Frustrating And Flawed But Job Done

WELL, Boro made hard work of that and left it very late… but at least they clawed their way through. We don’t have to go to deepest Hampshire for a replay. And we are in the hat for the last 16. And that’s all that counts. Job done.
There is no automatic right of passage for the higher placed team. Ask Norwich and QPR. Ask Aston Villa. Twice. And ask Sunderland and Newcastle. These games are always a grind. Expectations are high and rarely met. You just have to get through.

There was a lot of dark muttering about how useless Boro were, and yes, the first half especially was very stodgy and low tempo in the build up and it was very hard work breaking down a side that are struggling in League Two. And there were a few very poor individual. Yes we are looking at you Marvin. It was very frustarting.
But it is not just about Boro being sluggish. Credit to Aldershot: they were well organised and well motivated and came with a plan. They were very tight at the back, they worked very hard without the ball to close Boro quickly and squeeze the space. They did a decent job as an away team playing a higher tier side. They did what we did at Sunderland. Only not as effectively. Aside from their goal – which was well taken after a superb first touch – they did not force a single real save from Jason Steele.
They came close and in Danny Hylton they have something to celebrate. His goal made him top scorer so far in this year’s cup with eight and he has scored in every game since they entered at the first round proper. That goal had the national writers in the packed press box delighted with an easy intro (no Newcastle or Sunderland games for our regional writers this week so they all wanted a slice of Boro)… and all the Teesside press corps (us, the Beeb, Cox and the Echo) cringing at the prospect of a long trek to Hampshire on a Tuesday night.
But yes, credit to Boro too. For all the problems they stuck to the task. They ground Aldershot down and then having been pegged back clawed over the line seven minutes into stoppag time. Dogged stuff. And for all the frustration it was not as if Boro struggled to create chances. Boro bossed possession and carved them open often enough.
Their keeper made a string of excellent saves that kept them in it: from Nicky Bailey’s downward header, from Stuart Parnaby’s angled drive, from Zemmama’s low effort, from a Jutkiewicz shot, from Williams’s cracking angled wallop on the over-lap. And another effort from Williams through a crowd was blocked on the line by a defender too.
On another day one of those early efforts would have gone in and maybe the game would have fizzled out into a dull routine 1-0 or 2-0 win, never to be mentioned again, filed away under functional but uninspiring. At least now it has a story: the late, late show in injury time added on for a crocked lino… and another object lesson to the habitual early leavers in why they should never slink off before the final whistle.
And there were a couple of good individual displays that deserve mentions. Adan Reach was lively and direct and put in a couple of excellent crosses while industrious Jutkiewicz worked himself to destruction and took a lot of knocks for his trouble and then scored two good goals to take him into double figures (from just 14 starts). Not bad.
So it wasn’t the best display but job done. We’re in the hat. In cup games that’s all you can really do. Mogga was talking about wanting to draw a big club to excite and test the team. No thanks. I’ll be happy with Luton at home and the best possible chance of progress. We are two wins from Wembley.
Come on ball six!


46 thoughts on “Frustrating And Flawed But Job Done

  1. Love this phrase…”maybe the game would have fizzled out into a dull routine 1-0 or 2-0 win”. There would be nothing routine about a clean sheet, they are very rare events. Even our supreme optimist Jarrko presumed an Aldershot strike in his 5-1 prediction.
    Still, a win is a win, and we’re through to the next round. Pleased for Jutkiewicz who has been taking a lot of stick recently.

  2. Mowbray needs to stop tinkering, playing people out position is just plain crazy, decide who your best 11 are and play them week in week out. They will establish a understanding how to play together instead of running round like headless chickens.

