James Morrison's hack/tackle on Cristiano Ronaldo

As requested, here's James Morrison's cynical hack on Cronaldo, which rightly earned the Boro substitute a straight red card. And watch Ronaldo's post-match interview below: 'Of course it was a penalty…' His English is coming on nicely.

March 20, 2007 in Manchester United, Middlesbrough, Video clips | Permalink | Comments (3)

Dive of the day? Cristiano Ronaldo vs Jonathan Woodgate

Boro seem to think that Ronaldo dived to win Man Utd's game-winning penalty, and no doubt Ronaldo-haters will think he went down to easily. Bollocks. It's not a dive and the ref was right to award a penalty. Woodgate clearly caught him, end of story. I also think there's an element of truth in Fergie's claim that Boro (and other teams) have a 'guilt complex' about Ronaldo. For his part, Ronaldo said 'Maybe some people don't like me. Maybe I'm too good…' Right on both counts.

March 20, 2007 in Manchester United, Middlesbrough, Video clips | Permalink | Comments (9)

The Mark Viduka song, by Alistair Griffin

Viduka1 'The baffled keeper can't stop Mark Viduka…' This tribute song to the rotund 'Boro/Aussie hitman, written and performed by singer-songwriter Alistair Griffin, is possibly the best football song I've heard since New Order's World in Motion, at least in terms of lyrics. It's a cover of Hallelujah by Leonard Cohen (and others, including Rufus Wainwright), and it's absolutely f**king brilliant. Hear it now at Alistair's MySpace site.

February 27, 2007 in Middlesbrough | Permalink | Comments (2)

Obscene season ticket prices to be slashed?

Money_4 News reaches us that Premiership chairmen are going to be forced into cutting 'obscene' ticket prices because fans have just about had enough of being the victims of daylight robbery every weekend, and as a result, football has reached a tipping point.

Two top-flight chairmen have expressed the same view, both of whom predict price cuts all round next season. 'It is a serious issue that has reached saturation point across the country,' said Phil Gartside, chairman of Bolton. 'We feel duty bound to make a stance by reducing the cost for our season ticket holders, and I'm sure other clubs will follow suit next season and listen to public opinion.' But surely the tickets are inflated at the chairs' behest?

This weekend saw ManYoo fans protesting about the amount being charged to let their fans watch their side at Fulham. They were asked for a whopping £45 to watch their team, and that doesn't include travel and grub... although they hadn't got far to travel from Essex eh? Ho Ho Ho... I'll get me coat. A senior executive from another of the Premiership's 'big four' clubs told Observer Sport that prices could not go any higher. 'Officially we are monitoring the situation,' he said. 'But privately we have realised that ticket prices have reached their maximum, at least in the immediate future.'

These warnings come slap bang in the middle of an attendance slump. Despite an increased capacity at Arsenal and Manchester United, the average attendance is down from last year, and whilst the big four continue to sell out their games, the overall Premiership average is down by more than 1,000 year on year and now stands at 32,775, not including this weekend. What is causing fans to stay away? Well, once, you could watch the footy and not dent the wallet too much, and know exactly when you'd be going out. Basically, high prices and amended kick-off times to enable saturated TV coverage aren't encouraging fans to get down the ground. 

Of course, a lot of money is generated by the TV rights, which obviously help clubs to bring in new players and the like. That said, the Premier League negotiated a new £600million, three-year deal for overseas TV rights to the Premiership. Add the £1.7 billion Sky and Setanta will pay to screen matches in Britain, and the £400m for internet and mobile phone rights, and it seems scandalous that ticket prices continually increase. Each club will be getting around £900m per season (starting in August).

Apart from drops in season ticket prices, a group are also want away matches addressed. The Football Supporters' Federation want a fixed price for all travelling supporters. 'Away fans in England are unique. You would not get 5,000 Milan supporters travelling to Juventus. If prices were to stay in line with the Taylor Report's recommendation, then £15 would be a fair price for those who travel to watch their team.' The report, published in January 1990 in the aftermath of the Hillsborough disaster, stated that 'it should be possible for seating to be £6'. With inflation, that would mean fans paying just £9.60 now, rather than the average of about £30.

