Category Archives: Middlesbrough

World Cup winner Jack Charlton dies age 85

World Cup winner with England and former Republic of Ireland Manager Jack Charlton has died at the age of 85.

The former Leeds United defender had been diagnosed with lymphoma and also had dementia.

Big Jack as he was affectionately known, passed away peacefully at his Northumberland home on Friday, his family said.

Charlton, the older brother of Manchester United legend Bobby, was part of England’s World Cup winning side of 1966.

He spent his entire club career with one club- Leeds United- from 1950- 1973, making a record 762 total competitive appearances for the Whites.

With his time at Leeds United, he helped them to the Second Division Title (1963-4) and First Division Title (1968-9).

His spell at Leeds also yielded an FA Cup win (1972), League Cup (1968), Charity Shield (1969) and two Inter-Cities Fairs Cup’s in 1968 and 1971.

Charlton was called up to the England team just days before his 30th birthday and went on to make 35 international appearances and scored six goals.

He appeared in two World Cups and one European Championship but will be remembered most for his no nonsense defending as a centre back.

After his playing days were over, he decided to turn his hand to management and led Middlesbrough to the second division title in 1973-4.

He spent four years in the North East before resigning in April 1977, where he took charge of Sheffield Wednesday for six seasons.

Despite a short spell back at Middlesbrough as caretaker manager and one season at Newcastle, he always had aspirations to manage at International level.

He took charge of the Republic of Ireland national side in 1986 and led them to their first ever World Cup in 1990, where they reached the quarter-finals.

In his ten-year stint in charge of Ireland he also led the Irish to qualification at Euro 1998 and the 1994 World Cup.

In January 1996, Charlton resigned from his position and went into retirement.

Big Jack was a football man, loved and adored by everybody in the football world.

To spend an entire career at one club in today’s world is unheard off. To hear so many nice words said about such a gentleman speaks for itself.

Jack Charlton’s name will live forever with not just Leeds fans, but Irish football fans who fittingly called him a legend.

It would be fitting if Leeds United can go on and seal promotion to the Premiership in memory of not just Charlton, but two other greats who passed away this year. Norman Hunter and Trevor Cherry.


Said Benrahma- The Algerian whose taken the Championship by Storm

Said Benrahma is the name on every Championship fan’s lips this season as a series of sparkling displays have highlighted just how talented the 24 year old is.

A quick search of his name on YouTube and you’ll find some of the finest highlight reels in football, including an ingenious double nutmeg on Middlesbrough’s Lewis Wimg this term.

He is so good at sliding the ball through a player’s legs that Brentford B coach Sam Saunders recently told the Guardian:

“He could nutmeg a mermaid.”

Yet, Benrahma is so much more than just a tricky winger.

He has been the Bees creative force this season, forming an impressive attacking trio alongside Bryan Mbeumo and Ollie Watkins (who have been christened Brentford’s BMW) netting fifteen goals and providing six assists in the league.

Routinely deployed on the left wing, Benrahma loves to cut inside on his right foot and deliver a cross or have a shot on goal. He is one of the most technically gifted players in the division, with his dribbling often leaving defenders in knots.

His contribution to Brentford’s promotion push since the restart has underlined his importance to the Bees, scoring five and assisting one as Thomas Frank’s side have won all of their games since the break to sit just two points behind second place West Brom.

Three of those strikes came in the weekend’s game against Wigan, with the winger clinically dispatching the relegation threatened side with relative ease. His first was a well timed volley, the second an inch perfect cross come shot after he had tormented Byrne and the third a well placed shot into the far corner giving Marshall in goal, no chance.

Manager Thomas Frank was full of praise for the winger’s display, stating in his post match press conference:

“I think in general he has had a good season so far, but he has absolutely hit the ground running after this coronavirus break.

“He has added extra to his game, such as arriving in the box, and these last four games he has been getting better and better,  with his passing and his finishing.

“I have to praise him for his work ethic. He worked extremely hard. He has been good, he needs to keep it up.”

A Benrahma inspired Brentford then came from behind against Charlton at Griffin Park to continue their march towards promotion with a 2-1 win. Benrahma won and coolly converted a penalty to equalise before the Bees scored a second to pick up all three points.

He caused problems for Charlton all evening as he occupied a more central role, picking the ball up in between the lines and playing neat interchanges with Watkins.

His form this season will come as no great surprise to those who watched him at Griffin Park in his maiden campaign in England last season. He managed ten goals and fifteen assists last year as Brentford finished 11th but Benrahma has taken his game to new levels this year.

He represents another shrewd bit of business from the London club, as he was picked up in the summer of 2018 from Nice for a fee of £2.8 million, after catching the eye on loan in Ligue 2.

Having come through the youth ranks at Algerian side NRB Bethioua, Benrahma moved to France, linking up with Balma SC Colomiers and then moving on to Nice. He made his debut for the first team in 2013, aged just 18 but spent the majority of his time at the club in the reserve side before going out on loan. He left Nice having made 17 appearances, scoring three goals.

