Smashing Grab: Gritty Boro End Bolton Hoodoo

BORO carried out a spirited smash and grab raid to win 2-1 at Bolton as Kike flicked home a late winner in a pulsating game that wasn’t always polished but had penalties at either end and plenty of endeavour and steel. And a little a bit of luck.

Boro looked crisp and inventive for the opening spell – as at Leeds – then were rocked against the run of play as Bolton won a penalty. But Boro got a break. Seb Hines could – should? – have been shown a red card.  He stayed on. Had Boro been down to 10 men then it may well have been game over but he was let off lightly. It was pay back for the misfortune of the Albert Adomah goal ruled out at Leeds. Swings and roundabouts.

But Boro showed great resilience in bouncing back. Against Leeds the set-back of a pivotal decision going against them threw them completely, they lost some fizz, the tempo dropped off and they ceded tactical control. This time they dug in, fought back and went toe-to-toe with long-ball Bolton and clawed back.

Obviously they were given a helping hand by David Wheater – “one of our own” – who made a brave bid to gain one on the coveted Gazette stars by giving Boro a parmo powered penalty just before the break.  He had his arms out trying to shield Kike from behind and when the striker flicked the ball up and tried to wriggle free Wheater handled. Nice one Redcar Rock.  Your free pass for the Mungle Jungle is in the post.

It was Boro’s first penalty of 2014 and the first one away from home for 19 months. The last one was, ironically, in a clash with Bolton: the 1-0 at the Riverside last November when Leadbitter buried his spot-kick and Beckford had one of his own in the last minute but sent it soaring over the bar and into the police control box.

The second half was a scrap. It was a tense, error strewn, end-to-end, high-tempo  tussle, a real Championship battle. It was anyone’s game.  Craig Davies and impressive wideman Lee  went close then Jermaine Beckford came on and put on in the side-netting then had a “goal” ruled out after barging Ayala aside.

But Boro had chances too. Lee Tomlin smashed a shot straight at the keeper then Adam Reach brought a full length save before Boro broke through with a slick move, Tomlin feeding Reach who slotted into the box and Kike turned it over the advancing Bogdan, his third goal in four games, and after a relatively subdued game . It was fantastic and entertaining stuff, although the closing stages were nerve-shredding and frantic.

Still, it was a fantastic result as Boro showed real grit to come from behind and bounce back from the disappointment at Leeds. The boss was relieved on the whistle but full of praise for Boro’s workrate, character and organisation as they stood up to a difficult challenge against a decent Bolton side.

It was the first win at Bolton’s new ground too so that is a real hoodoo ended. Boro also won the curtain-raiser this term for the first time in six years and the first time in this division since 1998.  And last term we didn’t have a post-Christmas wobble. Karanka has no respect for Boro’s  traditions.


THE  last time Boro won at Bolton was at the tatty old Burnden Park back in April 1987. Bernie Slaven scored three minutes from time to seal a scrappy 1-0 win that all but sealed the fate of both clubs that term.

For Bruce Rioch’s bottle blond Boro boys it opened a five point gap behind them and all but cemented them into second spot in division three.They went on to finish with seven wins out of eight, the only draw a goalless game against Wigan that ended with a jubilant party on the pitch in the final home fixture.

For Bolton it pushed them into the relegation spots and they were not to escape. They were to be relegated to the fourth division for the first time in their history.

To give a sense of the division that year Boro’s previous game had been a 1-1 draw ith Darlington at Ayresome Park, a rare derby played out in front of a 11,969 crowd and Boro’s first ever Sunday game (with a bizarre 11am kick-off).

The following game was to be another rare league clash, a 3-1 home win over near neighbours York. Mighty Boro’s side that day was: Pears, Parkinson, Cooper, Mowbray, Pallister, Ripley, Kerr, Hamilton, Spriggs, Slaven, Stephens. Gary Gill was on the bench.

That was 27 years ago. Blimey. Of the current Boro squad only Dimi. Woody, Grant Leadbitter, Dean Whitehead and Damia Abella were even born then. It was a different club, a different world. Another hoodoo smashed. Let’s rewrite history.


77 thoughts on “Smashing Grab: Gritty Boro End Bolton Hoodoo

  1. Ive only seen a very poor video of the penalty against Hines but for me it did look like there was at least another defender in the area. Was it an obvious(clear cut) scoring opportunity?

