Boro Booing Is The White Noise of Discontent

LEE CATTERMOLE is robust and tenacious, never scared to go flying in where he could come off worse and no one could question his passion. So his crunching throat-high tackle on the Boro boo-boys in his no-nonsense post-match interview on BBC Tees after Saturday’s 1-1 Riverside draw with Spurs was par for the course for the youngster.
Of course, critics may call that rash, as they do with some of his challenges on the pitch. It is never wise to take a pop at the supporters as even the most well intentioned statements have the potential to inflame terrace politicians adept at scoring points and turning words into weapons. Even the well crafted arguments of wily Keith Lamb about the relative economic status of season ticket holders and casual fans earlier this season – logical in themselves – caused a furious backlash so a relative media novice with a microphone shoved under his nose with the adrenaline still pumping is always going to be a hostage to fortune.
But in his short impassioned outburst the Stockton-born midfield terrier pointed squarely to a contentious and divisive issue that goes right to the heart of the cultural conflict deep within a Boro crowd that is frustrated, angry and increasingly divided against itself.

“I thought the fans were out of order,â€? he said ten minutes after the whistle. “We were all working hard out there, running our bollocks off for the full 90 minutes. If people are going to boo then they may as well stay at home.â€?
No one else would have got away with that statement but the popular Teessider who had put in an unquestioned shift. Cattermole has shed blood and tears for Boro and gives it his all in every match. No one would ever accuse him of hiding. Had Mark Schwarzer, Fabio Rochemback or Lee Dong Gook said it there would have been an ugly mob with torches and pitchforks forming before the provocateur could get his Baby Bentley out of the car park.
Immediately Teessiders took sides over what Cattermole had said. Not that it was an original insight, more that it gave a new platform to refight old philosophical battles with the urgency that the pressure at the bottom of the table brings.
On one hand there are those who backed his stance over fans who barrack their own players, insisting it can only undermine already fragile morale and the precious unity between team and crowd that is a key ingredient in building up the momentum neccessary to sustained success.
On the other are those who saw his outburst as a insult to the people who pay his wages, a public rubbing of salt into the wounds as they trudged away cursing an under-performing team that is paid lavishly to entertain them, or at least put up a scrap. They were fuming that having shown their own passion they were told to shut up or stay at home by one of the well paid professionals that chairman Steve Gibson said last week should think about those doing gruelling 14 hour shifts before complaining about the downs of their lifestyles.
Just as battle lines are being drawn against a background of an impending campaign against relegation – and an incipient one against the boss – Cattermole has pointed to the great divide between the ra-ra element who believe the role of the crowd is to give unstinting support, especially when the chips are down, and the chicken-runners, who will go along with that when the team is riding high but when the things are sticky see their duty to point out the flaws and urge the powers that be to act quickly to correct them.
Those factions are two sides of the same coin and deeply ingrained in the Teesside football psyche going back generations, a unity of conflicting opposites that makes a crowd a dynamic and powerful entity – and one that is hard to control.
Let me outline my position. I’m not a boo boy. A cynical, gallows humour grumbler maybe, and a vocal critic when need be, but not a boo boy. If a player is having a nightmare he will not dramatically improve just because angry strangers are hurling abuse, no matter how much a week he is paid.
But while I can’t see a positive reaction to booing, I can see a possible negative one. If an individual is struggling it is hardly likely to aid concentration or form if he is booed throughout by his own fans. Some have even been jeered in the warm-up before now, or as they came off the bench. How exactly does that motivate? Booing will not motivate in this game, will possibly knock his confidence in the next and in the long run could even hasten his departure amid muttering about an ungrateful and unreasonable crowd and, worst, could dissuade others from signing for Boro in the future. Especially if the word in the interconnected text message gossip that is football’s cloistered little village is that Boro are a crowd of moaning gets.
The corrosive effect can infect teams a well as individuals too and playing at home can become a daunting task to such an extent that any home advantage is negated. A fear factor can grow as players become nervous at the prospect of making a mistake in front of a mob looking for blood and an excuse to legitimise this week’s witch-hunt.
