Cyber Babble Resumes

WE’RE back. After five frustrating days of snood-wearing cyber silence and bleak isolation, I think we are working again. Just after I had knocked up a cunning ad hoc samizdat system to by-pass the posting problem too. Ah well. Don’t touch that dial!
So what have we missed:
Doncaster… last gasp sickener. Can’t score, won’t score. Another karmic unlucky break or tactical naivety?
Avoiding the kiss of death of being in the bottom three at Christmas thanks to the whiteout of two of our relegation rivals’ game. But *gulp* a big gap has opened above us now and two of the three below have games in hand.
Surival stats swinging against us… 53 points are needed to ensure safety, that means Boro need 32 – that’s 11 wins – from the last 24 games. That demands an immediate upturn or we are looking at the chop.
Merry Christmas
I’ve started a daily #onthisboroday factoid on Twitter.
1993 – lowest ever attendence for a Boro senior match at Ayresome Park – 1633 v Brescia, Anglo-Italian Cup. We lost 1-0
1984: enduring boo boy hate figure Peter Beagrie makes his first start for Boro v Grimsby, a 3-1 away defeat in Div 2
And yesterday:
Dec 21 1996: Club make ill-fated decision not to play the day’s game at Blackburn as man flu pandemic rules 23 out of action
You could read more rubbish like this every day – and be notified first of renewed Apache attacks – if you “follow” – me @untypicalboro


50 thoughts on “Cyber Babble Resumes

  1. I though Keith Lamb had you hidden away under house arrest in a swanky mansion in Suffolk like the wikileaks bloke.
    **AV writes: It’s a witch hunt! The blog was brought down by a problem with Apaches. I kid you not. Whether the chief executive hired them, I know not.

  2. Thank God we’re back, I’ve actually had to do some work.
    Well, Doncaster was ridiculously cold and you just had to laugh at the result. Only Boro could completely control a second half like that, then panic in the last few minutes and concede.
    What actually is the point of Kris Boyd? Surely chances like that are exactly the kind we were told he will always put away.
    One word for the fans: amazing. Singing from start to finish, and the Red Faction drum gets a big thumbs up from me. I hope the players felt utterly ashamed at letting us all down like that.

  3. Apaches? Tevez has been knobbling the Untypical Boro blog as well as Man City? (Note: Tevez’s nickname is Apache)…
    I’ll get me coat.
    Anyway, things are looking slightly better. Better team shape, variable tactics, better performances and looking tighter – but we still have the fundamental problem that every team we play against seems to have a second or third gear that they motor into and leave us hanging on. Conversely, we don’t seem to ever get out of a crawler gear, even if we’re 1-0 down and chasing the game.
    Perhaps this is due to our chronic lack of a target man. There is no Championship Plan B, i.e. get it wide and bomb it into the box. If we get a big strong bloke up front in January then it might fall into place a bit more.
    Gibbo needs to lay his cards on the table though. None of this flirting we’re seeing about O’Neill, Wheater and Boyd being available (like an extremely bad version of Blind Date), but let Tony know he has £X per week to go out and get some loanees – regardless of sales.
    One thing we can’t afford to do is to have to wait until late January when the PL clubs are making their last minute choices before we can make ours. Come on Gibbo, give Tony a bit of leeway, let him at least get a couple of loanees in early doors – because we could be playing 5 or 6 games before the end of January, and we need 10-12 points!
    **AV writes: Yes we had an “apache problem.” Apparently apache supports a variety of features, many implemented as compiled modules which extend the core functionality of the blog. These range from server-side programming language support to authentication schemes and some common language interfaces.
    Some of you may understand this witchcraft. I don’t.

  4. If we get rid of Wheater, O’Neil, Boyd, Tavares, Robson, Halliday in January Im thinking about £100,00 in wages a week saved . That could get us 2/3 decent loanies in at least, some speed wide, a solid Box to Box midfielder and a target man or proven goalscorer at this level to play up front.

