Summer Of Spending About To Hot Up?

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.

We’ve already seen some of the surface signs of that activity: a move for proven goal-scorer David Nugent that was knocked back; a move for Real Betis right-back Juanfran that floundered when he got cold feet (although Karanka has since said  it could be revived if he finds his nerve/doesn’t get a better offer). Alright, they didn’t come off but they give an indication of the quality and price range Boro are looking at this time round.

Aitor Karanka knows who he wants this summer – and Gibson is prepared to get them. Myself and Juninho’s best mate Phil Tallentire had a chat with the big boss yesterday and he made it clear that he was ready to invest in the team.  With Financial Fair Play closing in – another turn of the screw this year will reduce permitted losses by £2m – it could be now or never for Boro.

Boro’s revenue is the lowest of that group of teams that fancy themselves as contenders. Boro have lower crowds and a far lower ticket take per head than Derby, Ipswich, Forest, Brighton etc. Season ticket income, the revenue from shirts, merchandising and hospitality at the Riverside comes to around £6-7m… and Gibbo is ready to invest it all in the team.  And most of that could go on new strikers.

Not all that spending will go on transfer fees of course. There are wages. And money for loan deals. Quality players from big clubs on loan are not always cheap. We know that Aitor has got Jose on speed-dial and has already had conversations about Big Ken but there will be others at Stamford Bridge coming this way too.  You are allowed up to four from any one club and if Boro can get four like Kenneth Omeruo who are close to being ready for the Chelsea first team rather than drifting towards outer orbit as Josh McEachran seems to be, then they will try and do it.

There will be sales too. Obviously Project Emnes to Swansea is the first to leave but others will follow as Boro try to generate the cash for not just fees but wages for a smaller but more potent squad. As we saw, the team that returned  to training this week was a slim-line one with big gaps. The intention is to fill those gaps with quality first team players that will raise the bar and to make sure the existing players are fitter, faster, more focussed and better drilled.

There has been a big investment in the set-up behind the scenes with a level of sports science professionalism and technocratic preparation under ruthless determined Karanka that has echoes of the Steve McClaren era. And with the basics right, Gibson believes the ingredients are there for a serious challenge. And he is ready to fund it.

The club still has to pay it’s running costs – wages, tax, rates, utilities, stewarding and the rest – so there isn’t money to burn.  Boro still need to be responsible and well run. He won’t jeopardise the future stability of the club.

But the chairman – who is already putting £1m a month in – is ready to take a calculated gamble and find the funding to give the team an extra gear.  He is ready to go right up to the FFP ceiling. In fact the implication was that should Boro be in the mix and the right players become available that the manager believes can make the vital difference then he is ready to gamble on promotion and go through it. In the short term at least.

And it would be a gamble. Success and promotion would bring with it a “fine” on any overspend but then, that could be paid out of the cash sloshing around on the Premier League gravy train. Failure though could mean sanctions up to and including  a transfer embargo.  But Gibson is ready to take a calculated risk.

A good start and bigger crowds would give him far more wriggle room in that.  The single biggest factor in building a good team and meeting the tightening regulations (and having extra financial firepower to fine-tune the team along the way)  would be an extra few thousand bums on seats every week.  A extra thousand on the gate would bring in £10,000 or so every game; enough to sign and pay a good player at this level. Two thousand enough fund a very  great one.  Three thousand a great one.

That extra income on the gate would raise the permitted FFP ceiling considerably,  make the club more stable and less dependent on the chairman and may cover much of the initial investment. And it would leave the club with options come January.

That backing from the  fans is vital if Boro are to mount a serious challenge. Bbut GIbson knows realistically that the crowds will only come back in numbers to support a winning team.  It is a chicken and egg situation. Spending now is pump priming.

But a flying start and real momentum may spark renewed enthusiasm, create a buzz around Teesside and bring back lapsed loyalists. An increased gate on a regular basis would give the manager added muscle come the January window and beyond and make the gamble worthwhile.

