Cut And Paste Script Of Awayday Woe

DEPRESSING. But very familiar. I can’t be bothered to do any in-depth analysis of how and why Boro lost at Norwich. Nine hours travelling for 90 minutes of predictable tedium.
And we all know the script by now: Boro played well in spells; good crisp possession and neat triangles in the middle third; worked hard enough but lacking the creativity, pace and penetration to get into the box; very few real chances; looked vulnerable at the back to quick breaks; disjointed leaked sloppy goal in lapse of concentration; gradually fizzled out into ragged unimaginative flapping. Go home deflated.
If you really want to twist the knife with a lengthy discourse of the weakness in the team and the dynamics and exactly how the recurring nightmare unfolded just cut and pace any random away game report over the past year.

What must a prospective manager watching that think? It isn’t a one off. If they think that they are in for a shock. That game was a carbon-copy of the 1-0 midweek defeat at Forest. Anyone who had illusions that the problems stemmed from the personality or tactical rigidity of Gordon Strachan and a wave of “hey ho the witch is dead” relief would galvanise the team must surely be thinking again.
Adventurous Steve Agnew has twice tried to be far more enterprising than Strachan would ever countenance but to no avail. He went 4-3-3 at Forest and played three strikers and a couple of midfielders pushing on. You don’t get more assertive than that. He played 4-4-2 but with a midfield diamond at Norwich and tried to push forward and use the pace of Luke Williams to link midfield and the front two. Nope, nothing. And that is with them really trying too. It is not from lack of effort.
Watching Boro labour with such little result is soul-destroying. They pass it so sweetly and neatly but so ploddingly across the middle and the opposition defence fall back and defend their 18 yard line patiently until Boro fail to pick their way through, fail to get wide and behind and then their nerve snaps and then panic and the ball is either lobbed into the box to be nodded routinely away or it bounces harmlessly into the arms of the keeper or out or play and behind for a goal-kick. The lack of imagination, of zest, and as the game goes on of belief, is really quite disheartening. This team is toothless.
And it is in trouble. One draw in seven away games… that is ONE point from a possible 21! That spells trouble. Boro are in the bottom three not because of any flukes, freaks or injustices. They are there because they can’t hurt teams, especially away from home. And they know it. You can see the morale draining away. They know if they concede the game is over. They know they can’t score. Two goals away and one of them an oggie.
I’m not writing any more. I’m just depressing myself. We need an immediate spark. A new boss needs to be in place for the two massive six pointers basement battles that are looming at home. And we must win them or we are deep, deep in trouble.


131 thoughts on “Cut And Paste Script Of Awayday Woe

  1. Ged Hutchinson –
    That was a very good point about the fact that the budget for the salary of any new manager would be considerably less than that for Strachan (£1m per year).
    AV, I’m not sure what ‘considerably less’ means £750k? £500k – but why is that? surely the club has already budgeted £3m for the next three seasons – plus Strachan took no compensation.
    So Ged is right – we can probably forget about attracting any decent experienced manager – and by-the-way, I doubt that the likes of Gary Neville would even bother applying for the £15k a week being offered by Boro.
    All of which means the next man in charge may not even be good enough to avoid relegation with the current squad.
    Imagine if Boro lose on Saturday then we may well be bottom – I wonder when the last time a team tipped to win the league ended up bottom after a quarter of the season – surely it’s raised (lowered?) the bar for under-achievement.

  2. Why hasn’t any other club wanted any of the short listed candidates for their manager? There have been plenty of vacancies.
    Will any of them be up to the job of keeping us in league one never mind the play offs?

  3. Is this Is what we can come up with a manager he lost the plot at celtic.Biggest 3rd mistake of Steve Gibson.Tony Mowbray. What a Sham 😦

  4. Taking a long, hard serious look at this mire we are in (no longer pointing any fingers), whoever comes into this debacle will need to be a miracle worker bordering on messiah to prevent Boro from relegation.
    The team will need restructuring (again) because its not doing the business, we will need to sell (nothing in the kitty) before we can buy, the one or two good players (struggling to name names here) will be sold at a knock down price to generate funds however and crucially, what decent player worth his salt and of sound mind and body would want to risk his reputation to come to this catastrophic disaster of a football club. Trying to be positive, however see no rainbow here.

