Gibson: Gordon Knew We Needed Change

STEVE Gibson kept it short and sweet on Radio Tees as he drew a line under the ill-fated Strachanovite Revolution with a public declaration: “We got it wrong.”
The chairman was on air barely 20 minutes (you can listen again here) but in that time he ticked a lot of boxes. He was humble. And contrite. And dignified. A lot an angry and frustrated fans may have wanted some blood-letting and recrimination but most just wanted some honesty and a coherent explanation – and the prospect of change.


Briefly, Gibson said Strachan had offered his resignation in a frank meeting today and that further, he ripped up his contract and did not seek compensation.
Gibson was gracious to his departing boss saying: “It is a sad day. Gordon is a man of great integrity. He has torn up his contract and walked away without compensation because he felt it was in the best interests of this football club.
“There are very few managers who have ever done that but that is the mark of the man. It would surprise you with some manager but not with Gordon.
“He has given it everything. He has worked hard. He has had a lot of sleepless nights. He feels he has given it everything he has got here but it hasn’t worked out and he has taken full responsibility for that. He kept saying he had let the fans down, that he had let me personally down and Keith Lamb down. I think he was quite tortured at the end.
“He knew that first team results weren’t anything like as good as we had hoped they would be and he agreed that the change had to be made. The obvious change to make was to change the manager. Gordon made that decision. He offered his resignation and I accepted it because right now it is the best thing for the football club. I’m grateful that he made that easy for me. He went himself. He was not pushed.”
The chairman revealed he had spoken to some senior players about his decision, naming local lads Matthew Bates and David Wheater and also, crucially, Strachan’s hand-picked signings Barry Robson and Stephen McManus.
“The response from them was fantastic, very professional,” he said. “They know the difficulties we have had and they know we needed change and they had told me they are determined to knuckle down and get us out of this situation.”
Steve Agnew and mark Proctor will take charge of the trip to Forest tomorrow while Boro start work on recruiting a new boss. Gibson declined to comment on possible candidates – and said his phone has been red hot with agents touting their own men – and stressed that the key thing was to make sure the next appointment is right.
“We are now working on a shortlist of potential candidates as Gordon’s successor,” he said. “Obviously a lot of names have been bandied around but there is no preferred name. We start with a blank sheet and we won’t be rushing. It is crucial we put the right man in charge so I will not rush into a decision.”
An important moment came when the chairman admitted the appointment had been a mistake. “We got it wrong,” he said. “We thought Gordon had the right approach, we thought we had brought in the right sort of players, we thought we had put the thing sin place for a good crack at promotion but it hasn’t come off for us.
“In the close season we were about seventh or eighth biggest spenders in the country. We were the biggest spenders in the Championship and we spent more than a lot of Premier League clubs too. I expected, like many supporters, that we would be up there and challenging for promotion.
“That hasn’t been the case. There is no one reason for that, there are a lot of reasons but we had to make a change. And that change has to be sustainable.”
Gibson went on to acknowledge the supporters’ frustrations that led to wide spread chanting for Strachan’s head in the Leeds game and admitted that club had been on the slide for several seasons.
“It has been bloody awful for two and a half, three years,” he said. “I understand why supporters feel the way they do. Your enthusiasm gets battered of course it does, mine just like supporters. We’ve lost half of our supporters in two years and there is a lot of frustration out there and I share that.
“It is frustrating to watch the team dominate games and get nothing from them. It is even more frustrating and annoying to see the team fail to compete against and be beaten by teams who frankly we all probably think are inferior.”
And he finished with a rallying cry to the supporters and an appeal for the club to show some old fashioned qualities to get out of the current rut.
“We need the fans. Without them there is no point. This town is nothing unless it is united around the football club.
“And yes, we have made mistakes but we need the fans to be a bit forgiving of us. We got it wrong. But we need to be in this together to put it right. The fans have been very patient with us. We need them to stick with us, stay behind us and keep showing the faith and together we can get out of this.
“This season is not over yet. We are well adrift of the top two but not of the top six. There are a lot of points to play for and there is no reason we can’t still be challenging.”

