Spyin' Kop: Boro at the Riverside (18th November 2006)

Posted by Tiger Tony on November 16, 2006, 05:51:40 PM

After yet another embarrassing away performance in North London, itís a trip up north to the Riverside to face Boro, where it will no doubt be cold as per usual. On a more positive note it is an early evening kick off as opposed to a 12.45pm start, giving us a nice extra 2 hours in the pub!

Middlesbrough v Liverpool
Saturday 18th November
Riverside Stadium
Kick Off: 5.15pm
Referee: Lee Mason (Lancashire)

The Riverside has not been a happy hunting ground for the Reds in recent years, having failed to score or win in the last 4 seasons since March 2002 (familiar story at the moment)! In terms of head to head at Boro in the Premiership, we have won 3 and Boro have won 5 with 3 draws.

Middlesbrough are of course on the map a lot more now, so to speak, after their impressive run to the UEFA Cup Final in only their second European season. Although it ended in tears, it was still a fantastic run. Going into this season without European football for the first time in 3 years, they have had a variable start to the campaign. Whilst they have beat Chelsea for the second season in a row, and also gained a credible draw at the Emirates, a 2 goal advantage was lost on the opening day at Reading and Portsmouth handed out a 4 goal thrashing at the Riverside. However they did beat Everton (well played lads)! Depending which Boro side turns up, this could be a very interesting game.
If Steve Finnan plays it will be his 100th premiership appearance for the Reds. Also if Liverpool score 2 goals (unlikely we know, as we havenít scored in 6 of our last 8 away games) then Boro will have conceded 600 premiership goals.

I took a trip over to the Fly Me to the Moon fanzine where many people kindly answered the questions put to them. Thanks for your efforts. I have tried to include at least one response from every person who took the time to answer.

How has the season been shaping up for you?

Borodrew: Inconsistent. One game (Chelsea, Everton) we look like we can beat anyone, play with passion etc, the next we show absolutely nothing ad help anyone who needs a result (such as Watford etc).

Turner_86: A bit inconsistent. Typical of Boro to beat the big clubs and struggle against the smaller teams that we should beat.

Ste_north_stand: Jekyll and Hide - decent at home, hopeless away. Bit like Liverpool!

The_Boro_Biffa: Pretty much how I was expecting it to, inconsistency and a struggle to get the team settled and McClaren's influence removed.

What are your expectations for this season? Have they changed from day one?

Captain_Moonlight: I thought we'd get a Uefa cup place, but now I feel a boring mid table is on the offering.

Indestructable: No. My expectations have remained the same. Mid-table and develop the kids a bit more.

Turner_86: I never expected miracles when Southgate was appointed. I'll be happy with a comfortable mid table finish, which looks very possible.

Boro_in_Norton: A period of change with Southgate learning the ropes and moulding the squad to his design. Bottom half finish, 12th say. No change from day one (though I did get excited when we beat Chelsea).

Davidchadwick: expected to push on to top 6 now have to settle for safety of mid table and good FA cup run.

Who do you think is your most important player(s)?

Holgate_rochey: Pogatetz, heís been the most improved player this season, and I would have to say Yakubu since he is our only decent fit striker. Massimo is the most important when coming off the bench. In terms of attacking options, it has to be Downing; he has been superb for us this season. Rochemback, when he's performing can change the game for us as well.

Stav77: I always think that defence is the key to a successful team; I feel that Woody staying fit is crucial to us picking up results. Pogatetz looks a different player alongside him. From an attacking point of view the Yak really does need to stay fit and confident, but he needs more service than he has been receiving so far.

Captain_Moonlight: Yakubu needs to hit form; we now have a solid defence. Downing is playing superb at the moment, but we need Rocky to perform further up.

Your worst player(s)?

Ste_north_stand: Gaizka Mendieta has been particularly awful this season.

Borodrew: dunno about worst players but definitely weak on the whole right side.