  2. Forgot to say, Peterborough have just received within the past year something like £12m for two players. I hope we received a competitive fee for Burgess plus the usual add ons. A free would have me questioning the CEOs negotiating skills

  3. Great way to start the day in HK, waking up to a good result for the Boro. Sounds like a gritty performance with some flashes of having what it takes to get a result when you’re not playing at your best away from home. Given we have a few new people in the team who arrived within the last week, sounds like a solid foundation on which to build on.

    Bolton are no mugs, so this win away from home is a good result. Now onto Shef Wed at the Riverside on Saturday, not going to be an easy game, they gave Brighton a shock at their place and held Derby. They haven’t lost and have conceded only 1 goal, hopefully Tomlin and Kike will be back on fire again in front of a good crowd at the Riverside and we’ll be able to get the result


  4. AV, your posts are always concise, witty and informing narratives, whatever medication you are on, it sure works.

    I think the jury will be out for some time for goalie, forgotten how to spell his name

  5. Work in progress. We played very well the first half but Bolton came back for the second half. But we grabbed a win. And after being 0-1 down first.

    Anyone blaming the goalie for the Bolton goal? As Aitor says we win as a team or loose as a team. So please stop looking for failures. We won and the team included both Hines and Mejias. They all deserve our praise.

    We are nicely under the radar now. One point from top and 8th in the table. Still average of two points per match. If we keep this form (from the last 11 games) it looks promising come May.

    Four matches this season and three wins if we include the League Cup win, too. But as said, still work in progress. We have signed seven new players and they need to bed in. And still more to come – any news on “Bam Bam” Bamford signing up, AV? You must have discussed the thing with Aitor at Bolton.

    Up the Boro!

  6. Seeing the Team sheet I struggled to understand why when Damia is new and Ayala/Omeruo have a reasonable understanding why would you introduce yet another conundrum and unusual selection in Seb alongside Omeruo especially considering Mejias’s nerve inducing abilities just behind. Over thinking and tinkering came to mind, Ayala dropped presumably because of Saturday yet Mejias remained?

    A bright start with more Boro attempts in the opening five minutes than in all of the 90 on Saturday ensued. As the game wore on the selection of Seb at CB in place of Ayala was shall we say perplexing and allied to Mejias retaining his place was a worry. Seb looked a little rusty and with Damia still settling in I felt we looked a tad vulnerable.

    That said Bolton would have to get the ball of us, It wasn’t quite total domination but pretty close to it in terms of possession. Unfortunately pretty football and possession doesn’t win games and of course Bolton broke free and a chasing Seb looked to clip Craig Davies’s ankles. Davies blasted the resultant penalty into the top corner.

    Thankfully the Redcar Rock rescued us with a handball in the dying seconds of the 1st half and Grant smashed the penalty home, 1-1 and game back on for the 2nd half. We were by far the better side, controlled the game yet needed a penalty to draw level. We were looking good yet seemed to lack the ruthless ability to finish the game off.

    The second half started with Bolton on top and Mejias succeeded in his obligatory punch that keeps us regular. Sales of All Bran (other fibre cereals are available) on Teesside look set to slump in 2014. We looked to be getting drawn into another scrap with Bolton putting pressure on, preventing us from playing our normal game. A few free kicks we took looked jittery, simply wasted and the hoped for training ground routines were not on display…. frustrating!

    Adam Reach coming on for the disappointing Nsue (who prior to the game I believed would have revelled in this game) in the second half gave us a lift. Reach looked more like his old self with the hope of a speculative effort lifting the away fans and the red shirts on the pitch. Overall the 2nd half wasn’t a comfortable affair but a quick move involving Leadbitter (I think) playing the ball out from the Boro half finding Tomlin who chipped it onto Reach who flicked it to Kike who finished with a deft lob and relief all round. A quick, fast flowing move brought all three points hopefully so long as we held out for the remaining quarter of an hour or so.

    Bolton then went for it, Ayala was warming up for Seb (or so we thought) but when introduced he was brought on surprisingly for Clayton. AK had decided we were going to win ugly with backs to the wall defending if necessary. Whitehead was then brought on for Tomlin as we dug in even deeper. I’m not sure if this was part of a game plan or just desperation tactics, I suspect the latter.

    We could have lost this game and indeed were lucky not to have had Seb sent off for the 1st half penalty incident but the Ref Steve Martin was more interested in keeping the game flowing and perhaps in a subliminal way made up for his Nugent/Ayala/ball over the line debate at Leicester last season as a few decisions seemed to give us the rub of the green.

