September 2007 Archives
WHAT are the odds on Yakubu scoring against Boro at Goodison? About 7-4 if you believe the bookies but most battle-scared cynical survivors of reunions past will have him down as a stone cold certainty to rattle one in.
There were volunteers queuing up with offers to personally give the enigmatic August-January hitman a croggie all the way to Merseyside after one of those Nigerian internet scams actually hit pay dirt and Boro pulled off the transfer coup of the Summer. He is already widely regarded as a lazy waste of space by Everton fans and he was dropped for the match with Aston Villa last week because boss David Moyes thought he wasn't pulling his considerable weight in training.
So it's nailed on then?
INJURIES or not, striker light Boro must go for broke at White Hart lane tomorrow night. There must be no weak team, weak mind fudge. It is a game Boro must win.
Gareth Southgate may have a headache up front but dead man walking Martin Jol has far bigger problems as the vultures gather in the boardroom and his disjointed and demoralised side - tipped as Champions League challengers after breaking the bank - languish in the bottom three.
Jol is caught in a Groundhog Day nightmare of recurring votes of confidence and rumours of dressing room rifts hampering his team and heads are down after a shaky start to what was scripted to be a glorious season. There may never be a better time to play sorry Schpursh.
CRACK! THWACK! TWANG! It was an onomatopoeic derby horror show as Boro's season limped heavily into a casualty cul-de-sac. Not only did Boro have to deal with the frustration of leaking a sickening late, late leveller to a poor Sunderland side and the potentially costly cheap surrender of two points at home, but now they must also face up to a major injury headache just as the fixture list begins an ominously sharp incline.
DERBY day: a time for heroes. The stage is set for someone to take their place in folklore.
Boro's defeat at West Ham raised the stakes considerably in the coming Tees-Wear tussle at the Riverside. It could be a season defining moment. As Boro suffered a morale denting reverse at Upton Park, the Mackems put their wobble behind them to beat Reading and move level on points. That makes the A19 derby clash more than just a battle for local bragging rights.
For Boro it is time to deliver on the early season promise and they need a display that is both spirited and stylish if they are to succeed in their bid to get people out of the pubs, put bums on seats and win the waverers over to Gareth Southgate's new look side.
THERE are as many Boro fans with deep misgivings about the prospects of dramatic progress from Gareth Southgate's squad as there are those who have bought into the idea of a new age of high energy attacking.
After the euphoria of the Birmingham game the positivists had plenty of evidence of progress but following a two steps forward, one step back performance at Upton Park the doubters will feel their own hand has been strengthened.
BORO face a tricky test of their embryonic attacking zeal and 'work for the shirt' steel in the Smoke. There has been much talk of renewed optimism following a gritty derby display against Newcastle and a sizzling show against Birmingham City but if that upturn in the ambient temperature is to be turned into the bums-on-seats support that the club's big hitters have appealed for then Boro must keep the pot of positivity bubbling.
WITH AN injury crisis leaving the national team short, Boro have been cast as the unlikely saviours of English football. The club's approach to grooming talent all the way into the first team is being hailed as a template that can turn the tide of the foreign invasion.
KEITH Lamb has laced into "negative" Bernie Slaven in a no-holds-barred interview with Boro fanzine Fly Me To The Moon. The tension between the chief executive and the Glaswegian grumbler has been simmering since the news broke the Century match commentary had been axed - but it is all out in the open now after Lamb's robust two-footed tackle in the fanzine.
Lamb also clarified his controversial statement on the role and importance of season ticket holders, gave an insight into Boro's strategy within the changing economics of football and emhasised that Boro fans are living through a golden age and that there could be more success to come - but only if Teesside continues to support Gareth Southgate's drive for attacking football and Steve Gibson's vision of a club geared up for sport and glory.
Here, by kind permision of FMTTM editor Rob Nichols is the hard-hitting interview in full:
THE ENGLAND boss is under more intense media scrutiny than any man in the country except the Prime Minister. So said the FA’s Middlesbrough-born spin doctor supreme Adrian Bevington as he ran a very smooth news management operation when the Steve McClaren media circus came to Teesside yesterday.
Counting the column inches and measuring the airtime the respective former right-hand men who have stepped up to the top job get he has a point, although arguably he has sold himself short.