His first loan spell came in Ligue 1 with Angers, then he dropped down to Ligue 2 and had stints with Gazélec Ajaccio and Chateauroux. It was at the latter, which he first started to show his undoubted potential and came to Brentford’s attention. He scored nine goals in 31 appearances, aged just 22 and Brentford decided to take a risk and snap him up that summer.

He hasn’t looked back since and the Algerian is now surely worth at least ten times the fee Brentford paid for him. With a host of Premier League clubs sniffing around him, Benrahma is likely to leave if the Bees don’t make it out of the Championship this time around, having already talked of his desire to play in the top flight.

A full Algerian international, Benrahma has won three caps for his country and comparisons are often drawn between him and compatriot Riyad Mahrez. Both started their journey in Ligue 2 before lighting up the Championship and both are silky wingers who enjoy nutmegging opponents and creating chances.

If Benrahma, who was nominated for the Championship Player of the Year, manages to emulate Mahrez’s career trajectory he may well go down as one of the best bargain signings the Championship has ever seen.

For now, his focus will be on finishing the campaign strongly and propelling Brentford to the big time.

With just four games left of the regular season and potential play off dates to come if Brentford can’t pop West Brom to second place, now is the time for Benrahma to show his quality and provide for Brentford when they really need him.

Joe Lolley’s Forest require penalties to see off eight-man Mansfield to reach the EFL Football Manager Quarter-Finals

The last 16 of the Virtual EFL Football Manager Cup certainly delivered up its fair share of drama this past week.

The round featured a classic Championship versus League Two tie between Nottingham Forest and Mansfield Town. Following the game virtual manager Joe Lolley said:

“Well if that’s not repeated on sky sports classics for the next 20 years there is no justice.”

Indeed, Lolley’s Nottingham Forest side had to overcome the spirited effort from Jamie King’s Mansfield Town. The League Two side went ahead twice but their discipline certainly proved problematic as the match ended in a 2-2 draw.

In extra time Forest had as many as three goals ruled out before ultimately coming through on penalties against FM content creator King’s troops.

A remarkable hat-trick from Birmingham City’s centre back Harlee Dean meanwhile saw the Lee Camp’s blues progress to the last eight at the expense of Luton Town in another thrilling 3-2 Championship clash.

Following his side’s victory, virtual manager Camp said:

“We took the game to them, took the lead like we did last week and controlled the game.  They had a couple of moments but it’s cup football and you expect the opposition to come out and ask you questions but overall I thought we managed the game very well.”

Elsewhere, Brentford and Preston North End emerged victorious from their respective local derby matches against Queens Park Rangers and Blackburn Rovers.

Sam Jaques’s Brentford side ultimately emerged with a 3-1 victory over their fellow Londoners, while Tom Barkhuizen rounded off Preston’s 2-0 victory over their Lancashire rivals.

There were also wins for Fulham, Huddersfield Town, Swansea City and Middlesborough  who complete the line up for the last eight.

Who do you fancy to go all the way?

Don’t forget that throughout the tournament you can donate on the JustGive page to Mind UK. #haveyourmatesback.

Middlesbrough 2-2 Nottingham Forest

Nottingham Forest scored a late equaliser to earn a point and deny Middlesbrough the 3 points which would have taken them out of the relegation zone. The goal had Boro players up in arms as they appealed for a foul by goal scorer Lewis Grabban on goalkeeper Aynsley Pears. The ball spun up from a deflected Joe Lolley shot and Grabban positioned him between the goalkeeper and where the ball was dropping, it fell to Grabban inside the six-yard box and with his back to goal, the striker delivered a clever finish to guide a spinning ball behind him and into the Middlesbrough net.

Sabri Lamouchi made one change from the 1-0 victory at Cardiff City last week as the injured Tiago Silva was replaced in the starting line-up by Alfa Semedo while John Bostock took a place on the bench. Jonathan Woodgate made three changes to his Middlesbrough side as Marvin Johnson, Paddy McNair and Rudy Gestede came in for George Friend, George Saville, and Ashley Fletcher. Forest were below par for much of the match but did take the lead when Ryan Yates picked the ball up on the edge of the box and drilled a low strike beyond Pears and into the corner of the net. Forest did not push on from the winning position and their usually effective counter-attacking style away from home was not working. They were allowing Boro players far too much time on the ball which gave them the encouragement to get back into the game. They almost found a response within a minute of the goal but Hayden Coulson’s powerful drive flashed past Brice Samba’s left-hand post and Wing had a decent opportunity soon after but his shot was superbly blocked by Figueiredo.
Gestede, Forest’s nemesis for so many years, was the man to bring Boro level five minutes before the break. A free-kick to the back post was headed back across goal by Harold Moukoudi and Gestede arrived right on time to squeeze his header into the net from close range. This was Gestede’s 8th goal against Forest; the most he scored against any opposition.

It was not long after that Boro had turned the game completely on its head, Pears started a quick counter-attack with a smart throw with Forest committing players forward. They exploited the space well with Coulson finding Louis Wind whose shot spun off Brice Samba and into the net.

