The Unofficial "Official" Boro v Reading Matchday Thread and Programme

r00fie1

Well-known member
Its that time again....

1642162207036.png

A warm welcome to everyone.

No one can deny its been an exciting week: new players arriving, a renewed air of expectation and excitement.

We`ve had Man Utd players telling us we stand no chance of beating them in our FA Cup tie - but they were very fortunate to scrape past a superior Villa side, earlier in the week. Perhaps its that arrogance which has reflected in their results since Sir Alex left as Manager?!

Neil Warnock chipped in he wouldnt swop Boro`s defence for theirs (!) - neither would we. Thanks Neil.

Lots to talk about: reflecting on Thames Valley Royals and Manchester United`s biggest Premier Defeats......as well as all the usual stuff + a lot more besides.


Trying to present the articles in a simpler format, so the thread is more easily readable on mobile and tablet. Lets hope it works.... (y)


--------------------------------------⚽-----------------------------------


This Weekend`s Championship Fixtures:

1642163200981.png

Championship League Table [Friday 14th January 2022]
1642163331854.png



The Boro v Reading Record:
Boro read record.png

Boro V Reading - Current Form:
1642163579316.png


Match Stat Preview:

These are exciting times for Middlesbrough, who have signed a host of new players and set up an exciting away tie vs Manchester United in the FA Cup after a young starting XI won in the cup last weekend in the wake of the club’s Covid-19 crisis. A well-rested side should now take to the field here as Chris Wilder’s promotion hopefuls look to extend their unbeaten run to eight games (W6, D1).

Striking first has been key to Middlesbrough’s success during their current unbeaten run, as they’ve scored first in each of their last five league wins, during a run that’s seen them rise from mid-table into playoff contention. However should they fall behind, ‘Boro’ may well struggle - they are one of just three sides yet to win when trailing in league games this term (D2, L8).

In stark contrast to Boro’s Wilder, the pressure is mounting on Reading boss Veljko Paunović after his side flopped to a shameful 7-0 defeat in their last league game. That result left Reading in a precarious position, as they are now within touching distance of the drop zone, with 22nd-placed Peterborough sitting just three points behind them but with a game in hand.

Whatever happens, there’s likely to be a winner here as Reading are one of just two Championship sides yet to draw an away league game this season (W4, L7). Having also lost to non-league Kidderminster in their last away game, surely the only way is up for Reading who seek their first win on Teesside after five failed attempts (D1, L4).

Players to watch: Boro new boy Caolan Boyd-Munce had a dream debut in the FA Cup, netting his first goal in senior men's football in the 14th minute after signing just one day prior. For Reading, young goalkeeper Luke Southwood must now show a degree of mental fortitude after facing 63 shots and conceding ten goals across his last three appearances.

Hot stat: Middlesbrough are the only side across England’s top-three tiers yet to concede a league goal in the opening 15 minutes.

[Source: https://www.flashscore.co.uk/match/KrEdJzYp/#match-summary]


-----------------------------------⚽--------------------------------

Preview: Middlesbrough vs. Reading - prediction, team news​

By Darren Plant, Senior Reporter | 22h
5-6 minutes



Sports Mole previews Saturday's Championship clash between Middlesbrough and Reading, including predictions, team news and possible lineups.
Middlesbrough return to Championship action on Saturday afternoon looking for the victory which will keep the pressure on the teams in the playoff places.
Meanwhile, Reading visit the Riverside Stadium on the back of a 7-0 drubbing at the hands of Fulham, leaving the Royals very much at risk of dropping into the relegation zone.


Match preview

Middlesbrough manager Chris Wilder on November 23, 2021
© Reuters
Middlesbrough have been one of the form teams in England since the arrival of Chris Wilder with six wins and two draws coming from his nine games in charge.
Boro were able to take a break from league matters last weekend with a FA Cup tie at Mansfield, and a much-changed side came through by a 3-2 scoreline.
While Wilder was quick to praise the efforts of the League Two outfit, he will have quietly been impressed by the character of his players with many of them having a point to prove ahead of a return to the Championship schedule.

More players continue to arrive at the club, too, with Arsenal loanee Folarin Balogun potentially being followed by Riley McGree, who has previously impressed for Birmingham City this season.

Providing that Boro's backline stays fit, they have every chance of remaining in contention for promotion, but they head into this game still outside of the top six despite their six-game unbeaten run.

Reading manager Veljko Paunovic pictured on September 18, 2021
© Reuters
At a time when Boro are very much on an upward trajectory, the same cannot be said of their opponents who continue to face an uphill task to remain in the division.

Since holding a 2-0 advantage against rivals Derby County on January 3, everything has gone wrong for the Royals, who have followed a draw in that game with defeats versus Kidderminster Harriers and Fulham.

The loss at National League North side Kidderminster in the FA Cup particularly hurt given the distance between the clubs in the English football pyramid, and it had ramifications for their efforts three days later.

At one stage, Reading shipped four goals in 15 second-half minutes, and their supporters have every reason to call for a change in the dugout.

That said, Veljko Paunovic cannot be solely blamed for Reading's issues this season and as the Serbian keeps calling for, a collective effort both on and off the pitch is the only combination which will keep the club outside of the relegation zone.

Middlesbrough Championship form:

  • W
  • W
  • D
  • W
  • W
  • W
Middlesbrough form (all competitions):
  • W
  • D
  • W
  • W
  • W
  • W
Reading Championship form:
  • L
  • W
  • D
  • L
  • D
  • L
Reading form (all competitions):
  • W
  • D
  • L
  • D
  • L
  • L

Team News

Duncan Watmore celebrates scoring for Middlesbrough against Huddersfield Town in the Championship on February 16, 2021
© Reuters

Wilder is expected to call upon much of the team which started the 2-1 victory at Blackpool on December 29.

However, Duncan Watmore is pushing for a recall over Onel Hernandez after scoring at Bloomfield Road, while Jonny Howson will hope to come back into the centre of midfield.

New signings Aaron Connolly and Balogun are likely to be named on the substitutes' bench at best.

With Scott Dann suffering a calf injury, Paunovic must decide how to reshuffle his team with his decisions not paying off against Fulham.

Youngster Michael Stickland could be handed his first Championship start as a direct replacement, a move which will help prevent Andy Rinomhota being given too many minutes after his comeback from injury.

George Puscas is an alternative in the final third, but Paunovic may feel that he cannot make many changes to his team.

Middlesbrough possible starting lineup:
Lumley' Bamba, Dijksteel, Fry; Jones, Crooks, McNair, Tavernier, Peltier; Watmore, Sporar

Reading possible starting lineup:
Southwood; Tetek, Holmes, Stickland, Bristow; Drinkwater, Laurent; Hoilett, Swift, Dele-Bashiru; Carroll


SM words green background

We say: Middlesbrough 3-0 Reading

On the back of the last two matches, the last thing that Reading would have wanted was a long trip up North to face the in-form team in the division. While Reading can play without expectations, Boro should have more than enough to cruise to victory at the Riverside Stadium.



