A Team of Two Halves.

A GAME of two halves. But a side that can only play in one. A schizophrenic side that follows every good display with a dud. A mentally weak side that crumbles under the first spell of sustained pressure. A side that needs a two goal cushion away from home just to get a point. Where to start?
Why bother? Let’s just usher this entire miserable ill fated year of despair and defeat out as swiftly as possible and hope that the January purge can inject some steel and leadership and spark some kind of revival.


Boro dominated the first half. They played some expansive fluid football with some neat short passing moves that helped them cut through the edge of the box at will. They set a high tempo, pressed high up the field and retained possession well. There weren’t many genuine chances admittedly and apart from a 25 yard effort from Arca that sent the keeper full length he never had a save to make.
The goal was a fluke, a cross/shot from 35 yards out that sneaked in, although Hoyte (who has scored twice before and the last three years ago for Arsenal at Charlton) insists he meant it. Whatever, we deserved the break.
There were plenty of threatening moments, the best when Rhys Williams weaved into the box before being sent tumbling by a tackle. It looked like a penalty but the appeals were waved away and he was shown a yellow card for diving.
In the first half Barnsley beavered away but rarely threatened and were limited to pointless long shots – but after the break they were a different side too. They came out fighting, fired up and launched a fierce fightback, throwing the ball into the box from all angles and launching bodies at it.
It was no surprise that they scored quickly as they caught Boro with their heads still in the changies. And it was no surprise that both goals came from headers – there will need to be an inquest into how easily a defender and a midfielder ran unchallenged from the edge of the box unchallenged to head home.
In fairness, it was a makeshift Boro side. With Alaidiere suffering a swollen ankle after Scunthorpe, rash red card merchant Lerot Lita suspended and dicky tummy Dave Kitson despatched back to Stoke it was down to a Little and Large unbalanced partnership of teenager Jonathan Franks and Marcus Bent.
With Isaiah Osbourne injured it was Julio Arca back in and with Poggi out with a hamstring and St Ledger playing for Preston Chris Riggott started for the first time since away at Manchester City in February when we were in the Premiership and he was being asked to mark Robinho,
Riggott did well. In the first half he was excellent and after the break he was one of the few who didn’t fade completely. Rhys Williams and Arca were superb in the first half and Justin Hoyte again did well on the left. In the second the entire team faded as an organised unit and became disjointed in what Gordon Strachan said was a “cup tie” battle after the break. They were overawed by Barnsley’s robust, direct approach.
Some other points….
Luke Williams looks lively and almost got a fairytale goal on his debut after his historic debut as Boro’s youngest player since Tom Murphy in 1905. He is 16, five months and three weeks but looks younger. But he has a bit of pace, is brave – there was a crunching 50/50 late on against one of Barnsley’s six footers – and he got himself into good positions. He raced in and almost claimed a stoppage time leveller as Johnson drilled across the face of goal and it clipped his shins and screwed just over the bar.
The fans were magnificent, very loud and very funny. Over 4,400 in the away end and pretty much 90 minutes of non-stop passion. Obviously there was the love-in with Danny Coyne but also some humerous moments as they urged Hoyte to shoot from deep inside his own half soon after his goal and with a nice twist on the David Wheater song they taunted Barnsley’s supporters: “We’ll sing on our own, you’re so quiet we’ll sing on our own,” followed by a sssssssssshhhhhhh. It was old school Holgate stuff. It is a shame that the team can’t give the travelling Teesside support what they deserve.
And the live blog… what a frustrating, unpredictable, exasperating system that is. Sorry for the regulars who couldn’t get on. I know how you feel because I couldn’t either. I’ll try to get a few issues resolved quickly when the geeks are back in work because we were getting a decent and lively audience there and it would be a shame to lose it.

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48 thoughts on “A Team of Two Halves.

  1. “Why bother? Let’s just usher this entire miserable ill fated year of despair and defeat out as swiftly as possible and hope that the January purge can inject some steel and leadership and spark some kind of revival.”
    I’d have just typed that and forgot the rest. Roll on 2010.
    **AV writes: I did toy with the idea.

