Brum Deal For Bungling Boro

DEFEAT snatched from the jaws of victory…. *sigh*
Somehow Boro contrived to a lose 3-2 at Birmingham after twice leading.
Three collosal cock-ups cost precious points after what had been as dominant a first half as you are likely to see this weekend. Bikey finally got caught out after riding his luck with high risk tackles week in, week out, Steeley developed Brad Jones aerial flappy wrist syndrome for the second in a rare lapse of concentration then Josh McEachran, good going forward but who struggled when under the cosh, played a sloppy stray sqyuare ball and got punished. By Marlon King, naturally.
Boro were in command op but failed to make it count, then lost their rhythm, lost their composure and finally lost any semblance of a grip on the game against a limited and demoralised side suddenly galvanised by the gifts.


I still can’t believe we came away empty handed. Neither can Lee Clark. He was gleeful in his post match comments knowing he had wriggled off the hook : in the first half with Boro a goal up and ripping his side open the fan unfurled a ‘Clark Out’ banner and it raised the first cheer of the night from the home fans.
Had Boro got a second then, or had they seen out half-time without conceding that penalty Birmingham would have been booed off and the atmosphere – already tense – would have weighed heavily on a team that looked as poor as we’ve seen this term. Instead they went in somehow alive and level after being taken apart.
After that the game slowly swung against Boro. They scored a second – the scrappiest goal so far this season that featured two flaps at a loose ball on the ground by the keeper plus an ankle high attempted header by defender Ibanez before Scott McDonald dug it out and stabbed it home – but then conceded the pivotal second very quickly.
Again, if they had held out then – hoofed it clear in the scramble at the edge of the box, closed down Elliott to prevent the lob, Steele got a decent fist on it – and tightened up for five or 10 minutes it would have been job done.
As it was that goal gave Birmingham a massive list, they piled forward and Boro wilted.
The result and the transformation in the respective shapes, attitudes and tempo by the end was almost unimaginable 44 minutes in. Boro were so much on top in a one sided match it was embarrassing. The localpress lads couldn’t believe how dominant Boro were (although they were keen to stress that City are routinely awful).
That’s the Championship for you. If you don’t score goals when you are on top (McDonald opted to try a fancy chip when through one-one-one when a low drilled effort on target would do and Jutkiewicz again squirted headers everywhere but the goal) then you run the risk of letting teams off the hook – and if you can’t defend when under pressure then you are going to get caught.
Stiil, its no disaster. Boro are well placed and have a trip to basement boys Peterborough up next. What could possibly go wrong?

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61 thoughts on “Brum Deal For Bungling Boro

  1. Ian –
    Do you not think that Robbo was himself partly responsible for being played on the wing rather than in the middle?
    I loved Robbo. Wherever and whenever he played his combination of quality left peg and frightful combustablilty made for great entertainment. I would have loved us to have found a way to retain him for one more year. But he wasn’t a disciplined player, and besides the obvious I’m also referring to his positional play.
    There were plenty of games when he was played wide (or even at full back once I think) to cover injuries or because the gaffer didn’t fancy the alternatives, but most of the time I think he played wide because he wasn’t trusted in central midfield. Even by Strachan.
    **AV writes: When he felt aggrieved (which was often) he would stomp and snap and charge around the pitch, not only running the risk of getting booked (which was often) and undermining the collective concentration but also leaving big gaps in midfield to be exploited by the opposition.

  2. AV said: “When he felt aggrieved (which was often) he would stomp and snap and charge around the pitch, not only running the risk of getting booked (which was often) and undermining the collective concentration but also leaving big gaps in midfield to be exploited by the opposition.”
    I agree with that.
    To be fair to Robbo he’s not alone in this. I though that Gary O’Neil was a frustrated centre-mid who didn’t hold his postion well enough to be trusted there. Even Steven Gerrard has had problems there and was often shunted forward or wide.
    It shows what a tough position central midfield is. At our level, Grant Leadbitter looks as good as there is.