  5. If we sell Boyd, Wheater and O’Neil (a big if to sell them all maybe) then assuming we are adequatley covered in midfield and maybe we can get by with the defensive cover we have, who will the new Championship goal scoring striker be?
    We need 1.34 points per game to avoid relegation, we’re currently averaging one(ish) points a game, surely we can raise our game to 1.34 points per game from where we are now!

  6. Friday’s game was an absolute sickener. Another game in which we’ve played quite well only to lose by 1 goal. That it came so late was deeply frustrating.
    I’d be happy enough to see Boyd, O’Neil and Halliday leave in January. If an offer of £2m can be found for Wheater then that’s fair enough too given the situation with his contract.
    Defensively, I think we can limp on without Wheater. Hines did very well in his comeback game and we’ve got Grounds and R Williams to come back as well.
    I’d be happy for Mowbray to look at either Ismael Miller and/or Chris Wood for the forward roles, but he needs to find some pace for the flanks to add to Emnes and the returning Franks, and also a creative central midfielder. I suspect that loans will suit our circumstances better than permanent signings in January.
    P.S. Good to have the blog back.

  7. I’m afraid its not who can we get but who will want to come? We will probably be adrift in the bottom three by mid January. Plenty of other championship clubs have already got their loanees in. Are we fiddling again while rome burns?

  8. Being nearer the pitch last Friday than where I sit at the Riverside I was able to see first hand how clueless we are up front. When we reach the penalty box we don’t know whether to shoot, pass or centre.
    There is no composure or thought given to finding a man in space or simply shoot at goal rather than lay the ball square or backwards.
    Mowbray has a settled back five and perhaps a clearer understanding of his midfield but the ‘missing’ formula he is looking for is at the top end of the pitch between excitable Lita and lazy Boyd. Neither fit the bill, hence our worryingly poor conversion of chances.

  9. Welcome back. I had wondered whether my inability to get posts on here was something to do with me or my laptop.
    I know Apaches used to take scalps when a little annoyed. We’ve had our own blood-letting here in North Yorkshire and I’ve lost an armful. I know it says Blood Transfusion Service on the vans, but some of us reckon a certain “Count” with Boro affiliations might have them on commission or, alternatively, be intending to hijack their load when it leaves the village.

  10. Simon –
    Very good, Varnish does servers no good at all but the type appears moveable but mainly into the reycle bin.
    A salient point about the Donnie match. They had 53% possession, more shots on target, more shots off target and scored more goals. Stats are dangerous to use but one stat stands about all the others – we lost, no points, everyone has games in hand and we havent had the post Xmas slump yet.
    We take about shape, my wife says I have no shape but I remind her round is a shape. So is zero points.

  11. Yes, we can’t score goals – yet we leave our top scorer on the bench week in week out. Kris Boyd has scored 5 goals in 14 games started, roughly one every third game which is not too bad.
    It’s all very well blaming him for his miss on Friday night, but he’s had 35 minutes football in the last 4 weeks.
    Why are managers so stubborn? Both Southgate and Strachan froze out Emnes. Strachan froze out Bennett as well. Mowbray has restored both to the team, but seems to have made his mind up about Boyd.
    Even if the instruction to sell has come from on high, he should still be playing him. He’s sat on the bench in the last four games. Based on his stats, he’d have notched in that time. Given we’ve had two losses by a single goal and a draw in that time, that means that goal would have been worth a point, possibly even three. We’re going to need every last one of those precious things this year.
    I sometimes wonder about this club. We haven’t had a natural goal scorer since JFH. Every year we complain about it. We finally get one, on a free transfer no less, and what do we do? The fans abuse him and the manager drops him…both despite a perfectly reasonable return. Now it looks like we’re going to sell him as well! We are indeed the stupidest club in the world.

  12. If we beat the teams around us we lower the bar from needing 53 points (the maximum in 10 years) down to below the average of 48-49. That’s 27 points or 9 wins. Give or take.
    Preston x 2
    Scunthorpe H
    Palace A
    Reading A
    Derby H
    Watford H
    Barnsley H
    Coventry H
    Pick up a couple of draws along the way as well then finish with Doncaster at home. Well be a better unit by then. Easy. Safe by four or five points. We’ll be fine.
    Then in the summer we can get rid of a few more high paid wasters and rebuild from scratch properly. Its not what anyone wanted, not least Mogga or Gibbo but realistically that’s where we are as a club.
    In Mog We Trust.
    PS: Good to have the blog back. It feels like weeks. having to read that other board has been purgatory.

