Deadline Day 2013: Live

COME ON Boro! Haven’t you signed anyone YET? Get your finger out.
Welcome aboard our breakfast to bongs rolling 24 hour news style scrolling ticker tape of destiny. It’s going to be a long one. Mogga said after the game on Saturday that he “had bids in at clubs” and that he had “permission to speak to the players concerned” – and that they were “new names, not on the radar or mentioned in the press before.”
And he suggested it would go right down to the wire.
So let the speculation begin….


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We know Boro have money: they were ready to bid £2m for Ross McCormack. And we know they have space in the wage bill because the exit of a string of big earners has given the club the most wriggle room in Mogga’s tenure. It is now or never for the manager. He has the framework of his own team in place. Now he can add the few bits of quality and fire-power to turn them into the finished product and serious contenders.
We understand that offers are on the table for Luciano Becchio (loan) and Daniel Ayala (loan with a view to a deal in January) at Norwich. Boro have also been reported to have an interest in Peterborough’s deep lying ‘false nine’ Lee Tomlin, who Celtic had a £1.2m knocked back for at the weekend, another Norwich player Jacob Butterfield (who they had an interest in last summer). Hull striker Matty Fryatt and they also have a ‘first refusal’ loan option on unwanted Aston Villa midfield living canvas Stephen Ireland.
Loans done before the deadline today can be done for the season. If they are left until next week they can only be for 93 days so we have to go through it all again in January.
There could also be a couple of exits: Millwall have an on-going interest in Justin Hoyte who Mogga has said he would listen to offers for, Faris Haroun’s agent has been touting him around Europe’s second tier leagues (he was linked with Romanian club Astra 1.6 GLX over the weekend) and there have been hints of suggestions of rumours that someone is keen on Marvin Emnes. We’ll see.
Let the madness begin…
Feel free to join in with spottings of Rooney at Rockliffe, Suarez in Stewart Park or Uwe at the Tontine or things spotted on twitter, Sky Sports News or the Teesside Airport-cam.
8am UPDATE…
A first round of calls and texts and we have put a big red line through the name “Matty Fryatt” after Mogga says “there will be signings … but he won’t be one of them.” He refuses to elaborate on who may be coming in. “We are still working on them.”
The name of Kei Kamara – a Sierra Leone international six foot striker and MLS journeyman striker formerly of Bisonbreath Rednecks and Deadwood Dynamo and currently at Sporttng Kansas City – is thrown in.
Well he ticks at least one box. No, he hasn’t scored against Boro… but he has been at Norwich, our new feeder club. He had a largely unremarkable loan spell at Carrow Road last season, playing 11 games and scoring one goal, a header against Everton.
His agent has brought him over for a deadline day hiring fair with Boro, Palace, Rayo Vallecano and Copenhagen all said to be interested.
kliddle88 on twitter responds: Kei Kamara? I’d rather have Chris Kamara unbelievablejeff
Elsewhere on twitter ‏@Steve_Crossman says: Hearing Haroun is on the road early, bound for the car park of a Dutch 2nd tier. Peter Odemwingie is car sharing.”
And ‏@Andrew_Teen adds: “Just seen Becchio struggling to understand if he can park in the blue spaces outside Cineworld and go into town.”
Useful contribution from one of our highly trained network of spotters at strategic places around Teesside: “Just seen a Corsa with the reg plate ME551 pull up outside the Riverside” … now that’s the kind of tittle-tattle that we want
9am UPDATE…
The staff are starting to arrive at Hurworth… but no mysterious flash cars pulling up in the car-park with sharp suited gentlemen using two mobiles simultaneously. Yet.
Also no action yet at the Woodlands clinic near Darlington where all Boro’s red hot medical action happens… *cough*… *counts legs* that’ll do, sign here.
‏@Dendog_on twitter gives us the first FMTTM in-joke of the day when he chips in: “my mate works for KLM, he said a certain F.Grenet is on the flight that lands this morning”… *places bet with self*
Some sources have suggested this morning that Hull Tigers have joined Crystal Palace Nil and Mad Billy’s Forest in expressing interest in Boro’s terse talking metronomic Mackem midfielder Grant Leadbitter but in text exchanges Mogga reiterates last week’s assurances that he has no intention of selling him “or any of the core players.”
10am UPDATE…
Nothing from Hurworth yet. *Taps fingers….*
While we are waiting here’s a decent read on the language and the changing cultural importance of the Sky juggernaut driven transfer deadline day in the Mirror by Adam Hurray who trades on twitter as the perceptive @FootballCliches
There a good bit in today’s Gazette as well with George Friendinho and Lukas Jutkiewicz both saying they will be glued to the screen as excited as any fans tonight and recounting their own deadline day experiences. I’ll get that on line as soon as possible.
‏Spotters badges:
@strumminsimon “No-one at the Tontine. Not surprising, it’s not open yet!”
‏@theteessider “Mesut Ozil in Billingham town centre, gutted that art gallery was demolished so move is off #finemargins”
@AndrewHaslam “Just seen Merc with registration F4L C40 pulling up outside two “For Sale” properties in Ingleby.”
‏@justcalledtosay “Just seen Lamby jockeying for position outside arrivals at Heathrow waiting for Kamara. Palace heavies loitering.”
On Kamara, we’ll have to hope he is flying in by US military jet (and not via Syria) if he is to make Hurworth for the medical. He came off the bench late on last night as Sporting Kansas beat Colorado Rapids 2-1. Meanwhile here’s his goal for Norwich in a 2-1 win over Everton. Big unit.
Meanwhile eagle-eyed ‏@Andrew_Teen reports: “Just seen Stephen Ireland put diesel in his petrol car at the Shell garage in Guisborough. #wasnthappy #calltheAA”
