Wednesday: Weak. Never Happened At All

WHAT a complete dog’s breakfast that was. There was literally only one team in it, one team setting out to win, one team with a shape and strategy, fired up and working to a common goal. One team – and a loose collection of individuals cobbled together in a shambolic system. I was by turns embarrassed, angry and frightened. But not surprised.

Boro were battered. They were ripped open as Wednesday – who kicked off in poor form knowing they had to win to be sure of survival – went for the jugular. Had circumstances been reversed would this Boro team have attacked with such intensity? And right now, would Boro have played a relegation six pointer in front of a bumper crowd? I wonder.
It was torrid stuff from the whistle and it took about 30 seconds to see exactly how the game was going to pan out as lower league journeyman Fancy Dan Jermaine Johnson waltzed through the defence at will doing the Shammiobi Shimmy – but making it work. Down the other flank Helan was running riot. Boro were in utter chaos every time the ball came into the box. Midfield was non-existent. What was nominally a three man front line barely featured with Carayol a passenger, McDonald dropping far too deep and Main’s occasional direct runs heading straight into trouble. Their keeper barely made a save.
It was men against boys. And not very good boys at that.
Boro set out with a creaky, badly executed 343 with a debutant centre-back and even though it was clear within a minute that Wedensady were going to rip down the flanks neither of Boro’s midfield wide men – both full-backs by trade – offered the slightest bit of protection. It could have been a massacre. Seriously, I was watching through my fingers in white faced horror after about two minutes. Boro made them look like Bayern. It could easily have been three or four at the break and no-one could have complained.
I mean, Steve Howard scored. Glacial Steve Howard. Bombed out on loan by relegated League One Hartlepool for being a bystander, hasn’t scored in his 10 anonymous games at Wednesday, hasnt scored for THREE YEARS in the Championship … barges his man aside and leathers in the opener. The only surprise is that Leroy ‘Offside’ Lita didn’t score – although in familiar fashion he tried to claim the second as a corner flashed past his attempted touch and went in.
Boro were slightly better after the break. Either that or, job done, the Owls eased off. Boro saw more of the ball and had the odd half chance but there was no sustained pressure, no real testing of the keeper, no sense of determination, no real feeling that they could claw thir way back into it. The crowd – 31,000 – had started very nervous but after 10 minutes they relaxed and even as Boro “battled back” there was no sense of jitters. The Owls fans were all too busy getting into position ready for a mass good-natured celebratory pitch invasion on the whistle.
Boro did nothing to get the home crowd on edge. Or the opposition. It was a plodding, half-hearted contractual obligation display with the aeroplane already taxiing on the runway. Despite the stakes, Wednesday won’t have had an easier game all year.
No-one emerged with any credit. At least Burgess can claim some mitigation as a rookie that was left high and dry by his international colleagues at the back and the kids who came on – Bryn Morris and Ben Gibson – wil have got some big game experience as they tried to salvage something from the wreckage. Gibbo’s nephew really rattled Lita in a brave challenge which bodes well. Jason Steele made two superb stops when Boro were being ravaged early on. And Grant Leadbitter at least ran around furiously. Rhys Williams made a couple of good blocks but only after a very poor start.
The rest? Well, least said soonest mended. But right now if anything was said it would be peppered with expletives. Suffice to say very few emerged with credit.
On the plus side, the pain will now at least stop until August. It was a frustrating and deeply disappointing season that has been the walking dead for months. A sickening long slither from the automation promotion spots to a finish just above the relegation zone. What if Boro hadn’t beaten Forest? It doesn’t bare thinking about.
Most people gave up weeks ago. Including a lot of the players on that showing.
I’m now actively trying to airbrush the last few months from history, to push the pain into a little box to be stored away in the collective loft of repressed memory.


47 thoughts on “Wednesday: Weak. Never Happened At All

  1. Any reason Emnes not involved? Was the formation to get Burgess in with some ‘protection’?
    Hand on heart do you think things are really bad or is it as seems likely the case that the current squad of permies aren’t good enough and a load of changes will be made in the summer? Is Woodgate seen as being part of next seasons plans?
    Loads of questions that Mogga could do with answering honestly after today.
    **AV writes: I think mentally the club collectively gave up weeks ago, are already working on ripping the team apart and rebuilding for next season and have just wanted to get these games out of way as quickly as possible. The last six or so games in Strachan’s first season were the same. Hard to swallow for people who pay good money to see a competitive team fired up in every game though..

