Barnsley Chop: Boro Slump Still On Menu

DOES ANYONE want to escape this crazy division? Fragile Boro look like they don’t. And the equally iffy teams above and around them appear to be locked in a grand conspiracy of ineptitude. Boro have lost five in a row and haven’t taken a point in 2013 yet somehow remain in the place-off places and just six points from second.
That’s the Championship for you. But we can’t continue to rely on the incomptence of others. All it takes is one week for the results to swing disastrously against us and the gap above will yawn open while the pack behind will be on us and then every slip will really hurt. Teams will quickly start to claw past Boro. There is no more room for error if Boro are to stay in a play-off position this term.

Boro need to half the slide NOW. Five league defeats on the spin is the worst nosedive for 13 years. The last time that happened was back in 2000 and Terry Venables arrived the following week. That won’t be happening again. Mogga is rock solid in his position and has the utmost confidence of the chairman and, when they calm down after another infuriating flop, the vast majority of fans too still.
There is however a growing sense of frustration abroad among the crowd. Frustration at the unpredictable selections and tactical shape-shifting, at the on-going brittle inability to keep a clean sheet or defend set-plays and at the scary sense of Boro being powerless to prevent a repeat of last season’s second half slump.
Boro turned in a turgid first half display of sterile, stodgy sleep-walking. It was as poor a first 45 as we’ve seen all term – and with 13 defeats so far this term there is plenty of competition. They perked up after the break and it was a quite enteraining if very scrappy second half in which Boro regained control and got the frustrated fans back on board briefly then imploded again in a dismal display of disorganised defending.
All three goals against stemmed from either cheaply conceded possession or woeful individual errorrs. Or both. The second half goals came from easily avoided self-inflicted wounds: Boro failed to clear a routine long throw in to the box for the leveller and a poor back-pass (which could have been row Z-ed) was compounded by a Steele slip and recklessly gifted free-kick.
Rhys Williams is out of sorts and out of position and looks lost and unhappy at righ-back. On the other flank George Friend is still not back to his early season best after his injury and looks every inch a Doncaster player. Seb Hines? Had a mare. Only fast and furious firefighter Andre Bikey can hold his head up at the back.
It was the same in midfield. Nicky Bailey – elevated by those who would poke the manager by proxy to a tactical position of saviour in his absence – was sluggish and ineffective while Kieron Dyer looked like he hadn’t played a lot of football over the last few years. There was no balance, no quality and no understanding. Grant Leadbitter can at least claim to have worked non-stop.
Up front, ditto. Mustapha Carayol can walk away having showed flashes of pace and penetration and having scored a goal despite his long lay-off but Emmanuel Ledesma – incredibly lucky to have kept his shirt after his awful show at Ipswich – again flattered to deceive and did his tricks and turns in harmless areas while Lukas Jutkiewicz beavered away but barely got into the box before being withdrawn. Curtis Main, also back after a long lay-off, scored and was more direct and was OK but no world-beater.
A lot of individuals were below par, the shape was awkward and morlae is clearly low. But there was none of the sense of urgency you would expect from a team in our position, knowing the stakes not just in this game but with the season in the balance.
Alarm bells are ringing. Boro have now leaked seven goals in two games to sides in the bottom four – to what had been the two lowest scoring teams in the division. Yes, Barnsley are in form and arrived having won five out of six but they were still in the bottom three for a reason: they are a very limited squad. And for the 25 minutes of the game when Boro were actually functioning they looked it.
Had Boro pressed home the advantage when they were on top we would be sitting pretty and celebrating. Had Boro been able to defend routine balls into the box, or clear their lines rather than play high-risk back-passes they would have hung on to claim a vital and potentially galvanising ‘win ugly’ three points.
As it is they folded under pressure again and now the season is in the balance with Neil bloody Warnock and Dity Leeds up next…..
More later.


79 thoughts on “Barnsley Chop: Boro Slump Still On Menu

  1. Bloody hell! What’s happened? I thought for a moment I’d pressed the wrong button and ended up on FMTTM!
    There is no better manager for Boro then Tony Mowbray.
    There is no better chairman for Boro than Steve Gibson.
    There is no rich arab waiting to buy the club.
    Okay, we’re on a bad run. But that will change. And when it does we will still be in an excellent position to launch a challenge for the play off places.
    Keep the faith!

