Another One GON

WELL that’s another £2m shaved off the wage bill then. Gary O’Neil is poised to join rock bottom Premiership outfit West Ham after the clubs agreed an undisclosed fee – around the £1m mark – and the engine room enigma settled on personal terms on a two-an-half-year deal at Upton Park. He has had a medical and it just needs a bit of fine-tuning.

It will relieve some of the pressure on Tony Mowbray and along with David Wheater’s exit will free up some space in the wage bill to bring in a couple of stop-gaps to plugs some gaps in the squad and get us through this season until a more far reaching and managed makeover can be undertaken.
It also brings to an end the longest running transfer saga in Boro history. O’Neil has been reported as “unsettled” since the day after he arrived. Six successive transfer windows have come and gone in a flurry of tabloid tales linking him with pretty much every average team treading water in the lower half of the Premiership in need of an identikit versatile hard-working benchwarmer to make up the numbers.
Now I don’t mind O’Neil as a player. For all the slating he got at Boro he is not a bad player. He is industrious. He has good engines. He does a job. He was said in the coaching community to be “the most naturally fit man in football” (although that claim has been at odds with his increasingly frequent spells on the sidelines with knee/thigh/groin bone connected to the hernia bone style injuries). He never quite evolved into the goal-scoring midfielder we were told to expect but alongside a more creative presence he would probably be quite effective and efficient, even at the higher level.
Every team needs an energetic box-to-box battler who can run around a lot to no great effect – but not the tune of almost £40k a week. And there’s the rub.
After the hastily activated contract extension last January gave him a big pay rise that shattered the wage ceiling, O’Neil became Boro’s top paid player. But he is not a game changer. He is not a match-winner. And when you are shelling out a sum maybe ten times the Championship average wage, that’s exactly what you expect. You expect someone who can transform games by grabbing the midfield by the scruff of the neck, by moments of creative magic, by surging runs and visionary passes. And you expect goals. Not every week maybe, but every month would be nice.
He is not as good a holding midfielder as Nicky bailey. He is not as creative as Julio Arca. He is not as much as a battler as Barry Robson. He is not as fast and direct as Marvin Emnes. He isn’t really a flanker because he doesn’t have pace or a trick. He doesn’t get crosses in. His dead-balls are woeful. But boy, he can run all day. But that isn’t enough to justify top dollar.
For our bank-busting expenditure in this league we need someone with the galvanising impact of a Paul Merson, or in new money, an Adel Taarabt or Charlie Adam. In fact we got someone who runs around a lot without ever really influencing the game and they are ten a penny. Gary O’Neil could be replaced tomorrow by any one of an android army of equally industrious midfield eager beavers on a tenth of his wages.
We play teams every other week who have at least one well above average midfielder that would walk into our current team: Albert Adomah at Bristol; Wes Hoolahan at Norwich; Jonathan Howson at Leeds, Jimmy Kebe at Reading. All cost a fraction of what Boro have invested in Gary O’Neil, which with his initial £4m staged transfer fee and wages over four years must be pushing £10m.
It is important we get it right now. The club are borassic. We can’t afford to squander big money on players who don’t produce. We need to start getting more bang for our buck. The money saved in wages this week – probably the entire weekly total for some of the clubs with a rea scrapping for survival with – must be used effectively if we are to claw away from the relegation zone.
If we stay up we will be meeting Gary O’Neil again next year as the troubled ‘Appy ‘Ammers look doomed. If he plays (and he has a history of missing games against his former employers so who can say) will anyone notice?
SORRY this is a bit late but I went to see the kids battle to a gritty 1-0 win over Everton in the FA Youth Cup fourth round. A very polished first half saw Boro patiently pass Everton to death and carve out a string of chances but only score one goal (Charlie Wyke header, 20 minutes) then after the break they were battered by the Scousers for long spells but – unlike the first team – they resisted the pressure and held out.
Away to Forest in the next round.


