Posts Tagged ‘Championship’

Burnley v Middlesbrough, Saturday 17th December 2022, 3pm

December 19, 2022

At the start of this season there were two Championship grounds that I had yet to visit, Burnley and Watford. I missed the chance to go to Vicarage Road in the summer as we were over in The Lakes and it would have meant a ten hour round trip for an evening game. That left Burnley and fortunately Harry and I had just enough priority points for me to nab a couple of the remaining tickets and the last two seats on one of the Supporters Club coaches.

In the end I went by myself as Harry was ill. Shame really as he likes the away games where we stand in our end and sing. He enjoys the coaches too, particularly the banging on the window and the gesturing at the home fans walking to the ground. Oh, to be eleven again.

Mind you, a spare seat next to you on a coach isn’t a bad thing, particularly when the weather extends the journey time from two hours to three. The snow had laid and most of the livestock that we drove past looked as if they would rather be anywhere else than stood in a field.

We parked up with an hour and a half to kick-off. Burnley cricket club had opened up for away fans and it was packed with most of the 2,500 travelling support. I’m not overly keen on drinking cold beer when the outside temperature is close to freezing and so I limited myself to sausage and chips from the kitchen on the second floor.

It was all a bit busy and so I left everyone to it and headed back out towards the ground, passing the Jimmy Anderson Stand. I wonder if he ends up bowling there when his England and Lancashire days are over. We might have to wait a few years for that.

It didn’t take long to negotiate security outside the turnstiles. I had my big Russian coat on which already weighs as much as you’d expect a coat to do if the pockets were filled with flares and house bricks. Fortunately, I’d neglected to being anything like that and after a cursory pat down I was in.

My seat was central in the lower tier in the old stand behind the goal. There was another old stand to my right, the Bob Lord Stand, with newish looking structures to my left and at the other end.

I went into the game reasonably hopeful of getting something out of it and when Watmore put us ahead just after the break, three points looked a possibility. If the penalty appeal just afterwards had gone our way, then I think we might well have won. A twelve-minute spell where Burnley scored three times scuppered it though and a saved penalty near the end denied us a frantic finale. It was an enjoyable day out and another Championship ground ticked off. Just Watford remaining to complete the division.

Middlesbrough v West Bromwich Albion, Tuesday 22nd February 2022, 7.45pm

February 27, 2022

With the Boro losing away at Bristol City at the weekend this game felt like a ‘must-win’ if the momentum that we’ve built up since Chris Wilder’s appointment wasn’t going to stall. There were more empty seats than normal, but the combination of a mid-week fixture, poor weather and it being on the telly made that understandable.

The ref, as is so often the case in the Championship, was poor. Not just in that his decisions rarely went our way but more in his determination to keep play flowing by rarely blowing for a foul. The consequences were that the tackles got stronger, and more time was wasted by players surrounding him with a list of retrospective complaints every time the ball eventually went dead. He’d have found the players a lot easier to manage if he’d blown for a few early free-kicks and set the tone.

Boro never really got going in the first-half and West Brom were well worth their one goal lead at the break. I thought that we missed the suspended Matt Crooks, particularly the way that he links up with Isiah Jones.

The game turned around in the second half with the substitutions. Watmore raised the intensity level and Tav moving to left wing-back allowed us an extra forward on the pitch. The resulting two-one win was our seventh successive home victory and took us back on track for the play-offs.

Middlesbrough v Brentford, Tuesday 15th September 2015, 7.45pm

September 29, 2015


Within a day of arriving back in England I was able to get along to the Riverside for my first Boro game of the season. Jen and I stayed about half an hour away in a cottage at Ingleby Greenhow. It was close enough to Teesside to be convenient, but with the benefits of being out in the countryside. It also had an open fire so I was able to burn stuff, something that Travelodges tend to frown upon.


We’ve been walking the Cleveland Way in stages for a couple of years now and on the morning of the match we slogged up a hill from the cottage to Battersby Moor, where we joined the trail and then covered a section to Kildale and back. I’d been hoping to spot a deer or two but over the course of eleven miles we saw nothing more exciting than a rabbit. Plenty of sheep and grouse, though.


As Tom and I approached the Riverside that evening I noticed the Tuxedo Royale was moored next to the stadium again. It looks as if it someone has started scrapping it, a far cry from its days as a pre-match drinking venue where the barmaids would step in if the strippers didn’t turn up.


The upper tier of the South Stand has sold out to season tickets this year and so Tom and I bought tickets for the lower section. I felt fairly confident of a result against Brentford. We’ve improved our team substantially from last season, particularly up front, whilst Brentford’s results to date suggest that they’ve gone backwards a bit. I wonder how long it will be before their owner realises that Mark Warburton hadn’t been doing such a bad job after all.


We looked by far the better team, going a goal up early on before a mistake from Dimi let them back into the game. Two more goals in the second half, including a cracker from ‘back in the fold’ Albert Adomah secured the points and kept us up at the right end of the table.