Careless Talk Cost Lives

IT IS good to see the players throw their weight behind the Gazette’s “Keep The Faith” campaign. Showing all the timing that makes his tackling such a fearsome weapon, iconic hardman Emanuel Pogatetz has admitted as the pressure mounts in the relegation battle that if Boro go down, he’s out of here.

That’s a blow. Not so much for its long term impact on the side. In the wider scheme of things there are a lot of average but committed defenders out there who can look equally uncomfortable in the middle and at left back.
But at a time when the chairman, the manager and the players have been queuing up to call for unity the last thing you need is cracks appearing with the club captain – and a proper parmo powered local lad at that – letting slip in public what we all know the players are thinking in private. When the Gazette ran up those spoof wartime propaganda posters maybe we should have included a “careless talk cost lives” one.
Let’s be clear about this: footballers are not fans and do not have the same loyalty, commitment and passion to the club as the supporters do, no matter how often they kiss the badge or praise the crowd in interviews. For them it is a job. That’s fair enough.
And while it may strike a dagger through the heart of fans, looking for another job when you have the prospect of a pay cut or your current firm tries to relocate you to Doncaster and Plymouth is not a heinous crime. It isn’t a shameful moral outrage. If we are honest it isn’t even particularly a surprise.
And there is no point whatsoever in spleen venting – although people will not spurn an open goal like this in the way that Boro’s strikers do – and no point either in framing a response in the language of the terraces because these blokes, even the true born Teessiders, inhabit a different mental universe. It is just a job and if you berate them for leaving to a better paid one, at a bigger firm with better prospects you just come across as a parochial simpleton demanding they make sacrifices you would not make yourself.
In essence Pogatetz has said nothing wrong. To paraphrase: he wants to play at the highest possible level and if Boro go down he has to think of his career prospects and his international future. There is a not a lot there fundamentally different from the farewell script of Juninho, another player who expressed his love of all things Boro. It is a perfectly understandble position for any professional to take and in truth, any other position would raise questions about their ambition and faith in their own ability.
And while a slip of the tongue has made Pogatetz’ reality public we must suspect that many of the others in the dressing room feel the same. We know that Stewart Downing and Gary O’Neil put transfer requests in during January while bridge burning Mohamed Shawky has said he wants to walk like an Egyptian. Further, we can devine that a few agents have been busy in the last few weeks with stories about Matthew Bates, Tuncay and now “top striker” Jeremie Aliadiere bubbling into the tabloids. On top of that we might speculate that the likes of international hopefuls Mido, Afonso Alves and Robert Huth might not fancy trips to Doncaster and Plymouth and that a few highly coveted academy graduates will also get tempting offers they may need to be dissuaded from taking in favour of one more year, giving it a crack and seeing if they can get us back up.
All we can say to them all is: SHUT UP. Do your talking on the pitch. Concentrate on the job in hand. Don’t wave your CV around in such an incendiary way. Don’t rub your willingness to bail out in the faces of the people who are paying your wages. We know you don’t fancy Championship football; neither do we but we can’t escape our destiny so lightly and won’t walk away even if we could. If you don’t want to play in the lower league the answer is in your own hands: start winning games.
If you want to leave, leave. But keep us up first and then you can leave with dignity.


49 thoughts on “Careless Talk Cost Lives

  1. AV
    wasn’t quite sure where you were going with this one but by jingo you nailed it at the end.
    I think footballers should have restraining order them about future moves and as you say let their football do the talking to gain the higher status and accolades.

  2. Pogatetz is leaving — HOORAY! One of our major problems this season has been that we do not have a proper CAPTAIN. We have a Mad Dog who does not a warrant a place in the team . Alialidiere is going , well pardon me if I shed no tears for this , a complete non achiever .
    I have just read Gibsons bolt form the blue article: Hello last seasons finish was two wins , one against a team that was Wembley bound & not overly enthusiastic , the other against a ten man team that was on the point of implosion.
    This situation is the culmination of giving the job & money to a novice who in three years has learned nothing . This is the management team that brought us LEE DONG GOOK – nothing else to say

  3. Let him go, he’s not good enough anyway. In Fact he is a liability at times and only in the side because he’s captain, and even then only because no-one else fancies the role.
    He’ll be part of the big clearout next year regardless of which division Boro are in, including (hopefully) the management.

  4. Long time reader first time poster – I just felt compelled to say that what you’ve written is a great response to what been written up about our ‘committed’ captain et al.
    Unfortunately I’m one of the ‘realistic’ (read negative/pessimistic if you must) crowd who can’t see anyway out of the current predicament, and feel that this just confirms the poor attitude within the current Boro squad – which has been the reason for many a poor performance (or 10 minutes of a performance) so often this season.
    Yes it is a job, but pride in your craft is not too much to expect from anyone, in any job let alone a footballer with all the perks and pay that comes with it. Maybe in my 28th year I’m outdated and old fashioned, but I know I have to work hard for what I want – these players are only a year or two younger than I am, I can’t be so out of touch with the kids surely!!?
    I’d like to think pride in the craft of the boro players would mean trying to get a few more points on the board, to scrape survival, or be relegated with a couple more consolation points but in my heart of hearts I think we’re likely to see more of the same ‘good performances’ with a guaranteed calamity-a-game till the season finishes.
    As for blame and whose fault is it? – SG has said wait till the season ends before analysing the past. Right now – I’m not analysing, because well, what’s the point? I’m left with an ennui similar to that of some of the ‘heroes’ I’ve followed this season. I don’t know how to lift my owns spirits with regards the Boro, never mind those of 11 people who seemingly have less and less in common with me every week.

  5. While it is understandable (but you don’t have to like it) that players have to think of themselves,(after all,when it suits clubs,they can be sold on) they have to remember that they are part of the eleven that got the club struggling.
    In the case of the boro,we knew Downing and O’neil wanted away and there maybe a bid for Tuncay. But for the rest who mention (or are going to) leaving,it smacks of rats and sinking ships.