That said it must be recognised that not everyone sees it the same way. There are those whose first instinct when their team or club is in trouble or are under-performing is to boo and they have every right to do so. No one would realistically deny that. Even the players accept it.
Chris Riggott was asked about the booing just as Cattermole had and responded: “I won’t criticise the fans. They have every right to say what they feel. It’s only their way of showing the frustration that we all feel at times. And at least those fans making the noise are turning up for the game. They show commitment, and whether they boo or jeer, we know they want us to do well. And it cuts both ways. We have to perform well to lift them.â€?
That response was in today’s Gazette and it was suggested by some cynics that it was a PR spin job, aimed to counter any negative effect of Cattermole’s comments but in fact they were made almost simultaneously elsewhere in the post match tunnel press debriefing. What it reflects as much as anything is that the basic difference in attitude extends into the changies.
It is recognised by all that booing is part and parcel of the established terrace tradition that the paying punter can express dissatisfaction at the fare on offer if they so choose and part of the popularity of the game is derived from its ability to allow fans to express every conceivable frustration at the grind of daily life. And it is a rite of passage for young working class lads to berate this year’s scapegoat in colourful and amusing fashion. It is part of what fans do.
Ideally though it should be reserved for the real stinkers. Overuse devalues it’s impact. And let’s be honest, Boro fans of any seniority will have seen far worse performances over the years – or even this season – and in truth a rot-stopping draw against a side most pundits insist will finish in the top half is not a disaster.
But it has gone beyond booing individual displays now. Booing is now an endemic part of the game that reflects a wider frustration and alienation among supporters at the way football as a whole is going and with a growing discontent at wider events at the Boro.
Fans are angry at prices and wages, especially when displays fall short of those the tariff suggests. They are angry at the failure of the club to progress since Eindhoven – indeed some fear the whole process has been slammed into reverse.
They are angry at the weakness in key areas of the squad after big names have left. At a failure to compete. At losing the white band and losing their soulmates at Century. At the soulless atmosphere in the stadium, at overly officious stewarding, at poor PR.
They are angry at things that happened in previous games, for instance at Downing trying to pull off a suicidal Cruyff turn in his own box at Old Trafford, and have nursed the grievance over a week of brooding and gone into games waiting for a chance to discharge that frustration.
They are angry at being expected to be being happy with a point after five defeats on the bounce, at the prospect of a season of unremitting grind around the drop zone having been promised entertaining football and at the growing gulf between the club and the supporters.
And worse still, they are angry that they are tied into it through the season ticket. In the past the discontented would just not go the following week, they would carry out an impromptu boycott for a few games to make their protest. Now, for most, such a protest would only hit themselves in the pocket, not the club – so they stay and make their protest verbally, or sit and simmer in stony silence at long standing resentments that help magnify every minor blip into a crisis and every poor display into ‘the worst ever’. The entire workings of the club are now viewed by a significant and vocal faction through a damning prism of barely contained anger.
And in the modern game there is much for alienated fans to protest about in the background and with Boro’s current malaise there is a complex mosaic of minor moans in the foreground too that the dissent is a drawn out symphony of white noise with peaks and troughs of anger that map the external political events as much as bad results.
That is the background. For the club the danger comes when the boo-boys start to win the day the debates in pubs and clubs, on the phone-ins and message boards and when the overtly vocal dissent reaches an over-critical mass. Then it takes on a life of its own. When a team loses the crowd a slump inevitably follows and the manager’s job prospects look bleak.
We are not at that stage yet. Although opinion is quickly becoming polarised it is not yet like the final 18 months of Bryan Robson or Steve McClaren when booing was endemic and even the beleaguered optimists could barely bring themselves to oppose it, nor in the last days of embattled Lennie Lawrence when there was fisticuffs between rival factions on the Holgate.
But time is running out fast to halt the slide, head off a fans revolt and get the season and the entire project back on track. The players must not be drawn into a conflict with fans, no matter how well intentioned. They must give the fans something to cheer.


