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[Archived] Rovers 0 V 4 Middlesbrough review


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Hello and welcome to preview.

After a two week absense Rovers take on Middlesbrough (or Migglespru if your from Bolton) on Saturday 16th. Except the players on international duty that is. And the manager.

Three league games and one cup game into his reign, King Sparky has had a mixed start. The honeymoon period is over, indeed the sex life is but a distant memory and he can`t even remember what colour her eyes are.

(Tip - right it down on a piece of paper and store it in the battery compartment of the telly remote)

A first game win against Portsmouth, a calamitous penalty defeat against Bournemouth, and well you know what else has happened. At the time of writing, the internationals had not yet been played so his mood may be sour; but this game against the Smoggies must be approached with optimism and positivity.

Form men for Rovers include Barold F Ferguson, RoBrett Emerton and Paul Dickov, all likely to feature in the current round of internationals, so fingers crossed they all come back in a maximum of two pieces.

For Middlesbrough they now have a team full of Big Fee Men. Recent signings read like a who`s who of the top threes cast off list. Ray Parlour Junior(Of Ghostbusters fame), Jimmy Floyd Piggybank, Mark Vidontcare, Gazza Minder(thought that was 5 bellies) and Bowlingalley Zenden to name but, err 5 of them. Throw in young prodigy Downing, and the top Aussie keeper you really have an outfit that demands respect.

History is on Rovers side in this fixture. Hopefully he will have a great game, maybe even win us a penalty off Lady Luck, whos reffing the match. My memory of recent games at Ewood seems to be a lot of draws. Mostly nil-nils and last years belting two-two (Remember Markus Babbells brace) . The only home defeat was when Alen Boksic scored at the Darwen End off about seven deflections. This year is the first time in three that the game is being played outside a bank holiday.

The most remembered game is the one that never was! The no-show in 97 by an injury and illness ravaged Boro outfit eventually leading to the relegation.(more later)

So, I anticipate an even game, perhaps even a good game with both teams desperate for three points.

Two points to consider.

Will either of Rovers long running sequences end in this match?(penalty/0-0)

Secondly, how many Rovers fans will turn up? Will the tide turn and wash a couple of thousand new/old Rovers fans to cheer on the team to new glorys and an new era of success under Super Sparkys Blue and White army?

Time will tell.

I pass you over now to Rob from FlyMeToTheMoon fanzine( www.fmttm.com ) to answer a few questions I made up during the advert break during last nights episode of SpongeBobSquarepants.

How do you see Boros and Rovers status and role in English football?

I suppose we are similar in many ways. Two provincial clubs that punch well above their weight. Rovers have a proud tradition and an incredible history. We can’t claim the trophy haul and Victorian records but we also have our own heritage and former big name players. We both rebuilt recently, not just stadia but as clubs and local entrepreneurs have put us both on the map. We both copped a lot of flack, totally unjustified for apparently buying success. Yet instead I think both our clubs our living proof that you can still aspire and indeed achieve outside of the big cities but only when everyone pulls together and a local benefactor certainly helps.

How did you manage to get so much interest in the recent UEFA cup match against Banik? Rovers forays into Europe have been low key to say the least.(Bar Celtic)

It’s a dream come true getting into Europe. It’s something none of us really thought we’d ever see. And now in the words of a Lancashire comic “we’re living the dream.” We were very disappointed not to sell out that 1st leg but I’m sure we’ll achieve that v Lazio and Partizan Belgrade. The vast vast majority of our support comes from Middlesbrough and Teesside area and believe me the whole place is buzzing at the moment. This is a golden time to be a Boro fan.

With both clubs, the stadiums have, like most, undergone massive changes over the last 12 years. Which do you prefer? Comfortable covered toilets, beer and balti pies, etc? or crumbling atmospheric death traps, and £2.50 to get in?

