Ton Up Taylor Comes Of Age

THEY GROW up so fast these days don’t they? If fast maturing left-back Andrew Taylor plays against Chelsea – and let’s be honest if he doesn’t who will? – he will clock up a quickfire ton of first team appearances. That’s not bad going for a lad most still regard as a new boy.
And it has been an impressive first ton too. While the first 20 or so were ticked off on loan at Bradford, the Hartlepool-born defender has played the bulk of those games in the Premiership but can also boast outings in the FA Cup and UEFA Cup semi-finals, high-water marks that most seasoned professionals can only dream of. On top of that there have been appearances for England at every level from Under-16s upwards while at Boro. Great things beckon.


Taylor, one of Boro’s exciting and promising crop of home grown heroes faced a traumatic baptism of fire on his debut. With Franck Queudrue and Emanuel Pogatetz injured he was recalled from loan at Colin Todd’s Bantams and thrown in at the deep end. Boro were battered. It was a dark spell for the club with bad results stacking up, boss Steve McClaren facing withering criticism from all sides, rumours of dressing room unrest and the galvanising effect of the season ticket shotting and the real dramas of Europe yet to come.
tayls.jpg
Since then, while progress for the club as a whole has been stuttering at times, for Taylor the journey has been largely a smooth upward learning curve matched by a gentle inflation of his reputation and stock among Boro fans – and his management. Colin Cooper last season hailed the youngster as “better than me at that age.”
His emergence as a reliable defender, disciplined – he has yet to pick up the red cards that Franck and Pogo made their stock in trade in the same position – with an instinct to get forward made it possible for boss Gareth Southgate to move Pogi inside to a central defensive role last term in which the Alpine hardman was a revelation.
But Taylor seized his opportunity to become a fixture, so much so that the prospect of him being injured is one of the jumpier fans’ biggest nightmares, although to be fair, there are plenty of those to chose from. Despite his youth most supporters would now firmly put him ahead in the pecking order of both Pogatetz, who has played there for his country, and Julio Arca, bought for £2.5m specifically to play in the left back berth. His confidence there has even led to the early winding up of the once popular Frankie Q Appreciation Society.
Of course, he is not beyond criticism; he is after all a Boro player and some stick comes with the territory. Several times this season he has been stretched and exposed as balls have come flying over him and down the flank for opposition wide men to race forward but that is a structural problem in the shape of the team more than any weakness in his own game.
In playing a high-energy attacking game that requires both full-backs to get forward Boro are taking increased risks in leaving space down the wings and when they have lost the ball deep in the enemy half it is more often than not Taylor – and Young – who are left frantically scrambling back to try and plug the gaps. That is a tactical weakness that must be addressed holistically.
And what he hasn’t offered yet is a goal. His 100th appearance would be a good time to start.
****
I’VE BEEN off for a few days to recharge my batteries ready for the second phase of mighty Boro’s glorious push into mid-table and return with increased levels of naive optimism, if only in the sense that, well, it couldn’t get much worse.
We are well used to erratic peaks and troughs in our turbulent annual voyage of unpredictability and we know that it is time honoured Teesside custom to cast a string of poor results as the precursor to the Apocalypse. After hapless displays at Everton and Manchester City by a wafer-thin, striker-light Boro the ‘R’ word was being bandied about freely among supporters and the mood in the ‘Talking Boro’ summit was one of stoic resignation and crossed fingers.
But, folklore has it that is when we are most likely to upset the bookies and so the visit Chelsea presents an fantastic opportunity to surprise everyone, not least ourselves. And, call me daft if you want, a whole heap of totally unscientific evidence is starting to stack up in our favour.
Team’s sometimes become the personification of their manager. If that is true then Boro are intelligent, open and likeable but maybe lacking a ruthless edge and cynicism, although that will maybe come in time. In contrast Chelsea are dour, unconvincing, uninspired dead men walking, and certainly not as good as they were last season. When we beat them.
“I want to leave Chelsea. Something is broken with Chelsea,” said wantaway scuba enthusiast Didier Drogba. “The damage is big in the dressing room.” Good. That is music to our ears. That and their casualty list which now includes iconic skipper John Terry, the real heart of the team Michael Essien and pop star’s other half and occasional footballer Ashley Cole.
Boro have not impressed of late, we know that: not won in five games, one point in 12 in the league, just one clean sheet this season. But, Boro have scored in each of the last eight home games and have scored two in each of the last three Riverside league games so despite the wobble home form has been good – and some key players should be fit,
Chelsea in contrast appear in turmoil and are far from the force they were. Under Avram Grant (a name Bernie “cannae prooonoonse”) they have won one, drawn one and lost one in the league and scored just one goal. They are seven points worse off than at this stage last year (a more marked decline than Boro’s ) and have gone 14 since a win by more than one goal. Perhaps also significantly, they don’t like wandering so far into the frozen North and have taken just one point from their last four trips to the North-east, an that in an insipid 0-0 at Newcastle.
So if we are scoring at home and they are not scoring at all…. I know what you are thinking – we’re going to get battered aren’t we? Drogba hat-trick. Andrew Taylor late consolation.

