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Atko's Engine

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Everything posted by Atko's Engine

  1. Atko's Engine

    Norwich - tempting fate

    We were outclassed last night no doubt, they ought to have been 4 up after 20 mins & we should've been down to 10 men. But credit where it's due, we got one back quickly and I think that contributed to them reining in their ambition for the remainder of the game. On that performance alone we're miles off Norwich, but one performance doesn't tell the whole story. Half our team was out of sorts yesterday as opposed to the usual 2 or 3, and as someone above pointed out Norwich were no great shakes at Ewood in December. Clearly we need strengthening, with 5 or 6 first team ability players needed this summer. Mowbray seems to acknowledge that so it should be interesting. Norwich & Sheff U are something to aspire to and we absolutely should be aiming for a proper promotion push next season. But at the same time they ought not necessarily to be used as a stick to beat Mowbray with as this league is so unpredictable. I think it's clear that our style of play is evolving into something more dynamic than long balls to DG, so it'll be interesting to see what direction his recruitment takes us the summer.
  2. Atko's Engine

    Norwich - tempting fate

    Happy enough with that team overall, should cause their defence some problems if we're on our game. I'll be watching via a now TV day pass, so we'd best turn up!!
  3. Atko's Engine

    Championship 2018-19

    "He doesn't regret coming (to Bolton)" I think something might have got lost in translation there...
  4. Atko's Engine

    Bolton at home.

    2-0 Armstrong
  5. Atko's Engine

    Bolton at home.

    BB!!!
  6. Atko's Engine

    Mowbray: Stay or go?

    Can't disagree with much if what's been said over the last page or so, though I would add that perhaps the confused structure of the club brings into sharper focus what a decent job TM has done in spite of it all.
  7. Atko's Engine

    Mowbray: Stay or go?

    So if he'd said "Next season we're aiming for the playoffs" you'd have been happier? I doubt it; more likely his critics would have asked "What, only playoffs? Why not aim higher?". He just can't win with many on here, his words get over analysed (as I guess happens to all managers). Also your view of his comments depends on interpreting what he means by "top end". You've clearly interpreted it as 1st-6th (fair enough but that's quite a thick end, being a quarter of the division), but in TM's head it could mean 1st - 3rd (which is probably a more accurate interpretation of "top end" of a 24 team division). This is why it's not binary, other than in the sense of he stays or he goes. However, I do agree that now we're safe we ought to now be actioning pre-formed plans for next season, both in terms of recruitment & ST sales etc., not trying to finalise ambitions. Hopefully it's not a case of last season's lessons not being learnt. That though should be a criticism of the owners & Waggott, not TM.
  8. Atko's Engine

    Mowbray: Stay or go?

    Maybe I've tried too hard to show how balanced I am there! I'm conscious that on here there's an expectation that an opinion should be backed by examples (rightly so), and if I ignore TM's downsides whilst preaching about being balanced in judgment of him, then I'm not practising what I preach! I take all your points on board. He's frustrating at times and seems overly cautious, but also to be fair to him he's had to cope with different challenges each season. The last part of 16/17 was firefighting to try to prevent relegation, 17/18 was solely about getting promoted from L1, and 18/19 about re-establishing ourselves in the Championship. Each of those challenges required a different tactical approach, different personnel and different styles, which might explain why his stated desire to ultimately play a more attractive style has had to take a back seat, because it doesn't save you in a relegation dogfight (ask Big Sam) and nor does it get you promotion from L1; there are too many "agricultural" teams there. Next season will be the first season TM starts with us in the same division we competed in the season before. That consistency allows him to build on what he learnt from the previous season as to what works in this division, what doesn't work & where he needs to improve. I guess ultimately many of us will have to agree to disagree. I think we all accept, grudgingly or not, that he is staying, so maybe this thread should be closed until 10 games into next season when the direction things are heading in will be a lot clearer!
  9. Atko's Engine

    Mowbray: Stay or go?

    I'm not one whose afraid of the alternative choices (though historically those choices have been poor; McLeish is on the market I see, would any of us wish to take the risk of his appointment?). I just think Mowbray has done well overall, achieved realistic progress comfortably in his time here, and therefore deserves the chance to kick on with his development plans for the club.
  10. Atko's Engine

    Mowbray: Stay or go?

