Game Over?

WELL, it is still mathematically possible to get something on the last day at West Ham but the stats swung against Boro when they failed to beat Villa. It was a last chance to keep our fate in our own hands. Now it comes down to results elsewhere, goal difference and prayers.
It was deeply frustrating because in the first half Boro played with considerable zest and desire and took their fate in their own hands, scored a cracking opener and engineered a string of good openings and could maybe have sealed it… but then as so often this season they went off the boil, leaked a leveller and started to panic. By the end they had run out of steam, ideas and the institutional mental frailty had kicked in. In truth, we were lucky to get away with a point in the end.
Gareth Southgate got booed at the end and admitted it hurt but to be fair he got off lightly. That could be the end of Boro’s Golden Age of Premiership football fizzling out for the foreseeable with barely a wimper.

The sky was biblical black and heavy with omen during a pre-match deluge, a tone that matched supporters’ gloom but then a teasing shaft of golden age sunlight shone on a hopeful spell that hinted at escape before the prospects clouded over again in a bleak end as the crowds departed grumbling into a gathering storm.
What could well be the last Premier League game at the Riverside for some time ended as flat as week old lager. In a fitting cypher for the season it started well with an early opener and some crisp, bright positive football that suggested that Boro were on the verge of something of note.
But then a frustrating familiar pattern imposed itself as Boro failed to make their possession count then got sloppy and conceded a goal that prompted a slump into demoralised and shapeless chaos.
Boro failed to take their chances then were punished by lapses in concentration before running out of steam, ideas and belief. The whole fateful day fizzled out unchallenged into an empty and soulless affair that lacked real urgency or bite.
Even the booing of the boss at the end lacked any real venom. It is a season that slumped into mindset of powerless resignation months ago. It was a day on which a lot of people seemed to be going through the motions.
And the day held other parallels with the season as a whole too.
There were some strange selection choices that left fans baffled. With a problem at left back what better time to introduce Rhys Williams, back from a spell at Burnley that earned rave reviews?
But instead an uncomfortable looking Justin Hoyte was switched from the right and instead of his slot being taken by his normal proxy Tony McMahon, Matthew Bates was moved back from midfield with his holding role filled not by Mohamed Shawky – rated the best bet at Newcastle on Monday – but by Julio Arca, back three months after disappearing into Boro’s Bermuda Triangle.
That made for Boro’s 21st different defensive permutation in 37 league games this term while up front a new pairing was blooded too, ‘project’ Marvin Emnes – not seen as being good enough for anything other than cameos until a week ago – teamed up with Tuncay.
Another parallel: there were costly injuries to key players at the worst possible times.
Stewart Downing had an electric start against Villa and was at the heart of everything creative in Boro’s lively opening, bursting down the flank and cutting inside to great effect to engineer a series of openings and instrumental in the goal.
But he was chopped down by Petrov in a heavy unpunished tackle – another feature of the season – and after lengthy treatment and a tentative attempt to play on he was stretchered off after 25 minutes.
It would be sad to think that pathetic exit could be the last we see of Boro’s best homegrown talent in a generation at the Riverside. In a home shirt any way.
Then, with Boro chasing the game, Gary O’Neil – another one who could have been saying his farewells – followed down the tunnel forcing another reshuffle that exposed Boro’s lack of options.
Another parallel with the season as a whole came in the shape of Tuncay, the one fizzing presence of promise.
It was fitting that on a day when Boro huffed and puffed and had spells of positive possession without ever really threatening, Boro’s goal came with a flash of sublime skill from the tricky Turk, a moment to savour in an otherwise toothless affair.
Another parallel came in the post-match reaction from supporters, an ambivalent cocktail of anger, frustration and acceptance along with a passionate defiance. The traditional ‘lap of honour’ to salute the fans who have kept the faith no matter what had wisely been shelved and players were told to stay in the centre-circle to acknowledge the crowd – or possibly protect them from recriminations.
But they couldn’t even show a squad unity in that. Some made a token gesture before heading for the tunnel only to be shepherded back by ‘one of our own’ David Wheater who then broke ranks and headed over to the North Stand, followed initially sheepishly by a posse of mainly younger and local players who were warmly applauded.
The manager’s reception was less generous and his appearance on the pitch sparked loud boos, a reaction he later admitted had hurt him. But in truth the boos could have been far worse.
There was some venom there, but also apathy, resignation and a tired emptiness. Whole layers of supporters had gone beyond anger months ago, while others were inhibited in expressing anger partly because of Southgate’s stockpile of goodwill as a cup winning captain, partly because for all the stats stacked up against Boro they are not down yet, and partly because they understand that he is financially bound up with by a strategy decided by the chairman.
The biggest parallel with the season was that once again Boro were presented with a golden opportunity on a plate but spurned it. As so often, results went their way as inept Hull and Newcastle lost. It was in their own hands to snatch victory and cash in but when it mattered they weren’t good enough.