  13. Santa Baby bring us somebody, anybody who knows how to shoot on target. Not wide right, left or otherwise.
    Believe in Yo Ho Mowbray; going down or surviving he will make it happen and bring stability and success and………..
    no room left on that list to Santa
    AV keep on keeping on a great blog.
    Merry Xmas and Happier Boro times in the New Year to one and all

  14. Bob –
    Boyd has had plenty of chances. Time on the pitch is no excuse, a quality striker should not be missing a chance like the one against Doncaster. I’m sick of defending him or waiting for him to come good.
    Five goals in 14 games started (or 20 appearances in total) is a pathetic return for a striker of his supposed pedigree in this division, especially considering what little else he brings to the game.

  15. Well not long now, Santa’s coming and this fan is looking forward to a home tie on Boxing Day. Off to get me ticket this morning if me back holds out.
    I hope the team has a great Xmas and comes back on Boxing Day and proves all the doubting Thomases wrong and gets three points for us. Let’s once again get behind the team and end this terrible year with a home win and look forward to a good fight to get us on the up again so merry Christmas to all and to all
    “Up the Boro”
    100% BORO
    100% Redfaction

  16. Glad to see that the Apaches are back on the reservation, the Guru’s meditated and the varnish on the cache is dry.
    Whether we stay up or not now depends entirely on what Mogga can do to successfully reshape this, still, ‘fundamentally flawed’ squad in January.
    Then, how long it takes him to sort a settled side and bench and get them playing effectively, not just ‘looking better’ – whatever that means. If he’d been able to shape up what he’s got he’d have done it by now.
    Instead, what ‘looking better’ seems to translate to is pointing to a new paint job on a much smaller Titanic than it looked on the drawing board and experimentally re-arranging the non-matching deckchairs in an attempt to distract from the locked on course to the looming League One iceberg.
    In the summer, The Count broke the habit of a lifetime for Stricken and got several of his targets in early. We have to hope that that experience hasn’t proved so aversive that he reverts to January window type and insists that Mogga waits until Wheats, GON, Boyd (& Hines if the latest gossip is to be believed) are off-loaded on January 31. By then, it will be way too late.
    Incidentally, I’d be pretty certain that The Count’s New Year resolutions will include not talking to strange blokes in the Gents. That’s pretty well one of the immutable laws of the universe anyway – just show what happens if you flout it!
    As I said in an earlier posting I think we need (at the least):
    – an experienced centre back on loan (my earlier suggestion of a look at Richard Dunne as part of the deal for Wheats going to Villa has been given a boost by Houllier telling the Irishman that he’s now 4th choice. And we know the assistant manager and a winger there too);
    – a line leader who can get a few goals at this level (glad to see that the rumours about interest in Leon Best persist);
    – a grizzled holding midfielder who can do the sort of things for us that Carsley does for Coventry, Derry for QPR, the execrable Savage for Derby etc, etc (I’d certainly take Michael Brown on a suitable deal);
    – and, either a winger (for preference) or someone with some creative ability in the centre of midfield.
    I think there’s little point to be served in bringing Tayls back from Watford but Jon Grounds can provide cover for centre back as well as at left back.
    I don’t see that the very unexceptional Tavares would be any great loss if he went back to Germany – particularly if we can get a proper holding midfielder in.
    There are certainly questions to be asked about Robbo – unless the key to unlock his form again can be found. I wonder whether GON going will help? It might also be that young Halliday could fare better with a loaner back to Scotland.
    Regardless (or perhaps because of) the repeated denials, the Robbo/GON issue might well be symptomatic of a wider malaise in the dressing room. Whatever the root of the factions or selfish individualism that has to be addressed in this reshuffle too.
    I think we have to count the likes of Big Mick, Rhys Williams and Willo Flood out of the equation – not that I think the last would make any great difference anyway. By the time they’re recovered and match fit again, the die will have long been cast. If, by any chance, they do become available earlier it’s a bonus.
    As ronmarg says above, let’s hope for Happier Boro times in 2011 than we’ve had in the last few years. And let’s face it, we won’t have to wait long to have a pretty good idea about how it’s going to turn out!