    But that presupposes that had we achieved a bang average run of results in those months, we would still also have won 4 in a row in January and 3 in a row in April so far. It's a prime example of criticising the bad (fair enough) but not giving credit for the good (unfair). Had the wins in Jan & April been spread out evenly amongst the win, defeats and draws in Dec, Feb & Mar, that would be the absolute definition of a "bang average run of results" that you refer to across 5 months, but would leave us in exactly the same position as we're in, though arguably with less criticism of the bad results. You can't say we should have avoided many of the bad results, whilst presuming we would have still got all the good ones. Football doesn't work like that!
  11. Atko's Engine

    Mowbray: Stay or go?

    C'mon, seriously?? We're no better off now overall than we were in Feb 2017? That's a very hard opinion to justify...
  12. Atko's Engine

    Tony's Transfer Record Part 2

    Brereton - 3.5 - he won a penalty, got an assist and can tie his bootlaces in under 90 seconds flat, but mostly been played out wide rather than centrally where he apparently prefers. Not seen much yet to justify even a quarter of his price tag, but one for the future I feel. That said, the next 3 games could be critical for his future here. Disappointing to date. Rothwell - 7 - showed glimpses of promise early on but seemed naive; only in last few games has he realised some of his promise with 2 v strong performances in particular. Exciting bum-off-seat type of player. Has v good potential, needs to push on tho to achieve it. Armstrong - 6 - the height of inconsistency and probably represents our season in a microcosm; sometimes unplayable (like today) but not often enough), too often seems uninterested & is frustrating. Much better value for money than BB though, to date. Overall a moderate success. Rodwell - 5 - showed class, but needs a strong CB alongside him or yo be moved into midfield. Has obvious talent, but is his heart still in it? Was certainly happy we took a punt, would like to see him get another 12 months. Davenport - unclassified. No-one's fault, just injuries. Sounds like a progressive-thinking player from what I hear but nothing to base that on other then hearsay. Chapman - 2 - only because he's not featured yet. His potential is clear from last season, his pace will frighten most defences. What I am impressed with is that he's had a good long & effective run with the U23s, which bodes well for next season. Reed - 8 - been great for us most games, though went missing a little in Feb / March (not alone there). Still think there's a chance he can come back he clearly fit in well with the group - see his celebration after Rothwell's goal v Derby. Palmer - 3 - just didn't work, end of. Perhaps not the type of player we needed at that time. Overall I'd give Mowbray 5.5 for his 2018/19 transfers to date, but that could massively improve should BB, Chapman & Davenport shine.
  13. Atko's Engine

    Mowbray: Stay or go?

    I see what you're driving at (!) with your motoring analogy, though I'm not sure that it transposes well into football management. Managers get judged on results across the season, that's the long & short of it. The rest of your post I agree is fact, but ignores / glosses over the many positives he's brought. He's galvanised the club, stabilised it, got us looking up instead of down, signed gems as well as flops. It's not fair to just look at the negatives and say he's not good enough for the next stage based on those. It's important to have a balanced view of his tenure here; I think overall he has done more good than harm and therefore has earned the right to try to take us on still further. There's real attacking flare & promise within our squad, which I might add is down to his transfer dealings (Dack, Rothwell, Armstrong, Chapman, and hopefully BB in the longer term). His job now is to supplement them and find the right style of play to get the best from them.
  14. Atko's Engine

    Mowbray: Stay or go?

    Yes it's my opinion that he ought to be given the chance to further improve us, but it is supported by the fact that improving the club overall as a whole is precisely what he's done throughout his time here, despite there being many bumps in the road along the way to where we are now. I started my involvement in this thread stating that I didn't expect many to agree with me, or people to change their minds on the back of my opinion. And so it's proved, which is fine. One thing is for sure, over the next 3-6 months it'll be interesting to see what he does to put his plans to further develop our club into practise. I'm sure there'll be plenty to discuss!
  15. Atko's Engine

    Rovers away at QPR - Good Friday 19th April 2019

    Cracking win today, well done all concerned (bar Leutweiler it seems). Really heartened to read about the effect that Travis, Williams, Rothwell & Armstrong in particular had today. Starting an unchanged team (nearly) after 2 wins can't be criticised really (many have cried out for consistency of selection all season). I don't think TM had a choice in playing Evans today given the Reed situation, tho like most I was disappointed there was no youth on the bench, but I guess that will come on Monday at home against "easier" opposition. I know there's a U23 game the day after but giving a Buckley, Butterworth or R-C 30-45 mins ought not to stop them from playing a part on Tuesday too. Great to get a third win on the spin, with a good chance of a 4th on Monday. There is definitely lots of potential already at the club to work on going into the summer & prepping for further progress next season, with the right additions. Over to you Tony; may the Force be with you!
  16. Atko's Engine

    Mowbray: Stay or go?

