Youngsters blast the way forward for Boro.

WHAT a pair of crackers!

The wonder goals from Adam Reach and Luke Williams against Burnley on Tuesday were superb strikes worthy of winning any game.They were both brilliant. And not just the goals. The kids both had good games. Reach and Curtis Main – who I like – started and played their part in a great win and young Luke came off the bench to win the game.They competed, they were composed, they matched Burnley physically and they were mentally strong. And they were confident of their abilities – you have to be to try taking a pot shot from way out there.

Which just goes to show you: if they’re good enough, they’re old enough. I really believe that.

We’ve all heard the buzz about the next generation of youngsters, we’ve seen them do it in pre-season and now they have proved they can step up and do it when it matters – in the first team in the Championship.If they are ready, if they have the talent and if they can give Boro something extra we don’t already have, play them.It shouldn’t matter that some others in the squad are older, or have bigger names, or have come with a big price-tag. If the kids are working hard and doing well in training then they deserve a chance in the team – and if they play like that they deserve to stay there.

At Middlesbrough we all know what good kids can do. We have a long history of blooding local talent. I played in a team of Teesside teenagers that had barely started shaving, quality players like Rippers, Coops, Pally and Parky, players thrown in as youngsters who are legends on Teesside now.Mogga was in that team too so he will know as well as anyone that if players can do the business it then age is no barrier.All that matters is that they kids are good enough and believe in their ability. And I think they do believe that.

One thing that really impressed me with young Reach that was in his interview after the game he had that hunger and that bit of belief. He used one of my lines and said he’d been banging on the manager’s door to ask for a chance in the first team. I like that. Good on him.I used to watch the older guys and think I could do better than them and I used to tell the gaffer that. I would bang on the door and tell him why and where the others were failing and how I could do better for the team.It’s refreshing that Reach is brave enough to state his case.

Some people may say that is arrogant but, hey, in football you need a bit of that. For me it shows confidence and belief in your own ability and it shows that you are not scared to test yourself. You are up for it.After that, if you get your chance, you have to take it. And he did. Wow. He really did.

The two goals from the kids really had the crowd buzzing. Can you believe the difference between that and the dismay after Barnsley when some fans were booing and writing off the season after 90 minutes.I don’t understand that. It’s a new team just bedding in, not quite fully fit and with a few out injured. You can’t tell anything from results in the first day – ask Manchester United – so for me booing the team is wrong.

But that’s football. One game you are depressed and berating the team and manager as rubbish then – bang! – a couple of goals like that and suddenly you are high as a kite again and praising them as worldbeaters nailed on for promotion.That’s what being a football fan is all about, those extremes of emotion. Only football can do that. Most teams will do that to you over a lifetime over a season. Only Boro can do it in a week. Or in a single game.


THE THREE Legends is alive and kicking. Well one of us is anyway. The other two – Micky and Malcolm – are gagged somewhere in political exile… but they’ll be free soon and back on the air. I can’t wait.

As you will be aware we were axed by Real Radio last month but are back on the air through Star Radio and Koast FM. For now it is just me but in October they are free from their contracts and can join me.

It’s been hard work on my own but you know me, I could talk for Scotland. Or Ireland. And I’ve had Tom Davies in to twiddle my knobs and help me out. He’s a very experienced broadcaster. I used to listen to him doing the late night phone-in on Tees when I first came to Boro and he was always great entertainment. He is keeping everything ticking over technically and is showing me the ropes. He doesn’t know a thing about football – although some may say neither do I so we’ll get on.

The early signs are that the new show is going to be a big success. We’ve taken a lot of the old regular callers with us and picked up a couple of new ones and we’re grateful for that support from every single listener.What is good is that although it is just me right now, it isn’t just Boro calls. We are getting loads of Mackems and Geordies on and the banter is great.

We won’t get audience figures for a few months yet but lots of people tell me they’re tuning in, we’re getting the calls and we’re confident we’ll grow and grow.

Koast is internet only for now but will get an FM licence soon. People in Teesside can listen through Darlington-based Star Radio and we have four or five other local stations interested in joining in so soon we will be networked on air and available on the across the entire region.

That’s important to us. The fans here are passionate about the game and deserve a local platform for their opinions. We will give them that even if others don’t believe it worthwhile.

Call the show on 0845 013 22 00

Thanks to Evening Gazette.

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