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146 thoughts on “Gibson: Gordon Knew We Needed Change

  1. Strachan’s assistant Garry Pendrey and his goalkeeping coach Jim Blyth have also left the club, while they are no longer expected to use scout Ray Clarke.

  2. I’m updating my CV at the moment and I’ll be applying for the job … Do you have Gibbo’s email address Mr Vickers … ?
    PP … x

  3. Mowbray or Ince?? What about Nigel Pearson if we are favouring Boro heroes of the past?
    And what’s this about Gibson discussing matters with Wheater, Bates, Robson, McManus. Last time I looked the club skipper was Gary O’Neill if Gibson speaks to any of the players he should be first!
    Whoever comes in has to hit the ground running. After Norwich on Saturday we face two relegation 6-pointers if I ever saw them – home games against Palace and Bristol City, currently the bottom two. Must win games if there ever have been any.
    Stop talking play-offs. The new boss has an almighty job keeping this team in the Championship.
    The last two really great managers this club had were Anderson and Rioch. Both took over too late to stop the sinking ship and had to rebuild a division below. Avoiding that fate is a massive job.

  4. Hrrmph – what a pickle! What I saw on Saturday was not only a team low on ideas and speed but technique. Its a mystery to me why Taylor, Digard and Emnes were not in the side under GS2.
    I think Poor old GS2 was simply out of English football for too long. He thought the championship would be the same as it was when he left but in reality it’s much much better than it was five years ago. I’d go as far as saying I would prefer to watch the top half of it than the bottom half of the PL for entertainment
    I think it would be a huge mistake for Mowbray to come back – he would have been the perfect replacement for McLaren but not now. I always thought we would rue the day we let GS1 go. He was an intersting choice. Intelligent, articulate and a believer in our youth system.
    He did a great job under difficult circumstances – my criticism of him was the way Mendietta was treated – perhaps there was stuff going on there. And I thought Downing was a bit overrated when we had Johnno in reserve. Letting Huth and Luke Young go were huge mistakes (I suspect nothing to do with GS1) and Tuncay was too inconsistent.
    All water under the bridge. The way back is probably going to be the youth system – we’ve had a production line of excellent young lads – Bates, McMahon, Taylor and Wheater would be automatic inclusions for me (Williams would be a certain starter when fit).
    Robson would be in contention for a shirt as would Thompson when fit. The new lad from the German league looks like he can do a job but as a defensive midfielder. Kink looks alright but I suspect Emnes is a better player who could ultimately do a better job than Aliadiere with the right coaching (dont forget GS2 though Alliadiere wasnt worth a short at Celtic).
    Kink needs to stop cutting in and hitting the byline before crossing crossing – a squad player at best for me – but who for the middle up front? Macdonald wastes too much time in his own half and needs to be told to stay put upfront where he can be effective and Boyd is a sniffer who can score from the crumbs (pity we dont have a target man full of elbows and knees). I have been surpised at how accident prone McManus is at the back but that might be confidence.
    So, who to manage? Not Keegan or Hoddle (give me a break), Mogga doesnt feel right – Curbs I always fancied but he’s too much of a cockney and wouldnt settle, GS1 wont come back, forget Go’N (that’s fantasy land).
    I always like midfield maestros at the end of their career in the top flight. Bryan Robson was brilliant for us as a player and arguably the only person who knew how to play with Juno even if he only did it from the centre circle. I thought he was underrated as a manager by the fickle Middlesbrough public.
    So my question is can we get a player-coach of high stature, a proven performer who fancies the challenge, can command respect, is a bit of a thinker and organise a team. I cant go past Paul Scholes.
    I would go for Scholes in some capacity but it will cost. Iron hand in the velvet glove and importantly no fool. He would be mentored by Fergy, respected on the pitch and oh yes I would get Paul Ince involved somehow (probably as manager) – any how. Great player for the boro also imbued in the Man U way did a brilliant job at Milton Keynes. We need a lift and someone with enthusiasm and energy – Ince and Scholes – how does that sound?

  5. I have seen many names on here and in the press that supporters would like to see as the manager for Boro. It never fails does it , someone comes up with a ridculous suggestion that is beyond belief.In tonights Gazette quote
    ” I would like to see Alan Shearer as manager.They would love him here ”
    Is this supporter living in cuckoo land or what !