And to be fair, it’s hard to miss his motor…
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10 am UPDATE…
What it is really about… financial experts Deloitte are reporting that in the last hour the Premier League gross spend in this summer’s transfer window has broken all records.
It now stands at around £510m, with net spending at £325m. This time last year we had a gross spend in the region of £380m-£390m.
“We expect significant further spending as the deadline approaches,” said Deloitte football industry number-cruncher Alex Thorpe. “Last year saw £100m spent on the final day of the window and with a number of clubs still to do business, we will watch with interest over the next 12 hours to see just how big the new record will be.”
COME ON BORO…. let’s help smash that totaliser to bloody bits!
@AndrewHaslam79 “Haven’t been this excited about @Boro #DeadlineDay since January 2008 when we signed Alves… and that worked out ok, right?
11am UPDATE….
Checks phone is switched on… nothing from Boro. Yet. By my calculations the process is this: early morning scan through phone messages from agents offering last minute surprise cut-price striking sensation to no avail then put in the daily call to Chris Hughton to make sure no-one had gazumped Boro on the minibus load of Canaries heading towards Hurworth. Then meet the players (and assorted agents) for last minute tweaks on the proposed deals… round about now we should be looking at getting the first medical in. Then an agreeable lunch at Rockliffe Hall while waiting on the scans.
Settle yourself down. This could be a long day. Is anyone actually doing any work (apart from me obviously, for me this is work). I suspect productivity on Teesside has stalled.
I suspect nerves are kicking in too. @TerryFBH on twitter has just showed the first tremor of pre-emptive despair: “Why do I feel there is more chance of us selling someone than actually signing someone :-(”
Meanwhile anyone who wonders why Boro haven’t just bought exactly what they wanted months back should read this perceptive bit by Bernie Slaven on how signing a player is like buying a house, rarely smooth and full of pitfalls.
The BBC Deadline Day Live blog is having a chat about phones, tablets and Luddite managers struggling with technology and poses the question: “Have any transfers ever failed because of a broken fax machine?” Shall we tell them?
Elsewhere, news from the neighbours as Fabio Borini arrives at the “Academy of Light” to complete a loan move from Liverpool to Sunderland which will allow the Sea Geordies to let Stephane Sessegnon go to West Brom (which will in turn make former Mogga signing Graeme Dorrans look a bit out of place at the Baggies if you are an optimist… although it has been suggested to me may be having talks with Celtic).
And, a reader suggests, Joe Kinnear has this morning finally concluded his first deals since rejoining Newcastle: he has signed up a three month free trial for BT Sports and got 500 free texts from Orange.
Noon Update…
The rumours are flying now… but not much hot signing action.
The Daily Mail suggest Kamara is having a medical at Rockliffe right now. Our man there says not. Reader @MasterElrond has heard via a South coast contact (his uncle Allan) that Boro are after Bournemouth’s Lewis (goal a game) Grabban, possibly in a bid to recoup some of the £2.6m they splashed out on former Mogga target and pocket poacher (and headline writers’ dream Tokelo Rantie).
Other names that have been thrown at me today with various looks of fear and loathing are Marlon King, Craig Dawson, Tom Pope, Chris Baird and “Sheila” Ameobi.
Star spotter @kevin_horton tweeted to say: “My mums seen ‘Big Ish’ buying box of 12 krispe kreme doughnuts in tesco at Northallerton ahead of medical at 1pm”
And @stephenharkin1 suggests expanding our already extensive network of contacts. “Have you tried stopping random postmen/milkmen/dustmen in the road. They’re often in the know,” he suggests.
12.33 DONE DEAL
Gazette sources can confirm a successful swoop on Danish club AKG Vending for a bag of Roast Ox flavour crisps and a Mars Bar.
1pm UPDATE
Hmmmmmmm. Looks at watch. Checks phone. Come on Mogga.
Possible movement in the logjam that could lead to an exit. Millwall have let striker Danny N’Guessan leave by mutual consent. He’s behind Scott ‘goal machine’ McDonald and Steve “he’s only got one arm!?” Morison now and has opted to join Swindon. That could possibly free-up space in the Lions wage bill for them to move for Justin Hoyte. Maybe.But I’m only N’Guessing. *groan*
Elsewhere, here’s £100 squilllion simian superstar Gareth Bale doing the most high pressure public keepie-uppies ever in his mandatory Real Madrid galactico initiation test at the Bernabeu.
Now I like a daft quid as much as the next man (unless the next man is Gordon Taylor) but I’m a little bit uncomfortable with betting markets on player transfers. Especially when the odds are being marked up by Sky Bet… the people who sponsor the Championship. Is there a conflict of interest there? Something doesn’t sit right about that. I’m not overly happy about the rash of offshore internet bookies sponsoring individual clubs (from Boro’s deal with 888.com on) but having influence on the whole league? No. I’m not suggesting for a second that there is anything suspect about the relationship but sometimes it is best to avoid standing in the shadow of a dark possibility.
Anyway, Sky Bet are pricing up the possiblities of a move for Becchio with Boro at 3/1 favourites and Reading coming in to 5/1 after rumours of a late move by the Royals. That is a betting market where a lot of people could make a lot of money by manipulating the media and ITK social network viral gossips to fiddle with the odds. Sorry but that is a market that has “unusual betting pattern” written all over it.
*climbs off soapbox*
2pm UPDATE…
