Sarcastic applause uncalled for.

Saturdays home defeat against a poor Reading side was majorly disappointing to say the least.
On the day we created numerous chances and time after time we failed to convert.
Kike and Co could have played until next Saturday and not scored a goal, a mixture of poor finishing and wrong selection of pass were costly.
We now have a two week break to get our act together and get back on the rails.
I am delighted that Patrick Bamford has finally signed, disappointed that its only till January.
I don’t know much about winger Yanic Wildschut, but lets hope he is a hit.
Signing Ryan Fredericks is important for competition in the right back position, but the biggest scoop of all would be getting the signature of Jelle Vossen.
Going back to the game it wasn’t just the result that was disturbing, the sarcastic applause and the odd boo directed at our first team keeper Mejias every time he collected the ball, in my opinion was uncalled for. It’s quite evident that the Lynch Mob are out to get him after his clangers against Leeds and Sheffield and they won’t be happy until he is dropped.
It’s clear that the Spaniard is lacking in confidence and he looks jittery at every opposing attack. But having a go after 5 or 10 mins into a game is totally uncalled for. It’s either a lack of education or too much alcohol on the fans part.
I have been booed myself on occasions and my own personal mentality was, if you want to pay money to watch me and boo me when I’m having a bad time, carry on, it certainly won’t make me play better.
I don’t know the keepers mindset, but he doesn’t seam to be coping very well.
If I am being brutally honest I am surprised he is our first choice keeper and the longer his confidence drains the more it will filter through the team.In fact the uncertainty is evident now.
I have always believed that the fans pay their hard earned cash and are entitled to air their views whenever they feel like it. But no one has ever convinced me of the benefits of having a go at one of your own team after 5 or 10 minutes into a game.
Its interesting to see that Kei Kamara has had his contract terminated.
I was quoted months ago as saying if he put as much effort into his Middlesbrough career as he did on his twitter account, he would end up one hell of a player. Its quite clear he didn’t take note.

No 1 still up for grabs.

There are three occupations in life I have never considered and in fact I would never do, policeman, referee and goalkeeper. Why? All are difficult jobs, you need to make rash decisions, which can be costly and the majority of people don’t like you, well the first two jobs anyway.
There has been a lot of discussions during and after the game on Saturday against Sheffield Wednesday regarding the Tomas Mejias clanger after 6 mins.
That’s one of the downsides of being between the sticks, you can be isolated for long periods throughout the games and when you boob your isolated even greater and hung,drawn and quartered by the critics.
Mejias made a great save not long after his howler, but everyone forgets that.
If I am being honest I am surprised that Mejias is our first choice keeper.Whenever I have watched him, he has looked nervy, uncomfortable and uncertain, with these deficiencies it causes unrest and uncertainty throughout the side as a defensive unit.
To be fair to the lad, when he joined us on loan last season he only played one game and then dislocated a finger in training and was never seen again that would have knocked his confidence.
I was also surprised that Boro made his loan deal permanent and up until now, four league games in, I have seen nothing as yet to convince me he is the chosen one. Of course it’s still early days and he may turn out to be a top class keeper.
Karanka has defended his under fire keeper saying, “Tomas is strong enough for the championship, he is good enough for Middlesbrough and has a big future here. He is a player who grew up playing for Real Madrid and is a strong character.”
The managers reference towards his signing is glowing and I wouldn’t expect anything else, but actions speak louder than words and two clangers in four league games, puts pressure on both the player and the manager.
As far as I’m concerned we continue to search for a genuine replacement for Mark Schwarzer, who departed to Fulham in 2008. In his six year absence we have had a host of keepers, Ross Turnbull, Brad Jones, Carl Ikeme, Paul Smith, Danny Coyne, Jayson Leutwiler, Shay Given, Jason Steele, Dimi Konstantopoulos and now Tomas Mejias. The only one that stood out for me was Shay Given.