  6. Firstly, an indulgent rant!
    It irks the hell out of me when players who have been responsible for mediocrity, or just playing badly, decide that they’re too good for us and they want to go and get someone else to pay them more for playing badly somewhere else! Don’t they realise they’ve been partly responsible for the problem that’s been created?
    Maybe if they’d spent more time focussing on what they need to do to improve their contribution to the club, instead of flaunting their highly-polished Audi RX8’s, their pre-positioning of impending desertion might be easier for the rest of us to swallow.
    But these days, for the same funamental reasons that football has become what it is, the assumption of personal responsibility, the elevation of contribution over personal gain and loyalty seem to be neither encouraged or expected.
    Let’s face it, the “most important thing” (how many times have we heard footballing chavs come out with that little careworn expression) doesn’t seem to be the success of the club at all. It’s the size of their personal bank balance! It’s all about me, me, me!
    Rant over!
    As your almost world-weary, fate-resigned piece alludes to, it’s the way of the world.
    Coincidentally, it’s about to happen in the 200th anniversary year of Charles Darwin, who opened the door to our modern understanding of life and further developed, explains individual and species behaviour!
    In the light of that and Richard Dawkins’s erudite contributions to the theory made fact, you’d think that I could perhaps make allowances for football players’ selfish genes! But no! Surprise, suprise! My own selfish tendencies intervene! Now that I’ve vented the mind-volcano and calmed down a bit, rationality has been restored and I feel more able to accept the inevitability.
    Indulging oneself in self-righteous disgust and anger is a behavioural trait that seems to be very well suppressed, or even absent in Gareth Southgate! It’s another reason why I like and rather envy him!
    A salutory post-script:
    Hats off to Stewart Downing, who could have been away earlier, but chose loyalty and connection above self. When he goes, it should be with respect and our best wishes. (Except when he plays against us………. in cup matches of course!)

  7. Of course there is nothing much at all to be contended in this impassioned piece A.V.
    I have always been concious, when reading the invective of Boro fans on the messageboards, naively defending the honour and character of their “heroes”, perceived to be wearing their Boro badge with pride etc., against attack from other disgruntled Boro fans.
    The glaring omission from your piece however, is that this illogical, naive, misguided and apparent blind loyalty to players by some “uber fans” has a horrible symmetry in our chairman’s attitude and approach in supporting his failing managers.
    In my opinion this approach is fatally flawed and misguided because the fans are the lifeblood of any football club and they are here for the duration, players and managers are transitory, migratory animals in their very nature.
    Lets be honest, your point about players not being fans is just as relavent to managers. If in the event G.S. had proved to be a “successful” manager at the Boro, would he have given even a split second thought or consideration about the fans feelings or fortunes?
    The proverbial dust generated by his hurried departure, would have been greater than that generated by the loyal hordes trooping their weary way, on a match day, across the infrastructure of industrial wasteland and dereliction that forms a gateway to the Riverside Stadium in 21st Century Teesside.
    And this is exactly why it baffles me to hear so many bleating on the manager’s behalf against others who criticise his abilities or lack of them. The manager is a highly paid employee of the club, and it is right and fitting that he should be held to accountfor his record.
    Anybody in such a senior, responsible role in an organisation is inevitably under presssur and at most “normal” football clubs the buck stops there.
    It does not, apparently, work like this at our beloved Boro – no we the fans (stake holders) are told by our C.E.O. that the failing manager is under no pressure, no matter what; this is bizare in the extreme.
    The apparent “hurt” that the manager feels is in no way analgous to that of the fans hurt. Contrary to popular belief the fans do not have the level of influence on the teams potential performance as is often made out; this responsibility, in the main, lies fairly and squarely with the manager.
    And one day the manager will no longer be employed by MFC and he will walk away having been handsomely rewarded in financial terms, whether he is a success or not.
    This infers no slur on the integrity of Gareth Southgate and no jealousy of his financial status. It is rather a reality check for those with misguided sympathy for somebody employed in the precarious but lucrative induistry of top level football.
    I have more sympathy for those in receipt of redundancy notices at the Corus or Wilton sites, whose outlook on the job front in theiir indistries is rather bleaker in the near future than somebody operating within the closed world of professional football.

  8. AV, Glad you decided to read these self important pumped up egos the riot act – what a bloody cheek! I’d strip Pogi of the captaincy immediately and hand it to Wheater as i’m sure he’s up for the fight.
    Having watched the documentary on Clough last night i’m pretty certain what he would have told the likes of Pogi who are already publicly planning their summer escape – I certainly don’t buy into Eric’s dislaimer that we shouldn’t worry because Pogi is a 100 percenter – he sounds at best like a 50-50 to me.
    Also the Gazette gives us two contradictory articles today – Gibson tells us Boro’s relegation battle came like a bolt out of the blue – whereas Pogi tells us he’s fed up of constantly fighting relegation battles every season.
    Time to pick a team that’s up for the cause instead of allowing the usual suspects to go through the motions and drop us out of the league with a whimper.

  9. Keeping the Faith. The Chronicles of Gibson. He who darent leaves. A fine mess.
    Oddly, last August, some blogged about the departures and lack of replacements, many called it a high risk strategy. Some even warned during the end of the Mac era about the gradual slide that could become a slither.
    Throughout this season many have asked for less talk and more walk. Now we are sleepwalking the sleepwalk.
    And it is all a surprise! Never saw it coming, just like stepping off the kerb with your eyes closed.
    But Gibbo is right, lets look at what went wrong at the end of the season. Lets try and get the points we need before then.

  10. Aliadiere making noises about leaving doesn’t surprise me at all, he’s on my list of players who will leave if we go down. Pogatez was some one I’d hoped might stay, but most diaspointingly is the timing of his comments, particularly given that he is the club Captain, a bit of leadership wouldn’t go amiss!
    There certainly is a deep irony about players wanting to leave because they are sick of fighting a relagation battle, the reason they are fighting that battle is because they themselves have not performed well enough.
    **AV writes: It should be noted that Aliadiere hasn’t made any noises at all, he has merely been ‘linked’ with a move in some press reports
    Pogatez as part of the defence, leaking too many goals and loosing concentration in the last ten minutes time and again. Aliadiere as a ‘forward’ who has minimal goal scoring ability. Clearly there are players at Boro who haven’t stopped to consider why we are where we are. Maybe their collective inability to take responsibility is why we are on the brink.

  11. I’d like to thank the fainthearts like Pogatetz and Aliadiere for showing their real colours and intentions by saying that they are leaving if the Boro go down. GOOD! And anyone else who wants to go can go with them as far as I’m concerned.
    Personally I will look forward to watching Championship League football if we are relegated because I am fed up of watching over paid, over rated, jumped up, lily livered show ponies that are presently plaguing the Premier League.
    The likes of O’Neill, Downing, Pogatz, Ardlyeverthere, Arca, Tuncay, Alves etc have been missing for most parts of this season so I will certainy not miss them when they move on in the summer. Heres to relegation and leaving the most over hyped, over rated league in the world.

  12. On the front page of the MFC website it says….’SALE, up to 70% off’ next to a picture of Aliadiere, says it all really….