  2. It’s hard to imagine that anyone, including you mr Vickers, imagined any outcome other than this… Roll on next season

  3. Even the most ardent of Mowbray fans (me), must have serious doubts about who should lead us into the 2013/2014 season, after our heartless efforts this calendar year.
    This was the year to get out of the Championship. No mega wage bills like last year (West Ham), whereas next year we will be up against 2 x mega wage bills (QPR and Newcastle). This year was a poor Championship and it will be a surprise if all three promoted sides don’t come straight back down.
    And we managed to finish 16th, one point above Huddersfield, who with eight minutes of the season to go, were in the relegation zone.
    Yes, Mowbray has been working with one hand tied behind his back. But the signings that have been made (with the possible exception of Carayol), have not inspired confidence.
    Parnaby (injuries) Woodgate (injuries), Bikey, Friend (don’t be fooled by his cavalier forward charges, look at his defending), Leadbitter, Haroun, Ledesma (lightweight), McEachran (lightweight), Zemmama, Miller, Jutkiewicz.
    None of the would get in a top six championship team.
    Mowbray has had almost three years, and leaves us in an arguably worse position than the one Strachan left (based on a calendar 2013 table), albeit with a more manageable wage bill.
    If we are to make a change, now is the time to do it. Not in October, when we are in the bottom six.

  4. Ashamed, embarrassed, angry, frustrated and thoroughly underwhelmed
    Really, really, really, really concerned about the future. Not sure I have much faith left in the manager but desperately want to be proved wrong.

  5. A fitting end to a miserable farce of a season. A ‘failure’ of a season in the the ‘manager’s’ words.
    So, what will success look like next season? Well, with this manager and his staff in place, as they will be, avoiding relegation will constitute unbounded and amazing success. Hopeless, utterly and abjectly hopeless with no prospect of redemption…

  6. Another typically pathetic performance – listless football and defensive frailties.
    It’s no surprise that the fans have given up as the team did just that some weeks ago. Disgraceful for so-called ‘professionals’.

  7. Today was bad. Really bad. I watched the game in the home end, almost next to AV and Ali and Higgy, because my mate is a Wednesday fan and he got me a ticket.
    I hoped I would need to sit on my hands all the way through. Needless to say I didn’t, Boro were woeful. Our defence was shockingly bad. Burgess was shoved nonchalantly out of the way every time there was an attack in the first half, none of them seemed to know who should be doing what, the Wednesday players must have thought all their birthdays had come at once. Their fans certainly did.
    The end of the season is now here, thank goodness. Boro need to rebuild…big time. If we start off next season in the same vein then Mogga will be gone by October.
    Of course I am a ra ra so I hope and believe the hype from this blog and elsewhere that significant comings and goings will happen this summer. Mogga is one of my favourite Boro players ever, he hasn’t always led a poor team. That is only true of the last four months. He can rebuild…he must.
    I will be there next season, I can’t wait. I managed a handshake and a quick word with Ali and Higgy at the end of the game, I even managed a quick commiseratory word with AV at half time. As fans we all know that 2013 has been awful, but surely we will come back stronger in August.
    Get ’em out and get ’em in Mogga. Buy well. I wish all the readers of this blog a stress free summer.

  8. Oh dear that sounds dire again….
    Back here in the USA I watched on TV the excitement of the Hull v Cardiff match interspersed with clips and updates from Watford v Leeds. It was an exciting morning ! Needless to say they hardly mentioned the Boro match except to say that the goals had rattled in against Boro and the Owls were easily safe.
    I fear for next season if the same management has to start over with a bunch of new recruits and some of this shambolic lot still wearing the red and white.