    It was by no means as comfortable as we could and should have made it and we lost our way at times but we ground it out and at the end even Albert was busting a gut and showing real spirit. Relief rather than joy at the final whistle but thats the type of result we need to get us out of this league.

    1. Perhaps Reach is simply more of an impact player than a starter?

      As an aside: Can’t believe I missed the opportunity for a “Shredded Wheats” pun. Though that would be a bit cruel on one of our own.

  7. An excellent result last night and another iconoclastic hoodoo broken. The team passed the character test by coming from behind and for winning while not playing especially well.

    However some concerns emerged. I know, I know it’s very early days but there is tjust the beginnings of a problematic pattern.

    1. Most of all, we lack a killer pass. The other team can’t score when you have the ball but they can score (and win) even when you dominate possession if you don’t do enough with it.

    2. So far, AK seems unable to transform a game at HT. At both Leeds and Bolton, I looked for a ramped up Boro to come out after the break – it didn’t happen. In fact last night it was Bolton who returned fired up and were on top for 15 minutes during which time they looked favourites to win. The good news is, that we weathered the storm and fought back.

    3. AK’s controversial selections have not been vindicated. Hines was a surprise and hardly covered himself in glory, even without the pen. Reach must have been disappointed to be replaced because Nsue lacked verve and offered little. Meijas was sounder last night but still had a couple of erratic moments and didn’t exactly ooze confidence.

    The good things that have emerged:

    1. AK’s judgement of a player is looking much better than his predecessors. That applies both to signings and (the above reservation notwithstanding) to team selection. The jury is still out on Meijas and Nsue but so far his purchases have significantly improved us.

    2. AK showed last night that he can transform a game with subs. The introduction of Reach made the difference.

    3. When we look good we look very good, even though we seem unable to sustain it for more than 30-40 minutes and even though we seem unable to fully capitalise on it.

    On balance, I agree with Jankko and others: we are very obviously a work in progress but the signs are promising. If we can get another goalscoring forward I see no reason to change my prediction that we can make the play-offs.

    **AV writes: On point 1, I though we were looking too often for the killer pass when simplicity may have been more effective. There were a lot of attempted Hollywwod flicks, tricks and back-heels that can undone when a easy ball may have carved through. But it will come.

    And I should think the jury is still out on those players. It was Nsue’s first start in the league. Any judgement based on that would be a miscarriage of justice,

    1. On the ‘jury still out’ issue: Abella, Clayton and Kike haven’t played much more than Nsue but I’ve seen enough to be confident that, although their best is yet to come, they will settle and be good players for us. In contrast, the first impressions of Nsue and Meijas are less favourable but they may simply be players who need more time than the others.

      **AV writes: They were both alright last night. A lot of it is in the eye of the beholder.

      1. Tend to agree with Nikeboro, Kike was a hit from the off, Clayton has shown that at worse he can hold his own but suspect he could become a pivotal player as he settles in, Abella looks to be getting used to his team mates but shows ability.

        With Nsue he reminds me of DIY furniture, the picture on the box looks good and all the bits are in there but it just may take a while to assemble. Mejias is a major concern and thus far I remain far from convinced. My reasoning with Mejias is that I can see that in the majority of the incomings they are better than the outgoings even if only slightly or just because of fit reasons.

        I don’t see that Mejias is better than Dimi or Steele or indeed even Ripley for that matter. Hope I’m wrong as I believe that sole position could be the difference between going up and not even making the play-offs.

  8. So Boro remain well placed after coming back to secure our first away win that we should have secured at limited Leeds – OK, it’s early days but you suspect another defeat would have racked up the pressure for Saturday and possibly affected the mood at the game.

    We won’t know if we’re serious contenders until after ten games but the addition of character to a bit more ability on the pitch will give us a decent chance.

    With three games a week, I suspect Ayala was rested whilst we still had another centre-back fit with Woodgate and Gibson injured. Using Reach as an impact player may be his main role this season but he seems to have come on a bit since Mogga’s day.

    We could do with Bamford signing to give us another dimension up front – though he may wonder if being second choice in the Championship is his best option to impress his way into Jose’s plans.

    It also seems Boro are The Independent’s favourite club this year and were the feature game in their Championship reports with good reviews – though not a whisper of Boro in the Guardian who still favour the Leeds soap opera.