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40 thoughts on “Ton Up Taylor Comes Of Age

  1. AV – Taylor could easily be a future England LB, probably would already be in the squad if he played for one of the so called big four.
    Rumour that Boro are eyeing up a possible move for £3m-rated Danish centre-half Simon Kjaer, 19, from FC Midtjylland. If this is true is it because the club know that Huth is finished?
    Depending who you bet with Boro are between 4 and 5 to 1 to beat Chelsea tomorrow.
    Lump on, 2 – 1 to Boro
    C’mon Boro!

  2. I’m surprised Taylor isn’t a regular for U21s.
    Don’t think he is playing that well this season compared to last season. He is a solid defender but prone to drifting too far upfield at times and leaving us exposed. Unfortunately our defence has been pretty poor for last 9 months or so (1 clean sheet at home since last December in the league).
    He needs to step it up a little along with the other defenders and work on the concentration. Statistically the defence is as bad as that one under Robson pre-Festa

  3. Yes, a fantastic achievement that truly merits all the well wishing that he will deservedly recieve.
    On the other points raised…..
    Yes, in my opinion, we won’t win this game, or the UTD game, and we are headed into a full on relegation battle that will be lost unless we do as Bolton have done – a.s.a.p.
    This won’t happen as the Chairman in his utter arrogance will dig his heels in even more and so this will be a battle we will lose. That’s how I see it. I’m sorry, but I just can’t see it any other way.
    The team is weak. The team has no bench to call upon. There is yet another injury crisis. The No.1 keeper seems to have given up entirely. We aren’t scoring goals. We don’t look like we will either.
    Please tell me where I went wrong in my analogy AV ( and fellow posters ) ?
    The transfer window is a LONG, LONG way off and by the time we reach it we will have hit our customery winter collapse period and if we only replace the manger then it will be all too late anyway.
    TB

  4. I am looking forward to the game against chelsea.If taylor goes forward which he is good at then Downing MUST cover otherwise the channel is wide open to attack -the same for Young and O’Niel. Taylor has a great cross on him but I would like to see him cut inside and have a go.
    The fact that a lot of goals against us this season and the fact that Downing would be covering maybe prevents that confidence in Taylor to have a pop as we all know hes not the best at defending.
    Hopefully the fact that Downing didn’t play for long for England [in the game where the Ref seemed like he was given a free villa on the border of Estonia for the pen decision – wasn’t even a foul never mind inside the area – meams he is chomping at the bit to give it ‘ Here’s what you could have won’
    C’mon BORO !
    We all knew Huth was Finished when Chelsea agreed to sell him to us Injured. Its a shame we cant get a refund or at least a credit note.
    Three and a half quid together with that credit note could get us Joe Cole as cover for Arca or to play in behind Mido
    or up alongside him.