123 thoughts on “Another One GON

  1. Miller out on loan, interest in Lethal and Boyd. Something doesn’t add up here. Deadline day might be exciting after all.
    Miller can’t play against us but he can certainly brief his new manager better than any scout report. Plus what if he scores ten goals and keeps them up at our expense???!!!
    Incoming now imperative, Gibbo’s never let a manager down yet. Get the cans in, Monday night is looking good

  2. Stewart @ 8.10am.
    Who cares if it was a noun or verb. I knocked it in for the ton! Kris Boyd take note.
    I obviously went to the Bobby Charlton school of posting. That took 15ish attempts to get through. Did I stop working and think I had done enough after I hit the submit button once? NO. I kept hammering away, knowing that with a little extra work and persistence, I would eventually score!
    Ok, so the ton was a bonus. But you guys know what I’m talking about.
    I just recently subscribed to BORO+ and watched all the highlights from this season. I cannot believe how many sitters we missed. I also can’t believe how many times the players actually missed the target. I fear this is just laziness on the part of some players. If I was a professional footballer, especially a striker, I would stay behind after everyone had left and work on my technique.
    As Daley Thompson once said, “I train on Christmas day because I know no one else will”! Now that is how to get ahead in sport. Train/practice harder or longer than your opponents. Not rocket science is it.
    ps. I look like Kris Boyds older and slightly more overweight brother! Get in for the TON!

  3. It would appear that there was a bit of a kerfuffle on the Gazette board last night.
    If I could get the blooming thing to load up properly without a 5min wait for the page I would have a look. Any view AV?
    Still problems on this site as well. It’s been going on for quite sometime, even Job would have given up trying to post by now!
    **AV writes: I know, its very frustrating. I’ve got a meeting with some techies next week to try and sort a list of issues. I’m trying. Bear with me.

  4. Simon in the USA –
    You look like an overweight version of Kris Boyd??? That must make you at least 18 stone. I’m so sorry to hear that Simon.
    Fellow bloggers: can we have a whip-round for Simon please?

  5. AV –
    Are we to take it from today’s Gazette story that Haas has signed the loan deal?
    That’s the implication but it doesn’t actually say that and ‘on his way to Teesside’ could just mean ‘coming to discuss terms and have a look’.
    Zemmama is less than impressive – even out the the lucky bag we’re having to have a dip into now. And Xisco’s just another expensive non-scoring front man.
    This all begins to look more and more like last minute panic and less like any sort of plan. Surely any club where we’re looking to do business for a loan must take one look at those two and understand it’s not the ‘deep pockets’ Boro of old?
    Always thought that Miller was poor on the few glimpses we got – but how poor must he be not to get a go at Boro in these circumstances and for Mogga to agree that he can be shipped out to a direct competitor in the relegation battle?
    Will Wigan up their offer for Lita and can Boyd be shipped in time to get replacement(s)?
    More twists and turns to come, I guess.
    **AV writes: I haven’t been in the office today. The last I heard was Haas was “very close to completion.” There were a lot of positive noises on that one.

  6. Anthony Vickers – International Journo of Mystery
    Anthony Vickers is an 80’s journalist who is cryonically frozen and released in 2008. . The world is a very different place for Vickers. Unfortunately for Anthony, everyone is no longer Boro-mad. Although he may be in a different century, his mission is still the same.
    He has teamed up with Eric Paylor to stop the fiendish Dr Steve Evil, who was also frozen in the past. Dr. Evil took control of the Boro and is demanding a payment of 100 billion Quid. Can Anthony Vickers stop this madman? Or will he be caught up with Evil’s henchman Mini me Lamb, only time will tell!
    Dr. Evil: Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to my underground lair. I have gathered here before me the world’s most useless footballers, and yet each of you has failed to sicken off Anthony Vickers. That makes me angry. And when Dr. Evil gets angry, Mini me Lamb gets upset. And when Mini me Lamb gets upset people
    Mini me Lamb: Exactly! Fancy a loan to Scunthorpe? Want to go down south with the southern softies in West Ham? Take a look at Boydy and Leroy, class at missing sitters. The defence are doing their part, last minute goals a joy to watch.
    Which brings me to you Julio, you disappoint me. Of all the players we could rely on to mess up you were the best, classic drag backs in the centre circle resulting in goals for the opposition, a joy to watch. Look at Robbo Cop the transition to mediocrity has been most pleasing to us.
    Dr Evil: My fiendish plan to have a team of local boys storming the Blue Star Premier League will come to fruition. Nothing will get in my way! Any signs of moving up the table will not be tolerated! Mini me has loan signings lined up to ensure we remain on course. Anyone Shola Ameobi can keep out of the first team must be absolutely useless and therefore a major target for us.
    Mini me Lamb: If only we could get Mido back Master


