Massimo Exit Long Overdue

MACCARONE wants first team football. He wants to end his Riverside hell. So why didn’t he go to Siena when they were desperate to have him last summer? When he was the hero fresh from his goal-scoring burst that kept them up then? Oh yes, he would have to take a pay cut.
Now, calculator in hand and slapping his forehead in belated recognition of the obvious, he has finally worked out that his Boro career is over. Now the maths of staying don’t add up he is suddenly relishing the appeal of that fresh challenge back home. But for Massimo the time to take up that particular challenge was two years ago. Now there is a danger that he is too late, that he has missed a golden opportunity to be one of the calcio greats.

Maccarone’s career at Boro was doomed from the moment he was first touted around Seria A on loan. He always had a chance in his first year when his competition at the Riverside was Job and Nemeth but after Steve McClaren bought JFH and Viduka in a week that underlined his attacking intentions and cast big question-marks over his existing frontline, Massimo’s number was up – although as Boro most frequent benchwarmer he was used to that.
That was when he should have demanded a transfer and been willing to take a hit in the pocket to get it. Then his reputation was still sky high in Italy. Then his sparkling goal for the U-21s that had swung the Boro deal and his net-busting domestic record was still fresh in the memory of coaches and chairmen. Then he could have gone on his own terms. Instead he had to endure being dropped, snubbed and forgotten for months on end before being hawked around on loan by a club that clearly saw him as a failure.
Yes, he would almost certainly have had to take a pay-cut to return to Italy because Boro had given him the silly money that reflected his £8.15m fee. But what he lost in cash he would have made up in other ways: the joys of home, a culture that appreciated his style of play, job satisfaction and the chance to pick up his career path and revive his international hopes. And let us be clear, taking a pay-cut, even by half, would not leave him in poverty in Italy.
So I wonder about his personal desire, his hunger to play, to score, to show people what he is capable of. He arrived at Boro as the hot young thing of Italian football and as the first players from Serie B to be called up for the Azzuri in 30 years yet has sat glumly in the dug-out – or brooding over a coffee and a fag in Sassari’s – and let cobwebs and dust gather on what should have been his goalscoring prime. Had he biten the bullet at the end of that first season, or even the second, he could have got back in the goalscoring groove, moved onto one of the giants, who knows, played in a World Cup winning team. Instead he has wasted two, maybe three crucial years of his career. And it is not all down to the club. Had he wanted to leave he could have, but he chose to stay for the money. That can’t be right. What about sporting glory?
He arrived as ‘Alistair Brownlee’s ‘Gladiator’ but often looked more like one of the Christians, hopelessly out-muscled by the lions, the crowd baying for blood and with his own faith simply not enough. He looked good for spells and was brilliant in a 3-0 destruction of Spurs at White Hart Lane in that first season but he was unable to cope with the physicality of the Premiership. We heard talk about him being ‘the best natural finisher at the club’ but he lacked the power to barge defenders aside and get into the box to prove it. He scared no-one.
Massimo had frustrating spells where he would come off the bench and look lively and having a couple of cracking shots and prompt demands for yet another chance but when he was given a start he was largely anonymous. It is all very well running at tired defences in the last 20 minutes but he repeatedly failed to have an impact when given the opportunity in the first 20.
And he had plenty. His supporters – and he has many, just listen to that roar cheer whenever he appears – insist he was never given an opportunity but he did. He made 55 starts (and was on the bench 47 times). He has played alongside every striker on the books over the past four years and never shown anything to suggest he could gel with any of them in a way that would be viable in the Premiership. McClaren persevered with him far, far longer than any similar player would have got if only because of that increasingly embarrassing price-tag.
His supporters say ‘at least he tries’ but the club have moved beyond the stage where honest endeavour, running around a lot and fruitlessly chasing stray balls like a demented terrier was any kind of qualification for a first team place. Every player now must justify their inclusion through strength, physical presence, ruthless consistency and an ability to influence every game, no matter how robust and Massimo can’t in truth claim that.
And his supporters say his last gasp goals that sealed those two UEFA Cup comebacks straight out of a football fairytale prove his worth. Certainly they sealed his immortal place in Boro legend and went some way towards paying back the investment made in him – but you can’t indulge highly paid fringe players for purely sentimental reasons or we would still have Cardiff goal hero Joseph Job on the books, we’d keep Ugo on because of his late save at the Millenium and we would bring back Juninho as a £30,000 a week mascot.
And it is no good saying if it wasn’t for him we would never have got to Eindhoven. If he had gone when he should have then Boro may have had the money and wages to bring in someone better who may have been not only good enough to score those goals just as sweetly but also able to explode off the bench – or from the start – in the final and win it.
Massimo has been surplus to requirements at Boro for two years now. Assuming he earns £20k a week, if he goes before the end of the transfer window he will save the club £380,000 in wages. He may also save himself the indignity of being released as a failure.