  5. Taylor’s achievement has been partly down to keeping him in the team and playing him in his best position.
    Boro should be doing the same with Cattemole and Wheater but it looks increasing likely that they’ll be mainly confined to the bench.
    Having said that Pogi will deservedly regain his place in the team and I think his style of play complements Woody’s better than Wheater.
    But it’s still a worry that some of the young players who broke through seem to be having their development blocked by players who have already peaked and will only now get worse. So we could easily end up with more Morrison’s than Taylor’s if we not careful.

  6. Nice to see someone appreciating an Academy graduate. Seems to me the spirit of the Chicken run is alive and kicking at the Riverside and usually reserved for our homegrown young players rather than our multinational journeymen.
    I first saw Taylor a couple of years ago in a preseason friendly at Preston. Most of the attention was on new arrivals Viduka and Hasselbaink but there were also the likes of Juninho in the side that day.
    Parnaby started out of position at left back and was having a mare against a quick Preston wideman and limped off after only a quarter of an hour to be replaced by Taylor.
    Downing scored the only goal that day but Taylor was superb – far and away the second best player on the pitch. The only one better was McMahon on the other flank. If only that lad had not had such a stop-start career and could get back to the form he showed as a youth we could send Young back to where he came from.
    As for our full backs being caught out of position – thats the job of our midfielders to cover the gap when the fullback goes forward. Lack of discipline in that area is the problem.

  7. Hi AV and BORO Brotherhood (ies?) after that stupid survey!
    Hope Taylor has a great game as he exemplifies so well what Dave Parnaby and SG and team have achieved with the Youth Academy = by far and away the best in the UK! So Gold stars to all.
    Can’t make Chelsea match as am off to Paris for the final. When I do eventually come round on Sunday my first thoughts will be for Beloved BORO. CMMMMONNNNN BOOORROOOOO CHASE THOSE BLUES OUT OF THE RIVERSIDE THE SEASON STARTS HERE!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    What a weekend this is gonna be. Guys I is hiring the Electric Onion before I bugger off to France to live and will put £500 behind the bar so you’re all welcome to come for drinks!
    Simon Broon get yersen doon man!!!
    Robin Mitton
    BORO BORO ALWAYS!

  8. ADAM JOHNSON should be in the squad! Or at least as an option on the bench.
    Maybe benching Downing once in a while might get more out of him as for me he doesnt always look like he wants it . 2-1 to Boro.
    Sign Joe Cole in Jan and play him in da hole.

  9. Hi again AV, BORO Brotherhood and Sisterhood too,
    Just been reading little Laura Howarth’s poem ‘CLEVELAND’ in the paper and all I can say to Laura is thank you and very, very well done…I wish I’d been half as gifted at your age.
    If you keep working hard and creating lovely pieces of writing Laura then you can go all the way to Durham, Oxford or Cambridge which are the best places for English.
    BORO fans if you have not read it can I suggest you do so? I’m going to print it off now just before I set off for Paris and show it off with real pride to my friends and colleagues ‘over there’.
    Robin

  10. thanks robin
    p.s i dont talk like that, your confusing me with bernie slaven!!
    pps cant believe your choosing paris over coming to the boro

  11. tayls is class and we have been very lucky to have him come through so smoothly. look at mcmahon. most people raved about him but he is up there with glass legs christie when it comes to injuries.
    but it scares me that we have rely on a youngster and have no cover there. we all know that pogo is not a left back. too rash. plenty of heart but not smart enough. and arca too. i know he didnt play a lot of games there but i was never convinced with him at the mackems.
    besides them two are injured. what happens if tayls gets crocked now? wheres the cover?

  12. The ten game test sees us with 8 points and a trip to ManU to come. We started slowly and conceded early yet again. If we make the same mistake at Old Trafford you wouldnt expect Sir Alex to allow his players to rest on thier laurels.
    It is yet another recurring theme on these boards, starting when the whistle blows. Until this season we could blame the Maclaren legacy but this is basically a new team.