Saturdays performance, especially after the fine start to the season was majorly disappointing. The Sheffield duo of Nuhui and May created havoc and mayhem in the back line,with their movement, hold up play and finishing. I still personally don’t like to see Whitehead and Leadbitter start at the Riverside. Adomah once again was off the boil on the right. Tomlin was caught too many times in possession. Kike was isolated for long periods.
The only bright spark for me was Adam Reach on the left.

Cup action tomorrow against Preston let’s hope we can get back on the rails and progress into the 3rd round.

I will be hosting Legends lounge at the Riverside on Tuesday, my guest will be John Coddington former Middlesbrough first team coach and his son former reserve keeper Matthew, tickets £99 each includes a 3 course meal, match tickets and a free bar, call 08444991234 to book.

Can Kike Be King?

Leeds United result on Saturday was majorly disappointing.
The well documented disallowed goal decision was farcical and the goal we conceded late on in the game was a poor one. Obviously the error by the goal keeper was highlighted but it was a combination of mistakes before hand.We allowed Leeds United to pass it along the half way line without pressurising, when the ball got put into our box and eventually fell at the feet of Tonge we were slow at reacting and Mejias the goal keeper will know that he should have parried it around the post or held onto it, unfortunately he did neither.We are back in action tomorrow against Bolton, lets hope we can get back on the rails.

After only a few games people are already tipping Kike to bang in 20 goals in the Championship. Is this a realistic target?
Of course it is every striker should start the season thinking he is going to grab 20 plus goals and with 46 games to play a decent squad around him and two wingers to supply its certainly possible. Of course to succeed he needs a bit of luck and fortune, stay clear of injuries and hopefully he doesn’t lose form.
The downsides are in my opinion he doesn’t have a direct partner to form a partnership with.

Incredibly it’s 25 years since a Middlesbrough player scored 20 league goals, yours truly grabbed them back in 89/90.
During that time we have had a 10 year stint in this division, these are the stats.
1990/91 Slaven 16
1991/92 Slaven 16
1993/94 Wilkinson 15
1994/95 Hendrie15
1997/98 Beck 14
2009/10 Johnson 11
2010/11 McDonald 12
2011/12 Emnes 14
2012/13 McDonald 12
2013/13 Adomah 12

Having a 20 goal striker or strikers, is what every team is looking for, but it doesn’t guarantee promotion. The year I scored the 20 league goals we had to win our last game against Newcastle United and one or two results had to go in our favour to stay up.
When I bagged 16 league goals in the 91/92 season, we gained promotion and my striking partner Paul Wilkinson grabbed 15.
In 1994/95 season when John Hendrie was our top scorer with 15,we gained promotion and in 1997/98, 14 goals by Mikkel Beck was enough goals to get us back into the top flight.
Sharing the goals around is better than giving one player the burden, responsibility and pressure.

So what have I made of Kike?

It’s still early doors but what I have seen has been encouraging. His movement and hold up play have been good, he has a good work ethic, plays on the shoulder of defenders, he is vocal and points the finger at his team mates if they don’t make the right decision.
2 goals in the opening 3 games is a good start from the Spaniard.
His goal against Oldham was what I call a great goal. He received the ball inside left position, he was 16 yards out, lifted his head and guided, steered and curled the ball across the keeper into the far corner, with the inside of his boot. It was accuracy at its finest and sheer composure.
Against Leeds on Saturday, he was a wee bit hesitant and was looking for that extra touch.
But it’s early days he is still adjusting, but the early signs are encouraging.

I’m on CvFm 104.5 between 10-11pm after the Bolton v Middlesbrough game call me on 01642 688104.

On Friday I will be at the Miners Arms, High Street, Eston from 7.30 onwards tickets are £5 profits going to Alzhelmers society.

Also I will be hosting Legends lounge at the Riverside on Saturday, guest will be former Middlesbrough scout Barry Geldart, tickets £99 each includes a 3 course meal, match tickets and a free bar, call 08444991234 to book.

Team and fans shine in the sunshine.

