Just Routine: Boro Go Top

BORO in “top of the league” shocker! For now at least. At times Boro made hard work of what was a routine 2-0 win over likeable but lightweight Doncaster and despite at times threatening to rip Rovers open in the first half somehow ended the game on the back foot and holding on to the clean sheet.

Boro showed their top flight quality in the box when it mattered with two well crafted goals – Tuncay netting clinically within a minute of entering the fray and Lita eventually as a reward for persistence in his personal battle with the linesman’s flag – and showed their impressive solidity at the back as they beavered away to repulse Rovers’ increasingly desperate forays forward, especially at the end.
But it was not as clear cut as it could and should have been. In the opening stages Boro bossed the midfield by closing down at tempo and forcing Rovers’ passing game to become ragged and error-strewn but as they game wore on they lost some of their fizz, stopped pressing so high up the pitch and found themselves on the back foot.
Maybe they also missed the energy and perceptive balls to the runners from Gary O’Neil, who has struggled with his hernia since the Scunthorpe game and will now go under the knife on Tuesday for his delayed operation. Certainly Julio Arca does not have the engines to play the O’Neil role in Boro’s high-tempo pressing game Boro have shown in the previous two games or the attacking instinct to pick out the pacy front men and his lack of match sharpness let him down at times while Rhys Williams was having to work hard to fill the gaps and was not so enterprising as in recent times.
Boro lacked a clinical edge up front too. They weaved some pretty passing patterns at pace and – especially after Tuncay and Adam Johnson got into their stride – showed some sublime skills and trickery going forward but at times they over-elaborated or chose the wrong final ball and let Rovers off the hook. Johnson got to the byline in the box but with Yeates arriving unmarked a the far post the flanker cut it back for Lita who was crowded out before he could shoot while Tuncay had a great opportunity to unload in the second half but instead played in wide to Lita who poked straight at the keeper.
Still, another three points in the bag, some goals at home, unbeaten start, four clean sheets on the bounce for the first time since the Pearson powered Robbo promotion team of 1994/95 got off to a sprint start, Tuncay given the chance to shine and score (and nudge potential buyers) and cult hero in waiting Leroy got off the mark… so mustn’t grumble. Far from it in fact, there’s plenty to buzz about, especially if you can fall short of your best and still win comfortably.


48 thoughts on “Just Routine: Boro Go Top

  1. Are we better balanced without Tuncay in the team? He seems to be a bit of a luxury to me, a good player but you never know where hes gonna be at times.

  2. Good work lads. Let’s maintain the momentum with a good performance at Ashton Gate next week. (Surprising what you can achieve with an experienced keeper between the sticks huh?)

  3. Enjoyed the game and the gentle stroll to the top of the league. Well done, lads.
    Didn’t enjoy accidentally hitting the wrong button on the PC and therefore losing a part-completed post to this blog though. Have you noticed how those lost gems are always better than the ones eventually sent? Some people never learn…..

  4. A thought or twp before I go off on holiday – yes folks you are goimg to have to do without my thoughtful insights and words of wisdom. Stop sniggering at the back!
    Another three points against Donnie and a clean sheet. Lita scored and Emnes is apparently ok. Top of the table but Cardiff and Bristol play tomorrow. So far, so good.
    Concerns? Everton representatives at the Riverside today. Obviously on the look out for a centre half. As they have had a hissy fit over Lescott and are getting £22m for him then I think Huth and Wheats must be at least £12m. Following righteous indignation I wonder how honourable ther negotiating stance will be? Even more pertinent, how hard nosed will Lambie and Gibbo be?

  5. As I said earlier Doncaster was the most potential banana skin so far this season. And we avoided it – well that’s untypical Boro at best!
    Well done for all the team. Especially back four AND Coynnie.
    If we loose GON now and Digard still missing we are really light in central midfield. OK we have Walker and Williams there. But we need to have possibility ‘rest’ the youngsters if their game needs a pause. I think a experienced midfielder is more urgent than a striker – especially if Tuncay stays 🙂
    A tough match next Saturday at Ashton Gate.
    Up the Boro!

