Middlesbrough v Huddersfield Town, Monday 18th April 2022, 12.30pm

I’d got back home from Bournemouth after midnight on the Friday night and with plans to take in a non-league game on the Saturday. The fixture I’d selected at Murton didn’t take place for some reason though and I had to head back down the A19. The rest of that day was filled with Stockton Calling, a music festival spread over eleven venues and with eight bands. I saw thirteen of the bands in eight different locations. All of them were good, although with some of them I only caught three or four songs as I nipped in somewhere midway through a set.

Most bands played for thirty minutes which is pretty much perfect for a festival and despite it not selling out for the first time in ages, there was a great atmosphere from people glad to be out and about again seeing gigs.

Sunday was a music day too as I headed up to see Paul Weller at Newcastle City Hall.  Whilst I’ve seen him many times over the years my mind went back to being at the same venue for a Jam gig forty years ago to the month. On that occasion I’d watched the Boro win at Roker Park in the afternoon and then took a train into Newcastle to round off one of the best days that I’d ever had at that time.

Forty years on from 1982, Weller still put on an excellent show. I think that Fat Pop is his best album for years and, as with the bands the previous day, he really seemed to be enjoying himself too. I doubt I’ll be seeing him forty years from now but hopefully there will be further opportunities. It’s certainly much more likely that I’ll see him than the Boro playing Sunderland.

Back to the Huddersfield game. Harry and I cut it fine again as I hadn’t realised that I’d have to pay to park on a Bank Holiday. The machines don’t take money any more and so I had to download an App and pay remotely. Pain in the arse, but we arrived as the teams were lining up.

It was another poor performance to follow on from the home defeats to Fulham and Hull. A late McGree effort that hit the bar was as close as we came to scoring. The optimism from earlier in the season has just about evaporated and it’s difficult to see where the next win will come from, never mind the four from four that will likely be needed for a play-off spot.

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