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Birmingham V Boro 1-4 (Assombalonga, Saville, Wing (2))

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Brum v The Boro 19th December 2020

Kick Off: 15.00

Location: St Andrew's Stadium

"Oh, Aitor Karanka..."

This Saturday afternoon, the mighty Middlesbrough take a trip 177 miles down the road to meet Aitor Karanka's Birmingham City. At the start of the season, some of us watched with jealousy as our hero of a former manager took the helm at Brum. I presumed he'd instantly mould a team to challenge for the promotion places and I'd be watching Birmingham keeping it tight at the back, winning by fine margins with the occasional out classing of opponents. I thought I would be jealous. I thought i might even have to get a Birmingham shirt. Don't get me wrong, I was happy enough with the appointment of Neil Warnock, I felt like he deserved it after the miracles performed last season, but I was hankering for more Aitor: The man who'd helped me rediscover my all out love for the Boro, after the dark days of Gordon Strachan and the false dawn that was the Mowbray era.  I'd have had Aitor back here in a heartbeat, as I felt he had unfinished business and, I'll be honest, I proper loved him.

But that was then. The reality is that he has built... well... not a lot really. Birmingham sit 17th in the league and seem to be really good at getting beat late on. They took our freebies: Friend and Clayton, and added them to former Boro boys Lucas Jutkiewicz and (loanee) Josh McEachran. They added a total of six players to the team including Jefferson Montero and the once promising Jay Leko. At the moment, that team doesn't look like the well oiled machine that we saw Karanka forged at the Riverside. 

We approach this game on the back of two contrasting victories. A convincing demolition of Millwall and a backs against the wall, dogged performance against Luton, where we managed to win with only ten men. I only managed to catch the last twenty minutes or so of last nights game due to parenting duties. I never really felt like Luton were going to score and had a confidence that we would hold on.  

Confidence is something that Neil Warnock has injected into this Middlesbrough team. We may not always be pretty, but contrasting this year to last, my confidence in the players has turned on its head. This season, every match I'm confident we can get something out of a game as opposed to confident we wouldn't last season. Neil Warnock isn't Aitor Karanka but there are similarities. Once Warnock's time here is over, who knows where we'll be. But one thing is for sure, I won't be wishing for his return as I had been Karanka's. That being said, Warnock has ended my obsession with Aitor Karanka and reminded me that it wasn't actually Aitor Karanka that I loved. It was the club and the feeling that Karanka inspired when he was here. Like nothing I'd felt since the early days of the Robson era. Warnock is feeding that feeling and it is slowly blossoming once again.

VIEW FROM THE OTHER SIDE

https://www.smallheathalliance.com/ appears to me to be the Brum fans forum of choice. A quick glance shows no mention of our upcoming fixture. They do however bemoan a squad over heavy on midfielders and under performing strikers...

FOOT IN BOTH CAMPS

Too many to mention! Notable mentions from my time alive: French Frank Queudrue- one of my favourite left backs to play for us ever and Stuart Parnaby, son of Dave. Feel free to share your favourites.

TALKING POINTS

Should we start with the same 10 that finished on Wednesday? (why change a winning team?)

Is Beau Brummie the most ridiculous mascot in the championship?

Does Aitor Karanka love Boro more than he loves Birmingham?

Can anyone remember a player called Jon McCarthy who played for Birmingham back in the late 90's early 00's? (He came from Coulby Newham, like me)

 

 

Screenshot 2020-12-17 at 17.49.13.png

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Great MDT Marv. Back to back wins hopefully you can make it 3. St Andrews is not usually a happy hunting ground for us but I’m feeling strangely optimistic about this one. Hopefully they are a bit deflated after losing to Cardiff after being in front. 
 

 

Should we start with the same 10 that finished on Wednesday? (why change a winning team?) 

I’d probably go for 11 players personally although Woodgate may disagree  but regionally the same that started I’d we can get Morsy’s red card overturned  if not then I’m not quite sure who I’d prefer to step in

Is Beau Brummie the most ridiculous mascot in the championship?

Harry the Hornet 🐝 has always irked me  seems a bit of a shithouse and nobody like wasps anyway

Does Aitor Karanka love Boro more than he loves Birmingham? 
 

Obviously he does we were his first  and you always hold a candle for your first time  plus he has some great times work us 

Can anyone remember a player called Jon McCarthy who played for Birmingham back in the late 90's early 00's? (He came from Coulby Newham, like me) 

Never heard of her 🤷‍♂️

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I think Jon McCarthy was at York for a while, if it's the same one I'm thinking of?  I know he is from around here anyway.

Garry Monk must be a firm favourite with both sets of fans 👍

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Hoping for a win or draw. However I won't count any chickens with Birmingham as they did us back in the.70's in the FA Cup quarter finals. Thought we certainties to get to the final that year and should have if Big Jack had gone for the win, but  went for the draw to bring them back to Ayresome Park and make more money for Charlie Amer. That was our best opportunity to get into the Semi's to that date and we blew it big time. Still hurts a little bit.

 

UTB.

 

 

Edited by Erimus 63

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Our away form is somewhat naff with only one win on the road so far.

Time to make it 2, last time Dan and I visited the ground we won and had there been no restrictions would have been there this game.

Need to perform much better than of late (away games) Clayton and Friend seem to have been unused by Aitor of late so do nt see them impacting this game.

Once again a match where first goal scored could make a big difference to the outcome.

Would settle for a point at this time but it is a must not lose game for all of the obvious reasons

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11 hours ago, marvin said:

Should we start with the same 10 that finished on Wednesday? (why change a winning team?)

