More Or Less Like Last Season?

BORO will need a lot more of the first half display against Leicester and a lot less of the second half if they are to make a success of this season.
The Championship curtain-raiser was a microcosm of last term: it started in impressive fashion with crisp passing, slick movement and a commanding display of creative zest. But the chances created were not converted and in a pivotal moment missed a sitter then found themselves facing a fierce counter-attack and they wilted.


Boro missed a gilt-edged chance to kill off the opposition. Marvin Emnes – playing with a beaming smile again – danced into the box, skipped past a defender and drew the keeper then checked inside and with the goal gaping he couldn’t unload. He took an extra touch. He tried to find the perfect angle and as he hesitated Grant Leadbitter arrived to crack in a shot by Schmeichel had recovered and somehow blocked it.
As so often last season Boro failed to finish off the opposition when the moment arose. If that goal had gone in it would have been hard to see them coming back.
And as so often the opposition, off the hook, found an extra gear. A half-time rocket from Big Nige and Leicester came out a different side. More direct. More determined. Faster to every ball. Stronger in the tackle. Boro were bundled out of their stride and could not react. Leicester inevitably levelled, inevitably took the lead and could have had two more late on. They stepped up a gear while Boro free-wheeled, wobbled and crashed.
It was disappointing. And painfully familiar, But it was only the first game. Yes, it is easy to say that. And we can’t airbrush last season’s second half slump out of history. But it WAS only the first game. Boro have only won the opener once since the Millenium… 2-1 at home to Spurs – and they got relegated that year. It isn’t the most reliable of indicators. And with 45 games to go it would be crazy to draw too many concrete conclusions.
There is nothing to be gained from picking up last season squabbles and launching into pre-emptive point-scoring now. Boro are nowhere near finished recruiting yet. Albert Adomah could be in by next week. At least one defender. A striker. Bids (plural) are in. And even if they were finished recruiting, one game is hardly a scientific test. Give it six or 10 games to see how it shapes up. Bite your tongue. There’s no need to panic.
We’ll batter Accrington.
*****
NEW for this season….
You can rate the Boro players game-by-game on the Gazette website on a dynamic panel built into the match report. The scores will build up in a neat new interactive graphic that will allow you to track an individual player’s performance over the season or compare and contrast two or more.
Plus, I’m asking for your single sentence match reports on Twitter.Im looking for witty pithy precises of the action condensed into 140 characters with the best, and funniest used in the paper. You can be as scathing as you like but no swearing. Just fine-tune your football fortune cookie report and tweet me including the hashtag #Boro140.

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49 thoughts on “More Or Less Like Last Season?

  1. Fortress Riverside strikes again. Pitiful – what kind of ‘team’ has Mowbray forged here? Not good enough for the Chumpionship obviously. It may only be the first game but the analogue to last season is, as you say, painfully obvious.
    We can only hope that any imports (and I’m not holding my breath on that score) will make some kind of a difference but I fear we have too many caffey-hearted souls in our ranks, without the requisite mettle to stay the course in this awful league, even over 90 minutes never mind a whole season.
    Top six finish? Nearer bottom six I reckon…

  2. Positives: Woody played 90 mins as did Rhys, the captain. Emnes was lively and man of the Match by BBC’s pundit Maddo. Whitehead seems an improvement.
    Well, the negatives were there to be seen: we coceded two goals even with Whitehead, Woody and the League’s best keeper on field in Steele. Where is the fight there? Also Emnes and Juke (early in the game) missing sitters – so it is not only McDonald doing those.
    I was really hoping we would keep unbeaten at the Riverside – even all season. My expectations were high and feel guilty of bringing hopes of other boggers up, too. I feel sorry and apologize and held my hand in the air like a former Boro full-back used to do. So sorry, Nikeboro!
    So I feel very down at the moment. Just hope AV is right and this was just one game. And 45 chances to improve yet to come.
    Up the Boro!

  3. Give it 10 games! not too sure about that.
    I depend on reports and reviews and comments with working overseas and this game read exactly like last season, missed sitters, static defending, midfield overun with no alternate tactics from the coach; and we already have two new core players in midfield.
    It’s us or Wigan for Adomah….will be pleasently surprised if Boro get him but it seems odds on for Wigan who have always beaten us when in for the same players.
    Let’s just hope Richardson and whoever else the bids are in for can steady the defence. Why is it okay that Boro always lose the opening game. 17,000 people giving their hard earned cash and giving Boro another chance thanks to all the spin put out will have second thoughts for the next home game unless some respected talent is shipped in.

