Scapegoat Stewie Escapes Mac Flak

SQUARE pegs, round holes; substitutions that make the team worse; just one chance created in the entire game because the most creative player has been dropped; a delusional post-match analysis suggesting that “we controlled the game out there”… magnificent.
Boro fans won’t need educating about the tactical tinkering and second guessing of opposing coaches’ systems that led to the cock-up in Croatia. We’ve been there. But it will be a shock to the system for the press pack… not least because they picked the team.


The best thing about the England “humiliation” is that Stewart Downing can not be implicated.
Unless, of course, a crack team of forensic video scientists employed by the Sun can find footage from a hidden camera on the grassy knoll that proves conclusively that Stewie caused the divot on a pre-match trudge across the pitch, possibly in a fit of pique.
Scapegoat Downing was dropped because McClaren was too weak to resist the short-sighted clamour from the poison pen brigade to dump him. Despite being the only England player to put a ball into the box in the Macedonia game he was subjected to a scandalous savaging in the press, not just from the populist muck raking red tops but also the ‘quality’ papers.
The Guardian ran an on-line poll asking if Downing was good enough for international football, which is as effective a way of knocking the confidence of a young player by pandering to the mob mentality as you could devise – and yes, Guardian readers are prey to football jingoism too. The last bastion of non-judgemental objective liberalism in the press may more usefully have asked who is a better left winger than Downing? Or who has created more chances for England this year? Or, perhaps more to the point, which household names at glamour clubs consistently under-perform for England but escape the flak?
So with Stewie out of the firing line someone must be to blame… Steve McClaren come on down. It took Sven four years to lose a qualifier and Mac just ten weeks. And with a team of pampered prima donnas that supposedly represents a ‘golden generation’.
It was the first two goal defeat in a qualifier since Graham Taylor lost in Norway in 1993. And we know what a kicking the Turnip took at the hands of the press. The artists will be working on a cartoon carrot with shiny gnashers as we speak.

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12 thoughts on “Scapegoat Stewie Escapes Mac Flak

  1. its good to see Boro fans (including the people at the gazette) now being openly critical of the their previous manager. If only this was the same when he was our manager.
    He got it tactically wrong against bucharest and basel but was rescued by using armageddon style tactics to turn the game around.
    However at international level it wont work like that. Perhaps england needed to go 3 down to kick the comeback into action. but with few attacking options on the bench it would never have happened.
    Steve Mac seems a like a bloke who lied on his CV and managed to blag a job that is way out of his depth. what are the odds on him being sacked by end of summer 2007 or 2006? or will he walk away half way through a campaign like keegan did and let someone else take over? Venables perhaps. In 12 months time will he regret leaving the comfort of middlesbrough on a loyal chairman?

  2. He should have had beckham and downing on the the bench atleast. Then it was an option to bring on for last 30 minutes to go more attacking

  3. AV at 1:11pm I posted my one liner re the press not being able to blame Stewie for last night, at 1:15pm you posted this article….fast work!
    ……only joking,honest!

  4. Anthony
    We should start a poll for which vegetable should be used to represent Mac.
    I pick a sprout because it leaves a bitter taste and nasty smell behind.
    Oddly enough, I posted the other day about an article by Phil McNulty that used Downing to beat Mac over the head. Comments by Graham Taylor pre match clearly state the press are not happy with the witch doctors and snake oil salesmen surrounding Mac. They also think he is too clever and are waiting to stick the boot in.
    The idea that occurred to me was that it WAS Downing’s fault because he had to be dropped thereby forcing a formation and personnel change which resulted in us losing the sharp and incisive passing, swift interchange of position, pace, width and passion so evident in the two games against Macedonia.
    I dismissed that idea and then came up with another. Robinson looked up to play it to Downing but saw he wasnt there and was distracted.
    On a more serious note the press may be right about Mac being too clever. It may be that the coaching set up is that busy finding tactical second guessing answers they tend to forget about the simple solutions eg pass and move, pace and tempo.
    Mac has a number of books about football – he has nearly finished colouring the last one – and is a student of American Football Coaches. He is in fact going there to study their methods.
    For those who dont know much about Gridiron I believe it requires meticulous preparation, in essence a series of set plays.. The Head Coach of the 49’ers at their peak – Bill Walsh – scripted the sequences of play such that they knew what they were going to do in the first 20 or so plays. Each player has an ‘Assignment’.
    As lots of our footballers may not be the brightest of souls, have they been overloaded with techno speak by the apostles of preparation?
    Or are they simply overpaid and not good enough?
    Discuss.

  5. My last blog missed Max Clifford saying Beckham may return. He also has a dig at the FA advising Mac on handling the media and that he has not had much time to help Mac.
    Is it not possible for someone to tell the unvarnished truth that we were pants and no amount of media manipulation can cover that up. I am heartily sick of the spin that surrounds MacMoses.

  6. Well, Macmoses is not going to the Seattle Seahawks after all, he is staying in the UK to concentrate on the English game.
    There are a few benefits to that. As Seattle is the headquarters of Boeing we will be spared the launch of an aircraft with wings and engines on one side only or the pilot in economy seating at the back or Baldrick in charge of training the flight crew or Steve Round with his pen and clipboard filing flight plans.
    The other is that he wont be able to transform the Seahawks to the S***ehawks.

  7. ” As lots of our footballers may not be the brightest of souls, have they been overloaded with techno speak by the apostles of preparation? ”
    Ian, I said something similar in ‘another place’ earlier today, contrasting the lack of formations when I started watching football in the late 50s (a goalie, 5 defenders and 5 forwards) with the chess-like formtions used today.
    All top footballers are born with natural talent, act instinctively and somehow know what to do and when. Fill their heads with too much info and they take that split second longer to do the simple things – result wooden, stilted football.
    Of course, I could be wrong – they may be just too busy thinking of ways to spend the next wedge of cash.

  8. Vic and Ian
    Vintage, guys…vintage!
    You da men!
    As Ian knows already I have eschewed carrot and sprout in favour of beetroot. Red in the face, often pickled. Often seen with cheese(y). The only thing that makes me pause is that I quite like beetroot…but then it does give me the runs and turns it so red it looks like I’ve got a major pain in the a**e.
    Hey, maybe we’re on to something here……

  9. Keep the tactics and formations simple and play the playes to their strengths. Does steve mac bother to see how they play at club level?
    According to reports this morning, he has 3 qualifiers to turn it round..what odd on him leaving by next summer?

  10. To say downing has it all to prove means that someone hasn’t seen Boro much. Granted he hasn’t reached his pre-injury form, but has been, over the years, our main (and only) threat from midfield. If that’s not proving yourself, I don’t know what is.

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