Phoney War Flashbacks

PRE-SEASON eh? It can drag at times. Days of ITK whipers, wishful thinking and idle speculation punctuated by  the odd purchase out of the blue and pictures of a new boy with shirt and scarf aloft then back to the humdrum of links and snippets and gossip and reports of our heroes crushing unknown opposition in distant foreign lands.

We are led to believe there are some talks coming to the “dotting Is and crossing Ts” stage and there will be some inward activity next week to excite and entertain the twitching twitter masses and anxious on-line observers.

In the meantime, here’s a few things to read to get you through the tedium of the window Phoney War,  flashbacks to bits boxed up in the blog attic from previous pre-seasons.

Just to keep morale up in the trenches here are three bits, one from a pre-season under each of the previous three bosses. Forgive the lack of paragraph breaks, the coding didn’t survive the big switch from the old steam-driven platform.

First up, the surreal sonic culture shock of watching Tony Mowbray’s Boro batter mighty Falkirk  in Gaelic!

Then, a flashback to the last time a heavily accented boss brought about a cultural revolution and summer of the Great Jockification when Boro did their shopping early and spent heavily getting the manager exactly the players he wanted.

And lastly, the post-relegation summer when Gareth Southgate set an incredible/delusional  target and said his side were setting out to treble their strike rate and blast their way to promotion.


MEANWHILE, Keeneth Omeruo has confirmed on twitter the worst kept secret in football: that he is coming back to Boro.

Many people – nervous types who didn’t believe what EVERYONE was telling them – had the jitters over this and were worried that ‘Arry was going to wind down his window and lure him away to sit on the bench at QPR or that Hull would sign him.

From May the Gazette have been saying that Big Ken wanted to come back to Boro. He said it himself  Karanka said it. Karanka said Jose had said.  Ken loved it at Boro. He loved the set up, the spirit in the squad,  the area, the fans, the intensity of the training and the fact he was getting pitch time. And Chelsea loved that he was training in exactly the way Jose does. At Boro he is with a manager who demands the same mentality as at Chelsea.

Chelsea coaches are frequent visitors to Boro. It is part of the link-up the clubs have, there is a free flow of information between them.  The coaches and backroom staff like Bryan English come to Rockliffe to observe the progress of their boys and to help with advice on tailored training and fitness work. It is a relationship that is flourishing at every level not just between Aitor and Jose and one that puts Boro in poll position when it comes to making loan requests. We should see the fruit of that very soon. It is no secret that Boro are trying to get a few more in from Chelsea. We may see some movement on that soon.










93 thoughts on “Phoney War Flashbacks

  1. For me it’s the AV’s blog first. But the twitter account comes very, very close as that’s where you can find the Boro news first – results, line-ups or a transfer. Only then to the EG. Especially so now that the links works better from the blog page.

    Up the Boro!

  2. No great surprise in AV’s comments on the differing approachs to articles and info across the media options.

    I suppose most of us who come on here want something more substantial to get stuck in to, more of a chat over lunch than a bite on the hoof. Without those who want a bite on the hoof we probably wouldnt have the blog, I suspect they provide all the hits etc needed for the long term future – is that where the revenue comes from?

    I am lucky that I dont have anyone leaning over my shoulder so can come on quite regularly,

  3. AV, can you please place the ‘Recent Comments’ banner above ‘Archives’ banner on the blog page. I would help us seeing the most resent posts without scrolling down verytime. Thanks in advance.

    Up the Boro!

    **AV writes: I’ll have a look at it later on.

  4. I wondered how long it would be before the first ‘same old same old’ appeared as a comment on the EG Clayton update!

    So Huddersfield would prefer to get as much as they can, and we want to pay as little, and no more than our ceiling valuation for that player, and not get drawn into a bidding war. Great, totally correct. Sending media messages like ‘Boro ready to pull the plug’ is also all part of the game being played out. Also, great.

    Praise this blog to preserve is from the bumpy ‘reactors’, all so predictable and why (this site excepted) I avoid blogs and fan pages on FB etc. The game of buying players is a long one as explained by AV ad nauseum, I’m really happy with the discipline so far, am sure No 2 target is already being warmed up. Go get ’em Floyd!

