Mogga’s Emerging Boro Jigsaw Ploughed Up By Tractor Boys

BORO’S promising picture was ripped apart on a demoralising day when the pieces of Mogga’s jigsaw just didn’t fit.
The early season signs of progress on the pitch – balance, shape, width, pace, penetration, spirit – were nowhere to be seen as a limp Boro were ploughed by the Tractor Boys at Portman Road.
They were routinely and roundly beaten by a functional side that were better organised and more direct and played in a no-frills fashion that Boro were incapable of dealing with. Boro switched off after getting the opener and the paid the price with defeat.
But the crushing reverse could also cost them dearly on the Teesside street as an unconvinced and unforgiving faction of frustrated fans will see the second half slump as evidence that very little has changed from last term’s trauma.


The aftermath of the game shows exactly how fragile the numbers and the mood of the moment can be as the statistics – and morale – swung wildly with one result.
There had been a slow burning optimism starting to take hold on Teesside after four unbeaten when Boro bossed games and created chances and it appeared the outlines of a convincing new shape was starting to emerge.
Now, ssuddenly after being monstered by Mick McCarthy’s men the sequence reads just one win in six and ominously all last season’s dark fears and angst have bubbled up through the cracks and the jittery cyber-babble is once more of wielding the axe.
It seems that will be the story of the season: good results will quell the residual dissent for a week or two and shore up the position of the boss in the polls but every set-back will prompt renewed anger aimed at the dug-out.
Everyone knows the back-story. The circular arguments are well rehearsed. The situation will not be resolved by debate now. After three years of frustration, only wins, goals and marked movement up the table will suffice.
In that context, the implosion at Ipswich was a stinging set-back. It has strengthened the hand of the dissidents at an early stage of the season and undermined confidence in the slowly emerging new shape.
Boro actually started very well at Portman Road. Frighteningly well. There was a 20 minute opening spell of patient short passing and probing that was laudable in both intention and execution. During that blistering period Boro bamboozled Ipswich, stretched them and dictated the shape and tempo in admirable fashion.
But it was all without much serious threat – until they scored the opener, ironically after all last week’s talk about dead balls, from a corner.
At that point, a goal up after 12 minutes in a one sided opening, it looked like Boro would romp home. Had they gone for the jugular it felt as if the mantra “one day soon we are going to hammer someone” would be delivered. The nervous East Anglian press pack were gushing at Boro’s display of crisp exchanges and assertive probing saying it was the best performance by a visiting team in years.
But then Boro inexplicably stepped off the gas,
From being in total control they shrivelled, surrendered the initiative and as the game ebbed away from them ended up frantically fire-fighting in and around the box.
The early precision passing disintegrated. They became sloppy in possession, loose in marking and disjointed and even when they threw more men forward late on looked shapeless and desperate rather than balanced and determined.
Ipswich in contrast were well drilled and worked harder, especially without the ball. Tony Mowbray said after the game Ipswich had “done the basics better” and it is hard to disagree. They played with exactly the approach you would expect from a Mick McCarthy team. They closed down quickly and chased, harried and hustled slow motion Boro out of possession with ease.
The engine room especially was spluttering. Both Grant Leadbitter, last term’s player of the year by far, and Dean Whitehead, one of the most solid performers so far in this campaign, had off days and wilted as Boro were swamped in midfield.
And when they got possession, Ipswich delivered it quickly into the box with quick diagonal balls that piled the pressure on the defence and forced mistakes.
Much of the post-match recrimination was aimed at Jason Steel and whether he should have saved the opener – maybe he saw it late, maybe he was unsighted – but the real worry was the ease with which Whitehead was brushed aside on the edge of the box in the build-up before impressive David McGoldrick lashed home.
For the second goal Ipswich managed to get to the byline and then one full-back over-lapped unmarked to put in a cross for the other full-back to head home unchallenged.
And for the third Jonathan Woodgate failed to cut out a routine ball down the challenge and McGoldrick burst clear and past Rhys Williams too before drilling home.
It was a poor show and there was no mitigation.
But it was the first time this season you could really say that.
Even in the opening day defeat to Leicester they had a good first half and created chances. Against Accrington they lost but only after carving out 20 chances. And in the league games since they had largely dominated for long spells with every game feeling like a slow but steady step forward.
Boro had gone to Ipswich four unbeaten and although three of those were draws, in all of those games there were unmistakable signs of progress. While it was far from perfect – not least because of the points dropped – there were plenty of positives: a better shape, a real balance, width, pace, a good work ethic, fluid movement, plenty of openings created and a spirit that saw them come from behind to salvage something.
At Ipswich there were no redeeming features.
That doesn’t mean though we should panic, throw the baby out with the bathwater and slip into the knee-jerk demands for ritual execution though. That may be the default setting after a very frustrating year. Just four wins in 2013 is hard to defend. It is easy – and a comforting release valve – to quickly rev up through the gears of anger deferred from last season’s unpunished second half slump .
But this is a different team now and they have to be judged on what they do as this season unfolds, not on unresolved anger over the jittery January, fruitless February and the unravelling that followed as a mix-and-match side fractured.
A summer reshuffle and real money spent on recruits that the manager wants mean this really is Tony Mowbray’s team now.
He knows that means there are no excuses now.
He knows he has to stand or fall by exactly what this team and this season delivers.
But it is a team with a lot of new faces – including two debutants at Ipswich. It won’t click immediately. It is harsh to put the boot in after one set-back in a tough division. Especially when before Portman Road they looked to be starting to gel and winning plaudits for the style and substance of their progress.
It’s early days yet.
SOME OTHER THINGS WE TALKED ABOUT ON THE WAY HOME
**THERE were “only” 472 Boro fans at Portman Road. Respect – and commiserations – to everyone who made the eight hour plus round trip to the outskirts of the country for THAT.
But there should be no surprise there were so few Tees travellers. It is one hell of a trek to a ground where Boro haven’t won since 1993 – Paul Wilkinson got the winner – and where the away fans were charged £34 in advance plus an extra £2 if they paid on the day. That is a scandal for Championship football.
**AFTER much talk about Boro’s dead-ball Achilles heel – every goal leaked since the opening day had been from a set-play – it was a given they would be ripped apart in open play… and that they would score one themselves. Typical Boro!
Albert Adomah’s agile hook for the early opener came as Ipswich only half cleared a Jacob Butterfield corner and Grant Leadbitter nodded it back into the danger zone for the new boy.
Some may say that Leadbitter was well placed – ie well away from the taking the kick. His unproductive monopoly of set-plays has become a focus of concerted chuntering. With Adomah and Butterfield getting involved at set-plays there may be more variety. We just have to make them count now.
**THERE was no ‘star man’. It was one of those games when the coveted Gazette stars were allocated in an heated process of ‘least worst’ elimination when every serious candidate proposed prompted an immediate backlash.
The three, two, one is always difficult to allocate after a limp surrender when all instincts scream that none of them deserve anything. Sometimes you want to “do a Bernie” and refuse point-blank to award any of them anything.
But Albert Adomah scored and was lively throughout. Jason Steele made two fantastic saves but will be disappointed with the match-changing leveller. Jacob Butterfield played some superb creative balls but at times was fumbling his way into a new team and system and faded at the end. Who else seriously deserved a star?