  4. Bitwixt and Between!
    A tale of two halves is how u put it AV and there seems to lie the problem.
    Mogga has a footballing philosophy at heart where ‘entertaining’ football is the way to go and in the first half it shone out it’s merits. I wouldn’t be surprised if he’s sold ‘The Way’ to all and sundry and thus gathered a lot of support from the chairman down. you could even write in that ‘The Way’ will take time to produce the goods and thus all will be ultra well when we hit the sweet spot.
    Now the downside – with pretty football as long as you can keep possession you’re in the right groove but when the opposition ups the tempo then possession goes down and your on the back foot acting like headless chickens trying to keep the ball out of the net.
    Leicester have seen it all before with the Boro and now the last three games have seen them pocket the points.
    Okay to cut to the chase – if it doesn’t work change it to that which does. ‘The Way’ has failed over a prolonged period of time. That’s not just me talking that’s hard facts. If you can’t get the ball into the net on numerous occasions after lots of pretty play then your on to a loser.
    My thoughts are every manager in the league will watch both halves and distribute their team accordingly and pump them up before hand and say ‘Boro’s a good place to grab some points – get at them and they will fold’.
    This underlines the problems Boro have had for some time and it won’t take long before even the fresh intake of players will succumb to the depressing idea that the Boro don’t/can’t win.
    As I’ve said before and I’ll say it again – the games won by sticking the ball into the oppositions net and keeping it out of your own. It’s not rocket science and you don’t need a degree in statistics. KISS

  5. Disappointing…we should have anticipated a second-half fight-back from Leicester and been prepared.
    Obviously it’s the first game, the team and squad will be strengthened substantially in the coming days and weeks, and it’s way too early to make too many judgements.
    I watched the Burnley v Bolton game and QPR v Sheff Wed. There were two thoughts that came to mind. The first is that there are just no easy games in this division. We know this, but it’s worth remembering it – almost anyone can beat anyone else on any given day. Secondly, the relegated teams are a different ball-game this year.
    With the increased parachute payments QPR, Wigan and Reading have all been able (so far at least) to maintain the core of their teams and replace the players they’ve lost with proven quality. Sheffield Wednesday – not expected to do much – put in a great shift and were unlucky but whereas our bench is (presently) unable to offer game-changers QPR could take off Joey Barton (perfect for the Championship) and bring on Wright-Phillips and £4m signing Charlie Austin.
    With Wigan and Reading also both winning, and Watford winning away as well, things are looking just a little ominous. It’s too early to worry too much but the clock is ticking. We need to address the issues and become consistently competitive fast or we risk being left behind, certainly in terms of automatic promotion.
    I’m still optimistic. Confidence goes a long way and if we can string a few results together then we will look a different team. Someone once said ‘if you believe you can or believe you can’t you’re right’ and that’s never more true than in football.
    I don’t know if Boro use a qualified sports psychologist but winning the mental game is for me critically important. We have to be resilient and mentally tough and a lot of that is about confidence and our own (the players) expectations. We need to develop absolute belief in our ability to win in all circumstances.
    For the fans as well, we have to somehow leave behind the fractured expectations that we absorbed last season. This division is a killer and we have to be up for the fight instead of beating ourselves and the team up every time there’s a setback.

  6. Disappointing.
    It is only one match but losing at home first day isnt ideal to say the least.
    The tricky bit will be getting in players to improve what we have. Common sense would say that if they have been released it has been for a reason but in the current situation that includes costs.
    Adomah would be a boost – who knows if he will come and/or prove to be a big success.
    I think we will need patience.

  7. You’re right of course it’s far too soon to panic but the similarities to last season are worryingly obvious. It’s the easiest thing in the world to smokescreen and blame the players but if I was Gibbo I’d have a couple of questions for Mowbray on Monday morning:
    Q1. Why did your team fold so completely immediately after the break?
    Q2. What can be done to ensure it doesn’t happen again?
    Answers I wouldn’t accept include:
    – they stepped up their game
    – we had nothing on the bench.
    With a strong(ish) first team I would feel we should have continued to control the game and, that after only 45 minutes, subs shouldn’t be needed.

  8. Leicester didn’t turn up until the 46th minute which I suspect more than flattered Boro’s 1st half. That said even in the 1st half we didn’t really trouble Schmeichel apart from the own goal.
    In the fourth minute we had a free-kick and it was deja vu, Leadbitter lobs the ball over the wall and Schemichel didnt break sweat to collect it. At that point I was thinking here we go again. In fairness to Leadbitter he was my MOM for his efforts and passion throughout the game as a whole.
    With corners we now at least seem to have a short pass tactic employed as oppose to the one where it gets launched straight into the keepers arms but that was about the only tactical improvement (and marginal at that) I witnessed.
    Second half the Foxes changed tactics and went on the offensive and that was it, one way traffic! For the remaining 45 minutes we humped the ball up to Juke who was on the right about 30 yards from goal isolated from any Red shirts and surrounded by three blue shirts, like Richard of York he gave battle in vain.
    Our finishing was nothing less than woeful, several players looked out of sorts and the slim chances we had were blasted high wide and handsome. Things need freshening and quickly. Most worrying was our inability to change tactics and shape in the second half to counter Leiceter’s threat.

