RIGHT. After officially the longest ever gap between posts on here and a yaaaawning fallow two weeks nervously unchained from the secure laptop with the atomic codes, I’m back at work and wading through soul destroying pages of e-mails, google docs and memos and catching up on all the office gossip: fights, affairs, transfer demands etc.
So, what have I missed? Obviously the long waist high wade through a lake of treacle that is trying to make contact with the Venkeys over Jordan Rhodes. And obviously a string of red hot rumours that flared and faded as quickly as a flurry of hastily changed bookies odds. And obviously a long wait for the red tape over Stuani’s international clearance to be slowly unravelled by the “Manana” man. And obviously the twitter-storm rumour frenzy surrounding out of favour (and out of shape) Lee Tomlin’s sharp exit before the Getafe game as he was named as a sub, an incident that is no doubt being called ‘TummyGate.’
Continue reading Boro Are Back! Brilliant. But How Will They Do?
THE RETURN of Boro’s parmo-powered prodigal play-maker can galvanise the Riverside.
If Stewart Downing can hit the sizzling form he showed at West Ham last term, he can help fire his home town club back to the Premier League. He can be a game-changer. A hero.
This is a pivotal moment that feeds into the narrative of past glories, of the big name signing sweeping into town to energise the team and the town and to create some emotional momentum. It could be a ‘Merson moment.”
Continue reading No 10: Downing. Sweet
UPDATED: Now with added “Part 2″
FINDING football talent has changed radically in recent years with the appliance of science.
Number-crunching, video analysis and vast searchable data bases are every bit as important as the wily old scout with a notebook in the stand.
But the basic aim of the job remains the same says Gary Gill, Boro’s Head of Recruitment.
“We just try to give the manager the tools to do his job,” said Gill. “We work hard to make sure he can put the best possible team on the pitch and help find players who can get Boro back into the Premier League.”
Most Boro fans will have a wish list of targets but it is not as simple as it sounds getting them in. “Its not easy to sign a good footballer,” said the former Boro midfielder.
Continue reading Boro Scouting And The Appliance Of Science
PLANET Boro is buzzing with excited talk of star signings and a delicious tingle of expectation.
Boro are haggling and trying to arrange an ambitious – and very expensive – Riverside return for parmo-powered play-maker Stewart Downing. And they are also keen on luring last season’s Championship 27-goal Golden Boot winner Daryl Murphy from Ipswich.
Neither is a shoo-in but those two targets show that Boro have raised the bar significantly when it comes to the perceived cost and quality of recruitment this summer.
That has sent the grapevine into overdrive with fantasy wish-lists (David Villa and Rickie Lambert rippled through the rumoursphere last week) and Boro fans are distorting the highly erratic betting markets with a flurry of ‘daft quids’ on the club to sign a series of players. It feels like Boro are gearing up to really give it another crack this season.
Continue reading Exciting Summer Revamp Beckons For Buzzing Boro
THE DATE should be marked on the official club crested calendar: July 1 …” transfer window opens”…. July 2… “new away kit launched to fans’ outrage.”
Almost every year some aberration straight from page 47 of the manufacturers catalogue is unveiled – usually after a cack-handed leak the night before – and the fashionistas and purists get the pitchforks out.
This year it is yellow. But not subtle on point hipster yellow, no this is a bright retina burning neon, a plastic Minnion flavoured searing shade demanding sun-glasses. And that has naturally provoked the annual backlash.
Continue reading Yellow Fever: Fashion Fury Is Annual Event
SUMMER… full of repeats. We even got the same League Cup draw. Anyway, in that spirit here’s one I did earlier on the twitter tittle tattle and electronic pub-talk that is the annoying white noise that deafen and distracts us through the close season.
It’s from almost exactly two year’s ago when the rumour mill – a cocktail of fiction, wishful thinking and guesswork that rushes in to fill the news vacuum – was in full swing.
Only the names have changed, the rest remains valid I think. And it will give you all something new to talk about. I am genuinely interested in readers views on this corrosive trend inside the football bubble that reflects badly on society as a whole.
Continue reading I Heard It Through The Grapevine… (Reprise)
BORO fans have drawn up their summer transfer target wish list…
Blackburn Rovers prolific one-in-two £10m rated hitman Jordan Rhodes.
And, what the hell, why not his £7m rated strike partner Rudy Gestede as well? Either/or. They’ll do. And maybe Sako from Wolves – on a free but said to be asking his suitors for £50k a week. He’s good. Or Vydra from Watford.
And obviously, Jelle Vossen back on a real deal. Plus Pritchard. Bamford and Ake on loan. Reuben Loftus-Cheek? Maybe a keeper? And a centre-back? Let’s have a quick scan down the Premier League released list, there’s bound to be a few bargains in there…
Blimey did Boro win at Wembley? Where’s all the money coming from?
Continue reading Beermat Budgeting For Boro’s Summer Spree
WELL, we all arrived home knackered, emotionally drained, hungover and gutted by the result – but the better team won on the day so there can be no complaints.
They did to us what we did to them. Twice. They were sprint starters and subdued Boro were sluggish and were punished for it then never had the nous, energy or penetration to claw it back. Norwich played well when it mattered and good luck to them next year.
We were numb and dismayed on the whistle and had the heart-ache of trudging away empty-handed from Wembley for a fifth time – but once we pick ourselves up, dust ourselves down and regain some sense of sober perspective it is clear there are still plenty of positives to take from the campaign as a whole. And as we sift through the debris of Wembley there are a lot of reasons to be optimistic for the future.
Continue reading Signs Of Optimism Amid The Wembley Debris
FOR a fifth time dejected Boro supporters had to trudge away from Wembley to the soundtrack of their opponents’ celebrations.
That heart-ache doesn’t get any easier to bear with practice.
If anything it gets worse.
Continue reading Play-off Pain And Bruised Hearts