March 2006 Archives
PFFSSSSSSSSST! That's the first can open. European football is all about the preparation and the game against the Swiss has been tricky.
Most of our other games have been straight forward. Ostrava: Budvar. Villarreal: San Miguel. Sporting: SuperBock. Roma: a nice Chianti.
But what do we know about Swiss popular culture? Cuckoo clocks and cowbells, numbered accounts and Nazi gold. But I've looked at the map and it is practically in Germany so I've settled for a six pack of Becks and a Toblerone... game on.
IT IS easy to forget an anniversary. There was a lot on my mind, pet. I've been really busy at work, honest, what with mighty Boro's home and abroad double silver quest. Sorry. I'll make it up to you. Here's some garage forecourt flowers and a bottle of cheap plonk.
Lest we forget, in our post-Cardiff glow of optimism for the future and arrogant assumptions of glory, on this very day in 1998 Bryan Robson's Boro were taking on mighty Chelsea in the Coca Cup final.
It was Boro's third trip to the Twin Towers - 'Wemboroley' as it was then dubbed - in just 12 action packed months. And it was a hugely significant moment. After relegation, the double cup final heart-ache, the trauma of the three points saga and the departure of the iconic Brazilian and the Italian Whine, revived Boro were back.
THE GERMANS have a fantastic way of joining up existing words in a crazy linguistic lego that brings complex and often contradictory concepts togther in one uncomfortable 20 syllable saliva drenched whole.
So they must have compound word that sums up that mixture of self-righteous public tut-tut-tut condemnation and sudden explosion of guilty pride in seeing a loved one inflict harm on someone who, while possibly legally blameless this time, really deserves it.
Ah yes, "HowayMadDogPogasondeckthedirtyBoltongetz."
BUBBLING BORO could set for not just three games but three semi-finals in eight days in what is shaping up to be a stength-sapping end of season fixture frenzy.
We are already set to finish this term playing a minimum of 60 gruelling games - and hopefully it could be as many as 65.
Even in the madness of the double Wembley heartbreak campaign of 1996-97 Robbo's Boro side only played 54. The big question is Where will we fit them all in?
WHATEVER the bitterest of the sad seat-counting Geordies say on the Three Stooges tomorrow night, Boro's diehard fans can be proud of the magnificent turnout at Charlton tonight.
We will get slagged for taking the lowest number of away fans in the quarter-finals, you can be sure of that. I can hear Malcolm MacDonald chortling away now at the wit and wisdom of those who ring in the mistaken belief that trophies are handed out for bums on seats.
THE FURIOUS reaction of Boro fans to the aggressive Third World policing in Rome is to be channelled into some positive action.
The Gazette has reacted to a bulging mail-bag of horror stories from supporters who were bullied, intimidated and detained a gun-point by the Carabinieri by launching a campaign demanding action from UEFA and from the Government.
The campaign, which is backed by Teesside's MPs and Euro MPs, will be unveiled tomorrow. But you lot can have a sneak preview...
DOES ITALY need the kind of short, sharp shock English football got with the five year exile from Europe?
That draconian measure forced the game to face up to some harsh realities. Between Heysel and Hillsborough English football was involved in a deep-seated re-examination of almost every aspect of an anarchic, lawless game that was sliding towards oblivion.
But there were Italian fans at Heysel too, waving guns and knives and goading Liverpool supporters. Has the Italian game considered it's own deeply disturbing terrace culture?
ARE YOU going to Basle? Or maybe to Basel instead?
The sports desk massive is currently engaged in a vicious internal war of words, split over not only the pronounciation of Boro's next UEFA Cup opponents but also over the logic of Anglicing some foreign place names but not others. We use Beijing in the paper for instance. But not Mumbai.
Plus there is an opportunist sub-textual squabble going on over the headline possibilities determined by this policy decision.
RELEGATION jitters are abroad on Teesside again after the stiffs lost a second successive match. The gap is still ten points but there are some hard games to come and the glint of silverware is blinding us.
Yet there is also a growing hysterical belief that Boro can somehow stumble all the way in at least one of the knockouts. I buy into that and have done since about October when I became convinced that it was 1997 all over again and we were going down in a blaze of glory.
But if I was asked right now to sign a Faustian Pact offering an open topped bus parade down Linthorpe Road come May in exchange for my soul and going down with the Mackems I would willingly sign in blood.
RIGHT, I'm back from being pushed around by the goon squad gorillas who think football is a police state with a few apologies.