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44 thoughts on “Mogga’s Emerging Boro Jigsaw Ploughed Up By Tractor Boys

  1. Which scenario do you honestly believe could be Gibson’s tipping point ?
    A winless September & October ? (A distinct possibility)
    Bottom 3 at Christmas ? (Feasible if the above comes to pass)
    League 1 next season ? (Unacceptable surely to goodness)
    As a successful businessman in other areas he must have thought about putting professional concerns before loyalty and personal feelings.
    **AV writes: The tipping point for Gibson is, as always, when he believes the clubs – on and off the pitch – is not making progress, no matter how slow or how much of that is beneath the surface.
    Gibson has supported Mowbray through a difficult year but – whatever people think – he is far from sentimental and would pull th trigger if he thought it was neccessary. He doesn’t back his boss because he is a smitten rose-tinted ra-ra but because he believes Mowbray is on track.
    Gibson stood by Mowbray through last season’s slump because he recognised that the boss had gone through two years of difficult crucial book balancing and patching the team up while his hands were tied by big earners he couldn’t shift.
    That frustrating period of belt-tightening and the exit of the millstone wages has finally given Mowbray some leeway to actually sign players he wants rather than bargain bin stop gaps and to create a team that plays the way he wants. There have been signs in the early games that team is starting to gel. Gibson will give it time to settle and emerge rather than next-jerk six games in.

  2. Ooh, I was disappointed with the result yesterday. But after sleeping a night and now I realise the sun is still shining (at over here).
    Ok it is easier for me to just forget a bad result as I don’t live in the area. But I agree with you, AV that this is just early days for the current team. If we thought the team started to gel earlier this season, it hasn’t become a bad team overnight.
    But as we have a difficult match on Tuesday – I think we are allowed to name the team after an unbeaten run against them last year, Smogon – I can understand the worries some fans show. This league is not easy but that also put us in with a chance againt the “Timbermen on Trent” on Tuesday.
    So higly dissappointed to loose our unbeaten recent run but now we need to get a result from City Ground on Tuesday. Beside, Mogga will be with us come the year 2020 – he will be the longest serving manager in the PL after Wenger retires …
    Up the Boro!

  3. If we are not in the play offs at Xmas I think it’s time for Mowbray to go It’s the same old excuses every game, either we’re weren’t good enough or we played well but couldn’t finish. Mowbrays job as manager is surely to rectify these mistakes.

  4. One clean sheet against Charlton, just not good enough.
    Only six games in and 10 points behind Blackpool, and five points behind a play off pace. Do we realistically see them getting anything other than a hiding against Forest.
    In his post match interview TM said that Ipswich did the basics we did not. Is that having the basic knowledge of how to defend, once again sloppy goals.
    The manager has a little money we know that now, and spent all his time chasing the wrong player, who was never going to come to the Boro.
    Unless he can pull a leader out of the hat somehow, bottom half of the table is where we will stay. He has spent a great deal on forward players, who just do not look like scoring sufficient goals. Is his system wrong or are they just bad buys?.
    Yesterday according to the BBC, only seven attempts at goal. With the defence leaking goals for fun, you do not have to be Merlin to predict the future.

  5. What happened the MFC sanctioned propaganda post-Charlton about us quietly building a team?
    The blog needs to start taking a more realistic theme and start describing our woeful defence/keeper and their crusade to concede another 70 goal season. Then how abouts the crimes to humanity of turning down £4m for Rhys Williams and £3m for Leadbitter?
    At least you’ve seemingly woken up and smelt the coffee with regards to plodder Varga.
    **AV writes: Describing our woeful defence like the previous blog on the porous approach to free-kicks you mean? And Varga didn’t play.

  6. We’re also still two key signings away from the squad we need – a goal machine and a big man at the back. If we can add these players, ideally on loan with the option to buy in January, we’ll be far better positioned
    Reality is that over the course of a season every team at every level will have off-days. Prior to Ipswich the general feeling was that the team was looking better balanced and far stronger – this is the first defeat in five
    There’s nobody to fear in this division and we’re capable of getting at least a point at Forest, even three, and then going on a long unbeaten run with more wins than draws
    It’s way too early to draw conclusions about how this season is going to pan out

  7. Tony Mowbray insists he’s got the best group of players at his disposal since his appointment as manager three years ago. That’s alright then.

  8. We started reasonably OK but failed to put them to the sword after going one up thanks to slow monotonous build play that the Tractor Boys quickly realised was toothless. This was a wake up call to Mogga and his men that they are not there yet and there is still some way to go in their development.
    Not for the first time this frustrating technique of taking free kicks and putting it sideways instead of getting at the opposition was evident and again as in every other occasion led to absolutely nothing.
    Carayol seems to be best used as a bit part cameo sub, 90 minutes of consistent threat seems beyond him. Marvin or Ledesma should be given an opportunity in place of him then give him 20 from the bench.
    George Friend currently offers a far greater threat going forward than Carayol. Friend however is also wayward at defending at times, perhaps not quite as erratic as Bikey used to be but the consequences are just as severe. He was caught ball watching instead of picking up his man.
    The team just didn’t function after the opening 20, Whitehead who has been Mr Reliable had a stinker by his own standards. Was it a case of he performs better in an overseeing type role in the middle while Varga does all the terrier like buzzing and without him chasing, harrying and enforcing errors for Whitehead to clean up he was exposed more?
    Perhaps if Jason had focused on simply stopping the ball instead of putting on a Hollywood style leap for the cameras we would have steadied the ship. Woody’s error at the end from our most experienced player just summed up the day in miniature.
    Emotionally I can be annoyed at Mogga for the monotony producing sideways, slow tempo build ups and wasteful dead ball scenarios. I can be angry that a rocket fired up their collectives at half time didn’t produce much improvement. It would also be easy to revert to erecting the gallows but this is the first real disappointment (Accrington aside) apart from the second 45 against Leicester so some slack has to be given.
    That said come 5.00pm next Saturday things could be looking a lot better or disastrous if there isn’t a response. Needing a morale and confidence lifting result when your next game is away on the Trent is a big ask but also no better time or place to state your intent.
    Following on is Bournemouth at home and the fans will be expecting the first home win of the season. Results rarely go to plan (its a funny old game as Greavsie used to say) but the next six points up for grabs could be a tipping point. If progress is genuinely being made then now is the time to unleash it. Failure to do so over the next two games and then QPR away looming could leave Boro in the bottom three hoping Bolton and Millwall keep imploding.
    Should bottom three be the worst case then two home games to Huddersfield and Yeovil followed up by a potential six pointer away to Barnsley and then finishing October with a home game to Doncaster will pretty much lead to a decision on Mogga rather than yesterday in isolation.
    The next few games although difficult provide an opportunity to restore belief, Mogga has to make his team perform and start to achieve now, a series of draws and defeats will not yield the return to survive let alone make the play offs.
    Mogga has to look at his squad and decide who is hungry for it, who has the drive and who has the will to make it happen. Too many complacent performances were on display yesterday, perhaps the loans need to arrive sooner than later.