Boro are currently working hard to close deals for two strikers to give the team the clinical cutting edge that was missing last year. They could fall into place next week. That would be the starting point of a calculated reshaping of a team capable of giving the Championship a good crack.

It has the makings of a significant summer. Bring it on

 

61 thoughts on “Summer Of Spending About To Hot Up?

  1. It’s a tricky situation at the moment. FFP limits getting tighter (to £6m?) and you presumably have to keep an eye on what the limit will be next year too (anyone know?). At the same time you have to improve the squad and give the fans something to get excited about.

    If we’re looking at signing two strikers then I presume that two will be leaving. Playing one striker, it’s no good having four on your books especially when cash is tight and the manager has stated he wants quality, not quantity.

    Between Rhys, the possibly returning Ken, Ben Gibson and Andy Halliday I think we have enough potential makeshift fullbacks so I would just like to see Omeruo, a quality striker and a quality RB come in.

    If we’re as well organised over the season as we were for most of 2014 thus far, if Carayol and Adomah find a little more consistency and Tomlin continues to improve then I think there is the basis there for go at the play-off spots.

    I don’t feel there is any danger of a relegation scrap this year. The question for me is can we score enough goals to win enough of the “fine-margins” games?

  2. What happened to the Croatian link?

    However we do need proven players we can depend on,it seems to me, teams that get promoted or in the play offs ,always seem to have a number of them that have been there before with other clubs.

    **AV writes: The main one they wanted – Ante Rebic of World Cup red card fame – joined Fiorentina instead. Not sure what happened to the other lad but Boro still have a good relationship with Alen Boksic so who knows what that will throw up. All these links – Atletico, Roma etc – are intended to be long term things not a quick smash and grab.

  3. ‘The Chelsea Four’, has Gibbo played the ‘get out of jail free’ card?

    Well, that all sounds quite exciting, who are the two strikers then AV, Danny Graham for one?
    Managed to find the new pitch this time, no hassle….

    **AV writes: I think it is ‘the Chelsea Up To Four’. No guarantees but Chelsea like the Boro set-up and were impressed at the progress that Big Ken especially made last year. We play and train in a broadly similar way so it suits them to get players some pitch time in a similar environment. That helps.

  4. Graham for £1m makes great business sense. Just the issue of wages now. Juke for Graham plus some change would be a great deal.

    1. I can’t read all comments as the Archive link to the right covers them, is it just my page..!

      **AV writes: Don’t know. It is fine on both my screens. What do other readers think?

      1. Ron, I had that problem. Drag the right side of the window to the left…that sorts it.

      2. I think it might be a browser issue. It does that on Explorer for me but is fine in Firefox or GoogleChrome.

        **AV writes: I am glad you are all sorting the geekery out between yourselves.

      3. Half of my comments were missing too. Had to minimise, then make the window 3/4 its normal size. Hurumph, typical boro, cant even get the new blog right. Hope you havent changed the badge or anything.
        I’ve been coming on here for years and now they are talking away half my comments away!

        **AV writes: Everyone else seems to be able to make it work. Have you thought about switching it off then switching it on again?

  5. I suppose Chelsea loaning us some of their best up and coming players goes a small way toward making up for all those cup finals……

  6. I think Steve Gibson (and other chairmen) may be ready to ignore FFP given reports that the Football League may actually be powerless in retrieving the financial penalties imposed on club’s promoted to the PL. Apparently there’s no arrangements with the PL for them to confiscate prize money and pass it on to the Football League and taking clubs to court for tens of millions may not be easily achievable either.

    Personally, FFP based on clubs having an equal total spending budget is the only fair system (based on the owners making up the shortfall in income and not putting the club in debt).

    Though, I wasn’t expecting Gibbo not to go to the max again – including ploughing back all outgoing transfer cash.

    As ever the real problem is persuading the better players to come to Boro if we can’t compete on cash terms – we didn’t get the top players in the past by scrimping on transfers and wages and i don’t think much has changed.

