Middlesboro At Home 2014/15 – Another Omnishambles

In the bar at the end of the game my friend Tim asked me what I was going to write about the game. I replied that I would have to give it an evening’s thought. Another friend had brought his wife for her first game. She looked shell shocked. What had she thought? Nice pies. And that’s it.

I spent my evening “thinking about it” posting negative messages on NSC. Frankly it’s a really good job we don’t have a cat. Having slept on it I feel the same. We have made some awful blunders this summer. We are not going to win very many games. We are in a relegation battle. We are in deep, deep do-do.

The first seven minutes was a microcosm of our season under Sami. We knocked it around nicely. We created (and missed) an excellent chance. We were the victim of some disputed refereeing from a certain Mr D’Urso (though, for what it’s worth I think he brought the free kick to us back when Baldock was clean through because Teixeira had a head injury). We were kicked and bullied off the ball. Then we conceded a massively silly goal that started with a quick break that moved wide in to a gap and ended with the increasingly unconfident Stockdale looking hesitant.

And therein lay our game. Lots of ball, no effective ball at all. ‘Boro kicked Teixeira out of the game and marked Lua Lua out of the game. Shots but not the right shots. The overwhelming feeling that they could break against covering midfielders and a panicking keeper at any time and score again. The most bizarre set of substitutions yet, as if to say the only answer was to have more strikers on the pitch than Gus and Oscar combined. As JFC trudged off the pitch my seven year old remarked “there’s no midfield dad”. The bloke in the row in front gave him a nod of agreement.

I thought about being positive. I thought about Paul Barber’s messages this week and our financial challenges. I thought about how hard it is to criticise someone who puts in a million a month, about how yesterday the “match day experience” was actually pretty good, apart from the football, which is the only bit that matters. And then I thought sod it.

Sami is out of his depth. These tactics are never going to work with the players we have. We’ve signed some turkeys. We miss Ulloa. We have no leadership, astonishing given our Captain had Germany in his back pocket in the week and scored a goal of stunning quality and movement. There’s no point our strikers watching videos of it though. They are too small and weak to repeat it.

I still maintain Stockdale was a good signing but his confidence is shot and the trolls don’t help. A couple of DS games would do him a real favour. COG will never be good enough at this level and why he was signed I don’t know. Baldock couldn’t finish a Mars Bar. Everywhere we are too weak, everywhere we do not understand our own system.

We need wins but we have wedded ourselves to a system that’s not going to produce them. I feel depressed. Sorry, Tim.

Derby at home 10/08/2013 – Starring The D’Urso

It was all going so well pre-game. The sun was shining, the legs were out no matter what the restraining order says and my friends were all in The Swan. A couple of pints of Palmers later I went in to the ground and Scoffers arrived from the Burgess Hill Seagulls Express just as I got in the refreshment queue. After that though it all went wrong.

Once again we take the lead with a well taken goal. Once again we squander the lead before going behind to a couple of defensive howlers (Kuszczak appears to actually be Ankergren in a Kuszczak suit). Once again we squander decent chances. Once again we lose. Post game I get stuck in the world’s largest, slowest beer queue and end up going home in a sulk. But enough about me. I’m quite excited to say that this week I have a guest blogger to help me write the post. So without further ado here he is. Take it away Andy.

“Hi guys. I’m Andy but you can call me Mr D’Urso or “The D’Urso”. The D’Urso has noticed an alarming recent trend for footballers once again becoming more famous than referees. This is something The D’Urso intends to change. This Saturday I started implementing my plans. To start off with I think that there is far too much emphasis placed on handball these days. It’s a silly rule. You can use any other part of your body to control the ball so why not your hands? The D’Urso started to subtly make this change on Saturday and I’m pleased to say it went down well with many of the fans shouting their appreciation. Eventually The D’Urso can see the game changing so that you can pick the ball up and run with it. Of course this makes tacking harder so The D’Urso would then allow tackling by grabbing the legs of the opponent. In cases of disputed possession both teams could form a huddle and try to push each other over it while, when it went out of touch, the game could be restarted by throwing the ball straight between two lines of players. I like to think of this new game as D’Urso ball.

Also, for a referee to be really famous he needs to hand out yellow cards. Lots of yellow cards, preferably in a match that isn’t that dirty and for totally random reasons. The D’Urso will soon become super famous as the D’Urso is very good at this indeed. Add in a few obviously incorrect decisions and the tendency to go off the pitch two minutes after the players to soak up the applause and I’m sure you can see that once again the likes of Wayne Rooney and Gareth Bale will soon be well behind the likes of The D’Urso when it comes to tabloid headlines and showing Hello magazine your new cushions.”

The D’Urso there. What a guy.