Sorry Season Splutters Out In Dismal Dead Rubber

SO WHO’S testimonial was it today at Boro then? A low-tempo, lack-lustre dismal dead-rubber draw between two teams with nothing to play for.
To be fair it was an appropriate way to sign off a fruitless and frustrating season pocked by similar laboured Riverside displays against lowly and limited sides. There was a poor first half, a brief flurry of action after the break as Boro clawed into the lead only to let a commanding position slip through sloppiness at the back. The only surprise was that unambitious strugglers Coventry didn’t snatch it at the end.


It was probably the last time we will see injury jinxed 10 games a season man Chris Riggott and Jeremie Aliadiere (my little girl went to the game and dubbed him ‘banana boots’ … and I think it is as much to do with the direction of his passing and abilit to keep his feet as much as the colour of his footwear.) Corporal Jones reverted to type with some chaotic fumbles that sparked Keystone Kops moments in the box. Both full backs struggled to get involved. And Lee Miller offers what exactly? Even our Celtic Tigers, McManus, Robson and McDonald lacked urgency and drive in a day when both teams were wearing sombreroes and many fans were taking a siesta.
You dread to think what the crowd would have been without the ticket offer. You dread to think what people persuded to come along by the offer must have thought of it. Having taken the PR plunge with a belated ticket temptation it was important that the the team turned in the kind of spirited, energetic, determined and entertaining display that may have persuaded those people to come back again at full price. Hmmmmm. There was little to excite or entice and the whistle at the break and the end was greeted with Pavlovian booing. I suppose we should be grateful there was no “lap of honour.”
It took Boro’s home record to 11 games unbeaten which is not a bad stat. The last defeat was to Cardiff back in early December… but there have been far too many disappointing draws like this against the strugglers. It is all very well grinding out results and we can argue that it is putting down foundations for a new Fortress Riverside next season but if won’t do much to put bums on seats.
Luke Williams was the only really bright spot. He hadn’t read the end of term strollabout script and in a livewire first half looked hungry and positive every time he got the ball, tried to make things happen and had a good shot well saved in one of the few things of any note in a comatose first half.
And the Red Faction gave it their best shot. They sung and danced all the way through and added their drum beat to the sound of the legions of kids with their 99p club shop horns, which added to the bright sunshine and slow, slow tempo of the game gave the day the feel of Mexico 86. The last game in Group B between two sides already out.
The Red Faction made a defiant last stand, still standing and chanting a good half an hour after the game had finished, their passion echoing around an empty stadium with simmering stewards circling anxiously and desperate to evict them.
More later.

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33 thoughts on “Sorry Season Splutters Out In Dismal Dead Rubber

  1. More later…? Please no, if you meant the football.
    It is only a matter of time before you hear from Social Services, Vic, if you took your little girl to the game. A Child Protection Case Conference will be held and the little mite registered under the category of “Risk of Emotional Harm”.
    A detailed Protection Plan will be drawn up with the first paragraph reading: “Under no circumstances should this child be exposed to the cruel indignity of having to watch grown men and women crying in their seats as people mascarading as footballers desecrate the beautiful game in front of them.”
    It is only a matter of time before football, if that is what we witnessed today, is banned as a torture in breach of the Convention on Human Rights.
    **AV writes: I think it is worse than that. She used her own money – her own money! – to buy a full home strip and red and white curly perm wig… and afterwards declared “banana boots” was her favourite player. I think we are looking at a possible shout for her being sectioned.

  2. If the club wanted to sell season tickets next year, I guess it would want the players to put on a display, and to play high pressure football at speed and to frighten the opposition with the techinical qualities our players can show (the two are not mutually exclusive). Possibly to end the season with a home win against a team with dismal away form? What they got did not quite satisfy the criteria.
    On the basis of that display, I can only assume the club will NOT be expecting to sell many season tickets next year. It was, to be fair, a waste of a decent afternoon. Going for a walk would have been pleasant. Going shopping with the the wife would have been as enjoyable. The football was grim.
    My two mates and me will still be there next season, though we are all wondering whether this is a sensible decision. Renewals of season tickets must owe little to common sense, or to the quality we have seen on the pitch this year. Lucky for the Boro, then?

