Welcome to the tenth issue of FMTTM. I must say i was surprised to hear that Sir Bruce was taking the lads on a mid season break to Bermuda. True, a nice little break for the boys and a chance for Mogga to top up his sun tan but surely Sir Bruce would have been better employed in dear old Blighty keeping his finger on the transfer pulse with deadline drawing nearer the need for a new player or two more obvious since the mediocre display against Newcastle a fortnight ago.
Plus i don’t think air travel, hotel, fuss, change in climate, food and most importantly BEER can do the lads much good two-thirds of the way through a tough first season in Div 1. The money would of been better spent on improving the toilets or getting ‘Upex’ to provide the match day pies instead of ‘Spillers’.
Back to the Newcastle game, even though Boro played at half pace for most of the game, i still thought the T.V. highlights were a fair reflection of the goal mouth incidents for either side. Trust Smithy to have a moan though. One query. Why did Burkey, after making our equalizer with his first touches, spend the rest of the game covering for Gary Parkinson at right back?
Also i’d love to know what Paul Kerr was so vehemently remonstrating about when he was substituted. It looked as if he was having a real go at Mark Brennan, which, no matter how justifiable was right out of order. Talking of the same Marco, a speedy return to form is badly needed today if we are to quell the threat of Liverpool, also its time Hammo started those penetrating runs into the box again, his goal tally for the season so far is well below satisfactory.
Finally, thanks to all those who’ve written to us with ideas and articles recently, your efforts have been paramount with our growth over the last 10 issues. Thanks to our reviews in ‘When Saturday Comes’ and ‘Off the Ball’ the appeal of FMTTM has become nationwide with subscribers up and down the country. You make it possible, so keep writing and don’t worry if your stuff doesn’t surface straight away; everything is filed for future use. We can’t stress enough… this is your fanzine.
It’s difficult to decide what the Boro crowd think of Burkey, i don’t think we up on Teesside are used to such refinement on a football field; it seems much more natural to accept the Hammy brand of no nonsense football. But i think we could well get to like it if we give him a chance.
First glimpse of Burkey came on Boxing Day against Blackburn. Coming on as a substitute with 5 minutes to go he was received with no little shock by some bloke stood next to me who exclaimed “He’s black” – yes quick of him to spot that one but then there’s quite a few more like him in the Holgate. Anyway Burkey would have gone some way to changing this blokes negative attitude, when with his first few touches he eased his way through two tackles and let fly from 25 yards, bringing a flying save from Genoe in goal, one of the few occasions he had been called upon in a generally disappointing Boro display.
Back home i reckoned Rioch had picked up something a bit special, but in the coming months Burkes name featured only at irregular intervals on the team sheet and more often than not he was on the subs bench.
However, watching him in the reserves you could see it was only a matter of time before he broke through. He was undoubtedly the most skillful player on the Boro staff, possessing a deceptive body swerve, superb ball skills, inate balance and every now and then there would be a moment of pure genius that left you wondering just what was possible for the lad.
This year Burkey has continued to advance, he was a revelation at the start of the season but has since endured some barren spells and often found himself the scapegoat when Boro failed to produce. Not to say Mark doesn’t have his faults, he’s not a good tackler, or a great header of a ball, he can become lost in some of the more physical games and be quite indecisive at times. Rioch’s criticism of his lack of crosses is a pointer to this factor, but on the other hand Mark is very good at certain things where his colleagues are found wanting. Essentially he adds a new dimension to what is basically a tough tackling, short passing midfield. His dribbling skills create holes in the opposition defence by drawing men towards him, he also possesses a crisp shot, and perhaps more importantly, the ability to play well weighted and early long balls to the front runners, the kind more usually associated with Marco Brennan.
At times i can understand the Holgates harsh words, though not their racism, for when a player aspires to greatness anything below that comes as a disappointment. I only hope that Rioch and the Boro crowd will give him the opportunity and the atmosphere to blossom and display the kind of prodigious talent that brought his superb goal at Southampton. Best of luck Burkey.
I would like to express my anger at some of the pathetic announcements that frequently come out of our very own hi-tec P.A sytem at Ayresome Park.
QUOTE: Would the people at the East End of the ground please refrain from jumping up and down when the Boro score :UNQUOTE
What the hell are we supposed to do with the adrenalin and sheer passion that is bursting out of every pore? Do they really want a polite clap and a “Jolly good show” buzzing round the ground? If they are so worried about the seating being damaged then perhaps they should think back to the last time any serious damage was done, when those ‘nice people’ from Yorkshire visited us and were afforded seating to which they were eternally grateful.