  5. Just browsing through the speculation and came across Mayor Mallon’s piece on fmttm in which he states: “Remember Southgate was the crowd’s choice. The crowd wanted Southgate to have the job, Steve gave him the job and the crowd were delighted.”
    As I recall GS appointment was a bolt from the blue – we all thought, expected and had been led to believe that we would get a ‘world-class’ coach to take us to the next level…Martin O’Neill was the popular choice as I remember and GS being handed the chalice was a stunner…
    Anyway, no worries, onwards and upwards with the Magnificent Mowbray

  6. Andy R –
    Important comment on McClaren. His period (which of course brought silverware…) was a time of economical gamble and decline. As we’ve calculated before his years was a massive spending of money. And when Southgate was ordered to get rid of the high earners there wasnt a lot to earn on transfers, as they were too old.
    Yet, to me, its worth it, as it will be our one and only bit of silverware for a long, long time. But it hurts to pay for it right now.
    I have a bad, bad feeling about Mowbray, mostly because he was far from a great boss in Scotland. Hope I’m wrong, as the deal seems already done.
    Whoever gets the job, lets back him and hope for a style of play that is possible to enjoy (which counts in Mowbrays favour) and a man with the courage enough to trust the Academy.
    It cant be said enough: The Academy is the most important thing to Boro’s future, and that was the main reason why Strachan would have had to go, even if his results had been better.

  7. John –
    Expecting news?
    Well, Blackburn are being taken over by Indian chicken farmers.
    The poison dwarf is worried technology will give football a play station future.
    No Englishman on the list for player of the year.
    Cardiff and QPR are only 18 points ahead us in the table.
    O’Neill is tipped to take over a gulf club on a £4.5m contract – AV put away the red flag, it is a football club in the gulf not a self serving capitalist institution where immoral deals are brokered.
    We get three column inches about Tony Mowbray at the bottom of the last page of football in the sports pull out of the Daily Torygraph. Just beside the CLUBCALL advert. Fitting really, a comment on two institutions living in the past.
    The new Boro manager will have to take up a paper round to make ends meet.
    All quiet otherwise.

  8. John –
    One other piece of news, Agnew is hoping Tommo will be fit for Saturday. And I am hoping to win the next Mr Universe competition.

  9. Smiley –
    I read the cut and paste heading for the blog by AV and got confused.
    A bit like the Boro defence at set plays.
    C’Mon Boro!

  10. He can get a bit touchy that Mr Gill, he doth protest too much I think. Anyway I have had a go at his online Boro application.
    Q1 Do you come from Teesside
    A No
    Thank you for your interest in this position, unfortunately you have been unsuccessful this time. Can we recommend you apply for the vacancy at Notts County.
    AV is there a reporter stationed outside the Riverside/Hurworth checking on arrivals for interview?
    So it will either be
    Or Fake tanner

  11. In the last few years the phrase must win game when being applied to Boro games has been somewhat overused. However on Saturday there probably is case to state this is a must win game, but with the imminent appointment of a new manager a defeat would not be seen as terminal if GS2 was still in charge.
    So do we have a good record in New managers first games?

no. Not in recent times anyway.
    Steve Agnew Lost at Nottingham Forest. Can’t say I was bothered

    Gordon Strachan Lost at Home to Plymouth, previously without away win. Gordon admitted he has never won his first game at a new club
    Colin Cooper 2-2 at Preston twice led but 2 points thrown away in stoppage time.
    Gareth Southgate, lost away at Reading. The newly promoted team coming back from 2-0.
    Steve McClaren. Thumped four nil at home to Arsenal. Fair enough.
    Terry Veneables. Lost at Sunderland. Robbed blind.
    Bryan Robson. Cruised past Burnley 2-0. New Dawn.
    Maybe it wouldn’t be such a bad idea to hold off for a while as the new manager syndrome doesn’t seem to affect Boro players.