  13. I decided to stroll along to the Riverside yesterday to watch Boro and Chelsea seeing as the Mags weren’t playing.
    It has to be said that the team, atmosphere, apathy and everything else at Middlesbrough was very similar to St James’s when Souness and Roeder were messing things up.
    Southgate must be moved out if Boro are to climb up the league again methinks.
    Just saying, like!

  14. Hi AV
    Well the Doomsters and Gloomsters are at it again in their annual moans and groans about this season’s destiny of our beloved Boro. – Yes, this is a poor start to the season and I really think GS needs to “look out of the box”.
    I’ve said it before and I will say it again – Wheats MUST become the NEW Hickton – Mido McIlmoyle is already in place and receiving plenty of good service for Wheats’ “presence” to feed off – (Crads is not quite there yet, both physically and mentally)and…
    …I’m afraid my assessment of the rest of our 2007_08 strike force is:
    They’re ALL too lightweight and their goal scoring ratio is weak to say the least. Even Mido has a low goal scoring ratio – however, as a pair I really belive Wheats and Mido have the “strength” and potential to develop into a formidable strike force that could just kick start our season.
    What say you Gibbo? – have a word with GS – you know, you remember.

  15. Another abject performance.
    It is the end of the road for Boteng, if GS is to get the team to play with pace the the Boat has to go.
    GS will find out that his decision to buy strikers that can not score goals will come back to haunt him.
    It may be to late by January but he must buy a proven goalscore to play along side Mido.

  16. Mido need another QUALITY striker to form a partnership with NOW NEVEVERMIND JANUARY! Viduka has not been replaced and Gibbo will have to splash the cash.
    That poor performance was by the core of the team apart from Arca and maybe Aliadierre who is quick but has not got the finish .
    Against the better teams you only get a few chances in a match. Unfortunately it seems we need two dozen misses before anyone puts it between the sticks- what the hell is going on.
    Tevez and Rooney look awesome at the moment so the Man U game should be fun.
    I am gonna have to chuck me season ticket in clever Southgate’s face in order to wake Middlesboro football club up!

  17. Another worry on the striker front is that Mido will be off to Ghana for up to 3 weeks in January.
    Why does GS continue to pick players who are not fit.
    This can not be used as an excuse time and again.

  18. Southgate- stop being a martyr and ask Gibbo to dig deep for another striker and defensive midfielder.
    I would like Alfonso Alves to partner Mido and a Gareth Barry type to partner Arca in midfield.
    Its not Jan yet so bring into central midfield O’Neil for Boat and if Rocky is not going for it bring in Cattermole. Adam Johnson back from Watford to interchange wings with Downing [who needs resting!]
    This team still has not the class upfront to beat United but I would love to be proved wrong!
    Team v Man U;
    Swartz
    Young.Woodgate.Pogo/Weats.Taylor
    Johnson.O’Neil.Catermole.Downing
    Tuncay
    Mido