  9. Oh well,at least you got a Undertones song in the title.
    **AV writes: Yes. And another Positive Touch… Here Comes The Summer. Etc

  10. “**AV Writes Yes. We’ll storm this division next year”.
    And you know what. Having had the privilege of the Chairmans company some weeks go I thought we might be in a position to try and do this, if not sweep all before us.
    But only weeks later and dragged down by crap display after crap result ( and oh baby, we even beat Forest), I don’t have that same level of optimism now.
    May be I am a soft touch, but AV if you could get Gibbo to speak to a wider audience to try and put that fire back in the belly of the majority of the fans.
    I appreciate some aren’t for turning, and only premier league hidings of Man Utd will bring them back. But get the message out there. We aren’t dead. We haven’t given up. I know pumping £12m a year into a black hole isn’t giving up. Most Boro fans do. But they way he speaks, the ideas he has would give all a boost.
    I’m now watching snooker. There’s no Boro action for three months. A lot has got to happen
    I hate snooker

  11. This article is unbelievable AV. Of course we got stuffed again. Of course we played like we had lead in our boots. We have tried different players and formations lately and still play the same way.
    So what can we take from that and the last 4 months? Mmm. Well its not difficult is it? Our manager and coaching staff are devoid of ideas and at any other club they would be on their bikes. But this is Boro and our Godlike chairman has made so many disastrous decisions in the last few years i think he daren’t get rid of Mowbray.
    So what are our hopes for next season with a clueless management and coaching team, reducing income and shrinking gates? Well if we finish a place above relegation it would be a triumph!

  12. ‘Patterns,patterns, patterns.’
    Football isn’t rocket science but after the first four losses in a row someone flagged up that there was a serious problem developing only to be slapped down with comments such as ‘Keep the faith’ or ‘We’ll surely turn the corner soon’ #I paraphrase#. There was in effect a collective surpression, a collective denial and an abject refusal to see things early and rectify the situation – there still is!
    The team lost faith in the manager and thus themselves months ago, just as the manager lost faith in the hotchpotch he was putting out week after week.
    Since January the performance has been shambolic. The management didn’t have a clue nor did the players who were lined up in such a way they might as well have been playin for the opposition.
    GS2 walked away with honesty. GS1 was forced out when he was on the up. Mogga has been told to stick with it, I believe against his natural inclination to get as far away as possible.
    Loyalty is only good upto a point – it’s time for a root and branch change from top to bottom but I doubt I’ll see that in my lifetime.

  13. Disgrace doesn’t even come close. The worst performance I have seen since GS2 last game in chage vs Leeds.
    Williams absolutely woeful, Leadbitter player of the year? Dreadful!
    The system did not help but if you can’t pass the ball 10 yards then it doesn’t matter what system you use.
    The possession we did have, offered no threat at all!
    Curtis tried but up there on his own, was running into bodies most of the game.
    Big shake up needed, it’s going to be a long season next year if we don’t sort this out

  14. Amazing relegation battle with the number of points required to stay up. Glanced at the table in relief and disbelief.
    Then it dawned on me, the bottom seven gained 19 points out of a possible 21 since Christmas from the generosity of MFC. Taking us out of the equation and the bottom would look more typical.
    Wednesday 55 points
    Huddersfield 55
    Millwall 53
    Posh 53
    Barnsley 52
    Wolves 48
    Bristol 38
    It could be argued that Posh’s failure to take three points at the Riverside cost them relegation.

  15. They could have rounded 11 punters off the street and they would have accumulated only 1 point less than Boro away from home since Dec 8th. And yet they claim to be professionals, I wish I could get paid as much to be so impressively incompetent at my job 😉
    Clearly you need a modicum of talent to play professional football, but the sheer lack of interest, commitment, leadership etc shown these last 4 months has been pretty shocking. The players and management have been equally culpable. Major surgery required to avoid going the way of Wolves.

