Stage Set For Return Of The Feared KGB?

IN MANY former Warsaw Pact countries the once despised and recently deposed Communist Parties have returned to power. Capitalism has brought with it as many losers as winners and so there is a wave of popular yearning for the stability of a command economy that offered full employment, cheap and cheerful housing and access to health and education services for all.
The worst deprivations of the long dark night of Stalinism have been blocked out, along with the old regimes’ unpopular tendency to spin a grey, drab and creaking system as a triumph of technocratic systems over individual creativity. This irrational East European trend to escape from the problems of the present by retreating into the past is called “Ostalgia”.
And that it came to mind as an angry acquaintance – a long time committed and vocal Macophobe – today uttered the ultimate heresy: “I wish we still had McClaren in charge.”


But what about the defensive outlook, round pegs in square holes and baffling substitutions I asked? What about the lack of passion? What about collapsing crowds and angry fans? What about the poor league form? “Yeah, exactly,” he said. “We’ve got to put a stop to all that before we’re up [the] creek. I hated McClaren’s guts but right now I’d have him back tomorrow.”
I pointed to the downside of the once hated McClarenist regime that as a committed dissident he knew only to well and had so often harangued me about: the rigid party propaganda telling us that our system was better than other systems, the insistence that the five year plan was ahead of target despite disappointing results, that the people were being educated by the Great Leader and the prospect of me being whipped off to a gulag for disseminating a dangerous subversive samizdat.
Since the former leader was removed in a bloodless coup we’ve pulled down the statues, the hierarchy have denounced his crimes, the township of Macograd has reverted to its original name of Ingleby Barwick and the political police that once imposed a strict party line, the KGB – Keen on the Ginger Boss – have fallen into disarray. Surely there is no going back now?
But he wasn’t having any of it. He had already moved beyond the reasons for the old anger. Now he was more concerned with building an underground opposition to the new regime which had promised a bright new future of entertainment and creativity but had so quickly soured.
There followed a series of unsupported prejections that last season he himself would have dismissed as the ranting of a madman. McClaren wouldn’t have lost at Reading, Sheffield United or Watford. He wouldn’t have let Jimmy go. He would have attracted better signings. We wouldn’t have a had “a fanny on” over the badges that caused a distraction. The team would be better organised and play with a bit of passion. The boss and coaches would be singing off the same Prozone print-out sheet…. this was a complete reversal of every searing and vindictive polemic he had aimed at McClaren in the past. I can’t believe how a world view that was so fixed and passionately held could swing to the diametric opposite so quickly.
Of course, like Ostalgia, it is rooted more in disillusionment with the present course than any serious affection for the past and we must assume it is driven by results rather than ideology. Even those that stuck with Mac to the bitter end agree that his time had come. There was no outcry or waves of public mourning on his departure, either from the players or the fans. It was muted appreciation at best. There can’t ever be a serious restoration movement surely?

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23 thoughts on “Stage Set For Return Of The Feared KGB?

  1. i think we would have been in the same mess even if steve mac was manager. Only difference will be the fiasco with the coaching badges.
    Same back room staff,same tactics and same league form as previous seasons. Steve mac stuck with cautious football cos he knew that our midfield would get over run and a poor defence. Southgate bigged up exciting football but he soon learnt that he had under estimated the size of the job in rebuilding. So has now gone cautious.
    The rot started a few seasons ago. just look at the creative midfielders who have left in recent years.when we paid juninho off the end of a season when he scored 8 league goals. We never found a midfielder to replace him, then zenden left,not to mention geremi. last season in some games we only had 2 attacking players on the pitch which just isnt good enough. we are heading down that route this season.
    The uefa cup papered over the cracks. we played a lot of poor teams. basle and bucharest so nearly ended in a mess and then in the final we were showed up for all our weaknesses. last season the uefa cup was a convenient excuse for poor league form.
    I do wonder if southgate is just a front man to appease the fans, when really its round and co pulling the strings.
    pity steve mac didnt hang around and show what he can do without uefa cup distactions. `But i feel mcclaren knew this season was goign to be a struggle and had a reason to bail out with his reputation intact.

