Boro Hit Rock Bottom At Baggies

OH DEAR. That was demoralising. Not just the scale of the defeat and the impact on the political and psychological landscape of Teesside. Also the manner of the defeat.
West Brom looked fitter, faster, stronger and hungrier for the victory that was hugely important for both sides. They were organised, motivated and up for it. Boro were overwhelmed by the Baggies intensity and desire and that is deeply worrying.


Boro were shapeless. Downing in the middle was a mess. With two non-specialist flankers on the wings drifting inside there was no outlet down either side when Boro’s full-backs got the ball, preventing effective quick counters and forcing play into the congested middle where West Brom were first to the ball every time – especially after Digard, one of the few better performers, had been pedalled.
A further layer of tactical confusion was created by playing three player up-front with a tendency to wander. Downing was given the free role in the middle but Tuncay is by nature a wandering star while Alves also drifts out wide in order to cut in onto balls and shoot. But with the three of them in flux, whenever Boro got the ball at the back they looked up and there was no obvious out ball, no invitation to knock a ball down the channels or over the top because there was so often no-one there.
Southgate switched Tuncay and Downing after half an hour to try to rectify the situation but the game was gone by then. West Brom had the bit between their teeth – and the lead – and Boro were already engaged in damage limitation.
West Brom in contrast were knocking balls over the top for speedy Simpson and Fortune to burst onto or playing it out wide where they knew Brunt and Koren would be. It is indeed a simple game.
Boro were a mess in every area of the pitch. Alves missed four or five glorious chances – point blank headers, a close range effort and a one on one inside the box – and once again was the only real striking option. Where are the free-flowing breaking bodies from midfield? Where is Tuncay? Has he been kidnapped and replaced by a replicant with the footballing skills of Phil Whelan? And what of Gary O’Neil? Rarely can a player have had so little an impact on a game. And Shawky? Stewie, if anything, was trying too hard.
At the back once again Ross Turnbull prevented a defeat becoming an embarrassment but he was left exposed time and time again as West Brom’s strikers simply burst past a static back line. They could not cope with the pace of the front two nor the movement of Albion’s wide players. And even the simple tasks – hoofing the ball clear when under pressure – were sloppily executed with clearances falling at an opposition player’s feet 30 yards out almost every time.
After the game the gaffer tried to suggest that the scoreline wasn’t a reflection of the game and that Boro had chances, and that is true, they did. But they were also systematically monstered by a fired-up team that sniffed weakness and ruthlessly exploited it. If Southgate can argue that Boro should or could have had three goals then Mogga could respond by saying his side could or should have had six.
Yes, you can point to the goal being scored from the first phase, second phase grey area in the offside rules but it was a weak defensive header in the first place, no midfielder had tracked back with Brunt and besides, with 86 minutes to go there was plenty of time to retrieve the game.
Boro clearly need reinforcements in every department. Both the Baggies new strikers Simpson and Fortune would walk into Boro’s side on current form and both arrived on loan, one from Arsenal, one of the clubs we have good links with and a lot of recent traffic with. Why wasn’t he spotted and brought in?
West Brom fans started to chant “you’re getting sacked in the morning” after the second goal and some Boro fans joined in. We may not be at that point – Steve Gibson’s history suggests he has the sticking power to resist that kind of punter pressure – but the season is clearly at crisis point.
“It couldn’t get much worse,” admitted Southgate after the game. But the fear is that it actually could. Boro were kept out of the bottom three because of two late Chelsea goals but we can’t rely on other team’s results to salvage us every week. At some point we have to take control of our own destiny. No win in ten, turned over by the rock bottom team, few options left in a thin and fragile squad… where to from here?
******
And here’s this week’s Big Picture column in which I argue that Boro are down but not out. There is a long way to go and it is time to knuckle down, unite behind the cause and and start scrapping.

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147 thoughts on “Boro Hit Rock Bottom At Baggies

  1. More transfer-titilation for you: the Mail (alright, I might as well just make something up myself) are reporting that Mido is being hawked around to anyone listening with a price sticker saying “£4m O.V.N.O” stuck on his head.
    Apparently, we’re goiing to use that cash to improve our Ben Watson bid to £1.5m and then wave £2.5m at Villa for Harewood. 2 for the price of one so to speak.
    Can’t say I would disagree if that turned out to be true. Mind you, there’s probably more chance of me becoming the next Boro manager…

  2. Yo Bugrit!
    Remember a couple of years back and we were united in our condemnation of a certain “undermining insider”? Surely the same principles apply here and now?
    AV’s “Keepin’ the Faith” article, in a way, is like Gareth Southgate – open, honest, reflective and factual. OK, so the circumstances may not inspire a great degree of EXPECTATION, but the facts provide some present solice to those of us who haven’t yet given up all HOPE.
    Surely, and especially you old mate, given our shared forum stance against the Merchant of Doom, can’t take exception to the benevolent intent, the sentiment AND the facts as stated in Vic’s article?
    Sure, we’ve all had a sickener these past few weeks, but now’s the time for all who want a Boro-favourable outcome to be uniting and not adopting destructive factional positioning? At the risk of sounding fawning (but I’m not!), AV’s article was an excellent summary of where we’re at.
    The problem we have is that, directionally, the results and the mood have been down for a while and while most of us would have EXPECTED some light to be emanating from the end of the tunnel in the last couple of matches aganist Sunderland and WBA, we still seem to be plunging into darkness.
    Moods can change rapidly – we just need a little encouragement. All AV has done for the benefit of those of us with HOPE, is point out that the track is still open and Boro are still on the rails.