Informed punter ‏@dhynes87 quickly puts me in my ten bob each way place saying: “Transfer specials usually have a limit of around £20-50. Not sure what there’s is but still it’s the same as manager odds”.
OK, so no-one will make a fortune and if a heavily disguised athletic looking bloke with a South American accent tried to put £1m on they would probably spot there was a rabbit off but that doesn’t change the point. Whatever the stake, betting on something so easily influenced and where the market relies on information that could be freely available to particular punters doesn’t feel right. And no, I don’t bet on managerial sackings either.
The nerves are setting in now. Not mine. Possibly Mogga’s. But then all the big managers are struggling to spend their dosh: Moyes, Wenger, Pardew. I can sense the ripples in Teesside’s psychic jittersphere.
@justcalledtosay tweeted: Boro are currently having trouble printing the diagnostics test page on the fax machine #herewegoagain” and even uber-rara Jarkko nervously added: ” I am burying my foam hands. Getting worried even about one striker now.”
‏And @AndrewSJinks catches the zietgeist as he tweets: “Truthfully I can’t see us signing anyone #pessimistic #typicalBoro or #payovertheodds for a hasbeen/donkey”
Relax. It’s early yet. Remember Steve McClaren’s 11.59 trolley dash when he bought Christie, Riggott and Ricketts and then the next morning found he also had signed Doriva without even noticing. Justin Hoyte wasn’t done until two hours after the deadline because his deal was tied in with the Ashley Cole Arsenal to Chelsea switch.
Meanwhile, back to the Rumourdome… hopes of landing angel winged wonder Steven Ireland look to be fading as former City boss Mark Hughes (in charge when he had his one really good season) closes in on signing him on a one season loan.
That makes sense for Villa as a Premier League side would be able pay all or most of his £60k a week wages. Boro would be looking to pay £10k. Mogga had a gentleman’s agreement with Paul Lambert on a first refusalif Villa loaned him to the Championship but the understanding was always that they would be looking for a sale first and then a loan to a big league and club willing to pick up the wages.
BORO TRANSFER NEWS
Sorry, calm down. It is just peripheral tinkering. Connor Ripley has extended his one month loan deal at Bradford to take him up to January. He is on stand-by for a Bantams debut tomorrow against Coops and Higgy’s mini-Boro in the Paint Pot Cup tomorrow.
Meanwhile twitter is buzzing. “Rumours flying around of Michael Owen applying for Membership at the North Ormesby Working Men’s Institute today,” reports @FryettPaul while @dickyjim78 can confirm: “Just back from town: Diego Forlan in Claire’s Accessories stocking up on Alice bands. Better late than never?” and ‏@Capetownsmoggy insists: Spitting Image of Diouf spotted near magistrate court asking for directions to Riverside.”
3pm UPDATE…
Rumours that Reading have made a “bid” for Becchio appear wide of the mark. The paper down there – part of our group – says not. There have been no suggestions from Nigel Adkins to that effect. They say there are plenty of rumours about Becchio (and have been for days) but also that they have strong rumours about former Boro trialist Cameron Jerome and Billy Sharp too. The miasma of whispers engulfs all clubs.
Elsewhere, Stoke have confirmed they have signed Steven Ireland on a year long loan deal, so that is one door slammed shut.
Meanwhile, here’s one I did earlier... a nice bit on how players are just excited as fans to settle on down with a can of beer and a tube of Pringles to watch Jim White jabber on Sky Sports Live. Some good quotes from George Friend and Lukas Jutkiewicz, both who have been involved in deadline days deals. Good read, even if I say so myself.
WAIT! …. movement on the stalkercam trained on Hurworth….
As you were, its just the Under 21s assembling ready to board the team bus bound for the Reebok Stadium and a clash with Bolton tonight.
4.30pm UPDATE
Typical, you make the dash through the Acklam Road rush hour and the rumourverse kicks into life.
Right… Boro have been linked by Sky Sports with Belgian international Jelle Vossen, a deep lying striker/link man from Genk who is has played for Belgium at every level from kindergarten upwards and is a Football Manager must-buy. He has scored 78 goals in 148 league games for Genk and is rated one of Belgium’s best. Better than Haroun then.
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The name was mentioned on one of the ITK gossip sites a few days ago with the price quoted as £6m which is way out of Boro’s range. It is also less than Newcastle were supposedly quoted a fortnight ago. Now it seems to have come down to £4m … which is still far too high unless it is very cleverly structured.
I’ll put a call in but it the numbers don’t stack up for me.
Meanwhile Boro are said to have “fended off” a Wigan bid for Rhys Williams. The boss at Wigan is of course long time suitor Owen Coyle who had Rhys at Burnley back in the day when they got promoted and had another nibble – rebuffed – 18 months ago when he was at Bolton. Mogga has stated repeatedly that he does not intend to nor is under any pressure to, sell his ‘core’ players.
‏On twitter breathless @Drakey31 says: “I’m investing in an inhaler just in case we do actually spend 4 million pound on Jelle Vossen”.
Meanwhile the BBC’s Phil McNulty says Kei Kamara has been spotted at Newcastle airport en route to Hurworth while a cheeky poster suggester the deal is a TV show hoax arranged by his brother Kandid…. *groan*
And airport anorak Red Herts asks: “Vossen is on his way? Belgian registered plane is due into Teesside at 17:45. Unless it’s coming to take Harooon hooome..?
And there it is look...
6.30pm UPDATE…
Baton down the hatches. Stand by to repel boarders…
Sky are now reporting Bolton want Rhys Williams – is there any team in Lancashire that doesn’t! – and are ready to do a swap deal for Mungle Jungle fan and Redcar Rock David Wheater while the Midlands media say (unconfirmed) sources at Nottingham Forest are talking about yet another Mad Billy bid for Grant Leadbitter.
