Kris Boyd: McTime To Deliver

KRIS Boyd put any lingering window pain behind him as he deftly swept home his 200th career goal and set Boro on the road to a crucial victory.
The Scottish goal machine did exactly what it said on the tin as he made a perceptive, instinctive and perfectly timed little diagonal burst behind a rigid Scunthorpe defensive line onto a ball that hadn’t even been played yet. Then when Seb Hines got to a loose ball on the right flank and lofted it first time over the top and towards the edge of the box the Scot had stolen five yards on a sluggish Scunthorpe rear guard.
Boyd spotted the visiting keeper had fatally drifted off his line and as the ball bounced kindly for him the striker smoothly chipped it without breaking his stride and it arched perfectly under the bar from 22 yards out. It was a beauty.
We will need to see more of that. A lot more. It is time for Kris Boyd to knuckle down and deliver the goods.


For months Boyd has looked a sluggish, sullen and remote figure, struggling with the new shape and zip on the pitch under Tony Mowbray. He has looked increasingly demoralised at failing to bridge the culture gap in the Championship as chance after chance went begging and a shining reputation as a clinical finisher became tarnished and his body language has been that of an unhappy man.
He stopped making the runs, looked sluggish in the danger area, wasn’t alive to the ball in the box. And fans have been alarmed to point out that he has been at his most mobile when darting off the pitch and down the tunnel on the whistle while his team-mates are saluting the supporters.
The consensus was that he was an expensive luxury a cash strapped club could not afford – after Craig Bellamy, the all time record SPL goal-getter is probably now the best paid player in the Championship – and if Mowbray was to rebuild, along with the expected exits of Wheater and O’Neil, Boyd would need to be moved on and his wages recycled.
Boro never said so, the boss is too diplomatic for that, but the misfiring McMarksman has been in the shop window with a garish ‘for sale’ sticker plastered over him all month. Hurry, hurry, hurry. And not just sale. For short term hire at crazy, crazy prices. Cheap credit terms available. Inquire inside. No reasonable offer refused.
His agents have been busy fending off calls from some real football hotspots over the past month: Ruud Gullit’s big spending Terek Grozny of civil war ravaged Chechnya, two giant clubs in Moscow and a few ambitious outfits in Turkey too.
There was a link with Blackburn that wouldn’t go away – his agents have links to the group that helped engineer the chicken farmers buy out of Rovers – and his name on a list of transfer targets the boss knocked back appeared to have helped ease Sam Allardyce out of the hot seat. Then there were repeated tabloids assertions that Alex McLeish wanted him at Birmingham but one by one those vacancies were filled.
There have been a series of whispered calculations and fag-packet mathematics trying to make the figures stack up for a mooted return to Rangers, even if just on loan.
And right up to the fevered last few minutes of the deadline there seemed a myriad of unfolding possibilities as the exit of first Kenny Miller to Turkey then James Beattie to Blackpool left a big hole to fill up front at Ibrox and space on the Rangers wage bill.
But with the transfer window slamming shut a spell of uncertainty is over for Boyd. He knows now that he is at Boro for at least the next five months now and he will need to earn his corn.
Boyd has scored 200 goals and that is a laudable feat. Respect. But 194 of those have been in Scotland and most have come in one-sided games in which the Old Firm giants have bull-dozered some poor makeweights. He has been a flat-track bully.
His return in the far more competitive Championship has been, up to now, very disappointing. He scored five in his first 16 games: a neatly struck winner against Sheffield United in a 1-0 win, a powerful header in a 3-1 defeat at Derby and then bundled home in a 2-1 defeat at home to Leeds (Strachan’s last game) before netting in the 2-1 win over Crystal Palace (Mowbray’s frist victory) before pouncing to net in a 2-0 win in the next game at Scunthorpe early in November.