  3. The results of the Gazettelive poll figures state that 61% of Boro fans do not support Gareth Southgate which is quite understandable given the circumstances.
    However, to make any complaint against Steve Gibson is beyond belief after what he has done for both the football club and the region. He gave us the Premiership and many magical occasions that would still be a pipe dream if it wasn’t for his unwavering devotion that has crowned so many years.
    He also gave the manager many millions to buy a striker who is at the heart of this decline. Alves has had enough goal scoring chances to have entered double figures from tap in’s. Even Gareth Southgate would have scored the majority of headers Alves has missed by a wide mile. He’s been utterly useless which is putting it mildy, but it points the finger at the main culprit.
    There are plenty of games left for the Boro to move into the comfort zone. However, what good is the appointment of another manager going to bring, if Alves stays consistent? I hope Gareth Southgate remains in charge and it soon blows over with the right results.

  4. There is an interesting split of opinions.
    There are those who say dont panic and those who say panic early to avoid the rush. The vast majority are in the middle and mightily concerned.
    We are on the crest of a slump and make no mistake about it. I think I posted earlier we may need 6 wins and a couple of drwas to stay up but we may need 40+. Those figures are academic if we dont start winning soon.
    Very early on the thread I talked about the cyclical nature of life for medium sized clubs. Most go into some sort of a slide and take a long time to recover – Leeds, Leicester. Others bounce back and restablish themselves – West Ham. Some YoYo – Derby, Baggies. Others avoid the drop and go on to better things – Bolton under Sam. Even some of the bigger clubs flirt with the trapdoor – Everton, Toon, Villa.
    Gravity plays its part and we are like Tom the cat where our claws are tearing into the metal as we slide down the side.
    People ask what happened to the legacy of Eindhoven? This is it as the club rebuilds an ageing, top heavy, highly paid squad. That season saw our league form collapse and it hasnt recovered as the club moves to Gibsons new, slimline model for MFC.
    Shouting sack the manager during matches is not the way forward but it is reasonable to use this medium to pose all these questions that we play station managers would like answering or see evidence that they had been addressed.
    We dont know what goes on at MFC and can only use the evidence of our own eyes. Debate on this board is fine but once at the ground the focus should be on getting behind the team.
    Will gate be sacked? Unlikely. Will he walk? Not yet. Will we go down? In with a chance but also an opportunity for some heroes. Doing nothing and hoping it comes good isnt an option, I will go and read AV’s piece now.

  5. Anyone is allowed to criticise the Chairman, I just don’t think the level of criticism was justified. The fact remains that Middlesbrough Football Club is owned by Steve Gibson. I am not fully aware of it’s legal status but I understand that it’s a Limited Company. Steve Gibson along with the Shareholders can do what they want within the limits of the law. You can hate that statement, but it’s true.
    All the fans are stakeholders in that business, but we don’t own it in the sense of shareholding or it being a sporting club like Barcelona, we own it in the same we that we used to put into the tills of Woolies, they are institutions. The problem is that when you stop spending money there, they fail….
    Gibson as an owner & guardian of MFC has been exceptional, Period! My point is that it us the fans that have let the club down….not Gibbo letting us down. He has more to lose than anyone else, more money than most of us could dream of.
    Southgate was given a mandate by Gibson to refresh the squad, trim the wages to match the income…..that’s determined by us the fans. It might take a little time to implement but Boro could be the model that most smaller clubs follow, Healthy Academy, Re-Generated Fan Base including young fans with realistic pricing. It might even become a business that makes money!
    If Boro are struggling with finances then a hell of a lot of other clubs will be as well. Whatever happens I think that we’ll be stronger in the future.

  6. Ian Gill is spot on when he says its time to get behind the team at the Riverside, or indeed away. we’re in the mire and its time to pull together. We need maximum effort and commitment from players and full blooded support from us fans. Great article from AV ‘keep the faith’ although I have to say I’m struggling on that one.
    I’m breaking my principles and going to the Chelsea match next Wednesday. I’ve always avoided the Bridge as they charge silly money, but its time to show total support for the Boro.
    I’ll be wearing my socks I wore the night we beat Villa to reach the ZDS final, my vest on backwards and in my pocket I’ll have my Graham Souness and willie Maddren autographs. We’re bound to win……..

  7. I’ve just had time to read all the posts on this thread – just to say TB that you quite often sound credible, even though I rarely agree with you, but when I read your post that Gibson should ‘go’ then I know you’re talking utter rubbish and your credibility is blown out of the water.
    Steve Gibson is often stated as being the best Chairman in the prem. by pundits, managers, players etc. Who would you prefer to be the owner of Boro? Come on be constructive for once, give me a credible alternative.

  8. Tony Black says Gibbo must go.
    Yeah, let’s get rid of the man that is responsible for keeping us at our highest possible level for a period of more than 10 years. Everybody in football agrees that he is the best chairman in the game. Who are you gonna replace him with? The second best?
    There is no next level for Boro. There are 9 clubs that are so much bigger than us that we can never compete with them long term. However you measure it, whether trophies won, points achieved in the top league, seasons spent in the top flight, average attendance, size of stadium or whatever, these 9 teams are always at the top of the list… Manu, Liverpool,Arsenal, Chelsea, Everton, Villa, Newcastle, Spurs.
    Our top level is 10th to 15th in the top flight, regular cup runs and the occasional top half finish. I repeat, Steve Gibson has given us this for over a decade. Gareth Southgate has achieved this in his first 2 seasons. I believe that we will achieve that this year as well. And with Steve Gibson in charge, for the next 10 years too.

  9. Nigel
    It has long been a Teesside trait that we defend our corner against the rest of the world.
    The place for healthy debate is here and in the pubs, clubs and anywhere Boro fans congregate. Make no mistake I think that MFC have got some things badly wrong and continue to do so, I have commented before and will do so again. I have no compunction in highlighting areas that I think need improving. Sometimes I will be wrong, sometimes people will disagree with me. But here it stays.
    At the grounds it is get behind the team. If the performance naffs me off I just leave at the end of the match. Silence is its own message without abusing the team and staff.

