Downing Vindicated By Big Club Move

BRIEFLY, on Stewie Downing… the Pally Park prodigy has finally come of age and joined a big club, although some may think he has still sold himself short but, hey, let’s not quibble. He will be an England squad shoo-in and tabloid darling now, a vindication of years of facing ill-informed flak from the poison pen rat pack. And he really is “one of our own.”

He was Boro’s most consistently creative force throughout his prolific spell here, the pin-point crossing assist king and his exit was a great loss as we said at the time, despite what the Riverside ranters had to say about him being a pea-hearted Fancy Dan. After an injury induce wobble in his first year at Aston Villa he has continued in that vein. According to Opta, Villa’s player of the year completed 135 crosses last term, the most by any player for three years. I bet Andy Carroll can’t wait. Get the pair in your fantasy team for next year.
The transfer will be sealed for around the £20m mark, which will make Downing the most expensive Teessider ever. The previous highest price paid for a parmo powered player was the £13.4m shelled out by Real Madrid for Jonathan Woodgate when he left Newcastle. Third is the £12m that Villa paid for Downing in July 2009.
Naturally transfer fees are up in the oxygen starved stupidcashosphere now and after decades of inflation you may well ask how much Brian Clough or David Mills or Gary Pallister were worth when they made their exits from Ayresome Park. Let’s have a look.
Clough left in 1961 for Sunderland for a then Boro record sale (and top price for a Teessider) for £45,000. In today’s dosh that is £700350. Bargain. In 1964 his erstwhile partner Alan Peacock left to join Leeds for a new record £65,000, or £921,000 in today’s terms. In 1979 David Mills joined West Brom for then new British as well as Boro record of £517,000, which today would be a relatively modest £1.83m. Gary Pallister (yes, I know he was born n Ramsgate but that was due to the diasBoro and he is as Teesside as the Transporter) left for Manchester United in a £2.3m deal in 1988, a cut-price £4.3m. I remember when this was all fields.
(I’ve got a time-tunnel currency ready reckoner open, if you want any other fees calculated while I’m here, shout up. Alf Common… £85,010 plus thruppence and a vat of dubbin.)


85 thoughts on “Downing Vindicated By Big Club Move

  1. Jarkko
    I hope he’s in the bargain bucket on the pavement outside the shop! There are a few more expensive items we need the display space and the shelving for!!

  2. Sandy –
    Isn’t it the case that Leicester’s intention this season is to go for promotion where as Boro’s intention is to ‘stabilise & consolidate’. I know we’re all looking forward to this coming season but for me we’ll have a good season if we’re competing in and around the top eight.
    If we lose any of Rhys/Robbo/McDonald/Lita/Bates then we’re not going to have a hope of going for the top six. The chances are we’re going to lose one or two from that list plus maybe others of our better players, Emnes, Hines etc.
    Cattermole for Liverpool? If that’s true it says a lot about where Liverpool are today, certainly not Champions League class.

  3. Good luck to Downing. When he played under McClaren he was playing within a framework that was defensively biased and not one which was designed to use him most effectively. Or rather, the team were set out with an emphasis on defence rather than attack and it is when he is defending Downing is far less impressive as a player.
    But at least Mac had a system. Gate floundered, the Club were on a slide and I don’t blame Downing for leaving.
    He did always seem to up his performance when Johnson was on the bench to remind him he wasn’t irreplaceable. I doubt he’ll be allowed a comfort zone at Liverpool.

  4. AV: TM is quoted in the paper as saying
    “They are fully aware of how we need to sell a player, we need to create a hole in our squad and we can’t do anything about it.”
    So he is quite clearly indicating that another player must leave before he can sign Anouar or another player, or maybe a player in his position must go before he can sign him
    But the Gazette said after Digard’s departure:
    “Digard’s departure will shave £2m a year off Boro’s wage bill and hot on the heels of the departures of fellow big earners Kris Boyd, Julio Arca and Andrew Taylor will give boss Mowbray some room for manoeuvre.”
    Where do you think the total-o-meter currently sits?
    Any idea what Martin’s addition is to the total wage bill? Assuming our froogle nature nowadays nothing more than 4k a week, the Championship average?
    How much more slash and burn is needed?
    **AV writes: The room for manoevere has been used to bring in Malaury Martin who Mogga clearly sees as a better value free signing. By my fag-packet maths we still need to lose around another £2m off the wages before there is any real freedom to wheel and deal which ideally is two of the big-earners that Mogga has already ear-marked as not giving VFM.