    I think the best business is either done early with deals put in place through connections or late once PL squads are finalised or through the panic factor to do deal on both sides – so I’m expecting a bit of a lull after mid-July.

    **AV writes: I think you are right that the FFP landscape is uncertain and a lot of people are watching what happens to both QPR and Leicester now. That said, if the rules remain in place the real problem with regard to spending is not attracting players but the low gates and low income from them. That not only means the club are lagging behind their rivals in market muscle but also lowers the notional ceiling on what the chairman can put in.

    1. The flip side could be the fine waits, with interest, for when they are next in the Championship should the Prem not play ball. That would be interesting. Where’s your parachute money gone now?

  7. Its no big calculated risk when he is just replacing players who have already gone. And more will leave before we spend so its just what every team does every year,
    And if you did speak to Gibbo (which you never) you would have been quoting his actual words and not total fabrication so please spare us the bull.

    **AV writes: You don’t really understand how off the record briefings work do you?

  8. If it helps some of the other readers I struggled with the size and colour of text (age and reading glasses not always to hand) initially on this new “Untypical Riversidesque” experience but I hit Control and + to bring the screen up to 125% and I now lose all the grey space down the sides (plus AV’s mugshot which the Jury can decide is a + or a -) but i now have a really crisp and clear screen which is easily readable and all the Tweets and Archive content still remains on the screen. Must say I am now much preferring it to the old “Ayresomesque” version.

    On the signings front I just hope its quality and not quantity but I believe that that is also AK’s mantra so I have confidence in his deliberations and am sure that overall we will come out a stronger side than we finished last Season.

    I was speaking to a lapsed “Riverside attender” today about the Financial Sector and said I think its a bit like the Boro, we have had a few miserable years but the economy is showing some shoots and signs of recovery and like the impending interest rate rise I expect to see a Boro rate rise before Christmas.

    1. Redcar Red Control and + did it twice and all text in view with the added bonus of that dodgy photo top left moving off page!! For the coming season whoever comes in or leaves anything other than a play off place will be a failure big time

  9. Not sure I agree with Boro Doug.

    If Juke is so poor and a good sell at just over £1m why are Derby and Wigan in for him? Both are, on the face of it, much better teams than Middlesbrough.

    Perhaps they are planning to attack and cross the ball now and again.

    **AV writes: Loving the avatar. So ironic.

    .

    1. If he’s mentally not with us where is his worth to us? The change of scene has done him good, it might change back when he returns. Two years left on his contract (I think) time to cash in especially if there are daft buyers out there.

      Who would you prefer Juke or Graham?

  10. Paulista, maybe like with Emnes at Swansea, Juke had a field day over at Bolton but he apparently couldn’t kick his shoes off with us. He needs a fresh start elsewhere like Emnes because to be honest, he’s never going to be a fan’s favourite now is he. Possibly both Wigan and Derby can see where he fits in to their set ups, where we can’t, or won’t as the case may be.

    **AV writes: A lot of players are just a better fit with a side that is set up differently. A lot of players have a skill set suited for a certain shape, style or tempo. Coaches know these things. That’s why they buy players who we wouldn’t have in a lucky bag.

  11. Would you take a punt on Chopra? Maybe Karanka’s discipline and Higgy’s personality might get him going. He could get ten to fifteen goals even off the bench.

    **AV writes: I wouldn’t have Chopra in a lucky bag.

  12. Hi guys,

    Long time no speak, hope all is well. I don’t want to be doom and gloom but isn’t this a similar story that we get every year? I don’t doubt the Chairmans commitment at all but we are a long way from a promotion squad. We finished 12th and have lost five key players since last year, a Graham, Big Ken, Chalobah, Varga and somebody else I can’t remember.

    My point is we need five players to stay still or push for that elusive 8th to 5th slot in the table.

    Let’s hope we get a couple of good goal scorers in, Big Ken and a right back and who knows.