Five in 16 isn’t the worst ratio – and the three in six up to Scunthorpe away was excellent – but there has been a steady tail-off in performances along the way. Between the strike at Scunthorpe and last night’s sublime sweep he went nine without scoring (indeed, without looking like scoring) although he only made three starts in that sequence as he faded fast to become a fringe figure behind Leroy Lita and Marvin Emnes. Who would have predicted that scenario back in August?
But Mowbray, who knows he has his hands tied by the market and needs to get the best out of what he has got, has insisted that despite the recent diminishing returns Boyd can still have a big role to play – but that he needs to show more industry to justify his place. We can’t afford passengers. And the gaffer has been at pains to points out he has been working hard in raining and staying behind afterwards to put in extra work on his movement, finishing and fitness. Good. We need that little bit more too.
It has showed. He stetched to get in a neat flick on at Bristol for Leroy Lita to head home and has been a bigger presence in the box in his last few outings. We need that too.
In truth, Boro still can not afford Boyd in the Championship. He was bought by a club budgeting for promotion, that spent heavily to achieve that, got its recruitment spectacularly wrong and is now engaged in a furious belt-tightening exercise geared towards a massive reduction in the post-Prem millstone wage bill. Boyd, will still have to go in the summer and as soon as the season ends the sales pitch will start again.
And if we are to sell, at means it is imperative he has a barnstorming finish to the season, for the benefit of the stats column on his own CV and boosting his own viability in the market as much as the pressing need to secure Boro’s safety.
For the benefit of both player and club we need Boyd to be terrorising defences – or at least scaring them a bit – making well timed runs, creating things in the box, getting shots in and showing exactly what he can still do. More than anything we need him to start putting the chances away. In short, he has to do what he was bought for.
The mantra when he came was that if you gave him chances he would bury them and we have seen that in flashes. But we need that every game. Or at least every other game. We need him to shine in the games when erratic Lita fails to hit full speed. As our inching up-turn continues the team have been doing their bit. Gradually improving Boro are creating more chances. The stage is set. Now it is time for Boyd to deliver.
The win against Scunthorpe was another crucial building block in the foundations of a new Boro under Mowbray that will be built on survival this term, no matter how scrappy.
Boro have now gone six games unbeaten in the league and while there have been too many cheaply conceded points in disappointing draws that still rankle the slow but steady progress is nevertheless undeniable.
The shape is better and more solid, the team is playing with more spirit and belief and imposing a tempo and creating problems for the opposition, the academy graduates are grabbing their chance to shine, rehabilitated Leroy Lita and Julio Arca have taken centre stage and week by week Nick Bailey grows into a pivotal figure. The positives are slowly starting to pile up and a discernible shape is looming into view.
Boro are digging in when they need to, are ready to physically battle and not be bullied (check the card count in recent games) and are showing they can retain the ball for long spells of patient passing from side to side and back again if neccessary – and those spells far less often end with a jittery long lump forward. We ARE a better side now.
And that improvement is paying dividends. Nine points from five games is a decent return for a struggling side. And when was the last time Boro took an unbeaten run from before Christmas into February?
There has been a mental strength too as Boro have played three successive basement battles and not bottled it. We have come from behin dto win. We have taken points from promotion chasers. Wins at Bristol City and Scunthorpe either side of a draw with Preston is a fantastic yield from a crunch sequence of massive matches. Yes, we should have beaten Preston too… but this is Boro, not Barcelona.
This is a side that three months ago were dysfunctional, in disarray and drifting towards oblivion. We are still vulnerable. The gap behind us is slowly widening but is far from unbridgeable.
We need to step up a gear now and ensure we do not get dragged back down.
And to do that we need all our biggest players to deliver.