  2. AV, can you find out the reasoning behind the substitution? Trailing, away from home with 15 mins to play, the manager brings on a 16 year old debutant! I wont bother asking why Arca was playing.
    The transfer window opens in two days time, if the club means business then we will have players lined up, ready to sign on January 1st. Why do I have horrible feeling we will have to wait until the 31st, to pick up players nobody else wants?
    Our target has now fallen to finishing sixth in the league, and we are five points off that!
    **AV writes: I suspect the kid was given his chances because he actually figures in Strachan’s future plans whereas the alternatives – Emnes for instance – do not. I think he would have got the last 20 against Scunny had Poggi not got a knock.

  3. One thing really bothers me about GS ‘Cup-tie’ comments, are we not in the same predicament as the Dingles? Should we now be playing every single league game as a cup-tie that could lead to WemBoroly?
    I am sorry to say that if GS cannot motivate the side to play for 90+ minutes then we are in serious trouble, roll on the January sales.
    UP THE BORO!!

  4. It was very disappointing to lose this one, as it should have been won at half-time. However, we have Chris Riggott back, whom I consider one of the best defenders in the country.
    As I said to my lad at half-time, he was an absolute model of central defensive positional play, reminding me of Willie Maddren in that respect. Also Wheater looks more like the player we know and love as “one of our own”, and there was a great deal more organisation to the play, at least in the first half, when nobody played badly. I’d say we are nearly back to the levels of performance we saw against Preston and Coventry! Happy New Year to all posters!

  5. AV, it was terrible result wise. At least a draw should have been fair. Also the live blog was was pity it did not work. Horrible year in all but it will end soon (the year that is).
    AV, when the window opens to get some fresh air to the club under GS2?
    Up the Boro!
    **AV writes: Jan 1st… GS spent 10 minutes out on the pitch and well out of earshot on his phone after the game. Wonder who he was calling?

  6. Yet again a team which can reorganise itself and change the course of events and yet again same old Boro. I warned after the Scunthorpe game that there was nothing on evidence to get carried away about and this just proves it.
    Two wins in 10 games is a reason for most managers to be sacked especialy considering where the starting point was to where we are now.
    Whatever money Gibbo may or may not have I suggest he keeps it in his pocket as Stricken clearly can’t get the most out of what he has got and to give him money to splash out on more of the same seems an absoute folly.
    The purchase of Alves was a rash an emotional decision that backfired and spelt the end of Boro’s Premiership stay. If Stricken blows the last of the savings on over the hill, has been old codgers then when it implodes this time there will be no return.

  7. What a pathetic end to the year. Yes it was an injury ravaged boro side, and yes I don’t think Barnsley played on Boxing Day but what a pathetic second half showing. Mentally pathetic. Disgrace.
    Anyway good riddance to 2009, what a rubbish footballing year it was. So it was with immense pride I stood with 4500 T T Teessiders yesterday. People bang on about whose fans are best and how rubbish our fans are. Well yesterday was brilliant.
    Proud to be a boro fan. Well done to all that were there. Hopefully we’ll get something to cheer in the New Year.
    Happy new year every one.

  8. My first (and last) away game where I witnessed Boro crumble under the physical challenge of Barnsley in a 2nd half devoid of any real endeavour.
    Apart from a shot by GON we never tested their goal keeper once, and we only saw two efforts in the 1st for all of our domination, one of which led to that freaky goal.
    I do not believe the January sales will help us regardless of who comes and goes. New players need time to bed in, by which time we will be cemented somewhere in mid table.
    I have to say though that the Parmo Army were again magnificent, it was great to be there amongst it all.

  9. GS2’s after-match comments were particularly depressing:
    “We were disappointed to lose the game but we couldn’t match them. We won the football match in the first half and they decided to turn it into a cup tie and then they won it. There was nothing wrong with the first goal and the second one was made by a good cross.”
    Is he basically saying that Barnsley are better than us? Rubbish. Is he actually trying to suggest that we were beaten by two good goals? They were absolutely awful.

  10. **AV writes: Jan 1st… GS spent 10 minutes out on the pitch and well out of earshot on his phone after the game. Wonder who he was calling?”
    Come on AV, you obviously know more, just a little teaser go on give us something, please?
    Well for my two penneth I Would guess he was on the phone to Hans Frei, Carsten Janckers agent. Or Solomon Sunday agent to Tony Yeboah or was it perhaps Snacthye Handov agent to Hristo Stoickov.
    We desperately need forwards, and big ones at that. Marcus Bent Didn’t really work, Kitson won’t stay. AV was Big Dave ill or throw a wobbler? Rumours persist about Phillips (Auld firm friend phone call) but we need the big man for any of a little forwards to play with.
    **AV writes: You think I was listening in with a Gazette-issue scanner? For all I know he was on the blower to Dodji Middlemann, agent to Bastien Schweinstieger and Sepp Meier. Or Mrs S ordering a parmo.
    I believe Kitson really does have the dreaded lurgy and was sent home last week to prevent anyone else catching it. He won’t be back. Shame. Good talker.