  2. Firstly I think TM has done a good job. Given how he has had to reduce the wage bill I actually think we have a stronger squad now than when he took over which is quite remarkable.
    However TM’s tactical tinkering traumatises me terribly (a bit of alliteration!!)
    I also think those fans who still think that a magic wand will be waved and we’ll suddenly start winning again are being incredibly unrealistic. Our form has plummeted, particularly away from home and we look unlikely to pick up anywhere near the number of points to finish in the playoff places and there has been little hope in recent times that this will change.
    People go on about only being six points off 2nd place but we are only seven points above 15th so let’s not get too carried away.
    I think judging by the fans reaction on here that TM has lost many of them. I honestly think regardless of what he feels is the best formation or side to put out to counter the opposition there is an argument for fielding a side that the fans would like to see. If he doesn’t he risks looking stubborn, he’ll alienate the fans further and the atmosphere will be flatter than ever.
    An attacking line up with players played in the right position will at least see the fans get behind the players which at the moment with the lack of unity is probably more important than any tactical tinkering!!
    **AV writes: Any manager who fields a team to pacify the fans is finished. Besides, on Saturday he included the dissidents favourite Ginger Messiah Nicky Bailey, a player who has got better every week he has been out.

  3. gt asked “is there something wrong …..?” with lots of things re having expectation, wanting better players, being in the top flight etc etc etc…..
    Nothing wrong at all gt. That is what we would all like, including the die-hards and regular contributors on here and all the ones that have been watching Boro through decades and decades and decades.
    There is something wrong with an inability to appreciate what we do have – the most loyal and supportive chairman in the country …. no, make that the world; a dedicated manager that not only stopped the rot, but has his team of ne’er do wells and lower league aspirants sitting six points off 2nd place in The Championship; and a future.
    There is a difference in unbalanced (negative) expressions of “realism” and considered acceptance of that reality. With the former there is only a route to perpetual disatisfaction; the latter does allow for some optimism, and optimism in my book is one of (or it should be one of)the main drivers for any football fan.
    “Glass half empty or glass half full if you like.”
    Room for improvement? Too bl**dy right there is, but it is only going to take a small improvement in fortune that begets an increasing confidence and then we will look like genuine challengers for promotion again – and quite possibly without the play-offs.
    All this talk of replacing TM and SG is no more than assanine nonsense, but hats off to AV for providing the forum not only for that but for everyone’s point of view.
    Now then, where are those lurking off-whites who usually appear on here without comprehending the paradox of protesting there is no interest on their part in the Yorkshire Derby?

  4. gt at 3.45. I’m sure your opening could fit perfectly into a Lacey drum driven power chord ridden track. I’d go for ‘Great Expectations’ by New Model Army.
    ‘But all I wanted in the end was world domination and a whole lot of money to spend!’

