May 2007 Archives
THE SOARAWAY season just gone has been broken down into a century of bite size back page snippets by ace gossip condensers at the Daily Telegraph and an entertaining digest it makes too. My personal favourites were no-necked Welsh karaoke king Craig Bellamy taking a five iron to John Arne Riise in a midnight demonstration of his swing and Leeds Marching On to division three and a clash with mighty Hartlepool.
Boro get into the list twice, first at number 71 for becoming the first team to overturn a lead and beat Chelsea since the fast fading self parody Special One took over and then again at 91 as perma-crock Real Madrid reserve Jonathan Woodgate returns to English football with his local club.
Never one to see a simple format go to waste, here's my top ten
THERE'S the panic button; you can reach for it any time you like. If you click on it it sends a painful electric shock up Lambie's spine and activates a sound file screaming "Ow'ee, get yer finger out," in the frenzied tones of stoppage time. It's had more hits than myspace over the past week as an army of itchy-fingered Boro fans come to the boil.
Twitchy Teessiders are alarmed by the doom-laden smoke signals coming out of the club suggesting a downgrading of transfer targets from heroes to zeroes, the sounds of a just a few paltry coins rattling around in the bottom of a once overflowing warchest and ominous quotes from prospective signings who have opted for lesser clubs citing their new employer's ambition. And all that set against the on-going high-risk Viduka brinkmanship, talk of selling before we can buy and the appearance that Portsmouth are buying ever player in sight.
But wait! Don't zap Lambie just yet. Derby haven't even sobered up from the play-offs yet and most of Planet Football is lapping up the sun, sea and San Miguel. There is plenty of time before we move up to Defcon 1.
EMANUEL Pogatetz has picked up 23 yellow cards in his short time with Boro. The Alpine hardman was voted supporters' player of the year. The two are not unconnected. The crowd love a player who is willing to take a few knocks - and dish a few out - in the service of the shirt.
No matter how much you try to sanitise the game as a fluffly foam fingered family entertainment there remains a brutal kernal of primeval conflict about it and our innate tribalism demands a champion ready to shed blood for the cause. In Mad Dog we have such a man.
WE GOT not one Juninho letter. Not a single desperate plea to bring the newly unemployed Little Fella back to fill the creative void at the heart of his beloved Boro and sprinkle some magic football pixie dust on the Riverside. No tear-stained and emotional missives with important bits underlined , a lot of UPPER CASE STATEMENTS and more exclamation-marks than the EU punctuation mountain!!!!!
Has Teesside's Cult of Juninho finally died out?
DOWNING baiters, listen up. The left footed line hugger is Boro’s most potent creative force - and that’s official!
According to the Premiership’s statistical service the livewire winger has put in more successful crosses than any other player in the Premiership and has been Boro’s best passer, dribbler and the team’s assist king to boot. And Alpine hardman and cult hero Emanuel Pogatetz is fast shaping up as one of the best defenders around too.
SORRY, but once again softwear engineering works elsewhere in the network has left the blog in the sidings over the weekend. Normal service will resume shortly
RIGHT, I need your help. As part of a Summer Sports Gazette project in conjunction with supporters group the Twe12th Man I need to draw up a 40 strong long list of all time heroes which will be whittled down to a ten man historical elite by a weekly public vote.
Now, as the most knowledgable, articulate and downright sexy custodians of the Boro's history and traditions I need your imput in shaping the list of those players who deserve to be included in not just the decade of demi-gods but also the famous 40 contenders for legend status. The criteria are flexible. It could be longevity at the club and understated stalwart service for season upon season that defines inclusion, a key role in a shorter period of success, an unchallenged iconic, cult status won through fighting spirit or maybe just one unforgetable epoch shaping moment of magic in an other wise humdrum career (yes, that's you Massimo.)
I've provisionally picked the first 30 which was easy but even some of them are open to challenge: Ravanelli was only passing through, was disruptive and disrespectful then fizzled out after Christmas while Tim Williamson may clocked up 600 plus appearances but if you pre-date all living fans and your name is only known by stattos can you really be a legend? Now I want you lot to fill in the gaps, put a case to throw out the ones you don't like and propose the some more candidates to take the numbers to 40. Here's the list so far....
WHAT price Dimitar Berbatov? He's scored a few spectacular goals this season, including one against Boro, so he will be worth a few bob. What about the pricetag on Darren Bent? He is hot property after Charlton went through the trapdoor and will no doubt 'spark a summer scramble'. How about Dirk Kuyt? How much to buy him?
It bears thinking about because they all scored fewer Premiership goals than Mark Viduka this season. Check out the netbusting roll of honour.. And if you want to sign someone who scored more if will take the best part of next year's TV bonanza: Drogba, Ronaldo and Rooney will not come cheap - they will not come at all - while former target Benni McCarthy is unlikely to to rush to Boro: we were close to signing him once but his agent moved the goalposts late on in the talks so Gibbo chased him and McClaren signed Massimo Maccarone instead.
The key to the Mark Viduka dilemma for the Boro big wigs as they bite their nails in the tense contract brinkmanship is not how much it will cost to sign the Aussie hitman on a new deal but how much it will cost to replace him..
Sorry if anyone tried to read or post over the weekend but the blog has been knacked. Normal service appears to have been resumed after a weekend of technical difficulties beyond my comprehension. I think the servers did a Michael Owen and were stretcher off after being KO'd.
IT HAS been much leaked and it will now be much derided but here is the new Boro badge. Stand by for outcry from diehard supporters now facing the prospect of ripping up their block-paved drives designed around the old crest and small businesses everywhere are forced to repaint their white vans and change their stationary. Gazette photographers are on stand-by to rush to the house of the first to complain about the now outdated tattoo that covers their back.
As part of the heralded "rebranding" of the club this falls flat for me. The shield motif is fine and echoes heraldic images of the past, but the scroll is unconvincing and the complexity of its lines seem incongrous with the simplicity of the rest of the design and will be difficult to reproduce on some products. The fonts are clumbsy and of different sizes. The line under the word Middlesbrough' is weak. If the aim was to reinstate the date on the badge why not put that on the body of the shield? If the aim was to tap into the past and reconnect with the heritage of Ayresome where is the blue and black? Why a shield at all when the club badge has always been round? Where are the little ships from the old crest? I liked them.