Writer: Johnny Baguette
Date:Friday January 1 2010
The City squad are packing their massive headphones for the minibus to the Riverside and our third assault on glory this season. We caught up with the excellent ComeOnBoro.com...
Steve Goldby takes the chair as part of our FA Cup Third Round build up.
An excellent scene setting interview including a top pub tip for travelling Blues!
1. Roberto Mancini's resurgent City head north east to Middlesbrough and the FA Cup 3rd Round with one eye on Wednesday's seismic League Cup Semi-Final 1st leg with the rags. Boro's form thus far this season has been erratic to say the least, leaving them mid-table at the season's half way stage. How's life in the Championship and what's the mood around the Riverside?
'Life in The Championship is dreary. We don't play Arsenal, Chelsea and their like any more. We play Plymouth, Scunthorpe and Blackpool now and we are getting beaten by most of them. We don't have players like Mark Viduka and Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink any more. We have players who are basically second raters.
The mood around the Riverside is one of doom and gloom and a very serious concern for the future. We seem to be in freefall with little chance of promotion this season and the general feeling amongst the support that is left is that we will be where we are for quite some time yet.
In short, there is little, if nothing, to be cheery about right now.'
2. Gareth Southgate. He impressed many English Football fans with his approach during his time at Boro. Is he missed and is ex rag Gordon Strachan the man to take you back to the Premier League?
'Do you mean his approach to the countless defeats we suffered or his approach to taking the Uefa Cup finalists and FA Cup semi finalists into the Championship within three years?
Southgate was an awful appointment and it's so sad because he is a playing legend for Boro. But without a doubt, he was probably the worst manager we have ever had. The timing of the sacking aside, there were not many tears shed when he went.
The general mood about Strachan is that he needs time as he is still working with Southgate's squad. Although there are calls for his head already from some quarters, we need to see what he can do in the January window before we judge him in any way. However, it has been a dreadful start for him and that will understandably affect people's opinions.
Personally, I was delighted with the appointment and have a lot of faith in him. But he needs to turn things round quickly before the 'crowd' really get on his back.
Why did I write the word crowd in inverted commas? You'll find out on
Saturday afternoon when you may well outnumber us.'
3. Where's the best place for a pint and a balti pie on Saturday?
'The centre of town is always good for the craic on a matchday and there are several decent boozers which are a mere ten/fifteen minutes walk to the ground. The Bridge pub, over the border is 'away fan friendly' and is less than five minutes walk from the train station and five minutes walk to the ground.
4. Who should City and in turn, Boro be wary of once the cup clash gets under way?
'We only have two good players - Gary O'Neil and Emanuel Pogatetz. We have no fit strikers and our defence is in disarray so you have little to worry about.
As for City, I am not sure whether Mancini will play a full strength team or give some of his reserves a run out. Either way, I think that you will better us in every department across the board.'
5. What's your impression of Manchester City Football Club as we arrive in 2010?
'It must be a seriously exciting time to be a City fan. You are never out of the headlines and you have a great chance of breaking into the Champions League places. After the turbulent time you have had over the last few years, the future must look very bright indeed.
I'm not sure about Mancini though. I think his achievements have been overstated and I was a big admirer of Mark Hughes, however Mancini couldn't have really had a better start and his attitude seems excellent.'
6. The bigger picture. Is it getting harder to break into English football's elite?
'It's not as hard as it was two seasons ago. Liverpool have slipped and I expect them to continue to do so which obviously leaves a vacancy, and Villa, Spurs and yourselves are stronger than for many years so the league is becoming much more competitive. Nothing ever stays the same for too long and changes have begun to take place now. Expect them to continue.'
7. And so to your prediction. City fans are still smarting over the 8-1 back in May 2008. Only Ireland (injured) Petrov and Garrido remain in the squad from that day. Any danger of a repeat?!
'A repeat of the scoreline- yes, but in your favour, not ours. Mind you, I'd be very surprised if we managed one so that prediction may be a bit wild. But in seriousness, I am expecting a right royal drubbing on Saturday and I wish you all the best for the fourth round onwards.'
Very Many thanks and respect to Steve and the ComeOnBoro team.
VMC Seven Deadly Sinners so far this season:
Blackburn Rovers: Mikey D
Wolverhampton Wanderers: Akela
Arsenal: Paul Mustchin
Manchester united: Nobby Allcock
West Ham: Rossy
Aston Villa: The Fear
Wigan Athetic: Worbo
Fulham: Andrew Joyce
Scunthorpe: Luke Thornhill
Liverpool: Chubby Alonso
Hull City: Matt Wilson
Bolton Wanderers: Richard McC
Tottenham Hotspur: OxfordSpur
Sunderland: Gaz Johnson
Stoke: Chris Baldwin
Middlesbrough: Steve Goldby
Big Match Links:
ComeOnBoro.com link: Stew Flaherty's Boro v City Preview
VMC City Video Link: Festive City
VMC Forum Link: MATCHDAY THREAD: Middlesborough v Man City FA Cup 3rd Round - Jan 2nd 2010 - KO: 3pm UK Time
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Date:Friday January 1 2010
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