  9. Battering Stanley? I heard Mogga use the Credit Card Cup game a a ‘put it right occasion’ too. But in almost all senses, that game’s a pretty complete irrelevance – much like going unbeaten in pre-season. And probably with a changed team too – well, as much as our squad allows Mogga that luxury.
    Next Saturday, with Mogga’s first picks in again and away at a team we notched four against on their own park last term and who also lost yesterday is the focus and the test.
    The only real benefit on Tuesday would be if we had one or two more through the door by then so we could use the opportunity to bed them in a bit.
    If the man competition for Adomah is Wigan – aside from the money!!! – you have to hope that the player wasn’t paying too much attention to yesterday’s games!

  10. New season, same defficiencies. We only perform for 45 mins. You could count on one hand how many chances we had on target and lack creativity and guile.
    We ended the game with four central midfielders which is ridiculous. We had no striker to come on to try and nick a goal,
    I’m sick of hearing about us not being finished our recruitment, we should be better prepared for the season and by the time we actually get some players in we will be playing catch up against stronger teams.
    Looks like yet another season of disappointment!

  11. As I suspected before the game the pre match music quiz in The Navigation was more entertaining than the game itself.
    A game to forget roll on Charlton!

  12. I don’t think too many of us would have predicted a win yesterday, at least not with any confidence.
    The familiar manner of defeat was very disappointing nonetheless. A renewed team spirit and more solid midfield were not in evidence when it mattered.
    There are, however, 135 points still to play for, the best part of a month to bring in new recruits and, for the first time, a little bit of room in the budget.
    Let’s not complain about the players being spineless whilst we, the supportes, give in after game 1. Even if you feel that Mowbray’s time was up long ago, let’s stick together until we have at least seen what he can do with a little bit of spending money.

  13. It was apparent that no real improvement has been made in the areas that need improving over the summer.
    Varga, an obvious player made for the “Bailey” role in-front of the defence, playing on the wing proved that. We are still crying out for wingers and the ones we have in the squad weren’t on the bench – Adam Reach and Cameron Park, or even Halliday. Where were they?
    I know they’re young and unexperienced, but as Reach and Williams proved at the start of last season – youth can transcend into occasional flashes of brilliance. They’re worth a try. The one real winger on the pitch, Caryol, looked well and truly out of his depth; he’s an impact sub, not a starter.
    No out and out striker on the bench gave us no attacking ‘plan b’ either. Main’s raw pace and strength might have caused problems in the latter stages of the game as our forwards got tired. Ledesma, Haroun and Williams are all decent players, but they’re too similar. There was no real options on the bench that could change and positively impact the game.
    The defence still looks fragile when put under pressure and cannot cope with pace. Parnaby, Williams and Woodgate are all great defenders, but none can combat pace and trickery. The likes of Hoyte and maybe Gibson (I haven’t seen him play properly yet) may improve that, but I can see the likes of Vardy torturing our defence all season long.
    An upside is that Dean Whitehead looked like a Premier League player. He had the vision and the positional sense to cause problems. With Leadbitter, Varga and Smallwood, the central areas of the midfield look good. But as I mentioned before, an Adomah type player is desperately needed to add width to our play.
    If Boro fail to bring in a few attacking players with real flair and talent and maybe another defender, then I can see a season full of similar, disappointing matches.

  14. The single most important question to be asked this season to any club in the Championship is what is the club’s PRIMARY goal?
    If you ask Wigan, QPR, Reading, Notts Forrest, Leicester, Leeds, Watford and approximately six other clubs the answer is ‘PROMOTION TO THE PREMIER LEAGUE’
    If you ask the Boro the same question they will say in public ‘it’s promotion’, but in reality the answers in order of priority are:
    1. Getting the clubs finances in order,
    2. Complying with the new financial regulations.
    3. Promotion.
    Promotion simply isn’t their number one priority and to be fair the club, through the media they have hammered this point home. The Gazette mentions the new financial reality virtually every other day as does Tony Mowbray.
    The performance on Saturday in the second half showed all the same flaws obvious in the second half of last season. The facts are clear, in other words ‘It is what it is’!!I fear the club will be involved in a season long relegation battle.
    The manager was scratching his head, shaking his head, looking to the heavens similar to last season. He had virtually no quality on the bench to turn to but not putting Ledesma on tells me he’s lost it. Ledesma is an enigma but he has the ability to turn the game, Haroun does not. Sad.