  17. Hello all, good to be back. I too ventured out into alternative boards. It was full of magma lakes and other nonsense. I quite enjoyed it.
    But back to the main event and Sunday. I don’t know if I have ever mentioned that I have certain ‘issues’ about Nottingham Forest, and that Boxing Day is my birthday. After 31 years of hurt could this be the year………..probably not.
    Anyway enough of my self pity. Happy holidays and merry Christmas to one an all.
    Have a red and White Christmas
    **AV writes: “magma lake” is a fantastic description

  18. So it looks like it perm any 3 from 4 in the relegation stakes.
    As Scunthorpe can not win at home they are my fav’s to go down. Palace’s young side and even less cash than us make them my second fav’s to be relegated.
    That leave’s us against Preston. As we are better at home I think we can finish above them.
    All four teams are rubbish so we might not need as many points as people think.
    Happy Christmas to one and all and may the New Year bring you all what you wish for.
    C’Mon Boro!

  19. First things first.
    Watford want to extend Taylor’s loan to the end of the season. He is playing regularly for them though when i see them on the BBC highlights on a Saturday night hardly covering himself in glory. He still looks a long way behind the player who emerged under Mclaren. He does not wnat to come back – hardly surprising after how Southgate and Strachan treated him.
    So Watford loan extension? NO – they can pay cash for him. Wont be much but why should we say yes to a loan that benefits us not one iota.
    We can bring Andrew Davies back in – another player with experience playing alongside our back four. His best years were here – he is out of work currently so earning zilch so he cant demand PL wages and we offer a chance to restart his career otherwise he will probably have to go Northern League. He might save us a replacement for Wheater – he should be good enough for this level and has experience of playing alonside Bates and McMahon.
    As for Aliadiere – no way. He has already failed at this level and there is surely no way he will accept championship wages.
    These can all be dealt with now – either before the window opens or Taylor done on the opening day.
    **AV writes: Watford won’t pay for a player out of contract in the summer. The loan benefits us because it saves his wages (£15k/week)
    Andrew Davies is not unemployed. He is a Stoke player recovering from a series of injuries who has been given permission to train with Boro. It may suit all parties if he joins on a short term deal but I would have reservations over his injury record.

  20. BoroPhil –
    Boyd’s goalscoring ratio is a goal every 2.8 games which you describe as “pathetic” at this level. I’ve just checked out last years top scorer in the Championship, Peter Whittingham of Cardiff. Last year he scored a handy 25 goals from 51 starts (a goal every 2.04 games). Nice – maybe we should have signed him? But this year he’s scored 4 from 23 (a goal every 5.75 games), and 2008/9 he scored 4 from 26 (a goal every 6.5 games).
    It’s not that easy to find a goalscorer, and 14 games started is nowhere near enough games for a decision to be made. A goal every 2.8 games is 16 or 17 goals in a Championship season. I’m trying to remember the last time we had anyone in the team that challenged that number.
    Boyd’s record for the last 5 years is 26 from 34 (1.3), 35 from 44 (1.3), 19 from 23 (1.2), 28 from 37 (1.3) and 37 from 35 (0.9). Yes, I know Scotland is a lower standard, but we are just plain stupid if we decide to give up on him after 14 games. If the decision is purely financial and we can’t afford him then fair enough, but I still think we should play him in the meantime, he would win us a point or three…which very well may make the difference for us this year.

  21. Here’s me thinking the club had managed to place a gagging order on all responses to your pieces!
    Not looking great presently, it is not understating the fact that this transfer window is the single most important one. get it right, get a chance. Get it wrong and that will have devastating consequences on our club.
    No pressure there, Mogga!