70 thoughts on “Game Over?

  1. Majority of the players, if not uniformly bad, have certainly not been putting the effort in, this season.
    Players I feel have tossed it off: Downing, Mido, O’Neill.
    Players blatantly not good enough; Alves, Arca, Aliadiere, Pogatetz, Shawky.

  2. Lets face a few facts here… we have been woeful all season… relegation fodder since xmas and the blame for this lies firmly at the boardroom door for allowing this demise to carry on unchecked!
    GS should of been sacked after the Cardiff debacle last season, that’s where the rot set in. His lack of managerial nouse both in front of the media and team selection has left me and the sports writers baffled to say the least.
    I’m a loyal Boro supporter and im hurting bad, I will be at the Riverside next season come what may. I’m praying for a miracle next sunday.. my heart says we can still do it.. my head says not in a million years will we stay up. I’m following my heart
    Oh just one other thing, thank you Mr Gibson for saving my precious Boro from oblivion and giving me and my son some wonderful memories.. thats in the past though. This is hard for me to say but in my opinion you have gone from hero to zero this season.

  3. Thanks to some great goal-keeping by Schwarzer and Jussi we’ve managed to place a sticking plaster over the fat lady’s lips – but sadly she’s still able to hum ‘going down with the geordies’.
    But even an eternal optimist would find it hard to believe we’re not already down – it’s true Newcastle are more likely to lose at Villa and any Man Utd team would be expected to beat Hull – but can Boro with a bare-bones team, on a run of 11 consecutive defeats, win by a couple of goals away to West Ham?
    It would certainly be the greatest of great escapes – unfortunately we’ve got the visionary Gareth Pleasance planning the escape with only a leaden-footed Steve McKing to stroll towards the enemy with his pockets stuffed full of soil.
    With Boro’s luck seemingly determined to ensure all salable assets are well and truly damaged before the season ends – we’ll be down to the fringe academy players for next season and little cash in the kitty. Though, overall I think we should resist the temptation to go with a young team next season as experienced Championship players would be essential to getting out (at the right end).
    Still we could always ‘reward’ Mido with a guaranteed start next season! OK, try to keep the faith everyone…

  4. Just thought I would send one more message to try to lift the mood.
    Yes, it is a long shot but lets dream. We need to score a few goals on Saturday and hope Man U’s kids do too. Let’s say they win by 2 or 3 goals we need 2 or 3.
    We needed 4 goals against the odds in the UEFA Cup quarter final and got them.
    We needed 4 goals against the odds in the UEFA Cup semi final and got them.
    Last seasons last game we won by 7 clear goals against a much better team than West Ham. Who would have predicted that?
    So against all the odds, we may pull of the great escape.
    Well! A bloke can dream can’t he?

  5. I’m afraid the Championship may not be the fun that some here are expecting.
    Using relegation to “balance the books” is nonsense, as I’m sure the club’s hierarchy know only too well. Gareth Southgate’s implication (it is never stated directly) that the club could be in a better financial position after relegation is simply not true. Nevertheless, it seems to have gained some credence, including in today’s Times.
    Evidence that it isn’t true is easy to find. In 2007 Deloitte reported:
    “In general, a Championship club can only hope to significantly reduce its net debt in the short or medium term via either promotion to the Premier League or an injection of equity funding from its owner”.
    So the chances of reducing the debt, and Steve Gibson getting any of his money back, will actually be worse in the Championship.
    Deloitte also reported that Championship clubs spend an average 79% of their turnover on player’s wages, “with wage bills increasing far faster than teams’ earnings”. For the Premier League this was only 63%, “broadly level with the other major leagues in Europe”.
    So the chances of further reductions in the wage bill look slim unless Boro resign themselves to having an even more threadbare squad and a long spell as Championship strugglers.
    It’s not hard to see why. The television money will drop from £34.2m last year to £2.5m next in the Championship. Even taking into account the £11.2m parachute payment, which will last only two years, the net loss will be over £20m annually. Add to that additional losses in gate receipts, merchandising and other revenues, and you can see how fatally flawed this “strategy” is.
    The club’s hierarchy have taken a big gamble and lost, as AV has said. The problem is that they don’t even seem to know when they’re gambling. What will they do next, double or quits? Perhaps that’s what they mean by giving Gareth next season to take us back up? What are Ladbrokes quoting for that particular “investment”?