  16. The torture and torment is over for this season, three months of respite.
    Yesterday was a horrible experience with all the old failings there in abundance. Rather than singling out individual players with their craven attitude throughout the match it is safe to assume if the majority of that team play next season we are heading for Division 1.
    Mogga has done nothing to arrest the decline in the team since Christmas.I have always always likened Mogga to Stan Anderson, the nearly man, who had us in the top half of the table playing good football.
    However he is rapidly becoming like another disasterous Boro Manager, Raich Carter who through his ineptitude too us into the old Third Division.
    If we do not get the players he wants in and there is no improvement in the first six matches then Gibson has to sack him, because this rot has taken hold and may become irreversible.
    The day was made worse by the obscenities, aggression and general unsavoury behaviour of so -called Boro fans near us.See you all in August

  17. Thank God this season has finished!
    Having watched all 46 league games and all but 1 cup game I’m looking forward to enjoying my Saturday nights and having a healthier bank balance for a few months!!

  18. Press release from Middlesbrough Football Club
    Under Tony(job for life)Mowbray
    Starting next season our motto is
    “Success is Avoiding Relagation”

  19. If Mogga thinks spinning yarns about getting a “prolific striker” on board will make a difference to this sorry squad of players, then he really should go now, before any further damage is done.
    The season has ended pathetically, with the illness that has run through the squad since New Years’ Day continuing right up to yesterday’s sorry episode at Sheffield. Why, this must have been the longest recorded New Year hangover in medical history! And sadly, I do now fear the worse. I fear a repeat of 1985/86 season when we fell indignantly through the relegation trapdoor.
    I cannot see enough quality players coming in to make a difference, and any talk of promotion for next campaign is just plain silly and dishonest at this stage. You say it best, when you say nothing at all Mogga.
    Have a great summer all you anquished bloggers and season card holders. Thanks for the blog themes this season AV, they have been the best part of the whole season.

  20. I was going to write an inspired season ending “Bloggies” contending post, but then I thought, if the players can’t be bothered then why should I.

  21. Our Lips Are Sealed. The Go-Go’s …. For Mowbray and Gibson – they know what’s gone wrong behind the scene but are not revealing what!
    We Close Our Eyes – Go West…. What our players do when they shoot
    Better Love(Luck) Next time – Dr Hook…. For 2013/14
    You’re History – Shakespear’s Sister…. What most of the players are going to be told
    On The Beach -Chris Rea…. Where most of the players have been since New Years Day
    Blue Monday – New Order…. Hurworth Training ground after every Saturday
    Alive and Kicking – Simple Minds…. Something the players haven’t shown since Jan 1st
    **AV writes: A good opening gambit. Any more? I’m thinking “Rip It Up”, “Tainted Love”, “Road to Nowhere” and “That’s Entertainment” may get a shout.

  22. My anger has gone now, I accepted we were garbage about a month ago.
    There is isn’t any of the current team I would be disappointed to see leave. Our main asset, Jason Steele, has never impressed me. His shot stopping and handling abilty is good but his Communication and abilty to command his area are totally none existant. This leads to an unorganised and confused defence that leaks goals easily. If anyone offered 2M plus I would snap their hand off and bring in someone with more experience and nous (Look how we did with Ikeme & Smith).
    Woodgate is shocking, can’t believe he was given a three year contract with his injury record; He must have laughed his head off when he signed that one.
    Leadbitter for me is also an average work horse midfielder who I don’t think we would miss either. Bailey cannot pass to save his life, I’ve always thought he looks like a pub player. I like Bikey but I think he needs the influential keeper behind him to keep him right. I also like McDonald; I remember seeing him berate the other players during the match at Birmingham as he tried almost single handedly to carry us through.
    I think next season will be the defining one for Mowbray but the pressure will be immense after the collapse this year. I hope he gets it right but sadly I can’t see it….

  23. Best thing about yesterday was the pre-match drinks in the Niagra Road Police Club. Less said about the match the better.
    An awful season coupled with an awful finale. I mentioned to Pete, would we ever see the Riverside bounce again like Hillsborough ever again; the answer to that I fear, is light years away.

  24. There I was cooking a nice meal for my wife and I listening to sundry ManU fans on the phone in following the defeat to Chelsea. couple of callers were bemoaning silly formations and selections. I half expected someone to call in saying Mogga does it as well and look how well it worked for them.
    Sorry, couldnt resist it. I am beyond cross because I cant do anything about it. I see more away than at home so apart from my Boro pride card and a few games at the Riverside my income for Boro is not great.
    Of more concern is the fact Teesside has walked away from the club.