    Anyway, have a great summer and see you all on the 9th August

    UTB

  13. I think its about time we see Boro back in the premiership. Its been too long now. Lets get some good signings and help from Jose at chelsea. Two strikers, 2midfielders, 2 defenders would get us back were we belong. UTB

  14. AV – you have all the patter. You know how to get a man excited!!

    On a serious note, Karanka did a fantastic job with a squad with some glaring gaps in it that wasn’t his. If he buys well, and he seems an astute manager so I have no reason to believe he won’t, then good things beckon!!

    I love the excitement of new signings, watching Jim White on sky sports news. Bring it on!!

  15. Smogonthetyne –

    Of course we have this conversation every summer, but why not? If you can’t be optimistic before the season starts what hope is there?

  16. I always look forward to the coming season, I even did so under Strachan. I feel more confident this summer than last because I can identify a shape and purpose to the team.

    The teams that escape this division are organised, do what they do well and despite our huffiness have some skill.

    Elsewhere, Roy Hodgson is arranging a friendly with Iceland in an attempt to boost confidence. If it works England will play Tesco next.

  17. Mardy

    The pitches will be perfect, think of the fertiliser that have trained on it. the other benefit is that the ball will have been in the air most of the time. Throw in the fact we don’t have any English players to train there and it makes sense..

  18. It’s chicken and egg. If Gibbo spends to bring in a couple of players that will win games and score goals and Boro are up at the top and challenging for promotion then the glory-hunting fans will come back and the extra money from the gate will pay for the transfer fees and help with FFP.

    If we had 20k+ gates it wouldn’t even be an issue. If the town supported the club like Derby and Forest fans have through the lean years then we could compete without worrying about the FFP. We shouldn’t have to rely on Gibbo. Everyone goes on about how Boro “should” be a top flight club but when you ask them they havent been since relegation. That has to change. But they will only come back if they can sniff the Premier League.

    It is always a gamble spending money. Gibbo backed Strachan and he got it wrong (Boyd, McDoanld, Thomson, MIller etc) and we’ve spent three years cutting costs to claw it back. Now it sounds like Gibbo is ready to give it another shot and it all depends on how AK spends it. Personally I trust the bloke. I think he will bring in good players and get the best out of the rest. I think we have a decent chance next season.

  19. I pray to God Gibbo does go for it. Big style. I don’t care if he does break the FFP ceiling and spends loads. What choice have we got? We are spending more on wages now than we bring in anyway and are already over the limit so we may as well make it worthwhile.

    Six years in the Championship without making the play-offs is an embarrassment. The boost of the parachute money when we first come down has gone. Young players that we try to sign now won’t even remember us as Premier League/UEFA Cup side. Every year another couple of teams come down who can outspend us . Another couple of years down in the second division and we are stuck here for a generation. We have to do it now before we are too far behind.

  20. With regard to FFP, what happens when a transfer has an undisclosed fee – does the actual fee get registered somewhere official? If not, how does the Football League (or even the Tax man) know whether a club’s accounts are not being presented in a beneficial way – for instance any add-ons could get pushed into the future to help the bottom-line.

    I also suspect as Boro Doug was hinting that QPR and Leicester may be in for delayed punishment if they don’t cough up their penalties – perhaps the Football League could actually start them in League 1 or 2 if they were in breach of their rules by not paying fines – or maybe the whole FFP thing will just be deemed as restrictive practices against companies (i.e. clubs).

    It does seem rather draconian give the billions of debts currently in the PL – it’s a bit like stepping off a financial cliff one you leave the top tier, it just seems unworkable unless both systems are in sync, plus parachute payments remove any sense of financial fair play anyway in terms of clubs competing on an equal basis.

  21. Graham scored six goals in 18 appearances for Aitor last season. Why I like the idea of Danny returning is that the team know him and he knows the team. So we could hit the groung running and he could still stay in the North East.

    Secondly, if Juke is sold, we need to invest on another top striker. We should afford that according the message coming from Gibson. The loaning of Omerou and an right back purchase and we’re nearly there. Also I would like to see Smallwood and Bryn Morris, the latter at least occationally, given a chance.