  5. Geordie la Forge said:
    “If you have two separate companies and one of them is in the red, as MFC obviously is, then you can, for simpler terms “get a tax rebate” on the good business to help the failing one.”I have seen this assertion in various forms over the years. Has anyone been able to produce any evidence to back it up? Some HMRC guidance or a court ruling?”
    Anyone can go to Companies House and get the actual accounts. Latest ones filed are up to 30th June 2011 (2012 due in next six weeks and will no doubt be reported by the Gazette).
    There are a lot of companies in group – but main profitable one which provides the money for Steve Gibson is Bulkhaul. It reported profit of £60m and corporation tax of £10.9m. However, this £10.9m tax is net of £5.5m “group relief not payable”. In laymans terms this means the company used losses elsewhere in group to reduce the tax for Bulkhaul from £16.4m to £10.9m. The Football club subsiduary shows its losses reduced by £4.9m tax relief.
    So – yes – whatever loss is currently being made will be reduced by tax relief. £800k loss per month is around £620k after tax relief – still a big amount to swallow, but very helpful.
    On a footballing note, I’m glad to see some of the earlier extreme views are becoming more rational. Its difficult to see any other available manager would be significantly better – although a new manager often produces a short term boost – and it would simply mean another period of upheaval.
    My main gripe is the way TM keeps changing his side to try to second guess his opponents. Other than the likes of Man Utd, where the sheer number of top class players allows rotation, most sides do best when playing a settled side -with everyone in their best position, playing to their strengths. Let the opposition worry about us for a change. We have a huge lack of continuity and are switching players and systems around. How can they get settled into a rhythm.
    For me that means Rhys in the centre now he is fit and if Hoyte is not fit, then Parnaby covers. It also means a centre forward like Juke plays mostly in the centre – rather than spending most of his time on the right wing looking for the ball.
    I do wonder whether Woodgate’s signing, although it seemed a coup at the time, is not part of the current problem. Will he be fit, wont he, will he play while not training etc?
    Finally for me we are too slow in moving the ball around. I know TM likes passing football, but both of Saturdays goals came from quick movements which left Barnsley unready. For most of the rest of the match we seemed to try to make sure they had sufficient time to organise themselves whilst we played it from side to side around the half way line, with our players showing a lack of movement to pull Barnsley out of shape and allow quick diagonal or through balls to players with free space near the opposition box.
    One player specifically missed here was Scottie – he is always on the move and trying to make space for himself – its a pity TM cannot get a few others doing the same. Carayol in the first half was a good example – he hugged the touchline (presumably under orders) even when the play was on the other wing and there was no player within 15 yards. If he had come nearer the centre it would have given us a pass from the right wing at a speed which would leave free space.
    As it was by the time the ball was worked across to him, there were two Barnsley players in close attendance. The Championship does not generally give sides the time and space to play that we seem to want

  6. To those commenting on our squad being rubbish, just a couple of months ago were we not all raving about our squad and how deep we could dive into it with a full team of first teamers injured?
    All teams in this league have wobbles throughout the season, unfortunately we have had a few. It shows that the teams around us haven’t made ground and that they must be on slightly less devastating wobbles themselves.
    I can’t fault some of the arguments however, Mowbray continues to puzzle in his team selections and tactics, one up front for instance. We need to go back to basics and put our best players in the best positions.
    Rhys Williams has been phenomenal for us… as a centre back. Stick him back there, Parnaby has done more than enough of a job at right back this season so get him back in there. The midfield also needs a look at, personally I think Reach and Carayol deserve a run, Leadbitter and another. Dyer hasn’t shown me anything I couldn’t do on a pitch yet.
    I’m sure if we beat Leeds tomorrow all will be forgiven. Onwards and upwards. UTB

  7. Wiggy –
    Im sorry but youve lost me there mate
    My overall point is, and I dont think Ive called for anybodies head, but, for too long I believe fans in the North East have been too happy with a little bit of success (promotion or a Cup Run evert ten years) we think second best.
    Well I for one from now on expect 100% effort from everyone at my club to bring all the success possible. No more cudda ,shudda ,might have,and if that means shaking up the place, so be it.
    Having said all that I did believe a couple of impact signings would have given everyone a lift including the fans. And just to finish off, McEachran is our best midfielder and Moggas starting the head games with him now.

  8. “Mentally, a lot of people still haven’t broken from the Premier League.”
    Totally disagree, the ones who have not “broken from the Premier League” stopped going long ago to spend their weekends doing something they enjoy and then ring in to phone ins.
    The dwindling numbers that attend regularly are well aware of the financial situation of the club and the fact that Gibson gives it CPR every month too keep it going.
    We know we cannot afford to buy, or loan anyone without outgoings. It’s why when we had a “fee agreed” for Danny Graham it was an utter bombshell with a bigger shockwave than a Chubby Brown fart.
    What has changed is a team who, while not world beaters, were confident, unified and determined to grind out a result even when they shouldn’t have (Wolves not so long ago anyone?), which has disseminated into that mess we saw on Saturday.
    It’s not Gibson telling the manager to play one up front at home to a bottom four team, not Gibson who cannot get a handle on an over-rated, sulking forward, not Gibson who chops and changes the team and formation several times. It’s the manager, and whoever he is, when he is getting wrong he needs to be questioned about it. That’s what he is there for.
    I am sure something has changed behind the scenes, whether it be an unruly player, coach, or unpopular decision has been made, the dressing room – from the outside – looks like it has gone from a united, determined unit to a disjointed group of unhappy individuals who would rather be anywhere on match day than on a field in Red.
    It needs to be sorted – and fast – and whatever or whoever the problem is needs to be removed. The only reason we are in the top six still is that no other team can put a run together.