  19. AV
    So, your prediction was almost right and by tonight we could be in the bottom 3, which is about what our play deserves.
    I agree with Gate that now isn’t the time to be bringing in an out of contract striker. There will be reasons why they are out of contract.
    eddie – sorry, I don’t believe that the ‘Wheats is the new Hickton’ option does anything other than show our current stage of desperation.
    And the African Cup of nations means that we will have to cover the loss of Mido and Shawky in the New Year too.
    We can’t expect much more than to try to avoid a humiliation at ManUre next week but restoration of some pride and a performance or two wouldn’t go amiss.
    The November fixtures – Spurs at home, Bolton away and Villa at home are the key.
    If we can turn the corner and take 7 points from those, then we have a run of 6 games to the start of the window where, with one exception, if we were playing anything like we could amass a few points.
    If we don’t take 4 points from the first 2 then, in my view, the International break should be the time for drastic action – to either replace Gate and the coaching staff or bring in a Venables style interim to support them.
    That would give a new regime time to establish themselves in a series of games where we could do something and give them a chance to check out what we’ve got in preparation for the January window.
    If we don’t take action or turn it around who will come here in January? Take Alves who we were supposed to be after in the Summer. Citeh are now sniffing round – if you were him and not a Boro fan where would you go?
    Gate still has my support and I hope he turns it round but at present I see no signs of it – in fact we’re still getting worse.
    Just carrying on doing what we’re doing and hoping it gets better won’t cut it and some tough decisions have to be made and acted on both on and off the pitch.
    With sadness, I agree with Never Happy that The Boat should be dropped and the captaincy passed to either Woody if he gets his digit out or to O’Neil who is likely to offer the best on field example and comes without the baggage of previous dressing room allegiances.
    With what we have fit now I’d bring O’Neil inside one to replace The Boat in the engine room and play Tuncay wide right in the position he was most used to in Turkey.
    The necessary and pragmatic must come first, longer term aims on the way we play can be left for a little if the two are found to be incompatible – they may not be, done right.
    If 4-4-2 is the limit of our invention for now then lets stick with it and make it work in all areas of the pitch – not just the middle third – and ensure that the team and work ethic in delivering the basics right subsumes everything else.
    From ManUre onwards I’d go with Schwarz; Young, Woody, Riggs (Pogo when fit) and Tayls; Tuncay, O’Neil, Rocky (against my better judgement) and Stewie; Mido and Aliadiere up front. Subs: Turnbull, Wheats, The Boat/Catts, Shawky and Craddock.
    Let’s work on our fitness and drive, be compact and cohesive and attack and defend as a team. Let’s acknowledge that there are times in a game to be open and expressive and times to dig in and be able to recognise the difference.
    Lets learn to concentrate for 90 minutes and ensure that if we don’t score it means a draw not a defeat.

  20. The blog is quiet, I suspect there is an AV cracker on the way or National Apathy Week has been cancelled due to lack of interest.

  21. ” John Powls wrote…
    AV
    I agree with Gate that now isn’t the time to be bringing in an out of contract striker. There will be reasons why they are out of contract. ”
    Have we all forgotten ?????????????????
    Southgate pledge to plug gap in strike force
    Sep 24 2007 by Eric Paylor, Evening Gazette
    GARETH Southgate has spent the weekend compiling a list of non-contract strikers as he contemplates Boro’s sudden striker crisis.
    The Boro boss has been forced to scour the international market after injury wiped out three of his four front-line forwards.
    Only Dong-Gook Lee provides any kind of experience, yet the South Korwean hasn’t yet scored in the Premier League.
    Southgate was today still awaiting reports on the injuries to Tuncay and Mido, both of whom joined Jeremie Aliadiere on the injured list on Saturday.
    But, more pressing, was to try to discover which experienced strikers might currently be in between clubs, who could carry out a short term job for the club.
    Southgate’s other option is to pitch in the kids, though young strikers Tom Craddock and Ben Hutchinson have just eight minutes’ league experience between them.
    Southgate remained positive and focussed today, saying: “It’s incredible. At the start of the season, we had injuries to all our centre-halves – we have now got injuries to three of our four centre-forwards.
    “We are having a fair amount thrown at us at the moment, but we roll our sleeves up and we take on the challenge.
    “We might have to look at non-contract players, play people in different positions or change formations or give young players a chance………….
    TB

  22. Team against Man U
    Schwarzer
    McMahon
    Wheater
    Riggott
    Taylor
    Tuncay
    O’Neill
    Cattermole
    Downing
    Aliadiere
    Mido
    If Aliadiere is not fit then play 4 – 5 – 1 and bring Rochembach in as a holding midfielder. This may be the better option to start with, using Aliadiere as an impact player from the bench.

