Strachan’s Celtic Tigers Fail To Roar And West Brom Watershed Woe – One Year On.

SO, BORO unleashed their three new Celtic Tigers and still there is no bite. A bit more of a roar in the first half maybe but no ruthless predatory instinct. No teeth.
Gordon Strachan blooded all three of his old bhoys at Sheffield United and all offered some promise. Robson had some nice touches and some deft deliveries but was maybe wasted out on the right; Flood showed plenty of industry, a bit of a snarl and a willingness to put a foot in; and Killen worked hard and won plenty of aerial flick-ons.
But while adding bodies and options in midfield is a tentative step forward it will take a radical revamp at the back and a lot of added punch up front to transform this squad into an effective unit that can flourish in the Championship.

It was nice to see new faces; less pleasing to see the same old flaws. For all the possession, free-kicks, corners and persistent approach play there was still no real threat. A couple of weak shots from the edge of the box, a few easily held free-kicks, one spooned over and a stonewall penalty claim waved away…. their keeper never had time to relax but neither was he ever really tested.
Meanwhile, at the other end, there was more deja vu as Boro worked hard to keep a physical Blades side at bay only to let it slip with one costly lapse, again a familiar one as David Wheater let his man sneak in and get goalside to bundle home a routine ball in.
Three new faces in. It will take at least that again to get the team functioning to anything like the way Strachan wants. And by the time we get them bedded in time will be of the essence if anything is to be salvaged from this season.
BEWARE the Ides of January. A year ago this weekend we went to West Brom and got comprehensively battered. A team that looked dead and buried embraced us in a suicide pact and rammed quite a few nails into the coffin: they tore us apart, Digard was sent off in a shameful and shambolic second half and hope for many was extinguished.
The Baggies fans started singing ‘sacked in the morning’ and a lot of Boro fans joined in and after the game Southgate was an ashen-faced zombie, shell-shocked and barely capable of speaking coherently to the media. We were shocked. We genuinely thought he was going to cry. Everyone was convinced he would walk. Or be sacked. It was stressed to us in no uncertain terms from very high up that was not going to happen.
It was a pivotal moment in the history of the club. It was a two train crash. Had action been taken then, who knows what would have happened? Could we have survived? Where we would be today? How much has changed in a year? The team today will be virtually unrecognisable. The horizons and mentality altered beyond belief.


149 thoughts on “Strachan’s Celtic Tigers Fail To Roar And West Brom Watershed Woe – One Year On.

  1. Sorry, AV, I got ahead of myself there! I was expressing a personal view. It was like an involuntary leap from the seat when the ball flashes off the striker’s head and JUST goes wide at the far post. Call it a reflex action.
    A hastily arranged virtual conference of the Dubious Goals etc Committee confirms that if the ref fails to see the incident, and the “goal” is not awarded, the ref’s decision on the issue is final. It doesn’t matter if it number 1 or 100. No award is made.
    Rather like a “goal” against Man U, struck from distance and where the keeper drags the ball out just before it hits the net (but a good two feet over the line). Although we all saw it at the time, and even had video evidence to replay it, the ref’s whistle didn’t blow. There was no centre spot kick off, and the papers next day showed the unpalatable but undeniable truth, that the “goal” was not counted.
    Nice move though, Richard. Quick feet and an eye for goal. Pity it was too quick for the ref. It will no doubt feature on a “football bloopers” CD in the near future.

  2. Forever Dormo: I only seem able to sneek in while Grove Hill Wallah (the ghost at the post) has his keyboard fingers in plaster, you’re still nursing the New Year hangover, the Night Watchman’s having a kip and the Immigration Officer’s preoccupied with whatever it is Immigration Officers get preoccupied with!
    Seems it’s easier to walk straight through the front door than try to sneak in the back with an Antipodean pseudonym, a false beard and a packet of Werthers!
    Are you waaatching, are you waaatching, are you watching Mythbuster? Are you watching Mythbuster?
    Are you waaatching, are you waaatching, are you watching Mythbuster? Are you watching mythbuster?
    To the Night Watchman/ Immigration Officer: What do you mean “does it count?” I was well on-side (apparently!)
    **AV writes: Oh go on then. It’s been so long since we’ve seen a goal.