27 thoughts on “Massimo Exit Long Overdue

  1. I agree with everything you say. You forgot to mention ricketts and his goal at spurs which helped us on the way to the carling cup final.
    I have never understood the hero status massimo has had with some boro fans. Apart from the uefa cup goals he was pretty poor and started off well but failed to score apart from a couple of penalties.
    I remember when he first arrived and scored a few goals and Roma were reported to be interested in him for £11Million. if only we took the money.
    He started off well but clubs soon noticed him and got physical on him and he couldnt handle that and would get knocked off the ball easily then he lost all confidence and never recovered
    Some players are just not suited to the english league and he was one of them. In the end he had 5 years under boros guidance and by then he should have done it. I cant believe that some fans still call for him to be kept on.
    Boro have spent 2 years trying to offload him but nothing came of it. Obviously he was earning too much for italian teams to take him a side issue that says something about english clubs paying far too much in wages.
    He cost us about 13-14 million in total..thats a lot of season tickets.

  2. Vic
    Never a truer word…..
    And there are 4 or 5 more who I am sure you are preparing equally accurate eulogies for right now. I hope you get the chance to use them in the next week.

  3. Sometimes it just doesnt work out.
    Like you I watched as he terrorised defenders in the U21 tournament where tore England (and Riggott) to pieces. I thought it was a great piece of business and unlike some who may post will not criticise the club for buying him.
    We went in and bought the best young Italian striker and intially he blossomed alongside Boksicknote and Marinelli. Then it just went pear shaped.
    It would be interesting to see how he would have done if he had come into the current set up and played when he was full of confidence. It is obviously too late now, AV is right to say he should have left a couple of years ago.
    But he is going now and is no doubt a wealthy young man. Like all who leave us I wish him well, I hope we hear of scoring exploits in Italy. AV mentions his Uefa cup goals, I will also remember him basically ending Martin Keowns career at Arsenal when he terrorised him at the Riverside in the Carling Cup semi and Urco was sent off for pulling him down giving us a priceless advantage in our march to Cup glory.

  4. A further thought on Missimo, if you check back on his records for us, his goals tally compared favourably with Lizard, Gisa job, Pork Pie and Christie. He was just the most expensive. The worst value though must go to Pork Pie (aka Ricketts).

  5. I once read an article which said that some Italian players stay with the big clubs, Milan, Inter, Juve and are lucky to play a handful of first team games in their career. They are happy just to be with a big club.
    Massimo as you have stated should have left 2 years ago.
    However Boro should have realised he was not good enough and cut their losses and sold him when he still had some market value.
    The next Massimo at Boro will be Rochembach, and if Boro do not sell him ASAP they will have a similar situation on their hands.

  6. I find it hard to believe that someone with any amount of self respect can just sit and take the money year after year. It doesn’t make sense.
    Its a sad situation I hope he goes this month and then when the dust has settled we can put the rose tinted glasses on and remember him as the hero of the UEFA cup run.
    Totally agree with JP, there are a few more who need to go. Ugo to Rangers was a good move for all, lets hope there are a few more who decide playing football is more important than a hefty salary each month.
    Getting rid of the old has beens also sets the tone and sends a positive message that Boro want a young dynamic squad who are ambitious

  7. “I find it hard to believe that someone with any amount of self respect can just sit and take the money year after year. It doesn’t make sense.”
    would you resign from a highly paid job just cos you had nothing to do all day? Why resign when you can hang around and hope your company pay you off with 1 or 2 years of your wages. dont forget you could miss out on loyalty payments for each year you complete.
    But seriously, where does the blame lie with singing players like massimo. Is it his fault if someone offers him a daft contract? is it the scouts fault for not watching him enough? is it the managers fault for wanting to sign him. did mfc staff watch him enough before signing him? is it the fault of the chairman for agreeing to spend the trsanfer fee and wages?wonder what fees boro paid to his agent?
    With more tv money coming into football, i can only see clubs becoming more reckless with their money.

