Mogga Wins Boro’s Battle of Hustings

THE VOTES have been counted in the Big Boro Survey and Tony Mowbray has squeezed home at the ballot box.
The manager was endorsed as the man to lead Boro into next season in the Gazette’s Big Boro Survey – but the results also showed a significant vote for the opposition. Mogga is now defending what is in effect a marginal constituency.



The good news for the manager, the club and for the medium term stability of the club is that almost half of the fans in the poll have declared themselves as either ‘certain’ or ‘pretty sure’ that Mogga is the right manager for Boro and in favour of the status quo.
But the bad news is that lining up on the other side almost a quarter of voters in the extensive on-line poll were quite clear that they were against the current manager.
In topical terms they are the confirmed dissidents demanding a straight-forward “In or Out” referendum now, even if it isn’t on the table.
There is also a large and potentially problematic volatile group in the middle-ground that are “unsure” and who could swing quickly either way depending on exactly how next season pans out. That is the key battleground in the early stages of next season.
Equally problematic is that the results also show that almost half of voters point emphatically to areas under the gaffers control – tactics and team selection – as the primary cause of Boro failing to secure a play off place in the shrivelled season just gone.
And the survey was quite scathing about the team as a collective and in many cases harsh on individuals too. One individual in particular. But then, it seems to be a cultural obligation to have a clearly defined and widely recognised scapegoat. It is nice to have some clarity on these tricky matters.
The obvious impression given by the figures from the Big Boro Survey is that fans remain largely behind the boss – but many have marked doubts and criticisms too.
Next season, the pressure is really on the boss to deliver.
That’s the headlines. Before we look at the results in detail, first, a word on the survey.
We asked a wide ranging series of open questions about the team, the players, the manager, whether your expectations had been met, the key reasons for the campaign’s feeble finale and what needs to be done to improve Boro ready for next year.
The main results have been illustrated in the Gazette over the past two days and are also on gazettelive.co.uk website.
The Gazette conducted the poll on-line via specialist third party website Surveymonkey over the course of three weeks in April as a second successive frustrating Championship season fizzled out.
The first week of polling covered the aftermath of the win over Nottingham Forest so the backdrop was not totally bleak. The polling period also covered the narrow defeat at Bolton and the fightback in a 2-2 Riverside draw with Charlton so there was a little bit of everything and no one emotion would have dominated the hustings.
There were 807 respondents, which is easy to dismiss but is almost as big a sample size as the national polling organisations use when shaping national policy on the big topical news issues of the day. National newspapers run stories calling for the end of the NHS and Michael Gove wants to rip apart education in a far more flimsy basis.
The vast majority of respondents were active supporters with almost a third having attended every single home game and a slither over half having travelled to at least one away game as well. This is a well informed and representative constituency.
Yes, there are problems – the sample is self-selecting rather than random but then strangers stopped in the street are not neccessarily going to have an informed view on which of Boro’s wasters was the most disappointing – but this poll is as scientific as we are going to get. And the results put a lot of flesh on the bones of assumption and anecdotal evidence that surround the big issues.
Chief among those areas that have previously been dominated by guesswork and unsupported supposition (and some mischievous manipulation too it must be said) has been over the true size of the opposition to the boss.
Judging by the hot-housed angst on the message boards and the institutional whining of the moan-in shows with all their assertions that “almost everyone I know is against Mogga” it would be easy to believe there is an unstoppable bandwagon, that the dug-out dissidents command a majority. The Big Boro Survey nails that myth.
In fact the opposition is a whisker under the quarter mark. That is still a sizeable political problem but far from the groundswell of overt dissent that is claimed.
Only 23.9% of respondents nailed their colours clearly to the mast and defined themselves as “not at all confident” that Tony Mowbray is the right manager.
A similar figure was thrown up in answer to a different question. When asked what will be the most important factor in success next season slightly less, just 23.3%, voted for a change of management.