  2. Vic
    I thought it was my party line to describe the previous regime as reminiscent of the eastern block. One element you have missed out is the stewards, these were employed to see who stopped stamping and clapping to pigbag first. Those fans would be rooted out and sent to be locked away in Gulag Hurworth. The would be given a ‘tour’ of duty and be subjected to torture by the staff, often they would come out with horrific knee injuries.
    The truth is the reign of MacStalin was at an end. The likely problems were there before last Xmas, the symptons evident in our limping finish to the previous season. We employed someone to tell us the squad was unbalanced, too many kids, too many at the end of their careers, not enough in their mid to late twenties. TLF long gone and Bolo leaving, more formations than the red arrows, the roundheads in charge and the cavaliers routed.
    The cup runs papered over the cracks, the likes of the Basle and Steau matches come around once a generation not 2 in 4 weeks. The truth is we were dead and buried in both matches and got away with it.
    But as in the eastern block, the KGB and party hacks ‘go away’ and return in another guise. We didnt get regime change we got a new face. The same party machine is in place, no systems have changed, the people are largely the same.
    The pressure to stay in the premiership is huge and we are scrabbling on a slippery slope. Dare we replace the people in the club who are MacStalinists and risk going down? Dare we do nothing and hope we can halt the slide? Rock and a hard place time. The bright fresh approach is slowly morphing into the previous establishment.
    MacStalin is dead, long live Putingate

  3. I agree with Ian.
    If you want to complete a cultural revolution – as Southgate said he did – then you have to smash the existing state.
    You can’t take over machinery that has been created to implement the ideology and aims of the old regime and hope to turn it to your own service. Everything has to be wiped away and replaced with new organs and systems that reflect the new politics and principles.
    The existing staff were hand picked by McStalin because they shared his outlook and methods. They are creatures of his now discredited “scientific soccerism” and if Southgate wants to succeed he will have to remove them completely.
    If Southgate’s own regime is not to be stillborn and become enmeshed in the debris of the old system he must be allowed to sweep aside the clipboards and bring in an entire new staff.
    Gibson has dalt him a bum had, given him responsibility without power and left him with a staff who’s hearts and minds lie elsewhere.

  4. The Dictator has given the job of running the club to his favourate adopted son. This has not gone down well with the generals who were waiting in the wings for the previous manager to move on and then one of the generals to take over.
    Instead a sergeant has been promoted head of the military and the generals have been ordered to train him up to speed. The generals are not happy and feel disillusioned and have 1 eye on jumping to a rival military army.

  5. Alf
    The analogy with the generals is excellant.
    There is also a remarkable resemblance to Jim Hacker in Yes Minister and Yes Prime Minister. Full of great ideas eroded by Sir Humphrey and colleagues. (This is an analogy and does represent the civil service as a whole – got to be careful I dont upset any civil servants amongst the fans!).
    The good intentions and policy initiatives are diluted by those advising him until he becomes a mouthpiece for prozone speak.

  6. And i forgot to add that the dictators son is popular with the masses. Watch out for the ear piece with the generals telling him what to say and do. Bit like the US president being the puppet with his wife or advisors making all the decisions

  7. I just think that maybe Steve Gibson made a mistake when he appointed a rookie manager with potential rather than MoN, simple as that.
    I hope I’m wrong and we survive in the prem. and improve from there, but at the moment its hard to be optimistic. I pray that at the end of the season we aren’t saying if only we hadn’t given those goals away to Man Utd, Spurs, Villa…..
    Make no mistake Wigan is a must win.