  13. Ah Ha! A new thread to read.
    But first I have tried a few times to post a message onto the Boro Banter site but couldn’t do it. Perhaps it was too long for that site? I’ll cut and paste it to here anyway, as I had to get it off the chest. I’d mentioned to Richard I might sicken you off by sending it here… how these little jests come back to bite us.
    Then I will read your piece (with trepidation).
    Richard I am sorry it has taken me so long to get around to reading your Boro Banter piece. I largely agree with what was said in the initial post. The financial position and the lack of funds available to Boro (and those whose financial backing is central to the club) are essential to an understanding of the slide we have endured over the last three seasons.
    Even the seemingly secure, the behemoths of the football world like Manchester United, Liverpool, Chelsea and Arsenal, can feel the cold financial winds. However they have the security of large world-wide followings, have hitherto enjoyed almost as of right an annual pilgrimage to the El Dorado of the Champions League, and by reason of their frequent TV appearances and the enormous audiences before whom their strips are exposed, earn much more by sponsorship than other EPL teams. They are way out of our reach.
    In the second financial tier there are other big city clubs (for example Villa and Spurs), and clubs with a larger support than Boro (for example Everton and Newcastle) that can attract more finance and, if properly run, might expect on occasions to threaten in the Cups and to qualify for what has been known until now as the UEFA Cup. That would be their “par” score for the season. Of course if they are not well run, as our neighbours to the north might attest, they can still fall down and face financial calamity.
    There are other clubs, in a third tier, where more meagre support and modest finances make staying away from the annual relegation struggle a significant victory in itself, but there might still be hope for a Cup run. To those teams getting near the top of the League would be an unattainable dream (in that group you could put teams like West Ham and Fulham now that it has stabilised under its wily, experienced manager).
    We would have hoped before this season started, the Boro would be considered part of this group. If properly run, the expectation would be that these teams would be considered solid, reliable and established members of the Premier League. They might not get the star billing and financial rewards that the “big names”, the Brad Pitts and the George Clooneys receive, but good character actors like Timothy Spall and Jim Broadbent make a good living and rarely seem short of work.
    The fourth tier is made up of those teams who know from the start of each season that they are in a survival battle and, if it all goes wrong, they will be relegated and therefore further removed from the TV and other money that might have made it easier to succeed in the first place. There are no surprises therefore that this group will usually comprise the teams that were promoted the year before (WBA, Stoke, Hull) and the few teams which flirted too closely with relegation the year previously (a post-Allardyce Bolton might come in this category).
    For a club like ours, I accept the Board must have come to the view that the economic chill already being felt at the end of the last season (at that stage not many realised it was turning into a blizzard and that many would die of exposure to the harsh winds) meant that large scale expenditure, which the club couldn’t really afford, could not go on. Most of us agreed with that at the time.
    It will be recalled many talked about “sustainability” and attempting to compete with the larger clubs in the transfer market and footballers’ wages was a recipe for financial collapse and the death of our club. If you don’t have the money coming in, you can’t expect to keep on spending. We would have to cut our cloth etc otherwise bankruptcy/administration would loom large.
    The disappointment may be that last summer some of our supporters might have been dreaming of moving up from tier 3 to tier 2, whereas in the fact the amount of the monies available to keep the show on the road would mean an inevitable move DOWN a tier.
    And if you are in that group steeled for a relegation struggle from the start of the season and without lots of money to throw at the problem to pay for a “get out of jail” card, a team needs 100% commitment throughout the club to fight the fight, and an experienced, wily, coaching and management team which is able to get the best out of the players available.
    It is foolish to argue that there was 100% commitment throughout the squad, otherwise we would not have had a transfer request, an unseemly change in message at the time of the last Transfer Window and our most likely-to-score striker would not now be loaned out to a competitor. No prizes for commitment there.
    It would also be difficult to justify pronouncements from on high that this is Boro’s strongest ever squad (now, if that were true, it would be a stinging criticism of how badly managed that good squad must have been, to end up in this position). My own view is that the squad was capable of being several places higher in the league table. If we had scored a couple of early season penalties and managed to keep concentration until the 90-oddth minute in some of those early games, we would not be in this position. Lack of money didn’t throw away those points.
    Let’s be realistic here. Managers like O’Neill are looking to win things, and therefore will be looking for the finance to make that achievable in the short to medium term. If he was told what our new financial model would have to look like in light of the economic realities (even before last year) , it is no surprise that he would say “Thanks for the chat, but I know my record means that other richer clubs with larger support will be interested in me and I think I can fulfil my ambitions more easily there”.
    I am sure with his track record, had he come to our club even without a large transfer kitty, he would have got more out of the players, just as I am sure that a manager like Roy Hodgson would.
    If you don’t have lots of money you have to make sure you spend it wisely and make the best out of the available budget. I am not sure we have done that. GS should have cut his teeth in management as a Number Two to an experienced manager, or in the lower leagues before being placed in charge of our Premier League team.
    Most of our supporters have only good will towards GS and SG. But, knowing the financial position (as they have access to the books) I would have expected the Board to have gone for an experienced manager who knows the ropes rather than the 3rd successive rookie to guide the club.
    I am not suggesting that managers the stature of O’Neill or Scolari would have been available to us (especially if they were warned in advance that we would have seriously to tighten the belt), but I find it difficult to believe that a team, well established in the Premier League, which had a Chairman widely acknowledged as one of the best in England, and which had just lost in the UEFA Cup Final, couldn’t attract interest from a number of good experienced managers.
    GS is clearly working within the parameters prescribed by SG and for that reason it may well be that his job is safe. However it is difficult to see how or where he is adding value to the team, the players. He is not making them play above themselves. Boateng when fit, Cattermole when not suspended and Schwarzer, who still has the odd blip as always, all seem to be playing better away from us than they did in their last season here. Why is that?
    Clubs can be comparatively successful even if they are not rich, providing they are well managed. Aberdeen broke the Glasgow duopoly for a while under He Whose Name Should Not be Mentioned. Porto won the UEFA Cup and then the Champions League under Mourinho.
    We may now be beyond the time when a second division club could be driven into the top tier, then win European Cups, whoever you found to manage them. However good management, good coaching gets the best out of players and improves them. Fitness and concentration should mean holding onto points almost won, until the final whistle. Team spirit gets points from games where they might otherwise have been surrendered. Those things are not reserved to rich clubs, are they? So lack of money cannot be the reason why our club has been bedevilled with these factors playing against us from the start of this season.
    So I believe that the straitened financial position in which the Boro finds itself cannot be denied, and is the background to our present troubles. But it is not an explanation for our sinking into this relegation mire. Even with our reduced finances, if money had been spent more wisely, and the playing staff motivated and properly directed, we should be capable of holding our noses in front of teams like Hull, Stoke and WBA. They are not rich clubs. Their playing staffs are not the stuff of international legend. They are not better than us, but at the end of the season some of them and some other competitor clubs will probably be able to hold their heads up high and say they managed the situation better than us.
    A town WILL get the team it can afford, in the long term – there can be no denying that. If no fans turn up, no-one puts their money over the turnstile or in the club shops, then unless we should suddenly be the beneficiary of some billionaire who discovers a long-forgotten love for our club, we will struggle against richer clubs with their better, well paid, squads of players.
    It is possible for smaller well-run clubs to “punch above their weight” as Ipswich (very well run both by Alf Ramsey and later by Bobby Robson) and Wimbledon proved.
    However there is a cycle to these things and they cannot continue for ever in the face of bigger crowds and deeper pockets elsewhere and the proof of that can be seen lurking in the league tables. Where are those clubs now?
    It’s just that some of us hoped that our time fighting against the richer “bigger” clubs was not yet over. The point is that in the lower divisions there are some clubs whose support, if they were to reach the Premier League, would make riches available to them that we couldn’t hope to match (teams like Leeds or Wolves, if in the top league for instance). That’s why we need if at all possible to stay in the Premier League and keep the others down below.
    Just imagine the funding that would become available to the first of Cardiff or Swansea to get up to the Premier League. Cardiff seems to be booming city (or at least immediately before the events of last summer) and development there was proceeding at an enormous pace, with lots of investment encouraged by the Welsh Assembly and every game would be “an international”.
    Welsh businesses would want to attach themselves to their local rising giant and football would become “sexy” in South Wales (as, apparently, it once was in our north east “hotbed” – remember the early Robson years where even relegation for one year failed to dim the enthusiasm and the stadium was full as we stormed back to the Premier League; next year there will be no money for staggering Merson-like purchases though, and little confidence we would immediately bounce back).
    We might not be the biggest supported club in the land and we have no foreign billionaires to prop us up, but things would be much worse in The Championship than it would be if we were 14th to 17th in the Premier League with the odd “Typical Boro” win against one of the Big Boys and a cup run to dream about.
    Look at the bottom of the Championship, populated as it is by old top division teams like Nottingham Forest, Southampton, Norwich, Charlton etc – teams whose supporters no doubt thought belonged to the Top Tier but whose stay down below looks like being longer than at first imagined, and may now be almost perpetual. I know a Saints fan. He is convinced his club will be going out of business shortly, not just facing a further relegation.
    Remarkably, and despite a run of poor form that goes back well into last year, we are STILL not relegated, although the escape route becomes more and more difficult as we successively spurn the easier turn-offs we meet on the road until there is no road left.
    The concern is for several months nothing appears to change. And if nothing changes the status quo will continue (ie we will fail to win the now larger proportion of games needed to stave off relegation, and will therefore be relegated).
    Whatever the financial problems are now, they will pale into insignificance compared to what we will face if relegated. Once the vase is smashed, I fear we will not be able to put the pieces back together and, in an uncertain world, the one thing we can bank on is that the clubs even in the lower reaches of the Premier League will forge further and further away from us.
    Sorry there, Richard. I didn’t mean to hijack the blog. It’s just that when I get started on this and think where we are headed, it’s difficult to stop. Maybe I should cut and paste this and sicken off AV by posting it to his Untypical Boro blog (well, he’ll be sickened when he sees the length of it – no doubt he was hoping to finish “The Damned United” tonight).
    ….it worked, so surely nothing wrong at my end.
    **AV writes: I don’t know why it didn’t work over there. I don’t think we have a limit on length of postings. This isn’t bloody Twitter!