  5. The enthusiasm on here is a little worrying. Plan A isnt in the bag and people are happy the club is moving along to plan B, they think the club actual has a plan B, which they most likely do! My how times have changed. Optimism? It must be the summer!

    When can we get back to complaining about the mistakes the club has made?

    Surely a mistimed ticket offer letter or a be quiet letter or people from Stockton type situation has to happen soon. Next thing you will know plan A will have signed, season tickets will be up and people will enjoy going to the games. But don’t worry, should that happen the manager will only be off in 12 months anyway, what’s the point getting excited about it now?

    Should the manager leave – Mido just won a cup, as a manager, not an eating competition. Food for thought.

    1. Boro Doug –

      Why can’t the Club sort its Boro Pride Cards sooner, its always last minute for them every season and its just not good enough plus what are we supposed to debate in mid to late October if they don’t sack the Manager this Autumn. I don’t know why I bother with this club sometimes.

      Why has it taken them forever to sort the Clayton and Vossen deals out and wasted so much time chasing nothing. SG needs to show some support and get his cheque book out if he is to prove that he doesn’t want promotion. All he had to do was part with £7m to Genk and £3m to Huddersfield for the two players (not that i have the remotest idea of their ability or value but whats that got to do with it?).

      Seriously though the Boro Pride tickets should be available sooner than they are. They are not an alternative to season tickets as a Season Ticket works out far cheaper but a middle house between “pay on the day” and attending most games where work does not permit attendance to all games.

  6. Pah! Clayton hasn’t even started an internet campaign to push a move through. Doesn’t he know that using social media to declare his passion for a particular team in red is a pre-requisite for all our signings these days?

    Honestly. Maybe Omeruo and Vossen could set him up an Instagram or something…

  7. Well it looks like we are not going to be held to ransom over Clayton. Its fine with me as I was never really convinced he was the type of player who would make that much of a difference and at the sort of money being rumoured I must admit to thinking I would rather spend that on a RB, striker or another wide player. No doubt having said that he will now be pictured in a Boro shirt by 5.00PM.

    Gamesmanship is all very well I would expect nothing less from ourselves in a similar situation and indeed we did the same with Juke. Twomonths ago we all figured if we could recoup a £1m of the fee that we paid that would be good business but to more than double it I guess is not a lot different to what the Terriers are doing now and as we all know non glamorous clubs have to get as much income in as they can.

    This transfer window with the Boro is very much a game of poker and we seem to have developed a steely poker face mentality fortunately. Its not very exciting granted but compulsive viewing nonetheless. A breakthrough and an announcement soon would be nice though just to keep the Aitormobile on course!

  8. I think our stance on Clayton is correct, he plays in an area of the pitch where we have plenty of bodies. If he improved the situation with someone going out at not too high a net cost it would make sense.

    If not spend the extra money elsewhere as discussed above.

  9. Plan B – Lampard?

    Too old and probably wont fit on our salary structure, sort of like all of it!

    I must admit I dont stress about our transfer activities, I take a keen interest but there is little I can do about it nor can I change the market dynamics.

    Elsewhere we see the slow growth in North America with 86000 watching ManU at LA. We tend to dismiss soccer but there is a huge untapped market which is why european clubs are jetting backwards and forwards.

    1. Ian –

      The Lampard thought is one that crossed my mind. It may have been a possibility but the opportunity for him to live in New York instead of New Marske and getting a few million more might just sway the deal. At least in New Marske he wouldn’t risk being booed and jeered when he and Christine nipped out for a loaf of bread over his 9/11 faux pas. So maybe there’s still hope!

      On the subject of MLS and its growth perhaps Boro should try a friendly “link up” similar to the twinning of Towns. How about Chicago as they play (or at least did up to this Season) in a Red shirt, shorts and socks with a white chest band. This season they introduced a bit of blue which ruined it a bit but at least it could add extra spice to the kit complaints and moans every July. There could also be positives in sending a few of our youngsters out there to train and widen their horizons and vice versa. Its not as if Rockliffe is a dump and I would reckon both clubs could benefit immensely.

      On merchandising there may also be the opportunity to leverage current offerings by using the same Kit supplier. Their Red Adidas shirts with Fire emblazoned across the white band on the chest and ours with whatever pawnbroker/casino/gambling site happens to be de rigeur at the time. We could sell both brands in the club shop and again vice versa in Chicago they could sell Boro memorabilia.