  3. We are like the real Boro. A cross came in to the area and some of our posters were not even in the penalty box. Typical Boro.
    And the spectator (AV) was not even watching! Was he sleeping? Uncle Eric must arrest him then. And here in Finland no channel even shows the C’hip. Is this the thing they called ‘Boring Boro’ in the past? Apathy?
    Hope the rest of the year goes better.
    PS. Forever Dormo, we have had -8 to -20 degrees and nearly half a meter of snow since Christmas. But everything works as normal (as Boro, too!).

  4. Just a suggestion,read Fergies introduction in Pallys bography,and I see some parallels with a certain guy who has taken over at Boro, in as far as what he saw at the beginning of his time at Man U is similiar to where we are at now as far as personnel

  5. Hi Werdermouth and Steve H.
    I agree it is always possible to interpret (almost) any set of statistics to suit your own argument. But, like AV pointed out, there is always a small clutch of teams that dominate for periods.
    In my original post I did say that it is more than money that is the reason for dominance, which is not saying that money does not have a part to play.
    However, even grossly over paid footballers want to play for the best teams of the day. They crave success, and probably more so than money, which is a big part of what makes them top footballers anyway. So as teams come into the ascendancy, so the top players will gravitate to play for those teams and so extend those teams’ period of dominance.
    Someday the Chelsea dream will come to an end. Arguably the wheels are already starting to come off at Liverpool and maybe even at ManU. This season (so far at least); it looks as if possibly ManC, Villa and Spurs may get into the top 4, or maybe higher. Spurs and Villa in particular are achieving that mainly because of the quality of the manager and arguably, so are ManC when you compare their current form with that under Mark Hughes.
    Hmm. Would Arsenal and ManU have been nearly so ever-present near the top for the last 10 years or more, were it not for Arsene Wenger and Alex Ferguson? I suspect not.
    Look in the Championship. Forest to me is the team of the division and I expect them to win that league. Once back in the top flight and with some momentum (and especially because they have a good manager/coach) they may re-establish themselves as a force in the top flight. I kind of suspect they will. How is this being achieved? With TV money? No, but because they have a good manager and coaches and probably a good scouting system.
    Look at Portsmouth this week. Teetering on the brink. Back to my original post and you know Steve Gibson really may well have saved the club from going under. With the right manager putting together the right collection of players, the Boro will get promoted again. However, the right manager will be someone who can do it without having to spend untold millions.
    Money helps for sure. But it is only a part of the recipe for success and I believe there is always the opportunity for the right team at the right time to go on to earn some success. However, as history has shown, these teams that occasionally break through will never get to stay among the elite for any extended period.
    TV and TV money really has altered the expectations of football fans more than it has the reality of cyclical dominance by a handful of teams.
    Ah….. lies, damned lies and statistics !
    The current question is whether or not GS2 is the right man to take the Boro back and I’m not going to try and analyse that question at the back end of this already long enough post. I’m right behind him and the team regardless !

  6. “Look in the Championship. Forest to me is the team of the division and I expect them to win that league. Once back in the top flight and with some momentum (and especially because they have a good manager/coach) they may re-establish themselves as a force in the top flight.”
    Oh, so Billy “11 points” Davies is a good Premier League manager/coach now is he?

  7. The Boro transfer bonanza looks set to gather pace.
    Yeates off loaded to free up space on wage bill, to enable us to achieve Strachan’s goals in this month Transfer window. Now 3 midfielders have been shipped out and only two in so far. Possibly O’Neil out for £4m, Mido cleared off the wage bill. I think Gordon could be about to bring quite a few more names.
    QPR have turned down £500k for Routledge, wanting nearer to £2m, Leon Best set to sign due to Chief scout Powls recommendation.
    AV/Chief Scout any other names out there that you have unearthed, any stellar marquee type signings imminent. (By Stella I mean leading scorer in the SPL)
    I think we are due for an exciting couple of days.

  8. Now now, lurking Lester Fox.
    If you can’t take in the general tenor, overall argument and thread of a series of lengthy posts, you should maybe avoid trying to read any thing with more than a few simple syllables. There was no need for that trite comment.

  9. Its definatly going to be an exciting few days. The big problem is we are looking for strikers and selling midfielders.Strikers we need desperatly. Digard gone Yeates gone and whats the bet GON off to Stoke very worried.
    So the problem moves plenty of strikers no midfield.