    But yes, I am getting excited about the coming season. Up the Boro!

  22. …..as to Perm or another loan, unclear when you read the story actually……..and if course it may be no more than a rumour. I’m in favour of Danny coming back, we’ve already taken the hit on getting him fit and acclimatised to the team and style of play, his goals were coming in regular bursts. I’d have him back over an untried alternative on the last day of the window who takes another 2 months to fit in. Hope the deal is done:

    http://www.teamtalk.com/middlesbrough/9372477/Transfer-news-Middlesbrough-in-talks-to-sign-Danny-Graham-from-Middlesbrough-Sky-Sources-understand

  23. Smoggy, I’d have him back as well no problems for all the reasons you’ve stated while we’re in the Championship, but when we storm through to the Premier League next May (hopefully stitched up by the end of March) will we be left with a striker that’s, shall we say, still to make his mark in the top flight? I’d prefer a loan deal myself, that gives us options if my inflated prediction/dream comes true, which it will, won’t it?

  24. All the ‘noise’ coming out of the club suggests Graham isn’t top of the striker wish list doesn’t it?

    **AV writes: We understand that Graham is in the mix but that the club are working on two other deals first.

  25. Exciting times, transfer window heating up.

    Certainly sounds like we’re going for proven, very high quality signings. Slightly worried about FFP but it seems like our best chance of getting a crack at the play-offs. Big Ken and Graham would slot straight back into the side and instantly be familiar with how we play. Both are absolutely the quality this team needs too. Ken is international quality and Graham will get double figures without breaking sweat. If we could get a right back of similar standing then the first XI is strong. Few more ‘depth’ players (2 more strikers, winger etc) and we’re not looking bad.

    What will be interesting is who we sell. Still need to ‘trim the fat’ – Halliday for example. Fund raise – Juke. And who from our gems will attract attention? Steele?

    Going to be an exciting summer. Also got the likes of Cooke, Morris etc looking to stake a claim. Big seasons for Williams, Reach & Smallwood.

  26. I’m glad the chairman is ready to invest in strikers and hope it pays off with a long overdue promotion push. However I’m not convinced however that relatively big spending or a good start will “spark” the stayaways to return to the Riverside in droves.

    We have twice had good starts under Mowbray and the gates remained stubbornly low. We had a the best start in a century in his first full season yet the only time the gate has gone above 20,000 in the league was when we had ticket offers. The biggest crowd in recent years was to see Chelsea reserves in the FA Cup. That says everything. Those people who packed the Riverside in the glory year were fans of Premier League football and they won’t come back for anything short of that.

    The fact is that Boro don’t have very good fans. Other “similar sized clubs” have had just a tough a time as us, been in the Championship just as long (and in some cases have dipped into League One) but their gates have held up. Derby, Forest, Sheff Wed, Ipswich, Leeds. Huddersfield, Birmingham have all had plenty to moan about but they have still supported their team no matter what. Boro fans (10,000 plus of them) have taken any excuse they can to walk away as if relegation and failure to bounce back was a personal insult to them.

    For me, you support your team unconditionally.Whatever division, no matter how good or bad. For those that turned up when football was briefly fashionable they only will support the team if is winning. And if it is “playing good football”. And if they are buying “quality players.” And if the price is the cheapest in the division. And if the kit is the right shade of red. And if their free drink is served on a silver platter to their seat. These people are the most demanding, most fickle and the biggest moaners and we shouldn’t pander to them,

    The hardcore we have now is the historical norm crowd in the second division. The regular loyal fans the last year have been brilliant, home and away. They can see something is happening. They can see AK building a team and putting a system in place. They deserve the reward of a winning team but probably won’t spit their dummies if it doesn’t happen.

    The others, the part-timers, I can take or leave, If they want to stay away, well fine but don’t make out you are noble martyrs and make demands on when you will return. If they wan’t to come back, well come back, but don’t expect a red carpet and a heroes welcome. You are the ones who bailed out when the going got tough.

