Sunday, 1 April 2012


When I read the story in the “The Friends of the Magic Circle” newsletter (April edition) – well, I nearly choked on my parmo! Here is the article:-


Middlesbrough FC has announced plans to celebrate one of the town’s most famous sons by erecting a statue of magician Paul Daniels outside its Riverside stadium. 

Mohamed Al-Fayed unveils the Michael Jackson
statue outside Craven Cottage
Following the recent unveiling of the Michael Jackson statue at Fulham’s Craven Cottage – which received critical acclaim last year – the club felt honour-bound to recognise the life and achievements of Mr. Daniels – born Newton Edward Daniels in 1938 (or 1952 according to his autobiography) in the South Bank area of the town.

In addition to his magic shows, the hugely-popular entertainer hosted a number of very successful BBC TV quiz shows in the 1980s and ‘90s including Odd One Out, Every Second Counts and Wipeout.

The life-size statue – standing almost 5’ tall and made from recycled aluminium – will be erected outside the stadium’s North Stand – and will be unveiled on the eve of the 2012-13 football season.

Local opinion on the statue’s future unveiling seems to be causing a stir on Teesside. When asked if the statue had received popular support amongst the good burghers and football faithful of Middlesbrough, the club’s Chief Communications Officer – Sofia Proll – replied:

Not a lot!” – without a hint of irony!

It is hoped that the statue will herald a magical return to the Premiership for the Teesside club as they strive to make this season’s play-offs.

Mr. Daniels – a life-long Leeds Utd supporter – and his wife - the lovely Davina McCall – were unavailable for comment last night, but are said to be thrilled and honoured in having the statue erected by the club.

Saturday, 5 November 2011


It's a wet weekend in Billingham!

Just when you thought it was safe to turn on your computers, again!

The late Bobby Moore and Pelé played together for the same team (tautology?) – can you name the team?

Saturday, 30 July 2011


'Boro 2 - 3 PSV - the result wasn't important! Just for one night only, the diminutive samba-king was back at the Riverside Stadium. Wearing the No. 25 shirt he was first handed 16 years ago, Juninho finally received the send off Middlesbrough fans had always wanted to give him.
An impressive crowd of 20,151 turned up to witness the Brazilian, who had not played a senior game for more than a year, emerge from the bench for a 35min second-half cameo perfomance.
Toliet block, here we come...
Carrying a bit more timber now, the 38-year-old gave the fans a trademark bursting run towards the box to remember, but his fellow countryman, Adriano Marcelo, hacked him down just outside the penalty area. Juninho picked himself up, curled the free-kick nearer to the gents toilets than the goal and party-poopers PSV Eindhoven – no longer Dutch Masters, remember - held on to a 3-2 win.

Middlesbrough, playing their last pre-season friendly before starting a third season in the n-Power Championship next Saturday, had looked full of promise and energy in the first half. A Scott McDonald double had put them two up at the break. Time to queue for 40mins for an insipid pint and a rancid pasty...

But then PSV turned the scoreline around in the second-half to ensure that Juninho's final fling in a Middlesbrough shirt ended in defeat - much to the disappointment of the thousands of Teessiders and one Nottinghamian that worship him.

There was still time for Juninho to send a couple of harmless efforts into the arms of ‘keeper Isaksson before the star from São Paulo did his lap of honour to say his farewells - the way he always wanted. Best £10 I’ve ever spent! Wish Doris was still here to share it...

Sunday, 26 June 2011


As you know Smoggy Steve’s ‘Boro Blog was a one season phenomenon... season 2010/11 - but I’ve been up all night with my recurrent dream difficulty – I keep dreaming that I see Viv from Emmerdale playing the piano without a stitch on! Not good at my time of life I can tell you...
I’m also busy raising money for the Roseberry Dog Hospital charity - I'm now 20 hours into my sponsored semaphore marathon, unfortunately I'm starting to flag quite badly now.

Anyway I could not let the opportunity pass without commenting on the fixture list announcement last week and ‘Boro’s prospects for the forthcoming season. If you remember last season ‘Boro started as outright favourites for promotion – and we know what happened after that! This time the promotion odds are:-

 West Ham 6/4
Southampton 5/1
Portsmouth 14/1
 Leicester 2/1
Burnley 11/2
Bristol City 14/1
 Birmingham 9/4
Blackpool 11/2
Watford 16/1
 Reading 4/1
Leeds 11/2
Coventry 18/1
 Middlesbrough 4/1
Hull 13/2
Peterborough 25/1
 Nottm Forest 4/1
Brighton 13/2
Crystal Palace 33/1
 Ipswich 5/1
Millwall 11/1
Doncaster 40/1
 Cardiff 5/1
The Sheep 14/1
Barnsley 40/1