  6. If Lescott is worth £22m, Huth and Wheater are worth £22m, let alone £12m.
    Workmanlike performance, never out of neutral really, let alone 1st gear. Great goal from Lita, though I still can’t work out what is more stupid – the yellow card rule for taking your shirt off or taking your shirt off when you know that is the rule.

  7. A perfect summary of the match AV. A bit more excitement would have been welcome but I guess we’d all settle for a bag full of similar results.
    What we have seen so far shows just how many good footballers there are at this level but we will come up against many more teams who are more clinical in punishing us on the break when possession is carelessly lost.
    The fact that the loss of key players continues to hover over us is frustrating (we’ll give you ?x for GO but only if he has that operation now?) but what will be will be and there are still many positives – Coyne (good to see him throwing the ball), Grounds and McMahon looking very comfortable, Williams etc. Emnes looked like just the sort of player we would struggle against and both the Lita assist and finish were out of the top drawer.
    By the end I think the clean sheet was foremost in their minds and that showed. If Donny had got one with five minutes to go we can just imagine the reaction.
    Anyway, all in all, a reasonable day at the office with better to come. On thing never seems to change though – half the crowd gone with five minutes to go is a shame when end of match appreciation would boost confidence.

  8. Our reward for playing a blinder will be going back to the Prem league and losing more money again
    Can’t we just win this league and stay there?

  9. Time to cancel your SKY subscription?
    By Nov 7th, Boro will have had one match screened live, whilst Newcastle will have been featured FIVE times. I hope to see them get beaten often.
    No one likes us. We don’t care. Actually, it does pee me off.

  10. Didn’t see the game, only the splendid goals, but did enjoy your analysis above, which reading between the lines, doesn’t seem far removed from GS’s summary.
    It’s been an excellent start to what I imagine is going to be a very competitive season and time will of course tell whether or not Boro are able to sustain the good start or fall by the wayside because of injuries etc.
    Without wanting to sound to negative or go over old ground yet again, I cannot understand, and would like to ask him, what it is that GS sees in Julio Arca, in my opinion a player much better suited to one of the ‘lesser’ European leagues.
    This brings me to my main point, ie central midfield.For all the rightly positive talk about the Boro academy over the last years and the production of a few excellent players, some good players and of course some who don’t really make it, Boro do not seem able to produce either a really good striker or a central midfielder, although Catermole may prove to be the exception.
    Plenty of good quality centre backs and fullbacks, including those like Williams and Bates who have adapted generally well to being forced to play central midfield. My (long winded) point is I guess, that genuine central midfielders like Josh Walker, are unable to break into the team ahead of Julio, which suggests I think that GS doesn’t rate him and as such he may well be forced to move on a la Cattermole.
    Walker seems to be popular with many supporters, although having played so few games, this may be based on hope and at best an ambivalence towards Julio.
    As such, and without wanting to take anything away from our marvellous start, I think next weeks test at Bristol City, might, even this early into the season, be a real pointer to how good the next nine months are likely to be.

  11. The assessment of Arca’s lack of pace and perception is spot on. A pity that similar remarks apply to the performance of Cleveland Police and stewards in dealing with violence outside the ground after the final whistle.

  12. Four clean sheets. Three wins in a row. Top of the table. The unknown bargain basement signings that showed we were going backwards all doing well…. so why am I not surprised that it is quiet on here today?
    All the professional doom and gloom belly-achers have gone very quiet now the sky hasn’t fallen in. Sharpening their knives ready for the first goal going in no doubt.

  13. Neil M at 10.12pm – have more faith! The “professional doom and gloom belly-achers” have lots of stamina. Don’t expect an appearance until the end of September.
    In the meantime just enjoy the unaccustomed glow of success. And hope it contimues….