  8. Bloody ell, mates, it’s gettin a bit heavy on here! Far too clever for a dolt like me.
    It’s a simple game, you know. Just score one more than the opposition – and if you can, try and entertain the masses. Football is the opium, etc….. Never mind all this stuff about oligarchs and dictators. Truth is, we’re crap.
    Time for players of the Boro to unite and unleash their chains.
    Meanwhile, let’s keep the red flag flying high!

  9. Guys,
    I find all of these posts particularly amusing whilst working in a former Soviet state. Even after the years of freedom from the hammer and sickle, things have not changed here.
    The republic of Azerbaijan is a dictatorship, ruled by a small but elite ex-Soviet enclave who hold all the aces in government, the police and the army.
    In some respects it parallels what has happened and is continuing to happen at Boro.
    MFC is a dictatorial republic, ruled and protected by a small but loyal number of hand picked body guards, confidentes, spy’s and assassins.
    The populace are secondary, all that matters is the continuation of the dynasty born from the releasing of the Ayresome shackles of 1986.
    I said in a post some time ago that our club was in danger of imploding due mainly to the Howard Hughes like tendancies that Steve Gibson is beginning to portray.
    We owe him everything, but is his dream beginning to cloud his judgement? Keeping everything “in house”, ignoring his adoring public, promoting from within.
    It’s almost as if he is afraid to bring anyone in who may challenge his absolute power, and maybe that is why we never saw a clear out of the leftovers of a previous regime, and Martin O’Neill never offered the managers job.
    Gareth Southgate was given the job for the wrong reasons, mainly, because Gibson knew he would tow the line and eventually become a fully paid up member of his Party.
    How long will the populace put up with this regime before there is a revolution, and we see the walls of the Riverside crumble?

  10. All this talk of revolution and the likes makes me think that we should bring in Arthur Scargill as a consultant.
    However after thinking about it for a bit longer, I think a better option might be to bring in someone who really ruled with an iron fist, step forward Bruce Rioch.

  11. I’m with Alf. But I think we should go further.
    How about some real red revolution?
    What about replacing the dictator and his head henchman rather than just the functionaries?
    Dangerous heresy, I know, but there are ways of having some democracy in football clubs – even massive ones like Barca and Real Madrid – and I don’t mean plc (a barmy business model for a football club).
    No problem with Gibbo being elected El Presidente but having to get re-elected every 3 years from amongst a wider group of investors in the club, including a supporters trust as a legal entity, seems better to me than one man – however revered, in charge, unfettered, for ever or until he chooses to go.
    This is not just current sour grapes by the way – I’ve been treading this vintage for a few years now as regular readers will know.

  12. There should be a rule that a fans elected representative is on the board. With all season ticket holders voting them on every 2 years. We are probably the 3rd biggest financial investors in the club behind SKY TV and the banks.
    Problem with having 1 person in charge of the whole lot is that their business head can be ruled by their heart and love of a particular person
    Saying that, why hasnt gibson got a knighthood yet?He deserves more than a banner with his face on it. Is it time for gibson to allow someone to work along side him to push the club on? Do we need to get out of this small local club mentality?

  13. John
    I agree with your posting, however we need to overcome our present regime first.
    Which of the below does our beloved leader belong to?
    Monarchy – Government by a single ruler (king/queen, emperor or Steve Gibson)
    Aristocracy – Government by noblemen
    (hereditary or Steve Gibson)
    Oligarchy –
    (Government by few persons or Steve Gibson)
    Theocracy – “Government by God”
    (in reality this means government by religious leaders or in some fans eyes Steve Gibson)
    I think that Mr Gibson has turned into Nero and now ‘fiddles whilst the Riverside burns’ so to speak. If he continues to ignore the current plight his empire will no doubt crumble before his eyes.