  9. GHW –
    I think AV has a point. It has been a long journey since Mogga took over.
    He had a good end to the part season when he took over and started the job of rebuilding the team.
    The next season had a flying start that saw us with fourteen points after six games but we had all those highly paid players brought in by Gate and Strachan. Some of the players he had shown the door to at Celtic before successfully revitalising Rangers.
    We slipped away and finished just outside the play offs and the rebuilding continued as more players left to be replaced by Mogga’s men.
    The next season started well with nine points from six games before we went on another great run aided and abetted by the evil McDonald. A stronger squad in a weaker league was the mantra on this blog. Then the wheels fell off and it became clear we needed some spikey players.
    In the summer rebuild spikey players left and now we have Mogga’s ‘best squad’ since taking over. Nearly all Mogga’s and now he has some wriggle room in the transfer market.
    Six points from six games. Too early to judge as the new players bed in, chosen ones unlike the remnants Mogga had to bring in before.
    October cometh.
    Just a tongue in cheek look at the last few seasons. Other versions are available from all good posters.

  10. Ian –
    I have already written this season off as long as TM is the manager.
    I have limited Internet access at the moment. Perhaps AV would be kind enough to print a list of the players signed under TM’s tenure and we give them marks out of ten?
    Players win matches, managers lose them.

  11. GHW –
    Is that all the players added together out of ten?
    I listened to Maddo saying we need three or four more players. How many more do we need? If the players we have are not good enough why are they with us, why have we bought them, when are they going to bed in?
    The only thing I can say is that football is a funny game. Accrington have won one game this season.
    What does worry me is the comment by the commentator on the BBC that Mogga appears to have the weight of the world on his shoulders or words to that effect.
    But there is another match at one of our best, er, maybe not, hunting grounds. Points from unexpected sources please.

  12. I think there are still quite a few supporters who hope that Mogga will get it right – but they are probably now outnumbered by those who think he’s not the man for the job – though I’m not sure if there are many out there who are actually confident he will turn it around.
    The real problem is that after two seasons that fell away badly, he has no longer got the patience of the fans to be allowed to build his own team (though the failure to recruit in some key positions hasn’t helped his cause) – basically Mogga’s got to get a couple of wins pretty quickly to head off the growing unrest.
    Mowbray’s not yet three years into the job but I believe he’s the second longest serving manager in the Championship – says it all really – probably why managers opt for percentage functional football rather than risking to play the aesthetically pleasing option.
    It’s getting close to a tipping point with Boro needing to negotiate a tricky September without hitting the bottom three and then take advantage of the October fixtures.
    If Mogga fails to do that then I fear that will be that.

  13. I must admit another striker coming would just consign Juke to the bench.
    Our plan A appears to be a 4-3-3 where the front three consist of a striker plus breaking tricky speedsters. To succeed everyone has to chip in goals.
    Jose’s Chelsea were a classic but they had Drogba upfront, Terry and co at the back and the likes of Robben, Lampard, Malouda, Cole chipping in goals. Even the Baggies had Morrison, Brunt and Koren running amok in this division.
    Plan B looks to have two strikers on the pitch generally after we concede.
    I think Werdermouth hits the nail on the head. There is no silver lining if we don’t start picking up points.
    It would be not be October Fest.

  14. Unfortunately Len, whilst I agree with your desire that everyone should take a long-term perspective, those who want to give Mogga the chance to build his team will probably get quite nervous if Boro don’t start winning games soon – whether that constitutes a tipping point or simply puts many of them into the unconvinced camp, it will still play a part in determining Mogga’s future.
    I agree it’s early days and it’s been the failure to score when on top that’s left Boro at the wrong end of the table rather than potentially being comfortable in the top six – hopefully Ipswich was a blip but with Forest and QPR to play this month it may get worse before it gets better.

  15. Well even Hartlepool beat Accrington so may be we will learn something from that.
    We are crying out for a striker and I am afraid to say a new skipper. I just do not feel that Rhys is commanding enough. He is Captain but the immediate players around him are older than he is.
    Too early to comment on the new guys as this was too early for them. I think they should have all started on the bench and fielded the same type of team that were unbeaten in five.Obviously bar Varga who is injured.
    Wish Mogga would up his game with his comments. You feel he is digging his own grave as it comes across that he dosn’t care. I know he does and would give anything to turn this around but he does come across very negative.
    Hope he is not like that in the change room.
    **AV writes: He gave them a blistering dressing down after the Ipswich game.

