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).


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.

Danny double could have easily been a treble.

Finally our goal famine is over after a 138 year club record wait of 12 hours 13 minutes for a strike.Danny Graham who has been going though his own personal drought/famine of 1 goal in his previous 42 games grabbed both goals.
On the day we deserved a victory, we created several chances and Carayol who had been isolated in recent weeks returned and put in a very good performance. He was a constant threat with his pace and trickery and assisted with both goals.
George Friend after a ropey 10-15 minutes went on to have an outstanding game.
Loanees Omeruo and Chalobah oozed class and debutant Lee Tomlin gave Graham the support he has been lacking in previous games. He showed flashes of flair and skill, was direct and wasn’t afraid to take on opponents.
The biggest disappointment for me on Saturday as Boro fan and ex striker was that Danny Graham was taken off and wasn’t given the opportunity to score his hat trick.
This was a trait I had witnessed on several occasions under Steve McClarens management, it is one that I am totally against and it infuriates me.
Back then the logic behind taking a player off who had scored 2 goals, was that they didn’t want one player stealing the limelight or the headlines, it was a team game, it was about we not I, there was no I in team.No Doubt psychologist Bill Beswick played a part in that.
Talking from personal experience, scoring a hat trick is a unique occasion and its every strikers dream to take home the match ball. There is no better feeling in the game than to grab a treble especially if your team wins.
In my career with Middlesbrough I was fortunate to score 7 hat tricks and none of the managers I played under took me off when I had scored 2. I don’t believe any of them considered it. In fact If any of them would have attempted to drag me off they would have had to come on the pitch to get me.
Both Middlesbrough and Danny Graham’s confidence was at an all time low after the barren spell and here we had a chance to boost Danny’s confidence tenfold but we rewarded him by taking him off.Some people could point to the fact that we have got a game on Tuesday against Nottingham Forest, but I don’t buy into that. It’s not as if we are chasing promotion.
No disrespect to McClaren or Karanka but I think that it is highly unlikely that either of them have ever scored 3 goals in a professional game and Bill Beswick certainly wouldn’t have ever scored a hat trick.
They can only imagine what it feels like and what it means to the individual, what it does to their mental state. Their reasons and answers will come out of a book.
If I was a manager there is no way on this earth I would take one of my players off who had scored 2 goals.
We seem to be contradicting ourselves when players are firing blanks and are out of form, we leave them on and when they are scoring we take them off.
I am sure the fans that attended the Riverside on Saturday and who have suffered through the drought with the team, would have loved to have boasted about a hat trick hero.
I am sure Danny himself would have loved the accolade, but it wasn’t to be.
Maybe if he scores 2 against Forest,we might keep him on ( unlikely ).

Karanka cannot afford to hold grudges.

The biggest surprise for me on Saturday down at Sheffield wasn’t us not scoring a goal we have become hardened and accustomed to that,it was that Mustaph Carayol failed to make the squad.
It has been well documented about his spat with Karanka and by all accounts it was down to his bad attitude. There has been a whole load of rumours flying around Teesside over the last few weeks. I am not claiming to know all the ins and outs but I think we can safely say that the pair had words.Last week the manager went on record as saying that he left Carayol out of the squad because of it. Obviously the feud continues.
Believe me if that was the norm in my day I would have never have got a game. As a player I had strong opinions, voiced them regularly and had ding dongs with every manager I played under during my eight year stint.I was marched into the office many many times by Rioch, Todd and Lawrence. I have fallen out with all the bosses but they all still played me barring one.
Football is a game of strong characters, opinions and big personalities, it is inevitable that you get disagreements and that people will clash, don’t forget the dressing room is full of testosterone.
For me it comes down to man management surely you don’t drop a player because of a bad attitude.Bad form yes but not bad attitude.Every player has different makeup some are mouthy, confrontational. It is down to the manager to channel that,get them to perform on a regular basis.
As a manager you can’t cut your nose off to spite your face.
Looking back at my own career working under Lennie Lawrence things became personal and from the outside looking in that is what it’s looking like regarding Carayol. Leaving him out the squad hurts the team, the fans and takes away a huge part of our attacking flair.
I am all for discipline, if I was in charge I would be a strict disciplinarian but there are other ways of stamping down your authority as manager.
Bruce Riochs favourite was to fine you a percentage of your wages.
The other surprise is that our top scorer and arguably player of the season Albert Adomah, has been on the bench recently and was replaced on Saturday. I keep hearing that he is on the bench because he is injured, I don’t believe this for a minute.
Whatever the problems are with Carayol and Adomah, Karanka must sort it otherwise he could lose the dressing room.