  14. Neil M:
    Three games, two against crap opposition and seven points out of nine is okay but nothing to go wild about. I’m pleased being a Boro fan to see the team on top.
    Gareth is Gareth – when Riggot is back he’ll drop McMahon shuffle Wheater to right back and play Aliadiere as midfield enforcer.
    Enough belly aching for you ?

  15. LEROY!!
    I told you, definite cult hero. Lethal reminds me of Uwe Fuchs. As dissimilar as playing styles and physique can be, Leroy’s effect on the team and fans could be similar to that of the big German.
    We still need to find a settled central midfield duo and play with a bit more tenacity. But on the whole very relieved and pleased with our start to the season. Top six should be the bare minimum now.
    AV, talking of big Germans have you also heard or can you confirm the stories filling the German media that are very strongly liking us with Carsten Jancker. He is currently unattached and believed to be en route to the UK for talks.

  16. Another good win by all accounts but performance could have been better.
    I think you got it right A.V. without O neil we were a bit quiet in midfield which is a worry as Digard is not yet ready to return. It was a pity Emmes got injured as i think the Turk could do a job for us in midfield where he regularly plays for Turkey.
    But that would mean Jeremie up front with Lita .
    I think we still need the striker more than somebody in midfield; for situations like this play the Turk where he belongs in midfield.

  17. Yep, as John Powls says this is an important week for Boro. If we lose Tuncay and off-load Alves then in my book it will have been a good week. If we also sell one or more of Huth, Wheater, O’Neil or Johnson then it will be a bad week which may impact on the success of the season.
    In my opinion a tight defence is critical for success it is where all good teams start from and although we have a few good centre-backs I believe Huth is in a class of his own and could have a significant positive impact if he stays.
    Given that he appears to have turned down Stoke he presumably would only move to a top ten team, which puts Everton right in the frame. My hope is that Boro are confident they can off-load Tuncay and Alves and therefore bring in few million and lower the wage bill to a manageable level, thus allowing us to ask for a ‘big’ fee for Huth which may be enough to force Everton to look else where.
    My gut instinct though is that by the end of the week we will have lost more players than just Alves and Tuncay, although I wouldn’t be disapointed to see Aliadiere or Arca move on as they are both light weights.

  18. Fantastic start to the season. I am over the moon – 10 points, three clean sheets and looking like a class apart from the opposition we have faced so far this season.
    My one big concern is this: I look through the West Brom and Newcastle teams and think if they lose that player or this player from their team it wouldn’t cripple them. Most of their line up is replaceable.
    Unfortunately Boro’s side is not like that, our team is held together by a strong core of five or six players who if targeted we are apparently willing to sell. That worries me greatly.
    Middlesbrough would be unable to cope with the loss of Robert Huth, Adam Johnson or Gary O Neil as these members of our team have been essential in us making such a positive start to the season.
    To replace them with players of equivalent quality would be impossible with the time restraints and the fact that these players are capable of playing at a far higher level than the championship level.
    In essence we MUST hang on to the players who we believe are essential in us getting promoted back to the premiership. If we lose a Huth for say £10m and we miss out on promotion by two points then we will lose far more than that £10m in our failure to gain promotion.
    It’s a fine line between balancing the books and keeping a team capable of mounting a serious promotion push. Do we trust the managers judgement to hold that balance in equilibrium?

  19. I’ve just got back from a short break enjoying the hot weather by the Baltic and am now up to date with last week’s footy – I’m pleasantly surprised by Boro’s good start but am not getting tempted to get too carried away just yet – still at least the team is building confidence and probably enjoying their football again.
    As John Powls has indicated, this is going to be the crucial week where we know if the board succumb to late bids and we’re left scrambling to pick up replacements.
    I hope nobody leaves who doesn’t want to and we retain the Huth-Wheater partnership along with the engine of O’Neil. Given that we’ve yet to dip into the Downing windfall it should be possible to resist all but a bid of Lescottish proportions.
    I think Alves will either be sold or loaned to Ajax and it wouldn’t surprise me if Tuncay stayed until the next window.
    Steve Gibson shouldn’t lose sight of the fact that we have only one shot at bouncing back to the PL and cashing in may look like good short-term business but in the long-term could be a disaster.
    Just look at the three relegated clubs – at the moment they have plenty of PL players who find the Championship an easier proposition – if these clubs don’t get promoted they will only be left with the players who are not good enough for the PL and the chance of promotion will decrease as three more PL clubs join the race.