  10. Dave Connor:
    Dave I am absolutely sure your life isn’t sad and never meant to say it was. I never questioned your work ethic – how could I? I do believe that the lessons learned in the world of QS are not that valuable in football management.
    I’ll accept, reluctantly, that being a QS is more glamorous and exciting than I could ever have imagined in return could you possibly consider not saying Gordon is “rubbish” at management until he has proved it like Gareth ?
    I wasn’t aware of you X Factor fame – what did you sing ?
    “Do it my way !!!!”

  11. SmogOnTheTyne,
    I think the next couple of games might well determine whether Boro feel it’s worth hanging on to O’Neil and Jinky in order to make the playoffs.
    If Boro win these games then they’ll be back in touch with the playoff pack with five winnable games to follow – but a couple of defeats may leave Boro an impossible task and cashing in may well be the best option for next season’s budget.
    It’s still going to require a major turnaround to make the playoffs. We need around 43 points from 21 games – since Newcastle mangaged 46 in their first 21, it means we will need to be the best performing team in the league until the end of the season.
    This is highly unlikely unless we get a couple of goal scorers ASAP (i’ll go for John Powls’ recommendations as he generally knows what he’s talking about) plus a creative midfielder and possibly a keeper.
    Though, our budget may have been already boosted by Hull’s interest in Mido (pauses to control laughter) – maybe we could swap him for Jan Venegoor of Hesselink if we can still afford the letters on the back of his shirt.
    As to the question raised by Powmill as to whether Strachan is the right man for the job? On reflection he probably wasn’t the right choice to takeover from Southgate if he was supposed to get better results from an underachieving squad (I think that was an excellent point made by John earlier in this thread) rather than start again from scratch.
    Though since the goal posts have now been moved and now it’s all about building a completely new team to compete in the Championship then he has to be given time to prove he’s up to the task – though I’d draw the line that he should escape removal if we’re staring at relegation with half-a-dozen games to go as that would be just suicide.

  12. So Sol Campbell is suing Pompey for £1.7mil. Without taking sides (havn’t you got enough Sol) doesn’t it truly encapsulate the whole sorry state our beloved game has got into?
    On a lighter note,If Senderos isn’t good enough for the Arsenal, how on earth can he be good enough for the Boro?
    **AV writes: The most shocking aspect of the Campbell case is that he is sueing for money due for “image rights” and bonuses. How many Sol Campbell duvets do Pompey need to flog to clock up that kind of royalty?

  13. 43 points from 21 games sounds a bit steep even for Strachan’s reinvigorated all stars. So how about closing the gap on the teams above?
    Swansea 8 point lead = we need to win 0.38 points per game more than them to catch them. A win on Saturday lowers this to 0.25 ponts per game
    Cardiff = 0.333 points per game
    Sheff Utd = 0.285 points per game
    Leicester = 0.285 points per games but their bubble has burst, you agree Lester?
    Palace = 0.238 still to visit Fortress Riverside
    Blackpool = 0.190
    Bristol Cities = 0.142 still to visit Fortress Riverside
    QPR = 0.095 still to visit Fortress Riverside
    Donny = 0.047
    We only need to match the form of the teams above us and beat them at Home and we will be level with them. Or if we could pick up some form from somewhere, we might do this easily. Possibly automatic, Champions League in four years.
    All IFS I know but I want to get excited about going to games again. I’m sick of all this defeatist, depression, doom laden talk.
    Let’s all go Ra-Ra Ga-Ga for one week and see if we can beat Swansea.
    Come on Boro.

  14. Hull target Mido apparently would prefer going to Ajax. Quotes “With a bit of spit and polish I could shine there”.
    What about Scott Brown from Celtic apparantly told by Mogga he has no future there. As we have already signed three from them what about another one.

