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WINTERS WORLD FEATURING A BUSY SCHEDULE OF RANGERS AND MIDDLESBROUGH
18th August 2014

The two clubs I support and follow have "enjoyed" different starts to the season. At the Riverside there is an air of expectancy fuelled by having a manager who clearly knows what he is doing and the acute acquisition of players who fit into his systems and styles of play.

The Championship is fiercely competitive and there is a hell of along way to go but the supporters are very much onside and that is vital.

At Ibrox there is growing unrest as results and performances don't seem to satisfy the high standards that the supporters demand. Numbers are always going to be high and loyalty unquestionable but certain players are always a missed pass away from derision and even a victory if not convincing brings out the anti-Ally brigade.

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After one somewhat unfortunate defeat against Hearts some are calling Friday night's game at Falkirk a must win gamep; amazing!! As a Boro fan I've rarely experienced the almost guaranteed success that Rangers have enjoyed down the decades so perhaps that's why I am much more tolerant and patient.

One thing for sure is that an underlying atmosphere of criticism does not help the players. I am becoming more optimistic that this will be Boro's year and also confident that Rangers will get promoted again this season.

Imagine any other club at any level of football that had just lost their first League game in over a season and a half that had some supporters unhappy! That's the reality and the expectations of Rangers FC.

jeff winter
A bit too young to go to Leeds with Grandpa but sat back at home waiting for the game to come on TV. Up the Boro!

Monday and looking after the little fellah, shitty weather so in house entertaining as opposed to the beach or the park.

Alan Brazil makes a twat of himself with his comments and ignorance about depression after the sad loss of the genius that was Robin Williams. I don't know what makes him tick. Perhaps he had a troubled childhood or something!!

jeff winter
The Gazette's Anthony Vickers googles for advice on how to eat the breakfast provided by Leeds United that was almost as big as him!

Tuesday and off to Oldham for Boro's Capital One Cup tie, many changes but Boro spurred on by over 1,000 travelling supporters swept aside the Division One side with ease.

Confidence is through the roof, they are playing with pace, passion and skill. Karanka has the squad flying with competition for places and still more players coming in. Three expected by the end of the week and then more before the transfer window closes. Happy days.

Unbelievable weather, monsoon conditions like someone was turning on and off a dowse shower. Second half delayed as Oldham sub has last year's squad number and name on his kit rather than the number on the team sheet. First time I've seen that.

Had a chat with my old colleague, the match assessor Uriah Rennie. Back home after midnight thanks to lane closures near Wetherby, but after a soothing vodka went to bed a very happy man.

jeff winter
Fairly impressive. The press seats allocated at Elland Road!

Wednesday and an afternoon at the flicks with son Mark to see The Inbetweeners. Funny, especially the water-shute incident which let's just say resembled an incident that happened in Mombasa on a family holiday many years ago. The funniest incident though was not on the screen.

After about half an hour in and tons of bad language and sexual innuendo we reached the point where Will had his fingers inside!! Cue a Granny to come down the stairs with her charge, probably Grandson who looked about four years of age and leave the auditorium. I'm going wrong - should start taking Oliver to porn films rather than the park.

The draw for the next round of the Capital One Cup pairs Boro with Preston and Andy Little, only problem is that it is on the same night as Rangers game against Queens Park. Bugger, choices to be made.

jeff winter
Boro players warm up in front of the building site that is the Sportsdirect.com park, formerly known as Boundary Park, on Tuesday night before their Capital One Cup clash.

Thursday and the outcome of the Legia Warsaw appeal, the chance for Uefa to do the right thing and regain some credibility. No news but at least the authorities didn't bottle it by reducing Suarez's ban.

I spent the afternoon booking holidays, a month in the Canaries over Christmas and a week in Portugal just after the Championship play-off Final at the end of May. Hopefully at worst Boro will be involved!!

Tony Pulis leaving Palace, who saw that one coming?? The crazy season is almost upon us. Friday and off to Falkirk hopefully to see Rangers first League win of the season.

jeff winter
A pissy wet Tuesday night and the start of an eight day period with three away games but still over 1,000 Boro fans made the journey to Oldham for Boro's Capital Cup clash.

Fridays on the motorways are notorious but heading north during the school holidays shouldn't be bad!! Started as it meant to go on though. On the road and realised I hadn't filled the tank up. Ten minutes lost, after the bank in Billingham caught up in road works traffic, so ten minutes late to pick up Cameron in Durham. Left his gaff at ten past three and an hour later we hadn't even passed the Metro centre.