  20. No sale of Rob Huth or the backlash will be long and hard. Not for £8mil… think next year in the Prem not short term. Get a new midfield man of class and Beckford. Spend the Downing cash. We’ve only spent £400,000 up till now.
    Think Gibbo! Prem = £50mil.

  21. I personaly feel that the squad we have at the moment is easily good enough to get out of this division. If the lads stay as focused as they have been over the previous games then we shouldent have a problem.
    The only concern I have is that we sell either Huth or Wheats. I feel that should we sell either of them then we will seriously start to struggle, we simply would not be able to replace them at present as they are the best in this league by a country mile.
    If MFC do sell either of them then it is a massive backwards step in my opinion and I would seriously bring into question just what exactly we want out of this season.
    I know that we need a new striker and the sale of either of our defensive rocks would go a long way to hopefully signing someone of half decent quality but i personaly feel that the sale of either of them would be absolute FOLLY. Thanks

  22. I note that Greening has signed for Fulham on loan for the season. He obviously wants to remain in the Premiership, but I’d guess that if WBA are promoted ‘again’ he will return to them. Seems a solution that satisfies all the relevant parties.
    Would this not be something Boro might look at regarding Tuncay, perhaps Fenerbache? This would keep him in the international spotlight and still give him the opportunity to pick up at Boro again, should they win promotion. Perhaps Villa or another PL club would also be interested in such a deal?
    However, I suspect that Tuncay’s own international ambitions would not be affected by remaining with Boro. He is the captain of his country, his coach knows exactly what he is capable of and by all accounts he is a Turkish hero.
    I think the truth probably has little to do with Tuncays own ambitions, but entirely to do with getting him off the wage bill. After all, Huth also has ambitions for next years World Cup and I believe its more difficult to make the German squad than the Turkish. Also, is the Turkish league better than the Championship? I doubt it.

  23. Smoggy34: Dead right!
    Given the (marginal) decision-making at the club in the last three years and the assumption of the additional risk that went with it, coupled to the declaration by the Chairman that Boro would do all it could to regain Premier League status this season, it seems far too much of a gamble to even contemplate release of one of our main differentiating talents.
    I feel it would be akin to the sale of Luke Young at the start of last season and would belie the public face of Steve Gibson’s ambition of return to the Premier League at the first time of asking.
    If that happens, for me, the club’s credibility will take a massive knock YET AGAIN and I doubt if I’ll believe another word that Steve Gibson utters. My own position has been that words aren’t good enough any more. I need evidence to support those words.
    On the other hand, if the club refuses to entertain big bids for either of them, I may begin to believe again and I’ll reconsider renewing my season ticket.
    A big week for me, and I believe for Boro.

  24. Well done to GS and the squad on another 3 points gained.
    Totally agree with Smoggy34. Selling Luke Young at the start of last season totally sent out the wrong message. If Tuncay and Alves leave then fair enough, however r if Steve Gibson allows Huth, Wheater or Johnson to leave then in my opinion he is sticking two fingers up to the fans and settling for another season or longer in the Championship.
    C’Mon Boro!

  25. Ive been thinking, is it crazy to think SG is aware of things outside of the game that are going to effect whats happening inside? He may have lets say a five year plan to re-construct the club and put it into a position that will be the envy of some of the top clubs now that are chasing the dream.
    Liverpool, Pompey, W.Ham, Everton, even Arsenal, who we all know have excessive financial liabilities… there’s a very fine line at the moment between clubs and their bankers. Who will be the first Prem club to go into admin? You know its gonna happen.
    What if the whole structure of football is revamped and the top division will be determined by the viability of a club to sustain itself? It’s obvious they are going to try and get Rangers and Celtic in the league somehow and this could be one way of doing it. Just thinking out loud….