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83 thoughts on “Kris Boyd: McTime To Deliver

  1. I try to be positive!
    Do you think we will see a right sided midfielder as an emergency loan, AV? At least Leeds are after a few loan deals from PL to IMPROVE their squad – see below.
    “Leeds manager Simon Grayson has lined up several emergency loan deals.
    But under emergency loan rules players can be recalled after 28 days, and Grayson expects new arrivals at Elland Road when the window reopens later this month.
    “We weren’t in the market for squad players – we were in it for top players,” he told the Yorkshire Evening Post.”
    Change for us, too? Up the Boro!

  2. Well that’s a table booked for valentines night !
    It’s bound to end in tears though.
    Our lass hates snooker.
    Bdooosh !

  3. **AV writes: I think GHW, if he does stay away, will be missed. Every one that drifts away is missed. Getting them all back and rejuvenating the bond between fans and team is as big challenge as getting the team flying again.”
    I think the fan challenge will be a bigger challenge AV. I suspect that the population has moved on in its attitudes.
    I believe a lot of people who’s imaginations were captured by Boro being in the top flight and then, watching and realising that football has become more of a business contest than a sport, have been switched off from the game – not just Boro.
    Them, and those who have decided that they’ll stick with whatever Sky and the other TV networks offer, more cheaply, from the comfort of their living rooms, will take an enormous amount of convincing that Matthew Bates, Seb Hines, & Co are worth the money they’re paid (never mind those on Premier League rates), while family, friends and neighbours are made redundant or have their mortgage loans foreclosed.
    Football’s changing. But it’s very difficult to predict exactly which way it’s going to metamorphose next. The ruling today about the legality of having choice about which satellite broadcast service to use, could alter the face of the game in this country, as much as anything. It’ll be interesting to see how News International, Sky and the Premier League will react to that. It may take some time for the pubic to work it out, but you just feel that these events are going to have a significant effect over time.
    Personally, I’d like to see live spectator sport returned to the people and entrance prices restored to pre-TV influence days. We’d still get the guys who like to play football doing it because they like it and they’re good at it. They’d just get paid more sensibly and the rest of us could get in to watch matches with better live atmospheres, a lot more cheaply.
    But something would need to be done by the FA to either regulate migration of players ( unlikely on legal grounds) or to level out the distribution of funds coming into the game – a la American Football. The free-market system, as it’s applied in this country has ruined the game as a sport.
    I guess it may be fine if you like watching share values or other measures of business success. But I for one, am sick and tired of the rich getting richer, the strong getting stronger while the rest get ripped off by a biased system that only reflects business success criteria, creates a two tier economy, and relegates sport to second order importance to making or creaming off money from punters like “a boy named Tzu” or BoroPhil upon whose loyalty and dedication to their club the money-focused prey.
    It’s time for change.
    **AV writes: I agree with all that.

  4. Interesting to see in today’s EG article about our crocked midfield, Andrew Taylor is described as a midfielder. It’s been interesting to note that no-one has complained about square-pegging. Signs of the times and a more positive attitude from posters.

  5. It’s difficult to tell sometimes what the various coded messages are meant to mean – no, I don’t refer to the AV/David from Redcar PS conversation – but Mogga’s usually straighter than most.
    I’m presuming his latest pronouncement that Boro needed to ship out another two or three of the big earners in January ‘to steady the ship’ financially is meant to indicate not just that the job will be completed in the summer, as we know, but also to dampen any expectation about any more coming in on loan when the window opens again – or at least any that can’t be funded by someone else going out.
    It may also be intended to dampen the expectations of other clubs who still think that Boro can still pay up.
    Since The Prem clubs aren’t involved in the receiving end of this process the chances of any of the big earners going before the end of June are slim. I suppose there’s the chance of a QPR or Leicester splashing out – but what would attract them about Deep Fried Mars Bar Man? Arca or Lita might be a possibility, though, if their campaigns begin to falter.
    And, if Watford’s season started to stumble too, could they be tempted back in for Tayls?
    Who knows. But it seems likely that what we’ve got now – with a trickle gradually coming back from injury that will gradually improve us in ‘width’ (depth) but not that much in ‘quality’ – is what we’re going to have to look to keep us out of the mire and continue to inch upwards.
    I have to say, I continue to prefer Mogga’s more realistic appraisal of the aims for this season rather than the fug of foam hand fumes that has begun to flourish again.

  6. Bob at 2:27am –
    First of all, what are you doing up that late?
    Secondly, I think that the sign of the times is more that the posters trust Mogga and his judgement of a player, at least for now!

  7. Thanks Smog, great article as usual by Pearson. I endorse your view also about the Far Corner. A brilliant and often very amusing read for all grass roots footy fans.
    Spot on Richard and John Powls, particularly JP’s last paragraph.

  8. At 12:07, February 4, 2011 Richard wrote lots about the state of football generally in this country and then AV wrote “I agree with all that”
    Well, I agree with all that too. Very nicely reasoned Richard.
    I guess in the end we will all (not just at Boro) get the teams that we are able to afford and in times of austerity that there will be a lot of teams in the less prosperous regions of the country that are going to struggle to win large numbers of supporters back into their grounds.

  9. AV said “the techies are working on it. I am on first name terms with the top bods in Canary Wharf”. I can’t imagine why I find this funny.
    As for this weekend, Selhurst Park is all of 2 miles from where I live but some idiot has organised his son’s Christening for Saturday afternoon. The lad’s Godfather is not best pleased to be missing the game either..
    D’oh.

