Newspaper article Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)

Boro Need to Taste Derby Win after Cherry Crumble

Newspaper article Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)

Boro Need to Taste Derby Win after Cherry Crumble

Article excerpt

Byline: ANTHONY VICKERS @Untypicalboro

THE Wooden Spoon derby. The Dunce Cap derby. Two bald men fighting over a comb.

What should have been an eagerly anticipated battle for regional bragging rights is a final forlorn footnote in a sorry season for both sides.

Not least because Newcastle are doing open-topped bus tours in celebration of their Rafa return.

Boro have barely made an impression as they have flatlined through the most boring Premier League campaign ever, while Sunderland seemingly resigned themselves to their fate back in August as the inevitable outcome of four years of inching decline and dug-out chaos. So there won't be too much to brag about in beating Sunderland. Doing a double over a rock-bottom side who have been sleep-walking to the drop from day one is hardly a silver lining on the way to a painful relegation.

To win and push the Mackems deeper into the mire would be a Phyrric victory at best, especially as they will be clinging to our ankles and dragging us down with them.

Victory would be no real consolation. What's the point in taunting a drowning rival when your own lifebelt is punctured? The pathetic dividend in devalued 'banter' points wouldn't cushion the blow of impending relegation.

But losing them would be hard to take. God, no, please. Lee Cattermole celebrating. That would be unbearable. It would really put the tin hat on an ignominious, damp squib campaign that has been in slomo disintegration since December. A draw? Meh. Although a stodgy stalemate would be fitting in a slapstick squabble for the flimsy comfort blanket of being able to claim the tainted title of 'the top-ranked team in the region" this season.

You can see the fans coming to fisticuffs over the qualities of the respective teams: "No! We're the worst team in the league."

How has it come to this? A game that should be full of excitement and antagonism, Boro must add to Lee Cattermole's misery tonight pride and passion is being approached with apathy, angst and despair with both sets of fans braced for the ultimate humiliation: being beat "by them!" And worse still, the final flailings and wails of anguish of both sets of supporters will be drowned out by the noise from the Bigg Market. …

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