  9. Woody injured for last night along with Gibson and, of course, Williams. Time to eat my words about having so many CBs?

  10. Great to get a gritty win. After the deflating defeat at Leeds and then falling behind at Bolton, this was a double-dose of bouncebackability.

    Before the game it felt like the first test of the pre-season optimism. Defeat might have burst that bubble.

    Whilst the performance was a vast improvement from the weekend, It wasn’t straightforward. We started purposefully with lots of possession and a decent tempo but Bolton largely soaked it up before striking an undeserved blow.

    Our heads would previously have gone after that but I felt that the engine room of Leadbitter and Clayton drove us on to a deserved equaliser. On the balance of play we should have been in front at the break but having conceded a level scoreline was a bit of a relief.

    Like NikeBoro, I expected to take the momentum from the late first-half equaliser into the second half but it was Bolton who gained the upperhand in the early stages. As at Leeds, we lost our grip on the game and got dragged into Bolton’s more typical Championship bluster.

    At that stage, the game was in the balance. It felt like a goal was coming but you couldn’t say which way. Thankfully Tomlin, Reach and finally Kike produced a rare bit of second half quality to settle the game, nervous finish notwithstanding.

    It was a game that was difficult to draw too many conclusions from. A game where we looked by far the better side for the most part but still lacked penetration and in the end scrapped it out in classic Championship style.

    Drawing on the last two games, I think there are two areas that need improvement. Firstly, pateince. At both Leeds and Bolton we allowed the opposition to take momentum away from us and turn the game into a scrap. We must learn to cope with other sides frustrating us and stick to the gameplan.

    Secondly, we still need to find more penetration and make our possession count. In particular, the attacking movement isn’t quite there yet – it isn’t just about the final ball, it’s about making the runs that give you the option of an incisive pass..Goals will follow more positive movement, and that will also allow us to stick to our game.

    A win is a win though. At this stage of the season, when new players are bedding in and every team is a work in progress we can just be thankful for the points and look to the next game for further progress.

    A good start.

  11. Omeruo is immense. Last season he looked to have all the raw materials and was clearly a good propect. However raw was the operative word. It looks like he proved to himself that he could do it, amply confirmed by the WC, and has kicked on a couple of levels. He is a class above most players in this division and we’re lucky to have him. He can be the foundation for our promotion push.

    What are the other rocks on which we can base our push?

    Kike shows every sign of being the 20+ goal striker that’s been our fatal missing link for many years. So far he’s struggled with inadequate service yet still scored 3 out of 3-and-a-bit games. However another striker is crucial to avoid burning him out.

    Friend’s form has been up & down since he came to Boro. This season he seems to have found a new level. He continues to contribute well going forward but looks more secure defensively.

    Leadbitter has been a steady and reliable performer for some time. He appears to enjoy the central pairing, being the springbiard for most attacks and the ability to alternate in pushing forward to support. Although unspectacular, he’s always been a mainstay but shows signs of finding another domension to his game.

    Adomah so far is short of last season’s form. Nevertheless, if he can recapture that standard and even raise his game like some of the others, then we know from his past achievements that he can be a key player for us. He possibly needs a breather-cum-rocket that maybe can’t be achieved until Ledesma returns.

    It seems to me that those 5 players are the ones on which our hopes will be substantially based. If they can maintain fitness and form and succeed in most games, we will do well.

    1. I have a feeling that Clayton will added to that list before Christmas, whilst we still haven’t seen the best of Tomlin yet.

      It’s a good Championship first XI but we may still need more quality options from the bench and for competition.

      1. I was tempted to add Clayton but couldn’t call him a key player after little more than one game.

        As for Tomlin, my feeling is that he has the potential to be a pivotal player but has yet to deliver consistently. He has improved from one good in four – it’s now two in four – but, even then, he tends to drift out of games and rarely produces for a full game.

  12. Another win helps build some momentum, an away win is always an excellent result.
    Good to see that those predicting a Boro defeat were wrong, a bit of optimism and positivity doesn’t go amiss once in a while.

  13. Watching the video highlights, one Boro weakness caught my eye. We showed again how easily we can be caught out by a route one long punt. Our defenders are tall and physical and will gobble up conventional crosses into the box. Yet, once again last night, they were found out by a simple direct ball through the middle that led to the Bolton penalty. Needs sorting …

    1. It was a weakness I spotted against Leeds, Nikeboro. The suspicion that our players are genuinely ruffled by “up and at ’em” – tactics that the best teams deliciously expose – has become prevalent in the last two matches.