  15. If a requirement for another 43 points is the perceived wisdom, then I’ve just been through the remaining fixtures and believe that we could struggle to make that.
    I know it’s daft to try and predict them all so early in the season, but I did so all the same and came out with 40 points (and that was predictiing through my rose tinted glasses).
    The biggest missing link is the goalscorer. That must be GS2’s priority. Without someone starting to score goals for us, I think we will be very lucky indeed to get any where near 40 more points.
    I like the idea of Leon Best from Coventry and if he lined up with Kris Boyd from Rangers, that could be profitable in terms of goals. (Has Kris Boyd ever scored against us ?) Everything is quiet on the Boyd front. AV, do you know if we are still pursuing an interest?
    Also I notice that Scott Brown looks to be available from Celtic. Hibbees I work with rated him highly and were surprised he went to Celtic instead of down south. I think he could be a very good signing into midfield if we could get him.
    **AV writes: I think the valuation of Best is under discussion. I don’t know about any movement on Brown but his name has been mentioned.

  16. Good to see Gary O’Neil giving an honest account of the season thus far and of the mentality of some of the players, I just hope he and Gordon and just as open in the dressing room. Hopefully he won’t disappear off to Stoke but if he does how about a swap for Beattie?

  17. Good to see Gary O’neil giving an honest account of the season thus far and of the mentality of some of the players, I just hope he and Gordon and just as open in the dressing room. Hopefully he won’t disappear off to Stoke but if he does how about a swap for Beattie?

  18. Impressive stats SmogOnTheTyne, but I don’t care how many fractions to three decimal places you present me with, I still think we need 43 points from 21 games to make the playoffs.
    But I know what you mean when you say you’re sick of the lack of a positive outlook – surely Boro could start a winning run soon and give us some hope that the season isn’t already over – even if it was by accident and Arca fluked a hat-trick to become an automatic choice in midfield.

  19. Werdermouth,
    Over the last 7 seasons the average points of the 6th placed side = 73.428. This ranges from 70 up to 75 points. So I think your target of 75 points is fair.
    So like Powmill, I have gone through the remaining fixtures and I see us picking up 37 points. This would give us 69 points, six short of the Expected Play Off Cut Off Point (EPOCOP). Frustratingly we are currently six points short of sixth place.
    So in conclusion what I have done is talk myself out of our possibilities of getting the EPOCOP. But hang on this is only based on my predictions, and I only think it prudent when estimating 21 results you factor in, say a six point swing-o-meter. This will cover last minute equalisers/winners, fixture pile ups, loss of form etc.
    Also the EPOCOP may be lowered if the games we win are against are EPOCOP rivals. So in conclusion we can still make, just
..with a fair wind.
    Just win on Saturday Boro.

  20. I would forget about Boyd and Scott Brown
    Brown was signed from hibs by Strachan for 4.5 million so Boro could not afford the fee and his wages although he would be a massive massive player for the club
    Boyd has expressed his desire to stay at Rangers and I dont think also that Boro can afford him

  21. John its possible Johnno could be tempted by Brum: massive financial input to the club from new foreign investors, more than likely guaranteed a starting place and if they keep going the way they are at present possibly a sneak into the Europa League (do they do Parmo’s I wonder?.) What do you think?

  22. Richard wrote:
    “Are you waaatching, are you waaatching, are you watching Mythbuster? Are you watching Mythbuster?”
    Trouble is, the hard work done in midfield by posters like me will always go unappreciated. I’m more of a “continuity” poster, tirelessly covering the ground from inbox to inbox. I’m able to make the short post with either hand, occasionally launching the defence-splitting long post.
    And what do I get for my efforts? Deemed surplus to requirements, and told to find another blog during the transfer window.
    **AV writes: My money is on a gazumping bid from Wigan.

  23. Interesting little mini-spat between Powmill and Lester the lurking fox about Billy Davies.
    He was on my mind last year when there were calls for Gareth’s removal during the season. The generally held view was that club’s who act quickly and replace their manager stand a better chance of avoiding relegation.
    Well it doesn’t always work and it didn’t for Derby. Yes, they were rock bottom when Billy Davies was sacked, but if memory serves me right, they were even worse when Paul Jewell took over. I think it took him a season and a half to amass the same number of points Davies had amassed in half a season. Eventually they gave up on him as well.
    Meanwhile Billy Davies has moved on and proved himself very capable at Derby’s fiercest rivals whilst Derby continue to languish somewhere in the lower end of the second division (somewhere near us I think). Must be tough being a Derby supporter too… bet they wonder what might have happened if they’d been a bit more patient.
    Interesting too that Paul Jewell’s name cropped up fairly frequently as a possibly successor to Gareth when we were looking for our mid-season saviour! At least that was a bullet dodged!
    I find it helps to find some other clubs have their problems too…and don’t even get me started on Sol Campbell…

  24. After contract talks with Untypical Wigan collapsed, I find myself returning with my tail between my legs.
    **AV writes: Now you will be tortured by the boo-boys for being a Billy Big Balls who wants away and thinks he is too good for this level. Booooooooo.

