Today is the first of three games on consecutive Saturdays. You can be sure that FMTTM will have an issue for each of these. I can say this with all the more certainty due to the response to the last issues appeal for more written material from you the readers. You can probably see this for yourself with the new names credited at the end of articles ensuring we remain worthy of the title ‘Fanzine’.
Great to hear Sutton Utd’s Barry Williams on Match of Day, telling us he received a good luck phone call from Brucie on the eve of their cup-tie against Coventry, followed up by a telegram to the dressing room before kick-off. This is the sort of thing that proves that Brucie is a great man and not just a great manager. It almost made up for the Grimsby disappointment… almost… but not quite!
What a good result at Southampton. Being the pessimist i am, i would have been happy with a draw but to come away with all three points made missing a Saturday night out worthwhile. All of our goals were good but Burkey’s was just a little bit special, although i think Coopers against Luton still stands as the best of the season thus far.
I thought the switching of the Simod Cup game against Crystal Palace was a master stroke, whoever is responsible deserves a pat on the back, not only for the increased gate a Saturday had over a midweek slot, but also that a free Saturday when most First Division teams are involved in the cup would’ve been a real sickener.
Fly Me to the Moon would like to express it’s deepest sympathy to the family of ex-Boro centre half Mick Baxter, who died last Saturday after a long fight against cancer.
Mick was signed by Bobby Murdoch prior to the season we were relegated from the First Division. The fee was £425,000, but in retrospect I think Mick would be the first to admit he never quite lived up to the price paid.
Even though he struggled to win over the crowd, the day he succeeded remains my lasting memory of him. He had already managed to score two goals and the Holgate called him forward for a corner so that he could complete his hat-trick, his reaction was to point to himself and mouth, ‘Who… me?’
Just for the record he never did get that third goal but even his severest critics wished he had! RIP Mick – Middlesbrough Playing Career 1981-84, Appearances: 122, Goals: 7
The recent Government plans to introduce compulsory membership schemes and the carrying of ID cards by football fans has been met with wide spread horror by all those who care for the game. The aim of the scheme is a good one, to once and for all stamp out violence at soccer grounds. However, to think that making all those who attend grounds carry an ID card will achieve this aim is beyond belief.
The violence once associated with football grounds has gone, witness the recent Boro vs. Man Utd match, a crowd of 24,000 and no arrests inside the ground. The violence that occurs is now well away from the ground, relocated to pubs, car parks and bus or train stations. At these new locations there are no Police or security cameras and no one gives a damn if you are carrying an ID card or not. Most fans will have seen or heard of this violence, for example the Boro vs. Arsenal match where brain dead Geordies went ape at Kings Cross station.
It is in everyone’s interests that we stop this membership scheme in its tracks; it will almost certainly stop the casual fans from turning up. Remember the bad old days in the Third Division when we were pulling crowds of around 8000, the 18,000 we are getting now were all casual fans at one point or another.
The scheme could realistically shut down smaller clubs, who have often been a source of talent for the First Division, ourselves included just a few short seasons ago. Then there’s the cost, some quarters are saying that it will between 8 or 9 pounds, others that it will be free. Well for those that say it will be free, what this really means is that your name will be on a list sold off to mail order firms and the like. What you will end up with is junk mail up to the eyebrows and endless double glazing sales calls.
Then there’s getting into the ground itself, you can add another half hour on straight away, the technology for the card scheme is new and delicate and it only takes one cock up for the system to collapse.
Stopping the scheme is possible; there is already a body of opinion in the parliamentary Conservative Party that is against the scheme. The Labour Party is guaranteed to vote against it as are the other opposition parties. What we need is to mobilise back bench M.P.’s inside the government, and here’s how to do it.
If you live in a marginal constituency then write to your M.P. and point out the following, that the scheme is impractical and will not help either his or her party if it fails in practice. That the area the M.P. represents is a marginal one, where only a few thousand votes keep them in office, then neatly point out the attendance at Ayresome Park is around the half million mark per year, of which a fair proportion live in his constituency, does the M.P. really want to alienate such a huge group of voters?
Above all be polite, these characters are not stupid, but a few hundred letters should get the message across and help prevent this pathetic scheme.
The financial restrictions imposed on Bruce Rioch are well documented. All season the Board have promised him and Toddy tracksuit bottoms to wear on match days but failed to come up with the goods. The situation is starting to get harrowingly serious. As with most appeals we have been forced to use shock tactics to get our message across. So it is with regret that we bring you this sickening picture of a bravely smiling Rioch, pathetically sporting a circa 1970 Umbro tracksuit.
Bruce of course is too proud to ask for a more up-to-date garment, he’d swear that this is his favourite top and that the Hugo Boss outfit that his good lady bought him for Xmas is still in the wrapper. So its time for us to repay this great man for all he’s done and act on his behalf. We appeal to local business men to pledge monies to buy Bruce some state of the art clobber so he can cut a mean dash on match days.
Simple Minds, U2 and Dire Straits all recognise this sickening problem and have agreed in principle to a concert at Ayresome Park. As we go to press plans are afoot for David Bowie and Mick Jagger to shoot a video down on Teesside docks in support of this heart rendering cause. We hate to bring this sickening picture into your home but we need your cash to ensure this tragedy never happens again. We also appeal to the consciences (ha ha) of messes Amer and Duffield to drop their claims against the club and accept that it was through their actions in the past that this tragedy happened in the first place.
Why is it that everyone seems so shocked when the Boro get a bad F.A Cup result? Disappointment i can understand, but recent history shows that the Grimsby grimness was almost inevitable.
In the last seventeen seasons, since 1973/73 there have been only three occasions when we haven’t had an embarrassing F.A. Cup encounter with ‘inferior’ opposition. Ten times we have been knocked out by sides from a lower division, remember Plymouth, Wrexham, Bury, Orient (sob), Palace, Birmingham, Q.P.R, Darlington (gulp), Preston and now the sinking Mariners.
Then there were the dodgy draws and almost as dodgy subsequent victories against non league Wycombe, Wimbledon, Bishops Stortford and Sutton Utd.
Compared with the ten defeats, we’ve had only seven F.A. Cup victories against lower division sides in this period, Sunderland, Peterborough, Hereford, Bolton, Swansea, Barnsley and Bournemouth. Our record against 4th Division sides in particular is bloody awful, we’ve beaten only one of the five we’ve played since 1972.
So what’s the explanation for this appalling cup history? Over the 17 years the players have changed, the management has changed, the board has changed but the crowd hasn’t. We always expect thumping good victories against these lowly sides – and we (or many of us – not me Bruce honest) are quick to criticise if we are not 3 – 0 up by half time. Compare the crowd when we were one – nil up against Grimsby (near silence), to the noise when we were two – nil down to Villa (inspirational) and you’ll see what i mean.
Maybe if more people remembered their Boro cup history they’d know the team needs even more backing when we come up against a 4th Division side than when we play one from the first.
Heres a chance for all you budding humourists. Simply fill in the bubble to let us know what Ripper is saying. No need to cut up your prized copy of FMTTM, just send us the appropriate caption with your name and address to 14 Selkirk Close, Saltersgill, M’bro
Entries to reach us no later than 30.01.89. There will be £5 for the best, with the winner announced in Issue 9 vs. Newcastle Utd