  26. Carsten Janker. Is it he who was for a time captain of Germany? Stayed in the same holiday hotel as him and his family on Crete a few years ago. Miserable git; attractive wife though!

  27. It’s a pity, it really is, that I can’t fully enjoy this terrific form of ours and are instead hoping that the transfer window will just hurry up and shut.
    I only wish we had the power and status to go to the likes of Tony Pulis, Martin O’Neill and David Moyes and tell them exactly where they can put their bids, but we don’t.
    But look at it this way: Wheater has already stated, repeatedly, that he doesn’t want to leave.
    And here’s a message for the anti-Gate brigade. Think of what Zidane once said about Aime Jacquet when he was getting booed as manager of France: “His job is hard enough. It is unfair when people criticise him EVEN WHEN HE WINS.”
    And what did Jacquet win in the end?

  28. Hi AV
    It has occurred to me that perhaps there is something of a deja vu feeling to the opening games of the season a la ’73/74 when we stormed the second division.
    We’re winning away from home and being ignored by the media – only one game on the TV and little coverage in the dailies.
    I’ve been very pleasantly surprised by the results so far – keep it up Boro.
    **AV writes: A record breaking margin and promotion in the bag by March would be nice.

  29. Agree with your match analysis, AV, though I did think Arca had his best game for a long while. Not that he’s the permanent solution, of course, not with his (lack of) pace.
    Actually for the first 10 minutes Boro ripped Donny to shreds and I reckon we could have scored four or five if Emnes hadn’t been clattered by Sullivan. He and Lita combined superbly. Having seen it again, I’m convinced Sullivan used a deliberate elbow, and should have had a red card. Tuncay played well, but we lost our rhythm after the incident. I hope Emnes is back soon – he looks a great talent.

  30. Things going well so no complaints re. the way the team and GS have started. I hope I’m proved wrong.
    I am still bitterly disappointed that we still look to be flogging off players. Downing was sold less than market value, I understand why he went but really if we’d got £2 – £3m more that would have lessened the pain and the needless sacrifice of someone else.
    The PL centre half shuffle has yet to play out so we should just say No. If Lescott is worth £24mill then I’m a monkey’s uncle. But there’s silly money about to be splashed out so if we keep our nerves if someone has to go it might as well be for bucket fulls of dough.
    Finally I still would like us to keep Alves, we scouted for a year for this guy, chased him for six months, he wanted to come then we destroyed the team around him and he lost confidence, not surprisingly. So I would like us to keep him, get him scoring like he started off with the ManU game. Form is temporary, Class is permanent. Put the ball in front of him, let him get his confidence back and if we need to sell him in Jan then we’ll gert an awful lot more for him. Let’s stop selling at below market prices so we can reinvest.
    As I understand it, we were about £24m down after SG wrote off a chunk of cash, Downing went for £12m so the pressure should be off.
    Anyway, it’s just nice to win a few games in a row and feel happy on a Monday at work !

  31. Apologies Boro fans. It looks like my German contacts have laid me a falsche FÀhrte over the Carsten Jancker story. The rascals.
    So I have drawn up a list of potential targets, should the transfer window bring a mass exodus. These lads should be well within the Boro budget and currently plying their trade over in the Benelux countries.
    Mark De Man – Defender
    Belgian defender, noted for his abrasive style. He likes to get close to opponents. Ideal for man marking jobs.
    Resit Schuurman – Midfielder
    Tenacious Dutch midfielder, known for his determination. Not known however for a good first touch, unlikely to pass first time.
    Waldo Ponce – Defender
    Tough tackling Chilean hard man. Has been known to go missing in the big arena.
    Kermit Erasmus – Forward
    This young lad possesses a prodigious leap. However he may well be suited to a deeper lying role where he can pull the strings.
    No doubt some others have dipped under my radar. I’m sure GS would appreciate all the help he can get.
    AV any suggestions?
    **AV writes: Mark De Man? Brilliant. I’ve heard they are looking at Rune Aalday, an energetic Norwegian midfielder with good engines and Laamp van der Plank, a limited beanpole Dutch target man who lights up in the box. Any more?