  25. Following last year’s outburst from Caleb Folan’s against Phil Brown comes Daniel Cousin’s reported outburst saying he can’t stand him either.
    I wonder how long Mido would last at Hull before relations with his new manager reached breaking point? Two weeks? a month?
    Maybe we should fit Mido with a webcam as part of any deal and sell the rights online as a Pay-per-view money spinner.
    **AV writes: Mido is the archetypal argument in an empty room merchant . He would be brilliant in Celebrity Big Brother.

  26. Following on from Bob’s last post.
    An interesting comment from Graham Taylor on Five Live this morning, talking about how Martin O’Neil has been patiently building his Villa team, adding to them a little bit every year and every year them improving a little.
    He observed that too many ex-players are given high-profile jobs as their playing careers come to an end. MON started maging at Wycombe before progressing via Norwich and Leicester to Celtic. He compared that with Ferguson, who started managing at East Stirling, then St Mirren, before Aberdeen and then Man U.
    In other words a better career route for an ex-player is to go and do the management apprenticeship in the lower leagues.
    If he is a good manager (and I think he probably is) Billy Davies will have learned a great deal from his half a season in the Premiership with Derby, that is going to stand him in very good stead if he does get promoted with Forest.
    We didn’t go for him, but instead went for Gordon Strachan. Arguments about right at the time or not are now quite redundant. He is here and he is doing the job as he sees fit. He too is building a team to suit the way he wants it to play. He too has had something of an apprenticeship. He deserves the time and the backing of us (the Boro supporters) while he does build a team.
    It would be great if he could get enough of what he wants in this transfer window to give us the impetus to maybe achieve EPOCOP this season, but we need to be realistic about this now and buck the trend of the modern football fan and be patient if it doesn’t happen this year.

  27. Mythbuster
    You have my sympathies, I see myself as the Robbie Mustoe of the blog, beavering away whilst leaving others to get the glory, hitting the post whilst poachers knock in the rebounds.
    After a long career in Premiership blogging I have now dropped down a level and having to blog in the Championship. There appears to be no approaches from the likes of the Manchester or London dailies and there is little point joining the Derby Evening Telegraph.
    But we have to keep going, there is professional pride to consider.

  28. There’s a bit of a contradiction with your interview of Barry Robson in today’s Gazette. He said “What Gordon Strachan is like is that if you work really hard for him and you put in a real shift and put your heart and soul into every game then he will like you.”
    Isn’t that what Mark Yeates did when he was given a chance under Strachan? I still don’t understand why he wanted to sell him – particularly as Kevin Blackwell who’s managing a playoff rival said “I’m delighted to finally get my man, although I was surprised Boro would let him go.”
    Do you think it was just a case of needing to sell players to free up the budget for wages in order to bring other players in?
    **AV writes: No I don’t think so. Yeates came from Colchester so he would have been on relatively smaller wages. I think it was more case that on the pitch while offering energy he didn’t always stick to his instructions, was positionally suspect and also didn’t meet the “ball retention” quota; and off it is he wasn’t quick to tune into the mentality or fully embrace the frugal new lifestyle demands.

  29. Know its being negative, but I have seen very little “strengthening” in this transfer window. If anything the squad is weakening towards one which is just about good enough to do the minimuum to stay in the Championship for the next couple of years.
    Have we been sold yet another pre-season “dummy” in being told that promotion straight back to the PFL was our main target this year??

  30. Werdmouth (plus AV of course)
    I was speaking to a Leicester fan this morning and he always asks about the Boro. Yeates was there for a time and my friend says he is a third division player.
    He had a good first game then flattered to deceive always liking to go for the tricks rather than concentrate on the job in hand. Always busy but not achieving. You can recognise some of that from his time at Boro. I thought he was a trier who never quite stepped up a level.
    As for the other bits that AV mentions I do not have access to such information but would never doubt the veracity of the statements.