    PS: Nice new look blog AV. Let’s hope bits don’t fall off it like the old one.

    1. Totally in agreement. I used to resent the full crowds when I came home, couldn’t get a seat. Maybe the best way is just to have the loyal 15,000 season tickets as a restricted issue and let everyone else pay on the day? Doesn’t matter what division – when I’m home I go, home or away simple as that!!

  27. On the Juke thing,
    I have a lot of time for him,in the sense he took a physical beating for two seasons without any reward,others where hiding,if I was him Id go to Karanka and say”,Hey Im up for helping the team but I need less time with my back to the opositions goal and more of getting on the end of a more in the box progressive type of game”
    I don’t know what kind of response he may get,but for me that’s where hed be succesfull

  28. Don’t know why people are so critical over Graham. He has got a almost 1 in 2 strike rate in the Championship in the time he was here. Add that up over the course of the season providing he remains fit and confident, we are looking at a 20 goal a season striker who already knows the club and it’s ambitions for 1 million pounds + wages.

    It’s a steal for that price compared to the likes of Grabban who provided the same goal ratio except he’s got higher wages and is £2 million pounds more expensive.

    In karanka we trust
    Utb

  29. AV – Graham set to sign.

    It was suggested he was option c in our quest for a striker. I know Neymar’s injury puts a question mark over him but does this mean options a and b have said no or it was just a bluff on our part to force wages or costs down or someone else came in and forced our hand?

    Everything in the paper suggested a late August deal not one to be done quickly.

    **AV writes: Our understanding was that the club were working on two other deals first.

    I’m not sure the “in talks” story of the last few days is a surprise. They have had discussions on and off with Sunderland and Danny since May. Boro is his preferred option. Sunderland are prepared to take a hit. Boro are keen if the numbers stack up. The rest is just about fine-tuning a deal that all three parties know can be potentially done very quickly. I’m not sure how that has changed since Friday when we last spoke to the club. I’ll ask.

  30. How much can you improve on sports science , professionalism, and technocratic preparations? You use the best technology and sports science that’s available surely and you employ people that know how to use it. and if we haven’t been doing that already , then why not?

    If you compare tennis players during matches. During turn around they wipe themselves down, maybe take a bite of a banana, then a mouthful of water and a mouthful of specially prepared drink
    Last season Woodgate held up a post match interview whilst he finished his Yorkie and then presumably went for a pint.

    You can’t hide how much fat you carry or how fast your pulse is but attitudes still have to change.

    **AV writes: Gordon Strachan didn’t believe in “all that” and got rid of much of the backroom staff (and scouting network) and when Mogga came he had to start from scratch. Over the last 18 months the bits have started to fall into place again and that has taken a quantum leap under Karanka. The club have recruited very carefully – Bryan English for instance is one of the best in the game – and have staff swapping knowhow with Chelsea and Atletico Madrid. It is not just the players who have been on work experience over there. Players (and coaches) are better trained and prepared. They do bio-metric modelling of individuals and have tailored training patterns and diets and Karanka has brought some of Real’s methodology with him.

    Apart from the one or two big injuries Boro lost a lot less players’ game time last season. The year before it was all hamstrings every other week for instance. If you can squeeze 1% and 1% there across the team then that is a big plus.

    1. Thanks for that info Anthony it’s good to hear
      And Strachan is over their giving his opinion still
      Ignoring , science technology and research is just mad

  31. If the Danny Graham story comes to fruition that would have to be regarded as a major scoop for the club despite the almost obligatory and inevitable Typical Boro “not good enough” comments from some of us.

    Just 18 short months ago we were jubilant that Sky Sports were reporting that Swansea had agreed a fee with Boro for DG believed to be around £5M and that Gibbo was willing to break the bank for his signature but our hopes were dashed when he was later photographed in a Sunderland shirt that very same afternoon in January 2013.