  8. Nail on the head there. Good to see you not pulling any punches Vic.
    One thing I always wonder was what was going through his mind as he watched the Italians lifting the World Cup? Was he thinking?;
    “If only I’d cut my losses at Boro 2 years ago and took a paycut and gone back to Italy and got my head down and impressed at Siena/Empoli I could’ve won a World Cup winners medal rather than being sat on my backside milking MFC for £20k a week”
    Alas, I bet he couldn’t’ve cared less.

  9. nigel, since when do footballers have any self respect? Its all about money and greed from top to bottom and everyone connected with the game just wants to take as much money as they can

  10. Alf
    I stand by my earlier comments about Massimo, I thought he was going to be a great buy.
    Let us question why he never fulfilled his early promise, let us question why such a talent stagnated and lost confidence. How much did we as a club contribute to his fall from grace and how much was it due to himself?
    I agree he should have gone a year or two ago but he didnt so thanks, good luck and goodbye are in order.

  11. Every time the club bigwigs have a little dig at the missing fans, all this ‘you will get the club you can afford’, ‘if you don’t buy a ST we can’t buy quality’ nonsense that implies falling crowds are directly to blame for Boro’s reticence in the transfer window I think: “Hey Lamb, it was you that wasted £8m quid and the same again on wages for an occasional substitute.”

  12. Alf,
    Actually I believe most players have self respect and although some no doubt are motivated by money and greed to tar all professional footballers with the same brush is a gross injustice. Being paid thousands a week doesn’t make a person greedy or motivated by money.
    For example when Lee Cattermole cried after Boro were stuffed by Villa last season was that because he realised there was no win bonus coming his way or because he had self respect and knew the team despite his best efforts had let the supporters down?

  13. Ian, maybe we didn’t watch massimo enough to get a balanced view on him and we only watched him once or twice and fell for the hype.
    Maybe he wasnt really that good and just hit a purple patch at the right time. We were probably told by his agent lots of clubs were interested when maybe there wasnt. MFC are very gullible when it comes to agents talk.
    Red_rebel, dont’t forget the millions mfc are now paying direct to agents.
    Nigel, cattermole is a young lad and at the time just starting out. Players get corrupted by agents and team mates and once they know the riches they can get then they become greedy. Boro players will be no different another clubs.
    Do you really think the likes of southgate, ugo. massimo, jfh,parlour,rocky,mendieta,viduka would have come to boro if the money wasnt so good? I think we offered mendieta double what any spanish club was offering.
    I bet you would move town and job if someone quadrupled your salary

  14. Poss’ one of your finest pieces. Every word spot on. Get rid of the dead wood & start paying players realistic wages.

  15. Nigel
    I think you’re right that not all of them are totally money driven and we have more of the local lads than most who may actually mean it when they kiss the badge.
    But then there is always the story that Psycho at Citeh told about the England cap and the Ferrari…..
    Even where hearts are in the right place money can turn heads and skew values. And when you couple that with the fact that those happy few who ever attain the top flight as players absolutely require a certain self-regard, self centredness almost to the point of self-absorption and an ego the size of a large footballers-wife style des res otherwise they’d be no good anyway.
    You just hope that there are folks round them at the club and in their private lives who keep their feet vaguely on terra firma when many others spend their time telling them they’re wonderful and worth more.
    I guess that’s why at Liverpool in the Shankly and boot room succession era everyone in the club was encouraged to refer to the first team as ‘the big heads’ who needed to be taken down a peg or two. Didn’t seem to do them any harm and they wern’t short of ego.