  14. The fact players are talking about leaving only undermines Southgate further. Shows the total lack of unity in the team, this is down to the manager.
    Southgate should of gone on sunday after the Stoke shambles so somebody could come in and kick everyone into shape over this international break. He has the look of a broken man and its clear this has gone onto the players.
    Im starting to fear it will take a miracle for us to stay up and I hold Gibson responsible for not giving us even a fighting chance.

  15. A Tottenham Hotspur Fan .
    Do you know what Boro fans – please don’t take this the wrong way – would it really be such a bad thing if the whole flaming team upped and left the way they’re playing! .
    As for the ( so ) called captain ,well , just what the team needed to hear , as it’s Premiership status hangs in the balance .
    Finally captain Pog ,a word to the wise , there really was no need to announce your imminent departure , as I’m sure most Boro fans thought you had already had ! .

  16. Curses! Hit the wrong button there before I was finished, and maybe hit the ether instead of your blog.
    In short – I agree with your piece. Players should let their feet, knees, heads etc do the talking on the field. Most interviews with players contain little to illuminate, though I appreciate you have space to fill and the platitudes that pour out of their mouths probably make as good a filling as anything else that is available at the time.
    I could, however, well do without some overpaid sportsman telling me he is thinking about leaving when he should be thinking about how to improve the on-field performance of himself and the team. If anyone is so worried about their future, they have it in their power to do something about it on the pitch. Then their families wouldn’t have to uproot etc. Simple isn’t it? Doh!

  17. If average players like Pog’s and Ali are already jumping ship the Boro are gonna have a very thin squad come July 1.

  18. well said A.V
    What a kick in the teeth for all the fans, our own captain anouncing he is off first chance he gets. Keep the faith? if only!
    i can say to you Pogatetz, go, with our wishes. do us all a favour and sign for them jokers up the road then we can all have a laugh, watching you get the run around time and time again.
    He really should be stripped of the captaincy, lets face it he has hardly done a good job. And to be sick of fighting relegation every year. Whos fault is that?
    A two-bit defender who cant stop a set piece in a team who cant concentrate for 80 minutes, let alone 90; a midfield that’s weak and has one eye on the exit; plus
    forwards who have taken us backwards. Go, please and take your cronies with you.
    PS, good luck Steve Gibson with your investigation into whats gone wrong this season, although shouldnt take you long to figure it out!
    Sorry AV, rant over

  19. I think Forever Dormo has posted enough for a hundred blogs in his own right. Very interesting reading and I suspect he has learnt the lesson of saving his work elsewhere before attempting to post.
    A quick word about rats and ships. We do have to be careful about applying morals to our players that we don’t apply to ourselves about moving jobs.
    But, and it is a major BUT, they can keep their traps shut and not rub the noses of those of us who pay good money to keep them in the life to which we will never be able to become accustomed.
    Gibson must be seething with these leaks but no doubt we will hear they were misquoted or it was lost in translation.
    I hoped that whilst we debated pros and cons in the international break the coaches and players could clear their heads. Instead it looks like they are clearing their lockers.
    Maybe those fans who booed the players were right and the rest of us wrong. The damage has been done and the fans will be waiting for the next opportunity to get on their backs. It is silly and the people who launched the Keep The Faith campaign must feel short changed just like the fans.