Boros opening game of the season against Birmingham turned out to be a canter, from the off Boro looked head and shoulders above the Brummies. Defensiveley we were never tested, in fact Tomas Mejias Osorio never had one shot to save on a glorious day at The Riverside he could have got his deck chair out, put on the ambre solaire, his shades and laid back and sipped a glass of wine.

Boro  set their stall out they were direct, creative and possessed a good tempo. With a bit more luck and ruthlessness could have scored 4 or 5.

The left side duo of Friend and Reach for me was the highlight of the day. Friend was his usual energetic self, driving forward, creating havoc and having a couple of efforts at goal. Adam Reach showed us what he is all about, kept his shape well, gave the team a nice balance, had good close control, was direct and skilful and whipped in several terrific balls. Personally I am delighted for Reach. I don’t know the lad from Adam if you pardon the pun.

Last season via my Gazette column, website and radio, I was fighting his corner, hopefully this season he stamps his authority and is in the starting 11 on a regular basis.

I was delighted for Kike his movement and hold up play were very good, he had several chances and put 1 of them away. To open your account on the opening day especially for a striker is a dream start. Hopefully there are many more to come.

For me the only thing that didn’t click on the day was the right side. Hines was out of position, failed to give Adomah the service and back up he required. In saying that Adomah looked lethargic and lacking in ideas when he did get the ball.

All in all a terrific opening start, 2 goals, a clean sheet, 3 points on the board and it was great to get over 18,000 fans witnessing it.

I personally thought the fans generated an excellent atmosphere which was led by the drummer.A word of caution, its important not to get carried away, its 1 game and in my opinion we are still 4 players short. No doubt Karanka is aware of this and is working his socks off to get them in. I say it every season, we will have injuries, loss of form, suspensions and when those occur its important to have a beefed up squad with able replacements.

A quick word on my Legends lounge debut as a host. I thoroughly enjoyed it,thanks to my guest Gary Pallister and it was great meeting big John Hickton and several former players. The room was full and there was a good atmosphere. Hopefully they all return for our next home game against Sheffield Wednesday.

If you want to book the Legends lounge its £99 which includes 3 course meal, match ticket and free bar call 0844499 1234

 

You can also listen to me and phone in after every Boro game on CVFM 104.5FM  to phone, call 01642 688104, so listen tomorrow from 10-11pm.

If you have a child aged 5-7 bring them along to Redcar and Cleveland Community Heart between 1-2pm on Sunday 17th August for a free coaching session with myself and ex Boro coach Mark Proctor.

Great to be back.

Over the years there have been a number of former players hosting the hospitality lounges at The Riverside and for whatever reason I had always been over looked, rightly or wrongly.

Some put it down to my strong and forthright opinions, my character, some accused me of being over critical.For years the rumours have been flying around that I had been banned from the Stadium, that was purely fabricated and utter nonsense.

Recently I received a call from the football club asking if I could go in and have a chat with them.
On the way there I was thinking surely they are not going to ask me to play? Im 53 years of age have a bad back and dodgy knees.
Thankfully it was nothing to do with the footballing side. It was an offer to host one of the lounges. I was half expecting to be told you can’t say this and you can’t do that, but I can honestly say all that I was asked was to be myself.

I am honoured, privileged and pleasantly surprised to get the opportunity.
I think that it’s ironic that the Legends Lounge,where I will be present every match day, is where I had my last public appearance and picture with my late great father. I’m sure he will be looking down and smiling at my appointment.

Over the course of the season, I’m hoping to entertain, give opinions on performances and have a bit of fun. I will also have a guest every week. My first guest for the opening game against Birmingham will be former Middlesbrough and Manchester United centre half Gary Pallister.
People have been on the social media saying I will last a week, what’s your money on?

If anyone would like to book a table on match day, ask a direct question or give me some verbal abuse, feel free.

You can buy seasonal places or match by match, which is £99 and includes a 3 course meal, match ticket and a free bar.
Please call 08444991234 to book.