  16. Interesting piece from George Caulkin in The Times this morning re our ‘Deadwood Stage’ leaving town.
    He says that Romford Ray has negotiated a contract termination settlement – if you remember I posted a while back that the London papers had him saying he would do this or retire if he didn’t get a club in the window.
    Also that Mendi has a choice of 2 offers in the US or the Middle East and is on his way too.
    Whip-crackaway!!! (Our younger readers who didn’t have to listen to 2 Way Family Favourites of a Sunday lunchtime may struggle with these references.)
    On the downside he says that Rocky is staying because Gate thinks he can transform his attitude and playing ability.
    Good luck with that then, Gate. Before you try you might want to fill up the changing room plunge bath and see if you can walk over it – if you get wet, you may want to think again.
    Lastly, he is of the view that despite Gazette articles to the contrary, the Gera deal is as far away as ever and probably won’t get done and the Brad Jones deal is teetering too.
    He opines, then, that the only incoming will be Simba who will play on Saturday against Bristol and that Gate has said that he will spend the £3m saved in wages on developing more home grown talent.
    What do you know, Vic? Were you at the same press conference?
    I sincerely hope the last bits aren’t true. If Gate thinks we can get through this season without at least one midfielder I believe this is a profound mistake and one we’ll all rue.
    Remember also what Woody said – and Veruka has also hinted – about judging their position at the club by whether they felt the club shared their ambition – a measure of which was bringing in new, good players.
    If you follow the links from this site to the ComeOnBoro site you will find an interesting piece about a week ago which asks the question ‘Did ambition die at Eindhoven’.
    It’s an interesting question when you see the decisions that the club has made since then.
    **AV writes: A few of the nationals were at Hurworth yesterday to talk to a couple of players specifically for the Saturday papers and we weren’t there.
    So close to the window things change rapidly. What looked cast iron yesterday may by scrapped overnight and new possibilities suddenly emerge.
    The Gera deal is still being haggled over. The club won’t move on their valuation so it is down to Mogga. The price may be right closer to Wednesday.
    We understand that DG Lee has been granted a permit but has gone back to Korea for his visa and paperwork so certainly won’t be back for Bristiol.
    We understand that Parlour is fine-tuning his escape pod and has been in talks with Arsenal over a junior role in the coaching set-up there.
    Mendi is being touted around dozens of clubs by his agent so anything is possible, although his preference is Spain.
    And Rocky’s return to Sporting depends on how big a pay-cut he is ready to take. He may decide “he wants to stay and fight for his place to prove a point at Boro.”

  17. Alf
    Fair comments but it wasnt the agents who picked him for a full Italy cap whilst still in Serie B. It wasnt the agents who were scoring for fun. It wasnt the agents who starred for the U21’s.
    I won’t criticise the club for buying him because I thought it a good deal at the time. Nor will I do what others have done – apply the most perfect of sciences, 20/20 hindsight.
    He came, looked great then went backwards. We can guess but we will never know why. Same goes for Veron at ManU, Jeffers at Arsenal and a whole host of other players. In actual fact at least he scored some goals, as I said in my previous posting his £ per goal compares favourably with others we have bought.

  18. So Romford Ray follows Ugo out of the gates at Hurworth and so the club 33-40 looks in danger of collapse.
    The addition of John Powl’s favourite footballer, the Peroxide Portugeeser, may only be a short term measure as Mendi looks to return to Spain.
    So far it has been a quiet window (as expected). Spoke to a Baggies fan who just blanked me when I talked of the possibility of Gera coming to the Boro. So no early deal there.
    John Powls exhortations to act early in the window look to have fallen on deaf ears, sadly I am sure he didnt expect any real early action. Still, we have a week left so something may happen yet.
    What we dont want is another Ricketts.

  19. Even if we don’t get Gera and only bring in LDG then we’ll have done excellent business in moving out Ugo,Romford Ray, Maccarone, Mendi if they all leave. It sets us up for a strong position in the Summer.
    Okay so we need a right sided midfield player but it has to be a good one and not at any price. My guess is Gera will come, the man from the Times doesn’t know everything. It’s important to remember that journo’s often spin opinion as fact (not you of course AV!)

