PRE-SEASON eh? It can drag at times. Days of ITK whipers, wishful thinking and idle speculation punctuated by the odd purchase out of the blue and pictures of a new boy with shirt and scarf aloft then back to the humdrum of links and snippets and gossip and reports of our heroes crushing unknown opposition in distant foreign lands.
We are led to believe there are some talks coming to the “dotting Is and crossing Ts” stage and there will be some inward activity next week to excite and entertain the twitching twitter masses and anxious on-line observers.
In the meantime, here’s a few things to read to get you through the tedium of the window Phoney War, flashbacks to bits boxed up in the blog attic from previous pre-seasons.
POLITICALLY motivated Boro fans have launched a tongue-in-cheek twitter campaign to free hashtag hostage Jelle Vossen.
In an Amnesty International style spoof, Boro fans claim the Belgian footballer is being held against his will, incarcerated in Genk in a plush prison especially constructed from money and legally binding red tape. Detained dreamweaver Vossen has publicly appealed to be released from the constraints of his contract and called upon his captors to honour their pledge to free him from his sentence. And now he is asking for asylum on Teesside. And fair-minded Boro fans, crusaders for truth and justice, have responded in their thousands with a humorous on-line attempt to spring him from his jail.
The Gazette understands the deal will include a hefty up-front fee with built in appearance and performance add-ons and bonuses that could mean Boro get between £2 to £2.25m… which is a great bit of business for a player who was surplus to requirements.
Here’s something I did over the weekend about why Juke is still a frontman in demand despite never really fitting in at the Riverside.
Buying footballers is not an exact science. And it is certainly not like any other transaction. It is not a case of Steve Gibson doing a trolley dash round Player 4 U, throwing two strikers, a right-back and a dynamic midfielder with a big bushy beard and then getting his card out at the check out. Cash-back sir?
You can’t just advertise and invite applications for a role as you would in any other business. You can’t put an advert on Fish 4 Footballers or in the Racing Post or Which Headphones or Tattoo Monthly or whatever publications players read these days.
WE know Aitor Karanka has been on the blower to Jose Mourinho. He has said as much. In fact, he’s probably got him on speed-dial. And Aitor could be eating into his mobile minutes this week as he tries to shape a squad fit for a promotion challenge.
IT SOUNDS like Boro are gearing up to really give it a go this season. After three years of austerity, cost-cutting and book-balancing Steve Gibson could be ready to sanction some serious spending this summer. It could get exciting.
PROJECT Emnes didn’t report to Rockliffe as Aitor’s Avengers Assembled this week. The occasional Dreadlocked Dyamite is believed to be holed up in a plush South Wales hotel smiling enigmatically with his headphones on waiting for his £1.5m move to Swansea to finally be rubber-stamped.
Albert Adomah is on extended leave after smiling his way nervously through a simmering squad revolt in Ghana’s chaotic World Cup campaign and the walking wounded Rhys Williams and Muzzy Carayol were doing light work in the gym while mooted Spanish righ-back Juanfran declined after getting cold feetand about of pre-emptive homesickness.
OH LOOK, a box full of the dusty broken debris of England’s World Cup dream….
While unpacking at the new blog I’ve been having a quick flick through some of the old platform’s “most popular” posts. I’ll stick a few up over the next couple of weeks as “another chance to see” (summer is always the time the media run repeats).
Anyway, here’s one I did earlier on England being the Geordies of world football and the last anguished post-mortem on a fruitless World Cup, back in 2010 in South Africa.
Obviously the names of the scapegoats have changed. Do has much else?
IT LOOKS like things are starting to move at Rockliffe. While jittery fans fretted about a lack of activity during the surface stillness of football’s tumbleweed weeks, behind the scenes Boro’s business nerve-centre has been a ducks feet flurry, buzzing with Skype conference calls, on-line agent haggling and furtive meetings in the Spanish sunshine.