I went along last night to The Carling Cup 10th anniversary dinner, it was organised by the Former Players Association. There were some great stories told by Mclaren, Queudrue, Boateng and Co.

Our next opponents on Saturday are Ipswich Town, I have come to the conclusion that if we don’t score we should demolish the Riverside and turn it into a Tesco. As far as I am concerned Carayol should be on the left, Adomah on the right and Graham and Tomlin should be up front.
The chant from the fans should be “ATTACK, ATTACK, ATTACK. “

Time to get the shackles off.

Boro’s outside chance of reaching the playoffs evaporated against Watford on Saturday .
Looking at our team recently, I am not convinced that they could score in Amsterdam.
The system worked well initially,but since the turn of the year it has hit the buffers.
Two wins in nine including the Cup tie against Hull, six games without a goal, scored five and conceded seven. These stats don’t make good reading no matter how you try and camouflage them.
On the outside looking in it looks as if the opposing teams have cottoned on to our set in stone formation.
As it stands at this minute I’m sure the most ardent, blinkered Boro fans would have to admit, we are not going to make the playoffs.On the positive side we are not going down.
With this in mind I would like to ask what are the benefits of playing loan players? We will be lucky if we sign one of them.
Wouldn’t it be more beneficial to play our contracted players, put them in the shop window and have a possible chance of cashing in on them in the summer.
It’s the second time this month that the Spaniard has had a go at the squad, after Saturdays game he was quoted as saying that some of his players think they are better than they are.
I find it refreshing when managers have a go in public, my old boss Bruce Rioch did this on a regular basis, the only difference was that he named the players. Hopefully it might wake one or two of them up.
I have to be honest and say if I was in that dressing room, I would have taken on board his criticism, but I would have told him that he must take responsibility as well because of his negative approach.
We continue with eight defensive players out of the starting eleven. We have three Central Midfielders more content on shutting up shop, than to strive forward.
Danny Graham like previous loan Strikers has been isolated for long periods, in fact he should be getting lonely money.
It’s quite clear and evident that Karankas game plan is geared to defend but I’m afraid the Spaniard cannot defend the recent stats.Its now eight and three quarter hours of football without a goal.
I have always believed a negative approach usually brings a negative display and a negative result. Time to get the shackles off after all what have we to loose.
Lets hope we start on Saturday against Leeds in the Yorkshire Derby.

16 Goalless draws, won’t get us where we want to be.

Clean sheets are brilliant, but without finding the net the club will not be getting promoted
Blunt Boro need to get their shooting boots on quickly to get the season back on track.
No goals in four games… the stats aren’t great no matter how you look at them.

Yes, clean sheets are brilliant – but if you don’t score you can’t win.
You can spin three goalless draws as good defending as a unit, building from the back and putting down a platform for next year all you want.

But at the end of the day Boro have taken three points from a possible nine and have drifted away from the play-offs.

And that’s because they have stopped scoring goals.

Against Blackburn they did well
They dominated the game for long spells, they played some good football and they created loads of chances.
But they didn’t score the goals they needed and that is starting to become a bit of a bad habit now.
And one of the reasons for that is because they aren’t getting bodies into the box.

Mustapha Carayol had a fantastic game.
He was direct, had showed his pace and a few tricks to get past his man and he put three or four very good balls across the face of goal, exactly what you want from a wideman.
But almost every time Danny Graham was the only Boro player in the box.

If you are going to take advantage of a good wing play like that – especially if you only have one striker up top – you need to get your midfielders in and around the box so they can get on the end of it or profit from any rebounds or mistakes.