  20. I find Mr Vickers views here to be totally stupid and totally unprofessional. They are the comments of an ex player who has ansolutely lost the plot and in order to justify a job and a wage has to talk like this. Very sad really, you sound just like that other fool Slaven.
    ” MACCARONE wants first team football. He wants to end his Riverside hell. So why didn’t he go to Siena when they were desperate to have him last summer? ”
    ” Massimo had frustrating spells where he would come off the bench and look lively and having a couple of cracking shots and prompt demands for yet another chance but when he was given a start he was largely anonymous. ”
    In closing I would like to say that perhaps you people should remember how Ravanelli slated the training methods at this club.
    Maccarone came here as a man who held the record for goals in Serie B, he was the first man to called from this division into the national team in over 14 years, and he held the record for goals in the Italian U21 squad.
    Perhaps there is more to his story than meets the eye, perhaps you are right in all that you say. But what absolutely disgusts me about people like you is that you sit in some pokey office and just dream up these stories, and aboslutely slate people.
    Why did you not bother to go and talk to this guy ? Why did you not attempt to undertsand him and try and find out why he underperformed here. Why did you not make these accusations to his face, rather than opting for the cowards way out as you have done here ?
    I find it incredible, I really do. How is it that only now that he has gone do you choose to raise this topic and in such a way? It is easy to talk when you just talk from what you see and from you think you know, rather than talking from what you actually know. This article is full of really cheap shots and it is unprofessional in the extreme.
    I am not here to defend Maccarone, but I am here to defend people who are not here to defend against themselves.
    Didn’t you play ? Then you should know that what goes on behind the scenes at clubs often sheds light on these kinds of ridiculous rants.
    I wait with baited breath to hear if Maccarone will talk about his time at this club, I really do becuase then me an you can talk again my friend.
    **AV writes: “….and relax”. Tony (or Slim), there are several basic flaws in your argument, not least of which is that you appear to be too close to the player concerned. I have tried to be objective, maybe you should too.
    I recognise that Maccarone has a personal fan-base who do not believe he has “had his chance.” Maybe that is true. But if he feels so aggrieved at this injustice why did he not move when he had the chance?
    The player had plenty of chances to explain himself to the Gazette but repeatedly declined. He chose not to interact with us. In fact, even after his night of glory after the Steaua match when ALL players are required by UEFA to go through the media ‘mixed zone’ to give access to the press he instead sneaked out a side door.
    There was never a better chance for Massimo to tell the fans, the boss, the world exactly what he could do, to demand a place, to thank fans for their continued support, to pledge his future or issue a come and get me plea to other clubs. As so often when the chance came he failed to take it.

  21. As I said, I am not here to talk about what he did or did not do. I am not here to defend his record, but I stand totally by what I said, and your example of calling me Slim is yet another cheap shot as I have contibuted here many times on differing subjects.
    I have no idea about what you say regarding him sneaking out of back doors or not talking to the Gazette, and we only have your word on that, but I am happy to take it in good faith that this is the case.
    Look, I am sorry if I came across agressive, but I am just sick of people putting the boot in only when players have gone, or when they don’t talk factually.
    Why is it that whenever players want to move on they get slated for being money grabbing ? Or that when they choose to stay like Maccarone did that they still get slated for being money grabbing ? Maybe he wanted to come back and fight for his place and prove his worth, rather than cutting and running. Maybe he wanted to come back and finish what he started.
    I don’t know but aren’t these at least possibilities ?
    Maybe he is a money grabbing so and so who is only interested in the money and nothing else, I don’t know, but the point is that you don’t either and your whole argument is based on this.
    Viduka for me is going. Are we going to slate him as well if he takes a big pay cheque elsewhere ? Why should players be loyal ? If I doubled or more your wages to write for the Northern Echo and you went and had a look and found it to be a really nice place to work, wouldn’t you go? Why would you stay ? Do you think that the Gazette will always stand by you?
    Why don’t we have a look at the real issues ? This year there is a bumper payout for clubs through tv money with the very bottom club getting 50 million which is what Chelsea got last year for winning.
    If we rate Viduka as highly as Gareth does, how come we don’t match what other clubs do ?
    **AV writes: Doubled you say? Hmmmm. What’s the pension like? And I wouldn’t even have to move home.
    You make a valid point about the players point of view, how they must feel in a high pressure environment and the fine line between success and failure but frankly I am not too bothered about the feelings of millionaires being paid to live the dream who then complain that the rest of the world doesn’t fall in line with their ego.
    They have the club machine, the TV and the press to make their case, they have agents and “sources close to the player” to leak their particular gripe to the media and at the end of the day if it all goes pear-shaped at a club there are far worst things in life than being paid £20,000 a week to be degraded by only playing in the reserves.
    Maccarone has chosen not to use that mechanism but he is still free to do so. We at the Gazette would love him to bare his soul to us. We have asked before I can assure you. We do not have an agenda to ‘cover up’ anything about the club and if there are real issues there in the background beyond dented ego then we want to know.
    That said, this is not the place for him to do it. This blog works to different parameters. My interest is purely in giving the fans perspective, asking the questions they would ask and discussing the topical issues among Boro fans in Gazetteshire.
    Players come and go, as do managers, the only continuity at a club is the supporters and it is the social, cultural and political dynamics within the crowd that interest me and motivate my writing. I’m not starstruck.