  11. The whole day at Barnsley was weird.
    The way we were herded into the Metrodome, (not daring to poke a nose outside in fear of getting it pinched by the Police). Their Gestapo tactics of keeping every Boro fan under lock and key in a darkened room was quite amusing if not a little irritating. Great for the coffers at the Leisure Centre, with the inflated prices they were charging for hot food and cold drinks.
    Then to the game, where the Boro fans were in full voice, to watch a team line up unrecognisable from Boxing Day. A bizarre first half with a bizarre goal, but we were in cruise mode. A second half to forget, and the less said the better.
    Watching Man Citeh take Wolves apart last night sends a shiver down the spine thinking of the forthcoming cup tie. Damage limitation comes to mind, even before the game kicks off. I suspect some revenge for the 8-1 hammering from the last game of the season before last.
    Dosent bear thinking about…..
    **AV writes: We noticed that there were hundreds of bobbies stopping transits and coaches as they came off the motorway. Think yourself lucky you were coralled in a well apointed facility. back in the day it would have been penned in the layby or an industrial estate miles from anywhere. That’s progress.
    The fans were brilliant again. The supporters have been the best thing this year.

  12. Good account of the game that. Normal service is resumed: we don’t capitalise on our superiority and then inevitably we crumble under pressure.
    Still don’t understand what he’s got against Yeates – he may not be a worldbeater but does at least have drive and he will be Johnson’s replacement anyway, presumably.
    As for 2010 – hope people aren’t pinning too much faith on a new decade brining an instant turnaround; the January window is not exactly renowned for being a hive of activity.

  13. I don’t know why they weren’t serving booze in the ground they would have made a fortune; also I heard the pubs were closed too.
    Anyway back to GS2’s phone call. If he wanted to keep it secret why did he have it in front of the press box on a couple of acres of grass illuminated by massive floodlights?
    AV when you speak to GS2 do you sense he is a little embarrassed/angry at the way things are going?
    **AV writes: It was after the presser. All the hacks are in the little room on the other side of the ground tapping away. There was only us frozen few (me, the Beeb, the MFC website lads) still pitchside waiting to interview players. The rest of the ground was dark and lonely by then. If it was a routine call he could have made it in the changies, tunnel, players’ lounge, anywhere. But he walked to the middle of a darkened pitch away from prying ears. Go figure, as I believe the kids say.

  14. As part of my job (think Spooks) I have access to all mobile phone records. Making a simple search centering on Oakwell from 17.30 to 18.00 only 5 numbers were called.
    1. Taxi firm in Dewsbury, Crown Taxis
    2. Local address on Union Street, Barnsley
    3. Joe Rigatoni’s in Middlesbrough
    4. Personal mobile registered to a Richard Sole, of 29 Acacia Road, Bessecar, Doncaster
    And
    And
    And
    5. A mobile registered to Glasgow Celtic FC
    **AV writes: So he was booking a table at Joe Rigs then? Or we’re signing a bum from Doncaster?

  15. It was easy for me to be there yesterday, living in Barnsley and as supporters we dominated the atmosphere throughout the game. A pity the team couldn’t match the fervour of the supporters.
    I am tired of seeing boys playing against men and was thouroughly underwhelmed by William’s introduction.
    We have the worst of all worlds now, a new manager with different standards, trying to make do with players who appear unable to do what he asks of them.
    I am comforted by the fact that Strachan’s no nonsense approach will ultimately pay dividends; such as code of conduct, a stricter approach to training, higher standard of professionalism. If these measures have had to be introduced what was happening under Southgate? A holiday camp style of management,lax ,do as you please ethos.
    Sorry, but changes of management as we have experienced will take time. I am not surprised Strachan has struggled, there will be resistance to him from players compounded by the squad been run down by Gibson /Southgate.
    The best we can hope for is a play off position and the sight of some hardened experienced professionals in the team. That’s why we lost yesterday- the legacy of too many soft hearted players recruited by Southgate. At least the journey home was short!