Pre Football Academy

Myself and former Middlesbrough 1st team coach Mark Proctor are going to start coaching 5-7 year olds every Sunday at the brand new football facilities in the Redcar Leisure Centre, starting on Sunday August 3rd between 1-2 pm.
As its the opening day we are putting on a free session.
If you would like to bring your child along for and introduction and a bit of fun please call 01642 771070 or 07476747442.

As we all know early development is essential, it is our goal to help your child on their way.

We both hold UEFA B and Pro Licence qualifications.
We are both DBS checked.
We have clocked up over 1,000 proffessional games, scoring over 270 during our football careers.

We look forward to seeing you all on the day.

UTB.

LEGENDS AIM TO GIVE PARKY A WORLD CUP BOOST

BERNIE Slaven and Mark Proctor aim to give former Boro team-mate Gary Parkinson a World Cup boost when they hold a Riverside Stadium dinner.

Places remain available at The Three Legends World Cup Dinner when Slaven and Proctor will be joined by Newcastle legend Malcolm Macdonald to mark England’s opening World Cup match against Italy on the night of Saturday, June 14.

Taking place in Middlesbrough FC’s Legends Lounge, the event includes a three-course meal, Three Legends question-and-answer session and an auction and raffle to raise funds for the Gary Parkinson Trust.

The former Boro defender needs 24-hour care and is unable to move, speak or swallow since suffering a stroke that left him with Locked-in Sydrome.
With a late bar until the early hours, guests can watch England’s big match against Italy – which has an 11pm kick-off – on a big screen and six smaller screens in the company of the Legends.
During the meal guests can also watch a live screening of the game between England’s group rivals Uruguay and Costa Rica.

Boro legend Slaven, who was part of ex-Boro boss Jack Charlton’s Republic of Ireland squad at the Italia ’90 World Cup, said: “It promises to be a cracking night, with plenty of debate and banter about club and international football before the screening of England’s big match with Italy.
“If we can give Parky’s fund a good boost then so much the better. As former team-mates of Parky’s, me and Proc feel that it’s the least we can do.
“We’ve got some fantastic items for the auction and the raffle, so we’d simply ask those who attend to be generous.”

Proctor, the former Boro and Sunderland player, is standing in for ex-Black Cat Dickie Ord, who is to undergo a knee operation just days before the dinner.
Newcastle legend Macdonald, who scored five goals for his country against Cyprus in one of his 14 England appearances, added: “Fans can enjoy a great night of food, beer and banter, with plenty to discuss and debate on the club scene as well as the World Cup. Then it’s fingers crossed for England’s big match.”

Tickets for The Three Legends World Cup Dinner are priced £35 each or £330 per table. Please contact events@mfc.co.uk or call the Events team on 01642 757672.

Organised by former Boro media manager Dave Allan of DNA PR & Publicity, the dinner starts at 7.30pm with reception from 7pm. Dress code is casual and football shirts are encouraged (no ripped denim).