  15. I thought the dissenters may have given Mowbray more than one game of the new season before writing him and Boro off.
    Anyway we shouldn’t have been expecting a miraculous change in Boro’s fortunes until the acquisition of new signings have addressed the team’s obvious short-comings. So disappointed about saturday’s result? yes – surprised? no – panicking? no

  16. Rod Liddle writes a weekly football column for the Sunday Times sport section – he is also a Millwall supporter. Yesterday his piece was about the prospects for teams in the Championship. He devoted a lot of space to Boro, but the reason I was interested was his statement that “… I’d like to thank them for continuing to pay the wages of their former top scorer Scott McDonald despite his transfer to Millwall”
    AV – please tell us he is wrong!!!
    **AV writes: Rod Liddle has been well wide of the mark on a lot of things in the last few years so I wouldn’t invest too much in his word. They club have been actively trying to unload McDonald for two years to SAVE money to free space in the wage bill. Why would they release him and pay him?
    He’s no there on loan. His contract has been terminated. He may well have had a pay-off of some but the deal was still advantageous to Boro. If you wanted to play with semantics you can say that his golden exit has allowed Millwall -relatively low payers – to do a deal with him. But Boro are not paying him.
    .
    Mowbray has said quite categorically that McDonald’s departure has freed up space (and quite a lot of it) in the wage bill. He was on close to £1.5m a year and the bulk of that is available for new players.
    .

  17. Never Give Up On Boro said: “As I suspected before the game the pre match music quiz in The Navigation was more entertaining than the game itself”
    It always is mate! If it wasn’t for the Navi, I may give up entirely! I’m also not happy with the intimidating atmosphere that the powers that be have left me in, up in the East Upper. My close proximity to the away fans is not something I wish to experience I’ve done all that in my youth. I may be asking for a seat relocation at no extra cost. Watch this space.
    I am still not happy with the new look Gazette website either! I find AV’s column easier via Twitter than on the website itself! Appalling design… just like the thin Boro squad.

  18. Yes, it’s too early to be damning. Only the first game and nearly a month left to bring in new players. But I’m hurting.
    I allowed myself to get excited and the first half generated unwise expectations. The fall was consequently that much harder (I was only kidding, Jarkko).
    I don’t think it’s as simple as ‘just the first game’. I hope I’m proven wrong. Please, please let Boro trounce Accrington, build confidence and then stuff Charlton and Blackpool. Nobody will be happier than me to be admitting I was worried about nothing. But I’m not confident.
    For me, there is a pattern that goes way back. If there was a league that covered the games since December, then we’d be bottom of the Championship. We might have had a close season but, so far, I can spot no closure to last season’s freefall.
    Arguably, this is part of a pattern that goes back much further. It dates back to the Strachan era and possibly over 7 years, UEFA final notwithstanding, to the later days of McClaren’s reign.
    Players come and go, training and coaching changes and tactics come and go. Permeating all those years of changes, I believe our fundamental weakness has been psychological, as pointed out by Nigel of Pattaya.
    Call it confidence, mental toughness, morale, fighting spirit, belief, psychological resilience – call it what you will, Boro haven’t had it for a long time. It seems as if no matter which players you add, this destructive psycholgy will infect and undermine.
    As soon as Leicester started the second half and grabbed control of the game, everybody knew what lay ahead. Even before the equaliser, people on Twitter were saying: ‘here we go again’ and ‘just wait for them to score’. There might as well have been a script. Most significantly, the players knew it too.
    Just as problematic, other teams know it also. Much in the process outlined by Richard, it was blatantly clear on Saturday that the Foxes knew what they were about and knew perfectly well (they’ve done it often enough) they could impose themselves on the game and the Boro players would roll over and die.
    The word is out. We might look superficially good but aren’t really. On the whole, I agree with Richard but disagree that we ‘performed for 45 minutes’ – we might look good but it’s just pretty football that mostly leads to nothing. Teams have known for years that there is little to fear from Boro’s powder-puff attack so they can afford to go for it. They don’t need to be good, just effort and organisation will be enough to bully Boro and then their defence will crumble.
    For the present, my big concern is the implications for the season ahead and its effect on any players brought in. Early days, yes, but there is the possibility of Boro going into September without a win and maybe even having been well beaten at Wigan.
    By the time we’re finalising deals, there is the risk we’ll be near the bottom and well into a lengthy decline. That must be detrimental to our chances of making the right signings.
    Furthermore, no matter how good they are, it will be difficult for any new players to lift morale and overturn the negative mindset that would inevitably have set in. 99 times out of a hundred, incomers fall into line with the prevailing psychology. It takes a remarkably strong-minded person to take the majority with them, instead of the other way round.
    I know you disagree, AV, but, in view of the events of 2013 so far, this is why I consider the first few games to be unusually important for Boro. By the time we get some new players, the season could be half-lost already. I fear that deadline signings could be too late – confidence already shot, freefall well under way and difficult to reverse.
    Rob’s point is a salient one: is promotion our primary objective? If the club said: ‘We’ll give it our best but there is no great expectation of promotion this season. Instead, we see this as a stepping stone for the real push next year’, I could live with that. It’s the hope that gets you in the end.
    Ultimately, Ron in the delta is perfectly right: let’s take stock after 10 games.
    **AV writes: Oh believe me, I think the first few games are vitally important. They shouldn’t be. It is accepted within the game (no matter what fans say) that the first few games are a bedding in period. But gGiven the internal dynamics and political tension in the crowd there may be no way back for Mogga if Boro lose, say four of the first six. In the general scheme of things that would be no big deal – Palace lost their first three last season – but there is a large section of the crowd waiting to pounce with will be allow any natural leeway.
    It is interesting what you say about the psychology of defeat and a weakness and fear factor that permeates the club. As you called it, it pre-dates the current crop of players and management and can be tracked back to some point around the highpoint of the UEFA Cup final. Maybe- don’t shoot me here – just maybe that dark matter emanates from the crowd. They are the only constant.
    Maybe it is part of the hangover from the high-times. Maybe it is a case that after the glory days NOTHING is judged to be good enough and so there has been constant, tangible cricticism of every game, every player, every manager, every pass, every decisions because they all fall short of those high-standards.
    Maybe it is fear. And guilt. And self-loathing. Maybe some people have in a hidden recesses of their mind a feeling that the glory wasn’t deserved – why us, of those generations of fans before? – and they are being punished for their historic impertinence at winning something and swaggering for a while and believing we had made the big time when all the time they felt they didn’t belong, like a flat capped docker at a Buckingham Palace tea party.
    Maybe some people never believed it all along and have an unspoken self-destructive desire to be reduced back to the status they thing we deserve as a club. At times there seems to be a death wish about elements in the crowd, revelling in set-backs and actively looking for pit-falls and weaknesses. Certainly a lot give up long before the team. Before kick-off sometimes.
    Maybe. Any psychologists in the house?