  22. It’s not just Andy Davies injury record.
    Where’s the evidence that he has anything to commend him (above the others we’ve already got on the books) as a defender in recent times – or since he left Boro?
    He certainly does nothing for our lack of inches at the back and just because he once played for us and can’t find another club now is no good reason to take him on now.
    Same applies at the other end of the pitch to Jezza.

  23. How many goals have been leaked by Wheater’s failure to clear etc. The Doncaster one for starters
    Curious. The techno whiz kids should be able to help out.

  24. Jiffy –
    I think there are factors behind Taylor’s form loss other than his treatment by GS1/2.
    He did very well early in his career but he had Downing in front of him who, whatever his faults, was quick and tracked back. If Johnno played he kept the opposition.
    Taylor has never been quick but has suffered with injuries.
    He hasnt looked the same since coming back but hasnt had a good winger in front of him. I think he has been exposed as a bit one paced so gets caught out.

  25. Bob –
    Mogga made his decsion about Boyd before he became Boro manager, he doesn’t rate him. On top of that he’s on Premiership wages, presumably the club decided to pay him a shed load on the basis he was going to lead us back to the promised land, which he clearly isn’t going to do.
    I suspect Mogga believes playing with ten men plus Boyd isn’t worth the return of a goal every three games. If all a player contributes is goals then he needs to be scoring at a high rate to justify his place.
    We signed him for free, we’ll sell him for a fee and ‘save’ £25k a week, so as we teeter on the abyss that is league one selling him has got to be a good business decision to.

  26. Nigel Reeve –
    I am not sticking up for Boyd but are the alternatives we have any better?
    The other options score no goals at all nor do we look like getting many points. It is a rock and a hard place.

  27. Whittingham is a midfielder and contributes in other areas, what else does Boyd do when he fails to score? Nothing.
    Scott McDonald has four league goals, but probably has the same number at least again in assists. We need to stick with him and bring in a big man alongside him, or at least someone who can hold the ball up. We can then play someone in behind them (Williams, Emnes, Kink) or play with wingers, assuming we sign at least one.
    Boyd doesn’t fit into that – I don’t think he can partner McDonald, they have shown no signs of it so far, and we don’t have the time to wait for it to work out.
    Selling Boyd would suit everyone at the moment.

  28. Ian –
    You’re right, we haven’t got any alternatives at present. But it looks to me like Mogga thinks the team has a better chance of winning/drawing without Boyd in it, presumably on the basis he thinks he doesn’t contribute enough to general play.
    I just hope that when the January ‘sales’ start Boro have a coherent strategy, in terms of who goes and who comes in. As others have said good quality championship players will not be queuing to join the club unlike the summer when we had our chance.
    The super tanker is still heading for the edge of the world with the ‘there be dragons’ sign looming into sight.
    Being an eternal optimist I just keep hoping that Mogga will get the team to click and then the reults will come. Whatever else happens there is always hope!

  29. As a unit we are improving although results and League position may argue to the contrary.
    Our main problems lately are giving away unbelievably soft goals (Hull and Donny) and an abject failure to score “gimmies” (Coventry and Donny). I am convinced that had we not given away those two soft goals and scored Lita’s Penalty and Boyd’s sitter we would be at least 6 points better off and maybe even 7 or 9.
    We need a goalscorer who also has workrate because despite Boyd’s conversion rate, playing him is like having 10 men for most of the game. MacDonald’s strike rate isn’t far behind Boyd but he at least tracks back, puts in tackles and his workrate is probably one of the Boro’s highest in terms of yards covered over 90 minutes. Unfortunately MacDonald is not a physical domineering threat and at this level you need a Clydesdale rather than a Thoroughbred so a change of personnel up front is a prerequisite in January.
    Midfield lacks something and I think Robson is the one to step up. He showed it last season and alongside the rejuvenated Tommo and Bailey/Arca I think its almost sorted with the remaining wide berth for Franks/Emnes/Kink.
    Goalkeeping is a sensitive area but the wisdom, instructional and organisational ability of Danny Coyne is of more benefit to a struggling side than a youngster with a great future. Steele is an asset but its a bit like playing chess, the Queen may be your best piece but its the one you protect the most for later in the fight when you have your opponent on the rocks.
    If we bring Grounds back as cover for Bennett and Hines (assuming Wheats is history) and with Rhys and Mick coming back we should be covered at the back.
    Coyne in goal for the time being, Wheats, Boyd and Gon out in Jan for a few shillings providing funds for say Leon Best and a “Danny Graham/Ishmael Miller” type should see us over the 53 point line.