Indestructable: I don't like singling out bad players.

Turner_86: Rochemback and Mendieta just haven't done it since coming here from abroad.

Boro_in_Norton: Bizarrely... Boateng on current form only.

Do you have a particular memory of any previous meeting between our clubs? Say something that happened to you that day or a decision you disagreed with?

Boro_in_Norton: Went to Anfield in '92 and parked in Walton (I think). We were rubbish and got beat 4-1 with Mcmanaman featuring prominently. John Hendrie scored a pen for us. Got back to where the car was supposed to be and found a space and broken glass. The car had been TWOCed!! Went to the police station to report it and met some lads from a really rough part of Middlesbrough (who had been locked up for fighting). They offered us a lift home which was good, but the minibus driver drank Stella all the way home, which was bad. Nightmare day all round with the stereotypical reputations of both Liverpool and Boro lived up to.

Boro_2006: The 3-3 draw in 96/97 Ravanelli hatrick got p!ssed with most of the Brookside cast!

Stav77: The first and worst memory of a Liverpool/Boro game came at Anfield in 1988 bonfire night I think! Davenport's Boro debut. We kept it tight up until half time and then Rush finally scored his first goal since his return to Liverpool. We then got battered in the second half and can recall Beardsley running the show. Pally hit the bar for us but we were sadly outclassed but not out sung!

Holgate_rochey: Semi final of the League cup in 98, Branca scoring early doors, and was one of, if not the best atmospheres at the Riverside, it was electric. Also, Ravanelli's debut hat trick, it was a cracking game.

Any young up and coming players in the squad that we might not know about? (Bung probe might be mentioned here I feel!)

The_Boro_Biffa: Nope they've all been tapped up according to the beeb.

Boro_in_Norton: Super Lee Cattermole - 18 years old. Centre midfield. Boro through and through. Captained England at under 17, 18 and 19 and called into the last u21 squad. Likes to put him self about, good distribution, gets box to box. Already captained The Boro against Fulham last season.

Andrew Taylor - 20 year old left back. Represented England at every level except senior. Boro through and through.

James Morrison - 20 year old right midfield. Represented England at every level except senior. Boro through and through.

Andrew Davies - 23 year old right back. Represented England at every level except senior. Boro through and through.

Stewart Downing - Represented England at every level. Boro through and through.

Boro_mod: Yeah porritt meant to be special but hasn't played for our first team yet.

Boro_2006: Andrew Taylor left back, Lee Cattermole central midfield. Hands off we are no longer your feeder club!!!!

Turner_86: Lee Cattermole will probably play; he is getting better with every game. A real tough tackling midfielder.

What sort of line-up will Southgate put out against us?

Bandito: 4-5-1 to start with. Yakubu upfront on his own with runners from midfield to support the attack.

Captain_Moonlight: 4-5-1, and different from last week as he keeps shuffling.

Boro_in_Norton: 4-5-1 with the emphasis on not conceding early on and hitting the Yak early into space behind.

Borodrew: bit unpredictable due to our inability to get results in a 442 so no doubt 451 with the change to 442 if we need a goal to win/come from behind late on.

Do you have a favourite/best chant(s) and perhaps any that require an explanation?

Captain_Moonlight: "he's here he's there he's every ****** where Massimo Massimo" normally means Maccarone has just scored a late winnerĒ.

The_Boro_Biffa: Youíre just a town full of rent boys! Town full of rent boys! To any London club, always makes me laugh.

Boro_2006: No we speak English not scouse!

Boro_in_Norton: All the Geordies went to Rome, Just to see the Pope,
All the Geordies went to Rome, Just to see the Pope,
All the Geordies went to Rome, Just to see the Pope,
and this is what he said,

Who's that team they call The Boro,
Who's that team we all adore,
They play in red and white,
They're ****ing dynamite,
and we'll support The Boro evermore

Where do you expect Boro and Liverpool to finish in the Premier League?