  25. I would be interested – in the way pathologists might be, gruesomely – in our first half pass completion rate at Hillsborough. I bet it was around 50%. Not much above that, anyway, which means not much beyond a random success rate!
    If there is such a stat, the pass completion for balls that were trying to make progress (taking away from consideration those passes that are designed to get rid of the football and any associated responsibility, those passes that go back to Jason Steele or the nearest available backline player or the crude, aimless lumps forward) might have been around 10%?
    To say “this is not good enough” is not good enough. It goes way beyond disharmony in the dressing room. The team look as if they have actually forgotten how to play the game! I have never seen anything like this, even under Raich Carter.
    A few players had an unusually bad game (Hoyte, Smallwood) and Scott McDonald, Andy Halliday and Grant Leadbitter tried for most of the 90 minutes, but only the novices like Burgess (in flashes) and Gibson looked like experienced, well-paid professionals. Will we ever hear the full story of the omnishambles?
    Still, there’s a nice break now. It will give our team a chance to practise taking and defending corners, passing the ball to a team-mate (they can start easy, passing to a colleague who is nice and static – as they mostly have been recently – and, if they can master that, then they can move on to passing to a moving target, passing to feet or passing just in front of their team-mate).
    Then they have plenty of time to do some work on closing down, maybe even getting on to tackling with conviction rather than with vague, closed-eyes hope. Some players could build up muscle. Some could be shipped out as well, of course, to other clubs who pay top dollar for players without heart or pride.
    We have heard a lot during the excuses period before and just around January that Emnes, Thomson, Ledesma, Luke Williams etc “are so skilful on the training ground that it’s frightening”. What worries me is that we won’t get rid of Emnes, who, in actual games, has been one of our very worst players in a season full to the brim of bad performances, and that this culture of self-regarding mutual admiration will continue to fill those players’ heads whom we cannot shift.
    If players read this, let me tell all of them that when the people on Coach One, those who make every match, were discussing the Player of the Year celebrations, they were not being ironic when they felt there should not be such a farcical proceeding this year. There was ironic humour in the idea that the nominations should be for things like Worst Back Pass, Stupidest Decision, Poorest Penalty, etc, but such an awards evening would have been more realistic than celebrating any achievement this year.
    But, of course, they won’t care enough to read this. They will already be sunning themselves and making their skin look bronzed, healthy and glowing like the skin of someone who is a success in life.
    The Supporters have been stars this year. The players have been wimps.

  26. “AV said -The team that starts in August should look nothing like the patched up bunch that have finished this season.”
    The patched up bunch as you so kindly put it were and are the product of the Boro management. The chairman, the manager and his management team.The phrase itself seems indicative of a culture where if it doesn’t work, pass the parcel of blame and responsibility elsewhere, anywhere but where it belongs.
    Still changing this sorry collective will be like trying to dislodge a limpet off the rocks at Redcar with a feather. They’ll come back with the new improved Boro seeking season ticket sales only for the real deal to be lost in the mist of a PR cloud of half truths (D Graham coming to Boro – anyone remember that one? Who came, who was introduced to flocks of Boro flag waving supporters? No one!)
    As for a song what about ‘Don’t Bring me Down’ by ELO. Yes I know it was strictly speaking from 1979 but close enough I think. Let’s hope we don’t go down next season. Let’s hope AV et al are laughing their socks off at me as we march proudly to the top of the table and stay there.
    Let’s hope, but given previous performance I think I’d probably more likely see a dancing bear doing a turn in Linthrope Road wearing pink bra and panties.

  27. Should I stay or should I go – The Clash,
    Road to Nowhere – Talking Heads,
    Blind Vision – Blancmange,
    Confusion – New Order,
    Chop-Chop – Killing Joke,
    Change – Tears for Fears,
    That Joke Isn’t Funny Anymore – The Smiths
    OK, back to the soul mending hard labour in the garden as this season is not worth contemplating – 16th place is what it is – an utter shambles!
    Even over here in Bremen isn’t any better with Werder clinging only three points above the drop zone with two to play – Still as Fergal would say “Here comes the summer”…

  28. Werdermouth –
    How about:
    Just for Gibbo. Stand by your man – Tammy Wynette
    For the new sports science department. Heart of Glass – Blondie
    For the chicken runners. Down Down – Status Quo.
    Theme Music for the new Sky TV programme, Mystic Mog. Its a mystery – Toyah Wilcox.
    The garden beckons.