The second half started with Forest only creating half chances for Figueiredo and Grabban. Boro had won just one game all season after falling behind – on 21 occasions and perhaps that showed late on as Forest improved once they had brought on Joa Carvalho on 69 minutes. He slotted into the number 10 position and immediately made an impact flicking the ball to fellow substitute Diakhaby who couldn’t take advantage. Carvalho was getting on the ball to create and delivering dangerous set-pieces one of which he picked out Joe Lolley from a corner which lead to the equaliser. He was producing probably his best performance since his outstanding performance against Middlesbrough almost a year ago. With Tiago Silva out injured for a few weeks, Joa could finally get a run in the side in his preferred position.
Nottingham Forest head coach Sabri Lamouchi was honest and left frustrated at his side’s poor overall performance despite taking a point. Speaking after the match, he said:

“We can say it was a good point because it is two games away, four points from Cardiff and Middlesbrough so that is not bad.”I think we are happy with this point but just the point, because the way we played, the organisation, the mistakes, simple things, I am not totally satisfied. “We never controlled the game, we started better than them but we never made the difference with our quality. Tonight, we made a lot of mistakes, simple things; position, technically, I don’t know what was wrong.”If the fans are happy with a point, I am happy with a point but I am not happy with the way we played. We need more character, more personality. “We never asked to play quick, fast because when you do, you can make mistakes but it was easy mistakes to make to avoid. It was a bad game, a bad performance and I am a little bit upset because the expectation was bigger. When they want something important, you need an important performance and tonight the performance was wrong.”

Middlesbrough’s Jonathan Woodgate said: “I thought it was [a foul on Pears] to be honest with you. Nine out of 10 times that’s getting given. The referee in my opinion didn’t make the right decision, but it happens and we move on from it.

“I thought we deserved the win. The reaction, especially after they went ahead, was good. I’ve got to remain positive with my players and keep them going for the next game against Charlton. We’ve just got to win as many as we can now. We need to put a run together.”

Forest: Samba; Cash, Worrall, Figueiredo, Ribeiro; Watson (c), Yates (Bostock 78′); Lolley, Semedo (Diakhaby 56′), Ameobi (Carvalho 69′); Grabban

Subs not used: Muric, Jenkinson, Dawson, Walker

Goals: Yates 29′, Grabban 86′

Booking: Carvalho 90′

Middlesbrough: Pears; Howson (c), Shotton, Moukoudi, Johnson; Clayton, McNair, Wing (Saville 81′); Tavernier (Spence 87′), Coulson, Gestede

Subs not used: Mejias, Wood, Morrison, Nmecha, O’Neill

Goals: Gestede 40′, Wing 44′

Booking: Shotton 75′

Referee: Darren England

Attendance: 18,884 (1,100 away)
Man of the Match: Hayden Coulson

FA Cup Replays – Who can cause an upset?

An enthralling game is in store for those in North London tonight where Tottenham host Championship competition of Middlesbrough. The inform tier two side may be concentrating on reaching a vital 40 points in the league, but there is no doubt the northern side will put on a valiant effort to progress into the next round. With this weeks news of Harry Kane’s absence till April, Mourinho has interesting squad decisions to make, and the strength of tonight’s team will surely have in mind their distance from a European spot for next season. The FA Cup may the silverware they strive for in Mourinho’s inaugural season as Tottenham manager.

Image result for harry kane
Kane out until April: Jose admits that without him, they cannot play the ‘Tottenham way’.

Another Premier League team with potential to fall with an upset are Newcastle United, who take on League one Rochdale at St James’s Park. The original fixture saw Rochdale bite back in the latter stages of the game with a goal made by two players aged two decades apart. Youngster Luke Matheson, who made his name when he equalised against Manchester United in the Carabao Cup earlier last year, grabbed the assist which booked Dale’s replay on Tyneside. An already classic FA Cup story, it seems written for Rochdale to go all the way, but will Premier League quality become too much and halt their FA Cup story?

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40 year-old Aaron Wilbraham scored the equaliser at The Spotland Stadium

Nigel Pearson has seemed to flip Watford’s Premier League fate on it’s head as after this weekend they sit above the relegation places for the first time season. However, his team were not as focussed as they conceded three second half goals to draw with Tranmere Rovers on the 4th January. A heroic display from the struggling League One display confirmed a replay which neither side would have desired at kick off, but one that could bring joy to the one set of fans, who have perhaps endured a poor season so far.

With current form, it would be suggested Watford would progress to the next round, but Pearson may rest his usual players for a tricky London derby against Tottenham on Saturday, as they continue to try secure Premier League status for next season. On the other hand, the Merseyside club will be hopeful for more FA Cup magic in the replay and may see a strong team out to finish a job they so excellently accounted for in the original fixture. Similarly to Watford in managerial terms, it will be argued the priority should be on Tranmere too escaping their relegation zone position.

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Watford must be delighted with Pearson’s impact so far, but what will his attentions be for The FA Cup