------------------------⚽---------------------------

The Reading League Record:

1642164502708.png


--------------------------⚽---------------------------


Robert Maxwell
1642165790449.png

https://www.readingchronicle.co.uk/...-royals-disastrous-idea-nearly-came-fruition/

[edited]

"Thames Valley Royals"

When Ghislaine Maxwell's dad tried to merge Reading FC with Oxford United.

Benjy Nurick
5-6 minutes


1642164853078.png
With Ghislaine Maxwell in the news after she was found guilty of five counts of sex trafficking, here we take a look back at the British socialite's association with football.

While Ghislaine was a director at Oxford United her father, as chairman, once hatched a bizarre plan to merge Reading FC with Oxford United - a wildly unpopular ploy that crashed and burned under intense supporter protest and widespread disdain for the idea.

With Oxford United facing the threat of bankruptcy in 1982, media mogul Robert Maxwell saved the club but his long-term intentions were far more sinister.

Reading Chronicle: Ghislaine Maxwell pictured at an Oxford United match
Ghislaine Maxwell pictured at an Oxford United match.

On April 16, 1983, Maxwell announced to the BBC that he was close to acquiring a controlling interest in Reading FC with a view to merging the two rival clubs into one, to be known as Thames Valley Royals.

The Thames Valley Royals would play their home matches at a new stadium somewhere in between Oxford and Reading, alternating between Elm Park and Manor Ground until the new ground could be completed.

Understandably there was concern from both sets of players and coaches. Oxford manager Jim Smith feared for his job while the Reading players, having spent the season languishing near the bottom of the table compared to Oxford’s promotion charge, were uncertain where there futures would lie.

Reading Chronicle: Media mogul Robert Maxwell. Image by: PA
Media mogul Robert Maxwell. Image by: PA

From a business standpoint there was perhaps a certain level of credence to the idea. Both clubs had suffered from financial challenges with Reading facing a murky future regardless of Maxwell’s involvement.

But from a football perspective, a human perspective, and a community perspective it was the worst possible news. Two proud clubs with a backbone of decades of history and strong fanbases ripped apart by one man’s idea.

With support from the football league, Oxford United’s board of directors, and the Oxford city council, the plan was in motion with the two clubs set to finish their respective seasons before uniting to form the Thames Valley Royals in time for the 1983/84 campaign.

Reading Chronicle: Robert Maxwell at a match


Reading Chronicle:


But perhaps Maxwell didn’t quite take into consideration the power and weight of the two club’s supporters. Both sets of fans reacted with revulsion to the idea and quickly sprang into action.

2,000 Oxford supporters flooded the pitch ahead of their April 23rd clash with Wigan Athletic, delaying kick-off by more than half an hour. Maxwell responded by calling the protest a “bloody disgrace” adding that “nothing short of the end of the Earth will prevent this from going through."

One week later, Reading supporters marched from the town centre to Elm Park in a show of protest of their own. Ironically, Maxwell’s proposal had united the two rival clubs - just not in the way he had envisaged.

Reading Chronicle: Now at the SCL, Reading FC would cease to exist had Maxwell gotten his way. Image by: JasonPIX


Now at the SCL, Reading FC would cease to exist had Maxwell gotten his way. Image by: JasonPIX

In the background, a rival takeover bid of Reading offered a potential light at the end of the dark tunnel that was quickly approaching. Roger Smee, born and bred in Reading before making more than 50 appearances for the club and going on to earn millions in construction and property businesses, opposed the merger and had the resources to do something about it.

Together with Roy Tranter, a Royals director who also opposed the merger, they fought back against Maxwell’s bid by filing a complaint with the High Court in order to block the sale of the club. An injunction was granted and despite Maxwell’s confident air, the wheels to his plot were starting to fall off in the face of Smee’s rival bid.

On the pitch - an arena that was nearly forgotten amidst the drama in the boardroom - Reading were relegated on the final day of the season despite beating Wrexham 1-0. Of course, none of that would matter if Maxwell got his way.

And that brings us to June 21st, 1983, a seminal and defining day in the history of Reading Football Club. During an extraordinary shareholders meeting, Smee narrowly defeated Maxwell winning 19,462 votes to the latter’s 16,420.

A new era had arrived. And it was to be a prosperous one. Under the chairmanship of Smee, Reading earned promotion from the Fourth Division in 1984, before going one further to reach the Second Division in 1986.

While more drama would arrive in the coming years, Smee’s stewardship helped lay the groundwork for the epic success Reading would find under John Madejski in the 1990s and 200s. Most importantly though, Reading stayed in Reading.

Speaking to the Reading Chronicle, Supporters Trust at Reading’s Roger Titford highlighted the failed merger as the most important moment in the club’s history.

“In my view, the events of 1983 were the single most significant turning point in the history of the club,” Titford explained.

“Reading became a different club overnight: new manager, new chairman, new board, new colours, new players and a new attitude to commerce.

“Roger Smee blew away 30 years of cobwebs.”




-------------------⚽-----------------


Maxwell`s tenure was fraught with controversy, with fans turning against the idea of merger.
His swash-buckling style wasnt very much liked.
His penchant for turning up with bags of money at other clubs - with the intent of buying one of their players - is well documented.
For the clubs of Reading and Oxford - they survived. Much to the joy of their fans.
Maxwell "disappeared" in 1991 and was later found dead in the Atlantic Ocean.
1642165296921.png1642166452565.png
 

Caretaker1

Well-known member
Its that time again....

View attachment 31413

A warm welcome to everyone.

No one can deny its been an exciting week: new players arriving, a renewed air of expectation and excitement.

We`ve had Man Utd players telling us we stand no chance of beating them in our FA Cup tie - but they were very fortunate to scrape past a superior Villa side, earlier in the week. Perhaps its that arrogance which has reflected in their results since Sir Alex left as Manager?!

Neil Warnock chipped in he wouldnt swop Boro`s defence for theirs (!) - neither would we. Thanks Neil.

Lots to talk about: reflecting on Thames Valley Royals and Manchester United`s biggest Premier Defeats......as well as all the usual stuff + a lot more besides.


Trying to present the articles in a simpler format, so the thread is more easily readable on mobile and tablet. Lets hope it works.... (y)


--------------------------------------⚽-----------------------------------


This Weekend`s Championship Fixtures:

View attachment 31419

Championship League Table [Friday 14th January 2022]
View attachment 31420



The Boro v Reading Record:
View attachment 31416

Boro V Reading - Current Form:
View attachment 31421


Match Stat Preview:

These are exciting times for Middlesbrough, who have signed a host of new players and set up an exciting away tie vs Manchester United in the FA Cup after a young starting XI won in the cup last weekend in the wake of the club’s Covid-19 crisis. A well-rested side should now take to the field here as Chris Wilder’s promotion hopefuls look to extend their unbeaten run to eight games (W6, D1).