    My point in a nutshell, cheers! I'm by no means saying TM is wonderful or ought to be above criticism, far from it; I was hugely disappointed by his selection for the Stoke match (especially given his comments earlier in the week re flooding youth) and that in particular has come back to bite him, much like his comments & failure to sign anyone in January (coupled with loaning out Downing). I also accept some older players appear not to attract as much criticism for their weaknesses as younger ones, though I have no problem with adopting a "tough love approach" to try to help younger players improve their all-around game for the benefit of their careers. So by all means constructively criticise his actions, his comments / treatment of individual players, his tactics in individual games. But none of this adds up to him being unable to improve us further overall. It can't be denied that he improved our points per game significantly when he took over from Coyle, got us promoted from L1 with a near record points tally, and will finish this season in mid - lower table with more points than we had when we went down. That's progress year on year in terms of his own individual performance, so for that alone he will get a deserved shot IMO at progressing further next season. This season is crucial in the TM project. Too many are waiting for him to slip up to then be able to say "I told you so", which I guess is the lot of all modern professional managers; even Klopp, Guardiola & Poch have come in for criticism from some quarters this season! The goal next season has to be to push for promotion, which will need a change in tactics, personnel & style of play. His signings (Rothwell, Armstrong, Brereton, Chapman) hint at attempting to move to a more progressive style in the longer term; there's no guarantees that will succeed of course. I hope he marginalises the likes of Smallwood, Evans and Bennett (and avoids plays 2 CDMs together except in the toughest 1/2 games) and strengthens us at CB, LB, CF and GK thru new signings & promoting youth. A top third finish with a tangible challenge for the playoffs has to be the minimum aim; fail to be in the mix by March and he should not see out the season.
  17. Atko's Engine

    Mowbray: Stay or go?

    I think he inherited a club in crisis, players (& fans) low on confidence, galvanised them (as you rightly said in another post) & very nearly saved them from the drop. At that time, I don't recall there there being massive expectation of automatic promotion; demand yes, tons of that, but not much expectation. Fair enough I'd say; League One's recent history is littered with clubs bigger & less basket-case clubs than we were then, who spent more than one season there (or worse), and TM's last stint there hardly ended in glory. So you could argue that he exceeded expectations (as opposed to demands) in that respect. I'd certainly say he's at least matched expectations this year, if not exceeded them. Realistically survival was the aim this year, & he's achieved that with 10% of the season to spare. That would have suited most on here in August as back to back promotions are almost unheard of, but as the first half of the season went so well (despite some crushing late goals conceded) and left us pushing on the top 6 in November, and again by the end of January, he became a victim of his own success. Now he's being judged not on achieving survival / consolidation, but on not pushing for promotion when there was little more than an outside chance of it. That's led people to think he can't take the club further, be that League position or playing style, but that was never the aim at the outset of this season! People have therefore moved the goalposts on him, which I think is an unfair way to judge him. Now people want him gone, his every comment is analysed by many in the context of finding negatives to justify the rhetoric. Yes he's cautious, sometimes frustratingly so, but I tend to think that's because he's conscientious and respectful of what this club has been through recently. I don't think he's the best manager out there either, but I do think he has done as much as could be expected of him (if not more) and deserves the chance he will get to move onto the next stage of development. Fortunately, from my pov at least, he will get that chance. I can see positives going forwards and am happy to let him get on with the gradual rebuilding job that is indicative of a properly run outfit. I'm quite sure most people on here want him to succeed too given that he is going nowhere as that's obviously good for the club, so hopefully my optimism is well placed...!
  18. Atko's Engine

    Mowbray: Stay or go?