  3. As Bob said, a win is a win, however, still cannot keep a clean sheet, they are learning nothing, even TM fiddling with the three at the back line up.
    If the papers are to be believed, which I found UN-believable, the signing of Kieron Dyer, or perma-crock as John calls him, shows just how far Boro have fallen in the financial sense. I really cannot see what he will offer more the the likes of some of the fringe players, and he certainly has no pace now.
    AV, what has happened to the Bennet money, as we were told at the time we did not have to sell, or was that tongue in cheek, or have things deteriorated even further??
    This year could be our best chance of promotion, with next seasons additional money in the Premiership, the relegated teams will be more awash with cash, increasing the have and have not gap even more. Surely there must be a little money somewhere for the right player to be found to help the cause.
    **AV writes: There is no “Bennett Money.” It wasn’t put in a little box and marked “transfer kitty”. It has been swallowed by the day to day needs of the club. All income the club can raise goes to run the operation as a whole.
    The club is currently losing about £800k a month, and Gibson is writing a cheque out for that. There is no outside financial pressure – no banks or major creditors to pay – hence no “need” to sell but equally, the club is far from flush and there is no room in the wage bill to commit to long term contracts unless the manager can clear space first. That situation will ease in the summer when the McManus and Bailey deals are up and those wages can be redistributed.
    Hence the need for dirt cheap or free transfers, loand or creative work in the market. Mogga doesn’t want t o go out and find a 34 year old with a chequered past and a lengthy injury record. He has to. People say “why not get Robson instead?” Robson is 34 as well but he will want a two year deal at £8-10k a week and we haven’t got that money right now even we wanted to invest it in him.

  4. As an exile, I’ve been to seven away games and one home this season. Not a single point won and a paltry five goals scored. So you must make allowance that I no doubt have a distorted view of our form.
    Early in the season, I was fearful. I had gone to Barnsley because I had been ecstatic at our performance there early last year: zilch, gone backwards. Millwall did nothing to cheer me up and next up I went to Blackpool – need I say more?
    Boro were better at home this season so I made the trek for the Leicester game. Bad choice. I was clearly a jinx so I stayed away for some time.
    The game at Cardiff was when I first saw this team come together. They played lovely football especially in MF. That was the first confirmation for me of what Mogga was developing and evidence we were in the right direction.
    But, despite ‘being the better team’, we lost. Reflecting in the days afterwards, that was when I developed my concerns. The unnecessary defeats at Birmingham and Swansea further exposed the weakness and reinforced my concerns.
    In my experience, admittedly fatally skewed, Boro are falling short of being an effective team. I have been delighted with much of our play. You can see what Mogga is striving for and we have the makings of a very good, attractive Championship side – but we’re not there yet.
    As others have pointed out, there are echoes of Mogga’s WBA team. At our best we play pretty football, especially in MF, but too often it leads nowhere. We often dominate games but lack the killer punch. All Boro’s possession counts for nothing if there’s no end result.
    McEachran is a case in point. He’s our most creative MF but he’s been sucked into our sideways-playing ‘artistic’ style. He has top class dribbling skills but how often does he drive into the area? He’s caught the disease.
    Others have pointed out that plenty of promoted teams have not had a 20-goals-a-season forward. This Boro won’t go up without one. In my judgement, we’ll finish close to the 6th place we currently occupy.

  5. Yesterday clearly showed the value of Lukeyjuke to the team in terms of workrate and attitude alone. Hopefully the goals will herald a purple patch given the absence of Scotty Mac.

  6. I was hoping an untypical Boro goal-scoring treat after a month of good play but a dross of goals. But it was not to be. But as Mogga put it, is is never easy and think about Norwich-Luton result! At least we are still in the Cup and the Wembley dream lives on.
    Everybody knows the Leagua is the priority but still the Cup has it’s charm. I just hope a home draw – and preferably against a lower league side. Dreaming of a Wembley appearance is why we are fans. And if we go out next round we can always say that it’s better to concentrate on the League, anyway.
    So let’s enjoy every win we can get. Now to Ipswich for a real test … Up the Boro!