  23. John
    There are many similarities to the season when we brought in Venables and I was thinking of posting the same on the blog.
    Once Aliadiere is fit then we should bite the bullet with Boat and Rocky and just let Cat get on with it. A flexible midfield five of Cat, Oneill, Downing, Aliadiere and Tuncay would have the workrate and skill to cope and link up with Mido.
    If one of Boat or Rocky has to stay it must be Rocky, even though he gives the ball and free kicks away in equal measure he can play a pass. Boat can only be relied on to give away free kicks, the only telling pass he can make splits the centre of defence or slips in behind the defenders- ours. That would relegate one of Aliadiere or Tuncay to the bench.
    As for our upcoming matches before New Years Day and the transfer window we have
    Away – Manu, Bolton, Reading, Derby, Brum, Pompey
    Home – Spurs, Villa, Arsenal, Hammers.
    Those middle four away matches are classic no show away performances sandwiched between ManU who are looking good and Pompey where we always lose.
    The four home games look tricky as I fear Spurs are starting to run into form, Villa and Arsenal normally do well against us. I am struggling to see fifteen points out of that lot to get us into mid table.
    Until january we have what we have in terms of players so all that we change is what we are doing and how we are doing it. That is up to the coaches and the players. As the players remain constant it points to the need to freshen up the coaching side if things dont pick up.
    TB
    The injury question is a pet hate, of concern is the fact there doesnt APPEAR to be anything done about the situation. If someone has looked at it or there have been changes let us know.

  24. FAO – STEVE GIBSON
    Dear Mr Gibson
    I admire you for what you have done for us and for Teesside.
    Although i do not agree with you i admire you for having the courage of your convictions and for hiring gareth and coops.
    Although i do not agree with you i admire you for sticking to your guns and and sticking we gareth and coops.
    But be warned Mr Gibson. Should we get relegated because of the fact that you chose to hire these people and because you chose to subsequently back these people to the bitter end, should we get relegated i will be in the stands with a banner calling for you to go.
    I can tell you now that i may not be the majority view but i know for a fact that i will not be alone in calling for you to go.
    My advice to you would be to not stick with these people as there are obviously not yet up to the job and by the time they do learn it will all be too late.
    This is not your club, this is our club and dont you ever forget it.
    -tonymonaco

  25. AV, time to start a new blog about next 5 games or so. Hope everyone will be supporting newcastle tonight for once. Come on viduka!
    **AV writes: I’ll get back to you on that later tonight.

  26. ” Until january we have what we have in terms of players so all that we change is what we are doing and how we are doing it. That is up to the coaches and the players. As the players remain constant it points to the need to freshen up the coaching side if things dont pick up. ”
    ian – how long do we keep sg and coops for ?
    at what point would you join in the call for them to go ?
    what does this say about gibson’s judgement should we get relegated by sticking by them and by his insistence at sticking with the backroom team of people ?
    these are all of his doing.
    ian – you cant freshen up a barrel of rotten apples, all you can do is bin them and get some fresh ones in.
    tony monaco

  27. ten games till xmas,i think we will be lucky to get 5 points out of those 10 games.
    I’m sorry to say this but after saturdays effort (or lack of it) we look a totally dis-spirited outfit. We had two weeks to build up for the chelsea game and it looked like we were suffering from jet lag.
    Gareths been caught out, the way i see it we were only three players short of our strongest 11 they were arca, poggi and aliadiere. The squad just isnt good enough.
    Watched the mackems yesterday they looked better than us,times must be bad.

  28. Southgate is clearly in love with Boateng as there is no other valid reason why he is in the starting lineup.
    Boateng has been a great driving force in previous seasons but this time, in the words of Ian Curtis-
    Love will tear us apart

  29. After another inept performance against a decent team, with the champions on the horizon things ain’t looking too rosy.
    Am I the only person who remembers when Martin O’neill was interviewed for the job and was told ”no you can’t bring in your own backroom staff i want continuity at the club” by SG??
    when GS got the job he soon got rid of Mr clipboard (steve round) and Mr psychology (bill beswick).
    Did mClaren not get rid of mCqueen and anderson who were brought here by robson? So this continuity baloney is well and truly blown out of the water i think!
    So we are now at a crossroads, do we continue with our present management team? or do we get rid and get someone else? i think the latter.
    Hopefully SG will learn and not give the job to anyone who has never managed before like our last three managers.