  16. An awful day and may I say ‘respect’ to myself and the others who went. I have been the last three seasons as a southern based Boro fan and we simply never look like getting anything against them. Also the pricing is simply disgusting!!! How can they justify that price?
    As stated, for 20min we looked like we did at Wigan etc very good in spells and fully deserved to be 0-1 up. That said like the other games despite all the possession we really didn’t create anything. A lot of ‘pretty’ side to side balls then when in wide positions they seem very reluctant to actually cross or if they do only Juke in there.
    We have a distinct problem from last season that for me is still to be addressed. Most clubs have the problem of not scoring enough or not keeping enough clean sheets….we still have both.
    As we average one goal a game it is imperative we start keeping clean sheets. Why do not keep clean sheets?? What do we work on in mid week?.
    My other gripe is four wins in 2013 proves we are still fundamentally week mentally when we concede. When was the last time we went behind and came back to win? If we go behind you can pretty much right off three points.
    I think we look more ‘pretty’ but for me has anything really changed? We still conceed to many and simply don’t score enough. As you said when will we actually hammer someone? How many shots on target on Saturday? I can only think of two in 90mins.
    I like juke but all his good work is done outside of the box and let’s be fair the guy is never going to be called a finisher. My gripe I guess is for a big strong targetman when was the last time he had a headed effort on goal? He doesn’t attack and bullet in set-plays and I am yet to see him bust a guy to get on the end of a cross in a goal scoring position. I think maybe Becchio would add his physical play out of the area but also seems much more of a aerial threat in the box.
    As stated it was far and away worst performance of the season and arguably the first time we have actually deserved to lose. It came though against a mid table at best ‘limited ‘ side who had only won once at home and on paper there for the taking.
    Mowbray has had the money to spend and now has ‘his side’ so the excuses need to stop soon. Just look at Blackpool they have had a bigger turn around of players than us and spent a fraction yet they are sat pretty at the top and bar Marvs 94th min goal would have a 100% record.
    I must ask what are they doing right that we are doing wrong?? Man for man (bar Ince) we have a better side so is it down to management or tactics?
    I like to end on a ‘positive’ so I was pretty impressed with Adomah in spells and think he is getting better weekly. I though Butterfield looked like he had a good range of passing and seamed to ‘switch it’ quicker than the others and look forward rather than square. That’s about it really!!
    Oh despite my ‘rant’ I am off to Forest as my mate’s driving. I am not really expecting anything there either as another ‘bogy’ ground against a good champo side. I would say I would take a draw but it’s already getting to a point of needing wins as we are already falling behind the pack.
    No matter what you say six points in six games is far from ‘progress’
    Fingers crossed for 5th win 2013!!!
    UTB!!

  17. Any manager with Mowbray’s records over the last nine months would probably have been fired. Whilst I like Mogga, I believe in his philosophy I do question how long he can go on at the helm.
    I looked at the teamsheet on Saturday and felt good at the balance of the team but not so about Jutkiewicz up front on his own – he cannot do it. Emnes has at least shown better form than last season yet Mogga wont start with two up front.
    The dilemma is Gibson cannot sack him as he has backed him to our hilt (probably) and a change of manager usually brings change in tactics and team selection and current players may not fit.
    So unless it goes disastrously wrong (firmly in the bottom three by the end of October) , Mogga has to stay there until 31 Dec, bring in a new manager, sell those you don’t want then buy, buy, buy early doors because at the moment (and I know its early days) we are looking like bottom half relegation candidates at best. I don’t understand it, on paper we are better than that.
    Forest next – nothing there I fear and Bournemouth at home – who knows?. Is it time for Gibbo to hand over the reigns??

  18. If you add up the total goals of our outfield eleven players that took the field on Saturday from their games last season they scored a grand total of……….21!!!
    We are looking to be promoted with a group of players who collectively scored 21 goals between them.
    Sometimes stats are useful to see where flaws in your team exist!!

  19. I’m no different to everybody else: I felt devastated. There had been signs of green shoots but Ipswich proved to be the early frost. Like most supporters, I felt on Saturday that Mogga’s future was called into question.
    However, upon reflection, it’s too early to be seriously talking about that. As lenmasterman commented, Mogga was given a poisoned chalice: a team on its way to League 1, low morale, no money, high wages and long contracts, very negative cashflow. You’d have had to be at a low ebb as a manager to see Boro’s proposition as better than what you’d already got. Only somebody like TM, with Boro in his DNA, would have taken on that thankless task.
    It’s too early yet because, having achieved what’s been achieved, Boro are only just at the stage where they can begin to reap the benefits. The fact that Boro would now be a much better proposition for any prospective manager is entirely down to Mogga and the club hierarchy. Hell, a clutch of new players, two of them making their debuts, one introduced to his team-mates over lunch – come on! Give it time to see if it works.
    I don’t see that it’s Mogga’s fault the club failed to sign the badly needed CF and CH. As I understand it, it’s Neil Bausor who does the negotiating for transfers. Indeed, TM could probably claim the club has let HIM down by not providing what was needed for success. In view of that, he has quietly and with dignity got on with the job of making the best of a bad job.
    Anyway, as I keep saying, who else could we get? It’s difficult to see us being attractive to anybody from the top two divisions, even those managers who are ‘between jobs’. Do we really want to trawl the lower divisions for a Di Canio?
    Having said all that, I do wish Mogga had more zest. He’s not articulate, he doesn’t inspire and he’s downbeat – as the BBC commented, he appears to have the weight of the world on his shoulders.
    We’ve seen teams promoted where their starting situation was no better than Boro’s. They’ve gone up largely through force of personality from the manager – Holloway at Blackpool and Palace springs to mind.
    I don’t see that kind of drive coming through here. I get the feel of a phlegmatic personality making plodding progress but the spark is missing. Having said that, McDermott was much the same at Reading and, despite the eventual (inevitable?) relegation, he did well there.
    In summary, it’s too early to be calling time on Mogga. This group of players needs time to bed down and we can only really judge when the final pieces of the jigsaw are in place. If Boro bring in a CF and CH in the next few weeks, and then if we’re no further forward by Xmas, that will be the time to seriously wonder whether we have the right manager.

  20. Could only watch the highlights. What woeful defending, we need more then a striker. The first goal, they either go in and look like world beaters or fly wide, unfortunately it looked like a wonder strike.
    For the second goal George Friend where were you? What were you thinking? The third, well Woodgate just looked like a novice.
    Are we getting anyone on loan, what has happened to Bechhio and Ayala.
    What is the master plan for January when the African Nations Cup is under way and maybe Caryol, Abdomah and Kayama are possibly called up….
    **AV writes: Loans probably pencilled in for next week when the 93 days takes them up to January and the new window opening.
    And there’s no African Nations Cup next year. It has changed to a new two year cycle that doesn’t clash with the World Cup.