  30. I read a book by Guardian columnist Ben Goldman recently. It’s called “Bad Science”. I made a note of the following passage from it, because it resonated with me in connection with Boro and the shambles that has been exposed over the last three or four seasons.
    “Most of us exhibit something called “attributional bias”: we believe our successes are due to our own internal faculties, and our failures are due to external factors.”
    Suppose you’re sitting in the changing room at Rockliffe and your listening to Matthew Bates, or David Wheater, or Gary O’Neil. Or even go back as far as when Downing and Johnson were present. What can you hear them say, over and over again? Maybe something like, “We’ve got great players here, we should be challenging for Europe”. Or “The lads are gutted, we just can’t understand how we lost that”. Or, “We’re giving 110%!”
    Also, suppose you’re sitting in the Board Room at The Riverside and you’re listening to Gibson and Lamb. What can you hear them say, over and over again? “We spent this and that and we’re the most highly financed team in … blah, blah, blah!” Or, “We didn’t see it coming”. Or “We’re a Premier League Club. We don’t belong in the Championship. We ‘ate the Championship”.
    Boro (may) have first class facilities, but ……….. (I invite others to finish this off).
    There’s only one external factor that could be used as a valid defence for Boro’s shambolic implosion – the economic and financial conditions that led to Gibson’s enforced debt reduction. That set the scene a for a continuous stream of internal and destabilising managerial decisions.
    The players aren’t good enough – but they don’t realise it and can’t accept it.
    The executive isn’t good enough – but previously, their shortcomings weren’t so obvious, because Gibson’s millions were like Harry Potter’s invisibility cloak, in effect.
    And now, the magic of the financial backing isn’t strong enough and the whole shaky foundation is exposed.
    And, outside of the club officialdom, you can add to the list of the deluded, the “foamies”, high on Premier League residual solvent, who never seem to accept the reality of it and who will always maintain that success is always just around the corner. Why? Just read the Ben Goldman quotation again. Apparently, it’s human nature.
    But if the genuinely enlightened can see it, acknowledge it and do something about it, why can’t Boro? (Or have I just answered my own question?)
    Maybe the following, more famous acknowledgment of Ben Goldman’s illumination would resonate better with Boro’s Scottish contingent:
    “Oh, wad some pow’r the Giftie gie us
    Tae see oorsel’s as ithers see us
    It wad frae muny a blunder free us
    An’ foolish notion!”
    A case of “Gibson fiddles while Boro Burns”?
    Maybe they’re all psychologically just too comfortable – as well as being just not good enough. I suspect Mowbray may be out of a different, thoughtful, mold. But he’ll need to have Merlinesque powers to overcome the intrinsic disadvantages he seems to have inherited and has saddled himself with by joining the Boro Executive.

  31. I’m not running any sort of case for Boyd – far from it, I think his attitude and lack of effort makes him Pie Pharaoh Mk II. And just about as expensive too.
    But I do think that, ironically, if we’d bought Leon Best (as once seemed possible) rather than Lee Miller that Best/Boyd partnership would have worked very well indeed.
    Double irony, then, that Boyd’s going to be moved on to finance Best (and others) coming in!
    Just another thing to hold Stricken responsible for.