  6. When we go down all we have to do to come straight back up is to sell these:
    Alves Benfica £10 million
    Arca Sunderland £4 million
    Downing Spurs £16 million
    O’Neill Portsmouth £7 million
    Bates Everton £8 million
    and Aliadiere to whoever for £3 million
    Out of this we should pull out all the stops to buy
    Mario Gomes Stuttgart £5 million
    Huddlestone Spurs £2 million
    Sakho Paris £2 million
    Loovens Celtic £1 million
    Steven Ireland Man City £4 million
    and Maury Chamakh Bordeaux £2.5 million.
    By doing this we will have a much better team and squad that is ready made to finish in the top half of the Premier League the season after next,and Sir Steve Gibson will be able to bank over £30 million as well as the Sky money.

  7. Well, here we are at relegation Sunday. My lot have got a relegation party planned, watching on Sky as Boro’s last breath is played out in hideous technicolour.
    I’ve seen miracles before – and heard of quite a few by that Jesus guy when I learned my trade at Sacred Heart but surely not this time? I was there at Wolves when we won 2-1 despite being down to 10 men, in fact I was fairly everywhere once, but now will remain at home.
    My season ticket money is in again – after 20 years I cannot give it up (and 35 years in total now), but listen; angry though I am, we have all seen much worse than this, suffered worse times, and watched Boro play it all out in a dishevelled and creaky old Ayresome Park. It’s been worse, we will survive, and after maybe a couple of years of bedding in, we will rise again, I promise.
    Yes, Southgate should resign, and SG should replace him with an experienced manager (McClaren – I agree, and Chris from Beverley knows I never wanted him to go), but we also all know that nothing will change except the players.
    Can we do it with the kids? Not without a backbone of hardened experienced Championship players, but we will try, and I will be there to support them through this bad time. Oh, and yes, I will be praying to my God for a miracle on Sunday, but I just don’t think the Good Lord is listening at the moment. Keep the faith, all of you who have written in this season. It’s been a fantastic blog – thanks AV.
    Bring on Sunday – at least if the geordies sink with us, I will believe there is at least some kind of twisted justice.

  8. I’m afraid we are deluding ourselves with talk of new managers such as Coppell, Ferguson, Pearson et al.
    Who the HELL would want to come to Middlesbrough? Nigel Pearson? I don’t think so – he is on top of the world having secured promotion for Leicester and will probably do well in the Championship – Leicester are buoyant, Boro are sunk. Besides, he’s been with Boro before, he KNOWS what it’s like (Cup Finals, Ravanelli/Cox scrapping on the grass, team spirit etc etc).
    Ferguson? Same goes for him, only not been there before – a few phone calls would sort that out. That leaves us with Coppell, a relegated PL manager who has anyway, I believe, packed it all in. Southgate will stay because there is no credible alternative for Gibson to consider.

  9. The only parallel between this season and against Villa worth mentioning is that during both we have had a manager incapable of doing his job and a club unable or unwilling to either help him or get rid of him and we had that self same manager on Saturday.
    The rubbish that the Gazette swallows hook line and sinker is laughable. Have a look at the front page of the paper the day we went down in 66 to see what it looks like when Boro are held to account by the local media.
    Maybe that’s why some took the step of booing, one which I think is puerile and disrespectful to anyone trying to do an honest job, but when they see no one asking the right questions, they are bound to act like Geordies!
    We have had just the same advantages as most of those below the top seven and more than most. One thing has gone against us: a poor manager who players do not trust and do not want to play for. Everyone knows that the guff about a new model is just that and the reason we do not have, say, five more points is because we did not have the guts to ditch Southgate and get a proper manager in.
    Please, start to tell it like it is. Criticising one game at a time is not the same as taking a longer look at the performance of the club and making obvious judgements. You should have no fear of criticising Gibson, much as we all appreciate him, he is not infalliable and his local media behaving swooning fans does him and boro no favours.
    Here’s a good headline for you re Gareth: Thanks and Goodbye.