But what struck me was that whenever we broke down the flank and played the ball into the dangerzone Graham was there – usually outnumbered – and maybe Grant Leadbitter was just arriving on the edge of the box but the rest of the midfield were miles away.
And we’ve seen that time after time this season.

That’s the problem. That’s why Boro are struggling to get goals in games they are bossing.

Look at Chelsea. Not that I am saying Boro are in the same universe as them – but we are trying to play the same style with the same managerial approach and philosophy.
But when Chelsea get the ball in the box they have two or three midfielders arriving to support the front man.
They are buzzing all over the danger area so they have options and can make it count.
The way they play the system causes problems for a defence.
It is hard to contain three or four attacking midfielders darting about.
But Boro’s midfield don’t do that. You don’t see Dean Whitehead or Nathaniel Chalobah sprinting in at the far post for a cross.

For me it is because they are too cautious.
None of the central midfielders are really attacking players by instinct and you need that. All three of them are holding players.
They know that if they bomb on and the attack breaks down then there are huge spaces in midfield left uncovered and Boro are now geared more defensively and they don’t want that.
We see them racing back to cover gaps and track runners and get back 30 or 40 yards to help the defence.
But we don’t see the same energy and determination when they need to help the attack.

Until that changes the onus will be on the frontman and the two wingers to get the goals and we can’t afford to rely on that. Everyone has to chip in.
The middle man in the three behind the striker is the important role in this system.
He need to link up the midfield with the striker and get up alongside him really quickly to support and feed off him.

We have struggled to find someone to do that.

Marvin Emnes, Jacob Butterfield, Leadbitter have all been tried and not quite managed it as they are either not strong enough, or direct enough or creative enough.
Maybe we will see more when Lee Tomlin is bedded in.
He looks like he could play that role and by the time he is available Danny Graham will have had a few more games under his belt and may be a bit sharper in and around the box.
Maybe Graham will get off the mark at Watford as strikers tend to do well at former clubs, and that will give a spring in his step just as Tomlin arrives in the team.

As an ex striker myself and an attacking minded person, I still crave for us to play two up front. Some people in the modern game will have you believe, that it is old fashioned and a thing of the past. Well in the Premier League Manchester City and Liverpool for me are the two most attractive sides and both are reaping the rewards with their attacking minded flair, goals galore and of course formation.

Looking at the top six teams in the Championship, the majority of them play two up top, whether they are playing at home or away. They have also had their fair share of clean sheets.

Karanka has taken the plaudits for our defensive qualities and displays, these are well deserved.He must also be held responsible for our strike force firing blanks.
In his sixteen games in charge, I have yet to see the Spaniard change and play two up front,irrespective of opposition, home advantage or conditions
He chops and changes the clientele but never the formation, its as if it is set in stone.
For me that’s dangerous, every manager and team must be able to adapt to different styles and formations and have a plan B.
As yet I have not witnessed it.

The way things are looking at this minute we are in limbo, not going up and not going down.

The last time the Boro started with a dual strike force was when Mark Venus was in charge, we scored four and kept a clean sheet.
At the end of the day good players can adapt to any style, shape or formation and be successful.

The onus seems to be on not getting beaten. I am afraid this mentality won’t bring the missing thousands back.
We won’t get to the play-offs with 16 goalless draws.

It’s interesting to see us bring in yet another goal keeper, of course Shay Given returns after the Leeds game, we seem to have a fixation with goal keepers.As it stands at this minute we have six, we are well stocked at centre back and right back but only have one left back,George Friend, bizarre.

Good luck to Karanka and the team tomorrow down at Watford, hopefully we can break the barren run and bring back a positive result.

You can listen to me every night on the Three Legends on Community Voice radio on 104.5fm, online via Koast Radio or my website. And don’t forget you can call me on 01642 688104 to join in on Bernie Does Boro, the alternative post-match phone-in. It’s on straight after the Watford game on Saturday between 5pm and 6.30pm.

Transfer deadline damp squib.