  5. Sandy @ 4:35am –
    By inference, I believe you answered your own question.
    We were calling it “recalibration” a few months ago. And since then, we shouldn’t lose sight of the new reality, even though to many “supporters” it’s so unpalatable as to cause their withdrawal. This is the new real world around here.
    There seems little practical point in lamenting what most have now accepted as the harsh reality that the owner is either unable, or unwilling, to further expose his personal wealth to the challenges of the modern game at it’s highest level.
    It was always going to happen. It was only a matter of “when”. The writing was on the wall several years ago as the inevitable consequence of relentless inflationary pressures led by the internationalisation of The Premier League. The drivers for that have also been well aired here and elsewhere.
    I’m absolutely LOVING the unravelling currently underway in the British arm of one of the responsible instruments! (Couldn’t resist that!).

  6. Dear paul bell –
    I was paraphrasing our very own AV from a blog entry when Gordon S first put a team together, it was supposed to be slightly funny, an attempt at humour, a joke even; i remember your comment at the time.. look it up – lol! That apart, I understand your chicken run anger, I really do; but this time you’re wrong – Mogga is the holy Trinity and under him we will be reconstructed.

  7. Paul Bell,
    Yes, I think you probably are the only person who thinks this!
    Are you really a Boro supporter?

  8. Hah! I always said that Downing would play for one of the big four. Which at the time included Liverpool. Though I’m not sure that it counts any more.
    My other prediction was that Cattermole would play for England. But maybe I should keep quiet about that one.

  9. Having just watched Dispatches- How To Buy A Football Club – I must admit that despite our current plight I am re-assured that we are owned by one of our own, perhaps through some Channel Isle vehicle but still one of us (are you able to clarify AV?).
    I am sure a number of my Pompey neighbours are still unsure as to who actually owns them such has been their trauma over the last few years.
    Sad to see Robbo involved also. In Tony AND Steve we trust.
    PS: Very disappointed about the non-appearance of Mosso for the recent friendlies. Surely Boro will never play closer to BJ’s homeland? Any clips of the celebratory ref on You Tube?
    **AV Writes: Boro are not registered, owned or administered abroad, although Steve Gibson as an individual is resident in the Channel Islands.
    Mosso never went to Slovenia but may get a run out at Darlo next week.

  10. Good grief, the SPL starts this coming Saturday! 23rd of July, is that the earliest ever?
    It has always intrigued me about the summer break, we are told players need a break from the game for both mental and physical reasons. Have we any bloggers who can give us any guidance on the needs of the footballer.
    In the past we had people who played summer and winter in professional sport, it doesnt seem to happen now.
    Other sports have very short breaks, tennis and golf for example. Others are more like football, both rugby codes.
    You could argue it is the physical nature of the sport that is the problem but do people with physical jobs get longer holidays than their office based colleagues.
    Cricketers complain they play too much but as Derek Randall said, how can fielding at cover in Australia be pressure compared to working down a pit.
    It could be the pressure but health professionals dont have a a two month break plus a months warm up at their jobs.
    There again teachers say they need their breaks.
    Maybe it is just down to what is custom and practice.
    Maybe we just like our football and get withdrawl symptons. I enjoy the summer sports but it must be awful if it is football or nothing.

  11. Mosso at Darlo?! – blimey AV you know how to live the high life………..
    Any rumours on who is going to leave next anybody?

  12. bishopswalthamboro –
    The dispatches show last night was a massive nothing.
    Some Asians want to buy football clubs for profit. They are doing it as a fund with fronted faces to get pass the rules. If SAF is your friend you are more likely to get his players on loan. If you use Robbo’s contacts he can put you in touch with managers that will lend you promising youth. The majority of clubs are owned offshore – its a tax break – WOW!
    That Asian matey clearly overplayed his connections with SAF – at one point his own story embarrassed himself and he could hardly look at the reporter – clearly there is some relationship. If it is a strong relationship SAF will appear at his bars again – if not matey has just blown his franchise.
    The whole show was a mess about nothing. They should not be doing some of the stuff they are, but everybody knows it goes on.
    Next they will do an insight on how players are contacted before they have permission to speak to a certain club. Waste of TV!
    It revealed some naughty stuff but nothing of major importance. Look at Leeds and the time it took for Ken Bates to claim he owned the offshore company.
    Nothing new, nothing shocking, nothing TV.
    NOTW super grass being found dead today….now that is an interesting story. Heart attack – natural causes is my guess…. although given the circumstances some people may suspect there may have been a small needle puncture wound.

  13. Good words from Rhys in the headlines.
    TM has truly got these youngsters buzzing.
    The fact that he is putting that other transfer on hold even though we have injuries in midfield.
    This is obviously from what he has seen from the youngsters in training and the frendlies.
    Its a pat on the back for them and a big boost in confidence.