Striking first has been key to Middlesbrough’s success during their current unbeaten run, as they’ve scored first in each of their last five league wins, during a run that’s seen them rise from mid-table into playoff contention. However should they fall behind, ‘Boro’ may well struggle - they are one of just three sides yet to win when trailing in league games this term (D2, L8).

In stark contrast to Boro’s Wilder, the pressure is mounting on Reading boss Veljko Paunović after his side flopped to a shameful 7-0 defeat in their last league game. That result left Reading in a precarious position, as they are now within touching distance of the drop zone, with 22nd-placed Peterborough sitting just three points behind them but with a game in hand.

Whatever happens, there’s likely to be a winner here as Reading are one of just two Championship sides yet to draw an away league game this season (W4, L7). Having also lost to non-league Kidderminster in their last away game, surely the only way is up for Reading who seek their first win on Teesside after five failed attempts (D1, L4).

Players to watch: Boro new boy Caolan Boyd-Munce had a dream debut in the FA Cup, netting his first goal in senior men's football in the 14th minute after signing just one day prior. For Reading, young goalkeeper Luke Southwood must now show a degree of mental fortitude after facing 63 shots and conceding ten goals across his last three appearances.

Hot stat: Middlesbrough are the only side across England’s top-three tiers yet to concede a league goal in the opening 15 minutes.

[Source: https://www.flashscore.co.uk/match/KrEdJzYp/#match-summary]


-----------------------------------⚽--------------------------------

Preview: Middlesbrough vs. Reading - prediction, team news​

By Darren Plant, Senior Reporter | 22h
5-6 minutes



Sports Mole previews Saturday's Championship clash between Middlesbrough and Reading, including predictions, team news and possible lineups.
Middlesbrough return to Championship action on Saturday afternoon looking for the victory which will keep the pressure on the teams in the playoff places.
Meanwhile, Reading visit the Riverside Stadium on the back of a 7-0 drubbing at the hands of Fulham, leaving the Royals very much at risk of dropping into the relegation zone.


Match preview

Middlesbrough manager Chris Wilder on November 23, 2021
© Reuters
Middlesbrough have been one of the form teams in England since the arrival of Chris Wilder with six wins and two draws coming from his nine games in charge.
Boro were able to take a break from league matters last weekend with a FA Cup tie at Mansfield, and a much-changed side came through by a 3-2 scoreline.
While Wilder was quick to praise the efforts of the League Two outfit, he will have quietly been impressed by the character of his players with many of them having a point to prove ahead of a return to the Championship schedule.

More players continue to arrive at the club, too, with Arsenal loanee Folarin Balogun potentially being followed by Riley McGree, who has previously impressed for Birmingham City this season.

Providing that Boro's backline stays fit, they have every chance of remaining in contention for promotion, but they head into this game still outside of the top six despite their six-game unbeaten run.

Reading manager Veljko Paunovic pictured on September 18, 2021
© Reuters
At a time when Boro are very much on an upward trajectory, the same cannot be said of their opponents who continue to face an uphill task to remain in the division.

Since holding a 2-0 advantage against rivals Derby County on January 3, everything has gone wrong for the Royals, who have followed a draw in that game with defeats versus Kidderminster Harriers and Fulham.

The loss at National League North side Kidderminster in the FA Cup particularly hurt given the distance between the clubs in the English football pyramid, and it had ramifications for their efforts three days later.

At one stage, Reading shipped four goals in 15 second-half minutes, and their supporters have every reason to call for a change in the dugout.

That said, Veljko Paunovic cannot be solely blamed for Reading's issues this season and as the Serbian keeps calling for, a collective effort both on and off the pitch is the only combination which will keep the club outside of the relegation zone.

Middlesbrough Championship form:

  • W
  • W
  • D
  • W
  • W
  • W
Middlesbrough form (all competitions):
  • W
  • D
  • W
  • W
  • W
  • W
Reading Championship form:
  • L
  • W
  • D
  • L
  • D
  • L
Reading form (all competitions):
  • W
  • D
  • L
  • D
  • L
  • L

Team News

Duncan Watmore celebrates scoring for Middlesbrough against Huddersfield Town in the Championship on February 16, 2021
© Reuters

Wilder is expected to call upon much of the team which started the 2-1 victory at Blackpool on December 29.

However, Duncan Watmore is pushing for a recall over Onel Hernandez after scoring at Bloomfield Road, while Jonny Howson will hope to come back into the centre of midfield.

New signings Aaron Connolly and Balogun are likely to be named on the substitutes' bench at best.

With Scott Dann suffering a calf injury, Paunovic must decide how to reshuffle his team with his decisions not paying off against Fulham.

Youngster Michael Stickland could be handed his first Championship start as a direct replacement, a move which will help prevent Andy Rinomhota being given too many minutes after his comeback from injury.

George Puscas is an alternative in the final third, but Paunovic may feel that he cannot make many changes to his team.

Middlesbrough possible starting lineup:
Lumley' Bamba, Dijksteel, Fry; Jones, Crooks, McNair, Tavernier, Peltier; Watmore, Sporar

Reading possible starting lineup:
Southwood; Tetek, Holmes, Stickland, Bristow; Drinkwater, Laurent; Hoilett, Swift, Dele-Bashiru; Carroll


SM words green background

We say: Middlesbrough 3-0 Reading

On the back of the last two matches, the last thing that Reading would have wanted was a long trip up North to face the in-form team in the division. While Reading can play without expectations, Boro should have more than enough to cruise to victory at the Riverside Stadium.



------------------------⚽---------------------------

The Reading League Record:

View attachment 31423


--------------------------⚽---------------------------


Robert Maxwell
View attachment 31428

https://www.readingchronicle.co.uk/...-royals-disastrous-idea-nearly-came-fruition/

[edited]

"Thames Valley Royals"

When Ghislaine Maxwell's dad tried to merge Reading FC with Oxford United.

Benjy Nurick
5-6 minutes


View attachment 31424
With Ghislaine Maxwell in the news after she was found guilty of five counts of sex trafficking, here we take a look back at the British socialite's association with football.

While Ghislaine was a director at Oxford United her father, as chairman, once hatched a bizarre plan to merge Reading FC with Oxford United - a wildly unpopular ploy that crashed and burned under intense supporter protest and widespread disdain for the idea.

With Oxford United facing the threat of bankruptcy in 1982, media mogul Robert Maxwell saved the club but his long-term intentions were far more sinister.

Reading Chronicle: Ghislaine Maxwell pictured at an Oxford United match
Ghislaine Maxwell pictured at an Oxford United match.

On April 16, 1983, Maxwell announced to the BBC that he was close to acquiring a controlling interest in Reading FC with a view to merging the two rival clubs into one, to be known as Thames Valley Royals.

The Thames Valley Royals would play their home matches at a new stadium somewhere in between Oxford and Reading, alternating between Elm Park and Manor Ground until the new ground could be completed.