  6. Interesting times ahead whilst SG searches for a new man to take the helm. I hope (this time) he is true to his word and will take his time to get the right man.
    I’m not sure if there will be a queue for the job, it’s hard to see from a fans viewpoint how Middlesbrough Football Club are perceived by people orbiting Planet Boro. We could be seen as a ‘big club’ in some quarters, probably outside of the PL, which might bring a few surprise candidates. We just don’t know.
    What really matters, and I’m sure SG is aware, is this could be last chance saloon if something is to be salvaged from what is already a train wreck of a season.
    Personally my ‘safest’ appointee would be Alan Curbishley. A man who managed Charlton for years, a team not unlike Boro in terms of size of fan base, financial clout, living in the shadow of bigger clubs and often punching above their weight in the premier league. He will know how to make do with what he has at his immediate disposal, both in terms of cash and players.
    However Curb’s is a Londoner, so would he move north, and would he be up for a challenge much bigger than he ever had to manage at Charlton, or even West Ham? He fits JP’s profile in terms of not being in work right now, other than his punditry slots with Show Sports.
    We probably wouldn’t see Keegan-like kama-kazi attacking football, but we might claw our way out of trouble by griding out results, which will suit me and many others like me, rather than seeing the club slipping down another tier.

  7. We dont know which candidates Steve Gibson is considering for the managers job, but its probably reasonable to assume its an out of work manager, otherwise there would be protracted negotiations and a fee to pay.
    Also which manager currently in a job would want to quit his current job to come to Boro and be someone we would want here?
    When Steve Gibson says he wants someone who is passionate about Boro doesn’t that strongly imply an ex-player or manager? Presumably he’s not going to offer the job to Robbo, Rioch or Lawrence? So who does that leave? Mogga, Ince or Pearson and then you have Hodgson and Proctor.
    I would suggest the latter two can probably be ruled out. I think Pearson can be to, as he’s in work. So that leaves Ince or Mogga which really is a ‘short’ list.
    Personally I wouldn’t jump up and down with glee if Ince turned up, he may be a fine manager, I dont know, but of the two only Mogga has the ‘T’- Factor (Teesside).

  8. And just to bring everyone’s mind back to the task tonight:
    Boro have won just 1 of the last 27 games against Forest – if I recall it was an og about 3 minutes from the end that won a game at City Ground in the days of Brian Deane and Mikkel Beck!
    Now thats what I call a bogey side!

  9. Hey up me ducks, Have I missed owt?
    I can’t beleive I was informed by the local East midlands tv news of his departure. Talk about being the last to know!
    Anyway I now have no idea what will happen tonight…………oh yes I remember what will happen. Never mind.
    But despite tonights impending heartbreak the relief and first shoots of hope from Teesside is palpable down here.

  10. Paul Ince isn’t a bad shout actually, he would certainly bring some passion to the job and he’s done well in the lower divisions. We shall ignore his brief spell at Blackburn.
    Curbishley doesn’t excite me at all, yes we need results, but we also need some passion and a style of football that will bring back the fans. I’m not sure he would deliver all of that.

  11. I have been striken over the weekend, no, not a fatal loss of all knowledge of football but suspected gout in my left big toe. Veeeery painful and a sign of pending mortality.
    I was going to call in to Crockcliffe but but didnt to come out in a sling and plaster on my right leg. Instead I rested my foot and took some Ibuprofen whilst waiting for the doctors to reopen.
    Lo and behold the pain has eased so I have been out fot a fitness test. Went into the office and had a good drive. Now waiting for any reaction, if all goes well it is over to the the City Ground to see us play Smog’s nemesis.
    A quick thought on Digard and Emnes, can anyone remind me when they actually contributed anything of significance to a match under Gate. One was never fit and the other played like he was on happy baccy.
    They cost £8m between them so dont demean people like McManus who cost a fraction and does give a damn and turns up very week even if not playing well.

  12. Well said Jiffy. Pearson is the one I wold pick ahead of most others.
    Maybe O’Neil first, but can’t see him coming here in the predicament we are currently in.
    Come on BORO.