      At least we proved last night that we do have the stomach for a scrap. Combine this with our mostly delightful possession play, a little extra penetration and you’ve almost got a winning formula. Almost. Is Bamford the missing piece of the jigsaw?

  14. A propos of none of the foregoing, what’s your take on the cost effectiveness of the famed academy AV?

    Seems to me letting Smallwood go for 175k would barely cover the investment in him. In reality, very few of our academy products have made the grade for the first team and many have been allowed to leave for buttons. In short, the production line of talented first XI prospects has ground to a halt, if indeed it ever got going.

    You have to think that for the investment Gibson makes in the academy, there doesn’t seem to be a massive return. Of course, one can cite Downing & Johnson as shining examples, but those are two out of the many and even Johnson didn’t make a spectacular number of appearances given the hype surrounding him. There seems to be something about the lads from the academy that a succession of Boro managers haven’t fancied and Special K (I’m another cereal punster sadly) doesn’t appear any different, with the exception of Reach,
    who may or may not make it beyond this season.

    Given that the academy has been lauded as our route to defeating financial fair play, maintaining our quota of home grown players and making us competitive without spending millions, I find this all more than a little disappointing. Perhaps the hotbed of football has, like the blast furnaces, gone cold?

    **AV writes: I think the Academy has brought in over £35m and provided over 40 first team players since it was founded in 1999. You only need one a season coming through to save a £1m signing but it will never be a regular supply with a fixed number coming through from each intake. I think the last few years have been relatively lean, although there were still four graduates in the squad last night.

    1. As the academy costs doesn’t figure in the FFP calculation, this is Gibson’s only way to inject capital into the club I presume without falling foul of the rules. As such, the academy doesn’t have to be cost effective, as long as it generates some sort of revenue from transfer fees, I suppose that will boost our transfer budget as long as Gibson continues to be happy to bear the cost of the academy.

  15. NikeBoro –

    I agree with your reply regarding Clayton and Tomlin.

    What’s pleasing about Tomlin though, is that even when slightly off his game he still puts in a shift. He’s robust and competitive, offering defensive qualities to the team even when his creative game is spluttering.

    He will particularly be aided by more positive movement around him.

  16. Good win, especially coming from behind. Well taken goals, the deft little flick from Kike was excellent.

    Not sure about the excess number of CB’s Woodgate will only play cameos and Hines has history of injuries. I am disappointed to see Burgess go, I thought he had potential. Obviously AK does not.

    Is Bamford becoming a Juanfran? Do not twist his arm, just move on.

  17. Going back to a comment I made about the academy, maybe we are paying the price of the standards that were at the club come appointment time, if the first team arent doing great, I think it sort of follows that the rest of the club will fall into line with that.

    I know sometimes the academyies are far better than they have any right to be, but I think as the first team and the backroom staff raise their quality, so this will transfer into the academy. After all its a competitive situation and I bet a lot of young uns have been swept away with PL promises the last few seasons. We couldnt compete with that really, we have to ask more of what we do get, and as that happens at first team level, it should have the same effect on the academy.

  18. Excellent win, and great for the travelling fans – I’ve never seen us win at Bolton in my visits so a great trip home for them!

    I followed the game on #borolive and was a bit concerned about the Hines criticism – I really don’t want to see a boo boy situation (we’ve had a lot of experience of those over the years!) I am putting it down to nerves from the Boro hordes!

    I feel it could be a defining moment even so early in the season. Another defeat would have seriously dented Saturday’s attendance and cemented doubts in the stay aways minds. Maybe, just maybe, they might join the party on Saturday and play their part in pushing Boro on for victory.

    AV what’s the Bamford situation? He seems to be taking an awful long time to make his mind up, and we might be in danger of waiting too long whilst other targets move elsewhere. Though I do suspect we could have Danny Graham waiting in the wings as a fall back option.

    **AV writes: Still waiting *drums fingers on desk*

  19. It seems as though that some bloggers are getting bored with talking about the team because it’s full of non-locals and foreigners, so let’s kick the Academy in the plums for not producing a Stewie Downing every six months. It should be commended and not pilloried for actually having produced a Downing, a Johnson, a Cattermole etc. etc. etc. in the first place, I don’t see many of our near neighbours doing anything like what we have run off the academy conveyor belt over recent years.