  32. An interesting post as ever Richard and i believe your suggestion that life is just a little too comfortable for our underperforming bunch.
    I’ve often thought that our ‘world class’ training facilities are a double-edged sword – does it actually give us a disadvantage in terms of other team’s players are a bit more hardened and perhaps bond together better in more adverse training conditions?
    I also still find it hard to point the finger at Gibson and lay the blame for our predicament with him for not giving enough financial backing – if we have arguably the biggest budget in the league then he’s not at fault.
    The problem is of course how we spend the money – Southgate, Strachen and Lamb are responsible for bringing in players who weren’t worth what we paid them in transfers and wages – plus we never seem to sell to optimize our return.
    So Gibson’s faults are more in who he employs to make the decisions rather than what cash he makes available – though I do agree with you that perhaps our players are not as hungry or as good as they think they are – perhaps neither is Gibson?

  33. I think we must give credit if a long term sponsorship was found. Why to argue. Perhaps the tide has turned and we finally head upwards?
    The following capture could be longer: “We now have a Teesside chairman in Steve Gibson, a Teesside manager in Tony Mowbray and a Teesside sponsor in Ramsdens, with all three passionate about taking the club forward.”
    We also have a Teesside club captain. Then was the previous one from Teesside. And there is Teesside Steele in goal, of course.
    Up the Boro!

  34. I’m not too bothered who sponsors Boro and I’d certainly prefer to see a pawnbroker on the shirt as opposed to a fast food retailer or lager brand. That said I’m in agreement with JP the logo is awful, it really spoils the look of the shirt.

  35. Welcome back AV. Even when there isn’t time for me to post (as lately) I always like to catch up with yours and everyones thoughts and opinions.
    Who mentioned trying Wheater up front? I agree. I’ve said it a few times before. Do you have any idea whether this has been tried on the training field AV? If it is tried (which really doesn’t cost us anything) and it works, Wheater with Boyd and/or McDonald playing off him, then that could save us big time (in transfer fees and in points and in Championship status). I reckon his presense up front would certainly unsettle a few defences.
    Anyway, now its the time of year that Boro’s form always takes a major turn ….. this time it can’t turn any worse, so it has to get better and so the only way is up.
    Merry Christmas to everyone and Up the Boro!
    **AV writes: Wheats arrived at the club as a lanky 60 goal a season striker from Teesside Athletic who was two feet taller than the other 14 year olds. He knows where the goal is. You fancy him as the new John Hickton.

  36. Before I post this, I have to say I’m a big GON fan when he is fit and on form, but bar the odd flash, I don’t think he’s been half the player he was since Gareth left. Saying that, he’s often been played in the middle, which isn’t his best position and he looked a lot better v Cardiff on the right.
    but- considering the supposed interest in him: GON stats this season:
    14 league starts
    5 seperate absences with injury
    0 goals
    0 assists
    record when he starts: won 3, drawn 1, lost 10
    record without him: won 3, drawn 1, lost 3
    (+1 sub appearance)

  37. If Wheater is tried up front, eg against Forest, and scores a couple of goals, does that mean the club can then realise an even bigger fee, when Everton, Villa et al come in for him, which seems inevitable?
    I know other ‘locals’ eg Dowling have left the club, but David Wheater more than any other, in my view, personifies all the best things over the last years about the Boro and I for one will be sorry to see him go.
    I know, like most young players, he lost his form and development for a time, but he’s an exceptional player and with Rio and Terry not getting any younger, well who knows? Also, a club like Everton would be great for him. He’s already a better centre back than Distin and a player like Jagielka would really bring out the best in him. I hope he stays however, but he won’t will he?

  38. I return to a point I have made before. It is not so much what we have had to spend but how we spent it.
    I repeat that our average attendance in our last premiership season was 28,000+. That puts us firmly midtable ahead of powerhouses such as Wigan, Blacknurn, Bolton, Fulham, Pompey, Wolves, Blackpool, West Brom, Birmingham.
    Not all of those have had different prize money per place over us, they do not charge £100 per match, they havent all had a super rich sugardaddy.
    We have not punched over our weight. Blackburn and Bolton have played in Europe. Blackburn and Leicester have won the league cup.
    We havent got the club we can afford because on those points above we should be mid table in the premiership.
    We have wasted what we had available. End of story. We have the club based on the scraps left over, forget Gibbo not being rich enough, even in the downsizing we have not had value for money.