  13. After two managerial failures the next appointment is of massive importance.
    If Steve Gibson gets this wrong we face another round of severe cost cutting in the summer with most of the surviving ‘names’ being moved on. The days of Q7s, Overfinches and Panamera’s in the Players’ Car Park will be gone; replaced by Golfs and Mondeos.
    I can’t see the club bankrolling yet another purchase spree and fear that we will be looking at retrenchment over a period of years. The next Golden Period will be sparked, if ever, by Academy product and astute lower league purchases.
    What does this mean for the new manager? Essentially, it means we can’t take risks so it must be someone with a proven track record and the head must rule the heart.
    Instead of using win percentages let’s look at points per game for the some leading contenders. For fairness, I’ve excluded Scottish results, where applicable, as these would distort the overall picture. So:
    Martin O’Neil 1.51
    Tony Mowbray 1.45
    Alan Curbishley 1.40
    Sean O’Driscoll 1.41
    and, for comparison and prior to joining the Boro:
    Gordon Strachan 1.27.
    So, in a results driven business, there’s not a huge amount to choose between them. Maybe it’s time for ‘the heart’ to be involved. “Do I trust him?”, “Could we work together?” “Can he get the best from current resources?” etc etc.
    This isn’t a plea for Mowbray; there are emotional issues which will disadvantage him – closeness to the Chairman and the area, Celtic baggage etc – but a recognition that the appointment may well be judged on criteria that fans can’t immediately feel.
    Steve Gibson will need to be at his best when the appointment is announced.

  14. Make no mistake, there will be loads of top managers queuing for this job.
    We were pre-season favourites for the Championship and are languishing in 20th position. There are over 100 points to play for. The only way is up as far as we are concerned. The squad has not performed so far, but it is the most expensive ever assembled in the Championship and we are the top wage payers.Whoever takes over is bound to look good as things must improve. They cannot get worse.
    That Gibbo gets this one right is absolutely vital. So don’t expect him to rush into anything. He will take his time over this decision, and he will get it right this time.
    Keep the faith.

  15. jiffy – Thats the kind of stat I like , only one win in 27 games! Its fate then, 3 points in the bag for Boro tonight, the revival starts here!!

  16. Mowbray with maybe Proctor as number 2.
    Gibson knows who the majority want big time. He has to be seen to be impartial.
    Who else is there out there who would have the genuine passion for the club and supporters.
    Just hope he can turn Boro around, after all he had more nounce than the previous managers as his teams always turned Boro over.
    As poor as the performances have been Gibson won me round last night. I’ll be there next time home.

  17. Well we’ve lost a manager (quite rightly) but more importantly we’ve got our chairman back.
    You could see that Gibbo was hurt and upset, as much about where we find ourselves as the manager going. This in my opinion has to be a good sign, who wouldn’t want to be associated with a bloke like that.
    Hopefully onwards and upwards.

  18. On the Departure of Gordon Strachan
    When the news Broke at around 5.00 yesterday, that Gordon Strachan had left the Club. I can’t say I was surprised, very relieved and pleased that his time was up. It’s been dreadful, normally when a new manager comes in there an instant spark. It never happened.
    His constant swapping, changing to the side was very irrating to say the least. He never knew his best 11 a year on. It’s painful to think how far we have dropped in a few years. Time to move on look forward.
    Our season starts tonight. 35 Big League Games to go. It’s important Steve Gibson take his time to get the right man appointed and we get some Stability back at our Football Club!

