Tag: Middlesbrough

Match Of The Week: Newcastle United 3-1 Middlesbrough

It has been a wretched season for the north-east of England. Newcastle United, Middlesbrough and Sunderland have all lurked near the bottom of the Premier League, and it remains uncertain whether Darlington will even get to start next season. Still, there is good news. Gateshead have won promotion into the Blue Square Premier through the play-offs, and yesterday Whitley Bay won the FA Vase, beating Glossop North End at Wembley. Tonight, however, the desperation is in the air. It is, perhaps, a reflection of how predictable the Premier League has become that this match been much-discussed in the media over the last few weeks. Over the last forty years, there have been few other parts of the country that have under-achieved as spectacularly as the north-east of England. The whole region has managed two trophies in the last forty years – Sunderland’s FA Cup in 1973 and Middlesbrough’s League Cup in 2004 – yet the cliches of a “football hotbed” remain, although none of the big three have been able to sell out most of their matches this season. It’s a sell out tonight, of course, with the combination of a local derby and the schadenfreude comes with the knowledge that three points for either team will effectively relegate their rivals. Tonight, though, is not about winning trophies. It’s about maintaining status. A status that Newcastle and Middlesbrough have...

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In Praise Of… Brian Clough

The unveiling of a new statue of Brian Clough in Nottingham last week seems like as good a time as any to to take a quick look back at the career of arguably English football’s greatest manager. It’s probably fair to say that the managerial achievements of Brian Clough will never be repeated again. He took two clubs from the middle of the Second Division to be the champions of England, and one of them went on to become back to back champions of Europe. Moreover, he went on to keep the second of these sides in the top division for a decade and a half afterwards while other, arguably bigger, clubs had to spend periods in the Second Division or lower. Brian Clough was always likely to become a manager. His playing career is often overlooked, but was exceptional in its own way. He scored 241 goals in 274 league matches for Sunderland and Middlesbrough before a cruciate ligament injury to his knee ended his career at the age of just twenty-seven. Such a goalscoring record was remarkable even for that time, and it’s plausible to say that, had he played at a bigger club, he could have achieved much more as a player. After three years out of the game, he took up management at Hartlepool United with Peter Taylor, and it would be his relationship with...

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