In contrast a smaller group of confirmed loyalist of 16.4% said they were “certain” that Mogga was the right man – but they were swelled by a further 26.5% wwho said they were “pretty sure” making a substantial slice – 42.9% – firmly behind the boss. That is not a majority but it is still a healthy bulwark to any notions of a terrace insurrection.
There were however exactly a third – 33.3% – that said they were “unsure” either way which is a grey area of floating voters that will need to be won over next term to avoid things getting sticky.
Those figures are more in keeping with the actual matchday experience this season rather than the virtual one on the foaming forums where there appears to be a white noise of permanent fury, only a small easily shouted down minority of vocal Mowbray loyalists and very little evidence of a middle ground.
At games, fans have generally been stoic and remarkably patient despite the second half slump. The booing has limited largely to the whistle and even then born more from resignation and frustration than any discernable anger directed specifically at the boss. There have been no audible chants of ‘Mogga out’ for instance.
That is not to say that supporters are happy with the way the promotion push wilted.
The biggest indictment of Tony Mowbray comes as 43.3% of voters pointed to tactics and selection as the primary cause of the campaign’s collapse putting the blame firmly at the manager’s feet.
Injuries, inexperience and a lack of depth – factors often wheeled out as mitigation after defeat by the boss – were brushed aside with negligible numbers citing them.
The other key factors flagged up were a lack of quality in the squad (17.4%), a lack of goals (15%) and conceding too easily (18.5%) – although how many who voted that way would put the onus on the manager for those faults anyway is open to question.
And more people suggested new players are the way forward than a new boss.
Asked what will be the biggest factor in success 28% suggested an attack which takes its chances and 24.6% said new players, both higher than the 23.3% who see dug-out change as the solution.
It is not just the boss facing flak at the polls. Naturally the under-performing players come in for a kick in the ballots too. No department of the team and few individuals escaped the withering criticism.
Asked which area of the team needs strengthening, 74.4% of respondents said attack, 59.3% said defence and 52.3% said midfield.
And poor Jason Steele may have been called up for the England Under 21 side in their European Championships and he may well have scooped both Player and Young Player of the Year gongs but even so 12.3% think goalkeeper needs strengthening too.
On the plus side for Steele, he was rated the highest of all the players in the individual marks with an average of eight.
The detailed breakdown of the marks makes better reading for the keeper too.
The system allocated an overall mark reflecting where the largest single cluster of votes were cast.
A healthy 37.5% of the voters rated the keeper an eight but another 15.9% gave him a nine and 4.7% even gave him a ten out of ten.
Of the rest of the squad only George Friend, Grant Leadbitter and Mustapha Carayol dented the top mark.
Those three plus Justin Hoyte, Scott McDonald, Adam Reach and Seb Hines were the only players who made a seven with the latter two only just clawing over the line by less than 1%.
Most of the voting patterns were almost unanimous which shows that most fans watch roughly the same game. The majority of players votes were clustered within two marks.
Two players were given a damning one out of 10 mark for their contribution: a staggering 35.8% of voters gave pricey perma-crock Kevin Thomson the lowest possible mark while 20.8% gave frustrating frontman Marvin Emnes the same black spot.
Merouane Zemmama and Ishmael Miller were given a one by more than 10% of voters but polled enough elsewhere higher up the rankings to avoid the shameful stain.
That may muddy the waters over who was the popular whipping boy and ease the burden for enigmatic Emnes – but there is no escaping the harsh reality of the most eye-catching and damning numbers in the entire poll.
The Dutch striker, 18 goal top scorer in the previous term and briefly a £4m Swansea target, was overwhelmingly voted the most disappointing player of the season.
A hefty 57.6% of all voters named him as the undoubted flop of the campaign.
Injury jinxed Rhys Williams was the only other player to even limp into double figures with 12.5% of the vote while Jonathan Woodgate, equally dogged, was the only rival to top the 5% mark.
Perhaps the biggest surprise was that “all of them” attracted only 3.4% of the vote.
There was a sign of the new realism creeping into the Boro fans mental universe when asked about potential new signings. Asked to name ONE player to bring in the overwhelming favourite was Albert Adomah of Bristol City. Lionel Messi was only third. So if we can’t persuade Adomah to sign only then will we ring Barcelona.