  19. John Powls:
    “If this is Gibbo’s most important decision – and it is – does it have to be broken on the rack of another poor appreciation of the difference between cost and value/investment?”
    I understand entirely the point you made about Strachan’s and Southgate’s salaries freeing up some revenues, AND Gibson’s comment about “digging deep”. I too, wonder about the efficacy of the Gazette’s reporting in that context. So, either ………….
    1. The Gazette’s got it wrong, or………..
    2. Finances are considerably tighter than Gibson would have us believe and he’s still in clawback / downsize mode.
    Neither would surprise me, particularly. But given the evidence of the last four – not one, not two, not three, but four – years of relentless trimming of costs, yet Boro supposedly still remaining the highest salaried squad in the Championship, it wouldn’t surprise me one little bit if the cost cutting strategy continues at every such opportunity that arises.
    AV and I have both acknowledged that the club is still finding its new level and that supporters are having to re-calibrate their hopes and expectations. Gibson is playing with those emotions in full possession of the financial facts that are hidden from the public. He has a growing history of that.
    I’m not in the St Steve camp, I’m afraid. We shouldn’t be blinded to the obvious that the well-beloved Chairman has more of an eye for a business opportunity than he has for critical position talent spotting!
    The last decent decision that Gibson made (apart from the enforced restructuring/ “stabilising” of the club’s finances and debts) was the appointment of Steve McClaren. Every intervention he’s made since that point has had negative consequences on Boro, the football club, as opposed to MFC, the business.
    This may well just be a continuation of that process.
    I noticed that Neil (Yarm) has started posting again after his long self-imposed silent protestation. This, to me, is a measure of how Gibson is playing the game. Raising hopes before slowly dashing them again.
    I’d love to believe that Neil’s raised expectations would be built on firm foundations. But my cynicism, which I’m sure is shared by many, is grounded in evidence and therefore, I’ll wait for any pleasant surprise that may buck the trend of recent years.
    I’m not holding my breath.
    Boro’s new strategic target for the season is, realistically, ………………… ?
    As I said, “re-calibration”!

  20. AV & Simon Fallaha:
    It’s about PEOPLE, not facilities. Queen’s Park Football Club (NOT QPR) used to play their matches in Scotland’s national stadium, Hampden Park. It was their home ground. Yet they were an amateur club never out of the second division!
    If Gibson paid as much attention to the recruitment and maintenance side of the football squad as he has done in building up the facilities and associated leisure complex, perhaps Boro would be in better footballing shape than they presently are.
    I’m talking emphasis here – where priorities lie.
    A football team isn’t a building! A football team and it’s capabilities are only as good as the staff directly contributing to the club’s football performance. NOT how great an adjacent golf course is – or what a great chef is in residence in the hotel!

  21. Woke up in a cold sweat last night after dreaming that Robbo, Stevie Mac,and Southgate were top of the list, went back to sleep and awoke happy after dreaming Juninho had been appointed and got us playing like Brazil.
    Strange but someone mentioned Shearer,he certainly wouldn,t suffer fools and allow slackness and would be determined to get it right as a stepping stone to his eventual dream the Newcastle job.

  22. According to the BBC the former Middlesbrough manager Bruce Rioch believes Tony Mowbray is the man to stabilise the club following Gordon Strachan’s resignation on Monday.
    I cannot argue with that. Depending he accepts that McDonald, McManus, Flood and Robson are manageable players!
    Up the Boro!

  23. And again: Aggie, Aggie, Aggie, Oy, Oy, Oy!
    Support rhe follically challenged one’s Red & White Army. (I suppose down there, the unmentionables will probably be wearing red though).

  24. We conceded a goal away from home but, surprise surprise, the expected tsunami didn’t appear. Look for the good points. Maybe not long enough for the team to turn things around but the first half sounded reasonable on Radio Brownlee.
    There was fun to be had in the Virtual Bosko Jankovic Stand. A good attendance, some punny banter, and drink IS allowed in sight of the fun which unravelled in front of us. Unlike at the Riverside.
    Onwards and upwards (ish!).

  25. Stevie Gibson and his chief bottle washer Lamb have gotten it horrifically wrong twice, with disasterous consequences. The resultant brown stuff will last for some years to come if not ‘forever’.
    For all you Mogga admirers please tell me he what he has won and where is his successful track record which I would suggest must be a madatory pre-requisite for any guy coming in. For all you rose coloured glasses admirers of Southgoat don’t even go there.

  26. Colin Cooper was touted as a certain future manager at Boro. Surprised nobody has suggested him yet. Knows most of the players, is Boro through and through – and we never lost a match while he was in charge (caretaker manager)!
    I think we need some continuity! Up the Boro!
    PS. The Bosko Jancovic stand was best ever yesterday. I totally enjoyed that even though the result was the regular, again.