  29. I wonder whether anyone at MFC is going to admit responsibility for the catastrophic decline in the team’s performances over the second half of the season?
    It is patently obvious that something is seriously wrong at MFC and the silence from those in key positions in the club – the chairman, the manager and the first team captain – has been deafening.
    The fans will not put up with more of the same going into next season. Hostility towards the club will grow and many more people will vote with their feet. To stand any chance of avoiding this, the club must provide the fans with an honest and open analysis of what has gone wrong together with an explanation of what is going to be done to ensure the problems are fixed and a clear action plan with the necessary steps to ensure that a competitive team takes the field next season.
    By being open with the fans the club will show that it is in tune with the supporters’ despair, demonstrate that it knows what to do to get out of the mess it is in and thereby perhaps generate a little bit of hope that next season will be better. Without any such hope the downward spiral will for sure accelerate with dire consequences.

  30. Paulista Park –
    Absolutely spot on.
    The gap between the “Boro” and the fans is a chasm, and word abyss a few of us have used looks dark and real right now. If Mr. Gibson does not try to build bridge of some type, the alienation will increase to the few fans that have continued to have blind faith.
    This year has been a shambles, yet I have not read or heard of any reports from the manager taking his responsibility for the mistakes made. In the end the buck stops with him.
    PP made a good point about Hull, and previously about Cardiff. You can get by and be successful without a “prolific scorer”, one we cannot afford anyway.
    As I have said numerous times now, the core of the team is always the defence. Do not concede goals and you will be there or there abouts.
    Yet TM signs Woodgate, Bikey, Parnaby, Friend, all who have been either missing or poor in their defensive duties. Hines and Williams, injury prone. You do not need to be a manager to see the mistakes in this. I do not feel hopeful that TM can get it right this summer….I do really hope I am wrong.

  31. AV –
    Our only hope for next year is if there is a major shake up.
    But who will be the ten who go?
    Loanees: Miller, Ameobi, Josh (but questionable how much wages this frees up).
    Out of contract: Big Mick, Bailey, Parnaby (?), Bikey, Dyer.
    Not sure that frees up anything like enough wages to bring in six first choices.
    So does that mean we will try and move on some saleable assets? Steele, Williams, Emnes?
    AV writes: McManus, Bailey and Arca out of contract will save (*puts finger in air*) £34k a week. Throw in the cash saved by the exit of Kevin Thomson (even after his pay-off) and possibly not taking up the option on Bikey and that’s another £18k. That’s before you even think about the money that had been committed to loan deals and that from potential sales of either Emnes or McDonald.
    Given that outside the top four or five big payers in this division that good, seasoned Championship players are averaging £5-6k a week and that many of even the better paid players in some of the European leagues we are looking at are on 2-3,000 Euros a week you can see that there is a lot of leeway to work with.
    How much do you think Yann Kermogant, Albert Adomah or Dwight Gayle are on?

  32. Some great posts as ever and a fair amount of agreement. If the players displayed the kind of passion that was so evident in Carlton P’s post then we’d be fine.
    AV, are there any developments re Gibson addressing the fans ?
    **AV writes: Me and Phil are trying to set up a meeting for next week if diaries allow.

  33. One for the Foam Hand Brigade – “Always Look on the Bright Side of Life” (Monty Python)
    Match reports since Christmas – “All Things Dull and Ugly” (Monty Python)
    MFC Team Song 2012/13 – “Suicide Squad Song” (Monty Python)
    TM on his 1-2-1 meetings with the players – “I’ve Got a Little List” (Gilbert and Sullivan)
    When will we all start to look forward again …..“When Does a Dream Begin” (Monty Python)
    Obviously referring to “Up the Boro, The Boro’s Going Up” -“I’ll Bet You They Won’t Play This Song On the Radio” (Monty Python)
    An finally, one especially for Jarkko – “Finland” (Monty Python)
    **AV writes: That’s an impressively broad record collection you’ve got there.