  21. I dont get some of the stuff on here.
    **AV writes: The tipping point for Gibson is, as always, when he believes the club – on and off the pitch – is not making progress, no matter how slow or how much of that is beneath the surface.
    Gibson has supported Mowbray through a difficult year but – whatever people think – he is far from sentimental and would pull the trigger if he thought it was necessary. He doesn’t back his boss because he is a smitten rose-tinted ra-ra but because he believes Mowbray is on track.
    Gibson stood by Mowbray through last season’s slump because he recognised that the boss had gone through two years of difficult crucial book balancing and patching the team up while his hands were tied by big earners he couldn’t shift.
    That frustrating period of belt-tightening and the exit of the millstone wages has finally given Mowbray some leeway to actually sign players he wants rather than bargain bin stop gaps and to create a team that plays the way he wants. There have been signs in the early games that team is starting to gel. Gibson will give it time to settle and emerge rather than knee-jerk six games in.”!
    How is this just not everyone’s default view on here?
    TM took over a bloated top heavy ship close to sinking. He spent the next two years “triming the bush right back” now, he is starting to build his own team that has seen 14 odd out and 7 in one window alone (one of which is a keeper who wont ever pull on the shirt, most likely).
    Why isn’t the team playing like a Rolls Royce?
    a) they aren’t Rolls Royce players. We arent Citeh or United (not that the latter can get them either though)
    – But TM bought them it’s his fault
    – what else could he buy (you doughnuts)with what money?
    b) it’s a new team

    But TM bought them its his fault
    – what else could he buy, he has only really spent money on three players he wanted before this window apart from the odd temporary bolt on (you doughnuts). Now he is buying and the shape is improving but its a brand new team, which will take time to gel.
    c) we don’t have a divine right to win every game
    – yes we do
    – Checking Bible, Koran plus a few others, still no “on every Saturday, Sunday, Tuesday or any league or cup game not scheduled on these days thought shalt knee before the greatness of Middlesbrough FC and they shall pass the ball into the goal bountifully on every occasion”
    d) its a tough league
    – No its not its full of crap teams who sometimes work hard, we should be beating them all easily
    – See above
    This is TM’s first season with players he wants. Chances are he still wants 14 more players to replace the ones he is still making do with.
    Then after this he will want to replace the ones who he bought who aren’t doing things well enough, in his style, for him.
    Will he get sacked six games into getting cash to spend for the first time, rewarding him for cutting the expenses back, and sticking around through that process and when he did very well during certain stints in that process?
    You have got to be mad.
    Foam Hands in the air, COB!

  22. I think there has to be some honesty brought in now regarding the Mowbray tenure (and I too want him to succeed, we all do)
    However… Tony came in mid-season and gave the club an initial lift, playing a lot of end of the season games against opposition who where going neither up or down using Strachan’s players, we finished mid table.
    Season 2 – using Strachan’s players,(because all of the loanies and signings he made where rubbish) and Southgate signing Emnes having a banner season we finish seventh, dropping off late as the winds of change started to blow across the media like a Redcar gale,some players realising I’m going to be out of a job here (motivation?)
    Season 3 – The cull was in full swing,but (Strachan’s) players fought for their jobs hence the fast start, but by Christmas knew it was pointless ,Tony had made it clear ,he was bringing his team in (why bother) almost relegation
    Season 4 – Wait a minute where are Strachan’s players? Tony’s team now,slick passing ,a joy to watch, promotion must be ,best squad he’s had…. Boro 1 Accrington 2
    Doesn’t matter, its early ,and the window was still open… come on AV let’s get onest for once. ,Strachans gone long ago. I know the media hated him and fans who had been used to the Premiership, were in shock, but is this getting better?
    This squad is light weight,tactically confused,after the game Tony said “we should have knocked the ball long and made them start further back ,when they squeezed up on us” – this after preaching possession and patience for four years,
    I hope it gets better ,but looking at the horses form and the jockey aboard,I think I’ll back a different one
    UTB
    **AV writes: An interesting difference of opinion from the last two posts. What do other readers think?

  23. I just get frustrated whenever we reach this stage in a manager’s tenure. It is impossible for them ever to lose without the immediate cries for his head. I am nervous about tomorrow night not because of where we will be in the league if we lose but of what the reaction of the Mowbray out brigade will be.
    What the team need at the moment is support and patience. They are new and are finding their way. We have players who have only played one game. Negative fan reaction adds pressure, makes them worry, makes them play worse not better.
    What other walk of life sees people react like this? It is totally unhelpful. We should have windows for management moves too so that people know there won’t be a change unless it is in January or the close season. We would avoid this ridiculous over reaction every time we lose and move forward with stability not anxiety.
    Give the team a chance. If we are in trouble at Christmas then fair enough, but in the mean time get behind them, if you aren’t going then get to the games, stop expecting a team that is bedding in to win every game, stop adding to the problem and become part of the solution by supporting your team.
    **AV writes: I spent most of the last three years of McClaren’s reign arguing with people on the phone and on the street who were demanding the Gazette – and me – call for his sacking immediatel.. Most had decided after the first four games that they didn’t like him and made public declarations to that effect to friends and family and on forums or in letters to the Pink (old school!) and then spent the next two years looking for evidence to vindicate their position.
    Some people can be very stubborn, Once they have decided they will not change tack. They stuck by their position that McClaren was boring, a tactical numpty. The refused to back down even in the face of evidence and changing circumstances. Even after Cardiff, even after European football, even after a highest ever Premiership position, even as Eindhoven loomed. And when he left -for England – they rejoiced because finally they had been proved right.
    We spent arguably the best two years of the club’s history arguing over whether or not the manager should be sacked every time the team lost a game.

  24. AV, I note your reluctance to put up a list of players brought to the club by TM, be they permanent signings or loanees. Is that because it makes pretty damning reading?
    **AV writes: No, don’t be daft. It is because I have been very busy with the trip to Ipswich and heavy duty writing in the aftermath. I have another game tomorrow so that’s another two days when I will be “reluctant” to do it too.
    But if you or anyone else has such a list to hand feel free to post it.

  25. Very difficult to make a judgement. I think it is fair to say that we all want Mogga to succeed, the alternative isn’t very pleasant.
    It was interesting listening to Mogga talking about the fact teams in this league put the ball in to the box.
    I will pose a question. Can you see George Friend getting down the wing and Hoyte heading the ball in to the net? Let me rephrase that. Can you see Hoyte being in their half?
    Knee jerk doesn’t help. Nor does blind faith. Lies, damned lies and statistics is a valid comment. But the table never lies.
    The concern is that as we drop points then confidence drifts away. The other coaching teams are not dim and will know that we will implode.
    I go back to the previous comment by Maddo that we need another 3 or 4 players. Good grief, how big a squad do we need.
    Adomah again talked about the basics. We put the ball in the box and don’t score. You need players in the box. We will not give the drubbing our possession ‘deserves’ until we do the basics well.
    Well done to Pools for beating Accrington. Tough team. Cough!
    So whose view do I agree with? We all know where we have come from but as I posted in half jest you can make a compelling case for the prosecution.
    There are mitigating factors but if results don’t turn around the pressure will increase. That is the nature of football. The cost of change looks a bitter pill to swallow and will we get better?
    I am glad I am not the chairman. I wonder how many we will get on Saturday? The fans have voted with their feet.