  30. I’m not sure if people are over-reacting a bit by thinking we’re in crisis and calling for GS to be sacked.
    OK, we’ve only picked up 4 points from the last 6 games but did anybody expect points away to Man City, Everton and West Ham and beating chelsea is not the norm. Maybe we shouldn’t have dropped 2 points at home to Sunderland but that was more down to bad luck.
    Also we are now precisely 2 points from 12th place, which is where we finished last season – I can’t see us finishing above that these days without some serious investment.
    Games against Bolton, Derby and Reading are still to come so I not that surprised about our current points total.
    I’m giving GS until January to get back on track – If we’re in the bottom 3 at this point then it will be time for Gibson to steal Mogga from WBA.

  31. Firstly, the simple way to resolve being caught out when one of the full backs goes forward – the other one doesnt go forward, slips in one & effectively keeps 3 at the back whilst the other attacks. We dont need both going forward at the same time.
    People may not agree with this tactic but we need to stop conceding as if we dont concede we are guarenteed at least a point. When El Tel came the first thing he did was stiffen us up at the back. Thats what we need to do now.
    Secondly, drop boateng & rockemback as at the moment neither are doing anything for the team. Bring in Shawky & Cattermole. Shawky can hold whilst cattermole, downing and O’Neil get forward.
    Finally, stop playing 1 up front, packing our midfield has never worked and there have been times when we have played with 5 against 3 and still get out played.
    Play 2 up front even if you have to get keith Lamb a strip due to injuries, always play 2 as it will relieve the pressure and also can stop their defenders getting forward as have to think about 2 plays rather than one.
    Oh and one more thing – stop giving away stupid free kicks !!!

  32. “…I respect your opinion and understand why you would come to this conclusion, but in my opinion it’s a conclusion that is simply all to easy to parade out every time we hit these problems.”
    Cheers TB but…
    …isn’t anything worth a try? If we don’t try we will never know!
    At this stage, I really don’t think sacking GS and Coops is the answer.
    Only if the BLIP becomes a SLUMP do we need to question Gibbo’s choice of staff.
    Anyway, could we afford the services of someone like Sven? – I think not!

  33. Southgate will get it right. He needs support not kneejerk reaction. He has moved on unsettled players and bought good players who need time to gel.
    With Pogatetz back alongside Jonny “the Red” woodagate we’ll be solid so long as we ship Schwarzer out for Sorensen in January.

  34. Tonymonaco
    Reread the parts of my post you have quoted.
    We have very little scope to change the players before January. True or false? I will get my Harry Potter book of magical transfer window charms out but I wont find one to replace the rotten apples before January.
    It is up to the players and coaching team to turn things round. True or false? Firstly, I certainly cant do it for them, can you? Secondly, which part of freshening up the coaching staff dont you understand?
    Do you want me to write a detailed plan of who needs to come in and who needs to go out? Where is your master strategic plan with positions to be filled and the people to do it with?
    The very fact I have talked about the problems, the fact I talked about the impact of bringing Venables in when we did, hardly implies sometime in 2009.
    The fact I have highlighted the problems we are facing is hardly my recommending doing chuff all!
    Read the words in the post, dont just criticise my posting.