  34. I can’t lay claim to any one of those in my own collection. I came up with of a couple of Python songs I could think of that I thought fit the bill and then Googled to see if there were any more. I smiled when I saw Finland !
    I feel so let down by the players. The bottom line is it the players on the pitch on match day and if they can’t find it in themselves to self-motivate … to show effort and desire…. then they have no place in the team.
    I’m not the first to post it, but TM has to get the back sorted first. If you don’t let any goals in you can’t be beaten.

  35. Stuff the prolific striker Mogga, your biggest priority this summer now we’ve lost Dyer, is to sign someone who is very good at organising the quiz on the coach.

  36. Can I second carltonp at 7.10am?
    I have only got down as far as his post. Feeling a little depressed about the situation, I intend to go to the pub for a few beers.
    I’ll read the rest later…..

  37. Powmill –
    thanks for remembering me. I did not know that song by Python, though.
    A quick look to my iPod:
    The Police. King of Pain – need I say more?
    On the positive: Walking on the Moon. This is for Smogon after an unbeaten run against Forest this season. Not a bad season?
    By the way, perhaps we should sell the Rolls and buy a sturdy old Land Rover – a Defender anyone? As somebody used to say, clean sheets win matches …
    Up the Boro!

  38. “I’m now actively trying to airbrush the last few months from history, to push the pain into a little box to be stored away in the collective loft of repressed memory.”
    The only people to benefit from last season (apart from the players and their bank balances) are the Freudian Psychologists and therapists – can the local NHS cope – phone 111 and find out …….
    **AV writes: Hey, I still think most of Teesside will end up on a couch in years to come reliving the deep suppressed pain of 1996-97.

  39. Though Jung did, as is widely known, take a much more positive view of repressed thoughts and their impact on creativity ….. and that gives us the thing that hurts i.e. hope!?!?!?

  40. I am somewhat surprised – no amazed – that Mogga appears to be escaping from the shambles as having no responsibility for our predicament.
    Our lowest league position for over 20 years appears to cause little more than a ripple at MFC.
    Why is this the case? The form since January would cost most managers their job – not Teflon Tony apparently. We are a million miles away from assembling a squad capable of mounting a sustained attempt to get in the top six.
    More worryingly we are relying on this squad being put together by a man who this year has not only proved a major disappointment but seems to have lost the eye for decent players if you take into account his recruiting policy.
    I want what is best for the club, sadly I don’t think Mogga is the man to deliver this.
    **AV writes: I think the reason there is no obvious internal outrage is that the powers that be made the assessment weeks ago that Boro weren’t going up and since then have been working towards next season. The season fizzling out has just been a formality since then. That is a bitter pill to swallow as a fan but it probably makes sense in business terms to get a flying start on next season.

  41. AV –
    In my case 1963-present…. I suspect it is Stockholm syndrome.
    I notice that Saunders has been sacked at Wolves and Jackett resigned from Millwall. I would say the link was that both sides beat Boro since Christmas but there would be a lot of unemployed managers in that case.
    Roll on the rebuilding and as a link do we know who has definitely done an Elvis?
    We need a table showing who has gone and the wage bill saved. Ideally this should be an interactive one where we put a name in and in comes up with a figure. We also need potential wages of prospects so we can check what is available.
    Over to you AV, do you think that nice Mr Bauser would give us such info?
    **AV writes: The MLS has just published the wages of every player at every club to the dollar. That’s the kind of transparency we need.

  42. The University of Teeside run a very effective course for Counselling Psychologists who at this time I believe are somewhat in short supply – hence the NHS is sending people home with a bottle of smarties and a self-help book.
    I cannot confirm that they are advising any person who is born within 20 miles of the Riverside to avoid it like the plague because of the detrimental effect it can have on your mental health:)

  43. Well the hope has gone now, so that’s a relief. All we’ve got to do now is deal with the pain of disappointment.
    2012-13. It was what it was.
    I agree with all those saying Mogga needs to start re-building by constructing a robust, tight defence. Success comes from not conceding.
    Mogga still has my support, but there’s no doubt he’s working to a tight time frame now, a poor start to next season will make his position untenable. Let’s hope he’s a man who thrives under pressure.

