I can see clearly now the smog has gone!

Posted on March 14th, 2010 | 62 Comments |

Premiership in sight...
Premiership in sight...
I’ve just watched Barcelona beat Valencia 3-0 in a very ‘Messi’ encounter. The little Argentinian demonstrating why he’s considered arguably the best player on the planet, with a sublime hat-trick. Fast rewind to yesterday’s Tyne-Tees Derby and the football from both Newcastle and Middlesbrough was a million miles away from the football of the Spanish giants.

OK, so it was a derby and a scrappy affair isn’t unusual so what was I expecting? Not much to be honest, I’m just being facetious. And while I’m being honest, some of Boro’s play yesterday was actually quite tidy and Strachan has got them playing in the right way. In contrast, there wasn’t a lot to write home about from a black and white perspective in terms of the aesthetics. And yet, what we did see was yet another demonstration that we are almost inevitably going up.

That sounds a bit premature? I would probaby have agreed a few games ago but I’ve seen enough of late to suggest the ‘fat lady’ will be singing soon enough. It’s not about over-confidence or a lack of humility but the way we snatched a draw was enough to convince me that we have enough to make it happen. That it wasn’t pretty to watch is a moot point. Winners don’t always win pretty, that’s a given. And while there were some frustrating moments and Boro toyed with us at times, once again we had enough to get something out of the game.

Don’t get me wrong, after a 10am start and 8 pints of John Smiths, you might be able to question my summary but I felt quite lucid on the whole. That was probably down to my good planning, and a hearty big breakfast at the Three Squares greasy spoon in Darlington. And what a tremendous way to start the day as the women behind the counter asked if I was sitting in or taking out. Surveying the gloomy interior I spotted a spare table and opted for ‘sit-in’.

“You’ll have to go to the other counter love”.

The ‘other counter’ being two feet to my left on the other side of the till. Having ordered a cliched Full-English, I heard the first woman and obviously top dog, ask the new woman serving me:

“Does that breakfast want toast”?, this despite the fact she was standing not two yards from me.

“Do you want toast with that?”

“Yes please,” answered the ‘breakfast’.

“Yes, toast with that Maureen!”, she shouted to the woman standing right next to her.

Amused by the banter and satiated by my plate of saturated fats, I headed off to Hogan’s Bar to meet the lads. And having beaten the 10.30am rush we got a decent seat as the bar began to fill up with Geordies tripping out of the train station. It wasn’t long before you couldn’t get served so a move to Speedwells down the road was as welcome as it was inevitable. And several more beers and a few games of Killer later and yours truly was slightly worse for wear but also a few quid up, despite genuinely declaring myself as ‘sh*te at pool’…

When the 8-seater taxi turned up to take us to the game and the driver couldn’t get the side door shut, it looked like things might go a bit pear-shaped. But with a little bit of willing, we managed to shut it, though the kid sitting next to it made sure he was well strapped in. Unfortunately, we didn’t have the same success when she dropped us off on the A19 and bless her, she looked a little concerned when the door slid open as she drove off into the traffic.

Funnily enough, it was the first time I’d been to the Riverside but acutely aware of prior blood-spilling at games at Ayresome Park, I was thankful that the group I was with were pretty reserved, you know just in case we got a shoeing. The ground itself is similar to many other out-of-town-modern-day stadia and there’s nothing remarkable about it. The atmosphere, however, as expected was a little more vibrant than usual, by all accounts.

Once inside, the inevitable “empty seats” was getting an airing, as big chunks of red plastic could be seen in the home ends. To be fair, there was a bit of room in our end so whether those lads were locked up or ‘smogged’, I don’t know. For those that made it, there was universal disappointment that Enrique hadn’t made the first eleven, though his ‘warm-up’ on the touchline was met with rapturous applause. The absence of Williamson was also worrying but even then you sensed a confidence amongst the travelling numbers.

So it came as little surprise, when Lovenkrands gave us the lead after 16 minutes, and sent the Mags dancing down the aisles. The first half though was otherwise dominated by a vibrant and capable Boro side, which Strachan has gelled well. And their well-worked equaliser was nothing more than they deserved. Barry Robson scoring to ultimately cap off a combative display that was worthy of Man of the Match and actually had me thinking of a young Bryan Robson.

The quality of football from those in black and white hardly improved in the second half and when McDonald, another who impressed in Boro colours, scored a cheeky number at the back post to put the Smogs in front it was in keeping with the play. When Hughton brough Butt on, I genuinely couldn’t see where another goal would come from and yet lo and behold, up pops Carroll with another crucial equaliser out of nowhere to send us all beserk.

That was really all there was left to talk about on the pitch and so the smoggies entertained themselves with a ‘Trophy Virgins’ flag that was creatively drawn with an arrow pointing at those in black and white. And when we responded with a rendition of “We’ll meet again”, and the ref blew for full-time with the spoils shared, you suspected that everyone would go home happy and in decent mood. But that didn’t stop the local constabulary treating the occasion like something out of the 70/80s and holding us back with threats off batons and horses. One of which nearly gave me a good old hoof to the head. Apparently there was some bother after I’d legged it to the station but whether that was inevitable or partly down to officers acting like something out of the Football Factory, who knows?