  12. Anlov –
    If finances are as troublesome as they seem to be then the academy is going to become ever more important to the club. And not only in supplying the first team but, sadly, raising cash from selling a few of it’s products.
    I don’t agree with your assessment that Strachan ruined or misused the academy though. He’s regularly played McMahon, Wheater, Bates and R Williams whilst pushing through L Williams, Franks and Steele.
    I would have preferred him to have selected Bennett or Taylor at left back, and maybe (only maybe) held onto Josh Walker, but I fail to see a long list of crimes against the academy.

  13. Anlov posted
    “I have a bad, bad feeling about Mowbray, mostly because he was far from a great boss in Scotland. Hope I’m wrong, as the deal seems already done”
    Why not be positive and say that Mowbray was a top class Championship manager who got WBA promoted, after all if he takes over he is managing in the Championship not Scotland.
    C’Mon Boro!

  14. Anlov
    An interesting thought, what would we have done if we hadnt got rid of so many academy players instead of bringing such luminaries as Jason Euell, Dong Gook, Aliadiere, Midough, Alves, King, Folan, StLedger? Huth only started playing towards the end of his stay – wasnt seeking a move was he?
    I suppose we could have ended up not scoring goals and getting relegated. Would have been a lot better off financially.
    As Andy R said it was tasty midfield that was disposed of.
    PS I have left Arca, Digsoft and Emnes off the list because they are still with us, sort of.
    At least we have had our first piece of silverware and played in europe. In my many years supporting Boro that only happened to ther teams.

  15. Taking on the academy theme, out team today could have been:
    McMahon Wheater Bates Taylor/Bennett/Murphy
    A Johnson Morrison Cattermole Downing
    Graham Franks/L Williams
    Not a Premiership team by a distance but probably a similar standard to the current lot and an awful lot cheaper to put together. I doubt we’d have the current financial troubles if we’d been a little more patient.
    That said, even the above team probably would have been boo-ed off if they weren’t winning more often than not and “supporters” would have accused the club of lacking ambition by not signing big names. You can’t win unless the team does.

  16. Werdermouth –
    My wife and I diasgree on the subject. She says I should get in shape, my argument is that round is a shape.
    When I played full back I was like the M25, no movement but it was a long detour to get round me.

  17. Ian Gill –
    Nice touch with the list of D Gook, King, Folan etc. Rest my case regarding those purchases…cant really be argued. (Still, I think you forgot Shawky on that list…)
    Anyway, the discussion on which boss we liked and disliked often bottles down to character and style of play (though Ill probably never stop arguing that Southgate was ordered to get rid of every high earning quality player and that he actually sold more than he bought.
    With the money given to McCaren, who knows how it would unfolded…)
    sick as a parrot –
    I completely agree with you on that one, lets be positive. I just like discussions.
    Regarding Mowbray, yeah hes had one (1) good season as a manager in England. One mediocre, one good and one bad. It might prove something and it might not. Ive just got a bad feeling, thats all.
    Andy R –
    My view has been that buying slow scots with high salaries in their twenties is a bad idea. The whole “men” thing tended to exclude the possibilities of the younger kids. In a league with such medium quality as this there ought to plenty of chances for young players from one of Britains best academys. Under Strachan I couldnt see the will to think this way.