Panic setting in, by the time we picked Graeme up in Bedlington it was quarter to five, sat nav suggesting 7.30 arrival and its murder to get parked up. Ominous signs that this wasn't going to be a good day and it got worse as young Graeme belies his years with a lecture about the politics of Rangers and the various supporters groups. Not our cup of tea, Cam and I support the team and the rest of the bollocks, whilst important, just doesn't interest us.

We were informed that a certain supporters group had stopped going to Ibrox but were going on the last Saturday of the month, as it's the last game before the referendum. That to me is wrong on so many levels. We support Rangers and that's what games should all be about.

jeff winter
Amidst the gloom and barely visible Albert Adomah in Boro's all black away strip hands his shirt to a member of Boro's travelling Tapa's Army. Wouldn't be surprised or disappointed if he's on his way by the end of the month. He can be a match winner but too hit and miss and he can trap a ball further than I can kick it. Difficult to see him being a regular in Karanka's starting eleven.

Managed to get past various tractors and other slow moving vehicles then got lucky by parking roadside a few hundred yards from the ground. Met up with Scott for ticket collection and after a couple of hours of head fuck with Graeme other fans were as bad. "Must win or Ally's out" was a popular theme.

He doesn't help himself by selecting Moshni and pushing Jig into midfield must send a message out to Shields, Aird, Crawford etc. Some unhappy that McLeod isn't central but I can understand that as he's not strong enough to win the ball that is necessary before you can play.

Rangers started poorly and were lucky not to fall behind. The sight of Moshni acknowledging the fans that he's shite after almost gifting the hosts a goal summed up a poor first half showing from a lacklustre side showing a lack of confidence. Tension growing in the stands!!

jeff winter
Always a tasty game, the gladiators enter the pitch at Elland Road before the live Championship game.

Second half not much better. Cammy Bell's duo of top quality saves kept Rangers in the game. A very spawny goal changed the game, then as if someone clicked a switch the confidence returned. Got a second and after a couple of incredible goal mouth scrambles could have had more. Never in doubt, mood changed temporarily with supporters.

News that less than 3,000 tickets sold for Monday night a tell tale sign of general attitude. In car and driving by 9.45, home by 1.30am, a quick swally to help with sleep then five hours kip before up for Leeds!!

jeff winter
Stuck in the corner of the main stand, the Boro supporters add to the atmosphere in a volatile Elland Road on Saturday lunchtime.

Games against Dirty Leeds are never pretty, usually feature a red card and are most definitely not for the faint hearted, but this time around there was an air of confidence as we made the short journey to West Yorkshire.

The early kick off meant the scran was sausage, bacon and fries, seemed rude not to get stuck in!! Raucous intimidating atmosphere and a few early meaty tackles, the ref Stuart Attwell was not bowing to home pressure and we were well on top.

A controversially disallowed goal when we were totally in charge was game changing because after half time Leeds improved and nicked it late on when a draw looked most probable and in all honesty the fairest outcome.

Only good thing about the late goal was that it won me one of my bets. Sense of being mugged as we left the ground, Dave Hockaday was elated as he keeps his job for another week but got carried away in the presser by saying and repeating that we was delighted with a 3-0 win. Fuck me - 1-0 was a travesty; don't push it!

jeff winter
Friday night at Falkirk and Rangers support accounts for over half the attendance.

So for the second weekend in a row one of my teams let me down. There's always next week.

THE WEEK AHEAD

Monday and my third game in four days heading for Ibrox for Rangers game against Barry Ferguson's Clyde. Tuesday and its four in five as I will be heading to Bolton for Boro's Championship clash.

Saturday and I'll be missing my first Rangers game of the season but keeping up my 100% Boro record by going to the Riverside for the Sheffield Wednesday game.

Sunday afternoon and a different type of speaking event, at Bradford City for a stag do with a healthy presence of Rangers fans in attendance.

Are you planning a speaker's evening or fundraiser? You can be assured that as well as speaking I will give maximum help to fundraising on the evening with my auctioneering skills, contact me regarding availability on jeffwinter@jeffwinterentertainmentandmedia.co.uk.

jeff winter
Rangers and Falkirk players do the pre-match handshakes before Friday night's Championship clash.

Just a thought, nowadays many smaller organisations have stopped doing Sportman's evenings mainly due to the economic recession and the increasing costs. If your club doesn't have the numbers to support the traditional speakers evening then why not book me for a one man show, I regularly do these, my normal After Dinner slot followed by a Q & A session and fundraising activities. I can assure you there is more than enough content to fill the night.

My charity account for MND is still open and taking donations to try and raise funds for the society that works so hard to help people suffering from the disease and I am still hoping people will contribute. Please help me help them.

http://www.justgiving.com/Jeff-Winter

jeff winter
A sight we didn't think we would see after being stuck in traffic; finally though we got to Falkirk on Friday evening.

Have a good week.





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