GS2: It’s Game On.

GORDON Strachan was finally unveiled as Boro boss at a Riverside press conference today and revealed a simple – and we hope effective – manifesto:
“I’m looking to make the players better technical, tactically and mentally,” he said. “My aim is developing the players to make them better, fitter and more able to pass the ball.”
As the margins between success and failure this term (and last too) have so often been frustratingly thin it should only take the ability to squeeze an extra few per cent in performance individually and collectively to turn Boro into an effective unit.

Strachan looked assured and confident as he was first quizzed by Sky Sports David Craig and ticked all the right boxes: he was here because he wanted to be, he relished the challenge, he thought the club was stable and ambitious, had a good structure; he had nothing to prove as he had taken a team from second bottom to eighth and the FA Cup final before; he had rejected other offers because they weren’t right; he didn’t have to be here, or need to be here but “wanted to be here”; and he would have the time – and he hinted the resources – to develop the Middlesbrough team the way he wanted to and he was determined to succeed in that project.
It was hard to pick fault with that broad set of aims, with his quiet determination or with his proposed methodology. He wants to get on the training ground and work with the players. Four times he stressed he wants to ‘develop’ the players, especially the younger players, and make them better, which will reassure any with doubts that they will get a chance to flourish and learn under the new boss.
He stressed that he would work on some key areas where there are clear flaws that readers on here are well versed in pointing out: fitness, work rate and mentality.
And he indicated there would be no radical reshuffle. He has met the staff and is ready to work with everyone at the club, he wants to see continuity and stability.
But he is aware of areas where the team need improving. He several times referred to the need to be fitter and stronger mentally and there was an oblique reference to the need to strengthen the attack ‘one way or another,’ a subject he has already brought up with scouting kingpin Gordon McQueen, possibly a discussion that led him to write out his now infamous ‘PR blunder’ shopping list.
He was less keen to answer the questions from Tyne Tees’ Dawn Thewlis about transfer targets for January, plan for Plymouth and the problem of performances at home. “If you say its psychological then I’m ready to believe you,” he said, although you felt it was close to adding a dismissive “hen” on the end of that sentence. Whether he was distracted by any inate swirl of sexism there is hard to tell.
He was certainly a bit peeved at the distraction of the chatter of hacks at the back of the room and was at one point driven to scold them like naughty school boys. I’m hoping there is a lot more of that. It is always funny to see your peers in trouble. And it is nice to have the first inevitable televised put down out of the way too.
There was a sprinkling of the quiptastic one liners we expected, and yes, they are mildly amusing – when they are used to divert other people’s questions. Given that the previous two incumbents have been criticised for not being straight with the fans that could soon wear thin.
Journalists questions at times may be bland, inane and sometimes blindingly obvious but that doesn’t make the interrogator stupid: they are asked in that time honoured way as an open mechanism by which the manager is invited in a non-confrontational way to make their observations or any point they want. They are asked to produce information for the public and when a manager refuses to speak, or is surly, sarcastic or dismissive it may be mildy amusing to see a hack who is just doing his job squirm a bit but ultimately it is you the reader who is being given the second hand snub.
What do readers think of the performance? First impressions?
Some other questions:
Who will flourish under Gordon Strachan and who will crumble? As a fan of workrate and honest endeavour he will surely love Gary O’Neil, Rhys Williams, Leroy Lita and possibly Tony McMahon and Mark Yeates too. But those who disappear in games and don’t get stuck in may find themselves out in the cold… Jeremie Aliadiere will have his work cut out in proving to GS2 – “the Wii Fella” – that he is a fundamentally better player than the on-loan Arsenal man he left on the bench at Celtic.
Can Strachan deal quickly and effectively with the key problem areas? Namely the nervous late slow motion retreat, the panic that sets in when the fourth official starts to fiddle with his board, dead balls into the box and the profligate failure to convert chances into a commanding lead when Boro have teams on the rack.
Who will he bring in and get rid of between now and January 31st?
And – the only one that really matters – are we now more or less likely to go up?
Some interesting background to the launch of GS2, which promises to bring more exciting and realistic gameplay to Boro than ever before…
Gibson risked knacking GS2 – and spoiling any chance of him coming here – with a series of heavy “let him know your here early” tackles when they crossed studs in the chairman’s annual Far East five-a-side frenzy.
And GS2 wasn’t always so keen on clubs like Boro. When viewed from the summit of Mount Celtic a provincial Premiership struggler let alone a cash strapped Championship side didn’t have such appeal 18 months ago.


96 thoughts on “GS2: It’s Game On.