  14. As for the coming season, I will be happy with progress. Promotion I think will be one season too early.
    I still think financially there are more clubs in trouble than us (maybe the above mentioned Dispatches programme cast some light on that?)so as long as we progress, build a team and play good football I will be happy.

  15. uxter –
    Agree about the progress for next season.
    Just after Xmas mid table would be progress.
    Before Easter top half and a mild flirtation with the playoffs would be progress.
    By the season’s end the picture had changed, finishing top half means progress is a serious play off campaign.
    Mogga has reinvograted the club, I just hope fans will show patience. It will take time to rebuild the club after the long slide to near bottom of the Championship.

  16. One more AV!
    Rhys Williams is quoted as saying: “This season we have a chance, and if we don’t quite manage it, then the manager will have another summer to bring in even more players.
    “I spoke to the manager and he says it’s going to be a long journey but if we can get up into the Premier League he’ll have money to spend and he said he’d keep us there.”
    Now doing some more maths:
    The golf club gives Boro a reported £6m a year.
    The Prem League has given us a one off payment of £8m this year.
    Season tickets £5m?
    TV under £1m.
    Now if we hit the £10m wage level braring a load of costs I have not counted this year (excluding previous debt costs which are probably quite high) this year as a single year will be quite good for the club.
    Now factoring in, reading Rhys’ comments, adding in TM past comments of “cutting the bush right back so it can regrow”, and your caution of how much further and who can leave this window…..
    It almost feels like the club will strip back to the bare bones this season, if we make play offs then what a bonus considering the little we have spent but the main thrust will be next year with a rearmed pool of cash to play with. Going for promo next year as the main target not this year (not that promo this year is not the aim, its just not being budgeted for in that order)
    1+1 = Championship football next year as the realistic view of the club, manager and players with promo in 2012-13 as the target?

  17. Uxter & Ian Gill –
    I agree with progress being the key word for the coming season. The play-offs are not impossible but we should be realistic about the squad and recognise the constraints that Mowbray is working under.
    Our time will come but 70 points and a top eight finish would be a good season for me.
    Anyone think we will do significantly better or worse? Well there’s the Paul Bells of course…

  18. Andy R – Anyone think we will do significantly better or worse? Well there’s the Paul Bells of course…
    HAHAHAHAHA. I like that. Sorry if we appear to be ganging up on you Mr. Bell.
    Well, I for one think we will do better. The spirit in the squad is there for all to see, which wasn’t at the start of last season. That being said, the points we dropped when Strichen was here are now up for grabs.
    I would be happy to be close to the play offs or thereabouts at seasons end.

  19. Can anybody tell me if Richie Smallwood is in any way related to John [Mocka]Smallwood of Dormanstown?
    Mocka was a good footballer when we were kids,and used to have relations in Warrenby. He would be in his 70’s now and could still show a clean pair of heels to some of the so called stars of today. Fond memories of the friendly wars between Dormo and Warrenby.
    Hoping someone
    can enlighten me Phil Wilson.
    **AV writes: You could try asking on the Remember When board as well. They have a slightly older demographic there.

  20. Agree with general comments regarding Boro and positioning this coming season, play- offs possibly a bridge too far and a tad optimistic.
    I was somewhat mischievous comparing Leicester’s intentions and Boro’s – two teams in different leagues in terms of finances and stability, however the essence is that we all wish the Boro well for this coming season, within which Mogga can look at the squad, evaluate and strengthen (subject to cash in the cleaning lady’s bicci tin) for a push in season 2012/2013.

  21. Sandy –
    I think most of us here agree with the play offs being a tough ask but what is the view of the wider Boro fanbase?
    We tend to discuss the options, problems and likely outcomes between us and come to some form of consensus. Not living on Teesside I would be interested on the views on the street. Any chance of a few straw polls from those lucky to live in the five mile Boro catchment area. (Is Jersey in the five mile zone?)