I’m sure to god the players would prefer a good atmosphere and the prospect of three points, when compared to the slight chance of a Joiner’s bill and the award for Leagues Nicest Seating?
I would like to voice my feelings on gracious Gary Gill. To be frank, (as in Bruno, unlucky champ) i think he’s ace. You only have to look at his recent star performance against Luton (no away fans) Town, his excellent displays for the Central League team or two years ago when he starred in Boro’s promotion to Division 2. I might also add he has scored some crucial goals at home against Carlisle and Newport (Who? – Ed).
The chap in Issue 9 clearly doesn’t appreciate Gill’s skills, but he also has the nerve to question Sir Bruce on who he should or shouldn’t have in his triumphant first team squad. Personally i’d like to think Sir Bruce knows what he’s talking about. As for the remark that “Y.T.S kids play him off the pitch”, that is utter s**t. I watch all the home reserve games and in 99% of the games Gill has been as tenacious as Hammo and as industrious as Kerr.
It can’t be just me, Endy and Sir Bruce supporting Gilly when he pulls the famous red and white shirt over his controversial haircut. But judging by the moans from all around the ground when he gets the ball i think it must be. The boo boys (especially all you rich w**kers in the 2nd tier of the South Stand) can just f**k off, because all your moaning does is lower his confidence and that affects the rest of the team, not just Gilly!
But the point which really p**ses me off is if Gill scored for the first team, would there really only be three of us going wild out of the 20,000 or so Boro fans? Of course not, everyone would be going wild and worshipping him as the new messiah (behind Sir Bruce of course).
The anonymous **** from issue 9 should go to Darlo himself, instead of being a hypocrite who doesnt give a s**t about the Boro. “KEEP UP THE GOOD WORK GILLY”
When asked who was the best Boro player i’ve seen (and as the oldest of the FMTTM editorial staff i’m well qualified to answer) my usual reply is Mike Angus, no only kidding. Seriously i’ve never been able to separate Maddren and Souness. Willie first came onto the Boro scene in the very late 60′s, around the same time as Diddie Mills, but neither established themselves until 2 or 3 years later, the era of Ben Sherman shirts and the ‘Teesside Times’ advertising the ‘Great Stewarts Sale ’53 weeks a year.
First time i saw Willie was as a centre forward scoring a 25 yarder against Bury on Shoot (the days before Kenneth Wolsenholme). “He’s a good centre forward i thought… well, nearly”. This was of course during the Stan Anderson days, but Willie eventually took his place alongside Stuart Boam to form what every Boro fan thought to be the best defence in the league. We couldn’t realistically insist on this until proved in the 1st Division, but this was successfully done in 74/75.
Under Big Jack our defence was tighter than the merchant of Venice (he wasn’t much good in the air anyway). That season we conceded just 28 league goals, a feat only equalled by Liverpool. To give this some kind of perspective, just have a look at some of the goals against columns already this season.
Boam was a rough diamond at first, later polished by Big Jack, how he managed this I’ve no idea, because polish was not something you immediately associated with Jack. Willie though was the key man in defence, he was one of those players that made everything look easy and did so in unspectacular style. His reading of the game meant a task was always completed with the minimum of fuss, no dives or lunges.
He was unlucky on several counts during his stunted career, of course it was ended prematurely by a knee injury, but rumours abound that Jack forced him to continue playing when medically unwise through the use of pain killers. He faired no better with his England chances due to the embarrassment of quality centre halves at the time. After Moore and Hunter came Todd and Beattie, both superb. Maddren would walk into the present England team.
There was a body opinion at the time and one that still exists today, that claimed playing for an unfashionable club had restricted his England ambitions. But he could certainly take heart from the opinions of many top pro’s and experts who cited Maddren as the best uncapped player in English football. On one occasion he quelled the not inconsiderable threat of Kevin Keegan to such an extent that it prompted the striker to state that he “might as well have gone shopping with his missus” than play against the Boro.
In summing up, Maddren was the last of the anonymous centre halves who you hardly noticed were there. A really nice guy too, too nice for football management and certainly the best thing to come out of Port Clarence since the Transporter Bridge.
For the record: 239 Appearances, 19 goals, 5 U23 caps