  10. Nigel…
    ” Steve Gibson is often stated as being the best Chairman in the prem. by pundits, managers, players etc. Who would you prefer to be the owner of Boro? Come on be constructive for once, give me a credible alternative. ”
    For me he was the best chairman and is no longer because of his ” model ” which I simply don’t agree with and the fact that he keeps putting these rookie mangers in that are absolute rubbish.
    He is happy to just scrape by every year and to just make up the numbers in the league, I am not. I want to be entertained and at least have some hope of European football every now and then.
    He didn’t build on Eindhoven and I think many people would agree.
    I have no room for sentiment. He has no more cash to put in ? Goodbye and thanks for everything you’ve done. Here, rightly, is the freedom of the town. Can we please repay you bit by bit ?
    Harsh ? maybe so, but that’s how it is in all walks of life and I really don’t see why he should be immune. Churchill won the war and then we booted him out of office. That’s the way the cookie crumbles.
    You don’t agree, the we will have to agree to differ.
    TB

  11. I see our friends at the FA have charged us for not controlling our players.
    I suppose it was always likely to happen but how ironic that we punished for the only communal show of passion in the whole match. The other piece of irony is that we have been complaining about us not complaining.

  12. Trying to take a positive perspective its clear that Gareth has us exasperated but he has not become a hate figure. Fortunately we all remember his exploits and commitment on the pitch with fondness and deep down we don’t want to lose those memories which is to the credit of both parties.
    Its unlikely he will walk and even more unlikely he will be sacked, after all he has delivered on everything he has been asked to do by the board with the one obvious exception. So what to do?
    Do we barrack him and the players and by default then SG? Do we sit mute and cringe in silence, despair (as per Everton a few weeks back) devoid of all hope? Or do we get behind him with a rousing standing chorus of “one Gareth Southgate” in an effort to raise the spirits on the bench and belief on the pitch.
    We all know the last one should be the preferred option, we all deep down would love to see Gareth turn things around, finish 11th and have a good Cup run. Its just that we can’t see it happening.
    As with any negotiating it requires a willingness to meet half way. A “win/win” in Consultant speak.
    I don’t think it will take much to get the fans fired up and standing back to back with the club creating a siege mentality. This is Teesside after all and we have historically been subjected to national injustices and tertiary treatment by the media and in footballing terms the FA are loathed up here with just cause and reason.
    So to get the crowd boiling and passions flowing shouldn’t take too much effort albeit with a deliberate and even a necessarily contrived and orchestrated stroke of genius. Get the crowd on the officials backs (forget respect, nice boys win nowt!), Get us on our feet within seconds of the kick off, let us see that the starting 11 mean business.
    Over to you Gareth, meet us half way! Stop the stupid tinkering and tactics, play the players who want to play for the shirt, the pride and the Town (and yes this includes Stewy who is after all one of our own). Select on attitude not reputation or price tag. Most of all Gareth, if we go down, we go down fighting and with spirit and not a whimper.
    Stop the frightened rabbit start to games, go on the offensive and show true Teesside Steel. The fans will spot it from the off. 100% effort and attitude has and will always be supported in the Boro.
    COME ON BORO!

  13. So petrus it was you I saw in the high street singing “We love you Woolies we do, we love you Woolies do…” followed by “Can you hear the Tesco’s sing…”
    I just wish I had that emotional attachment to businesses like I do with my football club. Football clubs are not businesses and should never be thought of as such – they should be thought of as non-profit making organisations that need running professionally in the public interest.
    On the whole Steve Gibson has done an excellent job but for everybody who is in a position of absolute power he needs constructive criticism to stop him becoming complacent.
    By-the-way, the Woolworth’s / Boro analogy was probably not the best as Woolies was in decline for many years due to bad management before finally going out of business.

  14. TB has been against GS from day one and it has always been quite obviously personal and subjective. I can’t see how his views carry any weight. More fans may agree with him now but not for the same reasons.
    He still bears a grudge because Gate got shot of his mates Missimo Maccarone and Abel Xavier. And he still can’t believe his “friend” and amateur coach Slim Perroti wasn’t made boss instead of a former England international and inspirational Carling Cup winning captain.
    This “Gibbo must go” claptrap after every other game is a sick joke. It shows a complete lack of knowledge of Boro history and of the way the game is going.
    Billionaires buying clubs are last year’s thing. Now it is all selling up and fire sales. Look at West Ham, Newcastle and Portsmouth. TB would have had us bound and gagged, Gibbo out and Boro dumped into a black hole of debt with all the TV cash going in the pocket of some Yank chancer.
    What Gibbo is doing may not buy warm seats and another Italian Marlon Harewood but it will keep us safe through sticky times.
    TB mate, not all of us on here have short memories.
    **AV writes: Now, now boys. Play nice.