  7. Another tinkering tactical master class which for the first 30 mins was totally confusing. Was Rhys at LB or was he playing in midfield, Hines and Parnaby looked like they hadn’t a clue between them who was supposed to do what or where and who would take responsibility, Bails was all over the place and Marvin … well lets not even go there.
    After 60 mins the penny dropped, Mogga changed things so that the tactics were slightly less confusing but still ineffective against the white wall. Halliday coming on at LB sorted out the defensive confusion which up to that point only Bikey seemed on his game.
    Reach was one of the positives in the first half as his forays caused turmoil for the Shots down the flank, Zemmama actually looked composed and for me had one of his best games for us stroking the ball around the park and buzzing all over. The Juke scrapped and battled in vain along with his by now obligatory wayward shooting over the bar, and so the grind continued.
    The arrival of Leadbitter was the signal that things were getting serious and we needed to put one last effort in to sort this one out. There were still some wayward crosses from Parnaby and Grant himself but we were at least knocking on the door. In the end a pearler of a cross from Reach saw the Juke just on the 6 yard box at the far post get his head to it and it went in by the narrowest of margins just past the reach of Young in the Aldershot goal.
    Phew! Or at least it was Phew until Ledesma donned his clown suit again and sloppily gave the ball away which led to a breakaway attack with Hylton calmly slotting past Steele on a one on one.
    The thought of a long coach trip in midweek must have been the catalyst for dropping the pretty passing windscreen wiper passing game to launching the ball down the pitch for the Juke to scrap, battle and eventually out-muscle his opponent to clip the ball past the outstretched Young and in off the far post. Game over as the forlorn shirts in white who had just spurned a corner by opting for time wasting see their dreams expire.
    Interesting to note that Juke’s goals came when he was either in the box or surging down the middle. Also worthy of mention is the contrast between Marvin’s indifferent efforts and Hylton who cleared snow of the pitch midweek to ensure he would get a game against the Boro and gave his all for his team. If Mogga wants to put a Striker out on loan it certainly shouldn’t be Curtis, I don’t think we need a show of hands to guess who it should be.
    The Kieron Dyer link fills me abject despair, he is not the sort of individual I would want to see at this club, I don’t think I could stomach watching him in a Boro shirt. Then taking into account his Thomgate levels of fitness regardless of “pay as you play” leaves me ice cold. Just raises more uncomfortable questions in my mind. One scuffed sitter that goes begging or pulling up with a hammy within 15 minutes of his debut and the stage is set for more negative frustration. Gibbo steer well clear please!
    And finally I’m pleased that Fergie reads this blog and took my advice on the previous Leicester blog by taking the Penalty responsibilities off Rooney and giving it to Giggs as advised by my good self, glad to be of service Alex (removes tongue from cheek).

  8. There is a huge part of me, the stupid, romantic side that would far rather win the FA Cup than be promoted.
    The Dyer situation is interesting, presumably he’ll be dropped into the team in place of Ledesma, which from what I’ve read of yesterdays’ match, won’t be a bad thing. I’m sure I’m not the only person who isn’t surprised by Reach’s performance, but generally surprised by his continued omission.
    AV said ‘McManus and Bailey deals are up’ – presumably with Bails on a large appearance fee per game, I’ll assume this a contributory factor in his lack of matches and also that he won’t be re-signing in the summer unless he takes a hefty pay cut. Assuming that Mogga wants him.
    Fair play to Gibbo for his continued financial support.

  9. Interesting financial summary AV. It certainly hits home the realistic picture of how TM has to work with one hand tied behind his back.
    I recall lots of murmurings when we signed Paul Merson, granted they were under different circumstances, but he did a good job in getting us back up. Whether Dyer can do something remains to be seen, but let’s at least give him a chance. I keep seeing fans write “in Mogga we trust” perhaps in this particular case we should.
    As for the game, just glad we are in the hat. Reach and Juke were the two that shone, with Zemmama close behind. Looking forward to the draw, hopefully a big Premier League club and see the Riverside full and rocking!

  10. Well I heard they didn’t deserve it, but just look at the stats.
    As you say, just get through. Looking forward to a top team home or away, or a minnow at home.
    Form doesn’t seem good at the moment but I’m confident it will improve.

  11. ….Meanwhile back in the real world, we quietly slipped down to 6th place in the championship, after a routine win by in form Watford.
    The harsh reality is that the cup run is going to get in the way of what we really want, and that’s a play off place at least. I don’t want to be a kill joy, because I love cup runs of course. But the saving grace is that at least we avoided a replay, the worst possible outcome.
    But the next round will interfere with another Championship game, and the fixtures will begin to pile up. It was an awful game yesterday, but I have seen worse.
    However, rarely have I seen such an inept display such as the one Emnes gave yesterday. I really don’t want to see a Boro player become another “boo boy.” But his recent performances have been absolutely dire.
    Which brings me onto another subject, the signing of Kieran Dyer. Could be a masterstroke if – and it’s a big if – we can keep him fit. I agree with Mogga he could offer something different for us in this tight league, so why not give him a try?