  9. AV writes “The reality is the club gambled on staying up”
    Yes they took a huge gamble in appointing Southgate. Surely gambling to stay up would’ve been paying a proven manager?
    **AV writes: Appointing Southgate was two years earlier and he’d done OK for first two seasons. The gamble was when they were struggling in that January and they opted not to spend to strengthen. They thought there were at least three teams worst than them. And there were. But the run in was so timid and the team so mentally weak that it all went horribly wrong.

  10. I think Gibson needs to go, we need a new Chairman at the helm of the club. One of those rich people who speak English but with a foreign accent.
    Then i feel the next thing that needs doing ischanging the strip colours, to say….black and white. And when fans complain about that I think the club should hold a meeting, say they are listening to the fans, but explain the financial burdens that will drag the club down if Black and White isnt accepted.
    And then after all that change to black and white bcause supporters are just cash cows there to be milked, and if they moan a bit? meh we will replace them with non moaning types!
    Next step get rid of this bloody academy, it costs a freaking fortune to run and it only brings through a player every season or so. It costs nearly as much to run it as it has brought in revenue. We dont need home grown players, we need flair players from sandy shores, like erm China, Krea, Japan and other Asian markets. For their ability of course, not for the financial benefits.
    You win nothing with home grown players, ask Ferg…i mean ask Arsene…
    Idiocy aside.
    Before this summer the club had spent a whopping three bags of peanut m&m’s and a signed copy of Ah-ha’s Greatest Hits on Maxi Haas and Zemmama. This summer the chairman dug deep and allowed the pocket change from the right pocket to be spent on Friend and Carayol. The cloth has been cut, financial fair play on the horizon the chairman has done the right thing.
    He didnt gamble AGAIN on red (head/Ginger head) he took stock, he realised big money had been paid out for Thomson, McManus, Bailey, tonto, Robson, add player playing in Scotland here, McDonald etc.
    He realised the wages were in place that needed paying, so adding more weight to the listing ship wasnt what was needed. He shut up shop, he trimmed the fat and he hopes under a shoe string Mowbray can turn water into wine. But he does that knowing we will still have a club next season, that we have £ for £ one of the best academies in the land to suppliment Mowbrays bargin basement collection.
    The best thingabout our chairman regardless of this current situation results wise, is we know its not Premier League or bust. Its Premier League or try again next season.

  11. I haven’t emigrated or fallen out of love with Boro – just a lot of work to do at the present.
    I will try to keep this short. We are not on a “wobble” but a catastrophically bad run of form. No points yet in 2013. We are shipping goals at the back (seven in the last two games). We look brittle and lacking in confidence. At Ipswich there was a widely reported lack of commitment, bottle, shown on the pitch.
    As I am sure I said in the last (Ipswich) thread, that commitment, effort and organisation should be a given. They cost little or nothing. I accept we can’t afford top quality TALENT in our current financial situation, but lack of commitment?
    Playing people out of position is inevitably going to attract comment if things go badly.
    If we had an all-conquering midfield, players (fighters) like Bailey and Smallwood could hardly complain if they didn’t see much game-time. But our midfield has stuttered, to put it mildly. I suspect players like Bailey, Smallwood, Reach, Main, and Carayol might be hoping to start in light of recent events.
    Until Christmas, players like Leadbitter and Friend seemed a cut above the run of Championship players they were up against from week to week, and McEachran was regularly performing well. Since injury the first two, at least, have had some decidedly average performances. Rhys has seemed more like a Lada than a Rolls. I know right-back isn’t his preferred position but his quality should enable him to be at least adequate there against Championship opposition.
    Maybe Leadbitter, Friend and Rhys are not fully fit?
    It is all so very perplexing that the wheels have very obviously come off.
    Having said all the above, we are STILL in a play-off position (at the moment of typing). Clearly we have to start putting points onto the board or that position will also change. As people have suggested, it is as though all the play-off contenders have been trying their best to avoid going up! So, a few wins under our belt and almost anything becomes possible again. Admittedly there don’t seem to be any signs that we might be about to turn it around, but we can still hope…
    I do not subscribe to some of the more fanciful views that “the Board doesn’t want the club to go up”. Of course they do! It would be financial insanity voluntarily to cut oneself off from the enormous tranche of money that would follow on from promotion.
    Even going up and coming straight back down again would give the club so much money over the four following years that it would be possible to keep players providing there were no silly new signings after promotion, and then have a realistic chance of mounting a “straight-back-up” challenge the following year.
    If we don’t go up soon, then it will become increasingly difficult to go up in the future as the clubs in the Championship will have difficulties competing with the “rich” relegated clubs each year.
    People previously said the Board was happy with relegation from the Premier League for various spurious reasons. That view equates with the conspiracy theories that Elvis lives on the Moon in a crashed Lancaster bomber.
    People have suggested that we should somehow get rid of Steve Gibson. Let’s not be silly here. He is not God. He CAN be criticised. But there isn’t a queue of billionaire Boro supporters waiting to invest in the club, and I don’t think there is any evidence to suggest he doesn’t, like the rest of us, want the best for the club. The difference is that most of us are not digging into our pockets for several hundreds of thousands of pounds each month to keep the club afloat, as he does.
    I support Mogga remaining in charge. I guess he knows more than me why things are going wrong. I would hope he can turn it around, and soonish. Obviously if we went another five games without any points (that would be almost a quarter of the season without points and surely that couldn’t happen…?) there would be mounting pressure on his job. But at this stage I can’t think of anyone else I’d rather have in the manager’s seat.
    I haven’t been happy for several weeks, but I am not yet preparing a noose. It would be good if the football was fun to watch but I’d be prepared to accept results. I’m good like that! But a good performance and result tomorrow against Leeds and suddenly the Sun will shine brighter and the sky will be a more pleasing shade of blue. I just hope, so much, that it does.