So what's the answer? Well, looking at Germany's Bundesliga, the average attendance was approximately 40,000, which is superior to our league matches. In fact, it's about a quarter more fans in through the turnstiles, shouting for their team. German fans can buy tickets for as little as £10 or £15 for all games, and in some cases, terracing is being used, which gives a fan a feeling of real unity, as opposed to the sterile stadia over here. What is interesting is that the Bundesliga is renowned for its competitiveness, with many teams standing a chance of winning it. Should we look at the German model to fix our game? [Mof Gimmers]

February 26, 2007 in Arsenal, Aston Villa, Blackburn Rovers, Bolton Wanderers, Charlton Athletic, Chelsea, Everton, Fulham, Liverpool, Manchester City, Manchester United, Middlesbrough, Newcastle United, News balls, Portsmouth, Reading, Sheffield United, Tottenham Hotspur, Watford, West Ham United, Wigan Athletic | Permalink | Comments (2)

FA Cup Quarter Final Draw

Facup_2 So the Quarter Final draw has been made for the FA Cup and the big guns have been kept apart once more.

Middlesbrough or West Brom v Manchester United or Reading

Arsenal or Blackburn v Manchester City

Chelsea v Tottenham

Plymouth v Watford

The matches will take place on 10 and 11 March. Who do you fancy for a spot in the semis? How about Plymouth getting there? 

February 19, 2007 in Arsenal, Chelsea, Manchester City, Manchester United, Middlesbrough, News balls, Tottenham Hotspur, Watford | Permalink | Comments (2)

Free travel to football matches

Wewillfollow_1 Fans who have experienced the thrill of an away match will know how addictive it is. The trip down, the pre-match pints in a strange pub, being in a strange ground. It's like a holiday with a football match stuck in the middle of it! However, loads give it a wide berth because they can't get a lift down to the games. Well, you needn't fear that any more.

A website called WeWillfollow aims to stop all that worry and hassle by allowing you to offer and request lifts to games home and away, and it’s completely free. Added to that, the site also has a ticket exchange for fans with a spare. It's all rather nice isn't it? To add to the community feeling, WeWillFollow also have a unique 'Exile List' for each club, so if you've drifted away from your club (geographically speaking) you can register as a member on the site and talk to other exiled supporters of your club. With a list of 1000+ supporters clubs too, you need never feel lonely and exiled again! Have a look and sign up with the site now!

January 22, 2007 in Arsenal, Aston Villa, Blackburn Rovers, Bolton Wanderers, Charlton Athletic, Chelsea, Everton, Fulham, League One, League Two, Liverpool, Manchester City, Manchester United, Middlesbrough, Newcastle United, Non League, Portsmouth, Reading, Scotland, Sheffield United, The Championship, Tottenham Hotspur, Watford, West Ham United, Wigan Athletic | Permalink | Comments (0)

Gazza and the door-step challenge

During his time at Glasgow Rangers up in Bonnie Scotland, Paul Gascoigne, already known as 'troubled genius' by this point, was followed by a film crew. We all know that former Spuds and Newcastle player  Gazza (or G8) likes a joke, so see what happens when he took the film crew back to his new house...

December 21, 2006 in Cult Heroes, Funny old game, Middlesbrough, Newcastle United, Scotland, Tottenham Hotspur, Video clips | Permalink | Comments (0)

Jewell says "legalise diving"


Wigan gaffer Paul Jewell has spoken out on the subject of diving admitting he would legalise it. What? Can that be right? Anyway, with everyone talking about 'simulation' at the moment after ManYoo's Cristiano Ronaldo went tumbling through the air like a gunned duck and subsequently incurred the bile virtually everyone under the sun, Jewell decided to speak up... especially as Latics' striker Emile Heskey also came under scrutiny against Liverpool at the weekend for going down easily.

Jewell is no fan of players tumbling to the ground at every given opportunity, but believes the best way to eradicate it from the game would be to legalise diving. "I may be the only person in the world who believes this, but why don't we allow it?" he said in an interview on Sky Sports News.