  3. ‘Before then on to todays match and the fateful announcement on Sky that Coventry havent won for nine matches. It would be an opportune time to change the habits of a lifetime and lay down some markers for next season.’
    Those were the words at the end of my last post on the previous thread. It certainly would have been an opportune time.
    Daughter back after a long coach, ferry and train journey from Rome, son changing jobs and a lovely had me dragooned into a family trip into the beautiful area around Chatsworth.
    Started back so could get BBQ ready (=listen to second half footie on radio 5). McDonald for Boro elicited cheers from the male half of the Gill family. The female half just gave knowing looks.
    Five minutes later and we were getting those pitying looks.
    It was only a dead match for goodness sake but it doesnt make the frustration any less. And in front of nearly 28,000 after we did some of the things Derby do to get fans in.
    Roll on summer.

  4. I intended to wait untill the end of the season to give my honest view of the happenings this season, however what the heck why wait.
    Ive been a regular on the AV blog, sometimes positive, sometimes negative, some tounge in cheek,some just to get a reaction,So what do I really think.
    Under Southgate We started ok but the first 10 games are still pre-season (remember Newcastle lost 6-0 to Orient during that time).and the doubts had started to creep in.
    Would we have done better with him? I Believe we may have been relegated under him. WHY? Because once the horrific winter and pitch conditions had come into play his squad would not of coped
    In comes Strachan. My real complaint is if you are going to make a change, then you should at least interview a number of candidates.
    He comes in having been out of the English game for a number of years a little full of himself, thinking , No problem here. Except, and this is where this guy confuses me, h’es been a disaster.
    He did make the right moves to keep us in the division but apart from the Newcastle game weve been second best both in quality, organisation and going forward to every other team since.
    What im scared of is if Gordon thinks you can win the Derby riding a Clydesdale hes mistaken. I’m sick of hearing ‘he gave 110%,’ – 110% of what? Quality will always come to the top.
    I’m scared of the type of player hes looking at,they may keep us in the Championship for the next 10 years but thats not what we need. We need a combination,of leadership, experience, skill and enthusiasm, we certainly need a Merson type,who can make that transision from defence to forwards,with close control and vision,
    One guy I would think about is Bolo Zenden,he can still get the ball forward and score.I have other players in mind but thats for another day

  5. Vic
    Posted before I read the ‘live with Mosso’ replay so thought the attendance was 27000+ as per MFC and BBC but the Mosso version is 20771.
    Is yours the true figure and MFC’s the one we would have had if people had gone?
    **AV writes: Mine is the figure that was passed along the press benches by a Boro official. I don’t know where the inflated one came from.

  6. I didn’t bother going and didn’t even bother to listen on the “Official approved favourite non disparaging Radio station”.
    Spending an afternoon washing the cars and pottering around in the garage and garden seemed a far more productive, enjoyable and self satisfying use of my time.
    It’s the first time in decades I was unfaithful to my Boro on a home Saturday afternoon. The pangs of guilt I thought I would feel just were not there. Subconciously I had obviously had enough of predictable mediocre, toothless and spiritless MFC displays.
    Sad to say I was right on all counts, the question is how many others like me will consider the same “alternative” therapy on Saturday afternoons come August after another “Typical Boro” summer signing bonanza. Having slowly lost the belief in those in whom we trusted it is going to take one huge effort to win back the trust, belief and support.

  7. Horrendous. We took my 2-yr-old along for her first game and I’m glad I had something to distract me from the ‘football’.
    The team selection was totally baffling. If Riggott and Ali aren’t going to be here next season, why on earth were they playing?
    I feel sorry for Lee Miller, it’s like asking a toilet cleaner to do a brain surgeon’s job. What was GS2 thinking when he signed him – and what was the point of playing him ahead of Killen?
    Looking forward to the summer and LOTS of signings.

  8. If you want a good read have a look at John Powls latest Boro Banter piece.
    To borrow from Winston Churchill ‘Never in the field of human endeavour was so much said by words so few.”
    Sometimes, less is more.

  9. I do recall when I was on footie banter I predicated we wouldn’t go up,
    1. The players are not footballers – can’t pass,can’t shoot, can’t finish, can’t defend, and no discipline remind me of big spoilt brats who ego’s need to be toned down and a laughing stock of the club.
    2.Did you really expect that this team of players who got us relegated would Instantly win promotion? Not a chance.
    3.Football Is a simple game all you need to do Is score more goals than the opposition,not a goal and defend. Like I said before Martin Scott And Steve Agnew were at Hartlepool Utd with the same tactics of scoring a goal and been pegged back drawing and losing ask me where there are at now? Yes, the Boro with the same pathetic defensive tactics.
    How about 4-3-3 all out attack,especially at home? Most english Managers who recieve there coaching badges are trained the English way as In defend defend defend this Is why we haven’t won the World Cup for 40 odd years because the opposition suss the the way the english play the sport – negative 4-5-1 and 4-4-2 systems!
    Next Season Let’s have more out attacking systems at home and make the Riverside a fortress of red and white!