  20. On the subject of “Careless Talk Costs Lives”,i’d just like to add that repeating something too often causes annoyance….
    I can no longer recall how many times I have now read GS announcing that he has the backing of the club. With the majority of Boro supporters resigned to relegation and calling for his sacking, his poor performance as a manager and HIS players disrespecting him, repeatedly telling the fans and football community that he “isn’t going and has the backing of the club, backing of the club, backing of the club, not leaving, not leaving, backing of the club……” that it all feels like a boast and personal rebellion against those (the fans) that don’t support him….
    The more I think of this, the more I feel that the club still hasn’t got to grips with the whole messy business of PR. They never have demonstrated these skills before and still can’t. The place just looks like a great big mess producing more great big messes. Maybe I’m just expressing my “knee-jerk reaction” – now where have I heard that before?

  21. I think some of the posters slagging off Aliadiere should realise that first off he hasnt said anything and is just agent talk which happens with almost every player due to our current situation, and second its a rumor. Take it with a pinch of salt lads!

  22. Forever Dormo – excellent post difficult to disagree with anything you’ve said.
    We’re all realistic enough to know that there will be a rush for the exit if we go down and if we don’t some should be kicked out of the exit anyway.
    I would also say don’t necessarily expect the likes of Wheater to stay if we go down, he might but on the other hand there may be a few prem. teams looking for a centre back who has been on the fringes of the England squad.
    We are in a dreadful state and Pogi has done untold damage with his ill judged and badly timed interview, I fear for the reaction at the next home game.

  23. I think this again highlights that Gareth is not where any anger or discontent should be aimed. A lot of our squad has let us down at various times this season.
    I’m tempted to say that relegation might be a good thing, we could get rid of the people that don’t want to be here and start again with a core of players from the academy.
    But that would be daft.

  24. I never read all the articles about Boro, or the blogs, or the comments, so never know who has said what before.
    First, the latest ‘overseas quote’, presumably to be denied, about Pogatetz, and the Aliadiere conjecture. Realities a small club in a small town have to face – if the ‘stars’ aren’t in the team, or in the Premiership, they seem to want away.
    Of course, they beg the question that they have to find somewhere where they will be better off, in all respects, and find the willing takers. Ask Mido, and, by the way, how many minutes has Viduka been on the pitch this season? Thank goodness we weren’t paying into his retirement pot.
    But to most professionals, that’s what it’s about, and really, you can’t altogether blame them. Somebody gave them the chance and the contract, and it’s not that long since players were treated disgracefully, tossed around like rubbish, unless you were at Arsenal (actually, the same thing happened to Juninho quite recently, when you think about it).
    But that brings me to the. I believe, very relevant point which may have been covered already, elsewhere; I apologise if so. Last night I had to watch what turned out to be a very disappointing programme on TV about The Boro Babe, Brian Clough. Very little mention of the Boro, but how relevant his managerial experience was to the perpetual Boro problems.
    After serious injury, he was turfed out by Sunderland, along with the manager, George Hardwick, without a thankyou, I imagine, something he would never forget. His first managers job was at absolutely rock bottom Hartlepool, remember, the perennial re-election fodder. He and Peter Taylor painted the ground in the summer, and unbelievably achieved promotion and respectability.
    They went to Derby, also languishing in the nether regions, and it was a few seasons of effort before they got to the heights, helped by quite a number of really good experienced pros. After Derby, Brighton, well for a short while, before mighty (once mighty) Leeds beckoned. This was the only time Cloughy went to an established senior club, and it ended in disaster.
    So, when he went to the lovely Notts Forest, they too were languishing in the nether regions, and it took two or three years of building, with the help of some carefully chosen experienced pros, before they too scaled the heights. But even they couldn’t stay there, as the culture of football began to change.
    But the ‘genius’ Clough had had a real grounding of six to eight years before winning the European Cup, and had the confidence boosting experiences of success at those three clubs at lower levels (think Roy Keane).
    And the moral of all this is that the Boro have chosen their last three managers on the basis of no experience at all, and I suspect none of them have enjoyed it much, never mind the fans. All the castles have been built on sand, and I have my own guess as to why, and there have been some memorable moments on the way, but they are soon forgotten in football.
    Jack Charlton achieved some real success, but not on his own. He was wise enough to realise that Stan Anderson had built the nucleus of a very good side and he had a decent chance – in the old Second Division – with the odd experienced player. And he said that four years was enough, not necessarily always right, but if only that had applied to the Boro in recent years. Of course, Jack was jeered and abused at his beloved Newcastle, and I don’t think he will have pocketed millions for it.
    No, real football was a different thing then, a game for largely sportsmen, rather than the frenzied, thuggish feeding circus that it has become. Will the game come back to the fans ? Well, Boro are, I think, the last small town, and not a bonny one at that, Premiership club (all the others are part of large, fairly prosperous conurbations).
    I believe many, many people will be hoping for something akin to a miracle for them to stay up. I don’t believe in miracles, but they could still do it. I hope Southgate gets the chance to gain more experience and confidence, even if it has to be at a lower level, and that the club as a whole benefits from a bit of a ‘detox’ , and that he doesn’t fade away into obscurity.
    Will the grown up Boro supporters stand up, roll up their sleeves, and stop whingeing, you’re not losing anything compared to the chairman.

  25. “…relegation battle was like bolt from the blue…nobody saw it coming…”
    Oh dear, oh dear, oh dear…I wonder what Alan Sugar would have to say in reply…

  26. I hope somebody takes the Vicks Sinex away from SG so he can smell the roses and get a grip on reality very quickly.
    Currently he seems to be in a stupor, almost catatonic in fact, removed from what is going on around him. I have said long before on here that this season we have no Leadership in the Boardroom, No Leadership from the Management and No Leadership on the pitch.
    Its amazing how in only a few days all three proclamations have been proven. Gareth mumbling about backing from the Board, Gibbo waffling in the local press and now Pogi putting on his flotation jacket and heading for the lifeboat.
    My only surprise is the amount of surprise by everyone who appears to be surprised at the current comical goings on at MFC.
    If we go down like Charlton, Southampton, Norwich et al I don’t see any reason for optimism any time soon. I learnt a long time ago in management that denial rarely resolves anything and am shocked to see SG in that state after all his years in business.
    If you do nothing generally nothing happens. if you change things the situation either gets better,worse or stays the same. Well if things stay the same then we are doomed for sure and they certainly couldn’t be much worse so for me the answer is obvious.
    We have absolutely nothing to lose and if anyone in MFC is embarrased or offended then tough, deal with it. Somehow I doubt SG has the stomach for it for whatever reason, no doubt we will read about it in five years time in our local ground sharing derby programme notes v Darlo.