  10. The inquest can begin now I reckon. The only things in Southgate’s defence is he lost Digard for most of the season, was let down massively by Mido, and Alves did not deliver what was expected of him.
    Criticism of Southgate is justified for the following: Why did he sign Mido in the first place(he has a history of bad conduct at every club he has been with)?; why did he let Cattermole and Boateng go (we were left with no bite in midfield)?; why before the season started didn’t’ he get in at least two pacy and quick defenders(it is obvious most of ours are too slow)?
    I also would have tried to get Peter Crouch at the start of the season, his goals would have kept us up. We all know the finances are not great but a good manager could have done the above with some wheeling and dealing.
    Another critcism of SG has been his tactics. Why do we give teams so much space? Why when we attack do we not get bodies in the box? Why do our full backs never cut out crosses(they always get caught in no mans land)? And when the crosses come in why arent’ the opposition picked up?
    These are things that have occurred in most matches this season and our manager and coaches seem incapable of rectifying it. We really are the worse team in the Prem and it reminds me of the team Raich Carter took into the third division in 1966 before he was sacked and i can see something similar happening next season if the present regime is still in place.

  11. Smoggy Plumm:
    “Oh just one other thing, thank you Mr Gibson for saving my precious Boro from oblivion and giving me and my son some wonderful memories.. thats in the past though. This is hard for me to say but in my opinion you have gone from hero to zero this season.”
    Would you rather Gibson had allowed costs to go unchecked and his businesses possibly go into receivership – including MFC?
    The financial realities of football club management haven’t really struck home with some fans yet, by the looks of things!
    If Gibson didn’t have to cut back, then he wouldn’t have. If any criticism might be levelled at him, it might be his decision to proceed with the Hurworth development. But that was taken when times were considerably better than they are now. And who do we think WE are to tell him what he should do with his money anyway?
    Perhaps you might like to voluntarily take on a fraction of the debt he’s accumulated bringing Boro as far as we’ve come? What, let’s say maybe a paltry £50K to be found from your own pocket?? That might be more supportive than unfairly telling him he’s now public enemy #1!
    No? Well, I don’t think you’re in any position to make comments like you just have! What a way to treat the bloke whose bankrolled the fantastic trip of the last 20 years!
    We’re all hurting, but comments like that are unbalanced, selfish, ungrateful, unwarranted and shameful!

  12. This blog read over extensive periods is a true roller coaster. From “BUY ALVES NOW!!!” histeria to Alves is crap.
    This week we have the latest flip-flop…let’s get McClaren back!
    I’m glad I just have to watch and read. I’ll leave the rest up to SG.

  13. Richard – I understand where you’re coming from however…
    1) If you have to reduce expenditure, replace expensive experienced players with cheaper versions and so on does it not follow that to minimise the risk in doing this you need an experienced manager with a proven ability to manage on a tight budget? In this context appointing your captain who has neither experience nor qualifications must surely be a recipe for disaster…
    2) There’s no point telling anyone else to ‘cough up some of your own money’ when SG has steadfastly refused to even consider ceding equity to anyone else – he just wouldn’t accept it. As has been argued many times here there seems an appetite for a Supporters Trust but no enthusiasm from the club – this position destroys your point
    3) The positive contribution that SG has made over more than twenty years will never be forgotten, although the reality is that in football ‘you’re only as good as your last game’. In this context we’ve had three years of creeping dry rot that has finally brought the house down – we’re entitled to ask questions and express opinions
    In fairness, both SG and GS have drawn heavilly on the bank of goodwill that earlier years had given them – GS appointment came as a shock to most of us, it ran counter to what SG had promised post Eindhoven, and there is a sizeable body of opinion that GS appointment was a catastrophoic error of judgement – many said so at the time and the results suggest they were right.
    Not recognising this error of judgement and acting up on it (even now) is another potentially cataclysmic failure of stewardship
    Finally, please don’t talk to me about the financial realities of football in terms of excusing the failed policies that have brought the club to its knees. Look at the Premier League and tell me we’re not better resourced in terms of the infrastructure (a wise investment by SG) and the fan base than half of the others – relative to our peers we have underperformed. Where we lack is in management ability
    Gareth is again bleating about bad luck and injuries with “the only positive news” being David Wheater being able to limp on – in the words of Jose Mourinho “deal with it”, its what you get paid for and our opponents – including West Ham – are also suffering from (more serious) financial and player injury crises than we are. The big difference of course is that they acted and changed their management team so that they were more able to cope
    In this regard, Zola gained experience as a coach at a more junior level first and was wise enough to compensate for his relative lack of managerial experience by bringing in a vastly experienced and proven coach in Steve Clarke
    Other failing clubs also acted to safeguard themselves – last season Fulham brought in Roy Hodgson, this season Bolton brought in Sam Allardyce and Spurs appointed Harry Redknapp – experience counts
    Finally, I don’t buy this “I don’t think you’re in any position to make comments” – Steve Gibson owns the club, its his business, he makes the decisions, all we can do as fans is pay our hard earned money and offer support.
    If the club demands our loyalty and commitment then we have a right to express an opinion, and that opinion should be honestly based. If sometimes passion and pain drive us towards being too cynical or lacking objectivity or balance then maybe sometimes it’s just because we’re hurting, frustrated and powerless to influence anything in what is a (benevolent) dictatorship
    Your contributions are always worth reading, insightful and well argued but on this occasion I have to take issue