  12. AV –
    While I’m thoroughly in agreement with everything you say to Boro Doug re Steve Gibson, I’m not sure we should yet be positioning ourselves emotionally as a second tier outfit.
    I have supported the club since 1974 and in that time we have spent more time in the top flight than out. We’ve had six promotions and six relegations but have not really had any sustained period in the second flight.
    We cannot compete with the top four Prem clubs but then neither can the likes of Everton, Newcastle, Villa or other teams with a larger fan base than ours.
    Once the fans, and the area, start accepting and thinking of us as a Championship club (not team) then we’re in for a long spell out in the cold.
    We do have players on our books who have cost some considerable money – Emnes, McManus, Bailey, Juke, McDonald are serious seven digit signings and in theory we should be winning every week with them – but the problem is that they’re neither very good nor committed to the cause.
    Historically, we haven’t had a truly successful signing for some time and Mogga, many qualities aside, has not done well here. Viduka (and only periodically) and JFH were our last outstanding incoming players and Mogga can’t really point to anyone he has brought in who has made a great difference, Leadbitter and McEachran the pick of the bunch probably.
    Our promotions since 1974 have largely been built on spirit and fight and a momentum that has built and solidified among team and fans. Big Jack signed just one fat Scotsman on a free to take us up while Bruce couldn’t even stretch to that in 86-87 and only really added a temporary Trevor Senior later in the ’88 campaign.
    It changed with Lennie and also in 94-95 but, to my mind, John Hendrie was the key man that year with Mustoe and (the new) Pearson next.
    The last promotion, in 1998, was bought it has to be said but that’s fine if you can afford it.
    Of all these campaigns, the best feelings for the fans, without doubt, came from Bruce’s boys. I think we all thought we would never be in a position to achieve again and it came with local players and bit part players who played for each other and for the team and the captain and the manager. It was not done through expensive signings, or really, any signings at all save for Senior.
    I don’t feel that wishing for money to spend on new players is the answer now either. It has to come from within and we have a darn fine Academy that produces a very good output most years.
    Mogga saved us post Strachan but since then I don’t feel he has done much on the field though that should not mask his success in realigning the club off the park where he appears to have done very well indeed. So good for him there.
    So we need to keep the faith and belief in ourselves as a top tier club. We will get back up, it’s just when.
    It may also be that ultimately Mogga’s success and legacy will come through the behind the scenes overhaul and keeping everything on a solid footing in tempestuous times. He may or may not be the coach who can take us up but after 40 years, I for one, am more than happy to give him more time to show his mettle on the field.
    Just never stop thinking big.