  12. Many moons ago when Marvin came back from Swansea and started doing well for us it was designated as a masteroiece of Mogga coaching.
    Dont type your responses yet, calm down and read the words.
    I opined that neither GS1 or GS2 could get him playing and that it was probably between Marvins ears that held the solution. I doubted that Mogga could take sole responsibilty.
    Now either Mogga is a pants coach or the problem is still between Marvins ears. I favour the latter as the likely cause of his drop in form.
    His languid style does him no favours as when he he is playing well he is the best player to watch on our books. The converse that when things are not going well he doesnt look good.
    The signs were there last year when he played in the hole, too many shrugs and slow trots back when he put us in a mess.

  13. Despite snatching the win, yesterday’s was a poor performance. But then – we could have been Liverpool, couldn’t we?

  14. Missed yesterday’s game. Didn’t miss much, by the sound of things, but it was extremely nerve-racking watching the final few minutes tick by on SSN! I let out an enormous PHEW when Juke scored his second, unbelievably – cos I’d resigned myself to a replay – and the final whistle went. So well done to the lads for perseverance.
    So now it’s Chelsea or Brentford. No offence to the Bees, but I do hope it’s Chelski a) because we’ll get a big crowd and a belting atmosphere and b) because we owe them a few after three Cup Final defeats (I include the ZDS Cup!)
    I would absolutely love to put them out of the Cup. I think I hate them more than I hate Toon and the Mackems. Of course, given Chelski’s fixture pile-up we could yet end up playing mid-week. Whatever, let’s dream for the time being……
    Now, back to mundanity. Please could we have three points at Ipswich, Tony?

  15. Surrealist Sight of the Week-End: Watching expert pundits, Gordon Strachan and Gareth Southgate, being compelled to discuss the foibles of their former No. 1 keeper, Brad Jones.
    Ideal Cup draw for a change. Presumably Josh will be kept under house arrest, and forbidden any contact with Chelski for the next three weeks, on pain of being asked to play in the hole left by our wide strikers in the Championship.

  16. What this afternoon tells us:
    1. The keeper we kept (Steele) is much better than the two we sold (Brad Jones and Ross Turnbull).
    2. It is better to get through to the next round than playing quite attractively but then losing. (The same might be said in the League – good performances “butter no parsnips” – it is only points on the board that count if we are to be promoted).
    3. The FA Cup still has its magic.
    4. If players occasionally play badly, supporters may understand. If players LOOK as if they aren’t bothered that they are playing badly and contributing nothing to the cause, supporters are very unlikely to take that very well. It takes a lot for a home crowd to boo one of its own players. The fault is more likely to be found in the player than in the paying public. Put it right, son.
    5. If we play Brentford, we might well be on TV as a potential giant-killing victim. If we play Chelsea we might be on TV because it is Chelsea, the aristocrats so favoured by the metropolitan TV stations. Either way, I will be there and the club will make a few bob on the TV rights.
    (And, AV, sorry to have bothered you with an e-mail to the Gazette, you must get a lot of similar ones and the vast majority will prove a waste of time. Maybe mine will, as well, but it seemed to me that it would be “no skin off anyone’s nose at the club” to check it out.)
    **AV writes: Oooh. E-mail. I’m looking forward to logging at work tomorrow now.

  17. Clive Hurren, I love your Chelsea stance.
    I also very much include the ZDS final in the grudge bank. A great turnout all over London that weekend by the Boro faithful and much forgotten now I fear. And yes, I think I hate them more than Toon or the Mackems too.
    But, cold, inhospitable Teesside in mid Feb gives me hope. Of course they have better players but are up and down and we can turn it on at home this year. Boro for the last eight? Yes, we owe them more than one and why not.