  16. Was all set to go to the game yesterday until the normal excitement before an away match gave way to a feeling of total apathy and I decided to stay at home with my three-year old daughter and her new Xmas play-doh set.
    Sounds like the fans were brilliant again, let down by the team and the manager once more.
    Emnes hasn’t had a chance under Strachan and Yeates at least brings work rate. You can;t help but feel for them.
    We’re going nowhere fast at the minute. Even the distraction of a cup tie doesn’t seem to be lifting the mood.
    Judging by the loaners Strachan has brought in so far, I’m far from optimistic about January.

  17. Very Bad day at the office for GS. 22 games left! Who ever thinks the January Transfer Window Is going to help us out are gravely mistaken unless we buy 11 new players. This is what happens when fans dont get behind the club and support the team. Which I dont blame them for.
    There needs to be changes In players wages as In vast cuts so fans can afford to go to matches. That’s how we will be able to fill the Riverside up again.
    Its all bad management when we dont have forwards for the Man City Game – and whoever wants to bring Mido back must be mad … 10 league games 1 goal scored! Boro have always bought big In forwards and there havent been worthy of their tag. Sign James Brown from Hartlepool and Adam Boyd Hartlepool what have we got too lose?There probs wouldnt come anyway.

  18. Again after a decent first half performance the second half produces utter rubbish.
    When we are chasing the game it is not the time to introduce a 16 year old debutant and expect him to pull the impossible out of the bag.
    Plus point was Riggots performance, let’s hope he can stay fit. Waste of time playing Hoyte on the left when he has no left foot. Surely a professional footballer should be capable of using both feet?
    Whats happened to Bennett,his last game was decent and since then hes disappeared off the face of the earth.
    I was disappointed to see Johnsons reaction at the end of the game, he headed straight down the tunnel without shaking hands with his team mates or the opposition and didnt acknowledge the 4400 boro fans either Behaving like a spoilt brat, What’s the odds on him developing an injury or illness so he doesnt get cup tied for his new club on Saturday?

  19. Denis said:
    “That’s why we lost yesterday- the legacy of too many soft hearted players recruited by Southgate”.
    Of the eleven, there were only four Southgate recruits in the side yesterday. Two of those were Danny Coyne and Gary O’Neil, whom I presume people were happy to see playing for us.
    That leaves Hoyte and Arca, both of whom were pretty good in the first half, and no worse than anyone else in the second.
    For my money, yesterday, as it has been since the summer before last, was more to do with inexperience. Hansen was right, you can’t win anything with kids (unless they’re all future big-nation internationals).

  20. My fear is that the Oakwell phone call was a “cashing in” one and not a spending one. Having to sell before you can buy is more likely to be the order of the day.
    Nothing will have changed in the fortunes of Bulkhaul in fact if anything they will have worsened and the hotel is not yet enjoying 90% occupancy rates. So if there is anything to spend it will be at the expense of the last remaining academy jewels which are Jinky and Wheats. My speculation is that the calls were to Bruce and Moyes!
    A combined income of say £10 to £12M at least from the sale of those two plus say another £2M promised from the non purchase of SSL is likely to be the available warchest.
    That is what Stricken is banking on to rebuild with “Men”. A couple of robust strikers, a Central defender (Caldwell) and two midfielders. Thats 5 players likely to be in the cost bracket of around £500K to £3M each (excluding freebies).
    Losing Jinky and Wheats is not what we want to hear but lets face it where else is the money going to come from? Perhaps more importantly how much of that will have to be put aside for wages? The logic of a “Rob Hulse” type (Danny Graham?) allied with say a freebie Kevin Phillips and perhaps even splash the cash on Celtic’s McDonald or Moses from Palace (Jinky replacement?) may solve the striking problem and buy time for Franks and Williams.
    Pompey are desperate to raise funds (as are Watford probably along with a few other less well publicised clubs) so a South Coast shopping trip may be on the agenda. Lets face it if you are a Pompey player (Hermann Hreidarsson?) you know where your football will be being played next season so some may be willing to jump now in the gamble to join a club that at least has an outside chance of going back up. Added to that, GSII’s past with Southampton on the South Coast perhaps means he has reliable contacts and sources still down there.
    Whoever is on the shopping list they are going to cost money (and wages) and Boro fans better be prepared because right now is when we start paying!