  13. Werdermouth @ 11:14 on 11 Feb 2013 said:
    Chris Harrison said: “We have to stop this “nice club” attitude & be ruthless in pursuit of success.” – You mean like Forest? What does being ruthless actually mean?
    Werdermouth, I suspect you may find out this evening! 😉

  14. I cant wait for the money bubble to burst either, preferably before we get promoted and get dragged into factoring it in our own plans!
    I do think a few people need to get some perspective going, I think we are hitting above our weight at the moment, latest results apart, we had a good run and now we are having a bad one. If they had been more erratically spread we would be be pretty happy being in 6th, and only deux point off second, maybe its just gonna be one of those leagues, we wont know any answers until May so lets have a bit of faith eh?
    I have on many occasions criticised the club for its off field professionalism, but I do believe the club is heading in the right direction, I can see the sense in it, you only have to look at other clubs or the clowns running the country to see what the alternative could be.
    Will it be a disaster if we get promoted? or not? lets just deal with it one game at a time eh?

  15. Chris Powlay at 11pm – “The best thing about our chairman regardless of this current situation results wise, is we know its not Premier League or bust. Its Premier League or try again next season. ”
    Well said. We almost lost Boro in ’86 and no promise of short-term glory is worth the risk that we could lose Boro forever.

  16. Can’t be bothered to read through all these comments. It’s just good to know that all you daft Smoggies are ripping yourself apart again, crying because you lost to mighty Barnsley when you think you are Barcelona. It is just you slipping down to your natural station in life again. Get used to it
    For those of you who want shot of Mr Punch, Mighty Leeds will help you tonight when we beat you again. Six on the bounce should see him off… although I’d rather he stayed and finished the job. Ha ha.
    I’ll be there tonight in the FULL away end with the Teesside Whites banner. I’ll wave at you little club scruffs in the empty end.
    **AV writes: Hello. I was getting worried at your absence. I thought you had been bought out and shifted offshore in a mysterious paper exercise.

  17. Chris Powlay –
    Great post. We have to put week by week results into some longer term perspective. What’s the betting that in three years time we are not in a far healthier position than QPR?

  18. I think really we have all to accept we will be in this division next year or I will do a Bernie Slaven and that wont be pretty!
    The main thing now is will we make the play-offs and improve on last year. And who will we lose and buy in summer to try to ensure promotion next season. This will be Mowbrays crunch season and he will have to come out of the blocks flying.
    Quite frankly I don’t think any of the teams that go up this year will survive as they are all poor. And that includes Cardiff.

  19. AV, any idea how and when (or even if) we will be trying to get Gibson’s monthly cash injections down to zero?
    If we were £800k in the red per month before January, with Thommo leaving replaced by Dyer I guess we are now £740/750k out of pocket.
    With Bailey, McManus and Arca out of contract (plus Bikey and Ledesma and the loan signings if we are contributing anything to their salaries) I still can’t se us being any better than about £500k/month out of pocket next season and that is before any of the above are replaced or any young players are given new contracts with pay rises. My guess would be that Bikey and Ledesma would be offered extensions anyway (if they are indeed out of contract).
    Will the remainder have to come from sales, or are we talking about a very long term return to zero?
    What do the Financial Fair Play rules say about what a chairman can input above club income?
    **AV writes: Financial Fair Play starts next season when external investment from individuals is limited to £8m. That gradually decreases over the next four seasons to £3m. That’s the timescale.
    If clubs bust the limit they face a transfer embargo and solidarity payments (TV money) will be withheld. If they bust the limit but get promoted they will be “fined” the excess from their PL money. That will be distributed amongst the rest of the Championship as a ‘let’s see what you could have won’ consolation prize.
    Although it will tie Boro’s hands (GIbson’s £12m imput this season is keeping the club afloat) they support FFP because it sits alongside their own strategy of reducing wages in a move towards sustainability. It will affect a lot of other clubs far more dramatically. Those who are bringing big (borrowed) money in from outside – Cardiff, Leicester, Forest, Hull, Brighton, Watford etc – are pouring two or three or more times as much in from ‘investors’ – and they face a massive problem.