  3. Andy R and AV –
    Dont get me wrong, it was time for Robbo to move on. All I was doing was sticking up for him. He was never perfect but people just writing him off is wrong.
    It was the very attributes/flaws that you mention made the whole point of playing him on the right wing pointless. To use him to his best advantage was to use those fires that burnt within him.
    He was the player to drive the team forward, if he was going to do that you needed someone to mind the shop. After the supine displays that got us relegated he was a breathe of fresh air, make that fresh fire.
    It is all academic because he has gone. As I posted it was time for him to move.
    Here is a piece of mischief. Robbo had 13 yellow cards and a red last year. Leadbitter has had five cards already and been suspended. Bet Leadbitter gets up around that total.
    It goes with the territory, someone has to put the foot in. If nobody is doing it you get over run.

  4. Ian –
    I think Robbo in the middle needed two players to mind the shop, that was the problem with him there. A bit like Arca (though in another way!), I think he would have been better in a central three rather than a two.
    I don’t think he was pointless on the wing though. It may not have made the most of his qualities but it limited his deficiencies and his managers, including the one who brought him here, must have thought that was best for the team overall.
    Interesting point on Leadbitter’s card count. One to watch.

  5. Their second goal was a fluke, hard to blame Steel as he did what most other keepers do and stood a few yards off his line and was unfortunate that the shot dipped over him. Shades of Roberts v Chelsea.
    Bikey had his usual disaster moment. The challenge was over the top,and we can probably see why successive bosses have dumped him. Their third was by courtesy of a diabolical pass by McEachran that put them clear.
    Lets hope this mini slump doesnt turn major,we dont want to fall too far behind the two “Cs”.As for the general consensus some bloggers have hit on the fact that pretty possesion football does not win games and making too many mistakes loses games,simple really.

  6. First we hear that PL clubs awash with money are getting away with only paying 0.5% corporation tax on their billions due to the fact their accountants are able to show that they’re all broke – the ‘sorry guv we’ve blown it all’ excuse.
    Now we see that one of these PL clubs is going to be gifted a tax-payer financed £400m stadium with a further £180m being spent to enable it to be used for the odd athletics event.
    Though some things just don’t add up – how can spending £180m on additional ‘removable’ seating end up reducing the the stadiums capacity from 80,000 to 60,000?
    Also will West Ham find another 25,000 fans to fill their new stadium? they’re already heavily in debt and don’t have a billionaire owner like Man City so I can’t see them building an expensive team of ‘watchable’ stars – especially not managed by Fat Sam.
    Perhaps Sullivan, Gold and Brady will be able to use this windfall to sell on the club at a massive profit to a prospective billionaire seeking a new hobby in London.
    Still at least the Olympic stadium has found a use other than holding a three week party – value for money? not something that usually occupies the minds of governments and PL football clubs.