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45 thoughts on “Mogga Wins Boro’s Battle of Hustings

  1. I was very surprised that 1 in 8 of those who took part have not attended a single home game. Its like asking people who don’t read the Gazette to give their view on the content. Surely they can’t have been to just away games.
    **AV writes: You’d be surprised. I know a few lads who live and work/study in London, Kent and Brighton who very rarely come back home but who still follow the club closely and get to half-a-dozen games a year around the South. It is the nature of the DiasBoro I suppose..

  2. Personally I think Tony Mowbray is in a very difficult place at the moment. With a slump that would have seen most managers in the football league shown the door, and no idea how to reverse it, the jury is very much out on him and Venus.
    I think he has about 10 to 12 games to get it right next season or you will see a lot of those floating voters turn against him and you will start to get Mogga Out chants.
    He is lucky that his association with the 86 team has deflected some of the ill feeling towards him. But dont count on this to continue if the season starts as this one has finished. He has a very massive close season ahead of him to get things right and at least produce a team on the pitch that we are proud to support again.

  3. What are the odds on Mogga staying as long at Boro as Sir Alex at ManU? Pity none asked the fans how long he would be here. Up the Boro!

  4. Have to say those figures are letting the players off easy.
    You can just about put together a side where no-one has a score worse than seven. That is not the score of a side that finished 16th in a poor division. Six or seven for just about everyone is way too high.
    I must say though that Leutwiler scoring 5 out of 10 is a bit harsh – the poor bloke never got on the pitch did he? He should have been excluded.
    **AV writes: Didn’t he do very well in a monsoon at Preston?
    I was a bit surprised at the player marks, although as I explained the headline mark was triggered by the single biggest cluster of votes. While voters were quite generous (and, remember, most people have seen most games at home where Boro have actually been more than respectable) all the players also had a string of far harsher lower marks strung out in smaller percentages below them. The detailed breakdown is not good reading for anyone really.

  5. **AV writes: “I think you are trying too hard to impose your own subjective view onto the figures and trying too hard to second guess what other people think.
    I don’t think you can ascribe any views to the 33.3% who say they are “not sure” – that is why they voted that way. And I certainly don’t think you can lump them in with those who are overtly against the manager. That is stretching it too far. Best thing is to class them as don’t knows and take them out of any calculation of the balance of political forces”.
    How can you take the “Unsure” vote and conveniently cast them aside into some newly created category as “Don’t knows”? The very fact they are “Unsure” means they have not committed themselves to the “Certain” or “Pretty sure” vote.
    There was no abstention option just four answers grading from profound blind faith to doom and gloom in four easy steps.
    Without getting into semantics (which of course I just have) I voted “not sure” because I love Mogga the player and didn’t want to stick the boot in on the survey but I am unconvinced that he will change and address his own management flaws (in my opinion) as well as the failings of the players, hence my reason for not being “Certain” or voting “Not at all”, on balance I felt that hand on Heart I couldn’t vote “Pretty Sure” because of my reasoned doubt.
    At 33.3% it has the largest vote of all on the specific question and it makes the strongest statement. Perhaps the wording option of the survey should have been “Pretty unsure”. There were four possible options and none of them said “Don’t Know” or “Spoiled Ballot Paper”.
    To be dismissive of the “Unsure” vote gives an uncomfortable impression of achieving a predisposed objective with the survey which I don’t believe that you personally would ascribe to.
    If that is the case then the vote should simply have been a Mogga Yes or No question. As it is I believe the vote is a fair reflection on where Boro Supporters views stand but inclusive of those like myself who are genuinely “Unsure”.

  6. A fair analysis of a frustrating season I think.
    Mogga has shown enough moments of tactical know-how and passion for the job to keep it, but has occasionally made decisions that seem baffling. Much like watching Emnes drift around up front – when he’s good, he’s very good, but otherwise leaves you scratching your head.
    The one out of 10 for the Dreadlocked Destroyer (remember when he was!) I think is just out of frustration that he fell so far short of what we’ve seen from him last season, and in short flashes of this one. I’d imagine the second highest score for him would be a four or five, rather than a two.
    Somewhat off-topic AV, but do you know if the scouting shake-up going on at the club is making any links with Australia? Quite a few of the players out there are starting to make moves into Europe, and they’re moving cheap. With McDonald and Williams on our books, and a history of players including Viduka, Schwarzer, Jones, Wilkshire and Vidmar (who now works at the Aussie equivalent to the new St. Georges centre), we could surely market ourselves as a route into the UK for some of these players?
    None of them are the finished article, but taking on cheap projects and hoping to improve them is presumably our main transfer business now.
    **AV writes: I’ve never heard Australia mentioned. The focus has mainly been France, Holland and Belgium with the odd foray into Portugal. There are fledgling link ups being explored in Croatia and Italy.

  7. Statistics, statistics. As interesting as the results are, we all seem to interpret them however we want. It makes a bit of a mess of an honest attempt to gauge public opinion. I look forward to someone saying that the Gazette are the club’s mouthpiece etc etc.
    I find the results encouraging – a minority of supporters are dead set against the manager – but then I would because I have interpretted them as I want to. I do find it contradictory, however, that 42.9% are supportive of Mowbray, whilst 43.3% blame his tatcics for the collapse.
    On Leutwiler’s 5/10 score – I think that is perfectly reasonable. Surely, having barely seen him play, he couldn’t be given a good score of 7+ nor a poor score of 4 or less. 5 or 6 seems the right “don’t-really-know” balance to me. I would say the same for Thomson, Arca and maybe Parnaby.