Understandably there was concern from both sets of players and coaches. Oxford manager Jim Smith feared for his job while the Reading players, having spent the season languishing near the bottom of the table compared to Oxford’s promotion charge, were uncertain where there futures would lie.

Reading Chronicle: Media mogul Robert Maxwell. Image by: PA
Media mogul Robert Maxwell. Image by: PA

From a business standpoint there was perhaps a certain level of credence to the idea. Both clubs had suffered from financial challenges with Reading facing a murky future regardless of Maxwell’s involvement.

But from a football perspective, a human perspective, and a community perspective it was the worst possible news. Two proud clubs with a backbone of decades of history and strong fanbases ripped apart by one man’s idea.

With support from the football league, Oxford United’s board of directors, and the Oxford city council, the plan was in motion with the two clubs set to finish their respective seasons before uniting to form the Thames Valley Royals in time for the 1983/84 campaign.

Reading Chronicle: Robert Maxwell at a match


Reading Chronicle:


But perhaps Maxwell didn’t quite take into consideration the power and weight of the two club’s supporters. Both sets of fans reacted with revulsion to the idea and quickly sprang into action.

2,000 Oxford supporters flooded the pitch ahead of their April 23rd clash with Wigan Athletic, delaying kick-off by more than half an hour. Maxwell responded by calling the protest a “bloody disgrace” adding that “nothing short of the end of the Earth will prevent this from going through."

One week later, Reading supporters marched from the town centre to Elm Park in a show of protest of their own. Ironically, Maxwell’s proposal had united the two rival clubs - just not in the way he had envisaged.

Reading Chronicle: Now at the SCL, Reading FC would cease to exist had Maxwell gotten his way. Image by: JasonPIX


Now at the SCL, Reading FC would cease to exist had Maxwell gotten his way. Image by: JasonPIX

In the background, a rival takeover bid of Reading offered a potential light at the end of the dark tunnel that was quickly approaching. Roger Smee, born and bred in Reading before making more than 50 appearances for the club and going on to earn millions in construction and property businesses, opposed the merger and had the resources to do something about it.

Together with Roy Tranter, a Royals director who also opposed the merger, they fought back against Maxwell’s bid by filing a complaint with the High Court in order to block the sale of the club. An injunction was granted and despite Maxwell’s confident air, the wheels to his plot were starting to fall off in the face of Smee’s rival bid.

On the pitch - an arena that was nearly forgotten amidst the drama in the boardroom - Reading were relegated on the final day of the season despite beating Wrexham 1-0. Of course, none of that would matter if Maxwell got his way.

And that brings us to June 21st, 1983, a seminal and defining day in the history of Reading Football Club. During an extraordinary shareholders meeting, Smee narrowly defeated Maxwell winning 19,462 votes to the latter’s 16,420.

A new era had arrived. And it was to be a prosperous one. Under the chairmanship of Smee, Reading earned promotion from the Fourth Division in 1984, before going one further to reach the Second Division in 1986.

While more drama would arrive in the coming years, Smee’s stewardship helped lay the groundwork for the epic success Reading would find under John Madejski in the 1990s and 200s. Most importantly though, Reading stayed in Reading.

Speaking to the Reading Chronicle, Supporters Trust at Reading’s Roger Titford highlighted the failed merger as the most important moment in the club’s history.

“In my view, the events of 1983 were the single most significant turning point in the history of the club,” Titford explained.

“Reading became a different club overnight: new manager, new chairman, new board, new colours, new players and a new attitude to commerce.

“Roger Smee blew away 30 years of cobwebs.”




-------------------⚽-----------------


Maxwell`s tenure was fraught with controversy, with fans turning against the idea of merger.
His swash-buckling style wasnt very much liked.
His penchant for turning up with bags of money at other clubs - with the intent of buying one of their players - is well documented.
For the clubs of Reading and Oxford - they survived. Much to the joy of their fans.
Maxwell "disappeared" in 1991 and was later found dead in the Atlantic Ocean.
Good stuff , much appreciated.
 

r00fie1

Well-known member
Beyond our Wilderest Dreams
[Part 1]
Wilder11.png

It all began at Sheffield United back in 2020:

'Cold-blooded and natural finisher' - Folarin Balogun profiled as Sheffield United step up pursuit of Arsenal man

The Blades are expected to make a second bid for the Gunners' youngster
By Nathan Hemmingham Sheffield United reporter
13:00, 23 SEP 2020

1642167188968.png
A name that continues to appear on Chris Wilder's radar at Sheffield United is young Arsenal striker Folarin Balogun.

The 19-year-old was the subject of a reported £3m bid by the Blades boss which was rebuffed. The matter is currently in the hands of CEO Stephen Bettis and his counterpart at the Emirates Stadium.

So far, a deal is yet to be reached for the striker but United are reportedly heading back to the table with a second offer.

So who is the young Gunner and what can he offer Sheffield United?

There is no one better to get the lowdown on the Blades target than Football.London's Arsenal correspondent Art DeRoche, who has watched his development closely during these past couple of seasons.

Here is what he has to say about the teenager who could end up at Bramall Lane.

Tell us a bit about Folarin Balogun - who is he?

Having just turned 19, Folarin is an extremely talented striker who is currently part of the Under-23s squad.

Born in New York, he has represented both England and the United States at youth level, although he has featured for England more frequently. [Four appearances for England's Under-17s, 10 for England's Under-18s and four for the USA's Under-18s.

He's yet to make a first team appearance for Arsenal but has been very impressive in the youth ranks.

What's his time at Arsenal been like?

Balogun joined the club as a 10-year-old and has been on a real upward trajectory over the past few seasons.

He first played in the Premier League 2 with the Under-23s in the 2017/18 season when he was 16-years-old.

The following season he continued to impress, going on to sign his first professional contract with the club before establishing himself in the side last season.

In the Premier League 2, he scored 10 goals in 15 games despite contending with an ankle injury mid-season but was also key to Arsenal beating Monaco in the Premier League International Cup.

He's begun this season promisingly scoring in a 2-1 win over Ipswich Town in the Leasings.com Trophy.

You have seen him play, just how good can he be?

I saw flashes off him in the 2018/19 season but watched him more regularly in the 2019/20 season when covering the Under-23s.

There's no doubt about Balogun's talent as he is an incredibly natural finisher, which he proved throughout the season.

He is able to finish with his weaker left foot, finish in a more instinctive fashion but also finish chances where he has more time to think than one may want.

Looking forward, he could definitely be a Premier League level striker but whether he is ready for that this season, I'm not so sure considering he is yet to make his senior debut.

What's his attributes and what could he bring to Sheffield United?

Finishing is of course the most important attribute for a striker and he has that.

Whether it's a quick finish in and around the box, a more calculated one or from the penalty spot, he is cold-blooded in front of goal.

Aside from that, his technical ability is what makes him stand out.

Hold up play is incredibly important in the Premier League and last season especially, this is an area Balogun was developing in.

Not just receiving the ball but using his quick footwork to either keep it, link play or win fouls for his team further up the pitch.