  19. I’m going to try again with this one Mr Vickers…
    Interesting footnote comment from Mowbray to conclude a BBC article on his frustration at transfer delays – “Let’s keep working, make sure we’re doing the right things and I’m sure we’ll win enough football matches.”
    Enough for what purpose? Begs the inevitable question doesn’t it?
    **AV writes: He always uses that phraseology. When Boro were top/second last year whenever he was asked about the prospects for promotion his stock response was to say: “We will just try to win enough games, accumulate enough points and we’ll see where it takes us.”
    I think he is of the school of managers who doesn’t set targets because they suspects that they will bite them on the bum.

  20. Tomorrow nights cup game should enable Mogga to be a little more adventurous and hopefully see Juke and Emnes find their sights on their boots.
    It should also give an opportunity to the likes of Reach, Luke and Ledesma to get a game (at least in part) and also Haroun to show just why he thinks he should start (especially after Saturdays display). Add Carayol into that as well and it could be a new look Boro. I suspect though that we will see key Players rested and the remaining selected shoehorned into tactics deigned to nullify the dynamic Stanley threat.
    I dread to even contemplate what happens if it goes pear shaped?
    Condolences to Woody and his family at this very sad time and good on him for pulling the shirt on on Saturday.
    Following up from Kev B’s comment above I have to agree that the new Gazette layout is less than pleasing to the eye, extremely difficult to navigate and I have to find “Untypical Boro” now via Google (other search engines are available) as its impossible to link to it via the newspaper site.
    **AV writes: Yes, I am semi-detached on there and it doesn’t update. This site should just be in your favourites though surely?

  21. AV –
    In your response to NikeBoro you mentioned that our slither maybe went as far back as the UEFA Cup Final.
    I remember debating it at the time and the second half of the season before that saw us gain an automatic place saw something like 22 points from 20 games.
    It isn’t the fans. A full house turned up for the game against Cardiff in the cup, the players didn’t. You don’t need me to list the lie downs.
    We think it is only us but many clubs are the same.
    An interesting point was made about the likes of Reach, Williams, Main lacking experience. They have been ignored for two years.
    The worry I see is that we bring in bench warmers AGAIN.
    It is early and patience is required, expecting top quality whilst rummaging in the remnants box is unfair but fans are unforgiving.

  22. Forgot to mention something on my last post.
    What has happened to Main? Mogga says he wants a no9 on the bench ripping his shirt off. I don’t know how well he is doing but he seems a lad willing to go on and mix it. He has been gulagged before, maybe he is on the naughty step again.
    I will stop labouring the point.
    **AV writes: He picked up a knock and missed a chunk of pre-season, although he played in a development squad game last week so he can’t be too far away now.

  23. It looks like Adomah is nearly a Boro player. That would be good news, he wont solve all our problems but will strengthen the squad.
    What we don’t know is how Mogga will use him. Hopefully it will be to balance the side. He isn’t a prolific scorer but he is at face value a right winger.
    Cover at centre half and left back?