    Probably not in that case; I just get so frustrated that TM is criticised so vehemently by so many at the drop of a hat, yet doesn't get credit for the good stuff (or if he does its very grudging and with caveats). People have forgotten the "then" of when he arrived compared to the "now" of where we are under his stewardship. He needs to prove he can develop this club further yes, totally agree, and that includes making 3 or 4 first 11 signings. But the whole premise of this thread is whether he should have the chance to do that (which I get is every fan's right to pose the question) and the 60/40 majority against TM is, I think, ignoring and underestimating the bigger picture of what he has achieved in adversity given the state he found us in. So I guess you and I agree, but 60% on here think differently!
  19. Atko's Engine

    Mowbray: Stay or go?

    I agree that letting Downing leave and / or not adding a CB was a misjudgment, which was brought into sharp focus by losing both Mulgrew & Lenihan almost immediately after the window shut. I get people questioning that. And some of his tactics & team selections have surprised & disappointed me. But that's happened with most managers down the years, it's normal. TM has his flaws, don't we all? Time will tell if he can achieve what we all hope he can, but IMO he absolutely deserves the chance to try and I find it quite disappointing that given what he's achieved here against the odds, the majority on this board don't wish to see him have the chance to realise that opportunity. I know the club isn't here to be a vehicle for his ego, but I think he's a good fit for this club and he is going the right way about building a solid basis in which to build a solid tilt for promotion over the next 1/2 seasons.
  20. Atko's Engine

    Mowbray: Stay or go?

    So after all that effort, explanation & logic, this is all I get back?! I'll not try so hard next time...! 😋 Seriously though, perfection was perhaps the wrong word to use, but the expectations of the majority on here who want TM out ought to be reeled in IMO. The nuts & bolts are that he nearly kept us up with the odds stacked against him, got us promoted 1st time of asking when many on here expected him / the club to fail, and then has kept us up relatively comfortably. The future's brighter than it has been for 5 or 6 years; he's put us in that position and deserves the chance next season to try to see it through to the next phase. Changes are needed player wise; the L1 core needs dismantling and first teamers brought in in key areas, and TM has admitted as much (I agree the proof will be in the pudding). The style of play needs to evolve, as he's alluded to and shown evidence latterly of putting into practise. Youth is being given a chance. He needs fans to support him and back his bigger picture, not jump on his back every time he gets something wrong. This season has been an inconsistent rollercoaster, but the bigger picture has been a stable and progressive one since his appointment (which I was underwhelmed with by the way). He might not take us up but he absolutely deserves the chance to try. There's a cautionary tale to note from last season too. Ipswich & Norwich finished 12th & 14th respectively, both on 60 points (which just happens to be TM's stated target for this season); the former potted their manager due to a supposed lack of ambition / poor style of play under his watch, whereas the latter stuck with theirs despite gettingflak from many fans, which spilled over into this season. Neither team will be playing Championship football next season; I know which one I'd rather be!
  21. Atko's Engine

    Mowbray: Stay or go?