  15. Allycat at 12.28 – “…we have to win nearly half our games left to stay up….”
    I’m not sure I agree. That might be right if you were looking to achieve what would normally be a “safe” points total (42 points or whatever) but I don’t think that will apply this season. And, of course, one would hope in addition to the wins, to get a few draws. All points count!
    This season teams in the lower half of the division (with the exception of us in recent weeks) are taking points off each other, drawing games they should win etc. That is the reason there are so many teams within a few points in the bottom half of the table. Nobody is yet adrift (unlike most years).
    I suspect a lower total to stay up will apply this year. But in any event all we need to do is to get one more point than three of the teams on the same points as us already. A few more points than that and half the division is brought in to the fray.
    Not too many of the teams in the bottom half of the the table are going to be winning “nearly half of the games they have left”. A couple or a few might improve and play well above that which their league position currently suggests, but some will also nosedive (hopefully not us as we have done our diving already). Others will no doubt continue the level of form they have shown so far this season.
    It’s like the old joke of the two boys spotting a lion in the distance. One offers £500 to the other for his flash training shoes. The second snorts in disbelief. “Surely you don’t think you can outrun a lion” he says as he pockets the money and his colleague puts the shoes on. As the first chap starts to run off into the distance he shouts back: “No. I just have to outrun you.”
    We need to get one point more than the team which finishes 18th. This season that might not require as many points as usual. And we are all still at very nearly the same place (ie no-one is separated yet from the pack, in fact only goal difference separates 5 teams on the same points at the bottom).
    The lesson is that it can be done. It would not need a miracle. It DOES need the players to believe they can get something from most of the games they play. If you don’t have a go, you can hardly expect to succeed. It requires good old commitment and effort and concentration for the 95+ minutes that we have mentioned many times before on this blog.
    And it DOES require players to start in their correct positions. And, by the way, unless he is injured, if Adam Johnson can’t get into a team so denuded of players as ours, and so lacking in positive spirit, then there is no hope for him (unless, of course, the Powers that Be decide to pick a different starting XI from now on).
    If we stay up (and I have not lost all hope yet), we have a lot of things to think about for next season. They must include:
    (1) Our ability to scout players and the valuations we place on them (are we looking in the wrong places, are just looking at a couple of videos or are “scouting trips” a nice long weekend abroad in a 5* Hotel on expenses rather than serious work, and why do others get players on loan who would walk into our team as it is playing at the moment?).
    (2) A policy decision on buying players who are injured at the time of purchase and/or have a history of ill health and injury.
    (3) Some effort to be made to identify those of our “targets” who have got the spirit or the right character. This should be compared to those with no stomach for a fight and those who are likely to have problems settling into our changing room – and indeed those with a predisposition to excessive refuelling (whether of the meaty or liquid sort). A good clue is that if a player is used to changing clubs virtually every year, he is unlikely suddenly to become a fixture in next year’s club. And if he thinks Teesside is near the Arctic and far removed from southern “civilisation” it isn’t a good sign.
    (4) A look at our training methods to establish why we appear to suffer so many Rockliffe injuries (unless that is a club euphemism for “he spat his dummy out and didn’t want to play so we’ll say he was injured”).
    (5) A policy decision on how we value our youngsters coming through the academy and at what stage they might get a chance of a series of starts (it would be grim to see us in a lower division with players like Morrison, Brunt and even Cattermole seeming to enjoy life in a Premier League Boro had thought they were not good enough for).
    (6) An effort should be made to understand some basics of the game (play to 95+ minutes, play to the whistle, don’t EXPECT offsides to be given and therefore don’t head the ball to the bloke you thought was in the offside position, hoof the ball into row Z if in danger rather than trying a tricky little move near your own penalty area, try to avoid giving away pointless free kicks in dangerous areas, mark up properly when defending set pieces…..).
    (7) Can we spend a little time trying to find out what motivates the various players we have on our books (it may not be the same for each player) and start employing whatever it is to get the best out of them, so they can play as a team?
    Actually there are more, but I am getting ahead of myself. The players have a job to do before then. It was that extra glass of Laphroaig that started this, but I have made a pact with myself that as soon as this is downloaded, I can have another.
    To look on the bright side – just before this slide began, our Manager was voted Manager of the Month and some of the players were talking about Europe. Too soon, of course. It is better to talk AFTER the event than before. But if we were now playing like we did at Wigan or at Villa, we would not be in this position. So we know the players and the management COULD do it. They were doing it earlier this season. We need to go back to that.
    Message ends. Islay calls…..

  16. AV:
    wouldn’t we need to be in europe to play nice?
    now you’re going a bit too far, you tease!
    premier league survival will now satisfy most of us this season

  17. Hey chaps! The Laphroaig proved to be tastier than the football at present.
    On reflection we all want the same thing here. Tony Black would be delighted to be proved wrong, to have to admit that Gareth Southgate managed to turn it around and that, as shown by the success he made in motivating the team to a glorious last third of the season (including a cup run), he proved he has what it takes to be a top manager. It isn’t impossible.
    The Manager, Chairman, and all the fans want us to be successful. It is too horrific to contemplate that some of the players don’t want the same thing. I’d prefer to think that isn’t the case. I am sure most of them would bust a gut for the cause. Of course they all should.
    This is the sort of situation where, with a week off, Brian Clough and a few others would have taken the hard core of the squad he trusts away for a few days. There would be some hard words spoken away from prying ears, and some effort made to bond the players into a unit that will fight together.
    Those committed to the cause would get in the team, those he wasn’t sure of would not. For example, a fully committed young player desperate to prove himself and fit enough to run for ever for the cause, is likely to be better than a more senior player who doesn’t give a stuff (and in case anyone misunderstands me here, I am sure Stewie will be one of those who WILL bust a gut, with Poggi, Wheats, Taylor and some others).
    Some of the posts on here are the result of considerable frustration and a lot of worry.
    Incidentally next to my laptop is a CD containing photos from Roma and Eindhoven. So recent yet so far away….. You would have thought it would have been fairly easy to have got an experienced manager then, for a club “on the up”, with a growing reputation whose manager had just gone off to lead the national team, and whose chairman is highly thought of.
    And GS could have stayed as a useful player for a year or even two, whilst he started doing his badges and brought on the youngsters around him.

  18. After yesterday’s reports that we were looking to sign Marlon Harewood from Villa, today’s press says we are trying to do a swap deal with Wigan between Mido and Marlon King following a bust up with Phil Brown whilst on loan at Hull.
    Who said we could no longer attract the big fish to the Riverside…

  19. Bring back Big Jack Charlton!!!
    I don’t care if he doesn’t play total football with 30 passes a move, the long ball tactic will do me just fine. Big Jack takes no prisoners, takes no crap from anyone and above demands respect from players.
    Ok he is too old to be a realistic manager but I tell you what if someone was to come in (or even Southgate) and starts playing the long ball over the top, literally from the goalkeeper then we will grind results. Those tactics took Ireland from 100+ in world rankings to Quarter-Finals of the World Cup and for 8 years terrified even top international teams.
    Fancy total football or points – i’ll take the points any day.
    PS, I too echo Tony Black’s comments.