  8. Well as a manager of staff( not football) you try your best to get the best from your staff. They look promising then for some reason they go off the boil because of personal problems or lacking confidence or interest.
    I am sure TM has all these things to take into account and its not easy trying to always do the right thing and get it right etc. Sometimes it just doesn’t happen. I personally think we should give him time he has worked under tight restraints.
    UTB I for one will still be going to the games and will keep the faith! 🙂

  9. The point is that Redcar Red and fmttm have been telling us with glee for the past few months that Mogga is wanted out by vast swathes of Boro fans, there have been grumblings and discontent at the match, and yet, this poll shows nothing of the sort.
    We’ve just had five months from hell, no-one expected 100% support but what it does show (as I suspected from what I see and hear away from the Internet) is that Mogga still has the support of the fans, and people still think he has what it takes to succeed.
    If however we start next season like we finished the last his position will quickly become untenable and I’m sure he’s under no illusions about that.

  10. Whether or not Mogga is in charge next season (and by now everyone must know he WILL be in charge, as he has the confidence of the Chairman), the reality is that the vast majority on this Blog support the Boro. Not the manager, not any of the players but the club, the team itself.
    The words of Mr Average, above at 3.27pm, will resonate with many of the readers and posters on here.
    That’s not to say completely supine, blind faith. Obviously if we started in August with the same form we have seen in 2013, so that we are well adrift at the bottom of the table in October/November, then Mogga WILL go. Hopefully that will not happen.
    We hope for improvement next year. We’d like to see some spirit and fight in the team. It seemed as though the players had resigned themselves to their fate four months before the season ended. It would be nice to see some movement in the squad but we are all aware of the financial reality in which the club operates.
    We want some hope to cling to. But most of us will be back next season (though I must say, August 3rd seems rather early…..). If the supporters can see that some efforts are being made to rectify the things that went wrong last season, we might have supporters keen to get back behind the team.

  11. Polls in newspapers and magazines should always be treated with suspicion.
    During the 1936 US Presidential Election campaign influential news weekly The Literary Digest carried out an extensive poll of the electorate. Over 2 million voters were canvassed and based on the results the Digest confidently predicted an easy win for the Republican candidate Alf Landon against the Democratic President FD Roosevelt.
    They got it spectacularly wrong. Roosevelt won a landslide victory winning 46 of 48 states and over 60% of the popular vote. He even won Kansas where Landon was governor.
    How did the Digest get it so wrong? They used a large sample of voters after all. Their mistake was to take the sample from their own subscribers and also from lists of telephone and automobile users. All three groups were among the better off in society and naturally inclined to vote Republican.
    It was a huge embarrassment for the magazine which never recovered, folding in 1938.
    The election result was accurately called by the American Institute of Public Opinion who used a much smaller sample of only 50,000 voters. Their owner was a certain George Gallup.
    I’m sure the Gazette won’t go the way of the Digest and, of course, the Boro poll is only a bit of fun. It is interesting none the less.
    Any survey depends on positive responses, it’s proactive not reactive. In difficult times for the club I would have thought that those with a gripe would have been keenest to respond. I expected therefore a strong anti Mowbray vote but I was pleasantly surprised. It’s hardly a ringing endorsement but it’s certainly more back him than sack him.
    I’m sure my friends who don’t post, blog and read message boards are not surprised at all by the results. Those of us in the blogasphere have become used to the polarity of opinions and the constant sniping and smug whining at the manager’s expense.
    The reality is that most fans don’t give a damn about this and other blogs or FMTTM. They take a perfectly sensible middle ground of seeing the manager’s failings in the context of the club’s financial position. Its the kind of reasonable approach that is frowned upon in the Punch and Judy world of internet “debate”.
    I also think there’s an age issue here. Most of the vehemently anti Mowbray crowd on the message boards strike me as relatively young. Its likely that many of them didn’t live through the early 80’s Boro slump and the miracle of 86-88. You’d have to be at least 38 to appreciate properly what that meant and how pivotal Mowbray was to our club surviving those dark days. Perhaps they are sick of old farts like me telling them about it and take a perverse pleasure in our local hero’s fall from grace. The general fan-base is much older and remember Mowbray fondly from that time and are therefore far more tolerant. That is reflected in the poll.
    This split in opinion between the generations and the blog/non bloggers in part explains why the idea of the fans’ trust has never got off the ground. Which group truly represents the fans? It’s not necessarily the one that shouts the loudest.

  12. There should have been a straight in or out poll for Tony Mowbray with undecided votes not counting, then you would see the truth. You can dress statistics up to say whatever you want. Its all up to Gibson anyway hes got yes men around him thats the way he likes it.