    About 4 games ago I voted stay, without having time to explain my reasons. I don't expect many to agree or any to change their minds on the back of this, but I'll say my piece anyway, whatever flak might come my way.I think TM has achieved about as much as he reasonably could have done in his time here. We were a real sh*tshow when he arrived and I believe that he is giving us a sound platform on which to build. I've said on another thread that he's not perfect. He's made some strange tactical decisions, stayed too loyal to some players and made some errors in his transfer dealings (or lack thereof). He's sometime not carried through into matchday what he's hinted at previously (e.g. style of play, blooding youth) and often gives too much respect to the opposition (publicly in his words, and also in his selections). But does that mean he ought to lose his job? Has he been that poor to be said to have underachieved? I don't think so. I'm not perfect in my job either and get some things wrong / make misjudgments, but overall, viewed across the piece, I do a good job for my employer and therefore I get to keep it (so far!). Why does TM deserve to lose his job? We're now officially better off then when he arrived, by all assessable measures: League position - never been in bottom 3 all season, and safe for next season with 4 games to go Points tally - now on 53, we went down on 51 which was a record relegation tally in its own right Assets - our squad has a higher value than it was when he took over I don't think it's fair to move the goalposts in front of him. When he arrived I don't think there was massive confidence from anyone that he could save us from the drop; had he done he would have legendary status amongst fans. He nearly did it though, and but for a freak season he would have achieved it. Yes we can point to individual games and say that's where we didn't get the point or goal that would have saved us, but that's overlooking the simple fact that he put us in a position to make the margins so tight. Yet some on here hold a grudge against him for not actually stopping relegation, even if they accept he wasn't ultimately responsible for it and were prepared to back him in L1. Last season, after a slow start he got us comfortably promoted; but for a freak showing by Shrewsbury it would have been far more comfortable. Of course, that was the only acceptable ultimate goal but how many actually genuinely thought we would do it automatically at the first time of asking? Many on here were talking about dropping through the the league's & the club going under, which was a genuine concern. But he got us promoted (admittedly with some bumps on the way; that happens across 46 games) yet gets criticised for not doing it more comfortably or pushing on for the title as hard as people would like. This season being competitive not fighting relegation & with a possible push for top half, was the best we were likely to achieve realistically. Here we are, safe with 4 games left and top half in our sights. I would say overall that's a sound if unspectacular achievement, & foundations set for a promotion push next season. Admittedly we had an awful run of late and it was hard to see where the next win was coming from. But I remember thinking the same at Christmas, then January brought 4 wins in a row. Good runs and bad runs happen in football; if the good and bad had been more evenly spread, would TM be being criticized so vehemently? I doubt it; it's only because we were so well placed in late Jan that he is now being criticized for not putting in a promotion push, which realistically was never the aim at the outset, even after shelling out for BB. Next season, push for promotion. The foundations are there, and TM is the one who has built them. There is a good strong nucleus of young players, clearly with some attacking talent; the U23s have pulled up trees, all credit to DJ for that and he readily gives credit to TM for his commitment at that level too. There's structure and stability at the heart of the club, which there wasn't 26 months ago. There's work to do at the back & centre mid, and a replacement for DG to be found (either like for like or via a change in system). TM deserves the chance to achieve that; he said 4 windows, I think that's fair. To expect much more than what he has done is, in my opinion, expecting perfection. No one should be expected to achieve perfection or criticized for failing to achieve it, nor should he be deprived of the chance to improve further given what's been achieved so far.
  22. Atko's Engine

    Summer Transfer Window 2019

    I actually think there'd be more interest in our unwanted / unrated players than some people think; fans of all clubs tend to be over criticise those players they feel aren't good enough for their club, however fans of other clubs (and more importantly managers) take a different view. Don't forget, Bolton took Lowe after he left us, and Sunderland even paid us for Steele! Mistakes on their part maybe but it does happen, and often. Also some players fit in better with other clubs' plans / teams better than ours, or perform better / differently in other environments. There's a risk in any transfer in or out of course, but remember that several of those that most on here don't rate / want (i.e. Williams, Evans, Mulgrew) are internationals & seasoned pros. Admittedly not with top nations & Mulgrew is of course in the twilight of his career, but nevertheless a number of clubs will covet them, whether or not we think they should. Smallwood, Bell, Samuel, Conway etc will all also have their suitors at some level of another. (For the record I'd prefer Conway, Williams & Mulgrew to stay.) Admittedly there may have to be sweeteners / knockdown prices offered by Rovers in some cases, but I'm ok with that if it means a poor player being replaced by a better one - but as I said, there's risk to any transfer.
  23. Atko's Engine