  32. I think Zwich de Fielder from the Netherlands would be a shrewd midfield signing, and Tal Headstron — the Swedish forward — might be target man we’ve talked about.

  33. Just saw the comment re. Everton and Stoke looking at 5m for Huth. We need to play hardball and tell them to shove it where it don’t shine.
    They’ve got money to burn, Stoke are desperate and would pay up to £10m for a German international centre half and Everton more. Huth is younger than Lescott so if they come calling let’s not become a laughing stock and a soft touch. Lambie, SG we’re watching for this commitment to go back up again – no-one will believe a word ever again if we start selling more keys players.
    When we bought Ehiogu from Villa, they knew we wanted him and kept putting the price up til Robson caved in. Same with Alves, the price kept going up.
    Time is on our side here they’re desperate for reinforcements cause both can see a long season of struggle ahead of them. Doesn’t matter what is offered the answer should be “No” and we’ll see how ethical Everton behave after their criticism of City.
    We should not be wanting to sell Huth, this is the first time we’re actually getting any benefit from the money we paid for him and all the sick pay month after month. How can we replace Wheater or Huth ? We can’t, the going price is 10m+ for a decent centre half so we would have to pay that next season if we go up.
    Let’s see some Teesside backbone !!!!

  34. I’m starting to worry a little about the speculation concerning Big Bob Huth. The last thing Boro fans want (as stated previously) is to lose him.
    I would hope that Gate sat him down for a chat in pre season to ask his intentions.
    The fact he was made captain surely indicates his willingness to stay or am I being naive.

  35. I also think that Huth’s sale will be a mistake, just like Luke Young or Yakubu. The money is not worth the disruption and there is no guarentee that another player can be brought in to do the same job

  36. I always though that real French keeper (Millwall) had a brilliant name… Willy Gerrit?.
    My mate said he saw Lambie in the Tontine with the Serbian winger Nipje Vlankja.
    Mind he also said he saw a Ferrari parked outside with the plate RV4N1STLROOY

  37. We know the phrase ‘he looks like a boro player’. Queue image of a gurning Jamie Pollock. But there is wealth of talent out there that sound like Boro players.
    Again all players are currently playing in Holland/Belgium so potential affordable targets.
    Daniel Tozser – MF
    In the Joey Barton mould.
    The Genk Midfield duo of Tim Smolders and Bernd Thijs. Performance often described as ‘on fire’
    So good they named him twice. Maarten Martens MF. Harbours desire to run a chain of newsagents after football
    Habib Habibou FW…. EIO Habibou EIO Habibou
    Stijn Stijnen GK … Slightly eccentric keeper. Has manic obsession for clean sheets. Maybe due to his mother inspecting his bed linen when a teenager, ‘Stijn, Stijn Stijnen’
..anyone still reading this

    AV just remembered what I meant to ask you. How many Season tickets have we shifted?
    **AV writes: I’m not sure there has been an official announcement but we understand it is about 16,000.

  38. Any suiters for Huth should be told to wait till January on account they have dragged their feet over a deal and it would be too late to go into the market till January. Sell only Alves and the Turk if he has to.
    There were 22000 plus at the Doncaster game which could have easily been 9 or 10 if we had started badly. Why, before the game 7 points and all clean sheets dabble with your stars now and we could end up with those gates.
    Eight weeks ago even the most ardent Boro supporter would have expected far less at that game so SG the fans once again backed the club the players and the management. It’s time to back them. Keep the squad together for the sake of the town if you like.