  13. 807, do me a favour. An exit poll on the last home game would have been more realistic.
    Last season Mowbray’s signings proved to be not good enough. He has the close season, and about 10 games to get it right before he is applying for The Chiltern Hundreds.
    **AV writes: We don’t have the resources to organise an exit poll (and if did it would have equal problems… had it been after the Forest win or Birmingham defeat it would no doubt have artificially shaped the results to the point where they were statistically useless). And 807 is fine. It is a very large statistically valid sample very close to what national opinion polls use – although obviously this is self selecting rather than random. That said, we are a newspaper not professional pollsters. This is probably as good a test of opinion as you are going to get.

  14. I can acceot Mogga is not going anywhere literally and metaphorically speaking. In my view he will not progress as a manager I think he will take the club in the wrong direction.
    It’s rather insulting to equate people expressing their opinions as “stomping around like infants” just because they disturb the sensibilities of those with an opposite view.
    I resent being labelled as childish for being prepared to stand up for what I think is right for the club I have supported for 50+ years as opposed to what is right for an individual who has an iconic reputation as a player but has a very poor record as a manager.
    I left infant school a very long time ago.

  15. Somebody mentioned Parnaby above. As many players have now left Boro behind, has Parnaby already left the club or does he still have a contract for next season?
    Down the salaries. Up the Boro!
    **AV writes: Stuart Parnaby has another year.

  16. Paulista Park:
    Great post. I was about to reference the Literary Digest myself. Now I can concentrate on thinking through the implications of the Hegelian dialectic for Mogga’s future.
    **AV writes: You want to be turning that dialectic on its head…

  17. As for Tony Mowbray’s rating, I’m probably in the unsure camp as he hasn’t been able to prove that he can get the best out of the players at his disposal or find a way of avoiding wobbles turning into slumps (twice).
    I’ll give him the benefit of the doubt given the problems of recruitment in a downsizing period with a wage-skewed squad inherited from Strachan with no scouting network to support him.
    Though Mogga still has things to prove – for example, Boro’s performance at set plays, whether defending or attacking have been below what is required. We can’t say conclusively if this is down to players or the match preparation or both. I’m sure Boro are looking to bring in players that can give us a bit more presence at set plays – plus hopefully at least one player who can deliver a decent ball.
    Ultimately you can’t keep blaming the quality of the players and keep trying out more and more but still believing they can’t play to your system. There will come a point when you have to accept that you have to make it work with what you’ve got and deliver – and that point will be reached after the summer dealings.
    Mogga’s problem is that he won’t have the patience of the fans in building his new team plus it’s unlikely his loan signings will arrive until after PL squads get finalised, which is after the time the season begins.
    Watford started slowly last season as they bedded in their many new recruits – a similar start for Mogga will not be greeted well so he’s got a difficult job ahead and he may require ear plugs plus a new catch phrase (it will be not what it was?).

  18. I was also a bit surprised by the player ratings given that the survey was taken during one our worse runs in our history – perhaps in the tradition of unemployment statistics they need to be seasonally adjusted to reflect their actual performances.
    I don’t know if the actual numbers awarded were in a context that represented a meaning, but given that conclusion by the club was that the players weren’t good enough and the team requires a major overhaul then I’d have expect to see more 4’s or 5’s than 6’s or 7’s if supporters went along with that thesis.
    TYPICAL PLAYER RATINGS
    10 Unbelievable
    9 Excellent
    8 Very Good
    7 Good
    6 Average
    5 Below Average
    4 Poor
    3 Very Poor
    2 Hopeless
    1 Abysmal
    Though I think Kevin Thomson deserved a 2 rather than a 1 – plus the value of Emnes won’t have been helped by his score of 1.
    **AV writes: We don’t do marks in the Gazette, we have always resisted it for a lot of reasons which is probably a separate blog post in itself, but if we did I would see 6 as average but I know most of the lads from other papers who do them start with 5 as average. If someone has a “bad” game it is not unusual to see a 3 given which for me is extremely harsh, especially in the context of a bad display by the team. I can’t remember many displays over the years that I would rate less than that… Yak at Wigan maybe. Brad Jones at Sunderland maybe…

  19. Excellent balanced and wise perspective from Paulista Park.
    Just to add a possibly contentious observation on the last sentence: The fans who shout loudest are those who stay away. But their message is never heeded!

  20. Thanks to Len and Richard.
    Can I also add my praise for Mr Average and his excellent contribution, succinctly summing up how most of us feel.
    No sightings of Cassandra’s fishing rod yet. They must be biting elsewhere.

  21. Tosh –
    Mogga has a poor record as a manager? Are you sure about that? He’s had success at Hibs and WBA, his time at Celtic wasn’t long enough to make a judgement. At Boro he saved us from relegation and has since created an average championship team, which in the last two seasons has managed to compete in the top six for 3/4 of the season. That sounds like above average to me.