  24. I do think the crowd plays a part in the team’s jitters. It may not have started with us, we may not be the main factor, but I do think we play a part.
    I think the players are the only ones who can affect it – the home crowd are more reactive than proactive. For that we need leaders on the field.
    For tonight, I can understand a few first teamers needing a confidence boost but given the importance of keeping our better players fit I’d like to see major changes.
    With Woodgate and Hines unavailable I presume R Williams will have to play, and given that Parnaby isn’t first choice anyway (right?) he could continue but I hope we see nine other changes:
    Leutwiler
    Parnaby/Hoyte/Richardson (whoever isn’t first choice)
    Halliday
    R Williams
    Gibson
    Reach
    Haroun
    Smallwood
    Ledesma
    L Williams
    Main (if fit)

  25. AV, I recall from comments coming out of the club – I believe Mogga – that “lessons would be learnt”.
    Can you help me out here as I for one ( and no doubt falling into your pessimist category) cannot see where ANY lessons have been learnt……..
    **AV writes: I don’t know if there is a check-list (or even that if there was it could be implemented wholesale or immediately) but the main change in perspective has been the switch to putting all the available cash into recruiting experienced ‘core’ players who will be first team regulars rather than loanees passing through to make the numbers stack up. They are only half way through that with at least three more Championship targets earmarked.
    I know Mogga wants to get a settled side with maybe eight players nailed down (if fit) as regular starters with a smaller group on the fringe. That will mean less rotation and fewer weekly tactical transformations.
    Off the pitch there has been a marked investment in staff and equipment to rebuild the sports medicine depart with tailored scientifically planned individual training programmes. The aim is to get that vital extra couple of per cent out of players every week and also to ensure rehab work is carefully designed to get injured players back a little bit quicker and back sure they don’t break down again. That side of the club had been allowed to run down badly in recent years.
    Also off the pitch, but not within the manager’s orbit, the club accept they need to listen to and engage with fans a bit more. The first fruits of last season’s dialogue could be seen on Saturday with the excellent new family zone and the new ‘Boys End’ in the South Stand and Twe12th Man post-match North Stand bar. The club are starting to listen to fans after a long spell of being estranged. Which is a good thing.

  26. Well, got the numbers the wrong way round for the weekend. Looks like some new blood on the verge of coming in and a bid for Ross McCormack.
    Very much same old on Saturday hoping for our strikers to get some goals tonight.
    McCormack does not score a lot of goals. May be TM is trying to get some support in for the Duke.
    Two very tough league games coming up so more players needed sooner rather than later. Really thought we needed that win taking into consideration what is coming up.

  27. Ross McCormack? Not excited at all. After all, he was released by Rangers.
    We tried Boyd, who was the all-time SPL top scorer and he was a lazy, useless goal hanger. If that’s the best that Scotland can offer, what can be the standard of the poorer players? McDonald was top scorer for Rangers and he was hardly a notable success for us. If he was the best that Rangers have had, how good can one of their rejects be?
    McCormack has averaged less than 1 goal every 3 games, less than Scotty managed. Hardly the goal power that we are crying out for.

  28. The horrible truth is that if you fill your team with players from the likes of Bristol Rovers, Walsall, Barnet/Bristol City then don’t be surprised if you end up playing these teams in the not too distant future.
    **AV writes: The horrible truth is that went you have no money then you have to buy players from Bristol Rovers, Bristol City etc.

  29. AV said “This site should just be in your favourites though surely?”
    I have now made it my home page alongside the newsnow Middlesbrough site!
    Sat watching Sky news from the far frozen (or in fairness not so frozen this time of year) watching Boro commentary on the iPad after a day of winding up an avid red, white and blue through and through about Walter and the state of his club and how the wonderful ex hoop Mogga is going to achieve this Season for Boro, I now find myself on the receiving end of some vitriol at Half time and 1-1.
    Quote from text “Accrington Stanley, who are they?”.
    It’s times like this supporting Manchelskiarsepool seems a lot easier!

  30. ‘We’ll batter Accrington.’
    Oh well, at least we can now concentrate on the League.
    **AV writes: Yes. We’ll batter Charlton…

  31. Was this an unfortunate “one of those quirky results” that comes along every so often or is it really indicative of the true state of Boro in 2013?
    Two home games, two defeats, (plus it’s hard to ignore the end of last season). One perhaps excusable/understandable result against Leicester but the second tonight must push even Gibbo’s patience and understanding.
    Would all the foam handlers please stand up because right now Boro in general and Mogga in particular need you and whatever it is you are imbibing, I need a huge dose of it in copious quantities right now.
    Is this the end of another era or will Mogga live to tactically outsmart again?
    is it Adomah at CB and McCormack in goal to confound the Chicken Runners?