  10. I think Boyd will finish on about 15 goals this season. I can see a run of goals coming. He looks to be getting in the groove. I think all the transfer rumours have unsettled him and now he can focus on the scoring.
    @thepinkponce

  11. Haven’t posted for a while because the whole situation was so depressing after Strachan went leaving a smoking twisted crash behind him and no money left for repairs.
    We all know Strachan’s squad was rubbish. He spent £10m (an ammount that should buy the title in this poor, poor division) No pace, no creativity, strikers who couldn’t play togather and couldn’t score. We all know that.
    Most of us probably thought we were heading for relegation too. I did. results were awful. performances. That’s why crowds collapsed and the atmosphere shrivelled. There was no spark, no hope.
    But under Mogga I think that has changed. He is getting much more out of a poor squad, seems to know where and how thing sneed to be changed and is getting the best out if players Strachan had discarded
    We are not out of danger yet and we still have over-paid wasters who need shifting but I think we have bottomed out and are starting to climb up again. We can look upwards again. I think we can have hope again. I have confidence in Mogga sorting it in the summer.

  12. Daily Mirror: Newcastle have been linked with clubless ex-Arsenal and Middlesbrough striker Jeremie Aliadiere after selling Andy Carroll, loaning out Xisco and losing Shola Ameobi to injury.
    Now that’s great. Good luck to them!

  13. No problem with removing my PS. As I hit send I thought I’d probably crossed the line, I was trying to make a point about the management culture at the club where it comes from and all that sort of stuff. My PS was too brief and too specific.
    David from Redcar, you really didnt miss anything, have a good nights sleep!
    **AV writes: Good man. I’m glad you didn’t take offense. Some people do. I am not by instinct a censor and I prefer to reword things if possible to retain the point but defuse the problem. And I don’t like to just chop things without an explantion… but I realise that sometimes an explantion sparks other people’s sense of curiosity.

  14. As a man of maturing years I have time to sit and ponder the many problems our Boro now face.
    Whilst I was compiling my research on how clean sheets win matches, in the attic the other day, it came to me in an instant why our attendances have been so poor.
    It’s you.
    You are all asses.
    Good bye

  15. AV, should I have spelled clueless or clubless ex-Arsenal and Middlesbrough striker Jeremie Aliadiere in my earlier post?
    Just joking. Up the Boro!

  16. Anyone who’s going to Selhurst tomorrow – take your boots. My lad and I are; I think we can make the bench, defo!

  17. Just think on this. A landlady of a pub is taking her case to a European court over being fined for having a Greek satelite dish with Premiership feed. It is expected the ruling will go in her favour.
    That will give the opportunity for the EU to try and break the current collective bargaining in England. In turn that will lead to ‘competition’ so that the bigger clubs can negotiate individually for TV rights.
    Once that happens the rest of English football can kiss goodbye to the small amounts they get at the moment. The smaller clubs in the premiership will struggle, the rest of us will end up as glorified Conference teams.
    I am no supporter of Murdoch but nor do I think he is the root of all evil. Football is its own worst enemy, it has frittered the fortunes lavished on it.

  18. Just read this on the sky news pages… Mogga says..
    “The club, ideally in the window, would have liked to have lost one or two more just to financially steady the ship a little bit.”
    If the ship is not steady then is it at risk of sinking?
    Reassurance required. Gibson? Lamb? Uncle E? AV? anyone????
    **AV writes: Surely everyone on Planet Boro know what the situation is. We are carrying a £20m wage bill in a £10-12m division. If we want to rebuild the club on a stable footing then we need to address that. If we don’t then there is no money for transfers because right now every penny raised goes to pay the wage bill.
    Losing Wheats and O’Neil probably cut £2.5m off the wage bill (their replacemnets will be on 20% of what they were on I reckon); Arca is out of contract in the summer, there’s another £1m saved; Tayls signing a realistic new deal will save another £500k a year; that still leaves £5m a year or so to be trimmed… that is effectively Boyd, McDonald, Robson and Lita. They will have to go or we will be hampered next season too.