Jewell continued: "The pubs open 24 hours a day and everybody was worried people would be drunk on the streets, well there are less drunks on the streets now than when they used to close at three o'clock. So we just allow it and stop everyone talking about it. One week you get away with it, the next week you wouldn't. So stop it in my opinion. People say it is cheating, but you ask any supporter and if one of our players goes down in the box and we need a penalty to stay in the league or win a cup. Do you know what they are going to say?" 

Jewell added further "It will be the same as Man United fans, Liverpool fans, Chelsea fans and chairman: Go down. At the end of the day I might get lambasted for that, but that's the way it is. We are all trying to get an edge. When the ball goes out of play and it is obviously a corner, defenders always say it is their ball. It is a just creating an edge. I hate diving, but if it is in the game and if you allow it it will go away on its own and people will stop talking about it." [Mof Gimmers]

December 6, 2006 in Liverpool, Manchester United, Middlesbrough, News balls, Wigan Athletic | Permalink | Comments (1)

Should Southgate be allowed to continue as Boro manager?

Southgate_1 Middlesbrough boss Gareth Southgate has admitted that he will be a relieved  man when his future is decided at a Premier League board meeting on Wednesday. This meeting will decide whether to extend his three-month dispensation to manage the side without the required qualifications. Southgate told Boro's website that "I think we're close to having the situation resolved. I don't know what we'll talk about after that, it seems I've been speaking about this for months."

The amended rules state that a manager can retain their position as long as they have enrolled on the Pro Licence course. However, Southgate has been unable to enrol on the Pro Licence course as he lacks the Uefa A and B badges. He is now in the process of acquiring his B badge (they make it sound like the badges you get for swimming) and will begin his A qualification in the new year with a view to taking the Pro Licence in the summer. It would seem some Boro fans are hoping that the rules won't be amended further, and that Southgate will have to stand aside for the good of the club.

Southgate added further that "It will mean a bit more work in the Southgate household but it will nice to have a clear picture of what lies ahead and which courses need to be done and on what timescale. I am commtted to continuing taking these course and whatever happens, I need to be enrolled on the Pro Licence by the end of the season, I would think, to be able to continue. So it's whether we get the dispensation to manage for this year and at the same time finish my A and B licences." He continued: "I cannot complain because I am being allowed the opportunity to do something that might not have been possible. The job is hard enough and it's just one more challenge for me, but I like a challenge."

With Boro currently 14th in the table, some fans are hoping for someone else with a bit more experience to take them higher. It is worth remembering that our current England boss didn't fare much better last season. The fans are right to be concerned, even though I think all would agree that he's a nice enough bloke, niceness doesn't always win you games. It would seem that the Boro board are hoping that the Premiership bosses will go soft on 'lovely nice man' Gareth. Southgate has repeatedly stated his lust to get his coaching badges but has not had the opportunity to do so since taking charge and is hopeful of being able to continue at the Riverside. Boro chief executive Keith Lamb said: "We hope our application will receive sympathetic support."

A Premier League spokesman said: "Boro have put forward their case as to why he should be allowed to continue without the relevant qualifications. That application will go before the Premier League board at the monthly meeting on Wednesday." [Mof Gimmers]

November 22, 2006 in Middlesbrough, News balls | Permalink | Comments (2)

Lord Stevens to name innocent clubs?


Lord Stevens is being urged to name innocent clubs today that are not involved in his bungs investigation. Several club chairmen will put their case at a meeting today, arguing that their clubs have been tainted by accusations after Lord Stevens announced that there were a total of eight clubs and 39 deals under investigation.

An FA Premier League shareholders' meeting will take place in London today and there may be a vote forced on the issue. It is thought that the motion to disclose will be passed just because several chairmen will not dare put up their hands to vote against in fear of implying guilt. So, if Lord Stevens does name the clubs, who do you think they'll be? Obviously Bolton will be fancied after the Panorama debacle, but who else is dodgy? [Mof Gimmers]

[via 365]

November 9, 2006 in Arsenal, Aston Villa, Blackburn Rovers, Bolton Wanderers, Charlton Athletic, Chelsea, Fulham, Liverpool, Manchester City, Manchester United, Middlesbrough, Newcastle United, News balls, Portsmouth, Sheffield United, The Championship, Tottenham Hotspur, Watford, West Ham United, Wigan Athletic | Permalink | Comments (0)