  32. Taken from the Mail!Again
    Mowbray knows he is drinking in last-chance saloon but a Capital One Cup tie at home to League Two Accrington on Tuesday night should give him and the club the win they so desperately need to boost morale.
    Anything less and he’ll surely be gone come Saturday’s trip to Charlton
    We’ll see.
    It will be interesting to read the Rhys Williams spin, before Saturday it was how much fitter and pumped up the team was, ready to sort out Leicester, after Saturday it was thankfully Accrington at home to put right Saturday’s result. It doesn’t matter who is up front if you can not stop the opposition scoring.
    As of last night I believe the clock is ticking for Mowbray to produce a winning team by end of October

  33. And another thought, Albert wasn’t introduced to the crowd last night; hope he hasn’t had second thoughts we could do with a big lad in defence…
    **AV writes: Mowbray said after the match that when he left Hurworth for the game Adomah was “pretty much done”.and he was also closing in on a striker.

  34. Oh my God!!! (former comment to be read a minimum of three times, expressing each syllable with a slow and morose tone, emphasizing the unbelievable fact that we’ve hit a new low in the history of the club).
    Now even this well known pessimist couldn’t, wouldn’t have dared to predict that result (yes, you know which one I’m referring to).
    Didn’t I just write on this very same page not so long ago (day before yesterday), that every manager in the Championship will be licking their lips and telling all their chaps that the Boro is a place to go to pick up wins.
    But seriously AV, after all the analysis, the foam hand wringing, and the ‘it must be the psychology of the fans to blame’, isn’t it quite simple that now this result’s in yer face it must have slapped away any pretence that things are a) fine, b) it’s just a blip and c) the sun will come out tomorrow.
    Pity the poor bloody MBoro supporter and more pity to the poor MBoro supporter who tossed his cash across the turnstile last night – more toilet images are invading my mind yet again AV but I’ll stay away from graphic descriptions this early in the morn.
    On the positive side, it must be said when you’ve hit rock bottom there’s only one place to go and that’s up. Surely that’s the answer isn’t it AV – please tell me that’s what’s going to happen from now on!
    UTB
    **AV writes: Work in progress. For all the doom and gloom this is a team that is a just a little bit of zip and a goalscorer away from being a decent Championship outfit … Adomah in today and a striker is ‘very close.’ It is frustrating though.

  35. I listened to the commentary on the Accrington Stanley match via Boro+ yesterday. Another disappointment but quite frankly I was more disappointed after Saturday’s defeat. Luckily there is still 45 games in the league to look forward to (or if you like, to fear).
    I am still more than happy with Mogga. He is better for us than Strachan or Martin O’Neill. Seriously, we won’t get anyone better than Mogga for this special club temporarely in the Championship. He has only now started to built his own team, finally. Let’s give him 10 games and a few signings first before filling the glass only half way up.
    More important news from yesterday, though (and maybe the reason for less disappointment). Adomah, 25, will be in line to make his debut at Charlton this Saturday!
    So finally we have a natural right winger. When was that Geremi left us? We have been crying for a replacement since, well at least I and AV have. We have played Robson there etc. So a couple of manages have went through square-begging there. Now Haroun could be played in his preferred role in centre, too. A new Fellani in discuise there?
    So one CB and two strikers still to go. I have a feeling a striker is on the way still this week. So only two to go after that.
    So still something to look forward to this season. This is much better than summer 1986 me thinks. Up the Boro!

  36. Losing the Championship season opener 2-1 to would-be promotion rivals and then crashing out of the Capital One Cup, humbled at home by League Two minnows.
    That’ll be Brighton in free-fall then.

  37. Which will come first? An upsurge in people joining Facebook so they can post on the Gazette site or the first win of the season.
    I am very confident it will be the first win of the season though you suspect that the longer it takes there will be a corresponding upsurge in posts.
    As we have seen on here there does seem to be a link to results.

  38. A bit of zip & one striker away? Really, AV?
    There’s every bit as much need for a centre half who knows how to do his job in this league. And even then, the squad is paper thin in terms of coping with the sorts of injuries & suspensions that will hit eventually.
    And that’s before we talk about what Mogga et al are doing (or not) with what they have got and may get. Now that it’s his squad and this is supposed to be ‘make or break’ time, it gets more difficult – if it was ever right – to blame the players for not carrying out the master plan.
    **AV writes: By Saturday there could be two new players in, By the end of the months there could be another two or three. That’s first teamers. They are working on a centre-back now. That will give a first team squad of 22-24. That is not thin. If the people who come in are the quality the club intend Boro will be fine. Yes the start has been disappointing but the season isn’t quite over yet.

  39. Hmm, that’s another fine mess you’ve got us into Stanley (scratches head and cries) – hopefully Mogga is on the trail to loan some striker – not to mention a few Hardy pro’s.
    **AV writes: D’oh. I meant to use that ‘fine mess’ line.

  40. Quote TM we missed Woodgate last night.
    Well we are most likely going to miss him for half the season.
    Dosnt sound good does it.
    Should try and get Wheater back.