    To hopefully land the same player now for reportedly 20% of that cost less than two years later has to be good business if indeed not great business! Usually deals of that magnitude are for perma crocks that are risky gambles that usually never reach their previous highs. Not in this case, we know what we are getting and we know he fits in with AK’s philosophy and links well with Lily. For the first time since the days of the Yak and Viduka we look to have a strikeforce capable of performing at least on paper.

    With regards to the Juke if we get decent money for him then great but I’m equally happy if he stays. Most of his time at Boro was spent with his back to goal and being bundled and shoved over until reinforcements arrived belatedly up field. With the way the Team gets up the pitch quicker and with a more resilient defence, midfield and confidence higher in the side now he may actually have a chance of being a success with us and good cover/alternative to DG. In fairness he always looked like he tried as oppose to a disinterested heartless stroll in the park.

    On the fitness topic above raised by Tony Pierre I have to second AV’s view that injuries do seem less of a problem and the ones we suffered the second half of last season seemed to be the serious type like Rhys and Ayala suffered as opposed to the constant hamstrings and tweaks which were usually like as not suffered on the training ground. The “Crockcliffe” label hasn’t been used half as much on here as last year and when it is used its in more of a tongue in cheek mood rather than the angst context it was constantly used in.

  32. Redcar Red,

    I still stick by my post earlier regarding DG. I’d have him back at the Boro in a heartbeat whilst we’re in the Championship, but if we have to rely on him to lead us in the PL I don’t have the confidence that he can carry out the job. That’s why I’d go for a loan deal and that’s why I don’t see many top flight clubs knocking on the door up the road for his signature. He can kick doors in at this level and can take a knocking around by the roughy-toughy defenders week in week out, which is exactly what we want but, looking at his CV with Swansea, those up the road and Hull, it doesn’t make good reading I’m afraid.

    I hope, if we sign him, that he proves me wrong.

  33. Peasepudin –

    My take on things are that Sunderland want him out and gone permanently hence the cut price £1m price tag. He clearly doesn’t figure in their plans so they are clearing the decks. Based on that I don’t think a Loan is an option so we either buy him or lose him and in all likelihood to a competitor (Derby, Bolton, Wigan Watford?).

    I agree about his questionable Premiership qualities but lets be honest how many of our current players would we seriously want to retain should we find ourselves in that situation this time next year? My guess is no more than 4 or 5 at the very most and if we did get promoted and felt that DG wasn’t up to the required standard then I would think the likelihood of recouping the £1m is very high indeed.

    We have been in this League for six seasons now, I feel your heartfelt optimism and fully support it but it may take another two or three seasons to return (or maybe another 30 years, shudder the thought!) even with DG.

  34. My son was up for his best friends birthday and they went off for the traditional camping weekend with friends. The campsite is within hiccupping distance of a fine hostelry which requires real dedication.

    When he got back he disappeared in to the shower, on sitting in the garden he managed to string a few words together. In translation it amounted to the fact he thinks we will get promoted.

    A suitable sentiment for what may be the first half century on the new blog.

  35. Ian claiming a Trabant on the new blog?

    Nice have have more posters here than for a while. And Boro did not even get beaten yesterday!

    Optimism? Up the Boro!

  36. jarkko

    Sir Henry may disallow it as the compsite blog with the Viilareal thread had 54 posts.

    The main thing is getting abck to the 100 posts but that is not as important as the top flight.

  37. Redcar Red,

    I’m with you on the fact that those up the road want DG out, that goes with both of our concerns, and theirs, that he maybe can’t cut the whole mustard at the top table, but maybe with a splash of Dijon. A spread of a million against the rewards of many more in the premiership is a small lay out for the returns to come for that success and, even a minor success of play-offs and cup runs would repay the initial bet in spades. But, it would be interesting to see what staffing reductions are applied (and I honestly don’t have the time to research) to the three promoted teams last season, QPR being the exception for the obvious reasons, to their similar investments to get to the top table.