Finally allowed to get my train home, I reflected on the day’s events and the season in general. Boro isn’t pretty, that draw wasn’t pretty but we’re sitting pretty at the top of the table and I just genuinely can’t see it turning ugly. So whadayagannadee?

NUFCBlog Author: bowburnmag bowburnmag has written 234 articles on this blog.

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62 Responses

  1. Messi’s first goal was amazing. The lad is the best player in the world by quite a distance like.

  2. Also Bowburn, if you watched the game i take it you’ll have seen the slow mo reactions to messi’s third from the Valencia players?, priceless!. They all looked thoroughly frustrated, along with being completly dazed and confused as to how he does it. He is a magician.

  3. Ross – I was still dazed and confused after I’d watch the third replay, so God knows what he’d be like to play against.

    The kid is an utter genius. Imagine that in black and white? Beyond our wildest dreams.

  4. Agreed RE Nasri. Quite similar to Messi’s first the night actually. Ball sticking to his feet like glue, dancing through 3 or 4 of them and slotting it home like there’s nowt to it. He’s literally untouchable. It’s a shame to see people just bring him down but at the same time a tribute to his talent in a very strange sort of way, lol. Seems like every other player on the planet just hasnt got a clue what to do when he’s infront of them, he’ll make some of the best in the world look thoroughly amature, whilst making it look stupidly simple. The fact he’s only 22 just makes it worse.

  5. according to ed’s blog we’re in for eden hazard. Ha, now that’d be something! More technically gifted than anyone in our first team, let alone the youngsters. Never gonna happen in a million years, o’hara would do me thanks!

  6. Nice article mate.
    Good to hear an honest opinion of the days events.
    To be honest, I would have settled for a draw beforehand.
    I hope you do go up automatically so we DON’T meet again.(if Boro do make it to the playoffs!!)Especially at wembley as that would not be for the faint-hearted with so much at stake.

  7. BBM, Good article but the match was a typical north east derby, highly charged atmosphere, huff and puff on the field and the almost inevitable draw.
    Having watched sunlin yesterday trying to be the new Stoke on a ploughed field of a pitch i would say that any future game with them will be the same.
    Your point about Cleveland Police tactics is a much repeated story from our travelling fans, my son is a regular travelling fan and says they are the most provocative and heavy handed of all the Police Forces, i wonder if its just our fans that get the treatment.

  8. I didn’t think Cleveland existed anymore? Nottinghamshire place were pretty bad at Forest earlier in the season, I shall tak that grudge to my grave aswell……. Barstewards :lol:

  9. bob – Yeah, I can vouch for that based on Ayresome Park trips and tales from the other lads. Let’s just say they were ‘up for it’.

    I’ve also just realised it was the A66 we got dropped off on. Not sure we would have been in before halftime if we got dropped off on the A19…

  10. Yes, i believe if we keep going on the youth system, we will groom one of this smiliar kind of players.

    Remeb reports saying when he was young, clubs refuse to accept him because of a weird illiness/ grow issue. Baca willing to look after him and groom him up.

    Just look at him now.

    Our scouts have to look broader like asia, Japan, Korea.
    eg. ManUtd -Park.J.S.

  11. Man utd scouted holland to get park gi sung, he was playing for psv I think Davis, the player they got from scouting Asia was dong, who was sh1te btw.

  12. There are some decent players out there though, the kid at Bolton is doing well (Lee Chung-Yong I think), and we don’t even necessarily have to look at the actual Asian players there. e.g. Hulk was playing in Japan in the second division before Porto bought him, now he’s playing internationally for Brazil, so there’s decent foreigners out there looking for a chance.

  13. A lot of these South Korean’s make me sweat just watching them, they never stop running! The only problem I see is that they are naturally smaller than a European player.

  14. Nice picture Bowburn, It cunjours up images of a nice summers day that you could just stoll around in the buttercups with the dog, stop off to open he hamper, get the champagne out and get pissed!

  15. Or alternatively:
    15 lads falling out of a battered old van, already semi-pissed.
    With a few bags of crisps & some really strong, really cheap cider & draw.
    Act like a bunch of boisterous plebs, quickly get even more pissed. Fall in the stream, bang into mothers with kids. Piss everyone off with ridiculously loud music. Get there flabby beer bellies out, piss in the bushes, fall into a coma & wake up with a lobster red back & half a red face, when it starts to piss down. Then rip up all the grass in the park trying to get the van moving.
    england in the summertime.

  16. ‘Golden’ Brown is on uphill gardening leave.
    Do they have gardens in hull?

    That leaves hull clear to get a really top manager now, good move.