Deadline day at Boro was a bit of a damp squib for me.
Emnes out Danny Graham and Lee Tomlin in,Shay Given returning to Villa at the end of February. All in all a lot of hype and hysteria without any real substance. The biggest blow of course is Given on his way.
But for me this is the down side of loaning players for a short term fix.
There is no denying Shays heroics,he has been incredibly good, outstanding. So much so that the Republic of Ireland are looking to recall him due to his terrific form.
Regarding goal keepers we are well stocked at Middlesbrough, but are any of them as good as Given?
If I could have had the choice to bring two players in it would have been Becchio and Connor Wickham.
Looking at the two we have brought in, Danny Graham returns to his former club with a poor strike rate while at Sunderland and Hull City. Hopefully dropping a division will reignite his goal scoring form. Regarding Lee Tomlin, he has been in form this season, but unlike Danny he is moving up a division as opposed to going down. So both need to adapt to life in the Championship.
I still find it incredible that we have Karankas contacts in the game, European scouts at the club but we rope in a player who we have been linked with for the last year or two.
From the outside looking in is Danny Graham Karankas choice or has he been forced upon him?
Either way we have to hope it works as we are desperate for goal scoring Centre Forwards.
No goals in the last three games tells its own story.

Recently I have been saying its not about the performances it’s about the results but when your not playing well or winning games then you have got a problem.
Of course our stats still look well, we have only lost one game from the last nine Championship games, winning five and drawing four. I’m afraid draws won’t get us to where we want to be. This season alone we have had 11 draws, 22 points down the Swanee.
Away points in the main should never be knocked
After Saturdays boring 0-0 draw in front of a magnificent 4,000 following, we have slipped to 9 points behind 6th place Reading.
Next up are Blackburn and we have to win by hook or by crook.

No strikers in would be an insult.

Our need for a goal scoring centre forward, was evident and highlighted yet again against Leicester.

Its now an embarrassing 1 goal in 15 games, for our misfiring strikers. The obvious thing is to point the finger at Emnes, Jutkiewicz, Main and Kamara. But in their defence none of them have had a run of consecutive games in the side and none of them has had the luxury of a partner. Playing the lone furrow, is an extremely difficult job and certainly not one that I envy. Looking back at my own time at Middlesbrough, I was fortunate enough to be partnered with the likes of Archie Stephens, Ian Baird and Paul Wilkinson. We formed partnerships, we complemented each other and we all got our fair share of goals. Back then if I would have been asked to lead the line on  my own, I simply could not have done it.I wasnt physically strong enough and didn’t possess the aerial threat. Unfortunately the players that Karanka has inherited also possess those frailties.

When my old team mate Tony Mowbray was in charge he was criticised

for continually playing 1 up front, especially when we played at home against inferior sides. People would point the finger and accuse him of been boring and negative, yet Karanka has continued this trend. The Spaniard of course can point to results and clean sheets, to support his tactics.

Since his arrival the majority of things that he has done have worked a treat. His number one priority now is to get his strike force scoring goals on a regular basis. Up until now, we have been very fortunate that Adomah, Carayol,Leadbitter are consistently scoring. The team at this minute are sitting high in the championship goal scoring charts, that is no mean feat, but we could be top if we had prolific strikers. It is inevitable that the team will hit barren spells and when this happens we need our strikers to chip in with their fair share. As it stands at this minute they are along way off, 8 goals between them going into February is simply not good enough.We remain 5 points away from the play off position and I honestly, genuinely believe we can make them, that’s if we manage to bring in a striker or two.

Karanka has been quoted as saying. ” We are looking in several positions, I want to finish the transfer window with a stronger team than the one I started with. We will be working until the last second to strengthen the squad.”

Well it is quite clear and evident the positions that we need strengthened are up front, if we don’t address our obvious problems im afraid we will miss out. We have to strike while the iron is hot and capitalise while we are in a rich vain of form.

Jutkiewicz looks Bolton bound, hopefully that is an indication that there will be players coming in.

I said going into the month of January we will find out if its a statement of intent, or an insult with the players we bring in. But if we dont bring in at least one striker it will be the latter.