  1. I think even the most ardent Gareth fan can’t really argue that this isn’t for the best. Regardless of whether Gareth deserved to keep his job, the club and the town had been split with no real hope of a reunion.
    It will be fascinating to see what Strachan makes of the existing training methods, how he rates the squad, who will line up in his first team etc.
    Will Shawky be brought in from the cold? Who gets the right back spot? Where does he play O’Neil? Does Wheater keep the captaincy?
    Exciting stuff. Praying that we get a really big crowd on Saturday.

  2. Boro will be better for the new boss if everybody buys in. Lots of people are writing him off already. Go with him support him support the team. Take them back to the top together.

  3. Dave Craig:
    Dave I disagree with your judgment on Anthony Vickers but I am very jealous of your opening line: “print my post you cheerleading sychophant ..”
    I’m tempted to try and improve on your opening line, that type of imitation rarely works – but I am going to have a go.
    **AV writes: I thought it was poor. I’ve have had some excellent insults aimed my way over the years, the best invariably from our striped friends to the North. My favourite came from a Sunderland fan after I had described Kenwyne Jones as “a Primark Drogba” – “No wonder you write so much ***** with your extra digits Vickers you two headed smoggie *****” It would make a brilliant t-shirt.

  4. Lest anyone should believe otherwise, let me confirm that I was not the one sending fake Aussie messages to get to 200. Even if I keep getting so near…..
    Very much enjoyed Richard’s 1.43am post – very amusing, and also an early morning one.
    And can I just say to David Craig that everyone on here must have had LOADS of posts go astray. In the absence of legal reasons or decency, the main reason for this is operator error – hitting the wrong key without having saved the piece elsewhere before attempting to send.
    We try to remind ourselves to save first, but mistakes are still made. Occasionally the techies at Gazette Towers get the blame when efforts have been made to “upgrade” the system. But it’s mostly our own fault, I’m afraid.
    History suggests AV is perfectly willing to put up pieces with which he disagrees, providing they are legal, decent etc. After all, such pieces are likely to provoke a heated response from other posters. Chill out, and enjoy the fun.
    And as to the “list”, I’d love it, just love it, to have Macheda on loan (he won’t be for sale at this stage!), though we could have had Phillips a few years ago when he was lethal in front of goal.
    And how about a Tonka Truck for the one who gets nearest the crowd figure for the Plymouth game? Of course, “in the know” journos, with access to the Ticket Office staff would be excluded. 24,690 anyone?

  5. Maybe GS2’s “gaffe” was a planned PR stunt. Letting someone know that they might be replaced may work wonders. There’s nothing wrong with injecting a little bit of paranoia, it can often make some people do things just that little bit better.

  6. AV
    What is the problem with ‘S’? Sugar, semolina, soda bread, sunflour seeds, self raising flour, sultanas, they all come in bags. Baffled, truly baffled.
    **AV writes: I thought the point had already been made. What’ one character between friend?

  7. Tragedy for Redcar Racecourse Sunday Market Boot Sale! Mr Ashley has announced he is taking Newcastle Utd off the market, and Chris Hughton is given an 18 months contract.
    But the stadium naming rights are up for sale. I suspect there might be a few “suspect” suggestions coming in from places away from the River Tyne.
    Only joking, our friends from the north. But, really, the things they will do to hit the headlines.
    **AV writes: Please, please, please be the Greggs’ Stottiedome.

  8. AV
    Just keeping you on your toes in your role as guardian of the public good.
    So, there are going to be naming rights for Sid James Park to raise money now Ashley is staying. Now there is a competition for the blog.
    Portsmouth hit with a transfer ban. Hull and West Ham struggling financially. All near the bottom of the premiership and in severe danger of financial meltdown.
    Stories that the Glazers are using their Tampa bay buccs to help support ManU, £80m from Ronaldoveragain swallowed up.
    Hicks and Gillett refinancing like billyo for Liverpool who need a bigger stadium to challenge the biggest clubs but havent started yet.
    Gibbo and co doesnt look as daft after all. Apart from not using what they had very well.
    **AV writes: I don’t think anyone can argue against the idea that slashing spending and debt exposure in a recession is generally a good thing. Handling the consequences of that is the bit that is hard to sell.

  9. I hear that Newcastle are looking to raise money from sponsors in exchange for giving them naming rights to their stadium.
    Will we see Sunderland fans encouraging Red Stripe to make an offer or would the Laura Ashley Stadium replace the take-over with a make-over?