  19. AV’s response to David of Redcar shows you just how bleak the “summer rebuild” is going to be.
    That’s four first team regulars we need rid of, without replacements, to get the wage bill under control. Probably another higher earner (Bates? Emnes?) if you want to bring in a cheap replacement or two.
    You can also add Didier Digard to that list.
    An academy and loans team next year then?
    **AV writes: Digard! I knew I’d forgotten one.
    But they will all be replaced… but by players on far lower wages. Mowbray believes, and I agree with him that he can get better Championship seasoned players in who will fit more effectively into the shape of the team he wants to build for reasonably small fees and on a quarter of the wages.
    Every week Boro play against sides who have two or three players who would walk into our team, and most of them cost £250k and are on £2,500-5,000 a week. Do you seriously think we can’t get a more effective striker than Scott McDonald (who is probably on £17-20k a week)? Or a more effective midfielder than £25k pw Julio Arca? Or a more effective right back than £15k plus Justin Hoyte?

  20. Hoyte! I forgot about him myself…
    My fag-packet maths had Boyd, McDonald, Robson and Lita earning £100k/week between them (Boyd £25k, £15k the others) meaning we’d have to sell them all without replacements to take 5m off the wage bill. Signing four replacements on say, £4k/week, would only reduce the wage bill by £4m-ish.
    Mowbray is absolutely right of course, if he thinks he can replace (or even improve on) these players with much cheaper versions.
    Some of their replacements will surely come from the academy? I certainly like the idea of Franks and Park on either flank if they can be fast-tracked into readiness.

  21. Oh I’ve got myself in right mathematical tangle now. I don’t know who I’ve included in that £100k/week!
    I’ve shamed myself.

  22. Might I second AV in his reply to Andy R at 8.02pm?
    Incidentally, how much did Digard cost and what have been his wages that we have paid (excluding those paid by clubs to which he has been loaned)? We might as well have piled a mountain of money onto the pitch and set fire to it. At least it might have kept the crowd warm on a cold February evening.
    Ricketts, Gascoigne, Digard, Alves…… Mistakes Middlesbrough FC has made – an encyclopaedia in 36 volumes.
    We could still have a team whose players are paid many times the amount an expert paediatrician or orthopaedic surgeon receives, many times the pay of all but the very top few lawyers in the country and many times the pay of Prime Minister. In fact more than most of the players in the Championship.
    I suppose if at the end of the season a Championship team is selected, the chances are that most of our high earners (and maybe a fair chunk of those who would be in the highest XI by pay) would NOT be in that team.
    If, say, Boyd had hit the ground running in August 2010, and was closing in on 30 goals scored by the end of this season then firstly it might be argued he had earned his wages, secondly he would have probably assisted in securing promotion so that we would NOT then be facing financial meltdown.
    At the current time, if you added say 15 goals to our total, sprinkled amongst the games we have played, where would we now be in the table? Draws turned into wins, defeats into draws. And of course if we scored those goals, oppositions would have been demoralised and would not have scored those goals they went on to score in the 88th, 89th, 90+ minutes etc.
    Scour the leagues, Mogga. And keep an eye on our own youth (which is more than had been happening at this club for at least the last year or so).

  23. You can still get quality at the right price,two i can think of are Gunnerson at Coventry(free agent in june) and also Neil Danns at Palace.
    I also think because of alot of uneasiness regarding the economics of most teams, and the fact changes in how a club has to finance their clubs (another Platini brainstorm),there should be alot of interesting players available.

  24. The fact that we are paying high wages to several players is not the problem. If you want to achieve success (promotion) then you have to invest accordingly.
    The major bugbear is that those several players should be automatic picks by the manager for the first team every week. Unfortunately, because they are not good enough, that is not the case. If they were good enough they would have been snapped up in the transfer window.
    Look no further than recent player recruitment for several years as the reason behind our demise.I can’t think of one good buy, ie a player who has performed consistently well, in the last five seasons.

  25. Is it just me or is it all becoming a bit stale on here. We’re on a decent run and it seems to be all gloom and doom. I’m far from a foamie but dear oh dear, this is depressing. Everyone’s cup seems to be half unfilled (in deference to an earlier post) with some noteable exceptions.
    We are where we are, lets get on with it and at least try to be positive in some way. Lets see if the next ten posts can at least have one positive element to them and stop talking about wages for Gods sake!
    I’ll start….I see a big likeness to Joe Bennet and Colin Cooper. Boro through and through, commitment and even silly hair cut. He’s going to be a big, big player for Boro.