75 thoughts on “Boro Booing Is The White Noise of Discontent

  1. Catts comment throws up a regular dichotomy. He is right that booing isn’t helping and that the negativity will only cause more problems than it solves,but how does the average fan let the team and manager know we are not satisfied with what we are spending our hard earned money on?
    I think there is a point being missed here though. AV you mention discontented fans leaving the stadium. For one reaason or another boro fans have been discontented for a long time. The last time I recall any contentment was when we were doing well under Robbo.
    Once upon a time we were pleased to walk out of Ayresome with three points, any three points mind you, a scrappy flukey 1-0 over Grimsby would have satisfied, even if the football was poor.
    And older fans than I who well remember the boring boring Boro tag given to Jack C’s team will tell you they went for love, not entertainment, although if you got a bit of that too all was well on the Boro home front.
    We are living with the effects of the Riverside revolution, with expectancy greater than we should have. When SMc was winning with a defensive team and getting us to Eindhoven we complained about boring football. Now we are not winning, but looking more attractive, we are complaining again.
    Robbo’s season of Samba football ended in an ignominious treble that none of us could really beleive, but lets be fair, there were a few stinkers in the pot as well as some oustanding games that season.
    Facing facts the average Boro fan is as fickle as it is possible to be. Sorry boys but we are. And nothing seems to please, but in this halcyon age for footballers where they are earning a fortune and the average punter on Teesside is well under the national average for wages.
    Its really not advisable to go biting the hand that feeds you Mr Cattermole, although the debate is, as postulated by Mr Lamb, whether the fan actually feeds the player anymore, the suits from Sky do that I guess.
    The club needs to re-connect with the fan base, for too long they have been chasing the alleged middle class influx so well captured by the nineties rise of Sky football.
    Middlesbrough does not have that level of affluence, lets get back to dad’s bringing along the kids as affordable entertainment on a saturday afternoon, lets sell the shirt nation, nay, world wide…all of these cosy little ways of bringing cash into the club are fine( boro brick road etc) but lets not foget where its at.
    We are a local club, a “small town in Europe”, as the saying went. Lets live up to it and not try and be something we are not. Ok so the frenzy might be over for the big names, lets make shrewd signings dramatic ones, Junihno was shrewd, Boksic was not… we all know how it goes.
    Lets get behind the Boro and cheer every last little bit that we can, but boys I am sorry when you are playing badly and getting beaten on a regular basis, your pay packet should be enough balm for your damaged ego, get out there and show us why we shoudn’t express our feelings rather than just telling us not to turn up.
    In days of minimum season ticket sales, you would have been facing an empty stadium the following week. Try motivating yourself then !!

  2. Werdermouth – Hopefully SG will release some of the TV money that will be paid to the club at the end of the season to the manager in January.
    If he retains GS then the shoestring budget may continue.
    If we get a new manager then any worth his salt will not take on the job without the gaurantee of funds in January.
    I think Reading will survive but I still think Bolton, Fulham, Birmingham, Sunderland, Boro and Wigan will be scrapping for survival.
    One more thing, unless a club decide to pay over the top wages, what top player will sign for any of the clubs above with the prospect of Championship football on the horizon.

  3. Gibbo hasn’t got a top quality manager in place because he would have to guarantee the bloke spending power to build the squad up.
    Southgate was a discount and so happy that he can’t complain about the release of funds to the man who is giving him such a chance.
    Southgate never while captain got consistency out of his team so what will change now hes manager?
    Well, now his new signings are playing regularly – O’Neil, Tuncay,Young,Aladiere are starting to play for him [and Arca before injury] – except Dong Gook ,nobody’s perfect.
    Rochemback is improving too.
    If he had been funded to buy one or two proven strikers with goal credentials to boost the squad at the start of the season then you never know.
    The moment Schwartzer started trying to negotiate a wage increase with his agent using the press is the time we should have bought a better keeper.