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Mogga was asked about Wheats last month when it was first speculated and was quite clear when he told the Gazette that financially it didn’t add up because of his Premier League wages.
As Boro have spent two years cutting back on wages to create the headroom they are working with now it would seem strange for them to rack up the salaries now,. I know they have a bit of wriggle-room but they haven’t won the lottery or they would have blown Leeds out of the water over McCormack and stumped up for Becchio,
Also they are looking to add a defender to just swap one… although it is deadline day and funny things happen. Maybe if Bolton were to pay most of his wages.
Meanwhile, Norwich have inquired about a possible loan of West Ham’s Ricardo Vaz Te – which would push Becchio even further down the Canaries front-line pecking order and sharpen his mind. That urns up the possibility a notch I think.
Things are getting a bit tense at Rockliffe now I would have thought. All day they have been multi-tasking and holding three phones at once and getting no joy. Now they are staring at the transfer incoming batphone to ring… and waiting…. now would definitely not be a good time for a PPI cold call.
On twitter ‏@itsmattchristie reports he is “getting into the spirit of the evening by heading to pub, waiting til last orders, panicking & then spaffing £50 on a pint.”
And congratulations to Spurs fans for the first live deadline day collective idiotic gurn of the night and setting the bar high for the annual Carpark Doylefest Shield.
8pm UPDATE…
Conflicting emotions in the Boro twittersphere as some people get excited by the arrivals board at Teesside airport showing a plane touched down from Belgium…
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… and others are depressed by the news via babel fish that Genk’s CEO has said of Middlesbrough Foxes bid: “There was indeed today a timid attempt to loosen some players but nothing has been on the table that was worth to bargain,”
Twitter chatter… prompted by air traffic control @Triquertum points out: “loads coming in from Leeming direction now. Mmy suspicions are that we are about to sign the entire RAF U21 side, or the Red Arrows.”
And ‏@Smogonthetyne asks, quite pertinently, “How is this possible? Transfer deadline day is more excruciating than actually watching the Boro.”
Update from the bookies,,, the hot money is still on Becchio to Boro … down to evens now on SkyBet, Reading drifting to 8/1 for those who like that kind of thing. But better get a move on. Things could happen quickly now (by quickly I mean a long drawn out saga could be inching to a conclusion.).
8.45pm UPDATE…
Right, got to nip out to collect the boy from gymnastics… you know what’s going to happen don’t you: 10 minute signing frenzy, Becchio and Butterfield in by 9pm, Nailed on.
10pm UPDATE….
Vossen is verlossen. Nixt signet for der bossen. Babelfish is great.
If the jet landed at Teesside Airport (not DVT) it was empty, Genk’s chief executive has slapped down the Boro’s bid with a Belgian shrug of understated contempt, saying it was “timid.” That one was never likely.
With time running out Boro fans have clicked into their default: a defensive cloak of calculated disappointment. It’s what we do best: prepare for fruitless frustration with creative one-downmanship. That and savour a backlash. Just think Boro… you could be Man United fans… they can’t get the ones in they want any they have TRILLIONS!
Here’s some of the angst rattling around on my twitter…
@‏JamesLindsay I have been checking since i got up for work at 6 48am. Im holding the rage for 11 01pm #AnythingCanHappen
@Steeeeeeee8 no way I’m giving up now, just waiting for the flurry of abuse Mogga will get if noone comes in!
‏@mattheword Boro fans are the connoisseur’s of disappointment
‏@Captain5MFC no way I’m giving up on this yet. The wait to complain about the signings/non-signings is more anticipated than any signing
‏@Boro_Banter I am close to collapsing. Why does Boro do this to me?
10.30pm UPDATE…
It *sounds* like Kamara has signed but no official confirmation yet. All the indications are that it is done.If not dusted.
Probably not got around to releasing the news yet because the office is crowded and the suits are all furiously phoning and negotiating and gesticulating like crazy, possibly wearing natty brightly striped blazers like in the Stock Exchange: “Sell defender furures…. buy MLS strikers.. .buy MLS strikers… but NOT Robbie Keane…”
In the annual “whoops” leak, Gordon Cox has a pre-recorded eight minute interview with Kamara already up on the official Boro smartphone app… let’s hope it has gone through or that will become “typical Boro” cultural gold-dust every bit as precious as the Keith Gillespie “signing” press release.
Still time for another one…
11pm UPDATE…
Well, there’s the bongs. Now we have to dig in and wait to see if Boro managed to squeeze Becchio/Butterfield/Ayala deals through the descending sash of doom or if we have to reconvene next week when the loan window opens. Watch this space.
MIDNIGHT UPDATE…
Still no official confirmation of the deal(s)… I have reason to believe Boro had all the paperwork ready for Jacob Butterfield five minutes before the deadline. Let;s hope they haven’t faxed it up.
But hey, look… Kamara has just tweeted… ‏@keikamara Very happy and thankful for this new chapter of my career with Middlesbrough FC (@Boro). Can’t wait to meet the boys/fans and get started.
That’s a £900,000 two year deal with a one year option.
And, look, here’s another one… Butterfield has tweeted too, at 12.20pm… ‏@JLButterfield
“Cant wait to get going at my new club @Boro excited for the next chapter in my career. Deadline day crazy as ever.. Was good to be involved although i thought we had missed the cut! Was very close believe me!”
Any more? No? Right, I’m off to bed.
Don’t forget, the loan window opens in a week.