I used to like the brick maze toilet block at old Ewood away end. I used to take a ball of string to ensure I could find my way out. Also liked the potato meat and more potato pies that would glue your mouth together and sit so heavily on your stomach that it would totally take your mind off Simon Garner sticking one past Stephen Pears. The new stadia are fantastic in so many ways, wonderful views and at Ewood top tier there’s always the added bonus of a possible hospital visit from exposure. They look exciting architecturally and are so much more comfortable. Yet I do miss so many aspects of old style football. I’m sure night matches were better under proper floodlight pylons. Our old grounds were falling to bits in reality. But maybe I’ve got a vested interest if it wasn’t for the redevelopment I’d be out on the street, I live on the site of Ayresome Park. What I do miss is old style prices!

Memories of previous matches between Rovers and Boro? Favourite match?

My worst was the 5-1 defeat at Ayresome – the Noel Brotherston match. You always had to wingers – one the tricky Brotherston type fella and the other a greyhound. With Simon Garner a pocket Supermac thundering through the centre. Another low that I’ll always recall is the eventual re-arranged “3 points lost” game in 96/97. If only we had gone for you and not sat back for a 0-0 maybe we wouldn’t have been relegated. Oh and I haven’t forgiven you for ruining Christmas last year with that last second equaliser. Keep in your own box this year Brad Friedel.

But they are all bad memories. Good ones. There was Alan Kernaghan’s unlikely hat trick v you at Ewood. Last season will be treasured for (still much missed) Juninho’s fantastic goal. We had 2 storming games against you in Middlesbrough. At the Riverside on Match of the Day Robbie Mustoe exploded into the challenges and the midget gems Barmby and Hignett weaved their magic up front as we defeated you, the Champions 2-0. Going back a few years to another BBC Match of the Day we defeated you at Ayresome Park in the first Premier season. You’d bought Stu Ripley but on that day he was put firmly in the shade by John Hendrie – “you’ve bought the wrong f***ing winger” we sang.

Whos the current Boro crowd favourite?

Juninho was before his exit. Now the position is probably up for grabs between Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink and Mark Viduka though homegrown winger Stewart Downing is a firm homegrown favourite. Stewart might play on the left but the comparisons with that other great winger Stuart Ripley, you remember him? We even sing the same song “we’ve got Stewy Downing/Ripley on the wing.” That is when Zenden’s not playing there.

Whos the current Boro scapegoat?

Looks like Doriva is this week’s favourite scapegoat. Why must there always be one? Former Brazilian international midfielder was players player of the year last year but now he has been widely pronounced not got enough for the Premiership or just plain cr*p. Any goal we give away was obviously the flat topped battlers fault. Even if he wasn’t on the field at the time. “Doriva you’re sh*te man.”

Bryan Robson or Graeme Souness?

Graeme Souness, born is the King of Ayresome Park. As we sang once long ago. Was voted in 1997 the Boro players greatest ever Boro player. An elegant midfielder who became a born again assassin after an over the top lunge from Dirty Yorath. He was the business and he looked like Yossa Hughes. Robson was one helluva player though wasn’t he. He transformed Middlesbrough from also rans to a so nearly team. Brought in international star quality that took the Premiership up a notch. Shall always be glad we got Robson and not Souness as manager. Soey was the hot favourite.

Which Rovers player would you swap for which Boro player?

Difficult one as you appear to be a team in transition. Brad Friedel is surely the best top flight keeper but Mark Schwarzer would be only just behind him. I’d swap Brett Emerton at his Feyenoord best for .. hang on no you’re not getting Mendieta or Zenden.

I’m struggling as I think we have good players in the same places as your top players. Perhaps Barry Ferguson for Ray Parlour – though purely an age thing.

Where will Boro and Rovers finish this season in the league?

We’re really gunning for a high finish. It will be disappointing if we don’t get into the top 8. Seventh will equal our highest finish since the old king died. Rovers are really struggling, you don’t need me to tell you that. I wonder if you’ll eventually fid the fire power to blast up into midtable mediocrity. That would do for starters for Sparky.

Who was balder, Brotherston or Armstrong?

Brotherston was fantastically tonsured. Old school fuzzy zeller and bald pate. Spike Armstrong was bald as a very bald thing by the time he was 21. Credit where credit’s due for avoiding shampoo from such a tender age.