  21. Hi AV, is it possible to shed light on the Sean St Ledger saga and is it leaving us out of pocket?
    Cheers.
    **AV writes: Well one way of looking at it is that £1.5m to get him in on loan for 15 games is a financial nightmare, especially as he was a disaster on the pitch. Another way of looking at it is that it is £3m saved and available to spend.

  22. Simon in Manc
    You should be ashamed of yourself. You and your daughter could have knocked up a couple players out of the play-doh with more spine than we saw yesterday.
    Neil from Yarm
    I was there with my lad but JP and his lad didnt go but here is my email to him post match
    John:
    Stats may not tell the whole truth but in terms of possession and shots Barnsley were on top.
    The first half was uneventful with just the odd shot and none odder than Hoytes. his cross from the left touchline zoomed goalwards and even 30 yards out it was clear their keeper was in trouble.
    The major point of interest in the first half was that Hoyte tore forward several times but there was no end product as he had to stop and turn back on to his right foot. We had three left backs on the bench.
    At the start of the second half we returned to being sloppy. They had a chance cleared away very early on then we just fell apart for 20 minutes as every cross seemed to cause problems.
    Once 2-1 down there was no way back despite a bit of huffing and puffing.
    O’Neil kept trying and Johnno kept jinking but there were no options. Bent and Franks struggled to make an impact. Williams looked like a good footballer out of postion and Arca did a few twirls and that was it. The defence was fine until a set piece came in. Coyne could do nothing about the goals.
    Truth is we were not good enough. Our final ball lacked quality but of some comcern is that it doesnt matter what Johnno does, no one is making runs to get onto his deliveries.
    The most worrying part is that as players leave us and injuries/suspensions bite we are not good enough. Alex summed it up by saying they were a better footballing team, they outplayed us and wanted it more.
    And all in front of just under 4500 of the Parmo Army.
    We are struggling, the football legacy of the Unholy Trinity is truly appalling.
    Ian

  23. Now I’m not one for spreading rumours, but… I have it on good authority from my mam’s taxi driver (who admits he’s a bit teed off with MFC after he lost his contract taking Greggs pasties in for Mido), that James Beattie, Kevin Phillips and Gary Caldwell are nailed on additions to the squad in the January sales and Jinky is set for Sunderland as part of a cash plus player deal (name of incomer unknown) and Wheater has refused to talk to Everton until at the earliest in the close season.
    **AV writes: Rumours eh? That should keep us busy for a week or so: “sources close to the club suggested……”

  24. Brandon said, “Lets hope Gordo wasn’t on the blower to his agent hatching an escape plan”. On the other hand, lets hope Gordon was on the blower to his agent hatching an escape plan!
    Has the Boro now arrived at its natural home? Can anyone out there please tell me how the club can seriously move forward, when there is no money, at best an average championship side and more or less only the ‘original’ core of supporters left. At what stage will we know we have hit the base line? Ask Norwich, Southampton, Charlton, Sheffield Wednesday, Leeds etc, etc.
    Oh woe with me, what intense despair.

  25. It was probably an appropriate ending to 2009 as Boro reverted to type at Barnsley: started well – failed to make it count – conceded goal – heads dropped – lost game.
    Though, when I saw the teamsheet for the match I wasn’t expecting much, especially looking at the bench; three unwanted left-backs, an untried 16-year old, the dutch project that has no completion date and the energetic Yeates who now finds himself as Johnson’s understudy.
    I’m beginning to think that Strachan must have developed a pathological hatred of left-backs in his playing days as a right-winger and is on a mission to destroy the spirit of those who dabble in the devil’s position – maybe he only took the Boro job when the Count revealed we had five in the squad.
    But as General Gordon gets ready for one final promotion push he has found himself in No Man’s Land surrounded by boys – The season hangs on his ability to recruit some reinforcements in January, otherwise he’ll probably opt to remain in the trenches until the summer arrives.
    By-the-way, I believe the phone call at Barnsley was from FA investigators when they were mistakenly informed that Strachan had placed bent Francs up front in the hope of securing victory – oh how they laughed when he clarified the sad truth.