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186 thoughts on “Deadline Day 2013: Live

  1. I could go with that … a team built around the best talent of the Basque region!
    Mind you, if we take the idea of restricting things to say a 25 or 50 (or 75?) mile radius, we could be on to something; bang in line with Mr Dyke’s objective to have enough quality English players available to win the world cup in 2022 ….. that would put MFC ahead of the curve again.

  2. Last time I was in Bilbao, so many fans were leaving before the final whistle that I almost got hurt in the crush. Just too many Basques in one exit.
    **AV writes: *badum-tissssh*

  3. A 25/50 mile radius would be tricky to administer. What if somebody was born 26/51 miles away? It would inevitably lead to the silly situation we used to have with school catchment areas: the child from one house was eligible for the ‘good school’ but their neighbour wasn’t.
    This will never come to pass, it’s all hypothetical but, hey, when did that ever stop us from rabbiting? My vote would be to differntiate by counties. Show us your birth certificate: only those born in Cleveland, Co Durham or N.Yorks to play for Boro. Football’s version of ethnic cleansing.

  4. Of course if Boro put in place a policy of only playing players born say within 50 miles of the Riverside, they would have to include an exclusion zone around Stockton, because as we all know there aren’t any Boro supporters in Stockton.
    **AV writes: Don’t rattle that cage again.