  27. To talk about leaving if we go down and before we go down just shows Pogatetz up for what he really is, and sadly the powers that be would not allow my words of my true feelings to be put into print.
    These are not the words of a real man, a real leader or of someone who has any consideration whatsoever for the fans or for the club of for the manager.
    I am no fan of Southgate and I can’t wait to see him and the rest of his team go, and if Pogatetz had any problems with these people he should have had the balls to say so in the sincere aim of saving the club through the sincere belief that a change of manager and his team would turn things around, as this is what I believe in and would hope that would happen.
    To do what he did is an absolute disgrace as it just shows that his sole aim is to leave. It suggests he has no pride and no honour and I hope he gets booed all the way through every minute of every game as he disgusts me.
    Here we are facing oblivion and instead of rallying the troops and sending out the battle till we die cry and leading by true example, and then leaving, he chooses to drive a stake through our hearts and kill any faint glimmer we have of survival.
    How demoralising must his words be to all those loyal people working at the club, who even if I do not rate some of them, are without any doubt working their socks off to the very best of their ability 24/7 and probably not sleeping at nights as a result of the worry and racking their brains at what more they could be doing???
    Shocking. Truly shocking. I am just speechless to be honest because for me we are now relegated. In fact, I would go as far as to say that if I were Southgate I would bench him for the rest of the season and then give him his P45 because that is exactly what he deserves.
    These types of people disgust me to my very core and although I don’t rate Southgate, I really, really do feel for him because he is a good man, a man of honour and a man trying to do his very best who no doubt has treated his players as the true gentlemen he is and in return he gets treated in such an utterly disgraceful way. Shocking.

  28. When will we get the Boro back? We have;
    – a Chairman who has lost his way, having himself inspired a ‘phoenix from the (financial) flames’ in 86
    – a manager who never knew the way
    – an inferior squad not only low in quality but chronically lacking in backbone & motivation, though possessing irresponsibiilty in abundance &
    – a divided fanbase due to disagreement over the above
    It’s a dangerous strategy & I hate to suggest it, but perhaps we need to go down to purge ourselves of the deadwood & the uncommitted? It’s a no win situation because if we stay up (!) many of our passengers / parasites will stay.
    Is Bruce Rioch free next August ?

  29. Why is it that average players who have been involved in a run of one win in 18 and three years of mediocrity think a Prem club or Champions League club would want to buy them?
    To me that points to a major problem here: these people have an inflated idea of their own worth and their own talent. Despite all the evidence piling up they really do think they are too good to go down.

  30. frm
    “Boro are, I think, the last small town, and not a bonny one at that, Premiership club (all the others are part of large, fairly prosperous conurbations).”
    Can’t agree there, mate. Teesside may not be prosperous, but it is a sizeable conurbation, and Boro no doubt have loads of fans in Redcar (Redcar Red!), Stockton, Thornaby, even Billingham.
    Stoke is certainly not prosperous. Bolton is part of a conurbation, but has significant deprivation and Man City and Man U on the doorstep, ditto Wigan.
    And Blackburn is only a small town, roughly the size of M’bro, but with hardly any of the satelites that surround Boro. It is also one of the poorest towns anywhere in the North of England.
    The fact that all these clubs (Boro included)survive as they do in the Prem is nothing short of miraculous, given the competition from the big boys. Let’s hope we’re still in this club next season.

  31. I share Dormo’s take on the current crisis – yes, lack of funds is the backdrop, but lack of guile has precipitated our plight.
    I’ve held off posting for a while because I’ve been convinced (barring a brief ray of hope after the wins over WH and the red scousers) for a couple of months that we would be playing Championship football next season. Better to let the foam handers have full reign to give us our best chance, however slim. Game over now though, I fear.
    Doesn’t mean I’ve stopped praying for a miracle, of course (or a godless statistical improbability, rather). But I can’t honestly believe it will happen. Some posters are saying GS should go for all out attack and stop playing such conservative formations. Might work. What’s the chance he’ll do it? Nil. SG should get rid and get someone else in. Might work (unlikely though). What’s the chance he’ll do it? Nil.
    The definition of insanity is to do the same thing over and over and expect different results. Well, we’re on a mad, mad, mad, mad roller-coaster ride! That Black Hole one most likely, right through the floor of the Prem.
    Our problem was always that we cleared out a lot of experienced, if aged and expensive, players and then wholly failed to replace them. Our centre and right midfield is second rate, as are our ‘strikers’. We should have invested in an experienced central defensive midfielder to complement Tuncay, a left back who can overlap and put in a decent cross, and at least one natural goalscorer. We gambled all our eggs on Alves.
    In defense of Aliadiere who’s getting some stick for his agent’s antics – although he doesn’t score goals, he does tend to stretch the play due to his pace and directness, which allows players like Tuncay and Downing the space to do damage to the opposition.
    We have only won one game of the 11 that he has missed, and that was against Wolves. In fact, our early season good form corresponds exactly with the period when Ali was fit and played 90 minutes of each game. The brief resurgence against West Ham and Liverpool coincided with Aliadiere’s return.
    Without his pace, opposition defenders feel comfortable pushing up, compressing play and making it much harder for us to play our passing game. Just a shame he hardly ever scores.

  32. So lets go down this season. Get Mogga as Manager and he appoints a Man he could fly to the moon with as his assistant (Brucey).
    Skippy or Ross in goal.
    Back four of Riggot, Wheater (captain, mogga mini-me), mcmahon, rhys williams.
    Middle four. Bates, Johnson, hardened pro or Nathan Porritt.
    Up front – Emnes, King (or other hardened pro).
    Look what we did to Wolves in the cup, I think I would look forward to winning two out of three games rather than losing 12 out of 18

  33. Keenog at 1.16am – your middle four has only three members. Did you miss someone out (Josh Walker?)?
    **AV writes: Looks like the budget cuts are really starting to bite.

  34. Having re-read Gibson’s latest offering it’s clear that he has become quite complacent about running a football club.
    He seems to have lost the ability to take action and is behaving more a like a naive armchair fan frozen in disbelief as their beloved clubs heads towards oblivion.
    The chairman is supposed to be the one person who has the overall responsibility for ensuring the club performs at all levels – it’s not his place to come out eight games before the end of the season and suddenly claim he’s in shock at our peril – which planet has he been living on?
    Southgate has long looked a beaten man and Gibson has not learned the lesson’s of the Robson era – even the players are now accepting we’re already down. Surely it is time for a last chance roll of the dice and Gibson must bring in someone new to motivate the players into one last push.
    A summer inquiry will be pointless as most of the culprits will aready be either gone or on their way out. Besides he’s already indicated that he thinks it’s the players fault.
    He said: “As a town, nobody wants this. As a football club, we don’t want it. But we have to trust these players to give us their best in the last eight games.”