'Boro are favourites after WHU, Leicester City and Birmingham City at 4/1 with Reading and Nottingham Forest (PaddyPower) – who now have former ‘Boro boss McLaren on Trentside – swapped the parmo for mushy peas and mint sauce! The odds are about right in my opinion; so far ‘Boro have been able to hang onto their promising young starlets – with ‘Boro boss St. Mogga of Saltburn confirming once again that there will be no “fire sale” for Boro’s best players. 
Apparently my ex-wife has ran off with the milkman to Vienna...'it means nothing to me'

Thursday, 26 May 2011


Just when you thought it was safe to turn on your computer... a blog!
Manchester Utd team
A Smoggy Steve exclusive this is - obtained from a reliable source based in Ardwick - apparently Sir Alex left it on the #91 ‘bus!

Monday, 9 May 2011

BLOG #150 – BLOG’S END...

Mogga's the man!
150 not out – Smoggy Steve carries his bat to the season’s end and with that comes this final blog...

Middlesbrough 3 – 0 Doncaster Rovers (46/46). ‘Boro completed their season with an emphatic victory at the Riverside. Their fourth win on the bounce – which saw the Teessiders climb into the top half of the Championship table. Robson’s free kick just before the interval and goals from Lita (66mins) and debutant Adam Reach at the death were more than enough to secure all three points to enable them to finish in 12th position with a seven-game unbeaten run at home. Rovers were not at the races in all honesty. 
Final goal of the season - Adam Reach
Recent performances have been nothing less than impressive – hopefully the momentum can be picked up early doors next season to enable ‘Boro to mount a credible promotion push. When Mogga was appointed towards the end of October last year – ‘Boro slipped to 23rd place – on the same number of points as bottom club Crystal Palace (11). The players and club were bereft of ideas and creativity and were obvious candidates for the drop. What has been achieved in the interim can only be described as the transformation to end all transformations. The genuine cause for optimism for next season is tangible and totally understandable. A lot of hard work lies ahead in the summer – the standard and quality of the Championship this season has been nothing to write home about in all honesty. ‘Boro started the campaign just ended as favourites for automatic promotion – but that soon looked unlikely after initial results. They have nothing to fear next time round and if they can make a decent fist of it from the start – who knows what may happen? Eh, Roker?


Wednesday, 4 May 2011


Blog HQ is being steadily dismantled and turned once more into a spare bedroom – with views overlooking the Eston Hills and beyond. Lynette’s desk has been consigned to the skip to make way for Roker’s bed and play area. The poster of Carol Vorderman is back where it once was; the fixture list that replaced it is no longer required.

SMOGGY STEVE'S 'BORO BLOG approaches its inevitable conclusion.

On Saturday 12:45pm – all npower Championship games kick-off at the same time for the final round of matches with the key promotion and relegation issues decided – save that for the final play-off place. Leeds Utd. need snookers to overcome a resurgent Nottingham Forest side that currently occupies the final play-off place berth. Tough, it's not going to happen!

For ‘Boro their final game of the campaign is at the Riverside against Doncaster Rovers. Mogga is already anticipating the 2011/12 season it seems – in an interview with BBC Tees he says:-
"If the bulk of the squad is here next season there are lots of positives. There's enough optimism about results in the second half of the season that we could be in the mix [for a play-off/promotion place]". 

Mogga goes on "Young players like Richie Smallwood have come in and done extremely well, and if they've got a part to play next year then so be it."

This is exactly what the Riverside faithful want to hear, of course. However it has to be said that the quality and standard of clubs competing in the Championship this season has been nothing exceptional. Newcastle and WBA were strong challengers last year and what about the teams coming down from the EPL this time round? West Ham Utd., Wolves and Wigan occupy the relegation places currently and would have the resources to seriously mount a sustainable challenge to go straight back up. The same can be said for those teams above them if they get added to the mix. 
Arca - can be proud of his
contribution this season
Hopes of keeping the squad as a collective depend very much on being able to balance the books. The Teessiders are under pressure to cut the club's wage bill, as Mogga has previously admitted the figure remains one of the highest in the division. In fact it is bigger than that of QPR and Norwich City – the top two clubs – combined. 

Julio Arca may have played his last game for the club with his contract due to expire in the summer and currently receiving treatment in his native Argentina, while striker Kris Boyd - on loan at Nottingham Forest – could make his move permanent in an effort reduce the salary levels at the club. He may have been a flop on Teesside – but it seems he is wanted on Trentside. Arca, at times this season, has been the only influential player when the team struggled in the early days.
Mogga is justified in his belief that the side can draw inspiration for next season from their successful end to the current campaign; much depends however on him being able to hang onto the players he feels can deliver next time around.
Boyd - Forest want him at CG

Q: What do Oldham Athletic and Sheffield Wednesday have in common?