This may provide a new challenge when he makes the step up to men's football, however.

Does he have a future at Arsenal?

Although he has undoubted talent, the pathway to becoming a first choice striker may make it difficult for Balogun.

As positions go, Arsenal have done well for themselves here in the academy as behind Alexandre Lacazette, they have Eddie Nketiah, Tyreece John-Jules and then Balogun in the pecking order.

John-Jules is currently on loan at Doncaster Rovers but has been much closer to making a first team appearance for Arsenal than Balogun, featuring on the bench three times last season and almost coming on against Leeds United in the FA Cup.

John-Jules being out on loan this season may provide Balogun with a chance to break into the side but the competition will be there if he wants to have a future as one of the Gunners' key men up front.



-----------------------------⚽--------------------------

"Arsenal warned Folarin Balogun has ‘almost outgrown Under-23s and needs to be tested at senior level’. "

1642167773253.png
England Under-21s manager Lee Carsley has told Arsenal that striker Folarin Balogun needs to be tested at senior level after bagging his first goal for the Young Lions on Thursday night.

Balogun scored and impressed throughout as England beat Czech Republic 3-1 at Turf Moor.

Arsenal fought hard to convince the 20-year-old to sign a new contract over the summer but the striker has been restricted to just one first team start this season, on the opening day against Brentford when the Gunners squad was hit hard hit by injuries.

Balogun has been a cut above at youth level, scoring 11 goals in 10 games for the Arsenal development side, a level Carsley feels he has outgrown.

A number of the England Under-21 squad have benefited from time on loan, though Carsley would rather see Balogun break through in north London.

"He’s got a lot of good attributes that strikers need and he’s got a really good attitude but like all players they need that opportunity to play," said Carsley.

"I think Flo is at a level now where he’s almost outgrown Under-23s, he needs to be tested at senior level. But I wouldn’t be in a rush to rush his development because he’s coming along nicely and I’m sure Arsenal know what they’re doing with him.

"You want the players to play for their first teams, our ideal scenario is that Flo plays for Arsenal.

"Ultimately he needs testing at a senior level, similar to the test that Eddie [Nketiah] had when he went out on loan and Anthony Gordon went out on loan to Preston.

"They need that test, they need to be in a different changing room and almost prove themselves again.

"Flo came and joined up with us, he looked sharp and I’m just glad he got his goals."



-----------------------⚽------------------------

Folarin had only made his Senior Arsenal debut in October 2020:

1642168092967.png

 

r00fie1

Well-known member
Beyond Our Wilderest Dreams
[Part 2]
Wilder111.png

It happened!
Sir Chris explained that "many clubs" had been chasing the "Wonder Kid"[ his nickname at Arsenal ].
Negotiations began with Chris Wilder at The Riverside and the USA born Balogun put his pen to a piece of paper with Middlesbrough Football Club at its head(y)
Bluddy Marvelous!!!!


Welcome To The Boro!!!! :love: (y)(y)(y)(y)(y)(y)(y)(y)(y)(y)
FB12.jpg
B1.jpgFB4.pngFB16.jpg
FB10.jpgFB14.jpgFB2.pngFB11.jpg

Is he trying to tell us something?!!!:>>>>
Bologan Prem.png
 
Last edited:

r00fie1

Well-known member
Some Stats and Reactions From Fans:

FB Details.png1642170503546.pngFB Club Career.png

Badge.jpgFB4i.pngFB4ii.pngFB.jpg
1642170635852.png1642170782202.png

An aside to his debut goal from "The Nation" [New York. USA]:

1642170971379.png

FOLARIN BALOGUN : My hard work paying off nicely

By Agency Reporter On Dec 12, 2021


It took Folarin Balogun just 37 seconds to open his senior account after stepping off the bench against Molde in November in the Europa League.

The young forward underlined his predatory instincts with an accomplished finish – and now he says he will keep working for more opportunities.

“I’m feeling really happy, it shows that all the hard work I’ve put in over the years is just starting to pay off,” Balogun told Arsenal.com. “It’s important that I keep working hard to enjoy more moments like this.

“I didn’t think that particular [break for the goal] was going to be my chance, but I always try to stay ready and I’m happy that on this occasion it paid off.

“It’s been good [to be involved], it’s nice to see the boss showing faith in me. It feels like this is good experience for me, I just need to keep on learning, keep on adding to my game and I’m happy that I could contribute today.”

Balogun was promoted to the first-team changing room mid season, and the young striker has been itching to show his worth.

The New York-born forward was handed the No 26 shirt having signed a new contract in April, and got a chance to impress when Emirates Stadium hosts the Mind Series match against Chelsea.


(y)(y)(y)(y)(y)
We have a precious diamond wearing our shirt!
[But dont tell the rest of the Championship - or Newcastle!!]
 
Last edited:

r00fie1

Well-known member
UPDATE:
1642171736654.png

Neil Taylor has signed a contract extension with the club.

The 32-year-old left-back, who won over 40 caps for Wales, initially joined the club in November when he signed a short-term deal up to mid-January.

Taylor, who left Aston Villa at the end of last season after clocking up over a century of appearances for the club, has made two appearances for the club so far, impressing in the home wins against Bournemouth and Nottingham Forest.

Neil has a wealth of experience, he spent six seasons with Swansea in the Premier League before becoming a promotion winner with Villa, and Boro boss Chris Wilder was delighted to secure his services until the end of the season.

“I’m really pleased we’ve been able to do this,” said Wilder. “Tayls is a great lad, and he has been outstanding. I knew what Neil was about, known what his career was all about, his personality was all about.

“To come into the game against Bournemouth having not played any football or senior football and play in the manner that he did and take that on. Neil Taylor has been outstanding off the pitch as well as on it.

“When (Marc) Bola was playing, Neil was there backing it up. Encouraging in the changing room, a proper team player, waiting for his opportunity.”

[Friday 14th January 14:30 hrs BST]
 
Last edited:

r00fie1

Well-known member
Who Were Manchester United?

Man Utd's biggest Premier League defeats - ranked

Manchester United are the most successful side in Premier League history, scooping 13 titles under the legendary Sir Alex Ferguson.

But despite dominating the division for the best part of two decades, the Red Devils have also taken a fair few pastings over the years - in some case surrendering meekly on their own patch to some of their biggest rivals.

Sure, they've dished out the punishment far more than they've received it, but the history books remind us of a number of days United fans will wish they could forget...