    We were all smiles whilst we were having a good run of players being introduced through the system, and all hell broke loose at the thought of having to part with any one of them. If we didn’t have the Academy then another club would have no doubt pocketed the £35m it’s produced and said “thank you very much”, but we did, and we benefited. Even the “paltry” sum (in some people’s eyes) of £175,000 for Smallwood goes some way towards costs incurred by the club, it’s cash that I wouldn’t say no to.

    Who knows, there could be another little gem waiting to be unearthed, but if we don’t have the academy in the first place we’ll never find out, will we. So leave it alone and be grateful for small (sic) mercies.

  20. The academy was upgraded to meet the FA’s Category 1 requirements. We’re only a year or so into that so let’s see the outcome a few years down the line.

    Nevertheless Boro will need to examine the route it provides for its youngsters into first team football. There are an uncomfortable number of ex-Boro graduates who ‘failed’ here but went on to become successful regulars in the PL and Championship.

    **AV writes: I’m not sure there are many who “failed” here and are playing in the Premier League. There’s a fair few we sold for various reasons, usually because they weren’t looking likely to break into the first team. The one that everyone brings up is James Morrison, who was never really said to have ‘failed’ he just didn’t click with Gareth Southgate. That is a personal/personality decision, not evidence of an institutional failure.

    A couple of others left and stepped down a level to better their career and did so (Murphy, Brunt, Graham) and I am sure Dave Parnaby, who sees his role as an educational, pastoral and developmental one rather than a farming one, will consider all of those as “successes” for the Academy.

    1. Nikeboro, it depends on what you mean by examine. If it’s because of the foreigners (Brits as well as from across the channel) just take a look at the side that Downing was on the fringe of and the sides he played in: there was eight in the cup final tem of 2004 alone. If you can cut the mustard, and he could, then you’re going to get your chance, if you can’t, you obviously won’t.

      With the exception of Danny Graham, I can’t think of any that we’ve released actually setting the world on fire. Saying that, Graham’s rise and fall lasted two seasons if that long, he’s not good enough at present to offer anything but a fleeting glance from AK.

      As you rightly pointed out, we have to be patient and await the next big thing, but I’ll be happy with a few little ones until he (they) arrives.

  21. Totally agree the Academy is invaluable for our club. It is so important in differentiating us from so many of our competitors.

    Just quickly on Bamford, I really can’t understand the delay. Surely a loan move does not take this amount of deliberation. He must realise that if his club have accepted it then they want the move to happen. Surely then if his long term ambition is to break into the Chelsea first team then it’s a no brainer to turn down a loan move, particularly when you see how well a player like Omeruo is doing.

    The only thing I can think is that there must be personal reasons why he does not want to move away from London at the present time.

    Anyway onto the game, cracking result last night. It’s going to be a long hard season but 2 wins from 3 when bedding in so many new players is a great start to the new season.

    Up the Boro.

    **AV writes: Maybe he thinks he’s “done” the loan thing and is in a bit of a huff after not making the first team squad. Maybe he thinks another club may be a better option and put him centre-stage. Maybe he needs refocussing. Maybe Jose will have a chat with him when he gets back to Chelsea tomorrow. But we don’t want a pressed man, he has to come to the decision himself and fully buy into it if we are to get the best out of him. Patience is a virtue. Boro have been prepared to wait for their key targets this summer and have got their rewards.

    1. A great start indeed, but the Boro in me is still dreading the big let down further down the road. Anyhow heres hoping…

    2. I suppose this season is a big one for the lad. With a little over two years left on his contract he needs to be at the right club for him. If he doesn’t make the Chelsea squad this time next year I suppose they would want to sell and get a fee for him. I suppose they wouldn’t really need him in the u21 team then as well as he would be taking the spot of another player who could possibly be the next best thing.

      If he was loaned out to a Championship club he would want to go to one who he thought could get into the Premier League and maybe sign him permanently if they got there or if not he would want to play as many games as possible, do well and attract another Premier league team to stump up some cash and buy him. Or he could do well and make the Chelsea squad next season.

      It’s all if’s and but’s I suppose but maybe he just wants a settled future with a long contract and a near enough guaranteed place in the starting 11 at the biggest club he can get. Maybe he thinks he deserves to be playing in the Premier league already.

  22. Just wondering now who will be next out the door. Kamara now seems to have managed his own exclusion zone but I doubt SG or AK would want to let him leave on a free so that one could be tricky. Steele seems to be another one destined to leave, Halliday likewise and possibly Luke W on loan again especially when Manu returns. After that I’m struggling as we are down to the Youth Players.

