Monday, 30 January 2006

Column up now at

The latest issue of the JB Column is up now at


Saturday, 28 January 2006

Monday, 23 January 2006

Column up at

The latest issue of the JB Column is up now at

And, yes, I hate NTL.


Monday, 16 January 2006

Latest column up at

Not the funniest piece I've ever written this week - laughing's tricky when your team has just been thumped 7-0 at Highbury.


Sunday, 15 January 2006

My verdict in today's Observer

As part of their new fan focussed section, I give my verdict on yesterday's 7-0 drubbing at Highbury in today's Observer.

They don't publish it online, so you'll have to buy the paper to read what I had to say.

Monday, 9 January 2006

Latest column up at

Back to the regular format this week, so if you want a silly explanation of Mark Schwarzer's transfer request, click the link.


Sunday, 8 January 2006

The season so far in today's Observer

The Observer have started a new section that gives fans a chance to spout off about their club. They haven't published the piece online, but it's in today's paper.

I've lovingly retyped it here....

1) How upset/delighted are you with your club's season and the manager’s performance so far? (with a mark out of 10 for the club)
Like the majority of Boro fans, I was anticipating a top six finish this season. Barring a miracle, this is now beyond us. Granted, losing Downing, Boateng, McMahon, Parlour and Mendieta to lengthy injuries hasn’t helped, but McClaren’s persistence at playing the likes of Franck Queudrue and the promising Matthew Bates out of their natural positions has grated. In addition to his often curious tactics and team selections, three of McClaren’s four summer signings have shown little promise. Yakubu has clearly excelled, but the others (Abel Xavier, Fabio Rochemback and Emanuel Pogatetz) either look out of their depth in the Premiership or have been found guilty of taking anabolic steroids and banned accordingly. Outside of the league, we’re doing very well in the Uefa Cup, but victories over Litex Lovech and FC Dnipro offer little solace when your club is hovering only two places above the relegation zone. 4/10

2) Who's been the star?
Yakubu’s prowess in front of goal, especially given Boro’s lowly league position, has been nothing short of phenomenal, but the development of James Morrison from a promising fleet-footed winger into a midfielder of all-round excellence has been the biggest cause of celebration for Boro fans this season. When deployed on the right flank Morrison has proved to have enough pace and flair to trouble most full-backs and when played as part of a three-man central midfield he’s shown himself to possess the necessary guile and tenacity despite his slight frame. He was the best player on the pitch against Newcastle last week but he has also offered dazzling performances against Birmingham, Fulham and Spurs. He might be just 19-years-old, but, based on his performances so far this season, many of his more experienced colleagues could learn a lot from him.

3) Who's let you down/been the boo-boy?
Nobody has ever quite let Boro down like Abel Xavier did, but when it comes to performances on the pitch; Fabio Rochemback has been a huge disappointment. He’s shown little of the quality that made him a Brazilian international and a mainstay in the impressive Sporting Lisbon side that put pay to both Boro and Newcastle in last season’s Uefa Cup. I think it’s also fair to say that he appears to be carrying about two stone more than last season and while we’ve scored a few goals as a result of his corners, his freekicks have so far offered more of a threat to cars parked outside the stadium than opposition goalkeepers. Hopefully he’ll rediscover his talent and his fitness once he’s settled on Teesside, but, at the moment, his five-year contract is looking more and more expensive by the week.

4) Who or what type do player do you want to arrive in the transfer window?
We desperately need some energy in central midfield and, with Xavier banned, we should probably bring in an experienced right-back. Another move for Rodolph Douala of Sporting Lisbon has been mooted but with Downing and Morrison, we can already offer a threat down the flanks. It would be far more prudent of McClaren to attempt to sign someone who can drive us forward from the centre of the park. Whilst I doubt he’d want to exchange Madrid for Middlesbrough, Thomas Gravesen would fit the role perfectly. In terms of a right-back, we need a solid defender as Stuart Parnaby appears to lack the discipline necessary to excel in that position. Noe Pamarot of Spurs or Didier Agathe from Celtic are both worth considering. Steve McClaren’s most pressing business in January, however, is to entice George Boateng into extending his contract, which currently runs out in the summer.

5) Where will you finish?

6) Who’s going down?
West Bromwich Albion, Birmingham and Sunderland.

7) Champions?

Thursday, 5 January 2006

Sensible piece published at

No lame jokes and crappy puns this time, I've decided to write a proper piece for The usual JB Column will be back as usual soon.

It's called, no laughing, Why Steve McClaren Is The Man To Get Boro Out Of Trouble.