1642172229275.png
Roy Keane never played for United again after the Middlesbrough defeat / Clive Brunskill/Getty Images

1642172256620.png
Torres, Gerrard and co. thrashed United to seven points clear at the top of the table in 2009 / ANDREW YATES/Getty Images

1642172280687.png
A Matt Le Tissier masterclass inspired a big win for the Saints / Getty Images/Getty Images

1642172302102.png
Hazard got the third goal in Chelsea's impressive victory / Catherine Ivill - AMA/Getty Images

1642172331741.png
There were some sagging shoulders on display in this defeat / Alex Livesey/Getty Images

1642172360152.png
Alan Shearer and Les Ferdinand scored for Newcastle in 1996 / Ben Radford/Getty Images

1642172401158.png
Gustavo Poyet scored after just 27 seconds / Ben Radford/Getty Images

1642172470998.png

United were humiliated by bitter rivals Liverpool / Alex Livesey - Danehouse/GettyImages
1642172510240.png
Mario Balotelli's iconic 'Why Always Me?' celebration / ANDREW YATES/GettyImages

1642172534227.png
Spurs humiliated United on Sunday / Alex Livesey/Getty Images

:love:(y)
 
Last edited:

r00fie1

Well-known member
ARCHIVE:

Middlesbrough 2-1 Reading: 94th minute Adam Forshaw winner puts Boro top!:love:(y)⚽

https://www.dailymail.co.uk/sport/f...-Forshaw-strike-seals-three-points-death.html
Kieran Gill

Published: 21:43, 12 April 2016 | Updated: 22:39, 12 April 2016



  • Emilio Nsue smashed Boro into the lead after a good stop from Ali Al-Habsi
  • The Spaniard continued to cause problems throughout the first half
  • Andrew Taylor's strike was spilled by Dimitrios Konstantopoulos allowing Simon Cox to chip in the rebound for the equaliser
  • Al-Habsi made a number of great saves to keep out the home side
  • A late goalmouth scramble saw Adam Forshaw drill in at the front post
A goal that was as significant as it was scrappy, and one that might mean at least one North East team is in the Barclays Premier League next season.

Adam Forshaw’s stoppage-time strike at the Riverside Stadium last night moved Middlesbrough above Burnley and to the top of the Championship after a fifth consecutive win.

They threw away their ticket to the top flight last season when a poor run-in ruined whatever chance they had at rejoining the land of untold riches.
1642173103933.png
Adam Forshaw of Middlesbrough celebrates scoring their second goal during the Championship match

1642173145232.png
Adam Forshaw of Middlesbrough (right) scores their second goal during the Sky Bet Championship Match



1642173181832.png1642173695258.png
Adam Forshaw of Middlesbrough is mobbed by teammates after his dramatic 94th minute winning goal


⚽

MATCH FACTS

Middlesbrough (4-2-3-1)

Konstantopoulos, de Laet, Ayala, Gibson Friend, Clayton, Leadbitter (Forshaw 59'), Nsue (Ramirez 67'), Downing Adomah, Rhodes (Nugent 87')

Goals: Nsue, Forshaw

Reading (4-2-3-1)
Al Habsi, Gunter (McCleary 17'), McShane, Cooper, Obita (Taylor 45'), Norwood, Williams, Piazon (Ola Jon 59'), Vydra, Quinn, Cox

Goal: Cox

Booked: Cooper, Taylor


⚽

This year, however, Boro are hellbent on not holding themselves back.

Not when there’s a title to be won and an £8billion TV deal at stake with five games to go.

It almost looked like two points dropped when Simon Cox cancelled out Emilio Nsue’s opener in the second half, but Forshaw’s winner in the fourth minute of added time did the trick.

‘All of them deserve to be in this position,’ Middlesbrough manager Aitor Karanka said. ‘I cannot be prouder of them than I am at this moment.

‘I felt when Adam scored that we are together and the crowd was amazing.’


1642173261663.png
Emilio Nsue of Middlesbrough (left) celebrates with Albert Adomah after scoring his team's opening goal

1642173288479.png
Nsue of Middlesbrough scores their first goal during the Championship match at Riverside Stadium


1642173393795.png
Reading's Simon Cox (left) scores his side's equaliser during the game during the Championship match

There were 148 fans who made this 550-mile round trip from Reading and, when Middlesbrough opened the scoring after only 10 minutes, they may have wondered why they bothered.

A cross from the left by George Friend found Jordan Rhodes, whose tap-in was saved by Ali Al Habsi.

The Reading goalkeeper could not keep hold, however, and Nsue picked up the pieces to score on his 50th start for Middlesbrough.

Their supporters sang about topping the table and all the side with the best defence in the Football League had to do was keep a clean sheet to go top.

They had conceded just 25 goals this season, and only six at the Riverside before this, but a spilled Andrew Taylor shot by Dimi Konstantopoulous allowed Cox to make it 1-1.

From then on, it was all Middlesbrough in search of a winner, and they got it when the ball was loose in the box and Forshaw scrambled it home.

‘I think we’ve gave them as good a game as anybody,’ Reading manager Brian McDermott said. ‘Sometimes football is a cruel game.’

That it can be but Middlesbrough will disagree, and they will take some moving from this position.

1642173449418.png
Ben Gibson of Middlesbrough (left) and George Friend (2nd from right) rue a missed chance on goal


1642173473291.png
Boro finally got their winner when the ball was loose in the box and Forshaw eventually scrambled it home
 

r00fie1

Well-known member
BORO:
W33 Holgate Lad.jpeg
AGAINST ALL ODDS!
[Originally published 24th February 2011 by Stew Flats]
Icon.png
With the upcoming match in the FA Cup against Salford United, here`s a reminder of some times when "pluckey" Boro were given no chance of pulling off victory.

5. Middlesbrough 2-0 Liverpool. Coca-Cola Cup Semi-Final– 18th February, 1998.

  1. 22 Mar 1998:  Marco Branca of Middlesbrough gets the ball under control during the a Nationwide Division 1 match between Middlesbrough and Norwich played at the Riverside Stadium, Middlesbrough, England. Middlesbrough won the match 3-0. \ Mandatory Credit

    Phil Cole/Getty Images
    Boro entered this League Cup second leg fixture 2-1 down after losing in the first leg at Anfield. Premier League Liverpool were a league above First Division Boro and heavily favored to advance to Wembley Stadium.
    Boro jumped on Liverpool from the outset and were awarded a 2nd minute penalty when Jamie Carragher fouled Craig Hignett, Paul Merson stepped up to convert the resulting penalty. Merson was involved again only minutes later when he released Italian striker Marco Branca who scored from his first touch in a Boro shirt.
    Boro held on for a 3-2 aggregate win and advanced to their third Cup Final in 12 months.

4. Arsenal 0-1 Middlesbrough. Carling Cup Semi-Final – 21st January, 2004.

2 of 5
  1. LONDON - JANUARY 20:  Juninho of Middlesbrough is challenged by Kolo Toure of Arsenal during the Carling Cup Semi-Final first leg match between Arsenal and Middlesbrough on January 20, 2004 at Highbury in London, England.  (Photo by Phil Cole/Getty Images

    Phil Cole/Getty Images
    Middlesbrough traveled to face Arsenal at Highbury on the road to the club’s only major domestic honor. Boro sat back to defend deep and hit on the counter with cult hero Juninho being employed behind a lone striker. The plan worked to perfection when the Brazilian legend gave Boro a 1-0 lead from a Gaizka Mendieta assist.
    Boro went on to win the second leg 2-1 and advance to the final where they would win the club’s first major trophy. How good was that Arsenal team? They did not lose a Premier League game all season, and have went down in history as “The Invincible’s.”