  39. Can’t wait till Boxing Day.
    There will be lots of mentions of a certain french footballer with the initial SM… same as mine.
    I had to leave the Bosco stand at half time in the last match and did not get to mention (forgot) SM. Maybe that is why we lost. So expect lots of STEEEEEEEDS this time.
    Hope you all have a joyous Christmas. See you in the BJ stand.

  40. Richard:
    Argument understood, by-the-way loved the parrot pics sporting the Ramsden logo in your Boro Banter article – but are you suggesting those Parrots are a model for next year’s kit? (a red shirt with green arms, blue shorts and red and green striped socks).
    I’m still not sure about the validity of the red and green should never be seen, versus the blue and green version – needless to say John Powls grandmother was probably not a rastafarian, who seem to embrace the whole red/green thing.
    Perhaps we may opt to have Reggae Reggae Sauce as shirt sponsor once the Ramsden deal has finished.
    Though, speaking as a designer (albeit not a fashion one) the problem with the green logo is that it fills in most of the white band, thus making it looked cramped – maybe it could sit lower down on the shirt or better still on the part of the shirt that can be tucked into the trousers.

  41. Merry Christmas everyone!
    The shirt deal doesn’t bother me too much. It’s just a few extra quid to spend on avoiding the drop. That said, I assume that both the club and sponsor hope to sell as many shirts as they can. I really like the away shirt and I’m glad mine was bought at the start of the season. Perhaps next season the shirts will be designed to take green more comfortably?
    I don’t want David Wheater to go. I know he hasn’t been at the top of his form and I know he probably has to be sold, but he has been one of our best players this season and you know the current situation matters to him. The players that go with him will probably come down to who we can sell rather than who we would like to. Sad but true.
    Who do we bring in? I haven’t a clue. Yes there are players we would all like to see, but realistically who would join at this point. Proven championship players are all playing for clubs somewhere above us in the table and I suspect Mogga is going to have to pull off some pretty impressive deals for all this to work out in our favour.
    I have a feeling you might see him do some business in January to plug gaps, but rely more on the younger lads and returning injured to get through to the end of the season. It would be a risky strategy but finding the right players is going to be very difficult, and clearly we can no longer lure them with wads of cash.
    I said a couple of weeks ago that I didn’t want to be worrying all the way to Easter, but it looks as if I will be. Being a Boro supporter has mostly been that way and it’s all part of the charm. Given our position in the table the Christmas fixtures could pull us back into the pack or see us cut badly adrift. Three points Boxing day? Tough but possible.
    Come on lads – let’s have a Christmas present.

  42. Its the frustration of recent results i cant stand. It drives me nuts!!
    I found it much easier to take when we were playing crud and getting thrashed at the start of the season, or even when the results were narrow (like forest, norwich and swansea away) and we could have potentially got a point but couldnt reasonably argue we deserved something.
    But in four of the games (Bristol, Hull, Cov and Doncaster) we’ve lost since Mowbray came its been criminal we’ve not won, let alone lost them. To not only control the play, but also miss golden chances and hand out goals on a plate is very irritating.
    Thats 9-12 point, we not “could”, but “should” be better off now, and that could prove crucial at the end of the season. Never a good sign to be playing well and losing.
    Its good to have a permanent sponsorship in the bag now though.
    Forest game off!
    Merry Christmas

  43. I must admit I think the shirt looks poor but maybe that matches the product under the breathable fabric.
    I suppose we could just have the word Ramsdens in green on a white background.
    It would have been better if Boydies hopes hadnt been dashed and the sponsor was Harry Ramsdens. Red and white are their corporate colours.
    We used to laugh at Wednesday running out with Chubba Chips on their shirts, I would happily accept our shirt being a fashion design disaster in the premiership.

  44. Are useless toothless Boro among one of those teams that concede the most last-minute goals of all time across the entire football league tiers? I’d like to think so from the abject predictability of how they always manage to contrive to lose a game from either winning or drawing positions. Pathetic rubbish.
    League One – the bets ARE OFF!

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