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Last Updated: Wednesday, 10 May 2006, 09:22 GMT 10:22 UK
Robbo tips Boro win

By Derek 'Robbo' Robson
The Tees Mouth

Middlesbrough boss Steve McClaren
Macca could sign off in style

What better way to prepare for a night of celebration in Holland than watching England's 2010 first XI in action at Craven Cottage?

Steve McClaren fielded all Englishmen - get that! Now if you neutrals can't get behind a club that is providing England with their lions of the future then I suggest you are at best unpatriotic and at worst a bunch of miseries.

Of course, Teesside is already clenching its collective buttocks in full expectation of a mighty night in Eindhoven.

(There's summat about the name Eindhoven which doesn't quite suggest a romantic glorious triumph but I expect they used to think the same of Trafalgar).

Our opponents are Seville. I don't know owt about them but my mate Tony Thompson tells me it's a charming town. Middlesbrough is a shocking place in desperate need of a shiny trophy so if there's any justice...

Most people I know are feeling wildly over-confident following the twin miracles of Basle and Bucharest. "Our name's written on the cup" they tell me.

Well, lads, it isn't. In fact until the Carling Cup of 2003, the name Middlesbrough only appeared on the kind of cups you'd be ashamed to put your boiled eggs in.

So let's not kid ourselves, this is the big one. We need to squeeze Seville hard, until they run out of juice, and once we're ahead we can really start taking the pith.

But what do I really think will happen on this fateful night? I predict we arrive in Eindhoven, late, having spent Tuesday night soaking up a little Amsterdam night-life. We're cashed up with euros but not one of us actually manages to get a ticket tout to serve us.

We find ourselves in a bar full of innocent Sevillians and cover our eyes and ears as the Spaniards score three in a crazy one-sided first half.

In the interval, Macca calls for the spirit of Churchill (the PM, not the insurance dog) and starts the second half playing a 1-2-7 formation.

Winston Churchill
Can Churchill inspire Boro to victory?

A la Liverpool, 10 minutes of madness see us draw level, with Fatty Viduka, Cashinbank and, inevitably, Maccarone scoring.

With seconds remaining, and Seville down to 10 men following another dying swan routine from Jimmy Floyd, a corner is parried out to Gareth Southgate, who mishits to Chris Riggott, who mishits to Yakubu, who shins it into Viduka's belly and the ball flops onto Lee Cattermole's backside and into the net.

People in Los Angeles are awoken by the screams of delight in Middlesbrough town centre. Grown men tumble into Dutch tattoo parlours to have Cattermole emblazoned across their behinds.

On 10 June, England lose to Paraguay and not one person in the whole of the county of Cleveland gives a toss.

This is our year! It has to be! So come on loyal Englishmen - yes, you Geordies and you Mackams, too! - get behind our lads on Wednesday night!

And come Thursday morning, Tony Mowbray will knocking the door down to be let back in and the glory will just keep on coming!




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