  5. You can of course be of any ethnicity in Powmill’s or Nikeboro’s system.
    Any person born of Sikh parents within 35 miles of Middlesbrough Town Hall, any person of Afro-Caribbean descent born within that distance, any child of Polish parents, Lithuanian parents or mixed ethnicity parents where the child himself was born within the agreed distance….
    If just gets a little difficult if we ask what happens if Mum and Dad were both born in Acklam but were working in the USA when their little star was born. Would son-and-heir qualify? Does FIFA accept a grandparent?
    A family consisting entirely of Mongolians save for one grandfather (born in Redcar) who went out there as a missionary just after WW2, and stayed after marrying a local girl. Remembering the tales told by that old white-skinned man who spoke with a very funny accent and had a fondness for dark, rather than green, teas, the little lad always had a dream to play for the Boro. If he was good enough, would one local grandfather qualify the lad to play for Athletico Boro?
    **AV writes: So long as the DNA tests positive for parmo…..

  6. Regaring the Athletico Boro prattling, it turns out that MFC are way ahead of us. Talking to my contacts at the club, it emerges that Boro have been doing this for years. They will not take on anybody without Teesside in their DNA. Before signing a contract to first become a player, everybody must show their residential qualifications.
    As long as the prospective player, or a parent, or one of his grandparents, or the lad he used to sit next to in class, or somebody he once spoke to on the bus, has been on holiday to Seaton Carew, Redcar, Saltburn, Bridlington, Scarborough, Filey or Whitby then he gets to play for us. Finally the player must formally sign a declaration to disavow Stockton.
    Rigorous forensic examination of every current player’s family history has revealed this to be true: they all have their Boro-Basque credentials. It’s a bit tenuous in the case of Kamara however. None of his extended family had been to any of the above but his dad had heard of John Carew.

  7. We could always impose some tests on any prospective recruit to the academy.
    A bit like the Rorschach Test, a Strongarm glass with half a pint of beer in. What do you see?
    Or word association. Post Christmas. New Year. Red Zone. Set Piece. Chicken. Skunk.
    The answers would be a sure fire way of determining suitable ethnic purity.
    Many thanks to Len for the Basques, took me back 50+ years to my French Teacher who had a fund of such stories. If I recall correctly the basques were a troop of acrobats.

  8. On the transfer window I was’nt overwhelmingly disappointments and my optimism for the season not dimmed. I would still like to see a nails CB and a CF, preferably Becchio.
    Generally there seems to be a sense of bridled and possibly stabled optimism around the blog. A few more points, especially at home (though I still think our away form will be better this season) and we be galloping free across the wild prairies of confidence with the William Tell Overture in our ears. (Kids ask your fathers).
    It’s Brucie’s birthday today (thanks for tweeting AV – great video of him) and I was shocked when I realised I’m older now than he was when he managed us. How did that happen? Can I demand a stewards enquiry?

  9. “only those born in Cleveland, Co Durham or N.Yorks to play for Boro”
    Good idea Nikeboro.
    Now Vic, how many professional footballers in the the top two divisions satisfy those criteria?
    Get some research done and you’ve got a nice little filler for the next international break.
    It would amplify our “us against the rest of the world” attitude. People’s Republic of Teesside etc.
    **AV Writes: Nice little filler? That’s a week trawling through Soccerbase.

  10. AV wrote: ‘Nice little filler? That’s a week trawling through Soccerbase.’
    And your point is …?
    The trouble is, you set the bar so high on deadline day. Now, anything less than a 16 hour day and you’re considered to be slacking.

  11. Ian, Spot on. I first told that joke exactly 50 years ago (September 1963) to Don Barnes, who was my colleague at Acklam Hall. The Basques were indeed a group of acrobats playing in a revolving door. Good to know, all this time later, that he successfully recycled it.

  12. Werdermouth –
    Twas only a musing. What else are international breaks for?
    Still, if we only allowed ourselves, say, three players from outside of the nominated radius, imagine how much cash we’d have to blow on those three?
    Attracting good players to League One might be an issue though. We could worry about that when we got there.

  13. Nothing wrong in musing Andy I’m often prone to that (or is that rambling?) – though it’s probably not so important about where someone was born but whether the club can develop young talent through their academy into genuine first team players.
    Boro don’t seem to be able to produce goal scorers but then again who does? Maybe good strikers are a little bit gaga and are born that way – after ability it’s all in the head, you need a cool almost detached mentality with an inner self-belief and little fear of failure (I’m not really describing Emnes there).
    Perhaps being of local extraction carries too much mental baggage and causes fateful adrenalin rushes when in front of goal as the barn door shrinks – the best strikers seem to be either huge egotists or generally appear not too bothered.
    The problem is how do you spot a goal scorer early enough before it’s obvious to everyone and their price-tag becomes prohibitive? Sadly our bargain buys usually come in the form of ‘may come good’ gambles instead.
    Besides how long would Boro be able to afford to hold on to a complete striker? Perhaps you really need to play in a style that doesn’t leave you relying on one man to score as they usually take their goals with them when they move on.
    Yep, I think I meant rambling…
    **AV writes: Ironically Boro sign up dozens of red hot strikers at the age of 12 or 14. The scouts pick up on the brightest and the best of the youth team players and they tend to the ones running rings around the other lot and banging in six goals a game. Most of the Academy lads arrive with that profile. David Wheater was a 60 goal a season striker at Teesside Athletic for instance.
    The problem is that two years later, up against better players, older players, bigger players, professional players they don’t find it so easy to score and often they evolve into something different, left-backs usually. Only a very tiny fraction of lads who arrive at an Academy – any Academy not just Boro – as strikers maintain that edge and ability, grow to be fast enough, strong enough, physical enough and still have the ability to score. That;s why they cost fortunes.