  4. Never Happy, It’s always going to be difficult get any decent players in the January transfer window – it’s bad enough in the summer.
    Though since clubs rarely give up their best players – one possibility would involve doing a swap deal – so with Johnson coming back from Watford would you swap Downing for Defoe? It may take a tough call like that to keep us up.

  5. hello Werdermouth,
    Downing is not on top form at the mo due to never being rested and booed by the England fans.The answer is bring back Johnson to ad to the squad as we have no quality on the bench even.
    Jol is no longer at spurs so Downing may no longer be on the hit list for Ramos.
    Also selling Downing[ one of our England internationals sends out a negative message to the rest of the squad and any potential future signings .
    I too would like to see Defoe at the Riverside and it could be possible if Ramos brings in Freddy Kanoute or another striker.
    I would be happy with Defoe, Bent, Keane or Berbatov . The price might be an issue with Gibbo and will any of them want to come play for the boro.
    Allegedly someone’s wife doesnt want to leave London for a northern club as the shopping is no good!!! We have a pet shop and everything so what’s all that about?

  6. Werdermouth your Downing for Defoe (or Keane or even Bent or the sulky Berbatov) might be our only way out.
    We have a replacement in Jinky and whilst not the ideal scenario to lose Downing its not about SG releasing funds its about bartering. Other clubs won’t want to sell a decent striker but they may be tempted to sell their soul for Downing!
    Other alternatives are straight cash for Anelka (my preferred option) or to revisit Beattie who seems to be Robbo’s only hope at the minute.
    A striker with proven ability is a priority, I think that any of Mido, Tuncay or Aliadiere would suffice with Anelka alongside them in fact I think they would prosper.
    That then only leaves the guy between the sticks and I would like Cudicini but doubt we could pull it off. I don’t think Sorenson or Jaaskeleinen would offer us any more than Schwarzer but we may need to take a very short term view and can’t afford to be too choosy so don’t be surprised if we pull off a last minute deal for Maik Taylor.
    With Arca back after Xmas to pull the strings (and in fairness Downing hasn’t looked the same player since Julio got crocked) and Mad Dog nearly there we could see an amazing turnaround in the 2nd half of the season if we could break the bank for Anelka.

  7. In order to draw a line under the “to Boo or not to Boo” debate how about instead of Booing we chant in unison “You’ll never take our Parmo’s” in a Braveheart type display of unified defiance. It will reflect a deal of despair but also strike a positive note of Teessiders United!
    Added to which the Opposition won’t have a flippin clue what the hell we are singing about, so how’s that? – despair, unity and defiance (not to mention causing confusion with the other side) all in one. Not quite as good as STIE but when needs must! Perhaps the West Stand can lead the chant (said with tongue firmly in cheek).
    It could be alternated with “Fresh air, we’ll never breathe fresh air, we’ll never breathe fresh air, we’ll never breathe fresh air” ….nowt like takin the rise out of ourselves.

  8. Red, I was thinking about the Beattie option earlier this week. It is well known that real quality seldom becomes available in the ‘window’ so those hoping for a wave of the wand to solve our problems may well be disappointed.
    This leads us to consider other options such as lower league strikers. I saw a lot of Beattie playing at Southampton and he was excellent each week. Big, strong aggressive, work his socks off, can shoot from any distance, good in the air. Went to Everton and didn’t do it.
    But he seems to have his confidence back and we are short of a big man (and the rest) as Mido’s pie rich diet seems to be affecting him now. Of course I want a world class striker but now that Beattie has his confidence back, I seriously think he might be worth a punt.
    Remember Kevin Davies at Blackburn; he couldn’t kick a fat bottom! Moves to Bolton and looks a really good player. Just a thought.

