Middlesbrough Vow To Resist ‘Bizarre’ Chelsea FA Cup Request

File Photo: Middlesbrough’s English striker Josh Coburn (C) celebrates with teammates after scoring a goal during the English FA cup fifth round football match between Middlesbrough and Tottenham Hotspur at the Riverside Stadium in Middlesbrough, northeast England on March 1, 2022. (Photo by Lindsey Parnaby / AFP)


Middlesbrough described a request on Tuesday by sanctions-hit Chelsea to have this weekend’s FA Cup quarter-final tie played behind closed doors as “bizarre and without any merit”.

The Premier League club want Saturday’s game at the Riverside played in an empty stadium after the British government blocked them from making new ticket sales, with only existing ticket holders allowed to attend matches.

The Blues have pushed ministers for relaxations to the strict operating licence put in place after Russian owner Roman Abramovich was sanctioned last week as part of a set of punitive measures following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

The licence is designed to prevent Chelsea and by extension their billionaire owner — described by the government as part of Russian President Vladimir Putin’s inner circle — from generating new revenue.

The club issued a statement on Tuesday calling for the FA Cup sixth-round tie to be played behind closed doors in the interests of fairness.

“It is with extreme reluctance that we are asking the FA (Football Association) board to direct that the game be played behind closed doors for matters of sporting integrity,” Chelsea said.

“Chelsea FC recognises that such an outcome would have a huge impact on Middlesbrough and its supporters, as well as our own fans who have already bought the limited number of tickets that were sold before the licence was imposed, but we believe this is the fairest way of proceeding in the current circumstances.”

But the Championship club hit back with a strong statement of their own, making a pointed reference to the reasons Chelsea were in their current situation and saying they would resist the club’s actions “in the strongest terms”.

“We are aware of Chelsea’s request to have Saturday’s Emirates FA Cup sixth-round tie played behind closed doors and find their suggestion both bizarre and without any merit whatsoever,” Middlesbrough said in a statement.

“All concerned are well aware of the reasons Chelsea have been sanctioned and that this has nothing to do with Middlesbrough Football Club.

“To suggest as result that MFC and our fans should be penalised is not only grossly unfair but without any foundation.

“Given the reasons for these sanctions, for Chelsea to seek to invoke sporting “integrity” as reason for the game being played behind closed doors is ironic in the extreme.”

The FA said the matter would be discussed on Wednesday.

“We are aware of Chelsea FC’s request to play their Emirates FA Cup quarter-final tie against Middlesbrough FC behind closed doors,” said an FA spokesman. “The matter will be discussed at the Professional Game Board meeting tomorrow.”


Mikel Signs 2-Year Deal With Turkish Side Trabzonspor

Mikel To Miss Eagles AFCON Qualifier Against South Africa
Nigeria’s midfielder John Obi Mikel attends a press conference in Kaliningrad on June 15, 2018 during the Russia 2018 World Cup football tournament.


Nigeria’s national team captain, John Mikel Obi has joined Turkish Super Lig club Trabzonspor on a two-year deal with the option of an additional one year.

Trabzonspor made the announcement on their website on Monday.

The Super Eagles Captain who is currently in Egypt for the Africa Cup of Nations became a free agent after leaving Championship side Middlesbrough in May.

“A 2 + 1-year agreement was signed with the free captain of the Nigerian National Team, Professional Footballer John Mikel Obi, with one-year option to transfer to our club.”

READ ALSO: Chelsea Make Kovacic Move From Madrid Permanent

The 32-year-old also played for Oslo-based club, Lyn Fotball in Norway, Premier League club Chelsea, and Chinese club Tianjin Teda

Mikel won the UEFA Champions League, UEFA Europa League, Premier League, FA Cup, League Cup and FA Community Shield with Chelsea FC.

He also helped the Super Eagles win the 2013 Africa Cup of Nations.

Mikel has a total of 89 caps for Nigeria and played in the past two World Cups.


Chelsea, NFF, Boro Celebrate Mikel Obi As Super Eagles Captain Turns 32



Chelsea Football Club have sent birthday wishes to Super Eagles captain, John Mikel Obi as he turned 32 on Monday. 

Obi who currently plays for Middlesbrough, was born on the 22nd of April 1987 in Jos, Plateau State.

The soccer-star, made his debut for Chelsea on August 12, 2006.

Chelsea felicitated with Obi via the club’s official twitter handle, tweeting “Have a great birthday @Mikel_John_Obi!”.

In a similar vein, Middlesbrough have wished Obi a happy birthday.

“Happy birthday to @mikel_john_obi! 🎉🎂 #UTB,” the club tweeted in the early hours of Monday.