  20. I will have to join the voice of those who can say that the “problem” for me is not that I expect us to be in the Premierleague and signing Neymar on 100K+ a week.
    I will concede that there are a worrying number of people commenting above who seem to think that we are the perfect rich-man’s plaything and that some previously dodgy foreign owner, no doubt through a myriad of BVI and Jersey holding companies, will come to our rescue and pump millions into the club. The fact that even one person thinks this is possible is alarming and worryingly disillusioned!
    That aside, the “problem” for me is the same as the general consensus we seem to be heading towards – namely that Tony the Tinker seems to have tinkered past a point of common sense. I appreciate his theory that you assess the strengths of the opposition and attempt to counter them, this is sound theoretical tactical thinking, whether it be on a battlefield or a football pitch, but would it not be better if this was done within a framework that is at least familiar?
    It has been mentioned before that Ferguson has said he tinkers the Man Utd team to match the opposition, and that this bears out Mogga’s approach. Yes, he may do that, but that is within a system that the players understand. His rotation is more in terms of personnel than formation, and the personnel rotated are experts in the position they play in.
    Mogga changes the formation, the tactics, the personnel and probably the half time oranges for every game. Even assuming that the players are above-intelligent rational thinkers this would require a massive amount of zealous commitment to the cause, and belief in the manager, not to at least have a nagging, questioning doubt in your mind that it doesn’t make sense.
    And if you’ve lost 2-3 in a row, by the time the next game comes along then you must be beginning to doubt the new formation, and then the next game those doubts grow larger…
    The point is, we do have the same players who went 10 games unbeaten (well, without super Kevin Thomson of course). But, the best part of that run came when most of the currently under-performing ones were out injured, and hands were somewhat tied.
    I don’t know the answer, but I’m guessing it won’t be 352 with Friend, Hines and Bailey at centre back and Rhys as a left wing back. Don’t pretend you can say with 100% certainty that Mogga wouldn’t try it.

  21. Some right on the nail comments by Brighton boro & borodoug.
    Its good to see there are a few people still talking sense.
    i also agree with the poster regarding AV’s increasing shrill comments.
    personally AV i find your rose tinted view is getting a bit much. although to be fair to you its in regard to the performances and not the behind the scenes info you provide to us.
    I don’t go to every match, but the last time I went I was expecting a bit more after reading your reports..What i saw was a load of rubbish.
    But ulitimatly I am behing Mogga all the way. he is working with what he has, which is nowt! Go and ask Mourinho to do better with the same resources. So until people realise this fact there is no point in bleating on for Mogga & Gibson to make way.
    Let’s face reality, there is no money, no big tax dodge, no rich owner just itching to buy the club. Lets all pull together and get on with what we’ve got!
    Rant over!!

  22. AV, the effect of what you said in your reply to Andy R about financial fair play rules will probably mean that it will be virtually impossible for a Championship club to have anything but an average team (where’s the change I hear many of cry).
    Any PL club or PL relegated club (on relatively massive parachute payments) will easily be able to trump any offer a Championship club could make for a player.
    Maybe their parachute payments should be ring-fenced for expenditure on existing PL contracts only – otherwise where is the fair play? It only creates a two-tier league where the rest can only hope the rich relegated clubs implode.
    Also, is the money needed to run an academy included in the external investor allowance – if so, will this signal the end of our academy when the limit is just £3m? Especially if 10,000 fans will only bring in around a further £4.5m – leaving it accounting for a very significant portion of our budget.
    Sounds like Boro (or any other club with PL ambitions) have about 2-3years to achieve promotion otherwise it may become next to impossible to build a team capable of it.
    **AV writes: I think in theory any relegated PL team should be able to trump any Championship now. The problem is the size of the wage bill they are carrying and how far the bank/owner/investor is prepared to go in risking that thyey don’t have an instant return. Last’s year’s three don”t look likely.
    But yes, a lot of clubs are seeing that they have a two year window to throw money at the problem, hence the blank cheques at Cardiff and Leicester. If either fail to go up this year they have serious problems. Brighton and Watford to a lesser extent. Hull and Blackburn too are carrying massive wage bills and will be getting a bit jumpy too.
    Academy spending is exempt (and eleite status is subsidised to the tune of £750k a year too) and so it makes sense for Boro to put so much emphasis on it. It costs £2.5m a year to run but if it produces one first team player and one sale a year (Johnno, Bennett in last few) then it is a financially sound method of recruitment..