  7. Werdermouth:
    The normal accounting rules seem to be suspended when we talk about football.
    English clubs making enormous losses year on year (how many of the 92 actually made a profit last year?) yet they still carry on trading….some of them must be trading whilst insolvent so how come the directors seem to get away with it.?
    A small minority of clubs may have rich sugar-daddies to pay the bills (though one wonders how “clean” all that money is)….vast sums of money sent abroad for players some of whom are of very doubtful value, and to agents, in a manner that makes one think of money-laundering compliance etc….ridiculously inflated wages for players that might be appropriate and even affordable for the superstars employed by a few very rich and successful clubs but wages which also seep down to “lesser” players and to clubs that clearly can’t afford it….
    Organised crime hiding drugs money or other ill-gotten gains in multi-million pound deals for players no-one has heard of before, and may not hear much of in the future, anyone? Or even, lets say, £2m goes one way to a Colombian club and a £5m “facilitation fee” to the player’s “agent”, whilst the player comes to the UK shortly followed by a number of “shipments”. The “shipments” will be sold on but the player sadly fails to meet expectations and disappears back to Colombia (or wherever) with little said. A crime waiting to happen?
    And normally if one uses an agent, one has to pay his fee. For example if an employer uses an agent to fill a particular vacancy (headhunting), the employer will pay a fee when the vacancy is filled, maybe a flat rate fee, maybe a fee depending on the pay given to the new employee and the number of years/value of the contract. Or an agent empoyed by an actor or an artiste might be expected to find contracts for the actor/artiste and may receive a salary, or a commission depending on the contracts secured.
    In football, as well as the few well-known agents, it is possible for a player to use the PFA or a solicitor/accountant as their agent, to negotiate the terms of a new “deal” (in which case the player would pay a fee or even an hourly rate for the work done on his behalf). But it would be the player who pays the fees, and he should know that the agent is working on the player’s behalf. But we regularly have the situation in football that part of the deal is that the “buying club” will pay the agent’s fees for the player.
    We have all heard: “He who pays the piper calls the tune”. Where do the loyalties of the agent lie – with the player or the paying club? What if there is a conflict?
    How about: “Look, Agent, you want £XXXXX per week for your player. Instead of that, how about you tell him you can only get £XXX, times are hard. To sweeten the deal will give that other out of contract player on your books, who has been looking for a club for over a year, £XX. You get our target cheaper for us, we get you out of a hole with your other player. You get two fees. We’re all happy…”
    Or – back to Wedermouth – why should public money, contributed to by taxpayers from Penzance to Peterhead, go to help a professional football club in a league said to be awash with money? Posssibly to the detriment of other local clubs (Leyton Orient anyone?) with much less money but still supported by fans who love their club as much as anyone expressing a fondness for bubbles?
    We forget that active support for football is a minority activity. More people go to church in England on a Sunday than go to all the Premier and Football League games at the weekend. Any chance the government might find £200M for an absolutely state-of-the-art Cathedral to be built near Northallerton as there aren’t any in the near locality?
    Honestly, it could be made available for use by other community groups as well – Mothers’ Union, Mother + Toddler Groups, reading lessons for those who missed out on schooling, pensioners groups can use the attached Hall, and the local judo group as well as Slimming World and the local history society. Everyone would benefit. And we could also build one near Berwick and another near Tiverton, and it would still cost less than the Olympic Gift to West Ham.
    It would be complete madness. But then football and its economics are mad. I just hope I’m not next to it when the baloon bursts because it’s going to be some explosion.
    **AV Writes: And every time a club moves towards rationalising their finances, inject some sanity into their wage structure, use logical and well planned recruitment process, move away from big money/big agent moves they come under pressure from fans for “lacking ambition.”
    Millionaires who have never played a first team game, £100 tickets, agents getting £2m to facilitate a free transfer… football in this country is based on the economics of the madhouse and the hope that the music does not stop.

  8. No wonder Mogga will be unlikely to buy in January. Woodie,Main, Arca, Carayol, Friend, Haroun all in various stages of getting back to fitness.
    It looks like McManus is going nowhere soon, we are now told Williams is two players.

  9. Ian –
    How about the young Gibson lad coming back from Tranmere? If I remember right Pallister and Wheater were on loan something like three months at Darlo (or similar) and they came back as first team players. This lad has played half a season in a team on the top of the third tier!
    Yes, depending on the injuries we do not need many inforcements in Januray. Of course, if Steve Gibson approves, we could do with a goal taker like Danny Graham. But I don’t know if the Swansea striker is available on loan or if he suits our team pattern. But at least he not playing currently.
    Up the Boro!

  10. Just read that McEachran could be recalled by Chelski in January due to Obi Mikkel being at the African Cup. That would be a big blow for our promotion chances.
    Any behind the scenes insight AV?
    **AV writes: We’ll ask after the game.

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