How come you get McClaren and we got Kidd?

More speed less haste. Question of timing and maybe doing as much homework as McClaren does about all coaching matters. Unlucky I think. Real Madrid were asking a similar question this summer.

What did you make of the recent Souness V Cole, Yorke, Dunn sagas at Rovers?

You can trace it all back to that over the top tackle from Terry Yorath. Soey enjoys a bit of rough house stuff. Very disruptive though and ultimately golden Graham had to go because he had “lost the dressing room.” Careless that. But you get some awful fogs coming down from the Pennines don’t you?

Souness is old school and has little time for the modern playboy footballers. You should see pictures of him at Boro, adverts for gentleman’s tailors, flared trousers, lapels and big hair and luxuriant tache. Off to the Club Fiesta for a night of top entertainment with the Bachelors and Spinners. It’s a double bill. Freddy Starr is doing the warm up. Two or three pints of Cleveland Strongarm and then back to Alan Foggon’s place for a steak and kidney pie supper. The body is a temple and they knew how to look after it in those days.. kids of today, I don’t know…

Stuart Ripley should have won more England caps:Discuss

Without a doubt. Phenomenal winger. So so dangerous. How many of Shearer’s goals were from Ripley centres? So unlucky to make his England debut in that fateful game v San Marino. He really paid for that. And then just one more cap. Still he did “enjoy” the privilege of being the only player ever stretchered off from Wembley on a wheel barrow.

If it wasn’t for the old hamstrings. Ripley’s Achilles heel. Or is that mixing metaphors with the meta-physical?

Finally, how many will Boro win by on Saturday?

Ewood has often been an unhappy hunting ground for us but we really need the win not a draw on Saturday. We’ve shown at Old Trafford that we can cause opponents problems even without our big three Hasselbaink, Viduka and Parlour – that should give everyone confidence. I’m going for a 2-1 win. That’ll do nicely with the required amount of nail biting at the end. Please no, not another last minute equaliser like last Christmas.

Many, many thanks to Rob for his time, some great responses there.

Theres a promise of more later I`m told.

Me, I reckon it will be 0-0 and we will get, and miss a penalty.

Two for the price of one.

Thank you, and goodnight.

Edited by ozziejones
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MIDDLESBROUGH, not Middlesborough.

Rewrite 100 times until you get it right.

Gout making you irritable again, Jim?

Thanks, Ozzie and Rob, thoroughly enjoyed that.

As for the match, looking forward to that. Hope Bert and Lucas aren't too tired after their Ozzie trip.

I think there will be goals, something like 2-2, Short will be back with any luck.

Hope MarkII is busy putting the defence through its paces this fortnight!

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Hello again. Two more sets of responses to the questions. The first answer is from fmttm member `Reizigers` Lips ` and the second answer is from fellow member `Number10`.

I thank them whole heartedly, mainly because it saved me thinking too much. Why not visit their website?

How do you see Boros and Rovers status and role in English football?

Both have potential to do well, Boro aiming for top 6 place this season, not sure about Blackburn because of their new manager

Both midtable sides with ambitions of europe, and recently have reached these heights.

How did you manage to get so much interest in the recent UEFA cup match against Banik? Rovers forays into Europe have been low key to say the least.(Bar Celtic)

First time in europe i suppose, and after the carling cup last year being our first trophy people could be interested to see how we do.

Because we've never ever experienced anything like it before so it was a big step into the unknown. A superb one at that, a marvellous atmosphere, and the Banik fans were made most welcome

With both clubs, the stadiums have, like most, undergone massive changes over the last 12 years. Which do you prefer? Comfortable covered toilets, beer and balti pies, etc? or crumbling atmospheric death traps, and £2.50 to get in?-

I prefer a good atmosphere.

The latter

Memories of previous matches between Rovers and Boro? Favourite match?

Dont have a favorite, but there was one game about 5-6 year ago at the riverside it was absolutley freezing (and a boring 0-0 i think)

The 3 points farce obviously isn't a favourite but a memory none the less, Favourite, probably the win in the FA Cup a few years ago, won with an Ugo header late in the game.