READ ALSO: Sissoko, Major Doubt For Spurs Ahead Ajax Opener

Meanwhile, the Nigerian Football Federation (NFF), has sent birthday wishes to the Super Eagles captain.

Obi who made his debut for the Super Eagles in 2005, has scored six goals in 85 appearances for Nigeria so far.

NFF tweeted, “Happy birthday to @NGSuperEagles captain, @mikel_john_obi. We wish you the best today and always. Enjoy your day!”.

On her part, Mikel Obi’s longtime partner Olga Diyachenko has taken to Instagram to celebrate the father of her children on his birthday.

Olga shared a lovely photo of herself and the midfield marshal, accompanying the picture with a beautiful caption in which she called Obi her “Baby Daddy” in reference to the two lovely girls she bore for the footballer.

She went on to compared her love for Obi to the appealing affection which a fat child has for cakes.


View this post on Instagram


Happy Birthday baby daddy 😝 love you more than fat kid loves cake 🎂

A post shared by Olga Diy (@olga_allegra) on

Mikel will be hoping to lead his team to victory when Boro takes on Nottingham Forest in a Championship fixture later on Monday.

Middlesbrough Unveil Super Eagles Captain Mikel Obi   

Super Eagles Captain Mikel Obi at his unveiling by Middlesbrough. Credit: @Boro


English Championship side, Middlesbrough have unveiled Nigeria International, Mikel Obi as their latest addition.

Mikel becomes Boro’s second addition of the January transfer window, following the arrival of Rajiv van La Parra on loan from Huddersfield earlier in the month.

The Super Eagles Captain rose to prominence in an 11-year stint with Chelsea, making nearly 400 appearances for The Blues and winning a host of honours including two Premier League titles and the Champions League.

He becomes the fifth Nigerian to play for Boro, after Yakubu Aiyegbeni, Bart Ogbeche, Karl Ikeme and Kenneth Omeruo.

Prior to his latest move, Obi, 31, tore up his contract at Chinese Super League (CSL) side, Tianjin TEDA, after escaping relegation.

READ ALSO: Solskjaer Hopeful Over New United Contract For Martial

The Nigerian captain has battled injuries since the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia and has put in an effort to get back in top shape.

He was also linked with a move to Turkey Super Lig side, Fenerbahce.

However, Middlesbrough have snapped him up on a six-month deal.

Boro are currently in the battle to gain promotion to the Premier League from the Championship.

Pulis Replaces Monk As Middlesbrough Manager

Pulis replaces Monk at Middlesbrough
File photo


Tony Pulis replaced Gary Monk as manager of Championship side Middlesbrough on Tuesday.

Monk was sacked on Saturday, hours after his side’s 2-1 win at Sheffield Wednesday.

Pulis has been out of work since November when he left Premier League strugglers West Brom and was also a target for Wednesday before Middlesbrough won the race for his signature.

Middlesbrough won 10 of their 23 league games under Monk, who took charge in June.

The team are ninth in the second-tier table, three points behind Aston Villa, who occupy the final play-off place, ahead of Tuesday’s game against Bolton.

Pulis will watch the Bolton match from the stands at the Riverside Stadium, with academy manager Craig Liddle taking charge of the team before the 59-year-old officially starts work.

“We’re delighted to appoint Tony as our new manager. His experience and knowledge speaks for itself and he has a tremendous track record,” Middlesbrough chairman Steve Gibson said.

“We’re excited by this appointment and by what Tony can bring to this football club.

“There was strong interest from two other clubs, and we’re delighted Tony has decided to join us.

“There’s no disguising that 2017 has not been a happy year for any of us, but we’ve refocused and we’re looking forward to the future.”

Pulis was sacked by West Brom after mounting fan unrest following a run of 10 games without a win.

Albion supporters were underwhelmed by Pulis’s dull tactics, but the Welshman’s track record throughout a managerial career lasting over 1,000 games is mostly impressive given the lack of resources available in many of his jobs.

Middlesbrough will be his ninth club in a career that also included spells with Bournemouth, Gillingham, Bristol City, Portsmouth, Stoke, Plymouth and Crystal Palace.


Braithwaite Joins Middlesbrough From Toulouse

Braithwaite Joins Middlesbrough From Toulouse
Photo Source: mfc.co.uk

Middlesbrough manager Garry Monk has completed his third signing of the summer after Martin Braithwaite finalised his transfer from Toulouse.

According to the club’s website, Boro agreed on a deal with the French side to capture the services of the highly-rated Braithwaite.

The player completed his medical on Thursday and was shown around the training ground ahead of his proposed four-year deal to Teesside.

The Danish international signed a four-year deal and follows Jonny Howson and Cyrus Christie into Boro, who joined last week from Norwich City and Derby County respectively.