  22. I agree with Tony Black that perhaps there is more than meets the eyes at the Boro.
    Is this not the same club that pushed Juninho out when we were crying ( and still are) for a creative midfielder? Rescinded Marco Branca’s contract after 10 goals in 11 matches (he played on for 4 years scoring goals in Italy)? Had Ricardinho on trial and let him go away (he then played in the world cup)? Bought the ‘new Maradona’ Marinelli and turned him into a nobody? Forced Gianluca Festa to leave, and go and become a hero at Portsmouth and Cagliari (he is still playing today)?
    The list can go on and on, and often all these players wanted to do was to play football. It is easy to always attack the players, especially when they have left, not so easy to see the reality behind the scenes.
    Even the best player will get, from time to time, attacked from the terraces, but surely a club that wants to be great needs to know how to get the best from his players.
    I once read that Ravanelli had said: Juventus gets good players and turns them into champions, Middlesbrough buys champions and turns them into ordinary players.
    I just hope that Massimo will return to be the champion he was, and can be, in Italy.
    All I know is that when he left to go on loan to Italy a couple of years ago, it was reported in Parma that he had taken a considerable pay cut to play, and the then director of football Arrigo Sacchi congratulated him on that. If he was just interested in money he would have stayed here.
    We would have not gone to Eindoven without his goals, and Bernie and Ali would not have won their award…

  23. ” My interest is purely in giving the fans perspective, asking the questions they would ask and discussing the topical issues among Boro fans in Gazetteshire. ”
    Great. Bring it on !
    I have been a Boro fan for over 20 years and I too would dearly love to get right into the real issues at this club in the interest of taking the club forwards and then taking me back to places like Eindhoven which will live in my memory forever.
    For me the club has reached a big turning point.
    People will slate me for saying this but I am sick of having to agree with Steve Gibson just because he has been outstanding for our club, which he most certainly has. But I think the time has come for him to go unless he changes, I really do.
    I just wish he would run the club like he runs his business, i.e. getting in the very best people to run it.
    I truly long for the day when we the club announces a host of coaching staff that have been all over the world and won everything and who are at the Boro to do the very same thing.
    I think the backroom staff we have now have done a good job but that it’s time for them to go.
    I will support Gareth and Coops but I just cannot help think that we have moved on from hiring people that only have English experiences to offer and who have achieved nothing in management.
    Yes, things are going great at the moment, but will it last ? I hope it does and I hope we sneak into Europe so that we can all get excited again.
    This town comes alive with European football. The town is buzzing and it puts Teesside on the map which must be good for jobs and investment which is what we are crying out for here. For this Steve Gibson should be given the freedom of the city as he has done more than any politician has or ever could do.
    I will not return to the Maccarone subject again as I do not like the, ” Slim ” alligation. Obviously I know Maccarone, all be it in a limited way only as I go often to sassari with my family and got to talking to him over the past few years.
    I always found him to be a true gentlemen, not flash, not your typical footballer by any stretch of the immagination, and always with a smile and a hello for anyone who wanted to get a photo, and this is why your comments got to me so much.
    I spoke to him a few times about his situation and I only ever got the answer, ” I don’t know ” as to why he never got a good run.
    I hate to see injustice in any walk of life. All too often the good guys get crapped on and this is how I see it with Maccarone, but only knowing him not that well, I could be wrong. But as I said, this isn’t what I have seen.
    Anyway, I too would like to hear his side if there is to be one. Who knows. If he has never spoken in 5 years as you say, I can’t see him doing so now.
    As you say, what matters in the end is the club, but over the years I have found the goings on at the club to be disstasteful.
    One quick example. Xavier had a clause put in his contract in favour of the club. I have no idea what this means but I am taking this from the Gazette.
    Southgate then says that the clause was put in but never intended to be used. This is curious in the extreme and it makes no sense whatsoever, as if you have no intention of using a clause then you wouldn’t insert one in your favour, would you ? Now it seems that Xavier is unhappy about this clause and may go.
    Personally, I like Xavier and think he is just getting better and better. He’s big, strong has a great touch and can score like Franck used to do.
    But just at a time when the defence is gelling and we are really getting somewhere we have to have this happen which might disrupt everything. Why ?
    These are the questions I want to talk about. Why do these things happen ? Is Lamb to blame because he works badly and is out of his deapth as others in here have said ?
    If you are serious about what you have said then why can’t you raise these questions in your blog ?
    **AV writes: Tony, believe me, over the years I have got stuck into Lamb et al as and when it has been neccessary and taken the flak that comes with that but I won’t jump through hoops to prove my credentials. Feel free to look through the archives on here or on and make your own judgement as to whether I am a sycophantic lapdog or not.
    As to the Xavier clause I wouldn’t point the finger at the club at all. It seems sound business to get something potentially expensive on approval if possible.
    Clearly Boro wanted some assurances on the risk they took in bringing back a veteran who had not played in a year. Reading between the lines that seems to be a mutual get out clause in the transfer window that would save them paying a full season’s cash if he fell short.
    Xavier agreed to that because he was unemployed and desperate to get back to work. The clause meant that if he could not get into the Boro team at least he could be free to try his luck elsewhere. That arrangement seems sensible on both parts.
    Now Xavier has made that public. Why? The only logical assumption is that he feels he has already proved himself and now wants an improved deal. You can’t blame him for that. He probably has and possibly does. Xavier has simply alerted clubs to his availability should Boro buy a right-back now or in the Summer. He is after all no more than a stop-gap signing as far as Boro are concerned.
    But I wouldn’t jump to the knee-jerk assumption that the club ‘have cocked-up again’ as so many Boro fans have. It is just standard football manoevering.
    I hope you stick around and continue to contribute as you are clearly passionate and informed but try to be less confrontational. That’s my job.