Join The Three Legends For World Cup Dinner

THE Three Legends are to reunite at the Riverside for a special dinner to mark England’s opening World Cup match against Italy on the night of Saturday, June 14.
It was recently announced that The Legends radio show had come to an end after a 14-year run, but Bernie Slaven, Malcolm Macdonald and Dickie Ord are back with a special live performance.
Appropriately held in Middlesbrough FC’s Legends Lounge, The Three Legends World Cup Dinner includes a three-course meal, raffle, auction and Three Legends question-and-answer session that Slaven promises will be “full of our usual irreverent straight-talking with lots of banter thrown in too”.
With a late bar until the early hours, guests can then watch England’s big match against Italy – which has an 11pm kick-off UK time – on a big screen and six smaller screens in the company of the Legends.
During the meal guests can also watch a live screening of the game between England’s group rivals Uruguay and Costa Rica.
Boro legend Slaven, who was part of ex-Boro boss Jack Charlton’s Republic of Ireland squad at the Italia ’90 World Cup, said: “We may now be off-air but the Three Legends live on through our live shows.
“This will be a unique event and a cracking night, culminating in the screening of England’s big match with Italy.
“Ahead of England’s opening fixture – and with seven games having already been played by then – there’ll be plenty to debate and discuss, while the three of us will be happy to dissect all things Boro, Newcastle and Sunderland too.”
Newcastle legend Macdonald, who won 14 England caps and once scored five goals for his country in a 5-0 victory over Cyprus, added: “We’re looking forward to a night of great football banter with a World Cup theme. The late bar and the big screen make it the perfect way to watch the England match at the end of what promises to be a memorable evening.”
Tickets for The Three Legends World Cup Dinner are priced £35 each or £330 per table by sending a cheque to Three Legends World Cup Dinner, c/o DNA PR & Publicity, Boho 4 Gibson House, Cleveland Street, Middlesbrough, TS2 1AE. For further details call 07711 025009.
Organised by Dave Allan of DNA PR & Publicity, the dinner starts at 7.30pm with reception from 7pm. Dress code is casual and football shirts are encouraged (no ripped denim).

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Three Legends full time.

The Three Legends have called full time on the show.
After 14 years of being one of the biggest shows on North East radio, we’d like to thank everyone who has listened, taken part and made the show the success that it’s been.
Sadly a lot of local radio is struggling to get sponsorship and we don’t have a marketing team to chase it.
It’s no secret that we’ve been swimming against the tide for the last few years looking tirelessly at ways of trying to make it work – the audience is there but the advertising isn’t.
The truth is that we haven’t been paid for months, we’ve been doing it for the love of the show and we’re all gutted it has come to this.
We’ve agonised over it for some time but we feel now is the time to call it a day.
The bigger stations would rather have cheap bland wall-to-wall music than locally-produced topical talk shows and smaller stations can’t get the advertising.
We have a loyal audience who have stuck with us all the way, a lot of regular callers, real characters who have made us the success we have become so we’d personally like to thank you because without you, there would be no show.
We’re proud of what we have done over the years. At our peak we had a huge regional evening audience that was never beaten.
We will however be on the road over the coming months and are hoping to do a final farewell show.
We’ve already been to Blyth and Newton Aycliffe and we are at the Riverside soon so watch this space.
Bernie Does Boro will be going until the end of the season and hopefully into the next.

Stubbornness could be costly.

Our ridged set in stone formation of 4-5-1 is becoming a chore, a bore and farcical.
Our team like our formation has become predictable.
Boro have only won one game in twelve and have just gone through the longest goal drought in the clubs history.So you can’t say results justify sticking by Plan A, for me it’s time Karanka looked at a Plan B, in fact he should have done this weeks ago.

From the outside looking in the manager is becoming a mule like figure, (stubborn).
Poor Danny Graham must have thought dropping into the Championship would have reignited his flagging career but if anything his career has gone backwards. He is isolated for long periods, service into him is sporadical, he looks heavy legged and way short of confidence.
The uneducated would point to Graham as the villain for me it’s Karanka who has to take responsibility.
With eight games remaining there are no benefits, in continuing with this formation.
Why not go with two up top? Why not lose one of the defensive midfielders? Why not get more bodies into the box more often? What is there to lose?
I could totally understand the logic sticking by the strict formation, if it was to drill it into the players for next season, but we keep being told expect massive change in the summer. Half of these players, now being drilled in this shape and this philosophy are odds on to not be here next year.
We have loanees going back,a few out of contract, a couple the manager doesn’t fancy, it could be all change again this summer if the manager gets his way.
If that happens he will have to start from scratch all over again and drill the new arrivals.

Going back to our stubborn, non flexible team/shape, Karanka has no previous managerial proof, or history that his philosophy works. That is another reason why he should be experimenting in my opinion.

With Boro’s season cards up for grabs, we are looking to rope in new fans for next season and to hold on to our regulars, playing the remaining eight games, with fear, caution and stubbornness, could be costly.