Summer Purge Starts With Coach Crash

THE NEXT crucial phase of the Strachanovite Revolution got into full swing with a ruthless purge of the old guard: Boro have axed Colin Cooper, Stephen Pears and Martin Scott as the gaffer tightens his steely grip on the mentality of the club.
At the start of what is poised to be a ruthless summer of upheaval and radical change the Southgate loyalist old guard have been swept away and the “continuity” watchword consigned to the dustbin of history. Things are about to step up a gear.


In a terse short official communique from the Politburo, Keith Lamb said: “Manager Gordon Strachan is planning for the future following the end of the season. The manager wishes to make changes as we plan for a sustained promotion campaign next season and, as a consequence, the difficult decision to terminate the contracts of Colin, Stephen and Martin has been made. We thank all three for their services to the club and wish them all the very best in the future.”
Coops has looked an increasingly isolated and peripheral figure and since being demoted from his highly visible shorts wearing pointing and shouting role in the technical area has looked a redundant figure on matchdays so the move has not been a surprise – but perhaps the speed of it, barely 24 hours after the season ended, is.
Strachan has made repeated criticisms of the tactical, technical and mental weaknesses of the squad he inherited from Southgate and has also been disappointed with fitness levels. Each and every public pronouncement has been an implicit condemnation of the coaching staff who have helped shape the squad, its style, stamina attitudes and who ultimately have paid the price for its institutional fatal flaws.
He has made it quite clear that he wants – needs – to recruit “men,” players with an inner core of mental steel and fired by desire, hunger and a burning will to win and that also is an indictment of the old order and its recruitment policy that centred on technical abilities and pace at the expense of heart and graft.
And after a soft centred season that has been alarming in so many ways Strachan has already begun his work for next year. The squad – “the fittest ever” again, remember – have been doing gruelling pre-season style stamina work for the past fortnight and the gaffer has an unprecedented mid-summer training camp planned as he tests his squad to destruction. If such intensive work is to start so soon he will need coaching staff in that he knows and trusts and who share his philosophy to implement. He needs a backroom team that accord completely with his own thinking, methods and standards.
There have long been questions raised about the effectiveness of the coaching regime. Despite one of most qualified and badged up back-room staffs in the country the team have at times looked tactically and technically inept. We have been out-thought, out-fought and muscled out by better organised, fitter and mentally tougher sides and have repeatedly chaotically conceded from set-pieces that are predictable and avoidable and when preventative measures should be drilled into them.
Those are issues that stem directly from the training ground. If we are to be promoted those flaws must be eliminated immediately and the staff that have allowed the fatal weaknesses to go unchecked have paid the price.
It is possible that more heads could role in fitness, conditioning and scouting as Strachan uses the close season to implement the radical root-and-branch reform needed if his culture of excellence is to be imposed completely on every area of the club. This is a bloke totally dedicated to success and with little room for sentiment.
Of course, most fans will wish the departed well, especially Coops and Pearsy who were popular figures at a crucial stage in the club’s history and who played important roles in the escape from the brink of extinction. That should never be forgotten.
And Coops, who returned as a player at the height of the Riverside Revolution and did well, is an organic link between the old and the new clubs. He played in the old third division and the Premier League, in the ZDS Cup final and the UEFA Cup. And he is a nice bloke too. It is a shame that it ends with his blood on the dug-out floor.
But it is another crucial moment in our history. If we don’t get promoted next season the club will lose the advantage of the parachute payment, lose momentum and be forced into more cost cutting and faces stagnation at this level for years to come. There are going to be casualties as we take the tough decisions needed to make a club still flabby in places from the years of Premier league plenty a more efficient fighting machine.
Viva la revolution!

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82 thoughts on “Summer Purge Starts With Coach Crash

  1. Anlov –
    Could you not see that Southgate took us from a middle of the table PL team into the Championship?

  2. Sick as:
    Oh yeah, but I also saw that part of his job was selling every high earner (= the best players) along the way.
    And I saw him being one point from the top in the championship. And if the fans in here are right, and the squad was so weak, thats a hell of an achievement.

  3. Agree with the couple of posts from this morning about GS giving up the BBC World Cup job in favour of rebuilding Boro. Laudable and very welcome.
    Matt said: “What we really want to know about now, is any movement on the playing staff side.” In my opinion GS is going about this the right way round. Set up your backroom as you want it and anyone coming in will be coming into the regime as it will be.
    I would have thought GS would also be keen to discuss any potential targets with his coaching staff. Also, part of the selling of the club to any prospective player is the coaching staff.
    In any case, the window doesn’t open for a few weeks yet, so there couldn’t be much news on the player front anyway. I’m not particularly interested in the media fed rumour mill and I’m far happier to wait to hear concrete news about incoming players.