  22. I’m sure that Mogga would like to turn the dialectic on its head, but he just hasn’t got the material.

  23. Redcar Red –
    You say Mogga may stay 10 games or 10 years, but its in his hands? No its not, you know as well as I do that football managers are not in charge of their own destiny.
    The ‘not sures’ are always discarded in a survey, only certainty can be measured. You could always cut the not sures in half, add half to the ‘Mogga in’ camp and half to the ‘Mogga out’ camp. For certain the way the Gazette has presented the stats is correct, there’s no bias.

  24. lenmasterman –
    if only Mogga had signed Hegelian Triad in the January Transfer Window we would have been in the Play Off Final by now!

  25. So if the thesis of the Hegelian Dialetic in relation to Mowbray being the right man for the job was that the players were not mentally and physically robust enough to perform at a high level for a whole season, then the antithesis voiced by the a section of the supporters is that the constant rotation of players and changes of shape and tactics by Mogga eventually undermined the ability of the players to perform to their best ability.
    Perhaps the synthesis that resolves this conflict is to provide Mowbray with players that both sides of the argument can agree are capable of playing at a standard that can achieve promotion.
    Given that this is Boro’s plan for the summer recruitment, then could this lead to a new thesis from the anti-Mogga’s that if promotion was achieved then the input from the manager was less important than having the right players in place – though if promotion is not achieved could the pro-Mogga’s then argue that the new players recruited by the club were ultimately not up the task of achieving promotion?
    **AV writes: Dug-out dialectics: the point of managemnet is not to interpret tactics but to change them. Well, that’s my column for next week written…

  26. If the club stick with Mowbray it is certain the club will be relagated next season. He did nothing at his previous clubs,i n fact WBA fans were glad to see the back of him and look where the are now. He should have gone long before now. No respect for SG now. How does he run his business when he employs losers like TM? I would love to see a manager with some passion and guts.Not miserable like TM.

  27. In support of redcar red i do not think a poll is statistically fair if two of the four options are grouped together to make a positive statement and only one of the four options count as a negative vote.
    I also agree that a vote of unsure for a man who commands such respect due to his history with Middlesbrough is certainly not a ringing endorsement.
    I hope he does succeed as it will mean success for the Boro but unfortunately I saw nothing last season that showed me that this will be the case. His tactics and his ability to motivate and get the best out of players were completely non existent. How is this going to change? How is it going to improve?
    I hope I’m wrong but I just can’t see it. At the end of last year he looked completely out of his depth with no idea how to change things for the better.
    On a more positive note I think the season ticket offers initiated by the club are fantastic and they should be commended for this. I think these offers have bought Mowbray some time as its probably increased season tickets quite considerably when I would have feared of a real drop in sales without the offers.
    Here’s hoping that I’m eating my words in May 2014 and that TM is considered to be the best thing since sliced bread. If so I’ll gladly eat a big slice of humble pie!!!

  28. GHW the magic number is 42.9 according to the Survey but I did put a caveat of +/- 1 or 2% in my Scientific research.
    It’s clear to me that the Eurovision Song Contest stats are of greater significance than attendees at the last 6 games at the Riverside as they poll a far wider audience than just the dias Boro.
    The Eurovision Song Contest also has an impeccable reputation (unlike the Riverside attendance figures) in regards to fair unbiased voting hence my citing it. I’m not sure however by how much the Danes winning last night and singing in English has skewed my original figures.
    Understandably I have of course demanded a recount as I don’t believe the winner was actually Denmark at all, clearly a manipulation of the true votes. My money was on an Estonian or Ukrainian Folk Song sung in a long forgotten mountain language about a goat herder looking for his bag of carrots misappropriated by a horse battering Barcode for bait!
    ……..Cue the abuse from all the Teesside Goat Herders on Eston Hills!

  29. Redcar Red & GHw:
    However improbable it might seem, I heard it from a falling bowl of petunias – the number really IS 42.
    **AV writes: Don’t panic!

  30. Grove Hill wallah…
    “I don’t recall Freeman Hardy and Willis playing up front for the Boro.”
    Yes and we could do with Tower House at centre half instead of Benson and Hedges.