  18. Is the cup run a good thing or not? Always a tricky question to answer but on balance I think it is in the balance.
    We are told players prefer playing to training and we have had the benefit of two home ties on our own pitch. No travelling and playing on something resembling Seal Sands.
    We are hardly in a run of great form so at least we have a couple of wins.
    We have been drawn at home again and the likelihood it will be a TV home tie in front of a full house giving much needed revenue.
    In the league we don’t have extra games to play to catch up yet but that will start with the next round. We certainly don’t need a replay.
    It guess it is getting close to where it is interfering.
    Any views? What about the clubs standpoint?

  19. Untypical Boro is the home of first-class football journalism, and so a fitting place to record one’s sadness at the passing of The Guardian’s Frank Keating last weekend.
    He was a great stylist ,who wrote with particular affection about his sporting heroes from the past. Like you, AV, he always strove to go beyond the cliches, and to uncover some of sport’s deeper meanings. And to be a great laugh too. I, for one , will miss him.

  20. Interesting move for Dyer.
    Agree with Chris about the beer swilling gambler Merson joining us but he played a huge part in getting us up that season.But we have also had the Gazzas.
    Wonder which shirt will fit Dyer,time will tell.
    Under the circumstances Dyer obviously needs to put himself in the shop window so if he can get on the pitch and stay on it will mean he has done well and could be a win win situation.
    Still think we needed a striker more than a Dyer type player. How old is Billy Ashcroft now.

  21. Still feeling a little nonplussed at the thought of signing Keiron Dyer but you make the case most persuasively Vic.
    It is what it is and more to the point we are what we are, which is a club unable and unwilling to spend but in need of a midfielder capable of supporting the front men.
    Once again, Mogga is left trying to pull a rabbit out of a hat. This for me is the root of his so called tinkerman changes. He knows better than us that this is a flawed group of players, not untalented but lacking certain qualities so he hopes that by pulling a tactical stroke he can hide some of the shortcomings.
    I’m certain that he would like to name a consistent unchanged XI and confidently send them out with the clarion call, “this is my team and we are coming to get you” but actually with the players he currently has at his disposal it would be more like “this is my team, I hope you haven’t been watching us too closely”. Sadly the opposition would have and the outcome would be predictable.
    Dyer always seems to me to be one of those characters treated (quite rightly) because of his behaviour as an errant youth despite his age. Occasionally the burden of responsibility and trust can lead to such types blossoming or even growing up. Will it happen with him? Who knows. Only one way to find out. But it does seem to be this or nothing so it has to be worth a shot.
    In the end, it comes down to whether you trust both the Chairman’s view on how we should conduct our finances and the Manager’s instinct on a player. A firm yes to both from me although plenty of others will clearly differ.

  22. Hey, now AV, I’ve got to pick you up on your ‘prefered’ team in the next round (putting aside for the moment the fact we’ve drawn Brentford!).
    In the Credit Card Cup you kept posting you wanted Bradford up next and look what happened to them! Am I to assume that Luton are a shoe in for an FA cup final appearance! Back later, off to the bookies…….
    **AV writes: It’s worth a daft quid.

  23. Richard –
    Thanks for the support! Im sure our loathing of the awful Chelski will strike a chord with many on Teesside. What’s to like? Three Cup Final defeats, with their boorish, arrogant fans gloating;( I still don’t know why Gianluca Festa’s ‘equaliser’ was disallowed!); John Terry and Ashley Cole (need I say more?); the darlings of the London media; an innate sense of their own supposed superiority; an owner who owns half of Russia and who sacks his managers if they sneeze; that awful kit; Fancy Dans who ‘earn’ collectively more than the national debt; ticket prices far beyond reasonable.
    But above all that, I blame Chelski as the club that finally sold the soul of English football for filthy lucre. I can’t forgive them that. Bring it on!!
    **AV writes: It will certainly be hard to work up that kind of hatred for Brentford!

  24. AV –
    who was the last natural right sided midfielder at Boro before Kieron Dyer? Morrison played there (but flourished at WBA in central MF). I think the previous was the Cameroon chap on loan from Chelsea – you know who I mean. Tells something if I cannot remember many right wingers of the recent past …
    I think all negativity because of his injury record. It’s not his fault that we have Thomson and Digard injured or more recently Woody or Arca.
    Let’s give him a chance. Up the Boro!
    **AV writes: That will be Geremi. He wasn’t bad was he?