Ste_north_stand: Us mid table, Liverpool top 6.

The_Boro_Biffa: Liverpool aren't really title contenders but should be seriously challenging for a Champions League spot. As for the Boro top half this season would be lovely.

Bandito: Boro 14th, Liverpool 5th

Turner_86: Liverpool I would say 4th-5th. Boro I think around 12th-14th.

Which Liverpool player will you fear the most?

Stav77: Crouch, always seems to play well against us at the Riverside and if given the service can be deadly.

Holgate_rochey: Gerrard, Crouch and Bellamy. All of these, nearly always have blinders against us, Bellamy hasnít scored many, so you can guarantee he will put that right against us.

Indestructable: Gerrard. I think he is amazing (if not quite on top form at the moment).

And your feelings on the new 'Spanish flavour' Liverpool. Senor 'Rafa' Benitez and our new latin recruits?

Indestructable: I hate these foreign managers who just bring in loads of youngsters from their homeland. Benitez and Wenger are the most guilty of this.

Turner_86: I like Benitez, winning the CL was a great achievement. Like us you have to be more consistent which I think all your fans are aware of.

Boro_in_Norton: No feelings. You're Spanish, Arsenal are French. The managers are picking up players from backgrounds that they know. Not that great for the England team, but thatís the open employment market.

Stav77: Much more flair in the side than under Houllier but a definite lack of balance at times.
Bandito: A bit wimsy. They'll perform at home in front of the kop but will go missing on away days at difficult places like Bolton, Pompey and hopefully Boro.

Is Gareth Southgate the right man to take the club forward? Do you think he will last to the end of the season?

Borodrew: He needs time, but yes he can be the right man. Intelligent, but heís been left a tricky situation, needs time and money to sort out key areas of the team.

Indestructable: Not sure exactly if he'll take us forward further than McClaren did but I think he'll do ok. I suspect a few more seasons of solid mid-table finished and hopefully a few more good cup runs, maybe another trophy?

Holgate_rochey: I hope he can take us forward, I believe in time, he will, so yes he'll be here at the end of the season.

Boro_mod: No doubt he will be here till the end of 2007/2008 at least (Gibbo's loyalty over ability)

UEFA cup final, a good achievement or an opportunity wasted? Do you think you can compete at such a level again in the near future?

The_Boro_Biffa: Bit of both really. Great achievement and the quarter and semi finals are something that is unlikely to be seen again in football. Losing in that manner in the final hurt though and it was a great opportunity to win it. Who knows how long before we're back up there. Hopefully in two seasons time.

Turner_86: Amazing achievement for a club our size. I loved the quarter and semi finals. Shame we didn't win but some great memories.

Boro_in_Norton: Great achievement for a cub of our size and stature. How different this year would've been if we'd have won it... So definitely an opportunity wasted. We won't be back at that level in the near future, but with Steve Gibson's backing I do believe we'll get there again...

Stav77: Have to say a huge achievement! Just to reach the final alone was incredible after we faced almost certain elimination in the 1/4 and 1/2 finals, not to mention holding on in Rome for the final 30 minutes. We were well beaten in the final by one of the best sides in Europe, no shame in that. Can't see it happening again in the near future sadly.

Bandito: Brilliant achievement. the appetite has well n truly been wetted but I doubt we'll ever get there again. No matter what formation we could have employed, Seville were always going to batter us that night. Simply too good for us.

What do you expect in the way of singing, etc from our away support? Do we compare well and how do you rate the atmosphere at your ground?

Bandito: Liverpool fans as always turn out in droves. Maybe you will be expectant of a win so your crowd might get a bit restless if things arenít going your way, especially with your poor away form.

Captain_Moonlight: Our atmosphere lacks something when the chips are down. I don't recall any great away fans coming to the riverside since sheff wed mid to latish 90's when they brought the drum in.