  20. Holgate Ender…
    I have never said anything of the kind and you obviously don’t read any of my posts and just chose to defend Gates’s laughable record by going into cloud cookoo land.
    Have you seen the league table recently ? Have you noticed how many games we haven’t won recently ? Do you see how badly we have been playing ?
    The big trap door is looming and my objection to Mr Southgate and Co has always ever been this. Yes, I was against him from day one but gave my reasons for being so and have stuck by them ever since. I objected to taking such a big risk with such a novice with the very same as his right hand man Coops.
    You may not agree with me and that’s fine. But this board is all about opinions and to stoop to such flights of fantasy as you have done instead of giving me good reason or evidence to counter my arguments and opinion, no matter how silly you feel they are, just goes to show how lacking your arguments are.
    I have absolutely no personal grudge with Southgate or Coops. As I have stated time and time and time again, excellent servants to the club, utter gentlemen and awesome pro’s, but that for me is where it ends and the proof, as they say, is in the eating.
    The league table never lies, ” Judge me this season ” Southagte said and judge him I will.The trap door is wide open and snapping at our ass and I am only interested in throwing one of the other clubs in it.
    With regards Gibson, again, this is just a matter of opinion. You form part of the rose tinted, sentimental brigade that live on past glory and accept anything that happens as a result. I don’t and it’s that simple.
    I don’t have any short memory and I’m not interested in the past or debating it, I’m only interested in what happens next. In Italy they say, ” when the Pope dies we make another one ” and that for me is how it is.
    Gibson has no more money and so adios and thanks for the memories. In any walk of life this is how it is and so I really don’t accept the argument of the short memory.
    How short was our memory with regards people like Churchill ? Thatcher did wonders for the Tory party but at the first whiff of losing the election she was booted out, and rightly so, as there is no room for sentiment.
    I’d have the Man City men anytime over Gibson. That’s just me, you see it how you want and that’s just great. But let’s just hope we aren’t having to argue this from the Championship next season as it will then be a pretty pointless, empty and very hollow debate.
    TB

  21. TB – You have side stepped my question, name your credible alternative to Steve Gibson, if you dont have one your demand is destructive and pointless.
    By the way Churchill was voted out because the credible alternative offered the punters the welfare state. What is your credible alternative offering?

  22. Tony Black – fully agree with your comments.
    Gibson has been wonderful for this club and I thank him sincerely for that, but that was IN THE PAST!!. He is now incapable of taking this club forward and has made some bad decisons to lead us to where we are. The blame firmly lies at his door, not Southgates. Gareth has done the best he can, but he simply was ill prepared to manage a premier league club and should not have been put in that role.
    “Forever Dormo’s” comments were also correct. When the existing manager went to lead the national team it should have been fairly easy to get a “top draw”(Mr Gibsons words – not mine!!) experienced manager when the club was “on the up”, had just appeared in a European final and had a chairman supposedly highly thought of.
    Mr Gibson obviously knew then than finances were looking grim – hence Southgate’s appointment. You cannot run a Premier League club on a budget!! You can’t even run a championship team on a budget if you want to get back into the Premier league. So, if the worst DOES happen (and I pray it doesn’t) the future looks bleak.

  23. “tony black”
    You obviously don’t read any of my posts but be sure that I do read yours.
    I am far from a rose-tinted ra-ra foam-hander. I am a crusty old chicken runner and have been among this blog’s biggest critics of both Southgate and the club’s drift.
    That is not my problem with you and you know it.
    My problem with you is that I believe you are working to a personal agenda and have your own rather than the club’s interests at heart. I believe you are bitter about what happened to your mate massimo and that ever since you have taken every opportunity to slate the club, the manager and chairman. You have a hidden agenda that is harmful to my club. I don’t take kindly to that.
    **AV writes: Holgate, TB has assured us that he is not ‘Slim’ and we must take his word for that. If you want to argue about it take it elsewhere. Let’s try to play the ball and not the man on here please.

  24. The bookies always win and the midweek game at Chelsea could well end in a draw.
    However, it would be great to see a 30,000 plus crowd for the game against Blackburn and a win. We’d be first up on Match Of The day. We would also have the pleasure of watching that ex Bolton Bull Dog grinding his teeth.
    We would also see Gareth Southgate blowing his beak on a screwed up P45.
    Marlon King would be a great asset and good riddance to Mido.