  10. I too have a post which has perished in the ether – sent early afternoon yesterday. CIA involvement not suspected.

  11. In an earlier post (3.58 Oct.26) I’d suggested that Strachan might return St Ledger in favour of a wise old head like Chris Morgan. It now looks as if that’s not possible as permanent transfer has been agreed (and signed?).
    PNE have reported that the loan fee was £1.5m. Is the balance to complete the transfer £3m or £4.5m?
    It also leaves me wondering if Caleb Folan’s ‘loan’ is a disguised permanent? Are we committed irrespective of performance or recovery from injury? What do you think, Vic?
    **AV writes: We are not sure on Folan. I don’t any of the press have even spoken to him aprt from day one. St Ledger is definitely turning into a permanent and was only a “loan” to get round the deadline. Boro haven’t said so but Preston have risked a FL rap on several occasions by blabbing the truth.

  12. Name for our friends up north stadium. There is a company out there called ARS Enterprises don’t believe it just Google it. So how about the ARS Stadium.
    Forever Dormo prediction for crowd 25,000. Boro to win 4 – 0.

  13. AV
    Handling the conequences is what let us down. I stick by my view that it is what we did with what we had that got us relegated. Getting rid of the experience. A bit like rationalising the railways by sacking the signal men and leaving the trains out of control.
    Onto our friends up the road. Sid James Park will take some beating in a naming game but lets have a go.
    I am going to go for Disney. We could have Mickey Mouse hats on the floodlights, very appropriate. We could name the stadium after some of the themed lands or attractions from the Magic Kingdom.
    There is Fantasyland for starters. or using Peter Pan there is Never Land. Not forgetting Tomorrowland.
    Or from Hollywood studios: Muppet3DVision.
    Over to you posters.

  14. AV as you know as football fans tribalism and rivalry are the name of the game. Also playing a part are stats. So can you hit me with some cyber based fan statisms?
    I’m guessing that other papers have on line blogs, I’m guessing NUFC = Blog on the Tyne or some other such nonsense. Is it possible to find out how many posters they have and how frequent their hosts blogs? How many posters do we have on this site? Are we just a small blog in Yorkshire or cyber pioneers?
    As for Plymouth, my Granddad played for them so I have a soft spot for them. Estimated attendance 22,660
    **AV writes: This blog is streets ahead of any similar provincial paper set-up in terms of unique users and page impressions. The last available figures had us on about 22,000 unique users per month and approx 45,000 page impressions a week, compared Blog on the Tyne on 30,000. I don’t have figures for non-Trinity blogs but they are all several divisions behind us in the industry’s official charts.

  15. AV Your response ot Ian Gill at 7:51am –
    “**AV writes: I don’t think anyone can argue against the idea that slashing spending and debt exposure in a recession is generally a good thing. Handling the consequences of that is the bit that is hard to sell.”
    Right to the heart of the matter AV!
    It’s how the whole thing was handled, set up, miscommunicated, not communicated, misdirected, support excluded, – all of those things that has done damage to the relationships between club and supporters and has, in my opinion left Gibson’s halo seriously tarnished.
    And the manner of Southgate’s dismissal was another PR disaster that could so easily have been dealt with far more professionally. (That said, it remains to be seen just what effect the new appointment will have on the local mood and if the fickle public will choose to forget such mishandlings if the results on the field become even more favourable).
    A properly run PR and Communications “department” (Hell, it might only be one good man and an assistant, properly organised) and some PR nous on the part of Gibson and Lamb, and the whole thing could have been turned to advantage, rather than disaffection.
    I believe THAT’S why a lot of people voted wih their feet – as much as the downturn in performances. People were left to draw their own conclusions (some saw it earlier than others!) and it dawned on them that things had changed behind the scenes and they hadn’t been informed and kept on-board Effectively, they’d been duped by a guy they’d trusted.
    I estimate that Boro revenues (in gate receipts alone) are down by over £1M this season so far, as a result of getting this all wrong.

  16. On Lamb, one poster said: “He’s got a face that I personally don’t trust!!”
    Frighteningly, it’s not too dissimilar to Frank Langella’s in Frost/Nixon…

  17. 45,000 impressions? I have seen or heard any, so here’s a few
    ‘Just like that’ – Tommy Cooper
    ‘Oi loike you’ – Louis Walsh

  18. Gibson has been very quiet this week – Has he actually said anything regarding the appointment of GS2? So far I’ve only seen and heard from his right hand puppet (Lamb)

  19. Well guess what ! Brown at Hull looks to be on his way and guess who is joint favorite? Yup u guessed it…Southgate and curbishley both @ 5-1 !!! Looks like SG1 could be back in the premiership before the Boro!!!!
    Who knows…maybe a bad move for him becouse imagine what 2 relegations in 2 seasons would do for your confidence!!! Suicidal me thinks…lol

  20. Sorry missed the point about Goerdies new name for their stadium it has be one with a sponsors name! How about the “Kleenex Bowl” – Real men cry at will.