  4. I’m pleased Strachs won’t be heading to South Africa to sit on the BBC sofas for a few weeks. It shows that he is committed to the Boro cause and is determined to get it right and make it work.
    Jetting off to South Africa for three weeks could have been a massive PR car crash…

  5. Full Metal Tracksuit
    Gunnery Sergeant Strachan: I’m Gunnery Sergeant Strachan, your senior drill instructor, from now on you will speak only when spoken to, and the first and the last word out of your filthy sewers will be “Sir”. Do you maggots understand that?
    [Players answers: Sir. Yes Sir!]
    Gunnery Sergeant Strachan: Bullsh** I can’t hear you. Sound off like you got a pair!
    [Players repeat with a louder tone]
    Gunnery Sergeant Strachan: If you ladies leave my training camp, if you survive boot camp training, you will be a weapon. You will be a minister of death praying for war. But until that day you are pukes. You are the lowest form of life on Earth. You are not even human beings. You are nothing but unorganised pieces of amphibian slime. Because I am hard you will not like me. But the more you hate me the more you will learn. I am hard but I am fair. There is no racial bigotry here. I do look down on everyone. Here you are all equally worthless. And my orders are to weed out all non-hackers who do not pack the gear to serve in my beloved Team. Do you maggots understand that?
    Gunnery Sergeant Strachan: Private Wheater, do you believe in the Virgin Mary?
    Private Wheater: Sir, no, sir!
    Gunnery Sergeant Strachan: Well, well, Private Wheater, I don’t believe I heard you correctly!
    Private Wheater: Sir, the private said “no, sir,” sir!
    Gunnery Sergeant Strachan: Why you little maggot, you make me want to vomit!
    [Slaps Wheater]
    Gunnery Sergeant Strachan: You Goddamn communist heathen, you had best sound off that you love the Virgin Mary, or I’m gonna stomp your guts out! Now you DO love the Virgin Mary, don’t ya?
    Private Wheater: Sir, NEGATIVE, sir!
    Gunnery Sergeant Strachan: Private Wheater, are you trying to offend me?
    Private Wheater: Sir, NEGATIVE, sir! Sir, the private believes any answer he gives will be wrong and the Senior Drill Instructor will only beat him harder if he reverses himself, SIR!
    Gunnery Sergeant Strachan: Who’s your squad leader, scumbag?
    Private Wheater: Sir, the squad leader is Private O’Neil, sir!
    Gunnery Sergeant Strachan: Private O’Neil!
    Private O’Neil: Sir, Private O’Neil reporting as ordered, sir!
    Gunnery Sergeant Strachan: Private O’Neill, you’re fired. Private Wheater’s promoted to squad leader.
    Private O’Neil: Sir, aye-aye, sir!
    Gunnery Sergeant Strachan: Disappear, scumbag!
    Private O’Neil: Sir, aye-aye, sir!
    Gunnery Sergeant Strachan: Holy Jesus! What is that? What the hell is that? WHAT IS THAT, PRIVATE MIDO?
    Private Gomer Mido: Sir, a Parmo, sir!
    Gunnery Sergeant Strachan: A Parmo?
    Private Gomer Mido: Sir, yes, sir!
    Gunnery Sergeant Strachan: How did it get here?
    Private Gomer Mido: Sir, I took it from the mess hall, sir!
    Gunnery Sergeant Strachan: Is chow allowed in the barracks, Private Mido?
    Private Gomer Mido: Sir, no, sir!
    Gunnery Sergeant Strachan: Are you allowed to eat Parmo’s, Private Mido?
    Private Gomer Mido: Sir, no, sir!
    Gunnery Sergeant Strachan: And why not, Private Mido?
    Private Gomer Mido: Sir, because I’m too heavy, sir!
    Gunnery Sergeant Strachan: Because you are a disgusting fat body, Private Mido!
    Private Gomer Mido: Sir, yes, sir!
    Gunnery Sergeant Strachan: Then why did you try to sneak a Parmo in your footlocker, Private Mido?
    Private Gomer Mido: Sir, because I was hungry, sir!
    Gunnery Sergeant Strachan: Because you were hungry…
    [turns and addresses rest of squad]
    Gunnery Sergeant Strachan: Private Mido has dishonoured himself and dishonoured the squad. I have tried to help him. But I have failed. I have failed because YOU have not helped me. YOU people, have not given Private Mido the proper motivation! So, from now on, whenever Private Mido messes up, I will not punish him! I will punish all of YOU! And the way I see it ladies, you owe me for ONE PARMO! NOW, GET DOWN ON YOUR FACES!
    Gunnery Sergeant Strachan: [calling out to squad] Left shoulder, hut!
    [Arca accidentally puts his left boot on his right foot, then corrects quickly, but not before Strachan sees it. He walks up on him]
    Gunnery Sergeant Strachan: Private Arca, what are you trying to do to my beloved squad?
    Private Arca: Sir, I don’t know, sir!
    Gunnery Sergeant Strachan: You are dumb, Private Arca, but do you expect me to believe that you don’t know left from right?
    Private Arca: Sir, no, sir!
    Gunnery Sergeant Strachan: Then you did that on purpose! You wanna be different!
    Private Arca: Sir, no, sir!
    Gunnery Sergeant Strachan: [slaps Arca hard on the left hand side of his face] what side was that, Private Arca?
    Private Arca: Sir, left side, sir!
    Gunnery Sergeant Strachan: [shouts] Are you sure, Private Arca?
    Private Arca: Sir, yes, sir!
    Gunnery Sergeant Strachan: [slaps him hard again, this time on right side of his face, knocking his hat off]
    [shouts]
    Gunnery Sergeant Strachan: What side was that, Private Arca?
    Private Arca: [nearly in tears] Sir, right side, sir!
    Gunnery Sergeant Strachan: Don’t mess with me again, Arca! Pick up your boots!
    Private Arca: Sir, yes, sir!
    Gunnery Sergeant Strachan: See Gareth, that’s the way to do it!
    **AV writes: What is your major malfunction private Wallah?