  14. Sell Alves for £10m? In your dreams maybe. Who would pay that much money for someone who can’t score more than six goals a season?
    As for Downing, we may have squeezed £16m for him back in January, but the longer he has played this season, the less his value has become. Ten goals last season, two missed penalties this season.

  15. Mick Loughran:
    Thank you for the biggest laugh I’ve had all day! Bates to Everton for £8m! The lad’s out of contract this summer! And thrifty Moyes would never pay £8m for a woefully average midfielder who didn’t even excel in a crap side!
    Alves for £10m! We’ll be lucky to get £6-£7m. Downing £16m! £10m tops there me thinks, maybe we can push Spurs and Liverpool up to £12m.
    O’Neil for £7m! Tell me why Pompey, who by the way are in a worse financial situation than us, would pay £2m more than they sold O’Neill for when we are not in a position to negotiate AND O’Neil has hardly excelled himself this season?
    Oh, and Mario Gomes, notwithstanding the fact he has (I believe) decided on one more season at Stuttgart will not be available for less than 3-4x the price you quote, and is wanted by a smattering of top European clubs. i.e. out of our league!!!

  16. Richard said:
    ‘Perhaps you might like to voluntarily take on a fraction of the debt he’s accumulated bringing Boro as far as we’ve come?’
    Each season many of us do take on a fraction of that debt and stretch ourselves financially by buying a season ticket for ourselves and our family. For that money we see our team staring relegation in the face yet have no say in the future of the club.
    Whatever the state of Bulkhaul it is my guess that Steve Gibson will still have a personal fortune way in excess of what the average season ticket buyer could ever dream about. It is the fans who make tangible life style sacrifices to support our team.

  17. Just heard on the radio that Stewy has broken his foot and is out for up to 6 months.
    Terrible news for him and for the club who had no doubt counted on a hefty fee this summer.
    Looks like we’ll see him again in a Boro shirt October/November time.

  18. Mike I’m sorry but your estimates of our players are vastly over inflated;
    Alves Benfica £10 million? We will be lucky to get £6-7 million for a player who doesn;t score goals at the top level.
    Arca Sunderland £4 million? We will get £2m tops, 1 year left on his contract and a much poorer, slower and injury prone player we signed.
    Downing Spurs £16 million? Spurs only wanted to pay £10m in January, now we need to sell and the lad wants to leave, we’ll get 10m, £12m max.
    O’Neil Portsmouth £7 million? Similar to Downing, they wanted to pay £4.5m in Jan that’s probably what we’ll get.
    Bates Everton £8 million? He’s out of contract, we may get a small payment if goes to tribunal but I think he maybe over 24 so if that’s the case we’ll get nowt.
    Aliadiere to whoever for £3 million? Only Boro would pay £3m for a dud. He has pace but doesn;t score enough £1m max if he leaves.
    From your list of buys if we are in the Championship why would any of these come to Boro?
    Out of this we should pull out all the stops to buy:
    Mario Gomes Stuttgart £5 million? Vying for a CL place at Stuttgart why would he leave?
    Huddlestone Spurs £2 million? Possible but would £2m be enough, he may come as part of a deal woth Dowining.
    Sakho Paris £2 million? Would he come to the championship?
    Loovens Celtic £1 million? CL or Europa league and a realistic chance of winning trophies at the Bhoys.
    Steven Ireland Man City £4 million? Touted as an £8m plus player and no need for him to leave the PL there would be plenty of takers in the top division if he was available.
    Maury Chamakh Bordeaux £2.5 million? French champs elect, CL football.
    We need to sign exeprienced players who have a bit of steel and grit and can drag us over the finish line in the 95th minute and have a bit of flair like Enmes & Digard to break poor teams down.

