Posts Tagged ‘Middlesbrough’

Middlesbrough v Brighton and Hove Albion, Saturday 7th May 2016, 12:30pm

August 15, 2016

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Well, what do you know? We only went and did it.

A year on from that non-performance at Wembley a draw at home to Brighton in the last game of the season was enough to secure our return to the Premier League seven years after it slipped away that afternoon at West Ham.

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I’d bought tickets for the game as soon as I knew I was leaving Australia and long before the inevitable sell-out. Tom and I were in the South Stand, to the side of the goal nearest the Brighton fans.

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I’ve never been to a Boro game, or any game for that matter, where the support was so intense and where the singing was non-stop despite the tension of the occasion. It wasn’t like Eindhoven where most of us peaked too early and failed to play our part, or Wembley on just about any visit you can think of when it was either more about just being there or an early setback knocked us back. Or both.

It wasn’t like Cardiff where the team did their bit early on and then left us to bite our fingernails for almost an entire match. This was so different to any of those times. It was a crowd playing their part and providing the background for the lads on the pitch to get us over the line.

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If ever a lull in the noise threatened, a Red Faction-led chorus of “Follow, Follow, Follow” filled the potential void to the extent that the words were still resounding through my head days later. Even as the board was held up showing an additional eight minutes, the support never wavered.

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As we entered the final seconds I felt a few tears in my eyes. Sometimes it means more than you realise. I tend not to get emotional when it goes badly; I was able to put last season’s play-off defeat behind me before the game had finished and within an hour or two was already looking ahead to this season rather than dwelling upon what might have been in different circumstances. This was another matter altogether.

The whistle blew and Tom and I hugged. My thoughts went back to our last promotion eighteen years earlier. Tom and I had been in the West Stand for that one, me in my thirties rather than my fifties and him just eight years old and in serious danger of having someone’s eye out with his flag.

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I’ve enjoyed being in the Championship with trips to some of the so-called ‘less-fashionable’ grounds and in the last couple of years it was nice to win a few games.

But it’s good to be back. Back in the big time.

Middlesbrough v Blackburn Rovers, Saturday 6th February 2016, 3pm

May 29, 2016

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The home game against Blackburn was my first Boro game for a few months and for a change Tom and I sat in the South West corner. Thirty quid for a ticket would usually have struck me as expensive but as I’d been to see Peppa Pig with the grandkids that morning and with that costing fourteen quid for a three year old and sixteen quid for the accompanying adult, thirty quid for football seemed like a bargain.

I reckon adults should get in free to stuff like Peppa Pig, in the way that carers do with wheelchair fans at football. They do three shows a day, no doubt using aspiring Equity members on minimum wage. Somebody, somewhere is raking it in. Daddy Pig probably.  Still, the grandkids enjoyed it.

Earlier in the week Jen and I had done another thirty miles of the Cleveland Way, including the section with the Roseberry Topping detour in it. I’ve no idea how many times I’ve been up there but it’s always good to look down on Teesside from the top.

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Anyway, the game. We had a pint in The Central, but it was a bit crowded and with rain in the air we took a taxi up to the ground to do our pre-match drinking there. I was surprised to see that new signing Jordan Rhodes was only on the bench against his old club, but I suppose at least it meant that he wouldn’t be scoring against us.

We weren’t very good and it was only after Blackburn took the lead twenty minutes from the end that we showed any real intent to try to score. Rhodes came on and put himself about a bit, before Nugent equalised ten minutes from time.

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The draw took us level on points at the top with Hull.  I suppose with Burnley and Brighton still trailing us despite having played more games, it’s a good position to be in.

After the the successive defeats to Bristol City and Forest though, I can’t help feeling that we needed a win to get back on track.

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Tom and I hung about afterwards to watch Final Score before heading into town to catch the back end of the rugby in Dr Browns.