  17. I think Phil Brown is an arrogant,Tanned Toss Pot.
    Since he humiliated his players by making them sit in the centre circle for an ear bashing and humiliation it has been on a downward slide since then.
    I have nothing against Hull,Just the Twat that is PB.

    Even Ashley would not be so docile as to employ a Jockey like him-Rant Over.

  18. Phil Brown might be tanned but surely he deserves credit for using false tan instead of sunbeds?

    He’s a trail blazer for the safe tanning association.

  19. jay jay says:

    Yes, that whatever dong was shit, but ManUtd did give him a chance to perform, just that he couldnt make it.

    My point was to look into every aspect of the country around, we not longer afford lots of expensive buy even if we bid we will also lost out to others bigger better prospect club, unless the manager can talk the player around.

    Our scouts got to trail more players around worldwide, dnt tell me every player from brazil, france is good and can perform in Newcastle.

    More worldwide player trail is needed, places suggested was more develop in asia, A-leg, J-Leg, K-leg.

    Dong i think was ChinaLeg, no hard feelings.

    e.g If we saw Park in PSV and wanted to sign him as well together with ManUtd biding where do u think he will go to?

    So, that’s why i say we should start trail faster then the rest of the club.

    That will be another aspect of the scouts job of course to find young unestiblish.

  20. toonamy says:
    March 15, 2010 at 12:19 pm

    Shut up,Nobody is listening to your verbal plop.

  21. didnt know weather to laugh or cry,read football agent silkman interview,in 1996 days of AS,LF,DG,the toon were offered Z.zidane for 1.2mil,went over to watch him said he was not good enough,two yrs later sold for 48mil wonder who the scout was ,is he still in work?

  22. BBM, an excellent atmospheric article (although as its about Smoggyland that comes with the territory :) ) Not at all boring. ;)
    A lot of people are saying Carrols goal was a lucky mis-hit but it seems to me that it was actually the shot he was trying to do, although it could be a little flukey that it came off. By the way it looks like Scotland are after him!
    Another bit on the NewsNow site is that we could have signed Zinedine Zidan in 1997 for peanuts but wasn’t considered good enough!!

    Phil Brown, paah! I’d rather have Sam back.

  23. I wish Silkman was out of a job, in fact I wish much worse things about him after what he said to Bobby Robson.

  24. toonsy not up on that one what did he say?i hate all agents as it is,had tastes of them myself m8

  25. Icedog, you just pipped me to the ZZ comment, :) Just hope he aint still scouting for us.

  26. BW – I do go on a bit eh?

    Which fool gave me artistic licence? Rue the day, rue the day…

  27. BBM, not at all mate. I’m sure that theres a novel lurking somewhere in your mind.
    I’ve written about a third of one and have suffered writers block since Xmas. Just need to get going again.

  28. Yo BBM,
    Both yourself and young Toonsy getting to be pretty good wordsmiths with all the practice you are getting.
    Really enjoyed your report, perhaps you have a future, doing humerous short stories.

    On another note, wonder if it`s just paper talk or if in fact there`s any truth to the recent rumors regarding Hazard and Diakite.
    If so then perhaps there`s a serious beating of the bushes, in regard to scouting for (hopefully)another Bassong or two.
    This is where a little enlightenment would create a positive PR effect on the fans, dont have to say who we are about to bid on, just we are looking at some people we would want to bring in, when or if promoted.
    Not a lot to ask !

  29. Rue the day ?
    On the contrary, think most enjoyed it, it will be expected from now on.
    Hey you`re the one setting the standard !

  30. Chuck – Way I see it, Hazard is one of Europe’s most sought after talents = no chance of us getting him.

    Diakite, young, cheap = more likely!.

    If we get even close to trying to sign Hazard then I’ll be the latest blogger to offer to bear my ass in Fenwicks window! :lol:

  31. I would think phil brown job was long gone after his half-time team talk on the public field that year.

  32. toonsy says:
    March 15, 2010 at 7:52 pm

    “If we get even close to trying to sign Hazard then I’ll be the latest blogger to offer to bear my ass in Fenwicks window!”

    It’s “arse”, toonsy. You are not an American.

  33. I never know what the swear filter will block out and I’m damned if I’m writing the bloody thing out again ;)

  34. toonsy says:
    March 15, 2010 at 8:00 pm

    “I never know what the swear filter will block out”

    Try “Scunthorpe”, toonsy.

    I’m definitely banning the word “ass” if English people persist in using it to describe their posteriors, rather than a four legged beast of burden. Nothing wrong with Yanks doing it, but when Geordies do, it’s just wrong.

  35. worky,some people like to try to speak “posh” kidda,ime lucky to “try” to speak any kind of garb m8

  36. icedog says:
    March 15, 2010 at 8:20 pm

    “worky,some people like to try to speak “posh” kidda,ime lucky to “try” to speak any kind of garb m8”

    Aye icedog, “arse” is very posh!