3. Middlesbrough 4-1 Leeds United. Premier League – 22nd August, 1992.

3 of 5
  1. Photo credit to Official Middlesbrough website: www.mfc.co.uk

    Photo credit to Official Middlesbrough website: www.mfc.co.uk
    Leeds United won the last Division One title, and the defending English Champions arrived at Ayresome Park in confident mood against newly promoted Boro during the first ever Premier League season.
    Boro took the lead when former Leeds winger Tommy Wright set up Paul Wilkinson to open the scoring. Two minutes later it was déjà vu, as Wright crossed for Wilkinson to make it 2-0. The inspirational Wright then scored himself before setting up John Hendrie to score against his old club.
    French superstar Eric Cantona netted a late consolation for Leeds and make final scoreline 4-1. It would prove to be a good day for Boro in a bad season, as we were relegated in May 1993.

2. Manchester United 2-3 Middlesbrough. Premier League – 19th December, 1998.

4 of 5
  1. 19 Dec 1998:  Dean Gordon of Middlesbrough celebrates his goal against Manchester United in the FA Carling Premiership match at Old Trafford in Manchester, England. Boro won 3-2. \ Mandatory Credit: Shaun Botterill /Allsport

    Shaun Botterill/Getty Images
    “If Boro win at Old Trafford I will show my bum in Binns window," said Bernie Slaven, as Boro prepared to travel to Old Trafford.
    Underdogs Boro rocked United by taking a 3-0 lead in the first hour. Hamilton Ricard opened the scoring before Dean Gordon doubled Boro’s lead with a thunderous strike from distance. Brian Deane made it 3-0 before United were spurred into life. Nicky Butt and Paul Scholes hit back for United but Boro held on for a fmous 3-2 win.
    Days after the game, Slaven would draw a big crowd to Middlesbrough town center as he bared his bum for the watching crowd. How good was that United team? They went on to win the Premier League, the FA Cup and the Champions League.

1. Middlesbrough 1 Roma 0. UEFA Cup – 9th March, 2006.

5 of 5
  1. MIDDLESBROUGH, ENGLAND - MARCH 9:  Yakubu of Middlesbrough celebrates his goal during the UEFA Cup Round of 16, First Leg match between Middlesbrough and AS Roma at the Riverside Stadium on March 9, 2006 in Middlesbrough, England. (Photo by Matthew Lewis/

    Matthew Lewis/Getty Images
    Roma, the Italian giants, traveled to face Middlesbrough in the last 16 of the UEFA Cup. At the time of kickoff, Roma were riding an 11 game Serie A winning streak and were favorites to win the whole competition.
    Boro took a shocking lead from the penalty spot after 12 minutes, when Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink was felled in the area by Gianluca Curci. Yakubu dispatched the penalty and Boro held on throughout for a famous 1-0 win.
    Boro lost 2-1 in Rome during the second leg but advanced on away goals to continue their historic cup run.

⚽
 
Last edited:

r00fie1

Well-known member
NEW STRIKER ON THE BLOCK:

1642177416896.png

Big name comparisons and pressure welcomed by Folarin Balogun as Arsenal & England watch closely​

1642177699858.png
It came as no surprise to see both Mikel Arteta and Edu grinning from ear to ear.

Finally, the speculation would end. The future of one of Arsenal's brightest young stars had been resolved.

Between the pair sat Folarin Balogun, pen in hand, new contract on the desk in front of him. The contract would keep the promising striker at Arsenal for the long-term and would keep the lurking clubs at bay. Liverpool were among those who had been monitoring Balogun's situation, ready to make their move if the then-teenager opted against extending his stay at the Emirates.

"It's great that Flo will continue to be with us," said technical director Edu, in April of last year.

Arteta added: “We have been extremely impressed with Flo this season. He has continually shown his natural ability in many training sessions with us and we have been equally impressed with his early integration into the first-team squad on matchdays."

Nine months earlier, Arsenal had demanded £8m when Brentford came knocking. A staggeringly high asking price for a player who was yet to make a first team appearance at that stage and whose contract was due to expire the following year, but a clear indicator of just how highly Balogun is rated by coaches and chiefs at the Gunners.


⚽

And it's not just the current crop at Arsenal who have had their head turned by Balogun's talent. Former defender Martin Keown lavished the striker with praise after a Europa League appearance last season.

"I am looking at him and thinking “remember the name” really with the way he looked tonight," said Keown after Balogun had come off the bench to score against Dundalk.

"The way he linked up, that is a great turn. You try to compare, is it Andy Cole or Ian Wright? There is that sort of movement about him. I know those are big name players and if he can live up to that he will have some career."

With such comparisons and praise comes pressure but that doesn't concern Boro's new striker.

"I don't see pressure as a negative – it's a privilege," he said previously in an interview with Arsenal's matchday programme.

"It's always a good opportunity to show people what you can do."

And that's the aim at Boro.

⚽

Balogun's goal record in Under-23 football is quite ridiculous, 13 in 11 starts this season along with a couple of goals in the Papa John's Trophy.

He's completed the Under-23 game. He now needs to tackle the challenges that are posed in his first loan spell, his first taste of life in the Championship. He's known for a while that a loan move was inevitable and important.

"I have played youth football for a little while, I have obviously scored a lot of goals at that level and improved at that level drastically from when I started," said Balogun in an interview at the end of last year.

"I do feel like I am ready for a new challenge but I am not sure what that might be, it might be a loan or if I am needed at Arsenal then I am here and the gaffer knows that.

"I am definitely open to a new challenge but it is something that whatever that challenge is I will be ready.

"I know the potential I could have and that I need to achieve is massive. I haven't achieved it yet. What I see now I would just describe as glimpses, things that need to be worked on and can be improved."

For all Balogun has made it clear to Arteta that he felt ready for the first team, the Arsenal boss has urged patience. The Spaniard has stressed that it's rarely as simple as a seamless step from Under-23 football to the first team, especially a first team at the top end of the Premier League. It's a gradual process.

"Don’t forget he is really young, he hasn’t played almost any professional football, and you need to go through every phase – and don’t try to jump phases when you are not ready to do so," said Arteta at the end of last year.

Folarin Balogun of Arsenal looks dejected as he is consoled by Mikel Arteta.

Folarin Balogun is consoled by Mikel Arteta (Image: Shaun Botterill/Getty Images)

Arsenal will obviously closely follow his progression in the coming months and keep in close contact with the striker. And the stint will also be watched by the FA, for Balogun is an England Under-21 international and is very well thought of by the coaches at St George's Park.

Indeed, at the end of last year England Under-21 boss Lee Carsley told of how he felt Under-23 football was "too easy" for Balogun and urged the striker to seek a January loan move.