  25. Holgate Ender,
    your point about what I would do is fair and so here it is.
    I would privately send the count to the Arab community in order to find a rich buyer or set of buyers who have pot loads of cash to invest and want the qudos of owning a club of their own.
    I would ensure that all deabts would have to be paid off in full for any deal to be accepted and that were the new owners ever to sell that a condition for this must be that they have to leave the finances of the club in good order.
    Frankly, I don’t care who owns this club as long as we don’t end up doing a Leeds and that firm measures are in place so as to ensure that we don’t just spend spend spend and end up with a busted flush.
    Gibson has no more money and this is well documented and so is the state of the clubs finances, so where does that leave us ? Do we simply keep floating along until the gaping whole in the ship bursts completely and that we sink into the Championship ?
    Where Gibson able to find 50 million and sort out the finances so that we could spend all of this on players, and if he were to sack most of the coaching staff and manager and bring in someone with a proven track record then I would be behind Gibson all the way. Of course I would as he is Mr MFC, he is Mr Boro and in the past saved us.
    That was in the past though and I fail to see how he is going to resolve anything and take us forwards. This new ” plan ” just doesn’t wash with me, that’s all.
    But as it stands we have no cash, the finances are in real state, we have a manager who has brough us to the brink of relegation and who seems totally unable to motivate people or to find solutions.
    You keep asking me for solutions and so there you have it.
    Where are yours ? Where is the current strategy that puts egg on my face and makes me eat my words because I really can’t wait for that to happen ? No players leaving and none of any note coming in ? Pray tell how exactly is that ” plan ” going to save us ?
    Please you now explain to me how Johnson doesn’t get into this team PERMANENTLY ? He comes off the bench, gets busy straight away taking people on and whipping in crosses, gets the fans going, gets the atmosphere going and makes this happen and yet gets left on the bench to rot. It’s pathetic. Such a waste of what is an obvious fabulous and growing talent.
    And as you brought him up, yes, he’s being given the Massimo treatment of no run of games and then getting slated when he has one start in his right position and then doesn’t deliver. Thankfully for Johnson though HE DOES DELIVER ALL THE TIME.
    Yet another reason why Southgate HAS to go. He can’t even see who is best players are.
    It’s an absolute joke that we gave him the job and that we keep him in it.
    TB
    **AV writes: I should point out that it is not true to say Boro “have no money” or their finances are “in a state.” It is more a case of reigning in excessive spending at a time of global economic uncertainty – a policy that a year ago may have looked like penny-pinching but now can easily be seen as being perceptive pre-emptive belt-tightening that has insulated the club from the worst of the slump.
    The economy effects us all. I am not on the verge of bankruptcy and my finances are not a mess but I can see that it would be unwise and ill-timed to go out and buy a new motor when I can make do with the old banger for another year. Although to be fair I am not planning any European road trips.
    I also would question whether, even if it were desirable (and I personally don’t think it is), that you could find a buyer for a struggling, provincial club with very little prospect of Champions League club right now, either in the Middle East or wider afield. Certainly Newcastle and Everton couldn’t and they are far bigger ‘brands’.

  26. We need a new manager. Not a new Chairman.
    This is the best small town club in the world we are talking about. With the best chairman, regardless of what division we play our football in. With a Boro man in charge its always the towns club. For those seeking the millions and the glory I recommend that they start supporting Man Utd.
    Gareth, however should move on, the test has been failed, the team are consistantly underperforming and someone needs to be accountable.

  27. Sky Sports have announced that Boro and Crystal Palace have agreed a £2m fee for Ben Watson (althought the BBC claim it’s £5m) – let’s hope it’s sky sports who have got it right.
    Plus let’s hope the King Mido deal proves to be a touch of gold – Mido has been waste of space for quite a while now.
    At least if we’re not changing the manager then we do need new blood to give the team a lift.

  28. It would appear the voices calling for the chairman’s head are gathering momentum. I do not belive that is the way forward for this club. Relegation would be preferable frankly.
    Often when a manager departs the phrase “taken the club as far as he could and now time ro step aside and let someone else take over the job” is heard. I wonder if the same applies to Chairmen.
    Certainly it appears to many that Steve Gibson has taken Boro as far as he can and maybe its time for him to step aside. I dont think so but I would love for someone at his next press statement to pose that question of him. I believe he would give an honest and upbeat answer.
    Perhaps its an answer that a lot of fans rather need to hear from him at this moment.

  29. I think Southgate’s honesty about getting sacked is a good clear message for the players who are not doing it on the pitch. Maybe it appearing on MOTD and other interviews it will wake some of them up again.
    Alves has to start putting some of these balls in the net.He owes Gareth BIG TIME!

  30. Nigel asks the question of whether there is a credible alternative to Steve Gibson.
    I’ve supported the club since 1974 and the premier league years have been, by and large, fantastic and mostly down to Gibson and his hard work, determination and commitment to the Boro.
    If we start questioning the man now then all is lost. As others have said, go and support the glory boys if you want an instant fix. I have little time for the Geordie nation in any capacity but there is a loyalty there that is begining to shame us.
    Ok then, let’s find ourselves a rich benefactor and this is what we’d get.
    1. Man Utd – with some irony, good owners. The Glazers have indulged Ferguson on and off the field. There long term motives are unclear but to-date there can be no complaints.
    2. Chelsea – from barrow boy to multi billionaire in a few years courtesy of the murky world of Russian corporate sell-offs. Once described as ‘resembling Harry Enfield with a lobotomy’ so presumably well suited to the average Stamford Bridge acolyte.
    3. Liverpool – at war in the boardroom, a failed new stadium and disharmony everywhere.
    4. Aston Villa – Lerner seems to be a genuine fan and hasn’t spent excessively. The pick of the bunch.
    5. Arsenal – another unknown Russian, though this time with a spell in the clink on his cv.
    6. Newcastle – Mike Ashley…
    7. Sunderland – an Irish collective that may or may not have ceded control to American Ellis Short.
    8. West Ham – dubious Icelandic backing and money worries galore. (Ironically a points deduction for them this season could yet be our saving grace…)
    9. Spurs – Joe Lewis backed from the Bahamas yes but deluded and soulless.
    10. Everton – a teary luvvy with little cash to spare. A genuine fan but no power.
    We could go on but let’s end with this corker;
    Man City – a real club yes, but the consumate proof that money can’t buy everything. The jokers in the pack, some achievement.
    To paraphrase Keith Lamb, I think we’ve got the club we deserve and it’s a great one.
    Life is full of ups and downs but that doesn’t mean you run away. Deal with it and move on. The club and fans need each other now. We, at least, can all do our bit.