  31. Redcar Red –
    I’ll leave the reading up of statisitcal ethics to you, we’re talking about a poll conducted by a local newspaper about the local football team here not Scottish independence. ‘Not sure’ and ‘pretty sure’ are clearly different, one being slightly more positive than the other.
    I think where you and I differ is that you seem to be saying that football management can be measured in the same way as the management of a production unit. I would strongly disagree with that view point. I would also disagree that whatever you do for a living, your destiny is entirely in your own hands, you have a unique job if it is.
    **AV writes: If football performance COULD be measured in that way then despite the frustrating fizzle out I would think Tony Mowbray would expect to score fairly highly in his annual appraisal, if it was done objectively and fairly.
    At the start of the year his strategic targets will have been something like: 1) continue with tight cost control on wage budgets and recruitment freeze to bring departmental budget down by a third; 2) oversee the completion of far reaching off the pitch structural overhaul ie Academy, coaching, scouting network, medical and data analysis staff; 3) put right previous season’s awful home form; 4) maintain crowd figures at Riverside; 5) mount challenge for play-off places; 6) achieve respectable progress in the cups; 7) prepare groundwork for future recruitment.
    I don’t think promotion was ever a stated target within the club (although come December we all got excited I don’t think the senior management ever publicly upgraded their expectations). Whatever the fug of negativity we have got ourself into in recent months, HOME form has been more than respectable. Cup progress was respectable. Average gates will be slightly up thanks to the pre-Christmas ticket offers and the Chelsea game. Most of the boxes have been ticked.
    The collapse away from home after Christmas was disappointing and it is probably the one element of performance the public are aware of but I think most articulate managers could put forward a strong mitigation to their line manager providing a serious and concrete strategy to ensure there was no repeat was outlined and they showed continued commitment, enthusiasm and showed a determination to meet the agreed targets for the next year.

  32. John Temple and John O’Rourkes up front would be a great option, a made to measure strike force woven together to fit all four corners of the box.

  33. AV, we need a good gossip about new players. I think people remember the second part of the season too well now and then to forget the good 2,5 years Mogga has had at Boro.
    So let’s start to speculate about the new players possibly coming to the club. Any change of Matt Kilgallon arriving back now as he is fit and unpopular at Sunderland, for example? I know we cannot afford his wages but still…
    Up the Boro!
    **AV writes: There are more footballers unemployed than ever before, including some very good ones with plenty of experience. As the penny drops with them that Financial Fair Play means the end of the blank cheque and that clubs have limited jo bs and limited wages the sharp ones will want to get fixed up very quickly at reasonable wages. Those that wait too long or price themselves too high could find themselves without a club when the music stops in August.
    It is a buyers market and Boro are well placed. They are two years into their downsizing and have pruned back their wagebill radically. This summer could see a lot of wriggle room in the budget as more big earners leave – maybe £60k a week to play with – whereas plenty of our rivals are two years behind and stuck with a lot of expensive deadwood. That means there are a lot more potential targets out there than people may think given all the negative noises about Boro’s finances.
    It also means that there will be a lot of speculation this season… but not for a week or two as football is on holiday.

  34. I enjoy Redcar Red’s contributions, even though I do not always agree with him. And I respect his management experience, even though it seems as dubious to me to apply Fordian techniques to football as it would be to the Arts.
    M&S’s annual results announced today seem to demonstrate that you can have all of the mechanical systems in place and yet still get the big decisions wrong. And that completely overhauling the management team doesn’t necessarily lead to improvements.
    The CEO’s statements today, I’m afraid, make a mockery of RR’s claim that excuses were simply a no-go area in this company. It seems that the no-excuses culture is something that only applies to employees rather than the management.
    For all of their efficiencies M&S have, over the past 25 years, come down from being the Barcelona of retailing to the, let’s say, Newcastle United.

  35. Been away a bit but have been looking at the survey.
    Bit unfair on Emnes if you take the whole season into account ,He started well scored a few goals but then faded more than most of the other players. I think we have seen enough of him to know he is far from reliable and lacks confidence and needs to move on as we cannot afford him to shoot blanks again next season.
    We have far too many injury prone players to get some sought of reliability in the games we play.As i said in an earlier message god forbid we had bad run on red cards we would have been sunk.
    As for the manager I doubt we would find anybody else who will work under the tight conditions he does. Having said that some of his tactics and formations are very baffling and I think if that type of question was put out in the survey. The against crowd percentage would be much higher.
    As for next season I wish for a more settled side with the back four in mind.An attacking midfielder who can get the ball to the strikers . A coach for the strikers would be my final wish.
    **AV writes: respondents were asked what they thought the single biggest reason for the second half slump was and 43% said the manager’s tactics and selections.