Join me on The Three Legends phone in week nights 6-8 on CVFM 104.5 call on 01642 688104




Given must stay until the end of the season.

I witnessed our victory last weekend at the Riverside and I was delighted with the 3 points and another clean sheet.
As a spectacle on the eye it was poor, certainly not one for the purest and not one that will live in the memory. But I keep repeating myself, now is not the time for glamour, it’s about positive results and points on the board.
Under Karanka’s guidance we have certainly turned things around dramatically.
Shay Given received the plaudits for a late save and clocked up his 6th clean sheet in the last 10 games. I personally did not see his last gasp save, as I had left with 20 mins still to go, as I headed to do Bernie Does The Boro, my radio phone in on CVFm 104.5.
Reading the social networks and local reporters comments afterwards, everyone was raving about how good Given’s save was.
On the Saturday night I waited in anticipation, to see with my own eyes, this wonder save. But for some obscure reason the Boring Broadcasting Company (BBC) didn’t show it.
However I eventually witnessed it.
If I am honest I was a wee bit disappointed. Initially Shay punched it downwards instead of upwards, then a shot was blasted right down his throat, to the Irishman’s credit he held onto it with both hands.
It was a good save but not world class.
It was well documented that the Republic of Ireland coach was present.
Roy like myself had left early in fact I bumped into him in the car park and he summed the game up as a spectacle in one word, I will let you all guess what it was, neither of us discussed Given.
I have no doubt that Roy would have heard in advance and watched enough on the day to sanction Shay’s return to the Republic squad.

Would I like to see Shay sign for Boro?
Without a doubt, he has got the lot, he is vastly experienced, has a presence, is vocal, a good shot stopper and despite his years still very agile, and looking at his performance he still has a hunger, which is vitally important.
For me his arrival, has been Karanka’s biggest master stroke. The odds are we won’t sign him permanently, as he has just under 3 years on his contract remaining at Villa and no doubt he is on a substantial amount of money, which we most definitely cannot afford.We need to at least keep him until the end of the season to continue our progress.

Looking at our activity so far in the window, no surprise we have brought in loan players and that no money has changed hands.
On paper these loan players look good additions, but a word of caution, so did Ameobi, Keiron Dyer and both flopped. Not forgetting Chelsea starlet Josh Mceachran who did not score one goal in a season and flattered to deceive throughout.
It’s interesting that all 5 loans are defensive minded including Varga.
Lets hope Karanka’s teams down the line entertain a bit more. When you are winning people will accept whatever brand of football you are serving up. But if results go against you and the football on the eye is poor, that’s when you end up in trouble. But so far so good and long may that continue.
As I have mentioned in the past I have never been a big fan of loans, there is no intimacy and have they really got the hunger to succeed? The reason I question that is they know if they don’t do the business on loan, they just return to their well paid long term contracts.
Over the years we have had our fair share of loanees and in my opinion only one or two have stood out.
We all know its a short term fix, I think we can safely say none will be signed on a long term contract, irrespective of how they perform, none of the others have.
If they help us get back to the promised land,that will be fantastic.
When the loans return that leaves us having to build yet again, with no real foundations. Sunderland did it a few years ago, brought in a boat load of players for the short term and struggled when they all departed. Watford did it last year, just missed out on the play off final and as it stands are now sitting mid table In the Championship and their manager has gone.

As Boro fans we hope we can rope in a centre forward or two before the window closes as the present quartet have only managed 1 goal in the last 14/15 games. I expect a couple of outgoings Rhys Williams being one of them as he has been off the boil for quite sometime. I personally think playing him all over the park hasn’t helped his development, wherever he goes he has to hope he stays in one position, on his day he has a touch of class.

From the outside looking in it looks as if Karanka like previous boss Tony Mowbray, doesn’t fancy Luke Williams, Smallwood, Reach, etc. I wouldn’t be surprised if they depart. As I’m typing this Reach has gone on loan to Bradford.

Next up Leicester, this is our biggest test to date under Karanka, but we needn’t fear anyone after the way we have turned things around.

I must finish by saying congratulations to our neighbours Sunderland in reaching the Capital One Cup Final.