  31. As Richard Evans points out there are no credible alternative owners for Boro to Steve Gibson.
    Even in the good times when the world thought it was awash with money as AV pointed out nobody would have wanted to buy a small provincial club with limited scope for development.
    Clearly if clubs from big cities with big support and potential for improvement can’t be sold (eg Everton and Newcastle) then there is no chance of Boro being wanted by a billionaire. In the current climate even a team as big and as steeped in history and with huge potential such as Liverpool cant be sold.
    The billionaires aren’t as rich as they thought they were, the oil money has dried up now that oil is less than $40 barrel rather than in excess of $100.
    DIC who supposedly wanted to buy Liverpool are silent, why? Probably because Dubai is not an oil rich state, its wealth is based on borrowed money which is no longer available.
    So if Mr Lamb were to head off to the middle east there would be no one at the airport to meet him other than maybe a Sun reporter wearing a fancy dress outfit.
    Lets say we took the fantasy to a point where Boro were bought by a ‘billionaire’ does that guarantee success? No it doesnt, Spurs on the face of it tick all the boxes, owned by a billionaire, they have spent £140m on players in recent years have employed experienced managers with proven track records and as a result have spent two years fighting relegation! Explain that one TB!
    Boro are in a slump, hopefully they will survive. If not I’ll be a Boro supporter supporting Boro in the Championship. That’s life, you take the rough with the smooth.

  32. tonyblack,
    Your comments are really not helping the current situation.
    “I would privately send the count to the Arab community in order to find a rich buyer or set of buyers who have pot loads of cash to invest and want the kudos of owning a club of their own”.
    That comment is a peach and should go down in the blogging hall of fame…
    Firstly, why would any arab want to buy MFC? There are enough out there so surely if one of them fancied it then Gibbo would have taken the offer on board.
    Secondly why would anybody want to own a club like MFC when they could pick a club with a far bigger catchment area, potentially bigger fan base, more potential tv coverage, more merchandising opportuniities and an area that dosnt come bottom of tv polls every year as the worst town in England.?
    Championship teams such as Wolves, QPR, Watford, Charlton would surely make more financial sense. Even Leeds may appeal more to a billionaire who couldn’t give a damn about what he lost or made. MFC isnt a brand that will market world wide if it did then im sure Gibbo would have taken advantage of Eindhoven.
    We are the rolla cola of world football where as teams like Man U, Liverpool, Chelsea, Arsenal, Newcastle, Spurs, Man City are the Pepsis and Coca Colas
    We are what we are, you’re either with us or your against us and frankly with your comments week in week out you seem very much against.
    Get a grip, support the team, support the manager, support the chairman and most of all support the badge that represents the whole of Teesside…..
    COME ON BORO!!!!!!!!!!

  33. OK ‘ignorant’ of Boroland I’ll accept that anyone who criticises Gibson should be shot – just as long as it’s Alves doing the shooting!

  34. Just at a time when criticism of Gibson (shame on you!) is even rearing his head, he manages to rummage down the back of all of the Riverside sofas, and his jacket pockets, and come up with £2m for this Watson fella!
    From what I hear, you’ll love this, he’s not the sort who gives 100% effort all of the time, but conserves his energy for bursting runs and tracking back.
    Let’s just hope that he doesn’t contract the infamous and little-known strain of Riverside lethargy, known in Latin as: Riversidium Canntus Be-arsdus For-Nintyminitus.
    That is of course if Fulham don’t hijack the deal at the last minute – which would most certainly be “Typical Boro”…

  35. David Morrison said:
    “tonyblack, Your comments are really not helping the current situation. ”
    Have you been drinking David? My comments? How about, 4th bottom, poor tactics, poor team selection, poor motivation, poor football, lack of a fighting spirit, players under performing, habitually conceding late on and not being able to sort it out, a lack of money and what is possibly the worst player selection in the transfer market ever seen at this club? Mido, Shawky, Digard and Co.
    Please, have a word with yourself. My comments reflect the ever growing discontent of the fans with this totally inept and out of his deapth manager and his team of coach’s.
    ” Judge me this season ” Southgate said.
    I’d love to hear how you rate it so far and where you feel the blame lies because it certainly has nothing to do with an idiot like me posting in a fans blog.
    TB

  36. Tony Black
    “My comments reflect the ever growing discontent of the fans with this totally inept and out of his deapth manager and his team of coachs.”
    So you are a voice for the fans then hey?
    So far its not been great but we havnt yet played 38 games in the league so I will judge MFC on where we end up. The new signings that are being mooted may help us and with the league being so tight as every other fan on here has stated time and time again we can pull ourselves out of it.
    As for southgate being out of his depth how can you say that? If you look at his statistics he has probbaly won drawn and lost close to whatever the 3 previous managers achieved in their 1st few seasons.
    Robbo was inexpereinced, and McClaren had never managed before plus they both had millions to spend on transfers and wages. It is not fair to put Southgate in the same bracket as time has changed and the model for mfc has changed.
    However I do beleive that for the model MFC are trying to go with we do need an experienced manager to bring through the youth and manage the books and transfer market with the touch that only experience brings. If southgate can survive these next few games I think he will be better for it and become stronger and more confident.
    Southgate has done nohing wrong and your constant berating just turns the whole atmosphere on the blog. I bet you will be the first one chanting “Southgate out” at the blackburn game if it isnt going well.
    We can do it we can pull clear, we can survive and we can become better. That’s what us Teessiders do. That’s what we have got instilled and that is what is going to come through so that we survive in the premier league.
    Get behind the team. Is it to much to ask?

  37. My previous post got lost… So I hope I’m not repeating myself.
    Richard Evans is absolutely 100 % right. I’ve supported the Boro since the 1970’s and everything after 1986 and Gibbo is marvelous to me!
    Now Gibbo has found £2million to bring in Watson. Critics – look how the world has changed in the past 3 months! And Gibbo still struggling to realize the financical slump.
    Well done, Gibbo (again)!