  25. Jarkko –
    Williams, Bates, McMahon, Hines, Taylor, McDonald, McManus etc.
    Clive –
    I dont blame Chelsea, I blame the FA which is an abbreviation for what they have done in governance of the game and it doesnt stand for Financially Astute.

  26. Jarkko –
    If the negativity about Dyer was just about his injury record then I don’t think there would be too much negativity other than the odd cynical “sick note” jibe.
    Anyway on to Cup matters, I wouldn’t get too worked up about Chelski just yet!
    Brentford have absolutely nothing to lose, they will be in the media spotlight for possibly the only time in most of their players careers facing a “team” whose main striker and manager are hardly flavour of the month with their own fans. Indeed there is a significant proportion of them who would possibly rather they got beat to stuff it up Rafa than win.
    Morale and confidence are not exactly in great quantities at the Bridge at the moment so if the Bees sting them I wouldn’t be too shocked. Conversely if the Blues do get through then “Typical Boro” will probably be at their tinkered best with Tommo sublimely setting up Emnes for a near post tap in to seal a 1-0 nil win in injury time.
    There again “Typical Boro” could face Brentford at home with 12,000 faithful witnessing a masterpiece 3-1-2-3-1 line up with Emnes at right back and Rhys centre forward.

  27. We can’t complain. Still not clinical, but at least we created a good few chances, and got through to the next round. It should arrest the rate at which we lose money for a little while.
    I don’t mind the idea of Dyer, especially on a pay-as-you-play deal. I wouldn’t have even minded him having a base wage of a couple of grand a week till the end of the season. On his day, he can bring a good bit of creativity to the midfield, and is a welcome addition alongside the attacking youngsters we currently have – who else in our midfield has played more than a dozen games in the Premiership?
    Well done to Jutkiewicz as well – he might not be as prolific as we hoped when he joined, but at least he works hard and pops up with one (or two!) every now and then.

  28. ‘I’ve got it, I’ve got it!’ (‘Well don’t pass it onto us- yeah I heard you!)
    No, semi-seriously, Mogga decided to go with the baffle em all tactics of the season. Don’t let the opposition, regardless of quality, get any idea whatsoever of how the Boro are going to form up or play. Stick players in positions that even they don’t know why they are there and just to really confound, play six across the middle and pretend your Barcelona. I knew that Mogga was a smart guy straight when I first saw him.
    Now don’t get me wrong, given what Gibson has given him in terms of finances its not surprising he has to come around and pull every trick in the book and every rabbit out of the K Dyer hat. ‘There’s no more in the kitty Mogga’ says SG ‘so you’re just gong to have to enhance your god-like status in ‘The Smog’ and do without.’ So off goes Mogga resolute as usual.
    However, very seriously, unless Mogga can achieve the equivalent of a miracle with the way things are going ie., starting with playing a regular first team that itsn’t bedevilled by the crocked and the unmotivated, then chances are AV will be travelling around Championship grounds nationwide for next season too.
    Still not to worry, SG and TM are still one of our own and that’s worth more than promo ain’t it.
    UTB (hopefully)

  29. For the last few weeks we’ve heard that football is all about results, so on that basis there can be little complaint about beating Aldershot.
    Kieron Dyer? Not a name I would have come up with but we seem to have something to gain and very little to lose.
    I would prefer to keep Main though. I fully appreciate why a loan move could be good for him but to me, whilst very raw, he looks to be a very direct player – just what we’ve been missing at times – and he could be a real asset from the bench.

  30. AV. Is it true we’ve actually signed Dyer up? As I said previously it has to be a no brainer providing the terms are right for us which appears to be the case.
    It’s a pity though that we can’t sign somebody up with a more optimistic name, like Billy Brilliant or Freddie Fantastic, to be honest I’d probably settle for Ronnie Reasonable. Anything but Dyer.
    **AV writes: My favourite bit of ‘does what it says on the can’ nominative determinism is French ex-Millwall keeper Willie Gerritt. A plea rather than a name.