  9. Whilst we are debating who we want to come in January, getting shot or not of Downing and who will replace Gate if it happens there are some other points to consider.
    Read Jeff winter on Comeonboro, he likens Mido to Boksicknote. It may be tittle tattle but we have a slight problem up front, we are toothless. We are pinning our hopes on Mido coming back and he isnt fit yet.
    No matter that we have defenders coming back because most teams are likely to concede a goal in a match, clean sheets are relatively rare. We need to score goals because the odd draw will do us no favours whatsoever.
    Assume Mido is back for Villa (that isnt certain and he may break down again) he will be off in January so we need more strike power. We will have played 20 premiership matches by then. Our problem is now and up to Christmas or we will be adrift.
    Will we have a proven goal scorer fit and in place for 1st Jan? It is unlikely.
    We will have one for 31st Jan because no one is going to sell anyone who has been knocking in goals, nor will they loan them out. It is likely to be fringe players coming for their clubs or their own benefit. Even if we get someone in it is likely to take time to get them match fit and bedded in.
    We must face up to the fact it is our current squad who will have to dig us out of our current predicament. We do not want to be playing catch up for the second part of the season. And that must start at Bolton, somehow we need points.

  10. Steady on Mr Gill, do you think it’s wise to encourage our players to undertake any digging – they’re almost certain to put their backs out and join Mido in the physio’s room.
    In fact I’m surprised that the Physio isn’t booed when he runs onto the pitch.
    Anyway, regarding our problem scoring goals with our 5th choice north london outfit (Mido and Ali) – the good news is that we’ll soon be able to throw Huth and Wheater up-front for the last 20 minutes.

  11. Phil of Warrenby (sounds like something out of Robin Hood !)
    The comparison of Downing with Robben and Ronaldo was aimed at illustrating that not all players are tough tackling ‘hard knocks’ and that you ought to understand and accept that.
    Clearly Stewart Downing is not as good as Ronaldo and Henry – if he was he wouldn’t playing in front of the you every other week.
    He is courageous, not the phoney courage that appeals to the idiots but genuine courage in attempting to do the right thing in footballing terms irresepective of what the baboons shout.
    Only the ‘jaundiced’ would deny that he’s a great footballer. He may not be playing well but, (just to annoy you), Zidane, Ronaldhino, Figo went through periods of poor form. All players do or havent you noticed ?
    If he chooses to leave, the team will suffer and we will regret it. Personally I’d be pleased for him, he’s a great player who deserves more in the footballing sense than having to play in front of such ‘connoisseurs’ as ‘Warrenby Phil’

  12. A great selection of comments, and all from the same source – loyal and frustrated fans.
    Somethings got to give now, weve been here before, the booing will get louder and gather pace, T shirts proclaiming “Cattermole for sunderland” are already available.
    I for one dont think its the manager, it will be an unpopular view but I believe Shwarzy and Downing neeed to move on to pastures new. They both excude the belief that they are bigger than the club. Downing being one of the most over-rated players of recent times. How can Adam Johnson still be out on loan when he offers the team so much more, and is technically a much greater player?
    And Im afraid I have joined the growing number who believe Gibson has done all he can and is now holding the club back. I had never heard any discontent from my fellow north stand fans towards gibson untill this season, and its growing by the week
    Its time for change and a new chapter to unfold, and this time lets hope its not yet another re-write of our ever repeating history. After 25 years I am inclined to give up my season ticket next year and pay as I go, thats the only method I have of showing the club they are failing me as a fan.
    And it hurts me to even think that way.

  13. Lead story on the website
    ‘GARETH Southgate wants his team to climb out of trouble and to the brink of the Premier League top 10 by Christmas.’
    Admirable sentiments and we all agree, now go and do it.

  14. A snippet from GSs interview in tonights paper
    “We felt there was a game to try and win against Tottenham but I think a little bit of fear took over at times towards the end”
    Well GS please tell me how you did your bit to allay those fears by bringing on DGL?
    How does the introduction of the ‘goalless one’ spread confidence through the team or crowd?