  41. So; apart from Woodgate according to Mowbray we have nobody else who can or even wants to head a ball out of the penalty area.
    Now I am by no means a soccer tactician, who is clever enough to even lace Mowbray’s boots but I find that a strange and alarming statement from the manager a former centre-half stalwart.
    I’m not jumping on any band wagon but the gloss is fading from a football manager once greatly respected

  42. There is a phrase Mogga uses that used to mildly irk me but now positively riles me: “Win(ning) Football Matches”.
    We all know what game we’re playing but I’m afraid it’s got more serious than that now, as it’s not only “Football Matches” you’re having to win but also hearts and minds.
    That Ladies and Gentlemen is the only time in all the years on this blog (both platforms, different guises) that I’ve posted a purely negative post. Sad day indeed.
    Let’s batter Charlton……(oops I’ll have to alter me post).

  43. Only 20% of our shots were on target and we scored with 20% of those.
    Tremendous profligacy even by our standards. It’s not great consolation to know we had 25 shots. Imagine our strike rate if we only average five shots a game..
    So Juke and Emnes aren’t a viable partnership. Well we knew that already didn’t we? I suspect we’d bite someone’s hand off to offload Emnes, not because he’s not capable (seemingly not for us snyway) but because of the money he’s on and he’s blocking the development of Main. I’d rather have a non scoring local lad in the team than a non scoring other.
    Juke presumably will be staying regardless.
    As for the two conceded, well as I posted recently, an evil CB in the Big Nige mould will be this seasons hero, if we can sign one.
    Roll on Charlton..
    **AV writes: I think you are right that Emnes is expendable and very much for sale. And I agree that a ‘Big Nige’ type – a pointy, shouty, fearsome leader – is the key purchase needed. I believe they are working on one a bit like that.

  44. AV said: ‘A work in progress…’
    You’re avin a laugh ain’t yer AV! Go on tell me yer avin a laugh, ain’t yer?
    Now I’ve got it. It’s the same or similar scenario as wot that King wotsisname tried. You know the one, who sat in his throne and everyone said he could stop the tide comin in at Redcar beach. That was until said King got drenched and only then did everyone concur that he couldn’t do the job.
    Therefore, what is the footballing equivalent of a salty drenching, in the foam, in front of the sand dunes with a lemon top in yer hand. Cause if the past 25+ games don’t count and then a slap in the face with a wet Whitby kipper from a Division 4 side in the cup isn’t then I don’t know what is.
    Hang on! Is that the dulcet tones of a squeaky violin I hear. Yep, that must be SG playin as the Boro burn, all the way from his safe haven on the dusky isles down south somewhere’s.
    UTB
    **AV writes: Yes work in progress. Most people accepted that last season’s team needed a complete overhaul. That’s what they are doing. But its not like Fantasy Football. You don’t just drag and drop the ones you want.
    It can be a tricky process to get the ones you want. Its like buying a house – sometimes there is a chain, sometimes they are in the right area but the price is a bit too much and you need to wait for the vendors, sometimes you can’t decide between two or three very similar ones that tick the boxes, sometimes other people are keen and the sellers try to get an auction going. You don’t just buy the first one you see at the asking price – especially if it is above the odds.
    As I said earlier. There could be two more players in by Saturday and another two or three more by the end of the month. It has been frustrating but until you see the team come September 2nd I don’t think you can really pass sentence. Especially not a death sentence which is what people are talking about..

  45. Batter Charlton? Doubt it – they did a proper job on lower league opposition – which Boro now resemble.
    Why does your latest blog offer only the Facebook cr@p response system? I couldn’t sit back and let you trot out the old ‘once the players cross the whitewash’ chestnut but still couldn’t bring myself to open an F word account.
    Mowbray is responsible for the team, for the performances and for the results. Clearly he hasn’t had control of any of those facets of management this year. You said it yourself – 3/23 wins isn’t good enough – I would conjecture that that would normally be enough to get three managers the sack.
    The only positive I can take from all this is that it can’t get any worse…can it?
    **AV writes: You don’t need Facebook to comment on the blog. That bit on the website was today’s Bigger Picture column. I didn’t put it up as I’m not in today.
    I’m not completely comfortable with the current semi-detached piggy-backed format on there as it only picks up occasional blogs and because every comments via here it looks deserted on there. Rather than inviting comments there it should just link straight here. The website is still not complete. Like Mogga’s team it is a work in progress and needs a few tweaks before it is fully functional.
    I prefer this old no frills fashion steam driven version and would encourage everyone to just come straight here.

  46. You had to laugh really, truth is I actually enjoyed the 2nd half and you almost knew what was going to happen at the end. What can we say? We need to make better decisions and put our chances away. We just have to hope it changes at some point, I can’t see that a new manager would transform the players into clinical machines.

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