  31. Oh dear, the predicted ‘exciting few days’ hasn’t really got going. Unfortunately this means that my mind has started to wander. How can we start to improve the match day experience?
    How about SC/tickets are bought for the North Stand lower but are not allocated a seat number. Therefore groups can sit together easily and hopefully lead to a better atmosphere. like an old terrace.
    Ticket prices not to exceed £15.00. Currently if we are getting 18,000 paying on average £22.00 = £396,000 in gate receipts per home game. If £15.00 were to be charged then the club would require crowds of 26,000 to recoup a similar gate.
    The shortfall would surely be made up by other match day revenues and merchandise. I’m sure another 8,000 could be tempted back. Imagine that, relatively full ground, do you remember the buzz that goes round the ground, you could always hear it when there was a lull in the action. Now when it goes quiet, it goes quiet. You can hear the shouts on the pitch or from down in the concourse.
    How low could ticket prices go? And how low would they have to be to get 30,000 to championship game?
    Or and as radical as this sounds how about £1 per person per match. Ticket revenue this season = £9m. So the club would be losing out on £9m. But the fans and community would benefit. Just think the transfer fee’s and wages saved on St Ledger and Caldwell would amount to over £7m this season alone. Maybe the fans should benefit and keep the money in the community.
    Now I know it wouldn’t happen but just think of the millions of pounds the club has lost recently be it on Transfers, players wages etcetc. This wouldn’t be the worst loss the club could endure.
    Maybe the club could do it for one game next season. All in for a quid. Obviously with arrangements made in SC prices to avoid anyone moaning.

  32. I guess what you say AV is backed up by what Strachan said last week: “The ones who find it too much hard work or too intense, or the discipline or the fact that you have to push yourself to a new limit to be a winning player and a competitive player too much, they have to go by the wayside.”
    I also accept Ian’s comments and he was probably not going to prove to be anything other than a squad player anyway – though Sheff Utd seem to rate him.
    I get the feeling that GS2 is building for next season as it’s probably going to take too long to gel a team with six or seven new recruits and have them back to winning ways immediately – though as it isn’t the best of leagues, it’s still not yet reached the point where have to write this season off completely.
    Anyway, to make playoff calculations easier, If we win on saturday then we’re looking at needing 40 points from 20 games – which gives a target of win three, draw one, lose one every five games.

  33. One question I would ask is, does Strachan just get rid of players who don’t get it straight away? Does he take the easy attitude of getting rid of anyone who he finds it difficult to get to do what he wants (regardless of ability) or are there really good reasons behind him letting someone like Yeates leave?
    For those who say Yeates does nothing and is a 3rd league player or whatever, how about looking at his actual achievements for his previous team?
    2007/2008 – Colchester in Championship
    29 apps 8 goals 7 assists
    2008/2009 – Colchester in League 1
    42 apps 12 goals 11 assists
    Not bad for someone who is always busy but never achieving. Anyone in the Boro team match up to that? Johnson perhaps with his 9 goals and 4 assist in the league this season? Anyone else?

  34. Smogonthetyne I was beginning to think you were on to something here …. but then you said “…… to avoid anyone moaning”. And pigs will fly I thought to myself.
    Shame. Yours would have been a far worthier 150 not out than the goal poacher Richard’s well timed, but monosyllabic “Yes” !

  35. Ian with regard to Yeates who I found to be tryer but with not much end product the comments from your friend in Leicester is very similar to the comments that were made by Colchester fans at the time of us buying him.
    A few of their fans rated him on there messgae boards but quite a lot were passing the same comment as your friend. Yet again its another lesson learnt by the Boro.