  14. Werdermouth –
    It seems to me that strikers are the hardest types to produce. It’s not just a Boro problem.
    Man Utd have developed many players over the years, but very few have made it as strikers there. Some have gone elsewhere and become decent players, Frazier Campbell for instance, but very few have made the grade for them. Giggs, Scholes, Beckham, Butt, the Nevilles – not a striker among their golden generation, though Scholes may have been a forward at youth level.
    Southampton seem to be the current best at developing top talent, but I can’t think of a striker from them either. Walcott may have been one once.
    So I don’t think this is a Boro problem, it’s a British football problem. All very current.
    AV says Boro bring young lads in at 12 to 14 years old. I think the future has to be for high quality coaching from more like 6 or 7 years old, concentrating overwhelmingly on technique.

  15. Chris Baird, Carlton Cole and Sylvain Ebainks-Blake look the most interesting frees on that list for our purposes. Bramble is lurking ominously!
    At 27 and with a very respectable Championship record, Ebainks-Blake can’t have been short of offers. He must be holding out for unrealistic terms.
    Becchio, Ayala and Sharp are all in their respective 25-man squads.
    **AV writes: Ewanks-Blake is out injured. He had a broken leg. He is due to be fit come October so there will be a bit of a scramble then I think.

  16. I read somewhere that there are concerns about the fact our young players cant do anything for themselves. (this is general, not just about Boro)
    Strikers are a selfish bunch so maybe our coaching is geared to producing clones, technically quite good but lacking that spark and drive. Working to a pattern where the process is more important than the outcome.
    I think everyone is pleased for Lambert in that he is a bit of a throwback to proper centre forwards. What we musn’t forget is that he can also play football. In all the blather about the fact he has scored two in two he also made two goals on Friday. I know it is only Moldova but the passes had to be made.

  17. Ian –
    Rickie Lambert is a case in point from your post. He’s a very good footballer, somewhat patronised at the moment in my opinion.
    I heard, however, David Pleat on the radio say that he was a player everyone knew about years ago but he was considered lazy in the early part of his career.
    His rise to the national team is partly due to a dearth of competition, partly due to increased maturity on his part for the last few years.

  18. Good goal scorers are hard to find or produce because its the hardest part of the game isn’t it? A man can be technically gifted but if he hasnt got self belief he wont score goals. Being a goal scorer is 80% self belief in my opinion, you cant coach that.
    I wonder what Bernie thinks?

  19. I recall David Wheater looking good for a goal whenever he pushed forward while he was with us. I remember posting that it might have been worthwhile moving him up front. I thought he clearly still had the eye for goal and thought he would make an excellent target man.
    Perhaps getting him in loan might not be bad move after all. Cover at the back, with options up front as well.

  20. Andy R –
    You can also throw in the fact he was at Southampton who have made great strides in recent years so was at the right place at the right time.
    He wouldn’t be signed by most clubs unless he was called Riccardo Lambertini.

  21. Well if you thought Boro’s transfer dealings were poor in the past, spare a fleeting thought for the two Crystal Palace lads brought in as transfers but failed to make the 25 man squads!
    So you sign for a club now whilst you might not expect to make the first team, you can bet your bottom dollar, you expect to be in the final squad list!
    Classic, it’s a beauty.
    I have a vague recollection that we signed someone but had to wait for a whole window to play them as we missed the squad registration date. Is this right?
    **AV writes: Phil Whelan.

  22. I’m not a big England fan but I hope they get at least a draw tomorrow and eventually qualify for Brazil. I enjoy watching the World Cup more if England are there. I hope Lambert scores a couple tomorrow and holds his place in the squad for Brazil, its a good story.

  23. Where’s GHW ….this is getting a bit like Deadline day itself, waiting for the double century to arrive – right down to the wire!

  24. Where’s all these loan signings that were expected? Not much from the club on that score.
    **AV writes: The loan window opens tomorrow… exciting isn’t it?