  6. It makes sense for Pogi and Boro for him to stay. I would imagine at this point in his career he will struggle to get a better offer than the one Boro can make (even at Championship wage levels). For Boro it is one less transfer fee to spend.
    Of course we need him to be fit through next season and for him to play at centre back and not left back…..please!

  7. I know this is raking over an old bone of contention but has anybody else picked up on the absolute uproar from Fulham fans concerning the Europa final tickets?
    They are only getting 12000.They have 10000 ST holders so you would think fine. Some idiot put them on sale with ST holders able to buy four tickets each on a first come first served basis so those that have missed out are going ballistic.
    It actually makes us seem well organised by comparison.

  8. Joyous news on the changes at coaching level, and of Gordon choosing to stay in dusty old Boro instead of joining the freeloaders off to South Africa. The revolution has started.
    Bet we see unemployable Southgate taking up a chair and a fat wage in some plush studio on behalf of ITV in the summer…

  9. First things first…. I think Grove Hill Wallah has lost the plot or stopped taking his medication.
    It is interesting to read these posts through from the beginning to see how far they change from the original article to someone losing their marbles at the end.
    Yes Cooper and Pears have been good servants to the club but they should also be judged on their merits on the coaching staff and the team on the pitch… consistantly bad defensive play. From set pieces or open play more goals conceded when we have been one up and heading for a win, then all of a sudden bang bang in the last ten minutes and no points.
    When Martin O’Neill came to Boro he was told he couldn’t bring in his own backroom staff and would have to work with what is already in place. We can imagine what O’Neill said to that proposition and hence the appointment of Gareth to take the poisoned challice.
    Everybody knew what the final outcome would be but secretly hoped for the best and relegation never ever crossed anyones’ mind. Well here we are, wake up and smell the coffee lets just get on with it.
    For the first time in a long long time a bit of optimism has crept into these posts and a bit of hope for the coming season. This time last year it was doom and gloom with an exodus of players departing the sinking ship and now before even the transfer window is open there are positive changes afoot. Season ticket sales will rise and the first day of the new season will see almost a full house at the Riverside.
    What was it I said about medication again? I think it is time for mine.
    As regards to Steve McClarren and FC Twente. Forget about standards of football etc or any other excuse it is still a fantastic achievement. The only thing is I wish it was us. Good luck to them and may we join them at some future time

  10. Wish list time, and I’m looking in your direction chief scout Powls and AV to add some weight or perhaps lay a red herring.
    Strikers:
    Snicky Maynard £2.5m?
    Keep Chris Killen- Free?
    Midfield:
    Left Mid, play offs depending, C Adam £3m?
    central any ideas?
    right – Andy Halliday, done deal
    Right Back:
    Keep Kyle Nuaghton, £1.5m?
    Centre Half:
    Keep McManus, £2m? I think he will go back to the ‘tic?
    Left Back any ideas ??
    GK – Smithies of Huddersfield £2m?
    Looks like we would have to spend £10m+ for these players and I can’t see that happening.