  26. I think the argument is whether Mogga can create a team (within the obvious budget restrictions) that can play in his style that will ultimately get Boro promoted.
    The doubt is whether players in our price range are capable of playing like United or Citeh (as Boro Doug puts it) on a consistent basis – if they are then why aren’t they already being coveted by PL teams?
    Therefore should Mogga play a more pragmatic style of football that does the basics well and then bolt on a bit of flair to give it a cutting edge.
    So do we need more hardened pros with character rather than players who may be technically good but lack the mental strength when the pressure is on (after all, that was the conclusion of last season) – I thought that’s what would happen over the summer but in the end the majority of incomings are looking to prove they can do it.
    It may work – it may not – Top six is the target this season but what decides if it’s not working?
    Boro are already 10 points adrift of automatic promotion – if after a quarter of a season we are around 10 points adrift of the Playoffs then Boro will probably need to win around two out of every three games to avoid another season of disappointment #33 games left: 22 x 3 = 66 points + maybe 10 points already achieved = 76 pts).
    Though perhaps we are being unrealistic in thinking one transfer window is sufficient to acquire all the right players you need – in which case the club should set a more realistic target of say minimum top half finish this year and then play-offs next year.
    **AV writes: Have the club set a target? I know most fans have (ironically the ones who are more critical of the quality of the team appear to have set a higher one) but have the club? I know unofficially they hope to gate-crash the play-offs but I can’t recall anyone officially setting a target. That would really make Mogga a hostage to fortune.

  27. Do I detect a note of tetchiness AV. Your recent **AV writes seem to show one.
    I simply thought that as you have the Gazette archive at your fingertips it would be a relatively easy list to compile. Mea Culpa.
    As for targets, unrealistic or otherwise , mine is simply to avoid relegation and I feel that will be no easy task with the present squad.
    **AV writes: No, not tetchiness but sometimes people think unless I answer a query pretty sharpish I am dodging the issue. Or worst, sat with my feet up. In an ideal world we would keep neat searcahble databases like that. In practice it means going through cuttings or trawling the internet and it would take me hours to compile and check such a list. I don’t mind anyone asking but I don’t give a Pizzahut style 30 minute or its free guarantee..

  28. All those who believe a couple more losses are right to fear the consequences in terms of the anti-Mogga backlash. Many have obviously made their minds up and as Mr V states, it wouldn’t matter if we won six on the trot, the first defeat will return the status quo.
    It is time to wise up Boro people, and decide whether you are supporter or simply a relic from the Premier League days, filled with rage and petulance at the demise of our once not so great team. Get used to it. We are not the only sufferers, look at Leeds, Wolves et al. The difference with those teams is that they still have a passionate and sizeable following. What does Boro have?
    Well, in truth we seem to have a lot of ‘fans’ who are either not buying another ticket until Robson/McClaren/Southgate/Strachan/Mowbray (delete inapplicable) goes; ‘fans’ who unless we buy a raft of players in each window will never set foot back in the Riverside.
    Little wonder we find ourselves in such strife as we do now. The downward spiral is as much weaved by these ‘ fans’ as by the poor performances on the pitch…

  29. Cassandra –
    Downward spiral because of fans?
    I’ve been a fan for 50 years and in all that time I cant recall any of the managers signing me and then selecting me to play.
    The fact is some of us cant accept mediocrity,I personally cant accept,trying their best. The fact is,we are talking about a professional football club here,where players and especially Managers and coaches are compensated very well,to guide this club to be I hope, the best it can be,
    it can be done. 15 years ago Cardiff, Fulham and Swansea were in the bottom six of the Football League. Look at them now. They didn’t do it with the millions we have spent in that time,. It was done obviously by incompence out, competance in.
    On a wider note relegation by this club cost a lot of people their jobs,who where employed by them off the field. We all know a successful town football team can not only elevate the general psyche of the population but also keep the town in the minds of possible business and investment etc,
    So although wins and losses are not the end of the world for most people,I look at accepting, it is what it is, as being a loser,
    Some famous coach once said “Show me a good loser,and Ill show you a loser”
    Just saying UTB
    **AV writes: To be fair, Boro’s journey didn’t start in the Premier League, it started from the chaos of liquidation and from getting the club stable before pumping money in.
    Fulham consciously started from a rich man chasing the Premier Dream and pouring money in to lift them up through the divisions. When Fayed sold it last year it was well over £100m. Likewise, Cardiff’s eventful journey up the leagues has been built on massive, massive borrowing and involved Sam Hamman, Peter Ridsdale, a series of mysterious Asian consortiums and a string of winding up orders. They are now in £100m debt. Neither are great models.
    There is a lot to admire about Swansea and their partially fan owned structure. That is based on a long slow approach to building a tactical shape and getting the right players and right managers to develop a style.

  30. Can we please have a moratorium on asking AV to do little research or other tasks for us? If you really want to find something out enough, then do it yourself, and let him get on with his proper job of being the best local football journalist we are lucky enough to have ever had.
    Not getting at you, in particular, GHW. This is a general trend that I have observed over a number of years.
    Excellent discussion on this thread, as ever. Strongly agree with Sinbar and Boro Doug.

  31. I dare say you’re right AV that the club haven’t publicly set a target – though perhaps I’ve been subliminally influenced by too many articles where manager and players say something like we are ‘confident of upsetting the bookies odds’ and are ‘capable of challenging for a playoff spot’, which together with transfer objectives leads to expectations.
    I even recall Mogga saying something like if he doesn’t achieve promotion then somebody else will – plus I’m sure Steve Gibson has expressed his ambition to get back to the PL as quickly as possible.
    OK, it wouldn’t stand up in court as a ‘target’ but I’m sure the club must have given Mogga some kind of objective – perhaps if they simply said the aim was to make the play-offs next season it would take the pressure off the rebuilding process but still show their ambition and focus everyone’s minds.
    After all, if after almost five years in charge Mowbray hasn’t managed a playoff spot then it wouldn’t be unreasonable to give someone else a go if the club are serious about getting promoted – there can’t be an open-ended time limit otherwise it becomes only a meaningless aspiration that any club could have.
    **AV writes: I think the target this season is to be “challenging”. That may mean being in the top six but it is flexible so being mid-table with a late surge that falls just short may be seen as acceptable if the signs were positive, if the.team is playing well and looking like it has more to offer in the run-in
    Make no mistake, the chairman wants promotion and wants to see concrete signs that the team is making progress. And the manager knows the pressure is on. They are just not daft enough to make a public promise that will be nursed and sharpened and used as a weapon against them.