    Summer Transfer Window 2019

    Been off here for a while, struggled for time to contribute. Have been to most home games, none away. But been keeping in touch with opinion on here and feel overall that we are likely to finish about where we could have optimistically hoped for at the start of the season. Comfortably safe in the end, with some cracking performances / results mixed with dross, consistency is the key which we've not had. Our season started off excellently, hit a big wobble, recovered excellently in January, then was truly awful before picking up again this month. If our form had been spread out more evenly I don't think anyone would have complained. (much!) I agree that it was disappointing not to kick on after January or strengthen, but am not too hung up about it. I believe this summer was always pinpointed as critical to the development plan, and wholly trust TM with that. No he's not perfect and he's made mistakes; if he was perfect, we wouldn't have him. But I believe he has this club's best interests at heart and knows enough about the game and enough contacts & respect within the game to be worthy of sticking with. In terms of personnel, my quick views below in an ideal world (those starred will not happen): Raya - keep. Young & nervy at times, but who wouldn't be behind this defence recently? Needs to competition & / or better coaching. Nyambe - keep. Needs developing but has all the basic attributes. Bennett - keep. Limited in many respects but can fulfil numerous roles if needed to a reasonable standard. Def one to have in the squad. Lenihan - grown in stature, key to us going forward. Williams - keep. Shown he can be a decent squad option, esp at CB. * Bell - replace. Has ability but rarely shows it. Defensively poor, and his marauding' promising runs up the line always inexplicably stop at half way for some reason. Mu!grew - keep. That stat in the Forest thread re more points w/o him than with him in half the games is concerning, but he has enough to warrant another season. Rodwell - keep if reasonably priced wages wise. Would have him in a holding midfield, shielding defence. Smallwood - sell. Served his time, been good for us, but not good enough to fight for promotion. * Evans - too inconsistent. Does not seem bothered too often, & to negative in an attacking sense. * Reed - sign if financially viable. Played out of position too often for my liking, but his reaction to 1st goal v Derby suggests to me he still enjoys being here. Travis - keep of course Davenport - keep. Sounds like he has lots of promise, hopefully gets a good preseason & clean slate. Rothwell - keep. Been excellent this month, clearly offers something different & worries defences. Helps spread our points of attack across the field. Chapman - keep. Could be massive for us next season a la Rothwell. If they can interchange, oppo fullbacks will be pinned back & get no despite from direct running. Conway - keep. Controversial but clearly good to have around & can teach a lot about getting wide & crossing. Quasi coaching role for him? Armstrong - keep. Like him, albeit inconsistent. I think he'd benefit from a bit of a free roll across the front * Brereton - loan & replace. Feel for the lad, huge expectations, not been able to a niece due to Graham's form. Needs a confidence building season elsewhere. Dack - keep. Struggled of late but still got good stats cross season. If (big if) he can concentrate on football him, Rothwell, Armstrong & Chapman can really shine next season; the pace and craft in that quartet would cause problems for most defences. Nuttall - loan. Has a finish in him, big lad, could be a long term Graham replacement. Graham - been immense this season, love him. Still got at least another season, tho I would expect / hope he will be used more sparingly to blood a replacement. * Samuel - loan / sell. Might benefit from a full season elsewhere & return with strength & confidence & something to offer. Gladwin - leave obviously. I guess we'll never know if he's better than Dack. Think I'll still sleep at night though. Leutweiler - replace. If he's never going to play what's the point? Seems a good pro tho from what I hear so good luck to him. Loanees - Hart can leave, Wharton leave or integrate if good enough (I've no idea if he's progressing), other youngsters I can't comment on. U23s - give some time this season, then loan out unless they really pull up trees in their cameos (Buckley, Butterworth, McGloire, Rankin-Costello, Fisher) Incomings - GK to actually challenge Raya, brute CB (Bauer? But never seen him), LB, CM who can dictate play, experienced CF, winger (Freeman / Edwards?) Monday - keep. A good fit for us but this summer's recruitment is key, as is a good August - December. I'd expect at least to be on the cusp off playoffs at Christmas but then to actually kick on into the NY and to properly strengthen in Jan where required.
  24. Atko's Engine

    JANUARY TRANSFER WINDOW

    I'd welcome Sam Gallagher back; thought in the main he was a positive force and had a lot to offer. I could see him & Brereton offering some real good options in the next few years, either in isolation or in the same team. Add in Chapman on a free, Bauer on the cheap, and a decent bid for Reed & that would do me. There are other positions that need strengthening either as starters (LB) or depth (RB, GK) but I don't see them as priorities this window. This season is about consolidation with perhaps an outside push for the playoffs. Ultimately if we achieve a top half I'll be happy and it will set us up for a tilt at promotion next season. Yes we'd risk losing Dack, but the money we'd get for him would really help soften the blow & strengthen all over the park. I think that's Mowbray's plan and I think it's sensible in the grand scheme of things. That's not me not wanting us to settle for mid table mediocrity this season, but rather being realistic about our situation approaching the half way point.
  25. Atko's Engine

    Bradley Dack

    I'm inclined to agree with you bigdogg. Whether it be luck or good judgement he's got a handle on the Raos that no-one before him seems to have managed - which I guess is understandable if he can turn Cockney water into India Pale Ale; long may that continue!
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