  11. I would imagine the greater a player’s ability the easier he is to coach. So it would stand to reason that to achieve something with average players you need good strict coaches who communicate well led by a manager with good man management skills.
    It’ll be interesting to see what backroom team Strachan puts together – it’ll also mean he’ll have nobody else to blame if Boro are not promoted next year – then again he probably already realises he’s more than likely only got one more shot at getting into the PL.
    As for giving up the world cup punditry – would any business allow any of their highly paid top executives to moonlight ahead of a critical planning phase to secure the organisations future? – No!

  12. Any one else heard the rumours and think that Michael Jackson may still be alive?
    Anyone else think the closure of UK airspace for several days was a bit strange?
    Anyone else see a hot air balloon land at Rockliffe during the Ash Crisis?
    Anyone else think that Michael Jackson is currently taking advantage of the state of the art facilities at the Riverside to change his identity and come back as the mysterious ‘Matty Bates’?
    Some scoop AV, what do I get for the tip off?
    **AV writes: He’s Bad!

  13. Newcastle have opened a new hotline for
    their supporters… Its 1800 10 10 10… thats 1800 won nothing won
    nothing won nothing!!!

  14. Wily Old Racoon & Anlov:
    Do you think the goalkeeping ‘department’ have done a good job over the last 10 years? For me they have selected less than impressive goal keepers and then managed rate the poorest keepers as the best and vice-versa.
    I love the continued support of Southgate. It’s people like you who make those that run football feel they can charge £75 to watch a game. You don’t fancy starting a “Heskey & Carlton Cole for England ..” Facebook group do you ?
    Good season Gordon – it takes a while to turn around an institution, it’s going well keep up the good work.

  15. Grove Hill wallah:
    Don’t be put off by lack of positive responses GHw. I thought it was lol funny, even though I haven’t even heard of the movie – the stereotyping was enough!
    The effort was commendable too.
    I’m sure I’ve got a couple of (unused) spare marbles lying around you can have at no charge, if it keeps up the level of quality and variety of contributions you make to this blog.
    alexwilloughby:
    That was funny – even if slightly inaccurate. It’s as well to acknowledge they won the Championship trophy, before you get sarcasm from our very good friend Mr Hewitson, or some overblown indignation incoming from some neurone-depleted or lobotomised Mags who may well think they’re signing their names on ballot papers today.

  16. Couple of comments here about missing McClaren etc now that he has gone and won the Dutch league.
    I for one don’t miss him at all. Although Southgate’s appointment was ultimately a busted flush, I welcomed it at the time (albeit in the absence of a ‘world class’ manager we had been promised..) if it meant seeing the back of McClaren who I felt never connected with the fans in anyway shape or form.
    I wouldn’t want to see him back here despite Carling Cup wins and appearances in Eindhoven and all the rest of it, and I think that statement speaks volumes about McClaren. I remember being highly delighted when he got the England job, and thinking it was the perfect ‘velvet divorce’.
    Things are always much rosier in hindsight.
    No way would I want McClaren back.

  17. Thanks John –
    If the players Strachan is looking at in Scotland are of the calibre he would have considered when manager of Celtic then they should be more than good enough for the Chimpship. Burke and McCormack at Cardiff, Adam at Blackpool and My Barry at Middlesbrough show that they are among the best players in this division. Also those four players will have cost less than £2.5m in transfer fees.
    It will be interesting to see how much money we do have to spend. Last year we had agreed fees for Hulse (£5m), SSL (£4.5m), Caldwell (£1.5m) and couldn’t arrange fees with McManus (£1.5m?) and Adam (£3m?).
    Now obviously some of these bids account for the same money at least 2 or three times but I think we could have £6-£7m to spend. If used wisely this should totally revamp the squad and our promotion chances.
    With Spurs now in the Champs league I think they will happily dispense with Naughton, they still have Hutton and others and will spend big. I don’t think we will get him on a permanent deal but a season long loaner would be good. Maybe there are some other good youngsters at spurs worth looking at?
    And as mentioned before Matty Bates. If fit what do we do with him centre back? Riggott, Poggi and Bates all on pay as you play deals?

  18. “Newcastle have opened a new hotline for their supporters… Its 1800 10 10 10… thats 1800 won nothing won nothing won nothing!!!”
    Theres the old misguided obsession with Newcastle again. Its pathetic and makes us look small time and bitter, well, it makes YOU look small time and bitter anyway, Alex.
    Please enlighten us all as to why Newcastle are in your obsessive thoughts at the present moment of time instead of writing about the progress that we are making under WGS?
    **AV writes: Yes, there is no place in football blogging for levity at the expense of rivals. They’ll retaliate with the old Oxo laughing stock joke and before we know it there will be all out banter.