  36. Lenmasterman –
    I’m not overly surprised at our High Street giants problems and their demise over the last 20 years or so, my experience was that of supplying to them rather than directly employed by them and at a point in time when they could and would drop suppliers ruthlessly. In football parlance the sphere of influence in their marketplace was second only to Sepp Blatter once upon a time!
    Their criteria with suppliers was the strictest and most controlled in the industry but that was when 90% of their products were British made, a far cry from where they find themselves today. Its a similar conversation I have with my youngest when I talk to him about Liverpool, Leeds and the likes of Ajax and how they had a major influence on football once upon a time.
    My point was about management and in particular achieving results and being accountable and responsible rather than any particular industry per se. It was also an attempt to explain why my experiences in my career to date leaves me with what can appear as perhaps cynical or negative at times to some people as simply conditioning; if its broke you should have anticipated, forecasted, planned and carried out preventative maintenance rather than shrug your shoulders afterwards and simply say we will have to get it fixed.
    Communication skills, team building, problem solving, decision making, finance, coaching, forecasting, planning, leadership etc. are all basic general management skills that are applicable across every Industry otherwise Oxford, Harvard, Yale etc have got something terribly wrong.
    Every organisation or business has to manage its work, people, processes, technology, etc. to maximize effectiveness and results. John Adair’s action centred leadership model applies across a wide spectrum of Industries and I fervently practice it. The eight leadership functions it preaches are a good foundation for any manager in any walk of life be they under fire in Afghanistan, running a corner shop or managing a Sports Team.
    I have witnessed a lot of managers in the world of football where this lack of basic skill has been fundamental to their downfall. They make up for it often sub consciously by character, charisma or faith earned through previous endeavours, maybe even pure good fortune in some respects by being in the right place at the right time.
    Sometimes this bought them time to learn and develop, with others they didn’t know what they didn’t know and couldn’t progress unless someone was there to mentor and train. Gareth and Robbo in my eyes both fell into those categories and I suspect to a lesser degree so does Mogga. Good mangement isn’t a fortuitous accident, its damn hard work and study but only by identifying and studying the right things will a manager progress and achieve.
    **AV writes: To apply a textbook analysis I think you would probably need a lot more information about what is happening within the organisation, what the problems and objectives are and what a manager’s inter-personal relationships are like across a wide range of functions before you could make an assessment. I think you need to approach it a lot more objectively too.
    There are plenty of leaders of giant FTSE 100 companies and banks right now picking up very big bonuses despite share price and profitability falling. And not just big firms. Medium sized firms too where jobs are being cut and order books and sales tailing off. Apparent public results may indicate they are all failing.
    The reason the senior management/shareholders in the organisation actually believe they are ultimately successful is because they are performing above target in a challenging and unpredictable market. Unless you know exactly what a firm or a manager’s objectives are it is impossible to make a judgement.
    That is not necessarily to defend Mogga but if you are going to try to impose a particular methodology then you have to do it fairly.

  37. Reading the Gazette headline ‘Boro can attract top loan talent says Mowbray’ with a picture of Ameobi behind it made me laugh. A bit of irony from the Gazette AV? (I certainly hope so!).
    **AV writes: You do know we don’t have an imput into the website page make-up. Yet. Wait till we are in charge. Should have been a picture of Cleverley or Chalobah because that’s the bracket they are aiming at next year.

  38. So the sports desk doesnt have an input on the pictures used? That is pants and if true is a poor reflection on the Gazette. Murder in Acklam? Here is a chap who walked his dog through Yarm six months ago to pick up his morning paper.
    Who writes the articles? Did the cleaner pose that questions to Mogga? Will we get a photo of Lennie Lawrence as the manager.
    That reassures me that stern questions are being put to Mogga and Gibbo, even worse who is posing them? A cub reporter with the answer ‘it is what it is’ already in the articles attributed to senior journalists.
    That was a bit of fun.
    **AV writes: *Sigh* That’s just silly. Writers have never taken or selected pictures, drawn up pages or written headlines. Writers write. Designers design. That is the division of labour on every paper going. In an ideal world I would spend hours picking the perfect picture to go with the story and then spend another hour shaping the paper to frame it perfectly too. But then the paper would take three times as long to produce and my working day would be trebled to 72 hours.

  39. ‘Sigh!’ May appear silly but shouldnt there be some joined up thinking?
    I was always led to believe that people spoke to each other before papers ‘go to print’.
    **AV writes: They do. And 98% of the time we all have time to co-ordinate and they get exactly the right picture, the right shape, the right caption and everyone is happy. But in a live environment bang up against deadline sometimes someone who doesn’t have the depth of knowledge that we may have about Boro has to find, shape, crop and place a picture in 30 seconds flat and they pick one that seems to be appropriate to the story and fits.
    Then when the paper hits the street people e-mail me to call me a doyle and say the Gazette doesn’t have a clue because the story was about player X scoring at Birmingham when everyone and his dog knows the close up picture of him shows clearly that the game is away at Peterborough!

  40. AV –
    Cheers, that’s how I thought it happened and is a big relief, I had a fear that we were no better than the nationals where ‘dont confuse us with the facts’ ruled the roost.

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