"Watching him in the U23's for Arsenal, it's probably a little bit too easy for him and he's passed that level," said Carsley.

"I imagine he wants to play for Arsenal and pushing for a position but it's such a big club with a lot of competition.

"They'll have a career path for him and a way to break through because he's got all the attributes.

"I think it would be fair to say that a lot of the clubs in Europe would be aware of Flo's qualities and if anything he has just got to keep proving it to himself.

"He is the only person he's got to impress and look himself in the mirror. He's got outstanding ability, attributes and work rate and he is a player that people look forward to seeing."


⚽

Balogun, revealed Carsley, was constantly picking the brains of coaches Ashley Cole and Joleon Lescott to try and see the game from a defender's perspective in an effort to get the edge on those who are trying to shackle and stop him.

"He's level-headed, wants to work hard, asks really good questions. He wants information," said Carsley.

Balogun doesn't have to look very far to see how a Championship loan move can act as a springboard. Two years ago, his teammate Emile Smith Rowe headed for Huddersfield on loan. He shone in the second half of the 2019/20 Championship campaign. He's now a senior England international.

"That just shows how quickly things can change in football," said Balogun.

"I know that I need to be patient and I have complete faith in the gaffer. Whatever the plan is I will give 100% and I know it will work ou
t."
 

r00fie1

Well-known member
"The Secret Footballer"- Revisited
[Tales from inside "the beautiful game"]

1642178512719.png

Relegation and the one what-if of my career:

The manager went round the dressing room and shook everyone's hand and I knew I would be moving on soon
With five minutes to go of the last game of the season, I knew we were relegated. Where we had longed to hear our fans burst into sporadic fits of cheering as a welcome goal went in at the opposite end of the country, we had instead heard the unmistakable sound of collective groaning.


⚽

As we slunk from the pitch, in the same way that relegated Queens Park Rangers or Bolton Wanderers players will do at about 5pm on Sunday, I remember taking a last look at our fans. I knew I wouldn't see them again and they had been amazing to me. My contract, as was the case with many of the other players, was about to be cut in half and my assets, mainly property, bought on the back of a Premier League spending spree, were hopelessly exposed. In short, I could not afford to keep up the payments on any of it and as a result everything I owned would be at the mercy of the bank.

⚽

The first thing that came into my head when the referee blew his whistle, and for the last 10 minutes of that game if the truth be told, was that I would be moving to a club that I didn't want to go to from a club that I desperately wanted to stay at, and for the worst possible reason: money. I'd gambled my family's house, the university fund, our entire future, on staying in the Premier League. I wasn't the first and I won't be the last. Indeed, more savvy businessmen than me have brought down entire football clubs on the turn of that particular card.

⚽

My plan was to build up a portfolio of assets and, in the seasons afterwards, squirrel away a good percentage of my wages. I knew that I was good enough to be playing every week in the Premier League and at the start of the season I never thought for one second we'd get relegated.

⚽

No player ever does, of course, but for some there is a genuine concern that each season in the top flight may be their last for the simple fact that if the team are relegated then they will stay put, the best players will be sold and their replacements will be nothing like as good.

⚽

In the changing room afterwards there was little emotion. I had the overriding feeling that somebody was about to come in to say that there has been a mistake and that actually somebody else had been relegated. Not until I signed for my new club did that feeling begin to subside. Our manager had simply said after the game: "Thanks for your efforts this season, keep yourself in good shape and come back on 1 July ready to start again." And then he shook everybody's hand.


⚽

I knew I wouldn't be seeing any of the players again but nobody ever says their goodbyes; that just isn't the done thing in football. Everybody acts as if nothing has changed and that we will all see each other again and it will be just as it was. I didn't leave the house for days. I simply didn't know how I could go into town and face people. I honestly felt that despite our successes as a team, if I stepped foot outside I'd immediately be under siege from an angry mob. Worse than that, however, was that I actually felt hugely embarrassed. And I still do. That relegation should never have happened. I know we hear this a lot but the fact is that although that team was not too good to go down, it was more than good enough to stay up.

⚽

I won't get in to the specifics of how we came to be in that position because I'd need the best part of the Guardian's paper reserves just to scrape the surface. But I, and players from that team that I still speak to, always feel as if they could have done more in specific games. Moments stick in your mind, like the mistimed jump that I made that led to a headed clearance being volleyed in, or the poor goal-kick from our keeper that ended up with us needlessly conceding. In both games we lost by the odd goal. Even as I write this, I feel the frustration and anger washing over me again.

⚽

One of the saddest parts of relegation was that many of our friends lost their jobs, and that is a tough thing to be responsible for. People that had been at the club for years were unemployed because of us, not them. I do not expect any sympathy here but afterwards, when you are sat in a big house with nothing but your material possessions rubbing your face in it and having just been paid the best part of £100,000 for a month's work that has ended in total failure, it is impossible to feel any more disgusted with yourself. It's like a constant feeling of nausea brought on by overwhelming guilt.

⚽

It remains the one single regret in my life. Whenever anyone asks me if I could change one thing, and believe me I have done some crazy and stupid things so far, I always point to that relegation. But life must go on and, although I think about it every day, I did at least go on to play in the Premier League again, which was always my goal to begin with. I am a big believer that if you want to accomplish something in life it is far better to go for it and fail rather to never try at all (he said from his ivory tower).

⚽

But that said, I am left with this horrible nagging thought in my head. It's the one feeling that I have always been at pains to avoid and something that people in football bribe your conscience with almost as soon as you're old enough to kick a ball. It's something that I always tell my friends whenever they come to me for advice when they're at a juncture in their life: "Don't end up like me," I say, "don't be the person that's for ever walking around saying: 'What if?'"

[To be continued at a future date.....]
 

r00fie1

Well-known member
Latest:

1642179856353.png

Onel Hernandez’s loan spell from Norwich City has been brought to an end.

The 28-year-old striker’s loan was terminated to enable him to join Birmingham City on loan from Norwich until the end of the season.
Onel Hernandez Nottingham Forest

Onel Hernandez celebrates at Nottingham Forest

The Cuban made 18 appearances for Boro after joining the club during the summer transfer window, and he scored his only goal in the 2-0 win at Nottingham Forest in September.

Boro boss Chris Wilder was full of praise for the departing Hernandez.

“Onel has been great for me,” he said. “He plays in a 4-2-3-1, he plays 4-3-3, he plays in a 3-4-3 as a wide player. He’s done a job for us down the middle and he’s give it a right go.

“I’ve got to say for a lad who’s come on loan and we’re making this decision, he’s one of the best pros I’ve worked with. He’s been a joy to work with.

“He’s another one and from a financial point of view, it’s quite a big number for what we are paying for somebody with game time now at the top of the pitch will be limited.

“I’m looking at the top of the pitch now. I’m looking at Balogun, Connolly, Watmore and Sporar with Josh Coburn in there. Another young player we are delighted to work with and we want to work with and improve. So we’ve got five for two.”

 
Top
X