  19. I can’t believe the number of people who think Gibson cutting corners is responsible for our current plight. Money was still made available for players. It was just spent VERY VERY BADLY.
    Other clubs have found better players for less money, and got more out of them. We have a manager, coaching staff, and scouting system that have no idea of what a good player looks like. We bought an errant Egyptian with a reputation for causing trouble, and missing games with injuries. We bought a second Egyptian that no one had ever heard of, and having seen him ‘play’, there’s no surprise there. Club record fee for someone who couldn’t hit the inside of a barn. An already weak midfield weakened further by letting Boateng and Cattermole go.
    All BAD decisions, and Southgate is the one who made them.

  20. Don’t want to look like I’m gloating over our wretched season but it has to be said though: the moment Schwarzer moved on and we had to make do with the slightly less experienced Turnbull / Jones pairing, I kind of knew that our road to inevitable relegation would become that much more speedier – and look just how.
    Okay, so Skippy (senior) got itchy feet and needed a fresh challenge apart from the obvious contract gubbins so it seems his decision to go with Fulham has paid off handsomely. Cue: revitalised season and a stellar performance all around for him, lucky old Hodgson eh? For that reason I fully salute Fulham’s achievements this year (and the fact that they will be deservedly in Europe if they draw with Everton on Sunday, meaning they get there on 54pts and in 7th place, does that remind you of anything?), and not just cos of Schwarzer getting a new lease of life.
    Face it, any one who’s been saddled so long with one club will want out eventually, and tellingly, others who have been shackled within this less-than-ideal set up (Greening, Cattermole, Boateng even!, James Morrsion – remember him?) have gone on to better things with other clubs – injuries and suspensions notwithstanding.
    Now, going back to the last game coming up, it seems crazy that people are still expecting Boro to defy the odds and tonk West Ham by more than two goals when at the best of times we couldn’t even score just ONE.
    I mean, even with the likes of our best players in the side – Downing, O’Neill, et al, we still couldn’t deliver the goods, so what chance our threadbare squad with all of these ‘potential match-winners’ largely absent? Zero!! A BIG FAT ZERO!! Come on! Let’s be REALISTIC and admit that it is over. It was over when we couldn’t hang on to our 1-0 lead last Saturday. It was virtually over when we went on that nightmare 16 game winless run in autumn/winter.
    In how many games this season have we failed to score? It’s probably two thirds of the fixtures so far – or something horrifying like that. In how many AWAY games have we lost by nil goals? Again, probably a dozen! So how do these shocking stats prepare us for this Sunday’s final execution?
    This season we have failed time and time again on so many counts that it now defies all belief: the inability to win two league games on the trot (zero), the inability to hang on to leads (too many times), the inability to come back from losing positions to draw (twice), let alone win (zero), the inability to defend set pieces (innumerable), the inability to avoid injuries to key players half way through games that then have a huge bearing on final results (how long have you got?), the inability to…… God, the list just goes on…
    The players keep talking the talk about being able to turn things round, get results and stay up, but no, it’s all just a pathetic front to cover up for their lack of guts and passion: talk the talk all they like, but all this season they have failed to walk it! I could cite countless games in which they have manifestly failed to produce anything of note, but that would make this post even longer than it already usually is….
    We have to accept that for some unfathomable reason (best known only to the chairman and the CE) Boro have gone backwards so fast since 2006 that the alarm bells, if they were ringing earlier, must have been muffled. Quite how nobody could have seen this coming defies rational belief: all this talk about budget and lack of funds….. none of this makes any sense when you consider that the very least they could have done during the transfer windows that we had available to us was to strengthen substantially by at least bringing in LOAN players.
    We couldn’t even do that. Marlon King is the only player we have managed this season – and he’s not much cop. And then previous seasons it’s been the same old story. Just what is it that is making it so difficult for the Chairman or Manager to address these areas?
    So all of the shortcomings have now come home to roost. Riverside Revolution? WHAT Riverside Revolution? The way the last three seasons under GS ave gone it’s become more like the Riverside REGRESSION.
    And it won’t just stop at the Championship, believe you me.

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