  10. Just listened to the Keith Lamb interview from the link posted by Mr vickers and I have to say that it tempted me to get my Jethro Tull “Living In the Past” album out of mothballs. The man is completely deluded.

  11. Truly awful and embarassing wasn’t it? And that was just the propaganda of there being 20,000 in ther stadium. There wasn’t.
    I enjoyed the football in the pub pre and post match, it was just the irritating Boro bit in the middle that spoilt a great day. Roll on the summer and a new team emerging for a top six push. It’s Strachan’s one and only chance ’cause if he fails, then he will be out. Happy holidays!
    Oh, I forgot we still have a contractual obligation match to complete next week at Leicester….

  12. Well I’m glad that season of half-hearted uninterested tedium is over and I don’t have to go back again this season.
    I’ll be back but I hope and pray that something happens over the summer to fire the Boro faithful up and give them a reason to come back becuase right now you are looking at crowds of 10-14,000 next year.
    I have been shocked at the number of people who have been going as long as I can rememeber who are telling me they are wrapping in because they don’t beleiev the Boro have the ambition, resources or determination to get back in the Prem.
    It breaks my heart to see the club fizzle out like this. It is like the “golden age” never happened.

  13. I’m happy to wait and see ig Strachan can build a team. It looks like he is going to dismantle Southgate’s team in the summer and if he brings in a few more like Robson, McDonald and (lets hope we keep him) Mick McManus then we’ll be alright.
    I’m not sure others are happy to wait and give him time though. We didn’t go up as promised and so someone must be to blame. We’ve already got shot of Southgate so he is no good scapegoat wise and Lambie and Gibbo are bullet proof.
    If we don’t get off to a flyer next season the pitchfork brigade will turn on Strachan … who else will be to blame?

  14. There are 14,000 season ticket holders. They were offered two extra tickets for a tenner and two free tickets for kids. We got a crowd of 20,000. Not many season ticket holders did their job of dragging a friend/neighbour/relatiev along.
    You can slag the players, the manager and Keith Lamb all you want but at the end of the day it is starting to look like the people of Teesside don’t want a successful team. Why should Gibbo invest more when people can’t be bothered to turn up.
    These self righteous whingers proably want to be personally picked up from their house by Gibbo and given a free burger before they even consider it.
    All I hear is people complaining about ticket prices and the players can’t be bothered but when tickets are prcatically being given away IT IS THE SO CALLED FANS OF THE AREA WHO CAN’T BE BOTHERED.
    They were probably all sat at home listening again to Lamb on the radio and looking for new excuses to be offended.

  15. Tees Exile – Less of the shouty capitals!
    Let’s be honest it was a nothing game, nowt to play for end of season match, and let’s be honest we’ve all been to them and thought what was the point in turning up if the players can’t even be bothered to put a shift in (only Luke Williams yesterday).
    The reason why the club put the offer on was precisely for the reasons above. If the club had anything about them they would have introduced this offer for the Palace or pre Palace game(s) when we were still in with a shout of making the play-offs.
    Strachan has said himself that Saturdays game was a pre season game and the Leicester game next week will be also – a chance to blood a few youngsters to see if they can step up a level.
    So get off your mighty high horse, oh maybe that’s why you need to shout!!
    (Sheff Wed sold out away to Cardiff because it was a must win game for them, I don’t believe they would of taken more than several hundred had the game been in November)

  16. Shame on you AV for putting your youngster through that. Watched the highlights package and I say that tongue in cheek. Major surgery required in the summer.

  17. The BBC report that Burnley chairman Barry Kilby will hold talks to discuss manager Brian Laws’ future after Sunday’s loss confirmed their relegation to the Championship.
    Burnley are in stark contrast to Portsmouth who take their place in the Championship next season and Hull who require a mathematical miracle to stay up.
    Pompey are in administration and have debts of £119m while Hull also reportedly have financial problems and now face a cash shortfall of around £21m following their relegation.
    “West Brom have been a good model for us, you can’t bet the ranch on these things, and if we can get back up we will be stronger for it. We intend to be back and we’ll have a good chance. We are free of debt, have a good wage bill and will give it a good crack.”
    Sounds like Burnley can bounce straight back to PL next season. Pompey and Hull will be rubbish. So we might have a chance – it is all in own hands. So we must hope GS2 will get it right during the close season. Up the Boro!

  18. Love it how people who cant get away from the area quick enough (yes, you Mr Tees Exile) have the audacity to slag people off for not going to a meaningless end of season game of football.

