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20th February 2015

Monday and despite it being the beginning of February we are enjoying an Indian summer that saw Oliver and me off to the park after nursery. Unbelievable weather; it'll probably be snowing next week!!

Tuesday and off to Blackpool, not to the beach, though having witnessed the pitch at Bloomfield Road, I'm not so sure!!! Talk about a leveller, but surely Boro wouldn't falter against the Championship's whipping boys!!!

After Saturday's unbelievable line up that showed no changes for the first time in 44 games, the gaffer made up for it big time. SEVEN changes!!! He was a few minutes away from a very embarrassing press conference. The new resolve of his squad though saw a successful conclusion to a horrible match where route one replaced controlled football.

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The fans weren't exactly happy about so many changes before the game as I shared the team sheet with a few of them. One appears very aggressive in his condemnation: "Fucking livid", he stated. I tried to reason with him. Let's see what happens first I suggested, the boss rarely gets it wrong I said. His retort was that he wasn't on about the team selection, he was angry cos you couldn't get a beer inside the ground. Typical Boro!!!

Not back home till 1.45am, knackered but very happy, we are top of the League!!!

jeff winter
Tuesday night and a banana skin as high flying Boro face rock bottom Blackpool.

Wednesday and a day spent virtually on the phone with solicitors and a decorated former International footballer as we sorted out our agenda questions for a potential forthcoming court case where I am acting as an expert witness in a compensation claim.

Friday lunchtime and Ray Dowle's funeral. A local Catholic Church was packed with over 300 people. It was like a blast from the past with scores of 50-70 year olds who played football in the local leagues in the 60s, 70s and 80s. A great send off for a referee who won the hearts of those he officiated.

My name was mentioned by the priest following my Gazette piece on Ray. That would have had a few from the east end of Glasgow choking on their lunches but down here we don't care about religion, just people!!

It was actually like being in the audience of a filming of an episode of Mrs Brown's Boys, the priest was quality. Okay, but too much religion for my personal liking but that apart he was fun and the service was about Ray and was enjoyable and a fitting tribute to a man who had touched so many lives.

jeff winter
Tuesday night and the infamous Bloomfield Road, Blackpool pitch. Looks just like the beach!

Friday evening and down to a Masonic Lodge near Huddersfield and a wonderful night raising money for the Red Cross and also a local children's respite care centre. A fair number in the audience from an Afro Caribbean background. I did a one man show with Q & A after normal speech.

Quite a day and perhaps a kick in the teeth for the idiots who like to paint me as bigoted racist or any other name calling without knowing the facts.

jeff winter
The lull before the storm, an empty away end at the Emirates soon to be filled by 5,500 Boro fans.

Homeward Saturday morning and off to Hartlepool for what is almost certainly going to be one of the last times to watch them in the Football League. Stevenage were the visitors and I managed to chat to old La Manga partner in crime Dave Beasant who was their keeper coach. One of his sons is a keeper with them, his other is a party in a forthcoming case where I'm acting as expert witness and had spent all of Thursday preparing statements for!!

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That's how posh it is at The Emirates.

Pools fell behind and with harewood and Morgan up front not breaking sweat it didn't look good. Changes at half time and am equaliser gave brief hope, but they fell behind again almost immediately.

At least three goals secured one successful bet, the other came late on with the other Boro's third goal. Pools need snookers and are doomed to the conference. Home to watch Lie Forrit win the Grand National trial, I'd got 14/1, very nice!!

jeff winter
Saturday afternoon and probably one of my last visits for a while to watch Hartlepool play in the Football league. Stevenage were the visitors.

Sunday morning and off to Arsenal - drove a couple of Boro supporters down myself as the Gazette car was full so no room for me. Parked up at Cockfosters and tubed in.

Magnificent set up at The Emirates, pre match meal in press room better than what you get at home!! More blasts from the past, bear hug with Ian Wright, banter with Andy Townsend, Ray Parlour and Stevie Mac, memories of the old days when refs and players showed mutual respect and man management ruled cards.

Not surprised at outcome of the game, Arsenal were on fire - back to what matters, promotion!!

jeff winter
Phew, that was close - Boro beat the pitch and Blackpool but only just!

Monday looked after Oliver, followed by a controversial evening watching Wayne Rooney involved in offside goal and diving scenario. Good subjects for next week's Gazette article. Tuesday and an afternoon at Wetherby, first race winner and forecast but that was as good as it got.

And so to Birmingham on Wednesday night, dead simple win and we go three points clear. That looked very unlikely as Dimi gets sent off and they score from the spot. You'd have took a point then that's for sure.

Second half the better team and equalised and looked the more likely, that said they should have got usual late goal against us when Donaldson headed over. All in all a good point and we're clear by a point. Long way to go!!!

Thursday and another days racing at Sedgefield, another good start ended up winning 1; good afternoon though.

jeff winter
What a stage; The Emirates is packed on Sunday for the Arsenal v Boro FA Cup tie.


Friday night a Sportsman's Dinner in Glasgow, then an early start to get back to The Riverside for the lunchtime game against Leeds United. Catterick races Tuesday afternoon then Boro v Bolton on the night. Next Friday back up to Ayrshire for another gig and another early start to get back to Hillsborough for Sheffield Wednesday against Boro.

Are you planning a Speakers 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

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.

Have a good week.

jeff winter
The Clock Stand packed with Boro's travelling Red Army at the Emirates for Boro's 5th Round FA Cup tie.

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The Cup run is over as Boro players thank the fans, now we can concentrate on the League!

jeff winter
Tuesday afternoon at Wetherby and former horse Blue Sea Of Ibrox prepares to make her Chasing debut.

jeff winter
Wednesday night at St.Andrews and Boro face Birmingham and the chance to go clear at the top.

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Full time at St.Andrews and the point gained with ten men leaves Boro supporters celebrating.

jeff winter
Wow, what a stadium!!

jeff winter
Thursday afternoon and a second race meeting of the week, this time at Sedgefield.

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