  24. It does sound like Xavier will also be on his way out, just to add to my previous list. Certainly the club would have been right in covering every eventuality before he came back on the pitch, but since he has played most games since, it would seem reasonable that he is rewarded accordingly, after all any of us would want to get what we feel is right for our work? What is wrong with that?
    And I am sorry but again I am tired to hear always of players not being ‘loyal’ to clubs, when clubs (clearly) will always endevour to get what is right for themselves.
    Most clubs are always prepared to cash in on a player if the offer is big enough! I think that we should DEMAND that players give 100% on the pitch at all times whilst they are playing for the club, but then be allowed to make the kind of work and lifestile decisions that we all do on a regular basis, without being damned for it.
    I for one will always welcome back players like Zended and Quedrue (as long as they do not score against us)at the riverside, and feel strongly that we should stop damning them for leaving the way you seem to have decided to do with Maccarone.
    Clearly I might feel slightly different were Boksick or Ricketts to return in a different shirt..

  25. ” I hope you stick around and continue to contribute as you are clearly passionate and informed but try to be less confrontational. That’s my job. ”
    Ok, no worries.
    Maybe the club should just remember who pays the wages around here, us fans. You could well be right that this is all just standard football stuff and that I have just jumped the gun, but it would be nice if we had a football club that gave us fans a bit more information as to what is going on. It would be in the clubs interest as well as ours.
    Fans have often criticised the back room staff and the goings on in Keith Lambs office ( Zended e.t.c. ) and if they were a bit more open then they might just find that us fans will get off their backs and that we are willing to give them a bit more support when times are tough.
    As long as they do business in this way then they have to accept that people will question the mixed messages that they give out through the Gazette on a weekly basis.
    ” Reading between the lines that seems to be a mutual get out clause in the transfer window… ”
    Let me just give you a quick example if I may to illustrate my point.
    You say that this is a mutual get out clause. Knowing Keith Lamb I would say that this is a one sided clause that works only in the clubs favour. Of course I could be wrong and I could be well junping the gun again. All I do know is that Eric Paylor jumped on the band wagon and slated Xavier in the Gazette.
    Why didn’t he ask this question BEFORE WRITING SUCH THINGS ?
    Why doesn’t anyone seem to ask any of these questions so that the fans know what is going on and who to point the finger at ?
    How do you think that Xavier and others react when they read these things ? Some might just brush it off but I think can’t help feel that these things erode team moral and derail what we all want to see, namely success.
    Why don’t the club ever come out and defend their players ?
    Wherever I go Xavier is now slated by the Boro fans and all we need now is for him to be booed, Zenden style, because they think he is a mercernary, a tag that is all too easy to throw around when people don’t have the facts. I don’t have the facts, but I know a bad smell when it comes my way and these kind of articles by Paylor and the like that are NEVER defended by the people who should defend their own, and it all stinks to me.
    It isn’t hard and it would end the endless speculation and finger pointing that fans continuosly make ( see your blog about the Theatre Of Hate ).
    Maybe it will also put bums on seats when we all truly see a club that works professionally.

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