  31. “The club is currently losing about £800k a month, and Gibson is writing a cheque out for that.”
    “Fair play to Gibbo for his continued financial support”
    Yes, yes AV we get it already, Gibson pays money into the football club.
    Maybe we should make him chairman or something.
    **AV writes: Some people clearly don’t get it already or they wouldn’t be phoning and e-mailing the Gazette (and no doubt spamming the forums and the phone-ins too) complaining about Boro’s “lack of ambition” and that the failure to sign Luciano Becchio or Charlie Austin shows Gibson no longer cares.

  32. Mogga said last Saturday: “Emnes set his own standards last year and scored 18 goals, which was wonderful for us. Now, he has to find that confidence from within. I’ll try to give him that confidence by picking him to play, but if the crowd show their displeasure to him, he has to have broad enough shoulders to use that as a motivation.”
    If we can get Emnes back to the level of last season (18 goals then), Scotty Mac fit (11 goals so far) and Juke on the form he has been recently (10 this season), we should be scoring goals. So I don’t think we lack personnel up-front – they are all potential 20-goals-a-season strikers. We need to get the team plying and getting a goal or two from midfiels as well as defenders, too.
    I hope we get a lucky 1-2 win at Ipswich. Up the Boro!

  33. Sunderland are poised to sign Danny Graham, are they trying to fulfill SG’s dream of a Premier League team, made up of home grown Boro starlets?

  34. Two short comments:
    1. Response to ‘Paul’ and AV 8.56pm –
    Gibson pays in the money to keep the club afloat, why? Because if he didn’t then it wouldn’t and then where’s the kudos and his investment; rich man’s play thing? Harsh maybe but being jealous of the rich doesn’t mean I have to like them.
    2. ‘It wanted the FA to restructure its main board to assert its independence, overhaul the FA Council to make it more representative, introduce tough new rules on financial regulation, and increase the influence of supporters on how their clubs were run.’
    John Whittingdale, chairman of the committee, said the FA and the two league bodies “simply don’t address the fundamental problems” and that “much greater reform in football is needed to make the game inclusive, sustainable and driven from the grassroots”.
    Owen Gibson, chief sports correspondent, The Guardian, Tues 29 January 2013
    Says it all really!!!
    We’ve known it for ages, but the rich won’t share, end of story – ‘It’s my ball and youse can’t play!’

  35. If we have to have him – Dyer a right winger/midfielder? Well, yes – anywhere else, maybe.
    With Mogga, if he’s in midfield or even further forward he’ll be on the left not the right.
    But my interest was piqued by Mogga eulogising about a recent Dyer outing at right back for QPR and did a bit of free association with the other story about not moving to backfill Hoyte now that he’s out injured for a while.
    Dyer at right back for the Portman Road game anyone?!

  36. I was working quietly with Skysports in the background when I was disturbed by a turbo charged, red faced presenter inviting me to a night with Natalie.
    Indeed transfer window closing comes closer. I take it AV wont be running a minute by minute blog.
    I havent seen any rumours worth blogging about
    **AV writes: Yes, I’ll be doing the usual gig, although I suspect it will be a small acoustic set rather than the full bells and whistles flying pig stadium set.

  37. To be fair, Spartak at 9.58pm –
    the rich not being willing to share is a problem known the world over. I’d love it if the bloke up the road would let me share his Range Rover, but he keeps telling me I have to work to pay for my own.
    I think the fact that he employs the piper means that the musician is going to be there anyway. So why can’t I choose the tune he plays?
    And if that wasn’t bad enough, the spectre of the FA being reformed raises its ugly head. I have a feeling one of Vic’s hobby-horses is being readied in the background….
    You’d be forgiven for thinking that football is meant to be a game of the people.

  38. **AV writes: Yes, I’ll be doing the usual gig, although I suspect it will be a small acoustic set rather than the full bells and whistles flying pig stadium set.”
    “Untypical Boro, Unplugged?”