  15. Never mind the booing, what about this pearler from your local rag — “GARETH Southgate wants his team to climb out of trouble and to the brink of the Premier League top 10 by Christmas.”
    Hahahaha, thats made my day that has, it seems like the polluted smoggie air is now polluting Gareths once clear but now seemingly seriously muddled head.

  16. I think what Lee Cattermole came out and said was spot on! It shows what the club means to him and he is just protecting his team mates at the end of the day!
    All these people saying that he should appolgies or he should be fined are probably the people who Boo from min 1 to min 90!
    Yes things are bad at the moment and yes if it keeps going like this for much longer then changes will have to be made, however im 100 percent sure that getting behind the team for 90 mins is going to motivate an already short on confidence team rather than booing everytime a ceratin player touches the ball.
    Im not saying never Boo we have had some awful performances and the only way to vent our anger is to do just that, but booing players when they have their name read out, or when they take to the pitch just seems to beggar beleif when we are hoping these players are going to influence the game.
    I always remember the treatment Stewy Ripley used to get in the late 80’s early 90’s the lad was booed from start to finish, all of a sudden he scored a few goal did what everyone knew he could do and became a hero!!
    Thats all it takes sometimes but if you knock a player down to much they may never recover from it! I can see this happening to Downing already with a certain section of the fans, I keep hearing people saying if we can get such and such amount of money for him let him go, why?
    Who would we buy, who would want to join a team where if you having a bad time expect to be booed whilst warming up its just not going to happen!!
    Get behind the lad, cheer every corner he takes give him a round of applause when he sprays one of those 50 yard balls across field, give the lad his confidence back and lets just se what it does for him!!!
    Oh yeah last point, Adam Johnson is playing in the Championship against Scunthorpe etc, its all well and good saying bring him back but could he do it against Arsenal??
    Im not saying he couldnt and Im definatly not saying he isnt a player the boy looks like a fantastic prospect but dont think everything will be solved by bringing AJ back for the last half of the season, 1 whole season in the Champ might be just what he needs and we might just benefit from it!!!

  17. Wonder if Cattermole and co think of how much money the fans spend each year following boro up and down the country and sometimes abroad.
    Think they are too busy dreaming about their next new car and day off. The players don’t give a damn about the fans and players think they are to be teated like royalty.

  18. Werdermouth and Johm Powls
    Whether our lads are in a hole of their own making, it isnt one created by our public utilities which stays open for months.
    This is very much a job and finish hole and there are plenty around who will happily fill it with us at the bottom.

  19. We now have several fit centre backs avaiable for selection, our only notable absentees are Arca and Mido, so its get stuck in time.
    No more excuses, we need 100% commitment, no daft mistakes and a couple of goals from Tuncay & Aliadiere will do nicely. That way the hole will get filled in quickly.
    The trick of course is to be out of the hole before the filling starts!
    Bolton’s result last night will be a boost for them, so Sunday will be a tough one. I’ll be happy with a point, three will be cause for a minor celebration.
    Diablo Derek, I’m curious you read the Gazette, you read and post on this blog, so effectively despite alluding to living in Darlington and supporting Man Utd & Bury, you actually follow the Boro – why?

  20. Brucie
    Sell Downing has been a regular topic and is seen as a panacea for all our ills.
    Booing affects everyone and gets us into a downward spiral. The problem has been created by the club and it is up to them to lift the crowd and get us back on track.
    The current scenario will only devalue the players. What if we sell Downing for 8 million to keep the boo boys happy? We could buy 1.3 Huths for that, two Michael Ricketts or a whole Maccarone.
    He is also our top goal scorer having scored a total of three which matches the number of goals scored by Mido, O’Neill, Aliadiere, Tuncay and Dong Goal Less.
    Is he playing well, no. What is he doing wrong?
    He isnt beating his man regularly to cross to the striker we havent got, maybe he should be on the end of his own crosses.
    He isnt covering Luke Young when he goes forward right side of the pitch.
    He isnt trapping the ball played ten yards behind him by Boat.
    He is getting out of postion because the muppet expects the ball to be played to him or for him to run onto.
    In simple terms he is playing badly like the rest of the team but like the rest I dont think he isnt trying. The fact we may have to consider is that we are in the part of the table where we deserve to be. We may also have to consider (and I say may deliberately because a bit of luck and confidence can work wonders) we arent as good as we think.
    I dont agree with all that Wenger says but he is of the view that you arent as good or as bad as the papers say you are.
    Sunday is another day and a chance to pick up some points but it wont be easy.