  44. AV wrote: “I think the reason there is no obvious internal outrage is that the powers that be made the assessment weeks ago that Boro weren’t going up and since then have been working towards next season. The season fizzling out has just been a formality since then. That is a bitter pill to swallow as a fan but it probably makes sense in business terms to get a flying start on next season.”
    How is that a good idea in business terms?Is it the old Keith Lamb point that the club can manage perfectly well without any fans?
    **AV writes: I don’t think it is good business. Good business would have been winning games, building a buzz and shifting season tickets based on optimism for the future. But this is not the first time season’s have fizzled out because everyone has their eyes on next term: Strachan’s first term was similar, at least once under McClaren, once or twice under Robson. I’m sure it happens at other clubs too.

  45. So – it boils down to this:
    Most people desperately want Mogga to do well. Some now doubt that he will.
    Most realise that some of the higher paid players at the club cannot be afforded – their contribution is at a different level to their wages. If you are the highest paid player and you keep putting the ball in the opponents’ net it is one story but if you keep missing sitters or taking air shots it is a different story.
    Most realise that decent teams all start with a solid defence and midfield. Whatever else might be said about our defence (square pegs….musical-chairs selection policy…) “solid” is not an adjective that comes to mind. And the midfield isn’t creative enough.
    Most will complain that fitness is an issue with our squad. All teams suffer injuries, but if you sign players who are known to have a poor fitness record, guess what happens!
    Woodgate would be an excellent player if he was fit enough to play for 90+ minutes on Saturday, Tuesday, Saturday. But he isn’t able to do that, so we get a couple of games missed, then a 55 minute cameo until he is injured then has to be taken off (using up one of the substitutes) before missing the next few weeks. Hardly good for consistency in the defence. For three games in four, Anthony Vickers would be as good at centre back as Woodgate (sitting in the stand).
    Most of those watching the games might wonder whether some of those players who looked so very good in the first half of the season (Leadbitter, Friend) have been fully fit recently. And the same might be said of Rhys Williams because, after his return to the team, it is difficult to understand how a Rolls could be transformed into a Lada without some very good explanation.
    Many would question why it is that professional footballers need to be “got up for a game” – if indeed it is correct that the manager is now unable to motivate the team. Might cause some questions for the manager, but surely also for the players.
    “Sorry about chopping off the wrong leg, and for failing to stitch up the wound neatly – I just couldn’t get myself up for it this week.” That would be a good one to try before the General Medical Council.
    Many might think we have a large number of very inconsistent players in the squad. Bikey can win the ball in the air several times, poke his long legs into the path of the ball and dispossess his opponent several times….and then fall over the ball in the penalty area or play the ball directly into the path of an opponent to concede a goal.
    The loan signings were “interesting” (I except McEachran from that – though his performances very clearly fell off in the second half of the season), but not successful.
    Carayol might look an interesting prospect for next season (having missed much of this one), but Ledesma will have to improve. Parnaby will probably have no real future at the club. The real issue is that, when the current squad is laid out, not many seem like cast iron certainties for selection next season. It may not be fair to lay all of that at Mogga’s door, but he has now been at the club for a while….
    It is now summer (don’t laugh!). It may be possible to put this right. But to do that, it is really important to identify the reasons for this very unsatisfactory season. And for the massive fall-off in form in 2013.
    If the club can’t do that, and if the team starts in August like it performed for the second half of the last season, then no amount of good feeling towards Mogga will be enough to save his job. And the crowds will be less than 10K as the club stares into the abyss.
    It could go either way. I know which way I’d prefer to to go. I want someone to be able to say to me this time next year: “Oh, ye of little faith” as we have stormed to promotion.
    There is a lot of work to be carried out over the summer. It can be done but it won’t be easy. I’m nervous though willing to be persuaded. I realise that not everyone will have the same patience. Here we go then….
    **AV writes: Good post. I think it reflects where a lot of people stand.

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