Whos the current Boro crowd favourite?

jimmy floyd hasselbaink/stewart downing

Franck Queudrue because he's brilliant. Juninho as well obviously even though he's left.

Whos the current Boro scapegoat?

zenden, but i think he does his job well.

Gaizka Mendieta, because clearly some of our fans can't recognise class.

Bryan Robson or Graeme Souness?


Please god neither

Which Rovers player would you swap for which Boro player?

brad friedel for brad jones

Hand on heart not one. Friedel for Schwarzer possibly, but thats more than a bit harsh on big Mark

Where will Boro and Rovers finish this season in the league?

boro - 6th , rovers - 11th

Boro 6th Rovers 12th

Who was balder, Brotherston or Armstrong?


I have no idea i'm not that old.

How come you get Maclaren and we got Kidd?

Our chairman is the best in the country - FACT

Because we're clever like that

What did you make of the recent Souness V Cole, Yorke, Dunn sagas at Rovers?

didnt pay much attention to it.but david dunn is a good player (silly to let him go)

Souness is obviously easily wound up, although you're probably better off without Cole and Yorke as i'd imagine they were on massive wages, with little pay back in the way of goals, Dunn on the other hand will be a big loss if he ever gets playing to his full potential again for Birmingham

Stuart Ripley should have won more England caps:DIscuss

he should


Finally, how many will Boro win by on Saturday?

a very close 0-4 win for boro (only joking 0-1 to boro)

3, A hat-trick from George Boateng. You heard it here first.

Thanks again boys, good job.

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And I'd told my wife it was an away game.

That's only so's you wouldn't have to take her.... you cheapskate !! biggrin.gifbiggrin.giftongue.gif

Seriously though, I'm looking to Mark MkII working with the defense for the 2 weeks.. and getting something out of them ! so I'm going for us keeping a clean sheet in the goals against column and nicking victory in the 87th minute with a flash of brilliance from Stead.

Can I wake up now ?

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I think Rovers are about to turn a corner. Hopefully Sparky will sort out our dreadfully inept defence into something that at least has shape, and can read the game - bring in Short and Todd.

Our midfield isn't half bad and not the best forwards we've ever had, but not too bad. Look at Charlton. not individually a wonderful team but they are organised, they work the opposition and chase every ball and never give in. Teams have to work hard to get through the wall of Charlton players. And that what we need, organisation from the first attacker down to the last defender, so we stop conceding stupid sloppy goals. And make teams work to beat us.

8 - 0 Rovers - Friedel with a hatrick and Stead with 5 penalties

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8 - 0 Rovers - Friedel with a hatrick and Stead with 5 penalties

I can understand the Friedal hatrick, but you are well over the top with the penalties statement ... But having said that I think there will be a penalty this weekend... but not to us sad.gif

Boro 2 - 1 Rovers

Viduka Pen 23' Emerton 16'

Mendiata 57'

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Seriously though, I'm looking to Mark MkII working with the defense for the 2 weeks.. and getting something out of them

As good as our coaches may be, "you can't make a silk purse out of a sow's ear". Amo has the positional sense of an 8 year old and unfortunately not the concentration span.

But, we are coming good going forward so a 3-2 thriller to us - Bazza, Emo and Dickov. Some almighty clump of a defender for them from a set piece and a JFH free-kick.

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Rovers 1-0

Jonathan Stead ends his goal drought ( I know i say this every week but he will score this time! ) with a fine finish from David Thompson's ( if he still exists ) through ball. Stead came on for Youri Djoarkaeff in the 62nd minute after struggling with a knock picked up of Zenden.

Attendance: 2,000 ( With 1,500 Boro fans )

Edited by frosty
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Who are we going to have available at the weekend? If Emerton and Neill play for Aus in midweek they probably won't be back in time and I can't see Fergie being fit if he's out with a hamstring injury. I don't suppose the ones coming back from injury will be right because they haven't played at all.

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