  18. Anlov –
    Ahh. I see what you mean. You’re talking about Strachan’s intentions rather that what he actually did in the end. You could well be right, with more time and money he possibly would have brought more “men” in at the exclusion of the kids.
    It’s open to debate whether Strachan’s “men” mantra was about his lack of faith/distrust of the younger players’ ability or if it was about the complacent attitude he seemed to perceive in them as touched on earlier in this thread (John Bowman, October 24, 2010 4:14 PM onwards). He does seem to value attitude above all other footballing virtues.
    As I’ve hinted before, I don’t think Strachan’s squad overhaul was as disastrous as others would have it, at least not on an individual by individual basis. There’s some decent players there. It’s just that the blend and balance is all wrong in my opinion. It’s as if every player that Strachan liked, who was available, affordable and willing – he signed, with a complete disregard for what the team actually needed.
    And on top of that another complete disregard for the few qualities we did have in the squad he inherited. Now we’re left with a half-baked squad missing key ingredients yet over-subscribed in other areas like central midfield. And worse still, we’re over-subscribed with like-for-like players – they’re all the bloody same! Individually I think he signed decent players, but as a group it’s madness.
    Anyway I’m rambling… I hope the new boss recognises the lack of balance, width, creativity and pace. At least in Mowbray I think he will recognise and do his best to rectify those areas because he relies on those qualities in the teams he puts out.

  19. John Powls –
    Absolutely right with your Mowbray-fans-fave analysis. Want him or not, against the others, he’s a shoe-in. If that’s the case, it suggests to me that those polled have not yet accepted the current state of affairs.

  20. Staff at the Sea Life centre in Oberhausen are under investigation by the German authorities for a breach of the German Animal Welfare Act.
    Apparently a mystery Boro supporter got the staff to ask Paul the Octopus to predict when Boro would next win a match. The poor creature changed hue several times before expiring overnight.
    Computers have been taken away to try and trace known Boro supporters in Germany. You heard it here first.
    Elswhere, good news on the employment front. A new decorating product has been developed by Vickers-Paylor. It was first used to paper over cracks in the Boro dressing room following the likely appointment of Tony Mowbray.
    Boro supremo Steve Gibson was so impressed he has agreed to do a Theo Paphitis and put some of his own money to aid the launch of the new company.

  21. In response to Andy R. The team you named was vastly superior to the team we have now.
    We have not had a midfield for 5 years and even when we had the players we didn’t play them. How in the season we got relegated did Johnson not get his game. An inability to spot talent even if it’s right under your nose.
    I remember an interview with Johnson and he said the problem at Middlesbrough was that they didn’t play high enough up the pitch so he didn’t get support.
    I think it’s still the case now. Our midfield never moves. We seem to have spent years admiring players who don’t actually do anything and both Southgate and Strachan need to take the blame for that.
    O Neil, Tavares, Osbourne, Shawky, Digard, Bailey, Walker, Robson, i mean even Bates. Our central midfielders and no pace and not one creative player amongst them, not one attacking instinct between them.
    No wonder we don’t create anything. Couple that with Strachans decision to play two wingers both of which cut inside rather than going round the outside and you wonder why we don’t score. At least Agnew tried to address this by playing Williams in front of the midfield even if it may be too soon for him.
    When we get a new manager he needs to address this stagnant, immobile midfield and sign some players with some creativity and flair.
    Also the best we have looked defensively this season was at home against Burnley, Our centre backs then were McManus and Bates. McManus and Wheater do not play well together and as Einstein once said the definition of madness is “doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results”.

  22. I for one am happy that Tony Mowbray is going to be the next manager of MFC. There will certainly be a better atmosphere at the ground on Saturday.
    Mowbray’s footballing philosophy is to play one touch, attacking football. It will be nice if the Boro can eventually play in the same style as WBA when Mowbray was the manager.
    Hopefully Mowbray will be allowed to sign at least a couple of decent players on loan who may be able to add to some pace to the current side.
    AV – would Mowbray be allowed to cut short the deals of the players that are out on loan? This would at least give him the chance to access of all the current squad.
    C’Mon Boro!
    **AV writes: Digard and Mido are year long loans so they can’t come back. Emnes can’t be recalled in the first 28 days. Tayls and Grounds initial 28 days are up and they can be recalled if needed.