  32. Cassandra –
    In many ways the downward spiral just reflects the cyclical nature of football.
    It afflicts most clubs one way or another. Man U have not been top of the table forever. As the team that Jack built rose they slithered in to the second tier. Citeh went in to the third tier.
    Leicester, Leeds, Forest, Soton have their ups and downs. We have no divine right to inhabit a place at the top end of our range in the pyramid.
    A lot of the fans who helped fill the Riverside were not there when we were in the middle of the second division, Jack’s team didn’t play in front of 30,000+ week in week out. You have to back to post war days to see such crowds.
    Those that have left have probably left for the foreseeable future. From what we read on this blog we are probably quite a mature cohort. In terms of age anyway.
    It will turn round, it has done before. Points from unexpected sources tonight would be a good start.
    On to the diving debate. Talk of lawyers getting involved if players are banned. How do we decide what is and what isn’t a dive? We can all see the really obvious ones because they have been on TV long before the FA reconvenes on a Monday.
    Punish the really obvious ones and that will put doubts in to players minds. It seems they leave a foot behind or anticipate the contact before throwing them selves to the floor.
    A few suspensions might focus the mind.
    Back to tonight and here’s hoping.

  33. Saturday’s was a disapointing result and we’ve made a slow start, but now is not the time to bottle it and sack the manager. Building a new succesful team is not a quick fix, we need to review where we are come January, no sooner.
    Sounds like Emnes deserves a start?

  34. As the potential for Boro, gt mentions three clubs that may have overachieved based on where they were 15 years ago. Is that not forgetting the other 90-odd clubs who haven’t managed it? I’m not sure you can realistically judge everyone by the standards of those that have been exceptionally, relatively succesful.
    The fact that there are so few examples that spring to mind is evidence of how difficult it is to overachieve. And the further up the chain you go the harder it gets.
    15 years ago, Boro were in a far better position than those clubs of course, but we were already overachieving (largely thanks to Gibson’s millions), weren’t we?
    When considering a change of direction, I think you have to take more into account than results. There needs to be context.
    Before that though, you have to consider what kind of football club you want. Who are Boro, and what do we want Boro to be?
    I consider Boro to be a medium sized club, with a ceiling of mid-table in the top tier. We could have the occasional cup run, even win, and the odd foray overseas. Generally though, I think that a reasonably regular finish of around 10th in the Premier League is as good as we can realistically hope for.
    The floor for us is probably something like bottom six of the Championship, maybe dropping down a division. That’s who we are in my opinion.
    With that in mind, who do we want to be?
    Well, if we can’t be competitive when it comes to winning regular trophies, if we can’t be found in European competition year on year and if we can’t compete for the best players around, then I want us to be an honest, well run, financially sound and entertaining team with a recognisable identity, and with Teesside running through it’s veins. They are achievable goals.
    Since Tony Mowbray has taken charge, I feel like Boro have been striving for all the right things. We haven’t got there, we’re not even close in many aspects, but I’m prepared to be patient in pursuit of the ideals that I want my club to aspire to.
    Some will look at that as accepting mediocrity. It isn’t. It’s accepting that it takes more time and effort to deliver genuine, lasting and meaningful success than superficial, short-term results. My goals for Boro are more aspirational than simply getting promoted.
    Is Tony Mowbray the man to deliver that success? I don’t know. But just as the club has a ceiling, so does the ability of any manager we can hope to bring in in his place. And I don’t think we’ll do much better, at least not against my criteria of who I want Boro to be.
    **AV writes: I agree with most of that and would add that a lot of largely unseen work has been put in behind the scenes by Gibson and Mowbray to stabilise the finances with one eye on Financial Fair Play, to invest in the Academy and to reshape the infrastructure of the club with a sustainable future in mind, It has been a shared project and not one that most managers would have bought in to.
    People say “at any other club Mowbray would have been sacked” and that may well be true. But that would not necessarily be a good thing. There is a lot of short-termism in football. Gibson has set out his criteria for building the conditions for success at the club in a new economic landscape and a lot of that can’t be measured by last week’s result or next week’s result.

  35. AV said: “Gibson has set out his criteria for building the conditions for success at the club in a new economic landscape and a lot of that can’t be measured by last week’s result or next week’s result.”
    Although Mowbray and Gibson have now got us into a position where there is a little spending money available for the first time in three years, I still think we’re in that “building the conditions” stage, and will be for some time.
    In fact, whilst the hardest work is at the outset, “building the conditions” will only become “maintaining the conditions” – an ongoing process.
    I would say that there are three main stages to the building process:
    1. Remove the barriers to success
    2. Install the new ingredients for success
    3. Mould the ingredients to create success
    They don’t necessarily follow in order but in my opinion Mowbray has just about completed stage 1 and made a start (on and off the field) on stage 2.
    For me at least, building those conditions is more important than current results and, whilst there is no guarantee of success, I’m prepared to see it through for a long while yet.
    **AV writes: Me too – but that outlook it is a hard sell to supporters in a results driven business where patience is at a premium.

  36. If this years trend of results continue , those (including me) who think
    Mogga has took the club as far as he can , will get their wish by the end
    of October .
    This will be determined by a) league position , b) dwindling attendances.
    I don’t say this with any glee or smugness it is just my honest opinion .
    I hope Mogga proves me wrong , but somehow I can’t see it ,

  37. Andy R and AV –
    That is fair enough but I don’t think all are behind such a vision.
    Having supported in the second tier, third tier, second tier, top tier, yo-yo, administration, third tier, yo-yo, golden period, slide then I can cope with anything Boro can throw at me.
    The problem is that gates are dwindling, we can take as long term a view as we like on this blog but MFC is not a democracy. As John Powls puts it ‘one man, one vote’.
    That one man has the interests of the club at heart. I will leave it in his hands.
    In the mean time we need some wins because playing well and not getting results morphs into playing badly and not getting results.
    Been there, seen that. And not just at Boro.

