JUST as thoughts turn to the summer shake-up, the PFA have published a handy bargain basement shopping list.
At their annual penguin-suited back-slapping beano and beard-fest, the professionals in each division have voted for the best of their peers and their toughest opponents over the course of the campaign. And the players have handily even arranged them by position.
For a prudent club looking to cherry-pick cheap talent from the lower tiers that’s practically a catalogue. The only thing missing is a price guide.
Continue reading Players Pick Targets For Prudent Boro
IT TOOK the rude awaking of a galvanising goal from Barnsley to wake up a .game that had been on snooze-control.
Boro had stretched and yawned and scratched and rubbed their eyes for 20 minutes but quickly took casual control of a low-key game. Casual control; not assertive or aggressive or urgent control. They dominated possession and space and created some decent chances with routine ease but squandered them in the same unflustered fashion. No problem. It was all so casual they may as well have been playing in smart chino slacks and Fred Perry shirts.
Continue reading Tyke That: Woken Wonders Beat Barnsley on Snooze-Control
CHAOTIC. Shambolic. Heartless. Hapless. Disjointed. Undisciplined. Wretched. Pathetic. Inept. Deeply disappointing. Boro’s routine routing at Reading – 2-0 but it could easily have been far worse – was a display lacking shape, cohesion, organisation, energy, intensity, spirit, belief or motivation.
The defence – full-back fixtures and probably the first choice centre-back pairing – played like strangers totally unfamiliar with any sense of the back line basics. Midfield was equally ill at ease with the central pairing fail to get a grip and the widemen ineffective, especially Albert Adomah who barely got a kick. And up-front too. There was little pressing, little movement and next to no threat.
I don’t buy that it was team selection. It was a first choice back four. Two wingers who have been match-winners in the past. A solid central pairing who have dominated games. A front two who have enough about them to make a fist of it. It was a mentality issue, and one that Karanka alluded too after the equally inept display against Millwall.
The boss put his hand up and accepted responsibility and said he felt responsible that he had not been able to motivate his team to go out and fight and play as if it was a big match in the way that Reading did, and Millwall before them and he insisted he will learn from it … but there was an unspoken simmering subtext. He was not happy at the failure of the team to put up a fight.
“Two games two defeats. It was two very bad games. We had bad games with our attitude. We had four games to finish the season well and the last two games have been very, very bad.
“Against Millwall and the same tonight, we played two teams who wanted to win, Millwall and Reading. One team, our team, didn’t want to win. That’s my fault because I didn’t know how to motivate them.
“For the future, I will learn things. For me, whether we finish in eighth or 14th, we should finish in the same way, the right way. I have to motivate the players to finish in the right way. I will choose the right players for the next two games.”
I think some of the players who have dipped just when he demanded an extra gear are in borrowed time.
That’s your lot for now.
Feel free to vent your spleen. I’ll update as soon as possible.
WELL, that went well. An archetypal “typical Boro” moment that probably goes straight into the top 10. Millwall’s casual 2-1 win was a real kick in the teeth for anyone naive and daft enough to have the calculators and fixture lists out plotting a path to a far-fetched sixth spot. And a shoo-in for the cynical veterans who betted against Boro.
We all know the time-honoured ingredients. And, bar he damning presence of the TV cameras, they were all in place
In-form Boro, on a roll and with something to play for. TICK
Coming off the back of a battling display in which the team showed real spirit. TICK
Build-up bubbling with people who should know better ‘daring to dream.’ TICK
At home with a decent crowd just willing to be won over. TICK.
Match played just before the season ticket deadline. TICK
Opposition in bottom three and looking vulnerable. TICK
We battered them in reverse fixture. TICK
They have a couple of players we have flogged as flops. TICK
At least Scott McDonald didn’t score. That would have really rubbed it in.
Continue reading Non-Bubbling Boro 1 “Typical Boro” 2
PROMOTION party poopers Boro ruined the expectant Burnley crowd’s coronation plans with an industrial double-shift of frantic defending. And a dash of luck.
The home fans were waving their pitchforks and hysterically screaming at the referee after two “seen them given” penalty shouts were waved away. It didn’t help that before Boro’s winner in the hard-fought 1-0 victory at Turf Moor physical Lee Tomlin had put a half-Nelson on a defender and thrown him aside before slotting through for Jacob Butterfield to score his second in successive games.
Continue reading Clarets’ Champagne On Ice As Bubbling Boro Leave Them Flat
FOOTBALL… bloody hell. Nine man Boro beat Birmingham in a pulsating 3-1 win which was by far and away the most entertaining spectacle of the season.
It wasn’t always pretty but it was gripping, energising non-stop drama climaxing with a breakaway first goal for Lee Tomlin to seal it after Boro shrugged off a Blues barrage in an incredible atmosphere. There was pride, passion, spirit, skill and a real will to win and an almost tangible sense of unity between crowd and team. It was fantastic. It was exactly what supporters are talking about when they demand their team “give it a go.” It was the kind of game that creates a word of mouth buzz and shifts tickets.
Aitor Karanka – still dizzy after a nasty bout of the dreaded lurgey – described it as “crazy” and said it could have finished 7-5 and that for a coach it was heart-stopping stuff. It was the same for everyone else. Heart-stopping. Breath-taking. Crazy. Dramatic. Absorbing. And at times barely believable.But it was brilliant. And it bodes well for the future.
Continue reading Football… Bloody Hell! Nine Man Boro In Barmstorming Battering Of Brum
THE RIVERSIDE crowd gave Steve McClaren a warm reception – but that’s all he did get on his Riverside return. There were no points packaged as a home-coming gift.
Instead Aitor Karanka’s battling Boro worked hard to frustrate our former master tactician and make sure he went away empty-handed. Karanka out-McClarened McClaren, wrapped the game in a stifling tactical shroud to stop the opposition playing then hit them with a well worked counter to claim a deserved 1-0 victory over Derby.
That helped take the sting out of what otherwise could have been a taunting, haunting emotional reunion.
Continue reading Ram Raid Dents Return Of The Mac
BLOG regular Forever Dormo was whisked around swanky Rockliffe Park earlier this week as Boro invited some of their most masochistic fans – those who pay for their season tickets three years in advance with no get out clause or escape hatch – to have a look behind the scenes of what is a fantastic facility.
He wrote up his report and posted it on the comments of the last blog bit but as the debate was fizzling out a lot of people may have missed it. It deserves a wider audience so I’ve nicked it, polished it, inserted a few photos and hey… job done. It is well worth a read. Not just for the physical descriptions but for how it picks up on the mood music within the club.
Continue reading Behind The Scenes At Rockliffe With Blog VIP ‘Forever Dormo’