  21. The simple solution to solving any problem on the left wing is to recall Johnson.
    Then if Downing is having an off day he can be replaced.

  22. Sell Downing?! Great idea, lets off load our top goal scorer, most potent attacking threat and a player who is an England squad regular? For what reason?
    Because he’s an easy target for the boo boys/…brilliant plan, god help us all.

  23. Brucie1986 your point of view regarding Booing is spot on.
    However your view on Adam Johnson is a view that if you were manager would send us down in place of Watford!
    I think you will find Watford , Charlton, West Brom and Wolves are competative and dont lie down when you play them at home even if they are championship sides.
    Equally we are not playing Arsenal 38 games a season.
    Take the last 2 games for example [ Man U and Spurs] Fact is we competed well for a good hour. This is not a coincidence ! It is when substitutions are being made to protect Aladierre etc.
    Now instead of bringing on Dong Gook or Boateng as we have no bench we could put Adam Johnson a local lad in a Boro shirt and keep the level of form going.
    Wake up man we are already sliding backwards and measures need to be taken immediately ! [transfer window accepted ] We could be pushing on in the last half hour and keep the impetus going especially at home.
    Then the fans might stop booing.
    I could be wrong of course and would love the Gookster to come on and break from his shackles and lead us to VICTORY in a Stewy Ripley style.

  24. Nigel I don’t think any us want to sell Downing but the situation we now find ourselves in is dire and if we don’t at least get a draw on Sunday it’s about to become desperate. Either way we need to sign a proven striker.
    Even if the funds are available and recent policies would indicate that despite the Yaks sale the money received may not be there to invest in playing staff come January.
    We have the problem of financing a proven striker and an even bigger one of attracting one and the only likely solution there is by waving a big fat Viduka style contract at them.
    If we don’t start scoring then we are dead men walking, staring at the Championship next season and consequently Stewy leaving in the summer anyway.
    With Stewy we have a low cost replacement in Jinky (admitedly a gamble despite his rave reviews at Watford) and a bargaining chip to persuade another club to offload a spare striker. Ideally we could keep Stewy, bring Jinky back and sign a top class striker, but fairytales rarely happen in the real world and we have to face reality.
    Who else do we have in our squad to prise/persuade a striker away from another club, Chris Riggot, DGL, Boateng, Woodgate? The important point here is not selling Downing but swapping him or part/exing him, I think the cash would be of little use to us in signing a striker unless we paid well over the odds.
    Something has to change and there is no such thing as a free ride.

  25. One more comment on the booing, never mind the who should go and why.
    I would like some of our overpaid glory boys to have a word with some of those who experienced the chicken run in its full glory.
    Perhaps Downing, Catts, Schwarz etc, should be getting a call from messrs Ripley, Cochrane, Ashcroft, Foggon et al.
    Sorry boys but the lightweight booing you are getting is nothing to the merciless tirade dished out in days of yore. I think our modern stars have been cosseted by the “family atmosphere” at the Riverside as oppose to the vitriolic passion often unleashed at Ayresome.
    I am not saying its helpful to boo the team and its certainly not in my armoury (I prefer sulking in stony silence) but come on get a grip and do something about it, if you want to improve the atmosphere around you grab the game by the scruff. You will soon turn the jeers to cheers.
    Maybe after the battling performance at the weekend that message has got through.
    C’mon Boro.

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