      We could organise friendlies or mini tournaments between both clubs and two “invitees” each year. There could be lots in it for both parties that stack up. The seasons don’t run parallel so loans could be interesting especially if we have someone just getting back to fitness and rather than vegetate in the Summer months (MLS runs March to October I think) they could be training with a match day squad week in week out. Likewise if they have an up and coming striker etc who fancies the European leagues then where better to go for a few months during their close Season.

  10. Watched the Man City game last night. They brought a guy on called Guittieti,. He’s a big unit in the Grant Holt mould. Scored over 20 goals in the Swedish league,is he worth a chance?

    **AV writes: Boro have had a look at him a few times but I don’t know if it got any further than that.

  11. Redcar Red –

    I know many who sneer at football in the US and I dont mean on this site.

    A point to bear in mind is that this year Superbowl is Superbowl 45. Whilst gridiron has a long history its success is recent. It is a college game played before big crowds.

    There are huge numbers of people who are not gridiron obsessed, there are huge numbers who are latent football fans such as Europeans and Hispanics – this is not meant disparagingly.

    We may hate it but they are good at marketing, a link would not be the worst thing in the world.

    1. Ian –

      Right now the Club needs every marketing tool it can think off and needs to be ahead of the game rather than wait until the bigger clubs wake up and realise there is money to be had along with opportunities.

      People can sneer at US “Soccer” but our lot were home tucked up in bed while they were still in Brazil. The US went out in the round of 16 to Belgium which brings me nicely onto my next observation, Marnick Vermijl.

      The young Belgian RB was left behind by Van Gaal on Man Utd’s US Tour with Smalling and Rafael in front of him. He might be worth a loan bid to give him an opportunity to prove himself in the remaining two years of his contract by helping us into the Prem.

  12. Which team might be the surprise in the Championship this season? Not winning it,but a play off or even second, ala Burnley? I have sneaky feeling for Bournmouth, at least close to a play off, I think the manager knows a player and hes been succesfull with strikers, Ings and Grabban and I think he worked with Austin.

    **AV writes: I think Boro – who the bookies don’t fancy at all – will upset the odds this season. Finished with six wins out of the last eight, have the cash to strengthen in key positions, have signed a World Cup defender and have the benefit of a full pre-season under the new manager. #DaftQuid

  13. With all of the on/off, will he won’t he, will we won’t we I get the feeling that there is a surprise around the corner in terms of a signing.

    There must be negotiations going on that are well under the radar and it’s good to see the Boro not signalling who they are after and letting others benefit from our careful research, goodness knows we’ve had a few hijacked in the past. I also like the ‘we’ll walk away attitude’ when other clubs start moving the terms of the deal and our attitude with the sale of Juke.

    Carry on Karanka. That sounds like a film but perhaps not the right image really.



    **AV writes: Talks are going on. We keep getting told “its really close,” and it that has been going on for a week now and you can understand people getting twitchy, but then, it was the same with Kike and people were starting to slag me off for making it up, saying we knew nothing and there was no imaginary foreign striker on the verge of signing.

    These things really do take time. Every clause needs to be translated and checked with lawyers back home. There is haggling over price, structure, payment methods, currency, rate of exchange, schools for kids, flights home for the wife, all kinds of things. Then the player has to go back to his club and unravel the contract there, wrangle over any bonuses due, maybe a buyout clause. Nothing is simple these days. The days of a 10 minute chat with the boss and a handshake are long gone.

  14. Regarding the MLS comments from Ian and Redcar Red. The US have certainly out-performed England over 2 or 3 world cups now, so presumably their domestic game is coming along.

    I remember when I first arrived in Australia my new friends (most of whom were of Greek origin) inviting me along to the football. At the time I said I couldn’t get used to watching Australian’s playing football…a bit like watching Pom’s surf I said. They’ve come along too. They exited at the same stage as England this time round, but they gave the Dutch a run for their money. The game is certainly getting more global and little old England is falling backwards…the FA should have a look at Kodak.

  15. Bob

    Is that to take a snapshot of the state of the game because it needs developing.