    Its possible they might arrange a loan for Kamara in the same manner as the Juke in the hope of him playing himself into the shop window. Again the same goes for Halliday. Could Seb be being played to put him in the shop window?

    if those 5 move out that would leave the squad at around 20 (excluding Fewster, Atkinson, Morris and Bennett etc.) Woody, Rhys and Muzzy are included in that 20 so I would anticipate a few more new faces before September!

    It’s therefore very likely that the club are already involved in under the radar discussions with more potential recruits and Bamford is just one of many. Perhaps he is not as confident as Omeruo in his ability to cement a starting role. If he doesn’t want to come perhaps Torres could take his place instead at Boro ;-).

    1. I think the difference with Seb, Kamara and Halliday is their contract is running out on 2015. There is insufficient time to loan them to put them in the shop window. I did imagine if you were to loan them for few months, come January, I think clubs rather sign them on a pre-contract agreement and snap them up on a free. So unfortunately I can’t see them doing a Juke/Emnes.

      1. ph

        If their contracts do run out in 2015 then I would think its nailed on that any decent offers or opportunity to get them off the wage bill will be accepted

      2. I think Seb’s contarct run out this summer and he was given a year’s extension. So he was wanted here as cover. But still his contract is up in 2015. UTB!

  23. WiFi at last in deepest north wales. Like being in a vacuum but there are others things to do.
    I will settle for winning half our away games. Throw in good home record and that is a recipe for success.
    Still early days

  24. I see Aston Villa have put Joe Bennett out on a season long loan to Brighton, I wonder if he will oblige like “Wheats” when they play us.

    No one should be complaining after the start we have had to the season, especially with the amount of new players in the team, when they “bed” in, it can only get better. Six points from two away and one home match and another “hoodoo” broken to boot.

    If we can pick up at least four points from our two home games and remain in the cup, prior to the two week international break we are well on our way and most, if not all, of our transfer business may be concluded.

    People seem to be getting impatient with the Bamford deal, they should remember that for the lad, this is a major decision, at this stage of his career, he has to make. One way or another we will know in the next 10 days.

    Hope to make the match on Saturday, depends on how high I am on “Tramadol”

    Come on BORO.

  25. Re: Bamford

    We take our time on waiting news on him and other striker options. I trust Aitor in here. The only thing strange here is that Aitor confirm the interest. Usually the deal is done if he speaks about a player. Now his answer is not expected now until the weekend. All the paperwork is already in place for a year long loan move

    Of course there was talk about Juanfran, too. And that move did not happen in the end. Let’s hope we get Bamford soon – as we need to sign somebody else if this fails.

    Up the Boro!

    1. The Bamford delay is puzzling. I can only conclude he’s hoping for a better offer, either from Chelsea themselves or from a PL club. If so, regrettably, I don’t think he’s for us.

  26. AV writes ‘That was 27 years ago. Blimey. Of the current Boro squad only..’
    I thought you were going to continue with ‘would get in the current team’.
    Obviously not correct as Dimi isn’t as good as Pears.
    As for the rest, hmmm…

  27. Wifi fully functioning in the bar. hic!

    I guess Bamford will be assessing his options, if he speaks to Ken I suspect he will get a glowing report.

    Speaking as a football as well as Boro fan, unless some great opportunity turns up, the best chance for him is to come here especially if he wants to succeed at Chelsea. Jose will want him to do well operating in a system, both training and playing, that Jose is happy with.

    If he genuinely doesn’t want to come then walk away but you cant blame him for checking what is available.

  28. I think the Bamford thing ,will go down to deadline day,Im thinking he has asked to stay and show he can make the Chelsea squad,they have said,yes we will wait in case of injuries,or any other business coming in,,before the door is shut,and their final numbers are in

    1. I’m not sure about that gt.

      Mourinho and Karanka both like to operate with the same system and a smallish squad. Chelsea already have their full quota of players in all attacking positions so I’m sure Mourinho will want him to go on loan.

      I suspect he’s holding out for a Premier League club. I don’t blame him for that. It’s natural to want to play at the highest level possible.

  29. I have a sneaking feeling that somebody else will be signed before Bamford makes up his mind, after all the clock is ticking and other targets who are aware of our interest will also want to know what is happening.

