RIGHT, thinking caps on. I’m doing a series on Boro’s all time greatest signings… and I want your imput. In the business this is called either research, crowd-sourcing or getting the punters to do the work for you, depending on how cynical you are. I prefer to think of it as engaging and empowering the most proactive readers and harnessing the most informed Boro brains out there – that’s you lot.
So, with your help I’m looking at drawing up a comprehensive top 30, 40 or maybe 50 terrific transfers. Obviously, whatever Jessie J says, it’s not all about the price-tag. If it was it would be the easiest thing in the world to rattle up a list from the Boro Bible and Afonso Alves would be right up there at the top. Ahead of bargain bucket Bernie Slaven and phenomenal free Bobby Murdoch. That’s nonsense.
There are a lot of different criteria for what constitutes a successful signing: impact on the team; value for money; length of service; profit when sold; the PR splash on the national scene; the galvanising effect on supporters; whether they delivered in terms of goals, clean sheets, promotion or trophies; landmarks passes and barriers crashed. All kinds of factors need to be weighed up. There are some tricky mental trade-offs that need to be done – price v productivity for one, longevity v likeability for another,
This is still a work in progress so feel free to chip in. Was the world record £1,000 signing of Alf Common (who sent out a massive statement of intent and helped keep struggling Boro up) a more important signing than, say, Paul Merson, a misfit with baggage who re-ignited a relegated side? Was Juninho more important to the club in the long term than, say, Gareth Southgate or Mark Schwarzer? Where do you fit in bargain buys that turn into fans’ favourites like John Hickton, Bernie or Craig Hignett? Or unheralded young prospects that blossom into giants like Graeme Souness? What about huge impact but short lived signings like Marco Branca? Or even Uwe Fuchs?
I have my mental list but let’s see if it chimes with yours. Or if I have forgotten a key signing from the past. So fire away. Not just names but reasons too. And not just the obvious big names on big fees so but pivotal purchases that shaped an era. I’m looking for you lot to come up with a few left-field names to challenge the household names. And try to balance big bucks with end product. So go on, name your top ten (or more, feel free). It’ll keep you busy for a few days.
MEANWHILE, Philip Tallentire sat down for an in-depth head-to-head interview with Tony Mowbray last week covering a hard-hitting inquest into the shrivelled season and pressed all the buttons of terrace dissent: tactics, selection, second guessing the opposition, the lack of pitch for the anti’s proxy pin-ups Bailey and Reach, a lack of quality in the squad, set-play suicide, the institutional injury crisis, how he plans to deal with the financial restrictions and what’s in store for next term. It’s good stuff.
You can read part one here.
And part two here.
Here’s part three.
And here’s part four.