    The problem we have is that we are very parochial both nationally and at club level. I was watching an international at my local pub with a load of contractors who were working at the local hospital, they were all mates from darn sarff wearing Arsenal shirts. They slagged off England something chronic, the irony that their own team was full of overseas players didn’t cross their mind.

    Why do Boro have one eye on overseas talent? The cost and the chance to unearth someone like Janusaj at ManU.

    We may plead poverty at our club stuck in the second tier but at the risk of repeating myself we are probably wealthy compared to many clubs in Europe and abroad in general.

    Despite misgivings the links with Kenyon and the super agent wont do us any harm.

    We are all torn between the pride of our academy providing a conveyor belt of talent but we want us to go up.

    Jacks team had Maddren, Spraggon, Armstrong and Mills. The Ayresome Angels had Jones, Horner, Gates but teams were always a blend of homegrown and imports.

  16. Good to be back. Lots of gossip on who is coming in. Still think we need a big brick layer in central defence but I don’t think the boss thinks on those lines.

    Danny Graham: looks like hopes fading there. He wont be happy to be a plan b.

    Roll on the kick off .

  17. BREAKING NEWS – Sky Sports News Leading with – Boro Looking For a RB

    First class reporting (Ctrl C, V) that. Hadn’t seen that one coming. Glad to know we need a RB. I was slightly surprised by the announcement, but it’s now starting to make sense to me.

    AV – How do you stay in front of a curve like that? Tough, tough business this news malarkey.

  18. Just seen the bookies odds for promotion. Boro sitting in 12th place. At this moment I guess you could not argue too much with that. Still a couple of decent buys might just push us up the placing a couple of notches.

    I had not realised Fewster is only 18 . From what I saw of him in Spain, he looks promising at that age.

  19. I am all for not going overboard, having to haggle for the best price particularly given the tightness of finances in the current climate. However, as time goes by and we edge closer to the first game I have to confess my confidence is starting to waiver ever so slightly.

    Will all/most of the signings we are trying to make happen? Will we have to revert to plan C rather than A or B?

    I’m sure as I type this Boro are about to announce a host of signings, but I am certainly not thinking “roll on the new season” as I don’t think as things currently stand that we would do very well.

    After the Kike signing and the excitement around Vossen plus a secret unknown striker I was starting to get my hopes up of us storming the league with an ultra tight defence and some real quality up the other end. It may still happen I know, it’s the long game we need to play. I also know that if you wanted a negotiator I would certainly not be your chosen man but until a few more come through the revolving door then my nerves will carry on jangling.

  20. Now here is a serious(-ish) football question. When those of us of a certain age were at school our mums used to sew our name in our sports kits, shirts, ties and all the other bits of clothing and the tape was about quarter of an inch high with red lettering on it.

    If we, as kids, could read that tape why does everyone in football have to have their initials on the front of their training kit in letters six inches high? It cannot be for TV being because we don’t get Commentators passing their opinions on training ground action filmed live.

    Answers on a postcard as Kenneth Horne used to say.

    UTB and I’ll be following the Rochdale match and waiting for announcements on new players.


  21. Obviously nope, he’s LB not RB, unless George is part of a bigger deal elsewhere…..ooooh, conspiracy theory no.1, is a big complex chain of events about to kick off???????

  22. Well the arrival of Husband is a welcome addition but I think that would pretty much seal Hallidays fate. Having a bit of competition for Friend is great plus he is at an age where he can develop and become a better player without expecting an automatic start. there again AK may decide to play Husband as LB with Friend in front wide left during Carayol’s absence.

    By my reckoning we are now into the 90’s for posts on this blog, I’m anticipating GHW to start lurking at the near post for a tap in!

  23. Do not want to be a doomster RR, but I do not see George as even a temporary replacement for Carayol. Not from what I saw here in Spain. But you never know when it is the real thing.

  24. As Karanka is probably wedded to playing four at the back, I think it’s important for our defence to form partnerships and we’ve been dependent on a good Friend at left-back for some time now. Although we thought the defence was going steady it seems Boro had been looking for more security and had been eyeing up a young Husband. Well I hope the fans give the young man gets a decent honeymoon and realise that this is more than just an expensive Halliday.

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