  7. Simon in the USA said:
    “I just recently subscribed to BORO+ and watched all the highlights from this season. I cannot believe how many sitters we missed. I also can’t believe how many times the players actually missed the target. I fear this is just laziness on the part of some players. If I was a professional footballer, especially a striker, I would stay behind after everyone had left and work on my technique.”
    Interestingly Mowbray mentioned recently (although can’t find where now) that Boyd has been staying behind after training to work on shooting practice. I still can’t help but think that if we played to his strengths we would get more out of him but that he really doesn’t fit into the Mowbray ethos.
    I agree though and find it hard to understand why so many of our players can’t shoot. Maybe they watched too much of soccer AM and decided that instead of the crossbar challenge they would all practice the corner flag challenge….my how they must excel at that game!

  8. “If I was a professional footballer, especially a striker, I would stay behind after everyone had left and work on my technique.”
    According to Mogga, Boyd does, but it doesn’t seem to do him much good.
    Miller to Scunthorpe? Absolute madness, unless it is freeing up some money to bring some one in. Even so, I can’t see any logic in loaning players to clubs in the same division.

  9. Looking at Moggas signings,seems to me theres a three year plan in order,
    Most of these guys are in their early twentys (what is the average age of the squad), and there’s a hope they will grow as footballers together.
    My only worry is Will mogga stay that long to see it out. Im sure if an established Prem club job becomes available he could be off and I woudnt blame him.

  10. Andy R –
    I said slightly overweight… Come to think of it that COULD mean I’m 18 stone. More like 14 though. A whip round would not go amiss.
    I did read about Boyd apparently staying behind after everyone had gone.Wow, can you imagine how bad he was before he stayed and practiced!!! Joking aside, I do think with better service he would bang a few more in, but don’t believe he would be prolific in this league.
    John –
    They would only excel in the corner flag challenge if they aimed at the goal. If they aimed at the corner flag they would hit the subs bench! If they aimed at the subs bench…. You know what I’m saying.

  11. Boro Phil –
    The last time I saw Boyd live was at Burton. He scored a good goal that was disallowed and had a couple of efforts saved.
    In the right situation he will score you goals but he wont cover every blade of grass. It is a case of all dressed up and nowhere to go.
    All those years we had top leftwingers who provided chances and no one to finish them off. It is a case of the right man at the wrong time.
    But he is useless to us because we do not have the set up to get the only thing he can do out of him – score goals. It seems his limited work rate had dimished further, it must have been clearing all those leaves and doing housework.
    He needs to go and sharpish to reduce the wage bill.
    But as for those arriving, not sure because I dont know enough. I am a bit worried about someone coming from Scotland who hasnt played for ages and plays for a team in free fall. It has been bad enough with proven players from the old firm.
    Letting our new siging from Germany get settled in and acclimitised at Rockcliffe worries me a great deal. We have ten in the treatment room already, I fear we may have a full team and sub by Tuesday.
    I grim weekend in store with no football for us to worry over. At least there is the closing of the window to look forward to.

  12. Any word on Woody rejoining us? I’m assuming he’s on around £60k per week at Spurs (he was £75k at Real!!) but if we paid £15k of that Spurs would let him join as the guy needs games.
    I don’t see the pint in this Haas guy. Sounds useless since Bayern won’t even let him near the first team.