  35. After I hit send I thought Doh, I forgot Josh Walker, I also forgot Jonathan grounds as well.
    One too many bourbon n cokes !!

  36. Another cracking read AV, and one that has inspired me to post for the first time!
    A point that has rankled with me for some time, and one that strikes me as particularly poignant right now, is the football communities’ willingness to reward failure.
    Every banker on this side of the pond and the other is being chastised for making/taking huge sums of money despite inherent failures in the role they have been asked to fulfil. Why should the millionaires of football be any different?
    Let’s be honest though, with the ludicrously bloated transfer fees that we have seen over the past decade, no club is likely to sack a player despite failure to perform in their job, or their bringing of their employers business in to disrepute!
    If this were the case, there are players at most club’s, that for one or both of the reasons above, would be looking at finding themselves a new employer in the very near future, irrespective of where their club finishes in the league. Similarly, managers no longer resign despite their failings. Why would they two years in to a five year contract with over £2m per year.
    My point is, the Gates remit in August was not only just to keep us in the league I am sure, but more likely to challenge for a top half finish and at least be competitive. SHOULD the unthinkable happen come May, Southgate should be sacked and the club SHOULD NOT pay a penny of compensation.
    Similarly, Poggy as a “Senior Manager” within the MFC business, should be rebuked by his employers with a misconduct charge and disciplinary procedures should apply. If deemed serious enough by the club, dismissal should be a potential outcome. Why not?
    To come back to my earlier point, we are now in a time where rewarding failure is NOT acceptable, why should football be any different?

  37. “I’d like to thank the fainthearts like Pogatetz and Aliadiere for showing their real colours and intentions by saying that they are leaving if the Boro go down. GOOD! And anyone else who wants to go can go with them as far as I’m concerned.
    “Personally I will look forward to watching Championship League football if we are relegated because I am fed up of watching over paid, over rated, jumped up, lily livered show ponies that are presently plaguing the Premier League.
    The likes of O’Neill, Downing, Pogatz, Ardlyeverthere, Arca, Tuncay, Alves etc have been missing for most parts of this season so I will certainy not miss them when they move on in the summer. Heres to relegation and leaving the most over hyped, over rated league in the world.”
    I have to disagee with almost all of that.
    **AV writes: Oh pauls, you are a one. Or two.

  38. Years ago football clubs had clauses in their contracts banning players from talking to the media without a club media official present with authority to veto what was asked and control over what made it into print. Another aspect of player power where clubs have lost out.
    Aliadiere is apparently escaping supporters wrath at present because it is his agent speaking not him – under instruction perhaps? – starting the process for a move? I think so. I doubt Ali disapproves of what he is doing or saying.
    Pogatetz however is suddenly public enemy number 1. I am no great fan of Pogatetz – he certainly wouldnt be in my first choice lineup at centre back or left back and thus no chance of him being captain. I dont think the club should ever have signed him – he displaced a better left back in Queudreu (whose career went downhill from that moment and has never recoverd).
    But give Pogatetz his due – he has settled into Teesside as well as any foreign import and like Festa before him was regarded as an honorary Teessider because of that. He would probably stay here till the end of his career. So I give him the benefit of the doubt in his comments. This is no slag off Teesside merchant with an axe to grind – and I do believe his words have been twisted on this occasion.
    The translation begins “Should I leave” – not “I am definitely going to leave” – I think thats an important point. He was making out his case to captian his country – a laudable ambition. He has a decent case – he is Austrian – a nationality with non-descript status within europe nowadays – as much no-hopers in World football terms as the likes of Wales – probably would need to be up against teams from Asia or Oceania to ever qualify for the world Cup unless they host it! Yet another former quality national side that has been left behind by the big boys of Europe.
    He is (and I stand to be corrected here) the only Austrian outfield player in the Premiership – supposedly the world’s no 1 league) so could make a case for captaining his country just on that basis.
    His interviewer could then point out he is captain of a side that has won 1 out of 18, is in free-fall and currently looks one of the worst sides ever to have played at that level so why should he be considered captain and shouldnt he be looking to get out pronto and that would then lead to the statement much quoted over here.
    Personally i dont see anything heinous in what he said. The rest of the time he makes the right noises off the pitch but is sadly lacking on it.
    **AV writes: Your opening paragraph couldn’t be further from the truth. In the past we just turned up at Ayresome Park or Hurworth before training and grabbed any player we wanted for a quick chat about pretty much anything without any interference from the club.
    Now things are far more guarded and it is very unusal to speak to a play in anything other than a formal setting with a club press officer and/or sponors PR goon hoovering around in the background.
    Players are more controlled than ever before and also far more aware of the media and often have some kind of schooling. I am willing to believe that Poggi let this slip in an unguarded moment after a loosening up with a few questions in his native tongue about his national team but not that he has been manipulated or misquoted.

  39. I skipped thro’ forever dormos’ blog (it took me two hours) and I agree on his point of appointing a manager with nous. Inexperience does not usually work in the Prem, Incy and Adams have bit the dust although Zola has got off to a bit of a start.
    It was important that a manager with nous was given the job especially with funds drying up but obviously SG did not agree and we unfortunately are were we are. GS has spent £53m since he took over on new players and although he has recouped some, this flies in the face at the reason AV gave for Martin O’Neill not coming here i.e the funds not being available. I don’t think Oneill has spent that much at Villa since he took over.
    The only comment that came out of the club at the time was “We talked to Martin Oneill twice but we kept coming back to Gareth.” The strong rumour at the time was that M O would have came if he could bring in his own backroom staff.The club then turned him down and plumped for GS because they wanted continuity.
    The big question then of course is continuity of what?It must be mediocrity because thats’ what we ended up with again.The proper answer would be the progress and promotion of the academy players,but surely M O would have played them if they were good enough?After all he is playing young players at Villa,and he has the ability to get the best out of players whatever age or character something that has been missing at this club since SG took over.
    I think the club is in the present situation because we have a chairman who wants to dictate what happens at the club and does not want a knowledgeable manager getting in the way.
    On the question of loyalty of the players in our precarious situation some of their comments arent’ going to endear themselves to the fans which suggests to me they dont give a toss anyway. Things are going to get really nasty over next few weeks and i hope SG and the club are prepared for the backlash.The only way to avoid it is to win a few games i suppose,now that would be nice would it not?
    **AV writes: The important thing is net spend. Southgate may have spent a decent wedge but the outward traffic is more important because key players have been replaced on the cheap. NET spend this year was £400,000. Last year it was only £4.4m, even with the Alves splurge. At Villa Martin O’Neil has spent £90m in that time and well over £50m net while even Hull, Stoke, Wigan and West Brom have easily outspent Boro.