  27. Forever –
    Had a look at the live match comments when I got in.
    Smallwood played well when he came on and for info has been on the bench several times without coming on.
    In other words putting the kids on the bench to get used to the match day experience before feeding them in. Sorry, Strachan putting a kid on the bench and blooding him gradually does not fit the profile, I apologise.
    Apart from Taylor and Grounds (neither of whom were certainties under Soutgate) on loan and Jinky leaving I am still waiting for the legions of Academy players that Strachan sent out in the cold.
    I suppose that is players like Franks and Hines who are injured. Same with Williams, McMahon, Bates and Taylor who have all suffered injuries.
    Following the reports and results of the reserves and kids from afar it appears we have had a quiet time in terms of superstars in the Morrison, Cat, Downing, Jinky mould over the last couple of seasons.
    In our relegation season the results were no better than the first team but another crop looks to be on their way. Smallwood looked very good when he came on, a few mistakes but he didnt look out of place.
    Good to see us not cave in and give it a go, without really looking like scoring, but some tactical flexibilty with Bennett coming on and us switching to 3-5-2 and wingbacks. A big improvement on the collapses and rigid 442 under Strachan but I still would like to see Bennett in the starting line up.
    Bennett looked good going forward but we were a bit open at the back as we pushed on so lets wait and see.
    We still have a lot of players unavailable and I am not certain about Haliday, Kink and Bailey.
    I would be keen to see a back four of McMahon, Wheater, McManus and Bennett with a middle three of O’Neill, Robson and Thomo.
    Up front Boyd, McDonald and Franks. That three would give a shrewd football brain in McD, a finisher in Boyd and legs and a freshness in Franks.
    That would have promise and push us up the pitch but you cant always have what you want.
    I suppose we could do with a manager first!

  28. Appointing Tony Mowbray as the Boro’s new boss will be the proverbial out of the frying pan and into the fire scenario. We should appoint an experienced campaigner such as Terry Venables or Joe Kinnear.

  29. Well he has gone and with some dignity. Gibson has admitted he got wrong and the football has been awful for over three years. Acknowledging he created this mess has to be the first step to putting it right.
    Last night the same problems arose – no creativity from midfield so the strikers are starved of service. I do believe things would have been better if we had managed to snatch Charlie Adam from Blackpool last year but we didn’t and what we are left with is a bunch of hardworking midfielders without any vision or creativity.
    Whoever comes in to the club has a massive task ahead of him and I wish him the best of luck.
    Would it be worth bringing Mendietta back to the club? Yes I know he is 36yrs old and hasn’t played much but the fact is he has the vision and creativity to make the killer pass. He lives in the area, would cost peanuts and might be worth a punt. I remember rotund Bobby Murdoch doing a brilliant job 30 years ago hardly running in midfield but pinging the ball about like the maestro he was. Just a thought.

  30. Ok, I must admit that my favourites for the position is not quite realistic:
    Bryan Robson (No way back from Thailand.)
    Martin O’Neill (not a chance in hell he’d ever want it.)
    Gareth Southgate (Needless to comment.)
    So, lets instead look at some realistic alternatives:
    Nigel Pearson: Having a hard time at Hull. Loves the club, loved by the club. Seems a promising prospect. Lets court him and see what happens.
    Colin Cooper: Our man. Famously and stupidly kicked out of the club by Strachan. No managerial experience, you say? But neither had Robson or McClaren. Coops has loads of experience with leadership and football. That can get you far.
    So, lets drop this scary talk of Mowbray, Pardew, Curbishley etc, and look at the guys who would gladly sweat blood for the club, for the academy.