  19. Looks like the club are keen to keep Riggott. So looks like Pogi and Riggott might stay. Does that mean Wheater and/or McMcmanus could be off? Next we will be keen to keep Aliadiare.
    **AV writes: Unless the pair are ready to accept 66% pay cuts I can’t see it. And as Poggi was offered 1 millions Euros a year at Panathinaikos in January I would be massively impressed if he even considered it. It must be said that if Boro moved to sign players with those kind of injury records there would be hell on.

  20. Preseason training has started. What players we have already for next season?
    Central Defense: Riggott, Wheater, Pogy and McNanus are wanted by GS2. Riggs and Pogy needs to take a pay cut but could be here.
    Right back: R Williams and McMahon
    Left back: Taylor and a new signing
    Central midfield: Bates, O’Neil and Robson.
    Flanks: Only Franks and Flood – more bodies needed.
    Strikers: McDonald, Killen, Miller, L Williams
    Goal: Steele, Coyne, Jones
    If we sell we need to find a buyer – which could be difficult. But especially we need some midfielders – both wingers and a ‘rochenbach’ type playmaker. A goalscorer is needed, too as Lita doesn’t seem to fit?
    Could Steele be our number one next season?
    Up the Boro!

  21. Forgot to add. what was the official attendances? mfc.co.uk says 27,000 and 20,000 in the same match report. looked like 20,000 to me

  22. AV, are Mido and Digard coming back to Boro? Do you see any hope that the Parmo striker can stay at the Hammers in the PL? Secondly how has Digerd done at Nice? Still fit or what is the situation there?

  23. Unfortunately I went to the match and it was garbage, not a good advert for next season as I’m sure it was intended to be from the club hierarchy.
    On another note, whilst driving on the A66 back towards the A19 southbound we passed a certain on-loan footballer in his pimped up black ranger rover. He wasn’t even looking at the road, texting away on his phone.
    Then he decided to speed past everyone and cut across 3 lanes to the A19 north bound carriageway. Then to top things off he cut up the driver in front of us up on the chevrons to go southbound. I think he was at crathorne before we had even got to the A174 sliproad. AV – can I name and shame him?
    All this was happening whilst Barry Robson was giving his post-match radio interview.
    **AV writes: Maybe Boro should run out with “How’s My Driving?” and the Hurworth phone-number on the back of their shirts next season?.

  24. AV
    I get the impression that the stuffing has been knocked out of the posters as well as the fans and players.
    I note that Strachan wants to try and thrash something out with Riggott contract wise. Down here it is widely believed that he is coming back to his hometown club in Derby. A classy player prone to the odd hairy moment and rather more frequent injuries. He suffered a fair few at Derby and maintained his record at Rockcliffe. 204 leagues games having made his debut in 1999 is hardly overworked.
    Elsewhere, lets hope Rhys Williams injury clears up before the world cup and pre season.
    I will be in bonny Scotland for the seasons ‘finale’ so wont be off to Leicester. Goodness knows who will be fit to play but it may be a good chance to give some more game time to the likes of Bennett and Williams.

  25. Stats for didier digard played 12 scored 1 no assists!
    Mido played 9 scored zilch assists zilch!
    I would sell them both If any team wants them. Massimo Maccarone stats played 34 scored 12, assists four… wonder If we could get him back for a years loan deal?

  26. Ignorant
    I’m sure your annus is horribilis, as you say, but would you mind not displaying it to all and sundry on here. You might be accused of doing a Bernie in Binns’ window!

  27. Ian Gill is right –
    Chris Riggott is a class player. He has been injury prone but also I suspect unlucky in being third choice behind other central defence pairings preferred by Boro – where a leader has been paired with a number 2. Riggott has never struck me as the leader of defence, but a high class number 2.There has always been a Gate, Pogi, Woody, Wheater pairing ahead of him.
    Maybe he is too expensive to keep as cover in the Championship. And whatever league you are in, the best clubs identify and recruit durable players, who can play a full season.
    Look at Jonathan Woodgate. He should have been a regular Premier League and England player for years. He was better than his Leeds stablemate Rio Ferdinand in my opinion (not quite as quick but reads a game brilliantly). But he could never play a full 30+ games a season and so has never reached the very top.
    I guess that the new austerity-model Boro will be looking for durability above potential for the foreseeable future.
    Chris

  28. Redcar Red –
    Tom Craddocks Stats played 45 scored 24; Danny Grahams stats played 36 scored 12. We could have kept these future products but yet again got rid of the Academy players!

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