Is Beau Brummie the most ridiculous mascot in the championship?

Does Aitor Karanka love Boro more than he loves Birmingham?

Can anyone remember a player called Jon McCarthy who played for Birmingham back in the late 90's early 00's? (He came from Coulby Newham, like me)

1. I hate it when managers change a winning team. Disappointed we didn't appeal Morsy's red card, but I guess we will have to give Wing a game and hope he performs better than he has in his recent substitute appearances.

2. Hard to argue. But then I find all mascots a bit cringe. Perhaps it's because I once spent a day walking round the Ideal Home Show dressed as a running shoe. I was a student, doing a marketing internship. By an amazing coincidence, that was also the day I decided I didn't want a career in marketing.

3. You never forget your first time (in England). I also love Aitor more than I love Birmingham, though in fairness, that wouldn't be difficult. Other things I love more than Birmingham include cleaning the toilet, Audi drivers, and cold toast with unsalted butter.

4. Nope, sorry.

 

This is a game we should be approaching with positive intent, trying to take all three points. I'll be disappointed if we don't go for the win from the first whistle, so I'll probably be disappointed!

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Good post Marvin

I'm a big believer that 99% of managers have to have the right chemistry at the club they're joining to have any sort of success, the exception beem the Warnocks, Allardyce of this world, who can manage successfully at any club they go to

Aitor was the classic example at the Boro & we will be forever grateful for his success at our club but for me, he wont acheieve anything at any other club & I expect Birmingham to be a middle to lower championship team this season 

Saying that no matter how either of us teams are playing St Andrews isnt a particular good ground for the mighty Boro, infact its probably one of the worst grounds we have visited in our history & a ground we lost the 1975 FAC 1975 at & probably the 1st ever match I felt absoutly gutted with a defeat & havent really got over it to this day, we should have won the double that season

Our 1st visit to Birmingham was when they were known as Small Heath & played at a ground named Muntz Street, we played there 4 times,  drawing one & losing 3

Things didnt improve for the Boro when they changed their name to Birmingham City & played at St Andrews, infact it got worse, we lost our 1st match at St Andrews against newly named Birmingham City 7-0 😔

It will be our 59th visit to the city of Birmingham with the following awful record 

Won - 10

Drew - 16

Lost - 32

Goals for - 63

Against - 109

 

Other than the players mentioned a few who have represented both team

Bruce Rioch who managed the Boro so successfully had short loan playing spell at Birmingham playing 3 games in 1978, that must have went down well been an ex Villa player

Colin Todd another one of the Rioch dream team played for Birmingham between 1979 -1982

Terry Cooper played for the Boro between 1975 - 78 & managed Birmingham 1991 - 1993

Brian 'Taffy' Orrit played for Birmingham between 1956-62 then came to the Boro in 1962 becaming our 1st ever substitute

George Smith played 82 games for the Boro between 1968-71, signed for Birmigham in 1971

Steve Vickers played for the Boro between 1993 - 2001, Boro loaned Steve to Birmingham in 2001 who then after 5 games made the move permanent till 2003 

 

Did you know

When Birmingham were previously known as Small Haeth they were our 1st ever football league opponents on Teesside when we played at Linthorpe road ground, prior to Ayresome Park, on that particular day, 9th September 1899, we lost 3-1, with Michael Murphy credited with scoring our 1st ever 'home' league goal

We have done the double over Birmingham on 6 times, 1907-08, 1974-75, 1978-79, 2005-06, 2017-18 & 2018-19

We have never beat Birmingham in any cup compatition  

Blasts from the past & 2 wins, Vidukas 2 goals in a rare win at St Andrews & my 1974 Sports Gazette from our 1st fixture back in the top flight after 20 year absence 

Heres hoping Watmore can be another John Hickton, Mark Viduka

 

Birmingham 0 Boro 3 Aug74.JPG

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As has been pointed out. Our current awful away record needs addressing. We taken 7pts i believe away from home all season with just the 1 win v Bristol back in Octobee. We have lost our last 3 away games on the bounce which is very poor.

Some posters have said our next 4 games are favourable and yes they are but 3 out the 4 are away.

Our poor away record coupled with our poor record at St Andrews means I would take a point here going in Xmas.

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15 minutes ago, TeaCider24 said:

We have appealed Morsy's card.

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Birmingham are in a bad run of form and as this is against the club he made his name in management at Aitor will be fired up for this. I think Friend has been injured and may return for this game, knowing Aitor thought he will be on the bench. Nonetheless this is great opportunity for the Boro to get back to winning ways on the road and continue our momentum. As stated our next 4 games are very winable need to be taking 10 point's minimum. Win and we are in the playoffs with Brentford playing Reading so guarantee leapfrog a club

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Just now, DurhamRed said:

Morsey red overturned so he could feature

What happens to referees that make stupid decisions. I don’t think for one instant that they get fined but do they receive remedial training or anything such like? 

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Yes three out of four games are away and this is slightly concerning due to present away form and of course AK would love to collect the three points. Also we all know that we are very capable of going on bad runs in and around the festive period and into New Year

I have been soul searching as to why I can include a very seldom used phrase of mine, despite the fact that on each time used we have collected 3 points and thankfully because we need to stop the current trend I, in all honesty, believe that this game could fall into the catagory of being THE MOST IMPORTANT GAME OF THE SEASON......away from home so far!!!!!

Hey smirk if you want but if we do win I wonder how many would like to see a mention for games after Xmas?

Fingers crossed as this has to be a "must not lose" game?

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