  31. Ian –
    I agree with you that Smallwood looked useful and not out of place, but Bennett I am not so sure of. I was a big fan, but he does not look as good going forward as he did in his first spell of appearances last year; perhaps Gordon has clipped his wings a bit, and probably urged him as well, more wisely, not to commit himself so fully to his tackling.
    One thing that struck me fully last night, although I have noticed it almost every match without being so forcibly struck, was Gary O’Neil’s position. This seems to be “everywhere” – you know, the position that junior schoolyard players all play unless they are the goalie!
    All credit to him for his manic energy last night, but I really do wonder whether any professional should be playing this position and I suddenly realised last night that our midfield shape (good for forty minutes of the first half) can’t be maintained if one of the hubs of the midfield is playing anywhere and everywhere.
    Tavares and Bailey certainly seemed, in compensating for our captain last night, to get in each other’s way at times, or leave big gaps at others when we were playing 4-3-3. Smallwood tidied the situation up, which I thought was extremely promising either in terms of Agnew’s savvy or the lad’s understanding of midfield play.
    I found last night mildly encouraging, although we still encouraged the opposition on to us (after we had them just where we wanted them for 40 mins, i.e. playing like we do on our bad days, unsure of themselves, hoofing it a bit wildly, not liking the lack of time we were giving them). McManus played better than recently.
    And the lads never stopped trying, pretty much all of them, but McMahon and Bennett both made awful hashes of simple-enough passes and caused danger where there should have been none. Full backs need to be VERY careful when passing infield. And a lot of them still need to work on trapping the ball!
    I was also encouraged by the fact we had our fourth and fifth pass of this season from the opposition’s bye-line last night!

  32. well lads it looks like new boss is … GARY MEGSON ?
    **AV writes: A couple of people put a tenner on a very volatile betting site after he touted himself on Sky so suddenly he is a shoo-in?

  33. Well no post Strachan bounce last night, which probably means that, as we thought, the squad is still not as good as many had hoped.
    I heard you had a daft quid on 3-0 AV – I thought you’d already blown your daft quid on winning the league? Unless the Gazette are only paying you with daft quids?
    Anyway, I’m getting a bit worried by this Mogga bandwagon – he only had one good season at WBA before naively trying to play too open in the PL – plus he even failed at Celtic where even Strachan won three titles.
    If he wasn’t a former Boro captain would he get a look in? I very much doubt it. OK people say he understands the club and area. But I’m not sure if I now understand where the club actually is or wants to go – What do we want to be next? So far we’ve been a Supercharged Crewe, Arsenal Lite and the New Firm? Is there actually any money to bring in the pace and creativity? Are we still dreaming of promotion or are we actually in a relegation battle?
    AV, your reply to my post yesterday laid out the problems facing the club – and they are huge – but would someone like Mowbray be able to address those? I think we need a very shrewd and intelligent manger who has an aura of positivity in order to get out of this one.

  34. comment from Halliday…
    MIDDLESBROUGH winger Andy Halliday insists the players are to blame for Gordon Strachan’s exit from the club – but has backed the Scots boss to bounce back from his Riverside nightmare.
    Strachan stood down from the post on Monday after a woeful run of just 13 wins in his 46-match reign but earned praise from chairman Steve Gibson for waiving his right to compensation.
    Summer signing Halliday – who joined from Livingston – was among the Scottish contingent who crossed the border to Teesside, joining the likes of Kris Boyd, Kevin Thomson, Stephen McManus and Barry Robson.
    The recruitment drive saw Boro made title favourites but Halliday revealed the team have taken full responsibility for failing to live up to their pre-season billing.
    He said: “As players I feel we’ve let the manager down a little bit because the gaffer is always the one that takes the blame but we’re the ones that go out onto the pitch. The bottom line is we’ve not produced but we have to move on.
    “It’s a shame, I’m not lying when I say this but everyone did like him, he was such a likeable guy. He was hard working but at the same time he’s one of those bosses who tells you if you’re playing well or not – that’s what you want.
    “We knew all along how much he wanted promotion. Sometimes you can’t put your finger on what has gone wrong. We’re all disappointed that he’s away but I’m sure he won’t be short of offers after he has some time with his family.”
    Halliday has featured heavily for Boro this season and he admits he owes a massive debt to Strachan for plucking him from the Scottish Third division.
    He said: “I’ll never forget that Gordon did wonders for me, he put his faith in me as I’ve played in a lot of games this season and it shows the faith he has in my ability.
    “You can understand why he dipped into the Scottish market as players in England are expensive.”