  40. The sad decline of Middlesbrough FC over the last three seasons has sparked huge debate amongst the fans. We are now coming to the crunch with dreaded relegation a stark and chilling reality.
    Quite understandably we fans are looking for a scapegoat. Our spleen is vented on Gareth Southgate – “he doesn’t know what he’s doing”. The players – “they are only interested in money and they don’t care”. The coaching staff – “they are not good enough”. Now finally Steve Gibson “has lost the ability to take action and is behaving more a like a naive armchair fan frozen in disbelief”.
    As Jimmy Greaves has often said “it will all come down to money”. I think lack of money is the real reason we are in this situation. That is why Steve Gibson appointed Gareth Southgate – he was cheap!
    Gareth has gone along with the chairman’s “vision” of a smaller, cheaper squad of players…a squad cut to the bone by necessity. All the top earners have been booted out and we have been left with a group of players who have tried their best but are just not good enough. Steve Gibson’s apparently illogical inability to take any action to rescue the situation is down to one thing. The club is broke!

  41. I’m willing to give Ali the benefit of the doubt for the time being, however, Pogatetz has let Gareth Southgate down big-time and I hope he follows Arsene Wenger’s lead (with Gallas) and strips him of the captaincy; giving it to Wheater or McMahon and lets see somebody captain and LEAD the team who has genuine feelings for this football club.
    I can’t help thinking about the ‘Little Fella’ at Elland road, crying on the pitch after he had given his all to try and keep us up. If the likes of Pogatetz put that type of effort in for 90 minutes…..would we be in our current situation?
    I’m gutted at the lack of commitment by our ‘Captain’…disgraceful!!!!!!!!!

  42. /Steve Gibson’s apparently illogical inability to take any action to rescue the situation is down to one thing. The club is broke!
    $64.000 question is Why ? Will there ever be an expose or scoop achieved in the local sports media so that the fans of the Boro could share in the enlightenment ?
    **AV writes: There’s no scoop. The club are not broke, they are just curbing excessive spending and there is no mystery as to why they have a massive debt. For a decade the TV money and the gate money combined have just about covered the wage bill. Everything else – the academy, the facilities at Hurworth and most importantly the years of trophy transfer spending has been done on the basis of borrowing, either from within the Bulkhaul structure, personally from Steve Gibson, or, when credit was cheap, from the banks.
    Think of all those big money signings that have come and then left with no resale value – Ugo £8m, Maccarone £8m, Viduka £4.5m, even Southgate £6m – all added to the bottom line of the red column. That is where debt has come from, a decade of unsustainable transfer spending and massive wages. That is why the club have spent the last two or three year switching course for a new prudent model, to address the debt and gear the club to a different future philosophy.
    We may not like it but that is the harsh reality.

  43. Re Chris Hurren
    You’re wrong; Boro’s 30 odd miles from Tyne and Wear, and even BBC NE had the grace to describe ‘ the remarkable legacy to football (Clough and Revie) from a small town’, and they should know. Stand atop Eston Hills and it still doesn’t look much bigger, apart from the life giving industry.
    Regarding the Clough and Revie saga, not much is made of the other Middlesbrough connection, the great Alan Peacock. Football is not a one man game, and ‘Peach’ was a great man for Cloughie at Boro. He was also known to some as ‘Mary’ because he was so good with his head he never got much chance to kick the ball.
    I’ve been up close when he was kicking the ball against quality goalkeepers and he made them look like mugs. It makes you realise how good these guys are and how different the game is from the seats (not the terraces) and especially from the wide angle of the TV camera.
    I’ve heard from very close quarters that Revie credited Leeds’ eventual promotion to the old First Division to the crucial goals that Peach scored for them after he was signed from the Boro. The rest was, as they say, history. His knee didn’t last much longer and he had a brief trip to Plymouth, I think. Possibly the difference in the training they did at Leeds.
    I thought the much maligned Revie conducted himself excellently on that TV confrontation with Clough. And that Leeds team were quite an outfit, too good in a way, and too dirty. I also believe the Leeds players would have spoken the in the same way about Revie as the Forest players did about Clough. With the exception of the wondrous JoJo at Leeds, I don’t believe they or Forest had foreign imports in the side. Didn’t Forest win the European Cup TWICE ?
    Final comment about Cloughie, someone thought he might have run ICI but the old ICI was run by committees. Funny old world.

  44. AV, will the new prudent transfer policy see the likes of Alves and Mido being sold on for a profit? The club can’t have it both ways – not much has changed as they’re still making over-inflated panic buys.

  45. Vic, do you have any information regarding the players’ contracts? Are any players out of contract in the summer? Do any of them have clauses to let them go cheap/free if we go down? Do the wages of those that stay automatically drop?
    I can’t imagine the likes of Aliadiere and Pogatetz getting a better deal than with us, anywhere else.
    We’d probably get a few bob for Downing, Tuncay, Huth, Mido and O’Neil. But that’s about it. We couldn’t get rid of Maccarone because no one else was prepared to pay him the wages that we were. Won’t we have similar problems off loading our current players if we go down?
    **AV writes: Ross Turnbull is out of contract in the summer, hasn’t signed the new deal the club have offered and looks set to go. Matthews Bates is also out of contract but I think is close to signing a new one. As both are academy products and under 24, if they leave Boro are entitled to a ‘development’ fee.
    More pressing is that Emanuel Pogatetz, Adam Johnson, Chris Riggott, Gary O’Neil (and Mohamed Shawky) will have just one year on their deals so the club will be under a lot of pressure to take any offers they get (even below the market value) or run the risk of losing them for nothing the following summer.
    I think in standard contracts there are bonuses built in for cup wins, UEFA qualification in the league and also pay cuts built in for relegation. Some Reading players wages were cut by 50% when they went down.
    Not everyone will have signed a ‘standard’ contract though and some may have a variety of clauses included. It wouldn’t surprise me if Tuncay had a relegation release clause, or Downing’s new deal last year included an escape pod.
    There will be some big earners that we will struggle to move on without taking a hit. We might have to pay someone to take Mido away. Alves won’t have many takers unless we cut the price drastically. Huth has a poor injury record and is one of the top earners and we may have to take a big loss.

  46. frm
    The fact that Boro is in itself a small town – even if it is 30 miles or so from Tyne and Wear as you say – doesn’t make Teesside any less of a conurbation!
    Paul Scharner (Wigan) is I think the only other Austrian outfield player in the Prem.

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