  19. When looking at new signings the PFA teams of the season from the Championship and League One may be a good place to start.
    Obviously those players who are going to have the oppotunity to play in the PL next season will be out of reach
    GK Lee Camp Nottingham Forest
    DF Chris Gunter Nottingham Forest
    DF Fabricio Coloccini Newcastle United
    DF Ashley Williams Swansea City
    DF Jose Enrique Newcastle United
    MF Graham Dorrans West Bromwich Albion
    MF Peter Whittingham Cardiff City
    MF Kevin Nolan Newcastle United
    MF Charlie Adam Blackpool
    FW Andy Carroll Newcastle United
    FW Michael Chopra Cardiff City
    GK Kelvin Davis Southampton
    DF Frazer Richardson Charlton Athletic
    DF Gary Doherty Norwich City
    DF Patrick Kisnorbo Leeds United
    DF Ian Harte Carlisle United
    MF Wes Hoolahan Norwich City
    MF Jason Puncheon Southampton
    MF Robert Snodgrass Leeds United
    MF Nicky Bailey Charlton Athletic
    FW Grant Holt Norwich City
    FW Rickie Lambert Southampton
    C’Mon Boro!
    **AV writes: Good idea for a blog piece.

  20. We will win the league easily next term with this team which consists of a few bargain buys from sweaty Jockoland and young Kaspar.
    Scmeichel
    Naughton
    McManus
    Wheatus
    Gomis
    Driver
    Flood
    Robson
    Halliday
    Goodwillie
    McDonald

  21. GHW –
    Whatever you do don’t borrow any of Richard’s marbles, otherwise you really will be in a right mess!! (only jokin Richard! By the way good to have you back Richard)
    I’ve seen Full Metal Jacket, dont remember the dialogue though, more the imagery, seriously sobering film. And here’s a bit of useless information, a large part of it was filmed in a quarry in Essex!

  22. Drafted an 11 that I think should be achievable for the coming season. Take note Strachs!
    Schmeichel
    Naughton
    Wheater
    McManus
    Pogatetz
    O’Neil
    McAnuff
    Adam
    Flood
    McDonald
    Beckford
    **AV writes: No place for the RobboCop?

  23. Nigel:
    Never been away! Just keeping my powder relatively dry. Been following AV’s blogs all season and made most home matches despite non-renewal of SC.
    I’ve been just as a frequent visitor to AV’s blogs as before, but have seriously restricted my posting on here and on Boro Banter. I’m no Slavenista, but collectively, we’ve been sorely tested of late. And there are more than a few of us in the same boat, I’ve noticed.

  24. “**AV writes: No place for the RobboCop?”
    I knew there was something missing. How could I forget the man who the team is most likely to be built around next season?!

  25. Hands up who’s sick of hearing the last regime being blamed? Strachan took us from 2nd to 11th with a succession of limp home draws and non-scoring away defeats. If he could have kept us in the top 2, maybe Johnson might have stayed.
    Instead, our one creative player left and what has been broiught in is dross – as managers are fond of saying ‘the league doesn’t lie’. It’s simply not credible to say ‘ok, we were 2nd but it was obvious we couldn’t stay there’. Take the shame WGS.
    It doesn’t matter, how fit or hungry someone is if they’re no good. Now we’ve lost what pulling power we still had, just another middling championship outfit. And what of the famed Academy – the Teesside production line? From Eindhoven to Lee Miller. Wake up and smell the porridge AV – he’s papering over the cracks.
    **AV writes: Hmmmmmmmmmporridge.

  26. If Strachan has ommenced a new training regime for the coming season I am totally at a loss to understand why. Any player who has played at a senior level will tell you that by the end of the sesaon comes around the last thing he needs is intensive training for the following season.
    All this early training achieves is a tired out mentally and physically player for the start of a new season. I would suugest the Boro players to a man need to be given at least four weeks total break from football and maybe even six weeks to recharge their enthusiasm and mental attitude for the game.
    Has Strachan ever heard of over trained athletes? I think not. This man appears to be blaming every Tom, Dick, and Harry, for his own short comings. His style of long ball rubbish will not endear him to the average Boro supporter, brought up on good football over the years.

  27. London Cal –
    The results of the kids and stiffs in our relegation season were no better than the first team. If they couldnt beat the equivalent teams of championship teams they were never going to be able to step up to win against first teams.
    The slither was made by Gate, Gibbo and Lamb. It certainly wasnt turned round by Gordon Strachan but I ma not going to lay all the blame on him for the sale of Johnson. The player was going and the club realised the best deal they could.
    If we are still mid table by Xmas then Strachan will be under real pressure.

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