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Opinion

Why does nobody care about Middlesbrough?

12 months ago
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Middlesbrough is a strange one.

It must be totally baffling to the rest of the country as to why the football team only 30 miles down the road means absolutely nothing to Newcastle fans.

When you consider the football map these days, it will be even more puzzling.

The likes of Darlington and Hartlepool have even lost their league status and are in the wilderness.

Whilst Sunderland have dropped off a cliff and after successive relegations looking to join them, now in the process of being bought by bidders that are headed up by the owner of non-league Eastleigh.

As for the Premier League, Newcastle United found themselves with no other team within a round trip radius of less than 240 miles or so.

No local Premier League clubs and indeed not one in the whole of Yorkshire, trips to Burnley and Huddersfield the only two closer than visiting Manchester and beyond.

As for Middlesbrough, it is hilarious really as to just how little they are in our conscious thoughts.

I was astounded to see this morning that they had already qualified for the play-offs and would be one of the four with the opportunity of making up the three clubs coming up the top tier.

I honestly had no idea and haven’t heard a single Newcastle fan talking about them, plenty interest with Fulham and the Mitro connection, even Villa to a much smaller extent because of their capacity to annoy in recent times, but Middlesbrough…?

If anybody had asked me what I knew about Middlesbrough this season, I would have known they brought in Tony Pulis halfway through and they were kind of somewhere between mid-table and the play-off positions, but that is it really, apart from guessing that as usual there had been loads of empty seats. Certainly not that they had ensured a top six spot with time to spare.

Middlesbrough of course always want to be Newcastle’s rival on those occasions when we happen to be in the same division but no normal person counts this as a big game…and most definitely not as a derby.

Do I want Boro to come up through the play-offs?

The choice at the moment is Villa and Middlesbrough, with Fulham and Derby hot favourites to join them in the play-off semi-finals.

I suppose if pushed I would probably say I’d want Fulham to go up due to the Mitro thing, plus they play good football, and it is a canny place to visit.

Middlesbrough doesn’t have any of that.

I don’t have any strong feelings about any of their players, with Pulis in charge I can’t imagine they play anything that resembles football, whilst as for visiting the place…it has always been a case of in getting in and out in the minimum of time spent there. The locals are about as friendly as the skyline is attractive, so can’t really think of anything in favour of Middlesbrough sharing a division with Newcastle.

I had to check when we’d last played them, the last and maybe only big memory of the place being when Tino Asprilla came off the bench and added some magic and a win on his debut under Kevin Keegan.

It is actually over eight years since we last crossed paths, playing each other in the Championship the first time Mike Ashley got Newcastle relegated.

Turns out Newcastle beat them 2-0 at home and drew 2-2 away that season on the way to 102 points as champions.

Actually, you have to go back 12 years and eight games since Boro actually beat Newcastle, a 1-0 defeat for NUFC at their place in October 2006.

If Middlesbrough do deserve recognition maybe it will come from Mike Ashley, as he can proudly boast that Newcastle have never lost to the Smoggies in his entire 11 year reign.

Not a lot else for Mike Ashley, or Middlesbrough, to brag about.
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