  14. I think the outburst of anti Steve Gibson is completely over the top. The bloke has worked miracles at Boro and achieved big things.
    As I said above maybe he made a mistake in appointing a rookie manager. One mistake is not a sacking offence!!
    Also to bring some reality to the table Steve gibson owns
    the club (or the vast majority of it) so he is hardly likely to sack himself. I for one want to see him stay where he is, he has been brilliant for us,.
    Just consider the situation of other clubs. The barcodes with a board who are taking the mickey out of the fans and lining their own pockets. Sunderland big stadium, big fan base badly run club – poor team etc etc etc.
    We should be grateful we have Steve Gibson in charge, a man who is widely recognised as the best chairman in the prem. Life isn’t perfect and neither is Mr. Gibson don’t crucify him now because the going is tough.

  15. I THINK THE APPOINTMENT AS MANAGER WAS AN OBVIOUS HOWLER… NO EXPERIENCE ,NO QUALIFICATIONS AND A 5 YEAR CONTRACT….MMMM….
    TELL ME ANOTHER JOB WHERE THAT WOULD HAPPEN?
    I THINK IF GIBSON HAD BROUGHT AN ESTABLISHED MANAGER IN SO THAT GATES COULD LEARN THE ROPES ALONGSIDE HIM THEN MAYBE THINGS WOULD HAVE BEEN DIFFERENT AND BETTER THOUGHT OUT.
    STILL NOT TO LATE….REMEMBER ROBSON GOT A HELPING HAND EVENTUALLY I JUST HOPE WE DO NOT WAIT THAT LONG THIS TIME..

  16. WHICH DOES BEG THE QUESTION WHY COULDN’T O’NIELL HAVE WORKED PART TIME ALONG SIDE GATES IN THE FIRST PLACE? IF THE RESULT WAS GOING TO BE APPOINTING GATES ANYWAY?

  17. Nigel
    No Boro fan should ever underestimate what Steve Gibson has done for Middlesbrough Football Club.
    He saved our club and for that I will be forever grateful.
    He has signed players that I though I would have only seen on TV or playing for the opposition.
    However the business acumen that has got him where he is today does not seem to apply in anyway to how the football club is being run.
    The downward spiral since the never to be forgotten day in Cardiff seems to be speeding up by the week.
    The papers are full of takeover talk at other clubs, Mr Gibson does not need to lose control of the club he loves, but he does need additional backers if Boro are not to be left behind.

  18. Chris, …..stop SHOUTING!
    Never Happy, the term ‘backers’ is a euphemism for an investor, an investor wants a return on his investment…..that sounds like a plc to me.
    That means less money invested in the players, academy etc. We aren’t Liverpool there is no rich sheik desperate for a football club/subbuteo set to play with coming to Teesside. I know Christmas is coming but the best present we can hope for is a couple of wins.

  19. Nigel
    How about Keith Lamb and his peoples republic of Teesside dream coming to fruition?
    Each member buying a samll share of the club with any profits made being reinvested in the playing staff and academy. No one who holds any shares is allowed to make any profit.
    The club will then belong to the people of Teesside and may even get back to the days of attacking football and full houses.
    Don’t ask me what happens if we continue our downward spiral and start losing money, I am only trying to cheer myself up by looking on the bright side.

  20. CAN SOMEONE TELL ME WHAT IS HAPPENING AT THE BORO? ARE THEY HITTING ALL THE PLAYERS FEET WITH HAMMERS TO CHECK FITNESS LEVELS????
    I MEAN RIGGOT,ARCA,HUTH,VIDUKA,DOWNING….THE LIST GOES ON MAINLY DUE TO BEING INJURED IN TRAINING…..AND THAT IS IN THE LAST 6 MONTHS…I THINK THEY HAVE A TRAINING PROBLEM.

  21. ?Never Happy, the term ‘backers’ is a euphemism for an investor, an investor wants a return on his investment…..that sounds like a plc to me.”
    Isnt gibson a backer as he bought the club very cheap and had the vision to make it into a 60M investment?
    If he sold it tomorrow he would walk away with a big profit. Dont forget they are building a golf course and hotel near the training ground in darlington. Dont forget gibson is a fan but also a very astute businessman who had the vision to buy mfc at the right time

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