  23. “Try asking the question as forced multiple choice with the only other alternatives being Ince, Brown and Megson and that might well produce much more decisive support for the Saltburn candidate.”
    Not so sure about that Mr Powls! I know plenty who would take any of those over Mowbray. From a personal standpoint, I’d make do with Mowbray but he certainly doesn’t come without baggage and isn’t the ideal candidate in my mind.
    But I would put it one way and one way only. It is a big NO from me if Mowbray can’t sort out his deal with Celtic in order to take over for us. I wouldn’t want us to pay ANYTHING towards any such deal. We have a job on offer, either he wants it or he doesn’t. If he wants it then it is up to him to make it happen.
    I’ll personally lose all respect for Mowbray if he makes us pay anything towards it and he will certainly NOT be one of us if he does make us pay.
    We want someone who is in it for the football, not the money. The money is great already so if he does hold out for that extra money then he goes in with the Rooney’s of the World who want a small fortune and then some. Greedy!

  24. I must question the repeated statements about Boro having state of the art facilities.
    The Riverside started to look a bit tatty over 5 eyars ago. Now half empty every home game it must be a drain on resources almost equivalent to the Darlington Arena has been to them.
    And our so-called wonder facilities at Rockcliffe are nearly 10 years old now too. Surely technology has moved on a lot since then so how can they still be top of the range? Plenty of other clubs looked at what we had. Did they go ahead and build one themsleves – if so ours would be getting to be a bit obsolete now wouldnt it?
    Or did they just decide it was a white elephant – nice for the players but not financially viable. Our hospital supplies bill alone must be crippling. For it to still be state of the art we must stil be pouring vast sums into keeping it at the top of its game. Thats fine for a Premiership club with a sell-out stadium regularly and Euro revenues but for a side flirting with the drop into League 1? How much of a drain on finances has it turned out to be?
    And wonderful as our Academy may have been several years back with two successive Youth Cup finalists including one glorious triumph but where are those players now?
    We still have a few – and Downing, Jonno and Morrison are doing well elsewhere but most have faded into lower league obscurity. Tom Craddock last week scored a late penalty for Oxford – given for a challenge by John Johnson – two fairly recent graduates. And Andrew Davies gave another penalty away for Walsall.
    Much of our academy talent dont go on to the level of things they should have. Dave Parnaby does a great job but then hands over his proteges to our inept reserve and 1st team coaches and thats the end of their progress. Downing, Morrison and Jonno all came good elsewhere under other coaches. Why cant we develop them properly?
    And much as the fans go on about how good the Academy is – they still seem to reserve an awful lot of verbal abuse for our graduates – Wheater, Bates, Taylor, McMahon, Grounds and Hines have all been boo-boy targets recently.

  25. Well, for me this is the best appointment Mr Gibson could make following the debacle of Southgate and Strachan.
    Despite what all the doubters say Mowbray has a track record that we have been looking for, with two promotions to the Premier League. And he will reignite the passion at the club which is worth his appointment alone.
    He will not have the money that other managers have had, so we all need to be aware that his hands are tied to an extent…I don’t expect miracles, but I do expect an atmosphere at the stadium that most supporters have probably never witnessed.
    I have already spoken to many fans who once stood on the Holgate that have taken their scarves out of the cupboard and bought tickets…I’ve bought mine…I’m more than happy to admit that I gave my season ticket up a season and a half ago after becoming increasingly frustrated at the decisions being made by the club’s senior staff.
    Mowbray is a legend, but unlike many that manage clubs they played for (Southgate included here), he’s done his apprenticeship and he’s more than well equipped to do what we need to stay up and stabilise.
    I don’t expect promotion this year (some do it seems), but I’m certain he can bring some pride and passion back to what has become a club bereft of any of those attributes.
    Come on Boro!

  26. Two promotions? One promotion!! quickly followed by relegation in last place in the premiership. Also look how they’ve done since he left under Di Matteo’s influence.
    Followed by a worse performance at Celtic Park than John Barnes who the Celtic fans described as the worst manager in their history.
    I hope he is a success, but i genuinely believe it is a major, major risk. Only time will tell but his management record at present is hardly glowing, let’s hope it starts at Boro!

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