  35. Sandy –
    this is football, reality doesn’t come into it. Everytime Boro play I ‘expect’ three points. Relax and enjoy the ride
    Jarkko –
    Yep, the Bosko Jankovic stand was great last night, its a whole new match day experience! Very different to sitting in the Ayersome Park north Stand , how times have changed, although the ‘restricted view’ was familiar as was the banter!
    Oh and Sandy I fully expect Boro to win 3-0 this Saturday!!

  36. Pleased to see my mention of Nigel Pearson has brought him back to everyone’s attention.
    He did a good job at leicester (and also several caretaker jobs before that) and his departure for Hull came as somewhat of a surprise. Leicester certainly look the worse for his departure – they even couldnt beat us on their own ground!
    But more to the point his position at Hull is far from secure with the owner actively trying to sell the club – new owners may have their own idea on manager – so I think he would certainly be interested.
    I think all references to O’Neill and Curbuishoey just goes to show how out of touch with reality some of the fans are. Why not Morinho then? Rooney player manager!

  37. Blimey. I’ve been away for a couple of weeks and didn’t expect to come to back to this. Unexpected but not unwelcome news.
    On Strachan: whilst his failures are abundant, his team selections baffling, his tactical rigidity infuriating and his PR work, frankly, mental, he HAS actually done some good work at the club.
    He took over a squad that needed gutting and renewing, not least for financial reasons, and whilst that project was not completed he has done a fair portion of the next manager’s work for him.
    Robson, McManus, McDonald and Thomson are still likely to prove good recruits in my book and I think there’s more to come from Boyd and Kink. Add in the wage bill reduction and his squad overhaul has been decent, if incomplete. A good manager will get plenty more from this group.
    Before the club can recruit a new manager however, they must decide what their goals are.
    If it is absolutely imperative that we get promotion this season then Gibson should take a short term view and invest all he can to get the best manager possible on as short a contract as that manager deems acceptable.
    Martin O’Neill simply won’t be interested in a four year contract on Championship wages. He might, however, be interested in an eight month contract on big wages. Whether that is affordable or realistic I don’t know but if it’s this season that’s the make or break year then it makes sense to concentrate solely on that.
    If Gibson feels that the club can afford to take a longer view, write this season off and rebuild for future then I think Tony Mowbray is ideal. He has a managerial history of turning average, lower budget clubs into attractive, goal-scoring, relatively successful sides that their fans want to watch.
    Even ignoring the emotional ties between Boro and Mowbray, he offers an alluring blend of football so long as he’s not required to provide immediate results (the squad would need another rebuild to fit his brand) or take us back to the heights of Eindhoven.
    This is now an extremely important, not to mention interesting, period in our history.

  38. Anlov –
    Before he was appointed at Leicester fans asked me about Pearson and I said he was a top bloke and well respected at Boro. They were pleased with him but not so happy when he left though the ownership Merry go round at the Foxes didnt help.
    The most frightening part was the text from John Powls saying Megson had hrown his hat into the ring. No thanks.
    Halifaxp –
    I think Bennett can grow into the role, without decent wingers we need attacking full backs and your comments about O’Neill are entirely correct.
    With attacking full backs you need a disciplined midfield with at least one with a good range of passing whlst discipline is essential.
    Chelsea are excellant with Mikel and Essien holding the fort.

  39. I think we need a top manager like Martin O’Neil if we to get anywhere. The likes of Mogga and Ince are not the right guys we need to go up and not down. Come on Gibson get the right man take your time and have a real good think about it. Dont want you to make the same mistake again…
    Good luck Boro!!!

  40. Ian –
    we are in complete agreement about Bennett, as it happens! I also think Bennett will be a really good ‘un, especially if he has a solid midfield to work around.
    I did just wonder whether the general air of tension around the team and manager lately was a large part of our problem: yesterday, a bit of that seemed to have lifted for the first forty minutes, but, perhaps, for Bennett, not so much, as if he’d been cauterised by some criticism of his gung-ho, but exhilarating, style last year – one which I feel Gordon will not have enjoyed much!
    Maybe that was partly why Richie was impressive: he was confident and did the simple things well, whilst showing some flair and creativity in patches. Interesting times!

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