  35. Southgate is worrying.
    Everyone thought that Tuncay did so well against Man City when he came on – it was good to have someone up front with a good touch and some flair. So what does he do next game – sticks him out on the right and puts O’Neill in the middle – looked completely unbalanced.
    From what I could gather O’Neill was there to inject some energy and pace in midfield – because George and Roch haven’t got it. He worked hard and chased the ball – but he’s more effective on the right where in the first few games he seemed to be forming a partnership with Young.
    Why does Boro continue to do this? We bring in a forward and play them out of position – remember Macca, playing on the right. Give Tuncay a time up front – get a few games under his belt and he’ll be the goods.
    He’s a good link man with the midfield. And for god’s sake what is with Riggott? He looks slow and pondering (not dissimilar to Woody on Saturday). I’d have liked to see Wheater retain his place – he plays the ball out of defence with much more confidence than Riggot who is still in the mindset of whoofing it up the field – to who?
    Playing with one up front at home against anyone is just so negative. Southgate thought the team didn’t look confident on Saturday – not surprising given his lack of confidence in his selection: one forward, another out of position and an additional midfielder in the middle to cover for the stark inadequacies of his mate George – too slow, too accident prone – get rid!!

  36. As a manager you need certain fundamental skills, you need to be able to identify a good player and be brave enough to reward the best players with a place in the team/squad irrespective of their reputation background or history.
    You also need to know the difference between a good and acceptable performance and one that is systemically unhealthy. Its too simplistic to say that a defeat equals bad performance.
    You need to be calm when you are going through bad patch ,injury crisis or unlucky streak.
    I think the Boro have the basis of a very good midfield (Downing, Arca, ONeil , Another). They have very good defence (McMahon, Taylor, Woodgate, Pogatetz, Young, Wheater, Another)
    You have to question the forwards because they have not converted may chances and they have had quite a few, but there again the whole forward unit is new and needs some luck and some patience.
    It’s a team with many good footballers. Gareth needs to show some nerve but also needs to raise the expecations and introduce a fighting spirit and he should start by :
    Raising temperature and calling for the ref on Sunday give us a fair crack of the whip against the diving, swearing, whingeing, faking, smoking Manchester poseurs.
    Not asking for much really, maybe a penalty if we deserve one, just play the right amount of time even if the Boro are winning, possibly give is a goal even if the ball doesn’t go more than a yard across the goaline.
    I think Gareth should also appeal to the Prawn Sandwichers and ask them to stop giving standing ovations when a Man Utd Galactico (Ferdinand ?) passes the ball sideways to a co-worker. It’s embarrassing and reminds us how phoney football has become.
    I personally think it would help the cause if Gareth was to say that Fergie is too frightened to play that new chap “Anderson” because its clear he’s been ripped off to the tune of £18m.
    If Fergie is daft enough to play Anderson it might be worth moving ONeil into the middle where he is truly graceful and also use Cattermole.
    The clash between Cattermole and Anderson would be like a Weasel verus a Fat Rabbit. For those confused by the imagery of Cat, Mole, Weasel and Rabbit ( and who could blame you? ) ? I think the Boro boy would savage him. Anderson is slow and Cattermole lacks pity. Call me perverted but I’d like to watch that.

  37. There is not a cat in hell’s chance that Gibson will sack Southgate. We all know it. Gibson will NEVER admit that he is wrong. He will dig his heels in and if we end up in the Conference, then so be it.
    What worries me is that it seems that the players’ heads have dropped and that they have no confidence in Southgate. If he can’t motivate them and if they don’t want him to motivate them, then there is only one outcome – and that’s relegation.
    Honestly, the only way this football club can move forward is huge investment and a BOARD of directors to make the important decisions. Again, it won’t happen. Too late methinks!

  38. Well done Gareth, for leaving George on the bench…now you must go one further and put Downing in the ‘stiffs’for a few games,and while your at it take his scrap book away from him he is starting to believe it!!!
    Another performance like that one and he can forget his England days.The penalty area is no place to try ‘fancy dan’ stuff.Get the young lad back from the hornets ASAP,and tell the full backs thats what they are FULL BACKS.
    Finally, lost count of the number of times the final pass went to a Man U player.for me that was the most disappionting game of the season so far

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