to have a bad day at the same time. It was cold, and damp and miserable. And the result wasn't what we had hoped for.


Despite that, Richard, I have to say the performance was uncharacteristic. That game was not a true reflection of how we have played at home this season. I would like to think it was an aberration - like Manchester United losing to Norwich. We have to hope the team will come good again on Tuesday night. There's every reason to believe we will - just look at the league table. As some people say, it doesn't lie.


Come on. You've paid for the ticket. Give the players a chance to atone, to put it right. If they are "up for it", fired up by the manager who must have been as disappointed as we were, and with the backing of the crowd, this team is capable of getting back to winning ways and going on another successful run.


If you were going to turn your back, Richard, do it on a high - after a good win. You'll feel better for it. Of course if we do win, you might think that it would be another step on the road back to where we all want to be. I'll bet you'd like to be part of that march to glory.... Let's do it together. I'll be there.

Ian Gill said:

Forever -


I don't blame the lino for not putting up the flag, the picture above gives you the hint because it happened in the blink of an eye.


I was sitting in the East Stand Upper about level with the away end goal. As the second half got underway I thought to myself I wish they were using the old winter, orange ball so I could at least see where it was.


Throw in the away team playing in white and it would be hard to pick out for certain where the ball was. Oddly people in the stands may have had better views because of the angles and height.


Hopefully we will be quicker off the mark and not resort to the GW Bush option of launch.


As I posted earlier I wont be there. Work and midweek home matches don't really work, the £45 of diesel is a disincentive. There are plenty of local fans who should be there.


The concern would be whether we can return to our passing game, can we switch the form back on? Saturday showed that what we know in sport is that if you don't grasp the initiative the opposition will. people are right when they say it is an unforgiving league but it is the same in all sports.


Huddersfield are a better side than Bristol, give them half an hour to settle in and we will be in for a hard night.


As discussed above we do have a problem with width and at full back. The posts have discussed alternatives but the players such as Reach and Halliday have not featured. If we are not going to get width from the full backs then it will have to come from midfield.


It is a tricky one and it may be a few more weeks of struggle until George returns.


One plea, don't play Juke and Miller together.

Grove Hill wallah said:

I think it's very unfair to have a go at Richard, he is just stating what a lot of the crowd thought. This was an occasion that the club should have pounced on, to make sure disgruntled fans were tempted back to stay.


Where was the pre match entertainment? What about something at half time instead of the tired old penalty shoot-out?


That the players and manager let the fans down could have been tempered by an enjoyable match day experience. The Riverside is a cold unwelcoming place at the best of times, so a lot more effort should have been made.


Yes the club reduced the price, but they were forced into it due to the downward spiral of attendances. They had a captive audience on Saturday and blew it in all departments.

Richard said:

Dormo: Thanks for the hug! I needed that. I won't recognise you, but I may see you there!


GHw: Thanks for your support. You get the message loud and clear.


AV: You're a flamin' masochist!


Clive: It's hard to believe you've never been there! But if you're anything like…….
Wiggy's Mate: Try to see the big picture. No - even bigger than that!


I know you can't (consciously) influence where you are born or, to a slightly greater extent, raised (and certainly not retrospectively!), but you could at least try to recognise that not all Boro supporters (or potential Boro supporters) share your regional heritage and "It's in the blood" attitude as though that was the only criterion or demograph that ultimately matters.


Football competes with other leisure distractions - even good football! The "fickle" are an intrinsic part of society. A fickle quid is as valid as an "It's in the blood" quid. The club doesn't have to try very hard to attract the latter. But if it wants to compete at a higher level, it needs to go after the fickle quids.


I suggest rather than criticise the petulant rant, that you recognise it for the gift that it is and put pressure on the club to do better in all the things that contribute to improved match-day experience. If you really care about the club, that is.


**********


And for the record, to all those who questioned the validity of the test/ sample size - ask yourselves, "What was the hypothesis?"


I suggest, to you, that it was the one that most of "the disappeared" have used when reaching their own personal fork in the road.


And against that hypothesis, then my personal sample size wasn't one match. It was almost 100% of all home matches for the past four seasons PLUS one.


For greater understanding/ insight (perhaps), for starters, try reading (or re-reading) "Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance", Robert M Pirsig.


**********


Right, I'm off for my tea before going to a football match! I need to get well fuelled up so that I'm not tempted back into Riverside chips and coffee!


The fickle quids are staying in my wallet!

Ian Gill said:

Richards rant had more logic and reasoning that Mystic Mog's team selection, line up and tactics on Saturday. Proof of the pudding last night with a comfortable win against a better team than Huddersfield.


One of the two matches was an aberation but which one?

Forever Dormo said:

Richard -


you'd recognise me easily. I look like a Greek god (I just wish my wife would stop shouting "Dionysus" at full volume from the kitchen).


This is getting more than a little exciting. Butterflies in the stomach! We MIGHT have managed to throw off our habit of flattering in games then playing a shocker as soon as a TV camera is switched on for live coverage. Is this the real deal, or is it just a taste of what might be, before the dish is snatched away? Time will tell but I'm hopeful.


Off to the Stabbed Stoat now for a fireside seat and eyes glued to the "Legit Sat" TV screens (yes, more than one!) as the Dogs Bol**cks (5.2%) slides down the throat. A good real ale, a real fire, sitting in the company of others who also hope to see a triumphant performance from the Boro, and a live TV audience for the country to see our progress. Does it get better than this?


Go on - I'll be bold: Birmingham 1 Boro 2.

Forever Dormo said:

I don't think I will be the first to say "Ooops!".


And at the Stabbed Stoat the Dogs Bol***cks was off - finished earlier in the day so it was Boondoggle instead, as "guest" ale. Booo! Ended up on the Cockerhoop. Booo!


As to the football...I think I'd rather go to bed......

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