  39. It’s not easy for our competitors, either. Fulham have just completed the signing of West Brom and ex-Boro midfielder Jonathan Greening on a season-long loan with a view to a permanent move.
    I am surprised we have not signed anyone on loan. Tainio from Sunderland – he has not played much there. But of course GS needs to save on salary list first.
    I hope none sold and an experienced central midfielder added before the dead-line day.
    Up the Boro!

  40. Czech defender Ufit Langeballe?
    Nigerian striker Iffy Itrate?
    Pedestrian Bolivian midfielder Juan Pace?
    **AV writes: “Not as good as Drogba” Ivory Coast hitman Alowa Kalibre? Keep this up and we’ll soon have a full squad to pick from. This scouting lark’s easy.

  41. And finally I have cast my scouts eye over those poor souls flailing around in the Premier division of Luxemburg.
    Max Krippler – Pogatetz’s replacement
    Carlo Pace – might be a bit slow for English football
    Lucien Crapa – insert own joke
    Mustapha Hadji – Remember him??
    Giles Funck – 70’s version of Derby’s Giles Barnes
    Vinh Long Harry Willemin – Vinh long name
    Jeff Feller – no one knows his surname, known as ‘that Jeff Feller’
    Evanste Kabongo – Already has international night club named after him
    Phillip di Flippo – regularly fined for wearing di Flippo di Flops around the training ground.

  42. I’m with Si (at 5.29 yesterday): it’s impossible really to savour what the team’s managing to achieve at the moment because we’re all too busy nervously wondering whether TPTB at MFC are going to cave in to pressure from one of the increasingly desperate big boys & allow one or more of Huth, Wheats, GON or Jinky to be snapped up for peanuts before the window closes! “Squeaky bum” time indeed!
    I don’t for one minute regard Stoke as a “big boy”, so things have come to a pretty pass if a bid from the likes of Tony bloody Pulis for Big Rob could be seriously entertained!! 😦

  43. Richard:
    I’m using the example of Jacquet to illustrate that some people are just never happy. Jacquet got repeatedly booed and criticised during his reign as French manager, and, sure enough, his attacking tactics were rather suspect (Guivarc’h instead of Anelka, Henry and Trezeguet?).
    But the bottom line is France were rarely beaten under his stewardship. (No defeats in 22 competitive matches says it all.)
    And now Gate has appeared to have got it right as best as he can during this difficult time, even when talking about the transfer market. And yet I believe some may still be voicing discontent.
    I’m one to talk, I know: at the end of the West Ham match last season I wrote a rather passionate anti-Gate blog. (Understandable, what with the way the season had panned out.)
    But I am impressed with the way he’s dealt with things so far this campaign, both on and off the pitch. Yes, I’ll reserve any real judgement for a few months yet (remember our four consecutive wins in 1993/94? Gate’s MotM award for August ’08?), but why complain now?
    What would we do if we were in the Gate’s situation, without the money and status we enjoyed during the 1997-98 promotion campaign?

  44. I was going to jack in the Boro when Luke Young was sold, but renewed. This season I am currently going on a match to match basis as I believed last season’s spin.
    But if any of Huth, Wheater or Jinky leave in the current transfer window then the Boro are going to get no more cash out of me. 32 years of spending my cash on the Boro will come to an end.
    Show some spine Steve Gibson and keep the squad together. In the long run it will cost you a hell of a lot more money by selling players now and then failing to get back to the PL.
    C’Mon Boro!

  45. I see Josh Walker is now on the way? He must be better than ARCA. Is it another Catts/Morrison situation… leave for nowt, sold on for big bucks in a year’s time.
    No more giveaways… Huth, Wheats, Jonno, Tuncay. Shut up shop. Only 7,000 next game at home if they are sold.

  46. I think we should buy the Belgian midfielder Hertz van Rentals – he’s supposed to have a good engine and good resale value. And how about Harpun Gunnarsson, the famed Icelandic marksman? I thought about Rick O’Shay, too, from Cork City, but I gather his shots keep hitting the woodwork.

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