    Do we plan long term, or basically to do a Gibson/Robson push to get there in a rush? Me, well, I’ll be happy to turn the clock back to the late 1990’s any day, bring it on.

    By the way mate, don’t even think of another 30 years of where we are at present, I don’t have that long I’m afraid if the three score years and ten agenda apply!

    Jarkko,

    A hundred blogs on this little beauty is a walk in the park pal, it’s so easy to post, reply and get immediate up to date blogs that I wish that we’d come here yonks ago. Ah love it me like!

  38. AV, as most people were getting excited about the Danny Graham deal, PhilipTallentire (@PTallentireGaz) said: “Karanka made it clear last week that he likes Graham but he’s looking at other #Boro targets for time being.”

    On Sunday morning there WAS a story on Gazette web that Boro have started discussions with Danny. Later the news were removed from the site.

    I suppose everything is up in the air until a cotract is signed? Up the Boro!

    **AV writes: The piece was put on line by our colleague at the Sunday Sun who appear to have reacted to speculation in other media that a signing is imminent . Our understanding, having spoken to both chairman and manager in recent days, is different. So we asked them to take it down.

    1. Thanks for commenting, AV. I know it difficult to say anything before the deals is done. I trust Gazette and your twitter account the most. UTB!

      **AV writes: That’s how it works: we hear a story, we ask the highest possible sources in the club and we report what we understand the situation to be and what the club’s thinking is. Usually it is knocking a rumour down, sometimes as today it is fleshing it out and putting it in perspective. We don’t just guess, we ask. Then people get angry and swear a bit and shoot the piano player, accusing us of being in the club’s pocket/tell us we know nothing because they don’t like or believe the story or don’t rate the target.

  39. Thanks for confirming that Jarkko, I thought I’d dreamed it or had too much happy juice! Now I do love a good conspiracy theory, let’s get one going!!!!

  40. Smoggypaul

    As AV says it isn’t true until it is in the Gazette. Unless it isn’t in the Gazette anymore. Which means it might be half true, or not. The problems of rolling news.

    Good to see that Kei is a happy bunny again. Not so good is the news that Rolls Rhys and Carayol are likely to up on blocks for longer than we thought. At least they can be ‘just like new signings’ in the January window, earlier will be a boost.

  41. Redcar Red is spot on very few of our current squad are good enough to thrive in the premiership and the evidence suggests Danny Graham would be no different, but isn’t that the norm these days for a Championship club with Premiership asspirations? the teams lucky enough to get promoted have to clear out a large part of their squads and build a Premiership squad almost from scratch. Which is one of the reasons that its hard to stay up once promoted. Let’s worry about that after the promotion party.

    What I would like to see is an exciting season where Boro are in the top six challenging for a top two spot, actually what I’d really like to see is a repeat of 1974!

  42. Re: Rhys and Carayol –

    I think they won’t get back to the 1st team squad anyway until they he have won back their places. So they need to train very, very hard and hence they won’t be available for selection before end of the year.

    I prefer this attitude more than rushing a player back too soon. Especially we must be sure Rhys is totally fit to avoid ruining his career with new injuries. I think Mogga bought injured players back too early. Perhaps our medical team is more professional now than before: Spanish or Real culture on healing injuries.

    Heading for the ton (a VW Polo?). Up the Boro!

  43. I think I’m running out of steam, forgot this ‘marathon not a sprint’ situation, but I’ll go off for a hot massage and cold sausage roll (or vice versa) and get my energy back for the second half!

    I’m interested in why Kamara is now ‘happy’… is it because at the end of the article the admission that the ‘best way forward for both parties is for Kamara to move on to pastures new if a mutually-agreeable offer is received.’?? ‘IF’ being a very big word of course!

    BTW very careless letting ‘Sunday Sun’ access to posting up content like that… only a matter of time before a ‘Headless football chairman caught in 6 in a bed romp as he completes deal for new £50m striker using his own blood to sign the contract’ gets on the website. Still, will get me out of bed on Sundays earlier now, just on the off chance!

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