  13. Mogga has confirmed what we all know – that the sound we all hear is the barrel being scraped.
    More still to go out of the door and precious little and even less quality to come in.
    A shame when it seems that the likes of Michael Johnson and Chris Iwelumo are available on loan from Citeh and Burnley respectively – and Preston are said to be talking to both.

  14. AV, have you considered utilising one of these free Saturday’s for a live blog? Maybe even an England special when there isn’t a game.
    I will be making one of my rare forays to the Riverside on Tuesday. There has always been something special about evening kick offs under the floodlights.
    Where can I buy a foam finger?
    I’m sorry AV, you ask for Blind Faith to persevere with the technical problems associated with posting here, but it is getting worse!
    Posters will eventually get the blog they can afford.
    **AV writes: A live blog? On a very rare Saturday off? My wife will be delighted.

  15. To all those on hear who keep bemoaning Strachan’s ability in the transfer market and it is all Strachan’s fault that we got into this mess, let me throw a few names at you.
    Alves £11m
    Mido £6m
    O’Neill £5m
    Digard £4m
    So thats about £26m spent and I wonder how much we got back, who was the manager when all these shrewd purchases went through.
    I think it would be an interesting article in the future to compare transfer dealings under Robson, McClaren, Southgate, Strachan and Mowbray to see who got the best value for money.
    Hopefully Mogga does a Sir Alex and stays with us for 20 years.
    **AV writes: I seem to remember doing one a few years back and Robbo came out on top because his really big buys (Juninho, Rav, Barmby, Merson, Emerson) were all sold at break even or a slight profit… although it tailed off towards the end with the likes of Gareth and Ugo finishing their contracts as a big loss.

  16. Big big game coming up on Tuesday – home to Scunny – how times have changed, we now call a big game at ‘home to Scunthorpe’ (okay its a six pointer) – where the heck is Scunny (no disrespect to all Scunnyites).
    Win and we put more breathing space between us and the bottom, draw or lose and its just about all over, nothingness and the grey foggy area of relegation beckons

  17. Skysports inform: “Alan Pardew says there has been no contact from Middlesbrough regarding a loan deal for Xisco.”
    Not so surprised if we still have McDonald, Lita, Emnes and Boyd at the club.
    I hope we land the German centre half and the Hibs playmaker, though.
    AV, any news on a RIGHT winger? We needed that before GON had gone – but especially now! Time is running out but I hope we see a busy Monday before the window closes.
    Up the Boro!

  18. AV mate, please ‘ave’ a word or three in your ITs shell like, its one heck of a job getting a posting through
    **AV writes: Yes, we are aware of the problems. It must be bad – even the spambots are complaining.

  19. Reported on sportinglife, under transfer center, paper talk.
    News of the World: Yannick Djalo has handed in a transfer request at Sporting Lisbon after they rejected a £2.6million bid from Middlesbrough. Now this signing would excite me more than the others that have been reported on lately.
    If this is true, we aren’t so badly off as everyone seems to think. Is this just paper talk? Over to you AV.

  20. Anne Widdicombe said:
    “Why do Boro sign Germans with rude sounding surnames. Fuchs and Haas indeed. Absolutely shocking.”
    I think you will find most German names sound rude to our ears.
    Willy Brandt
    Angela Merkel
    Otto Kuntsz
    Just be glad that they haven’t forgotten how to play football.

  21. Keenog –
    I believe Alves was over £13m and dont forget Hoyte at £4.5m and Emnes at £3.5m.
    For all Emnes showing at Swansea he has as yet flattered to deceive since his to Boro. He hasnt scored yet and nor does he like like being prolific. Smashing to watch but little end product.
    Hoyte has not proved a useful aquisition.
    Compared to your list and my add ons Boyd looks a bargain on a free!
    **AV writes: Alves was £12.7m but the exchange rate moved against Boro and they ended up paying quite a bit more in the later installments. Hoyte was £3m, Emnes £3.2m.

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