Newspaper article Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)

Welcome Back, Match of the Day, You've Changed a Bit since the Last Time You Were Featuring Boro Teams

Newspaper article Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)

Welcome Back, Match of the Day, You've Changed a Bit since the Last Time You Were Featuring Boro Teams

Article excerpt

I'VE been doing my Premier League homework.

I've been 'actively' watching Match of the Day for the first time in years rather than just having it nagging in the background on a Saturday and Sunday night. For years now I have just skimmed through it, eavesdropping on a conversation that doesn't really concern me.

And using it as light relief of course, watching the goals fly in against our striped cousins in their annual bald men/comb combat.

But now I've started making mental notes of players and team and shapes, strengths and weaknesses of teams that I haven't really taken a lot of notice for years. Actively watching it. Preparing. Doing my revision.

The reality of the nuts and bolts of renewed top-flight action is just sinking in. Or possibly I'm just sobering up. Whatever.

The Premier League has changed dramatically since we were last there. I mean: Leicester! Champions!

Manchester United need to get something from their bomb scare postponed game to pip Southampton and snatch a Europa League place. Chelsea: tenth!

What kind of crazy mixed-up world is this? It hasn't completely changed though. Sunderland are still reassuringly fixed as being the post-Millenium Coventry City, the team that every year spends all season trapdoor dancing, dips into the hot spots and looks doomed then just escapes relegation by a whisker after a late spurt.

And Everton are still reassuringly the side that start well and nestle into a position as "dark horses" to break into the top six before fading badly and finishing 11th.

Anywhere between those fixed points will do for us on the next series of Match of the Day.

Personally I think Boro can go up and not just thrash about and survive but actually flourish.

Steve Gibson will spend wisely. He has already said that the stadium needs a bit of tarting up but beyond that every penny available will go into the squad. The manager will not want for resources.

Boro have been a Premier League club-in-waiting during the years in exile. …

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