  38. We are all entitled to our own opinions, but facts cannot be shot down.Steve Gibson came up with the money to buy Alves whose form looked ferocious.
    Gareth Southgate then was able to buy this very expensive goal scoring machine to lead the line.Since he arrived, he has been a total flop & wouldn’t any defense lose their direction on seeing games been thrown away up front week in week out?
    At the beginning of the season the fans believed Gareth Southgate’s downfall would come from not investing in a proven goal keeper. However, the gaffer stuck by his guns & Ross Turbull has been a successful introduction, despite the results.
    He has in fact being a game saver on several occasions when Alves has missed open sitters and left the onus on a demoralised defence to keep a clean sheet for a point. There are no excuses for Alves lack of goals, because I reiterate, many were missed tap in’s.
    Do you expect Steve Gibson to tell him how to score goals?
    Do you expect Gareth Southgate to tell him how to score goals?
    The manager should have played him in the reserves to taste the price of failure.
    The new signings to be will expect to have the backing of the fans and win football games and it is vital that we back our Premiership club to the hilt and balls to the rest.

  39. Nick says that Gibson found the money for Alves but these deals in reality are paid over 2 or 3 yearly installments plus it was partly funded from the sale of the Yak.
    I’m not having a go at Steve Gibson’s committment to Boro but according to recent financial statements he has only loaned £69m to the club and not gifted it – OK this is probably interest free and he’s not going to necessarily call in the loan unless he sells the club – but it’s still a loan.
    To be honest I think Boro have wasted tens of millions of pounds over recent years on over-priced expensive flops and damaged goods who were also on wages that sucked the club dry.
    Although, I agree with the current affordable team policy but in practice that should still allow us to spend £20m each season on good quality players.
    The truth is that under Southgate (though they may not have been his choices) the club has wasted close to £30m on bad purchases.
    Yes I’m glad we have Steve Gibson but let’s not be blinded into thinking he can do no wrong – grooming Southgate as a number 2 like Tony Adams under ‘Arry would have been a much better option for a start.
    The problem now is we’re even struggling to attract championship players and this is partly to do with our league position but it’s also due to laying our cards on the table and saying we’re broke and telling everybody that all our players have a price.
    **AV writes: On the issue of “loans” I am no accountant but my understanding of financial regulations is that where there is a credit there must be a debit.
    Because the money is being moved from one part of the Bulkhaul empire to another it has to go down as liability (otherwise people could just shuffle money about without a forensic paper trail for all kinds of dubious reasons). That is why it appears as a loan, so the company accounts add up.
    I am not sure that there is a way to magic up £20m a year for transfers. Over the past decade TV money and other income has barely covered the wage bill. In practice all transfers in that time have been added to the debt.
    Even if you assume we get £60m this year, £35m is gone immediately on wages, another £5m or so servicing the club’s debts, £2-3m running the club (transport, hotels, scouting, utility bills) plus who knows how much on the Academy, the massive investment in community schemes and all kinds of other low level activity.
    How much does that leave?

  40. AV,
    There are rumours at bbc’s pages that King and Watson are at the Rockcliffe.
    Any confirmation from Gazette on this, AV?
    PS. Change of a manger has helped a club VERY seldon statistically…

  41. Signing Ben Watson (???) is an admission that Southgate got it wrong selling Cattermole and Boateng, and letting Rochemback go. Any number of supporters could have pointed that out.
    It is also a precursor to O’Neill being sold in the summer.
    **AV writes: When Catts and George were sold they thought Harper was arriving but for one reason or another that fell through. The squad has been well short since then so just getting bodies in will be a plus.

  42. I hope I am not repeating myself as my last two posts disappeared in to thin air but when we talk about debt we must not lose sight of the fact that it was McClaren and no one else who was responsible for putting us in to this situation with his poor expensive buys.
    Southgate had to get rid of the dead wood and reduce the salary burden at the same time maintain Premier League status. Gareth HAS MANAGED THE FIRST TWO TASKS AND GIVEN A LITTLE LUCK HE WILL MANAGE THE THIRD AND FINAL TASK.
    I am not sure about Marlon King , but let us face it he can do no worse than Alves who I am afraid is now a man of he past, and will go down as another major striker flop to rank alongside Macaroni in its magnitude.

  43. “Southgate had to get rid of the dead wood and reduce the salary burden at the same time maintain Premier League status. Gareth HAS MANAGED THE FIRST TWO TASKS AND GIVEN A LITTLE LUCK HE WILL MANAGE THE THIRD AND FINAL TASK. ”
    So he just brought in his own deadwood and performed far worse than Mc Claren. It’s not about luck for Gods sake it’s about strength of character, football nous, leadership, authority and inate managerial ability.
    On any measure of the above, Gareth Southgate, unfortunately, does not register. When are you people going to shake yourselves out of such denial; completely self delusional this nonsense of G.S. “turning things round”
    A.V have you been signed up by Gibbo to exercise your empty spinning rhetoric in an effort to mobilise the ra ra army against the justified anger and angst of the majority of fans who happen to have more than half a brain, which helps them to conclude that our present downfall is down to inept,woefully weak and wasteful management team.
    Your ramblings recently have merely been an exercise in excusing failure, an apologist for massive under achievement.
    I could go on but it’s getting late, so just one issue I must take on. The size of the squad. I believe, (like Keith Lamb) that the squad this season was good enough to see us in mid table comfort zone. Injuries are part and parcel of the game and should be factored in. On several occasions this season we have failed miserably with the first 11 and the manager has had the luxury to have near £25 million pounds worth of footballer sat on the bench.
    Oh how West Brom, Stoke, Hull, Bolton etc would wish to be able to afford such largesse. So don’t insult our intelligence by pleading poverty for our flawed and failing management team.

  44. Tosh you have been well named. that”s about all I can say for your comments.
    We need constructive criticism and idea”s not a load tosh from contributors. As for the Wolves game I have been watching a good number of Championship games recently and I have been impressed with the quality of their football, especially the top half dozen teams, note Burnley:s great play against Spurs recently ,So the Boro will have their work cut out to come away with anything from Wolves encounter.

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