  25. The club should get Malcom Tucker in as chief Flannel Doctor, at least it would spice up the guff they are coming out with lately.
    The Flannelers…. Hmm, could be a script in that somewhere.

  26. GWh will have poked one in at the far post by now. 200 and going strong?
    **AV writes: “Look at his face! Just look at his face!”

  27. Perhaps Mogga should sign GHW on loan as he is usually poaching around the six yard box with an eye for goal and would cost a lot less than Vossen or Rossco ( presumably)!
    **AV writes: He hasn’t scored for a while but I suppose like Jutkiewicz he still does a lot of work in and around the box. holding it up and bringing others into play.

  28. Exciting?
    Zzzzz….zzzz…zzzzz
    AV writes: I’m excited but then I have a low boiling point.
    Seriously though, I expect a defender in very soon. There’s some good ones available…
    Craig Dawson at West Brom, Chris Baird is a free agent, we’ve been linked with a strong interest on Michael Keane at Man Utd and Shane Duffy of Boyzone/Everton… then there is the Wheater link that won’t go away.
    Up front there are people like Vaz Te at West Ham, John Guidetti at Man City, Stephen Dobbie at Palace plus the on-going courting of Becchio. Everyone will be clamouring for these names when we dominate Ipswich but only draw 1-1 on Saturday.

  29. Morning Dormo. Morning GHW. Morning Redcar Red. Morning Powmill, Morning Nigel. Well done Dormo for a brilliant slide- in at the near post.
    Fenton and McCrae, Clough and Peacock, Hickton and O’Rourke, Dormo and GHW. They don’t make twin strikers like they used to.
    But the lack of current strikers probably has as much to do with the death of tricky wingers and the lack of creative midfielders, the inability of modern teams to get behind or to cut through defences,as any deficiencies in centre-forwards. Most of the goals scored by the great strikers were tap-ins.
    Great as he was, where would Cloughie have been without Billy Day, Eddie Holiday. Derek McLean and Bill Harris. The fact that Clough’s England career stalled was because he played between Greaves and Charlton, who provided him with zilch ammunition.
    So let’s also hear it for Werdermouth’s wonderful creativity in the build-up.

  30. Billy Sharp stands out in the list of strikers that have done well in the Championship but not for any future permanent deal as I think he is 31. A good loan signing to get us going and firing up the league if he played at Donny then he can play for us.
    As Powmill said Wheater could do a job up front when not required at CB as he did score some for us. Dawson also very good CB. Any of these players on loan you would feel would bring something to the club. Not like some we have brought in recently.

  31. Len –
    Don’t forget Arthur Horsfield along with the two Johns. It was his regular contributions that dragged us up the table when the rest were blanking. He scored some really important goals when we needed them.
    So even than you needed more than one striker.
    I agree totally about the dearth of tricky wingers and creative midfield players.
    As I posted earlier I wonder if it has been coached out of them.
    The modern idiom is players on the ‘wrong’ wings and tucked in. Full backs have to bomb on to provide penetration. The difficulty is that if their distribution was so good they probably wouldn’t be full backs especially at this level.
    Then there is the need to keep shape and positional discipline. The result is not many players get in to the box.
    Playing with one striker requires players to get beyond or join in, the shots tend to be just that and not many real chances.
    So many goals are scored through set plays but we are poor at both ends of the pitch.
    It isn’t as easy as we internet managers make out.
    **AV writes: The dominant coaching culture is about the elimination of mistakes, countering the oppositions’s shape and taking the chance when it comes, not about forcing the game and creating chances. Most coaches in the modern game see 1-0 at the perfect vindication of their strategy and 0-0 are more than acceptable.

  32. Morning Len –
    One of the problems faced by modern day strikers is that they spend so little time in the opposition’s box. Apart from corners and free kicks they are charged with playing the line and holding the ball up.
    I noted the managers recent quote about Kei Kamara, “he will give us raw power in both boxes”. I’m from the old school, the CF and wingers shouldn’t be further back than just inside the halfway line.
    One of our major failings at set pieces is our penalty area is too cluttered with non defenders. And before anyone says they are thee to mark the opposition, how many would be forward if we had three players ready to go on the half way line?

  33. GHW –
    I remember Schwarzer being roundly criticised for a last minute equaliser at Newcastle.
    Gate sliced a clearance out for a corner. We made sure Zone was marked and filled the six yard box. Schwarzer had no chance getting near the corner and the ball cleared to Lee Clarke (I think) unmarked in ten yards of space.
    There’s a new blog bit up now on conceding from free-kicks.
    And that was on the edge of the box. Ours! Rifles a shot through the crowd and it was all Schwarzer’s fault.
    It never ceases to amaze me how many people we can get in to the six yard box and leave players unmarked in yards of space. And that goes back years.

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