Turner_86: You always have good away support, I like all the flags and you have some great songs. One of the best in the country for away support.

Boro_in_Norton: Your away support has always impressed me. Good range of songs, Vocal and loud. You compare well and are up there with the best. The atmosphere at the Riverside is not very good, but will be okay on Saturday as it is a big game.

Holgate_rochey: Atmosphere at our ground is just like anywhere in the country, on its say it can be booming, and a lot of the time it can be like a library. In terms of Liverpoolís support, you always bring a good 2-3000 and have a good sing, which is good. 3 songs I'll expect are LIVERPOOL LIVERPOOL LIVERPOOL, Steve Gerrard Gerrard..and that Anfield Road one, oh and Rafa Rafael..

Do you think it makes business sense to cut a teams allocation for persistent standing when you are not selling out home areas of the ground? This is the 2nd year in a row that itís happened!

Bandito: Shocking business acumen. We need our ground full so I would pull out all the stops to ensure that happens. Even if it meant giving Liverpool a bigger allocation than most as you are guaranteed to sell out.

Indestructable: I think all-seater stadiums are a stupid idea in general.

Turner_86: I don't see why people stand for a full 90 minutes. I'm not sure cutting ticket allocations will stop it though.

Holgate_rochey: No itís an absolute joke. Stewards are tossers. Away fans should just be allowed to stand, it contributes to the atmosphere. Whatís the point in reducing the numbers have everyone sitting down and having it like a library? Not to mention the amount of money we're losing out on as a club.

Do you feel TV coverage is harming your attendances? What do you think of 5.15pm kick offs?

Indestructable: No I don't. I think our attendances have been harmed because a load of people just jumped on the bandwagon when the "Riverside Revolution" begun. We've had a few good league finishes, a trophy and few good cup runs but some fans were expecting us to be competing for the title by now and I'm glad they don't come anymore. We don't need them.

Davidchadwick: Sky is killing football as live entertainment - in 10/15years it will be dead

Holgate_rochey: I like 5.15 kick offs, as you can have a full day on the lash, but in terms of attendances, its having a detrimental effect, even just a few years ago, we would sell out easily for home games against Liverpool, but on Saturday there wont even be 30 k there. People would rather watch the game in the pub and then straight out into town for their Saturday night out.

Stav77: Don't mind a 5:15 every once in a while but last season we only had one Saturday 3pm home fixture before Christmas. Hate Sunday fixtures.

Is anything ever going to be built near the stadium? Do you think it could do with some more pubs, cafes etc right by the ground?

Ste_north_stand: I think the whole area is going to be redeveloped soon, the plans are very impressive, especially the hotel in the shape of a toaster (and no Iím not kidding).

Bandito: Absolutely, it could do with a host of decent restaurants and bars but sadly it wonít happen. Funding isnít in place and I imagine we'll still be looking a wasteland in 5 yrs time. Sad but true. The club would probably oppose such investment as well due to revenue being pumped elsewhere, as we're expected to be in the concourse by dinnertime paying silly money for a crap pint.

Holgate_rochey: I canít see anything being built, there are always talks of 'plans' but nothing ever comes of them. Could do with a few pubs and cafes etc, maybe a Brothel...for the Liverpool fans like.

Stav77: I suspect eventually there will be but maybe not in my life time! I expect even Wembley may be complete before the surroundings of the Riverside start improving!

Care to predict the score? Go on!

The_Boro_Biffa: Tight game with Boro scraping it or Liverpool demolition job.

Borodrew: 2-1 Boro. Yakubu, Morrison, Crouch.

Indestructable: I think a draw definitely. 0-0 or 1-1.

Captain_Moonlight: Pool 2-0 Boro.

Thanks very much to all who have contributed. If you want to see all the responses then take a trip to the Fly Me to the Moon:

Boro's Spyin' Kop answers

Hopefully we will finally sort out our away day woes!

© Tiger Tony 2006

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