  39. Just returned from my completely internet free winter hols so am just catching up on Boro news.
    Can’t say I’m expecting Keiron Dyer to be the solution to our failure to put the ball in the net when we’re on top in games – sounds like he’s more likely to be cover for scapegoat Thomson (in the physio’s room) – well I guess we should just hope for the best whilst sharpening our pencils.
    OK, I’m not expecting Boro to splash the cash on a proven goal scorer as they are never available in january on the cheap – so perhaps a bit of ability on the ball, even for a creaking 34 year old might just sneak a few extra points.
    Anyway, hopefully we’re about to snap out of our traditional post xmas slump still only three points shy of second spot, which is not as bad as it could have been given the injury list.
    Also I see we could be facing a big time game against Brentford or even a game against David Brent’s Blues – either way let’s hope we have a good day at the office.
    Still I was surprised to see panic on the Gazette boards with some people calling for Mogga to be replaced – I think these frozen Chicken Runners need to chill a bit…
    **AV writes: Seriously? Calls for Mogga’s head? That’s crazy. Boro are a midgies away from being serious promotion contenders playing fantastic football – and all on a shoestring. Boooooo.

  40. Clive, no list of reasons to hate Chelsea can be considered complete without mentioning Dennis Wise.
    **AV writes: And Tony Dorigo. And Robert Di Matteo. And, as they say on compilation albums, many, many more…

  41. Since when did we need a list of reasons to hate Chelsea?
    On to last night and a couple of results went our way, hopefully Huddersfield do us a favour tonight. All that is pointless if we dont do the business ourselves.
    Elsewhere I saw an interview with Paul Lambert. Villa look just like we were in our relegation season with a manager like a rabbit in the headlights. Belt tightened, in freefall during the window and no reinforcements.
    Luckily we had the likes of Alves, Mido, Digard and Emnes to save us. It really highlights the old adage
    ‘How do you make a small fortune in football?’
    ‘ Start with a large one!’

  42. I agree with Clive and Richard, but whilst there may be many reasons to dislike Chelsea, it is also a sound principle to think twice before insulting anyone, of whom you may later wish to ask a favour.
    We have been the recipients of Chelsea’s generosity twice already this season with the loan of Josh, and its extension only last month. We will also, no doubt, be going cap in hand to Chelsea again before the season has ended.
    If I were Abramovich or Benitez and I stumbled across this blog, I might think twice about extending my generosity any further.
    Being a Boro bloke, I have not always followed this principle myself. On principle. But in this case it’s probably worth thinking about.

  43. Len –
    generosity? I think it’s a mutually beneficial arrangement regarding Josh and his continued development as a player at Boro – They get a better player back at the end of the loan, on the other hand Boro will need to fund a replacement.

  44. Len –
    Generosity? I nearly spluttered me coffee all over the place! Werdermouth’s reply is spot on! And presumably we’re paying some of Josh’s wages, aren’t we?
    Wiggy’s mate and AV-
    oh yes, I forgot all those other good reasons to hate Chelsea! You know, I’m normally a perfectly rational and reasonable human being -(my wife would probably disagree). But some things in football turn me into a raving monster loony with no sense of proportion! Chelsea are obviously one of them.
    And it really spoils my day if I come across some idiot wearing a black and white striped shirt! My rhythm of life is all disturbed! Living in Chorley has its problems in this regard as Chorley FC also play in black and white stripes, so I have to do a double take before I go apoplectic. My wife just tells me to grow up. I tell her she doesn’t understand my religion.
    Good defeats last night for Watford and Millwall. Let’s turn this to our advantage at Ipswich!
    **AV writes: My wife tells me off doing the ‘big shop’ in the Asda over at Portrack because she says I subconsciously growl at people in Sunderland shirts!

  45. spartak –
    Do you really believe that Steve Gibson puts £800000 a month into Boro because he sees it as an investment! You cant be serious.
    How much cash do you reckon he’s spent on Boro since he became the owner? Too many millions to count, if he were to sell the club tomorrow what would he get back? A fraction of his total ‘investment’ thats what.
    He is obviously an astute business man otherwise he wouldn’t have created Bulkhaul from nothing, so he clearly doesn’t put his money into Boro because he sees it as an investment.
    Whats more I cant see that he owns Boro because of the kudos, what kudos? We’re a middling club which has achieved little, if he wanted Kudos he’d have bought one of Chelsea/Man Utd/Liverpool/Spurs etc etc when they were available.
    He owns and pours money into Boro because like many entrepreneurs he has an alturistic streak and he wants to give something back to the community he came from. If he wanted a rich mans play thing he wouldn’t have bought Boro would he?

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