  23. I must admit I dont think the division is any weaker than the last few seasons.
    Going back a few years the promoted teams would be in the bottom three and those that were relegated would be in the top six of the second tier.
    Looking at teams promoted over the last three seasons and there is a fair spread up to West Brom omongst those teams.
    If this division is so weak at least one if not all of the relegated teams should be in the top four or five places (just like Forest, Boro and the Mackems when Robbo took us up) especially considering their parachute payments.
    Next season I would expect one of the teams to do reasonably well, one to have a decent season and the other to have a real struggle.
    First of all three points tonight please.

  24. Thanks for your response, AV. Public service at it’s finest again!
    I’ve mixed feelings on the outcome for Boro, but am slightly heartened overall.
    If we fail to gain promotion (and you’d have to say that that is becoming more likely) then clearly there will be nothing to invest next summer. Mogga will be picking up scraps from the football pound shop once again.
    As an aside, however, we regularly worry that TM can’t bring in good payers on his budget but you’d have to say that Bikey, Leadbitter, Friend and Carayol have been relative successes, all things considered.
    The good news though, is that we are actually quite well placed to cope with FFP. Much more so, in fact, than several of our competitors of which a maximum of three can get promoted. I don’t see us having a major problem in reducing debts from £800k a month to £670k, not with McManus, Bailey and Arca out of contract and Thomson already departed. Whatever you make of his tactics, you really do have to give credit to Mogga for that.
    Still, despite the conspiracy theories, our best option is to get winning again, preferably tonight, and get ourselves promoted.
    PS Smoogy In Exile – I hope Mogga does change the half-time oranges from game to game!

  25. I think there is something wrong with having unrealistic expectations if they damage the football club by poisoning the atmosphere by belittling what success we do have.
    I vividly remember comments that winning the league cup and getting to a European final was “papering over the cracks”.
    For me the downside of SG’s investment was the Boro crowd went from defiant unconditional support to a big club mentality of entitlement without going through the intervening stage of having actually won anything.
    How we used to laugh when the home fans of fallen giants used to turn on their own players when things were going against them.
    How it hurt when our own fans started behaving in exactly the same way.
    If everyone can come to terms with the fact that each little success is hard won and to be celebrated, and each temporary advantage to our opponents is a personal affront, will we rekindle the white hot atmosphere that swept our heroes from the third division to the first in successive seasons.
    I blame Sky, and the evil empires of Manchelsea City and Madelona. Not because I believe they are entirely responsible for all our woes but they are vampires sucking the lifeblood out of football.
    The old enemy from West Yorkshire is a pimple on the backside of football history by comparison.
    **AV writes: What he said^^^^^^^

  26. When you factor in the FFP rules its hard not to feel a little bit smug, We should all really feel a bit smug, what we seem to be building is a sustainable club. When you look at the panic thats going on in other clubs, well actually as AV reports it, its more like the worst sort of gambling.
    These clubs are toying with their very existence, the storm that will do for some clubs could take out a lot of collateral as well. I can see a lot more players, coaches and scouts out on their ears and very quickly.
    You have to look at the Boro and think that possibly, for the first time in its history, the club is prepared for survival in a cauldron that will take out the weak, possibly from all divisions. If the PL ever gets its financial act together and works on a sustainable model (yes that is laughably naive on my part, but if not, that bursting bubble will make a few people deaf!) then we may well be in a good position for decades.
    I am genuinely content that the future of the club is in good hands, maybe too many people think the only success is to be in the PL, regardless of whatever else your status says about you.
    If this was your own life what would you prefer? Big House, car, holidays all on tick with a loan shark who without any warning can come around and take everything? Or the right size house, car and holidays that you can afford and that safeguards your family’s safety and future, your kids future and their kids future,.
    So what if you never had that weekend on a yacht in Monaco. You would only feel like a doyle!

  27. Actually Uxter you talk sense there. I think the Championship is a very competitive division which makes for exciting games right to the end of the season. Compared to the Premiership which is down to being won by one of four clubs by December. It is all about money buying success.
    But on the other hand the financial reward for the also rans are also massive. Maybe the whole league system needs a big shake up.

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