  26. Wahey, it’s the transfer window so wazzocks like me with not enough on at work, and internet access can speculate and add fuel to idiotic rumours.
    However as cliché ridden as it is Riggott looks like a new signing. We have missed his presence at the back, I just hope he can stay injury free. As for the other rumours,
    Beattie = OK but wouldn’t another prem team want him? Or the naked head butt over partygate putting managers off?
    Phillips = useful addition but only short term solution. Should have got him five years ago.
    Caldwell = Riggott, Wheater, Pogatetz, Hines are we covered in this area. Obviously if one of the first choices was to be sold then they would need replacing.
    Hull City will have to offload in January, may some bargains there?
    Only problem with these type of players is they may be ‘Men’ but there is not much future in them. Can we afford to be saddled with high earners with no sell on value? We are going to have to trust Gordon on this one. Fingers crossed.
    P.S. AV, it Was Rasmus Sole in Doncaster. And would you believe it he lives next to Dick Craven, John’s Brother.

  27. Smogonthetyne gets us ready for the window season by a traler with his ‘just like a new signing’ line about Riggott.
    Like all good trailers it wets the appetite for the main event where we can have post to post cliches.
    Vic must be salivating at the thought.
    **AV writes: The Gazette have vowed to issue a January cliche war cry.

  28. Far be it from me to stray off topic, but there has been much goal mouth action around the 100th post title.
    However will there be much goal hanging for the prestigious last post of the decade and the equally exalted first post of the decade? Will we all be out celebrating or will the wife cry ‘are you on that thing again, it’s nearly midnight’
    Well the book has been opened and the early odds are
    Last post
    Dormo 11/4 f
    Werder (he’s an hour ahead you know) 3/1
    Ian Gill 4/1
    Powls 9/2
    1st Post
    Jarko 11/4 f
    Red car red 3/1
    Gutted 4/1
    Angry Pirate 9/2
    **AV writes: Anyone sad enough to post round about midnight will have a frustrating but deserved long wait until I publish it after breakfast the next day.

  29. Smogonthetyne
    I think it is wrong to overlook people even further away than Werdermouth. It will be a great opportunity for those in the Southern hemisphere or Far East.
    I also notive that Grove Hill Wallah is mssing from the list, do you have some inside information?
    John
    The sheer fragility of our squad is emphasised that we may need Bent for another month. We just dont have any fit or available strikers. Or keepers, or centre backs or midfield players.

  30. Ian G
    Well a quick check of the odds gives Grove Hill Wallah 25/1, long, long shot. But if you think there is value in it.
    Is Tommy Smith from Teesside? When I was in Watford (greatest year of my life aaaaaaaaahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh) I’m sure he was local Hemel Boy. Either way he is the type of player that we need.

  31. I bear more grudges than lonely High Court judges and I still haven’t forgiven rat faced Kevin Phillips for his insulting goal celebration when he scored for Southampton against us at St Mary’s a few years back. What rhymes with flosser?
    **AV writes: Er, embosser?

  32. “**AV writes: No, they are real quotes from this morning’s presser. There is a possibility that if they can’t get someone else in before the City game they will offer Bent another one month loan. With Lita banned, Aliadiere injured and Emnes in the naughty corner it is that or playing the kids”
    AV if Bent is the only option then God help us. After all we are due some divine intervention. Play the kids.
    On another note either:
    GS1 wasn’t as bad a manager as we thought
    or
    GS2 isnt as good a manager as we think
    or
    in reality the team is pants and is well overdue for a complete overhall. Years of no real improvement in quality has led to the sorry state that we are in now. That leads me back to point 1. GS1 hamstrung in the transfer market (plus a couple of dodogybuys) wasn’t as bad a manager as we thought. Boo boys happy now!!!

  33. Mark wrote:
    “GS1 hamstrung in the transfer market (plus a couple of dodogybuys) wasn’t as bad a manager as we thought.”
    Isn’t it time to give this tired old nonsense a rest? It’s a topic that I hoped was long since buried. It just doesn’t stand up to scrutiny.
    Even this season Gareth sold Huth for £5M and was prepared to pay £4.5M for St Ledger. That’s not what I’d call hamstrung, just more bad business of the Alves kind. Almost any Championship manager would jump at that deal. As Alan Irvine did, before it fell through and he was sacked.
    Anyone can see that Strachan’s not proved anything yet. But give him a break. After a couple of transfer windows feel free to judge him.
    I opposed Gareth’s appointment, but I always hoped he was capable of learning on the job. I didn’t make up my mind about him until he’d had four transfer windows to make his dreams a reality.
    Then it became clear that he really didn’t have a clue what he was doing. He’d built a team that had no core or balance. It wasn’t really Gareth’s tactics or team selection that got us relegated, it was simply that. The team wasn’t good enough.
    I’m prepared to give Strachan the same amount of time I gave Southgate. Only the pro-Southgate whingers seem ready to make up their minds after ten games. Ridiculous. And pointless too, because whatever happens, Southgate won’t be coming back. He’s well and truly burnt his boats with Gibson.
    We will see whether Strachan has what it takes to build a team capable of getting out of this division. Some keep on fooling themselves by chanting their “one point off the top” mantra, but Gareth didn’t leave us with such a team. We are now seeing that, and nobody is enjoying it.