Braithwaite will head to Portugal on Friday to meet up with his new Boro teammates.

Liverpool Have To Beat Middlesbrough, Says Klopp

Liverpool Crash Out Of FA CupLiverpool manager Juergen Klopp on Friday summed up Sunday’s important final Premier League game against relegated Middlesbrough.

In his direct style, Klopp said “We have to win and if we have enough points after this matchday then we deserve to go through to Champions League. And if not then we don’t deserve it. It’s pretty easy.”

The match at Anfield will be one of those deciding which team gains the lucrative third qualification straight through to the Champions League. The fourth-placed club qualifies for the Champions League playoff round, and the fifth qualifies for the Europa League.

Chelsea have already won the league with 90 points, seven points clear of Tottenham with 83.

The three in the mix are Manchester City have 75 and Liverpool are currently fourth with 73, just one point ahead of Arsenal.

Klopp said that qualification for the Champions League might attract more players to try to play for Liverpool but this made no sense if it was their only reason. He said the changes made at Anfield were seen as positive by players who wanted to play for Liverpool.

Arsenal Beat Middlesbrough 2-1 In Premier League Clash

Arsenal Beat Middlesbrough 2-1 In Premier League ClashArsenal have kept alive their hopes of finishing in the top four of the English Premier League with a 2-1 victory against Middlesbrough.

A dull opening was brought to life when Alexis Sanchez’s superb free-kick gave the Gunners the lead just before the break.

Middlesbrough responded soon after the restart when Alvaro Negredo volleyed in Stewart Downing’s brilliant cross.

Consequently, Mesut Ozil secured the much-needed three points for Arsenal with a first-time strike the the 71th minute.

Arsenal Draw Manchester City In EPL Clash

Arsenal Draw Manchester City In EPL ClashArsenal on Sunday evening came twice from behind to claim a two-all draw with Manchester City at the Emirates in an English Premier League (EPL) clash.

The Gunners, who lost their last two league matches at home, were stunned by Pep Guardiola’s men as Leroy Sane put the visitors ahead in five minutes.

Theo Walcott levelled the score with a scrambled finish in the 40th minute, just as Sergio Aguero hit home on an angle two minutes later to see City move ahead again.

Eight minutes after the restart, Shkodran Mustafi’s header got the Gunners back on level terms and ultimately earned a point for the hosts.

Earlier, Swansea City and Middlesbrough produced a stale goalless draw which did little to enhance either team’s prospects of avoiding relegation from the league.

Aiyegbeni Joins Coventry City On Short Term Deal

Yakubu AiyegbeniFormer Super Eagles forward, Yakubu Aiyegbeni, has joined league one side, Coventry City until the end of the season.

Aiyegbeni, who also has premier league experience with Middlesbrough, Portsmouth, Everton and Blackburn Rovers, has now penned a deal that would see him stay at Coventry until May 2017.

The 34-year-old recently returned to England, following a spell in the Turkish Super Lig side Kayserispor.

However, Coventry are looking to avoid relegation to the fourth tier of the English football.

Everton Decline Milan’s Loan Bid For Deulofeu

Gerard Deulofeu, Everton, MilanEverton have rejected AC Milan’s bid for Gerard Deulofeu on loan for the remainder of the season.

However, there are hopes that the Italian side would come back with a new offer.

Deulofeu, 22, has made 13 appearances for Everton since Ronald Koeman took over as manager at Goodison Park last summer.

He joined the Toffees on loan from Barcelona for the 2013-14 season, and subsequently made the transfer permanent in 2015 for £4.3 million.

Middlesbrough and Ajax are other potential destinations for the Spaniard who can leave but is expected to cost a loan fee.

Everton have continued to show interest in signing Manchester United’s Memphis Depay who might join Lyon during the winter transfer window.

Mourinho: Ibrahimovic’s Injury Will Be Ruinous For United

Manchester United, Jose Mourinho, Zlatan IbrahimovicManchester United manager, Jose Mourinho, says Zlatan Ibrahimovic’s injury will be disastrous for the club.

Mourinho, who earlier suggested Ibrahimovic sees out his career with the Red Devils, noted that it would be damaging for his side to lose the Swedish to injury.

“Obviously a disaster but that’s football. It’s not a surprise (how many goals he has scored). In Spain, Messi and Cristiano (Ronaldo) have a lot of penalties to score.

“They are phenomenal players with lots of penalties to score goals. Here, Zlatan has 18 (league) matches and one penalty. It’s not so easy to score goals,” the Portuguese told British media on Saturday.

Influential Ibrahimovic needs one more goal in the league clash against Middlesbrough to match the 50-goal record of Barcelona’s Lionel Messi.