  38. Like it or not football is part of the entertainment industry and faces a lot of competion for our hard earned dosh. This means that success or failure is determined by bum’s on seats. A look at the dwindling attendance figures should have the alarm bells ringing. The days of the die hard supporter prepared to watch even just the grass grow are coming to an end.
    Anyone got Tony Pulis’ phone number?
    **AV writes: *shudder*

  39. Targets and Plans:
    On this subject; I think every football fan has a target but extremely few have a plan. The target sets where you want to be, the plan gets you there.
    If you ask 100 fans what their target for Boro is, I guess, non statistically, 100% of them say to be in the Premier League (some may say this league is more exciting, Paul Bell thinks League 1 is more suited to us, let’s say Paul isn’t in the 100).
    But surely a better target is to want to get and stay in the Premier League. This is a harder target but a much better one to achieve.
    So now we have errors in the targets the fans set let alone the plan to get there.
    So what about the plan?
    Well we know little of this but what we can see and get trickles of through mates, players and Mr Vickers (when he can be arsed to put down the Daily Star and answer questions! Squad list for the last 10 seasons late again Vickers? That’s laps for you)
    So lets take a guess what the plan is:
    a) secure financial stabilty
    b) stay in Championship as a minium
    c) get promted
    d) improve squad
    e) improve style
    f) focus on youth development
    g) maintain community work
    h) improve relationship with fans*
    *possibly not on previous MFC plans.
    So each transfer window is a building block in the plan. Each training session is a block. Each game. Then down to every pass made on the pitch. For good or bad.
    The point is the club, is hopefully, working to a long term aim/plan. Reduce the wage bill being the most obvious and spoken about since relagtion.
    The club is achieving its plan. Maybe not quickly enough for us but they have a direction, which isn’t communicated well enough, but they have a course.
    Did we sign all the players we needed to this window? No but the club is working towards a plan to fix that.
    Do we want to be in the Championship no but, hopefully, they have a plan.
    It may take (ducks for cover) three or four more transfer windows before we have the squad to go up. That is a geniune possibilty. Nobody wants it but it might be how it is.
    What was the point of this message? I don’t know I didn’t set a target or have a plan.
    But i guess the message is we all want to be in the big league, then we all want to stay in the big league, then we want to do well in the big league, then we want to maintain this position, then we want to push on and go higher.
    But for now we must rebuild, get behind the team and pray to the high heaven the plan works sooner than later.
    If you set a target for the club I think you should also think of the plan of how they will achieve this otherwise what relevance does your target have?

  40. Andy R 2:22pm
    I just can’t understand people that can’t grasp what you have so elequently stated. How can people expect Mogga to be shown the door if it all goes belly up the next few games?
    How can anyone think that Gibbo could think about sacking him when he’s “trimmed the bush”, been given some money and finally has the semblance of a team of his making? It would be suicide!
    A few more quality players are still required and he know’s that. No matter what happens, give him at least until the end of the season.
    Even then, what is the criteria for the sack? Definitely relegation, probably flirting with relegation. What about a mid table finish? Flirting with play offs but failing? Getting in the play-offs but failing?
    My guess is that there are a lot of people out there where all of the above warrant the sack. This is of course people’s right to have their opinion but we must be realistic here.
    Why can’t we all get behind the team & be the Twe12th man and support them. Most people respond to encouragement. Most people react badly to criticism either by getting angry (not always the best reaction) or going into their shell (definitely not the best reaction).
    I know the infamous “blind faith” speaeh was slated but I think this is all he meant, show us some encouragement and see what happens.
    Anyway, must go, I’ve been hiding in the cupboard for a week in the foetal position cos the missus wants me to fix my botched tiling.
    Speaking of foetal positions, I bet Dormo’s practicing the same position in readiness for the big kick off tonight!

  41. Andy –
    I think removing the ‘barriers to success’ and having a winning team shouldn’t necessarily be mutually exclusive. Mowbray has for long spells been able to produce a winning team but has suffered from two post-xmas slumps that he couldn’t find a way to resolve.
    Besides without going over recent history too much, it has been the removal of barriers created whilst we were already in the Championship by gambling on players with unaffordable contracts that left Boro with a restrictive budget.
    The off-field activities can be set-up – such as scouting network and better fitness programmes – without distracting from the task of improving on-field activities such as game preparation and tactics.
    I’m more of a pragmatist and believe you play to the strengths of the players you have or can obtain. The long-term strategy needs to happen in tandem with the short-term primary objective of winning games.

  42. I am in the Andy R’s and AV’s camp.
    Back to the basics and end to the money soccer. Just patience needed in the building proces now, and luckily we have a patient chairman.
    I think Forest will lose their 100 % home record. It must go. *looking for foam handers* Up the Boro!

  43. I think most of the posters on here are of a pre-Premier vintage and indeed pre 86 come to that. We remember Luton, Oxford and others playing at Ayresome park on wet winter afternoons when the 1st Division, as it was pre-Sky, was a romantic dream that would probably never happen in our lifetime.
    For me Boro were (and are today) a team that would finish in the top 8 at best of the second tier with a few exciting forays skirting with the top four occasionally but always fell away towards the Season’s end, Typical Boro!
    Stan Anderson was a loyal servant who ran a steady side that was competent but never exciting. Big Jack came and blew everything out of the water, he realised that structure was important but winning matches at any cost is what the game is really about. Big Jack was even bold enough to change the strip, introducing the white band.
    His football was far from entertaining at times where hoofing it became an art form. God help any twinkle toed footballer who wanted to pretty play it on the ground to safety but he also had Players like Souness in his side who were fledglings in their careers but had the ability when required to pick out a pass and do the clever stuff. As it turned out it was stuff that dreams were made off. Football was different in those days but it was still about winning games.
    Whilst all the background and structural planning is critically important in all businesses (and MFC is no different to any other business in that regard) I have no doubt that Gibson, Mogga and Bausor are doing the right things behind the scenes in terms of a sustainability model but it is on the pitch where the Business ultimately will be judged and succeed or fail.
    MFC is in the entertainment industry and its what the punter pays to see is what influences common perception and whether or not they will come again and spend their hard earned cash.
    Whilst appreciating the beautiful game I would go home far happier after witnessing a “Boring Boro” or 1-0 to the Arsenal type performance that yielded points rather than passing personified with no end result. In an ideal world the background structure would be right and the entertainment would be to die for but in the harsh reality of the Championship some principles have to be sacrificed in the short term to enable the long term to have a chance of ever maturing.
    There have definitely been fresh green shoots of optimism this season despite the draws and defeats but points win prizes and Mogga and MFC collectively have to ensure that they move forward both on and off the pitch otherwise their model will be seriously flawed.
    Here’s hoping for some short term joy tonight and a Typical Boro performance!

  44. 2-2 … I would have taken that before kick off. Just a pity we gave away a two goal lead.
    Getting back to planning.It looks like there has been a major improvement with the medical side of things. Woodgate is testament to that and the only player to drop out with a minor injury so far is Varga . So that in itself is a major project being addressed.
    I would also agree that in the long term the goal would be to get back in the prem but I would like to think it would also be to stay there. There is no way this team would survive even with couple of expensive signings. But the type of play would ease the transition.
    So far I think we are on track but the fan base is getting lower as they do not see many goals. When was the last time we scored four at the Riverside. Our fans would have no voice left. We are not used chanting for 90 minutes.

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