  34. Well what can one say. Yet again SG and KL have messed up big style. GS2 is more useless than GS1.What possessed them to take him on? As far as i can see he has brought absolutely nothing to the team. No passion,no discipline.The club is worse off now than when GS1 was in charge, at least we were only 2 points behind NUFC tnen,look at the team now.
    Shame on you Gibson,you are taking the Micky out of tne club now. God knows what the result against Man City will be. I daren’t think.

  35. The st. Ledger money can now go towards two strikers, a new left back and a right winger. We need some passion, experience and more quality bringing to the team.
    I cant wait to see the outcome of the City match. Maybe we will be dangerous at our weakest point , like a cornered rat or maybe we will just die like bloated poisoned vermin in the second half!

  36. We need an FA Cup run like a hole in the head, right now our season can go one of three ways: stay the same mediocre mid table performers, move upwards hopefully into the play offs (although it doesn’t bear thinking about what would happen if we did go up) or as current form indicates get relegated!
    I recall saying a similar thing last year. Sad thing about supporting Boro is that you stop dreaming and just live (exist?) on hope.
    Just hope the scoreline is not too embarrasing on Saturday and the few professionals left at the club can focus on resurrecting our league fight.
    Regarding Mark’s comments on GSI v. GSII, GSI ultimately failed, to date GSII has failed ultimately, his record over 10 games is appallingly bad and is deserved of the sack. We all know that SG will stick with him until the bitter end as is his want so we had better hope that he (GSII) does have a plan and that he makes some inspired signings this January. If Stricken’s record continues then we will be playing Hartlepool in next seasons NE derby and we have all lost.

  37. Barry Robson of the ‘Tic. I know next to nothing about him. Would he be a worthwhile signing?
    Snodgrass has been ‘outstanding’ according to my Leeds supporting colleague, but wasn’t Yeates a big noise in that league?

  38. Put Brad Jones up front against City as he usually creates mayhem in the box.
    Or buy Nicky Maynard of Bristol City!

  39. A prosperous New year to one and all in the world of Boro.
    Not expecting too much from the cup game, intrigued to read that MFC say that tickets still available. Gosh!

  40. Hey AV,
    I just saw you and Eric paylor come screaming out of Gazette towers; in that supercharged, lime green , Robin Reliant,you drive, like Batman and Robin.
    sort it out will yeah!
    Goodnightgodblessmuchlove.
    **AV writes: Ah yes, the Gazettemobile.

  41. The Queen and the Prime Minister both gave Christmas/New Year speeches outlining their hopes and aspirations for the following year, I think it would be a nice touch if Gibson and Strachan both did this!
    Then we could see if they’re working towards the same goal(s) – we could see if promotion and ambition are still the core value of the club or is it mid-table championship?
    I also agree with ‘Ignorant’ of boroland, Nicky Maynard gave our back four a torrid time down Ashton Gate and would be a good addition to the squad far better than Bent!!
    Happy New Year!!

  42. First time for ages I’ve been able to get on. I’ve missed the blog on the weekend with Redcar Red’s analysis on the whistle, Jarkko’s cheerleading and Dormo’s pub of the day.
    Watched Boro on dodgyvision at Cardiff and whisper it but that second half performance was exactly what it takes to get promoted. Spirit, a bit of steel, a couple of touches of quality to unlock their defence (Bailey’s ball in to Hoyte for McDonald’s goal was pure class and Haroun’s control and finish) and a will to win.
    Good to see Robson rattle strutty Taylor a few times. His tackle on McDonald was naughty. Not so good to see Robson get booked again. When he gets to 10- he gets a two match ban and we can’t afford to have him missing too often.
    Merry Xmas AV and all bloggers.

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