  36. Missed the boat with Boyd. He’s in talks with Villa, never mind Wigan, try a bid for Leon Best instead.

  37. Powmill: “Yes” is positive! Hardly a moan is it? I’m keeping my powder relatively dry , as I have for most of this season. If I’d posted even a tenth of what I’ve actually written – but then elected not to, for fear of falling into a Slavenista trap – you’d have far more grounds for such reaction. I could hardly have been more restrained than to provide a monosyllabic answer!
    However, I HAVE anticipated more of the same (just because I’m paranoid, doesn’t mean they’re not out to get me!) and should it be forthcoming, I’ll perhaps decide to post, in further explanation and defence of my position and in fuller response to Chris D. Your relatively gentle jibe has been insufficient to have me hovering over the red button. But somehow, I expect more!
    Incidentally, I didn’t realise it was post 150! If it was, I’ll take your word for it. It wasn’t contrived – purely coincidence. Such milestones mean nothing to me. Nothing whatsoever. Not even a little bit of historical kudos. Nope, nothing at all! Don’t know why people make such a fuss. Nothing. Nada. Niet. Zip. Zilch. Zero. Nowt! Not me! Not ever! Nope! And I’m not even thinking about 200! No Sirree!

  38. John said:
    “One question I would ask is, does Strachan just get rid of players who don’t get it straight away? Does he take the easy attitude of getting rid of anyone who he finds it difficult to get to do what he wants (regardless of ability) or are there really good reasons behind him letting someone like Yeates leave?”.
    I suspect there’s some truth in the suggestion that Strachan jettisons anyone who doesn’t get his ideas, regardless of their ability. Some will doubt the wisdom of that approach, but it’s worked for Alex Ferguson and personally I’m quite happy with it. It’s a team game after all and all that.
    The reason he’s made up his mind and acted so quickly, however, may b more to do with that face that he needs quick finance for his own signings.
    Perhaps he feels there is no time to waste.

  39. …and as Richard put the full stop to his post at 4.19pm, he had to turn his head away from the keyboard, as his nose had now grown to such an extent it threatened to type on its own.

  40. Ah Richard.
    That was no gentle jibe at you, but an ironic observation that there will always be those who will find something to moan at even in the most positive of event (as Smogonthetyne was imagining).
    Great respect for the humility over the 150th post. I suspect this blog will not reach its 200th as Friday is now upon us and I’m sure AV will have something new to start a fresh debate.
    Sad we will not be able to hijack Kris Boyd from the Brum or Villa, but if he’s definitely not coming here, then he’s forgotten and fingers crossed the Leon Best move will happen.
    Looking forward to 3 points on Saturday. Lita to bag a brace anyone ?

  41. I am looking with ironic amusement at the stats quoted above by those of us with some optimism still left in their veins.
    Reality is that our current form will yield us 10 to 12 more points between now and the end of the season. 3 points in the last 6 games. Ouch!
    To date the comings and goings have hardly been inspirational but the likely departures allied to the calibre of the to date incomings hardly inspire me with anything but even more dread.
    The truth as hard as it is to swallow right now is that Boro will be extremely fortunate to avoid relegation this year. We are in a relegation dogfight, its just that it hasn’t dawned on some of us just yet. Play offs? Yer jokin arnt yer!

  42. The turning point last season was the Hull game, 1-0 up and looking good, then we had that disastrous ten minutes, we never recovered and of course it gave Hull an extra three points as well.
    **AV writes: Dodgy penalty decision. The turning point was the disallowed goal at Blackburn/ missed penalty at Sunderland/sale of Luke Young …. insert your own here.

  43. Forever Dormo:
    It were my nose what dun the whole thing, Guv! I plead “not guilty” on the grounds of diminished responsibility but extended proboscis!

  44. BBC say that Boro have made a bid for Wayne Routledge (born 7 January 1985). He is an English footballer who plays for Queens Park Rangers. He plays as a midfielder predominantly on the right wing but can also play on the left (Wiki).
    Sounds good – I hope L Best is signed, too. Something to happens today, Friday before the Swansea game?
    Any news on this, AV. You must put a spy microphone near uncle Eric. He must know something already… Up the Boro!
    **AV writes: There has certainly been a bid although I don’t think it is anywhere near QPR’s ambitious £2m valuation.

  45. Redcar Red wrote:
    “We are in a relegation dogfight, its just that it hasn’t dawned on some of us just yet.”
    Great stuff. This really is world-class gloom. No daft questions about whether the cup’s half full or half empty. Just the simple statement that it’s smashed into a thousand pieces all over the kitchen floor.

  46. “Cash-strapped Derby have placed every member of the squad on the transfer list as they try to raise £8m by the end of the month” by Daily Mirror.
    Where is the English football heading to?

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