  26. Of course, there’s the end of the parachute payments to be factored into the equations too. What’s that, another £3 or 4m to be saved?
    I agree there’s plenty of more effective, Championship seasoned players out there to complement the (hopefully) continuing Academy production line.
    What’s also interesting is that we failed to nail any of them in January.
    Maybe that’s a feature of that particular window and Mogga’s plans stand a better chance of fruition in the summer – let’s hope so. We can’t now pay over the odds and we’re not based in London.
    If we can afford to hold onto Rockliffe as the main workplace for the players that will help but I’m not sure that there’s a big cadre of potential recruits waiting to come ‘because of Mogga’. As it stands, the levels of support – entirely understandable – at The Riverside aren’t going to galvanise many either.
    So, a big factor in attracting the lads we want for a decent crack at the league next year – and as the basis for that necessary momentum – is how we finish this season.
    Avoiding the mire, pushing on into mid-table stability and a few ‘marquee’ results in April for a top half finish would be a great set up. Mogga’s problem is that he has to achieve that with the overpaid and underwhelming group that the posts above discuss and who will all be clear that they’re out of the door as soon as it can be arranged. And then there’s the ravages of Crockliffe!
    Getting there would be some achievement. And I think it would turn round the decline in home support – even if it will take longer into next term and a realistic push for promotion with decent footy to get the numbers back up to around 20,000 on a regular basis and then above that.

  27. Mike Smog –
    Digsoft didnt seem to want to play Prem football either.
    GHW –
    The problem is that most of those highly paid players are injured are unavailable. Of course there is also Boyd who appears a misfit. Oddly he has looked either very dangerous and a real goal threat or a watse of space when I have seen him.
    As I have posted about Lita, at times he looks unplayable and at others as if he shouldnt be played.
    We are just not very good.
    On a general note I was speakiing to a Derby friend and the problem they have is that they had a left footed, tricky, maverick midfielder scoring goals for fun.
    They were playing good football but then people sussed how to play them. Stop the supply to Commons, be up for the fight, stay organised and Derby would implode. A slither started, Commons has left and now they are struggling.
    Sound familiar?

  28. What can we I say about today’s result/performance that has been said many time over the last three years or so? Nothing, so I won’t.
    We ll stay up partly through our own efforts and partly because their is so much crud in the chimpship. Also when the purge continues in the summer, we will have a much worse squad, but only on paper. On the pitch we will have a much better team.
    Roll on august!
    Problem is what to do with the next six months

  29. Now the link to be able to post on your Palace piece has disappeared – much like Lita, Boyd and McDonald yesterday – so I’ll tag this on to yesterday’s thread.
    Your report is spot on, AV. Nothing to add – there’s nothing more to say. But it all does re-inforce what I posted at 10:53 yesterday just before I set out for Selhurst.

  30. Said there was nothing to add – but I’ve just read Mogga on the MFC website. He says that they’d set up a Palace type defence to play against in training and failed to break that down – so, yesterday was no surprise! Oh dear.
    In the current circumstances, I’m not going to bang on about square-pegging but yesterday was my second experience of seeing Tayls in the midfield. Sorry, Mogga – I don’t see it.
    Yes, he can pass neatly to a red shirt – but in such a limited way that it makes little or no contribution. He’s no threat going forward and makes no difference to the tackling in midfield. He clearly doesn’t know the role and struggles with what to do in possession or without the ball. Having him trying to learn it ‘in flight’ just isn’t happening.
    If the only object of he exercise is to free Joe Bennett to move forward there are surely better ways.

  31. It’s all gone quiet on the Zemmama front. Does ‘no news’ mean ‘good news’ or is there another ‘Typical Boro’ on the work permit?

  32. I think it’s harsh to suddenly start using Andrew Taylor as a scapegoat again as soon as we lose one match.
    I didn’t go on Saturday, but the two game I’ve seen since he came back he has been excellent, he’s linked well with Bennett and barely gives the ball away (which is quite important and a skill we have lacked in recent times).
    It’s wrong to say he offers nothing going forward as well – in the two home games he did this on many occasions – he set up Lita’s open goal miss v Preston for one, and I’m sure there were others. He also did this well for Watford from full-back, I seem to remember him setting up Graham v QPR on TV.
    He’s something of an easy target, and he may have had a bad game on Saturday but let’s not jump on his back again straightaway?

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