  22. I never thought I would see Phil stamp in a list like this…..
    To start us off, here’s Martin Laplace, who wrote from Argentina with a whacking great list. “In South American ESPN transmissions, Luis Omar Tapia is known for his great nicknames for almost every famous player,” writes Martin. Here are his examples:
    Andrés Iniesta – Casper
    Carles Puyol – Tarzan
    Fabio Coloccini – The MGM Lyon
    George Weah – Mufasa
    John Carew – The Giraffe
    Phil Stamp – The Mummy
    Guti – Shaggy
    Marc Overmars – Roadrunner
    Paolo Maldini – Highlander
    Pavel Nedved – Patrick Swayze
    Pedro Munitis – Smurf
    Ronaldinho – Jar Jar Binks
    Ryan Giggs – Private Ryan
    Sammy Khedira – Jafar
    Thomas Gravesen – Shrek
    Zinedine Zidane – Harry Potter

  23. Surreal, GHw….
    Really want to keep Rhys Williams if possible. Any chance of putting it about on the internet that he is rubbish so as to put off potential PL suitors?
    I suspect most would say we aren’t good enough to challenge this forthcoming season, but secretly hope we might get into the play-offs, and then anything is possible.
    With the money Leicester are spending, they look like being the Bookies’ Middlesbrough of last season. Let’s hope they have as much success as we did.
    And tip for the first managerial casualty of the 2011/12 season? What odds on Harry Redknapp? You heard it here first….

  24. The Championship this season is going to be tougher than it normally is.
    Put this down to the caliber of management in the league – Mowbrey, McClaren, Eriksson and Allardyce to name a few.
    Add to this the spending of the Foxes and the payments recieved by the teams coming down.
    With these payments being extended it should mean less drastic changes in the first year.
    Still believe a yo-yo team is far better off than a team in the bottom half of the prem as they have the best of both worlds.
    Will be very satisfied if we are up there close to the play offs by the end of the season.

  25. I read Phil’s reports from the trip to Slovenia and the last paragraph in the last report talks of a young and relatively inexperienced squad.
    It reminds us of the importance of having experience down the spine of the team. Whether you think we shoud keep the likes of McManus, Robson, Thomson, McDonald or not doesnt matter as long as we have their ilk in the squad.
    If we keep them then the next challenge is keeping them fit, easier said than done.
    If we let them go then we will need suitable replacements. If we can achieve that and get a sizeablle reduction in the wage bill that would be a huge bonus.
    Thommo is the biggest problem either way because he spends most of his time in the treatment room so doesnt contribute on the pitch nor can we sell him.
    As we need a keeper how about getting Turnbull on loan from Chelsea, is he still there?

  26. At the end of last season, I thought with a couple of astute,in comings and outgoings, knowing this division we could aim for a play off position.
    But seeing what is going on around this league as far as what other teams seem to be doing, its raising some concerns for me now.
    The season is starting soon,and different to other seasons, can you really pick the teams who will struggle?
    Where are our goals going to come from on a consistant basis? Is the goalkeeping situation where we want it? Who is the ball winner? Where is the cutting edge?
    It seems a number of players are injury prone too. I hope Im wrong in thinking,we might struggle over the course as things stand now

  27. Just noticed that pre season is of benefit – GHW is making sure that he is getting into the blog more often, getting across the posts early to be in the right position.
    The danger will be when he pulls away from the markers to appear at the back post at just the right time.
    Following on from GHW’s list of characters
    Mido – Jabba the Hutt.
    Mogga – James Onedin (Wikipedia … was a penniless sea captain with aspirations to greater things) Rugged good looks as well.
    Juninho – Road Runner.
    Southgate – Sergeant Wilson, Mavis Wilton or Eeyore. Take your pick
    Alan Foggon – Alf Tupper
    Ziege – The Grinch
    Thats for starters

  28. Ian Gill – There was an article in Mail a couple of weeks ago, which included comments from the Chelsea goalkeeping coach. He praised Turnball highly and said when he arrived there he was still inexperienced and was a “reactive” keeper. Since then he had progressed to being much more “proactive and anticipatory”. Blowing his own coaching trumpet a bit, but sounds reasonable – keepers mature with experience and anticipating what is going to happen is where the top keepers beat all the others.
    As far as getting him back, the comments today from TM about Coyne starting as first string and looking for a second choice, as Riply is still too young, suggest that it wont be someone like Turnbull coming back. Equally not Stockdale from Fulham – I see Hodgson wants him out on loan, but not at a premiership club. I guess if Steels prognosis had suggested six months out, then TM might have looked differently on it. As it is, it seems like a make do and mend solution to save spending precious money there.

  29. Juninho to play in the PSV friendly match – good move that’ll add to the general feel good feeling that Mogga has brought to town.

  30. I will have the last laugh when the club are relegated. Gibson has no interest in the club now. He has turned full circle,back to the Amer era,of doom and gloom.The club WILL be relegated because he is letting all the experinced players go. Can’t rely on academy players. Look at Leicester, Forest and Ipswich all brought in experience and i expect those three clubs to be promoted.

  31. paul bell said:
    I will have the last laugh when the club are relegated.
    You can have it Paul. Nice to see that the ego status of saying the club will go down is important to you. Last laugh – all yours, well done.
    You can have my slow clap now.

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