  21. Forever Dormo:
    How about “Ashley’s Folly” as the new name?
    I can’t see “Northern Shale Theatre of Wet Dreams” actually catching on, although it says just about everything!

  22. The Newcastle Staying Down Ale Stadium?
    But to repeat a point I have made some months ago, I am not happy to see Northern Rock (a troubled bank kept float by being taken over by the government using OUR taxes) paying money to have its name splattered over Newcastle shirts next season.

  23. AV, any whispers coming out on Mr Strachans first impressions, now that he has had a few days at the club. Plus what he thinks of the players?

  24. Don’t know if they have this channel in the UK.
    How about Sid James’ Park being renamed the ‘Cartoon Network Stadium’.
    This is the channel all the fat kids in America watch – quite appropriate don’t you think!
    Forever Dormo, I forgot to add 3-0 to the crowd size of 22,850.
    C’mon Boro

  25. Look folks, the namimg rights for Sid James Park have to reflect the sponsors interest so even though I like Neil from Canada’s The Delusional Dome, Kleenex Bowl is more accurate in that it brings together a brand/product and the nature of the fans.
    23,636 plus five from Plymouth in the car, green army.

  26. From the Stoke City page on the BBC Sport web site:
    “Griffin considers Boro loan move
    Stoke City defender Andy Griffin says he would consider a loan move to Gordon Strachan’s Middlesborough. The new Boro boss is reported to have been photographed holding a list of potential transfer targets with Griffin’s name among them. The 30-year-old told BBC Radio Stoke: “It’s something I’d really have to consider, playing for a manager of his calibre, it’s a good club. If I get a phone call, which I haven’t yet, then we’ll have to wait and see.”
    First-team opportunities have been limited to for Griffin this year. He has made just six appearances this year, and three of those have been in the Carling Cup this season. However, after getting knocked out by Portsmouth on Tuesday night, the former Derby full-back admits he is ready to get some games under his belt. “I would be interested in going out loan, as long as it’s commutable every day and I can see my two boys, my little girl and my wife every day. I’ve come to a point in my life when my family is more important than playing a little bit of football.”
    Griffin played at Boro’s North East neighbours Newcastle United for over six years from 1998, and knows how big a club they are. “They [Middlesborough] have got a great chance of moving straight back into the Premier League, great training ground, great ground, it’s a big club.”
    Potters boss Tony Pulis says the time might be right to let certain members of his squad leave: “Without the cup, it gives us an opportunity to get a few players out to get some games.”
    Strachan was snapped by a fan holding the list on his first day at the Riverside, and there are thought to be eight other players he is considering, including Scotland’s Chris Iwelumo, Manchester United striker Federico Macheda and Arsenal’s young midfielder Jack Wilshere.
    * I’ve e-mailed them about the misspelling of “Middlesbrough”. 😉
    I know Ledge has been quoted as saying that he agreed to move to Boro from PNE because he thought he could learn from GSI, but it would appear that “the Strachan effect” is already start to have an even greater galvanic effect on potential targets! *big grin*

  27. a sly tilt at 100 here back in the original name for glory’s sake! But really who wouldn’t want to play for gs2?

  28. I’m contemplating writing to a publishing company that is described on the internet as ‘An independent art and culture magazine for Vancouver’s under-40s’ and asking them if they’ll consider sponsoring Newcastle’s stadium – It’s called ‘Sad Mag’!

  29. Brisbane Phil – how could you? This is nearer to 100 (unless some rogues have been making recent mulitple posts!).

  30. Someone MUST have sneaked in with 100 now (could it be me?). And I left it a decent time since the last one – no Aussie’s here!

  31. Basically I just lob it into the middle for someone to smash into the net.
    **AV writes: Look at his face! Just look at his face!

  32. 99 up! Come on then! Which Sad Mag’s gonna follow this up?
    Werdermouth? Yupfrit again? Maybe you Dormo? Or perhaps Brissie Phil won’t be able to resist a wee afternoon post when the rest of us are all tucked up in bed?
    Then again maybe the control freak Immigration Officer will be open to bribery or some other influence? (This may just be tested in the next couple of days, he said cryptically!)

  33. Sehr gut Herr Dormo! Congratulations my english cousin, at last you will be able to enjoy driving one of our beautiful Mercedes – As for Richard, Schade! close but no cigar.

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