    Perhaps we have moved on already in the hunt for another striker, we certainly can’t let it run until deadline day. If he was keen and wanted to come I think he would have signed by now.


    John R

    **AV writes: As I have said before, the club are in talks with several people simultaneously and could switch tack very quickly. A few deals are broadly agreed and at least two players are keen to come if the various bits fall into place. They are “either/or” scenarios. There are a few others in a couple of positions where talks are underway. While the Chelsea loan option has been very public Boro have had a few others ‘under the radar’. But Boro want to get their priority targets resolved first before they turn to the ones on the back-burner.

  30. Sky Sports, sorry, Sky Sports News HQ are reporting that Crystal Palace have approached a Chelsea coach with a view to him becoming their new manager.

    If that happens then I can see Bamford perhaps going there. Otherwise, I still expect him to sign for us before too long. It just makes sense.

  31. AV, sorry if this has been asked before, but why do clubs have on disclosed fees?

    Why do they not say we got X or paid Y for Burgess. I cannot imagine there is anything to hide.

    **AV writes: It is to do with accountancy. Clubs rarely get a fixed lump sum anymore. Usually it is a structured package spread over two or sometimes three accounting periods or even the life of the deal, plus add-ons for this that and the other. Players go down in the books at a notional value which is amortised – written off – over the length of the contract. Usually the clubs will try and sell a player on at some point during that time so a lot of the extras are never triggered while the incoming fee is set against the remaining balance.

    That all means the final cost of a transfer at the end bears no relationship with the mooted price at the start. We still always get an approximate value though – although the figure given by buying club and selling club are not necessarily the same.

  32. Well, it might have been an undisclosed fee for Burgess, but if it was as I suspect (only £100K ish) then I think Posh have got a bargain.

    He is a promising young player who I would imagine will get a chance at a higher level at some point. Considering Posh have banked over £6M in transfer fees since Xmas, I would have hoped we could get a decent price for someone we really did not need to sell. After all, it’s not like he was on rock star wages. I would hope a sell on clause was included, but I can honestly not remember us banking a sell on fee in my lifetime. Maybe the FA have a rule prohibiting clubs in the North East from instigating them ?

    As for Bamford, I suspect it is all taking too long. He will have known about this possibility for weeks, so he really should have been thinking about what he wanted to do since then. If he is hanging around anticipating an approah from a European giant in the meantime then he may have a long wait.

    1. Matt, it’s a double edged sword when you look at it. If Bamford plays us off against a better deal elsewhere, then we move in A. N. Other, plus others close out and the transfer window closes, he’s then stuck with playing with Chelsea’s lower league teams because he’s not yet part of the big boys squad. He really should re-evaluate his situation and not, as we’ve had previous with Clayton, listen to his agent giving him the best advice.

      AV, does every player have agents regardless of age, or is it a success by ability requiring someone with a business nous (or total greed as I suspect) to represent you?

      **AV writes: Almost every player has an agent, even the kids, because they think it is the only way to get the best deal. But the PFA offer agent/legal services for a fairly cheap fixed fee.

      1. peacepuinperth – if you google Bryn Morris, for example you will find, among others, that lists info on several players (position, career etc). I dont know how accurate this is but it gives you also the agent’s info for the player.

        For Bryn, aged 18 years it gives:
        Players’ agents: Key Sports Managment Ltd.

        Up the Boro!

      2. Agents are widely decried and even despised and it’s not too difficult to see why in some cases. However clubs only have themselves to blame because, before the agent era, they abused their power and sometimes treated players appallingly.

        It was common for a player to find he’d been transferred without knowing a thing about it – talk about chattels. There were players who’d moved and just bought a new house only to have to go home and tell the family they were on the move again already.

        The pendulum has probably swung too much but only because it spent nearly a century too far the other way.

  33. Re: Bryn Morris
    Can he be seen as a replacement for Smallwood? He is highly fancied by all at the club and took part in pre-season for 1st team. He played at right back so he might have made up the numbers, though.

    So perhaps still one going out on loan to Pools or elsewhere before being ready to play in the Champioship?

    Up the Boro!

  34. I suspect the prospect of Bamford being a second choice striker at Boro may even make him re-assess his future at Chelsea. If both our systems only allow for one out-and-out striker in the team then he must wonder whether there will be any point in the future where he’ll be in the Chelsea team. Club’s like Chelsea usually buy big to get their main strikers so when will he ever a get a run in their team?

    He may wonder if a permanent move to club playing a different system is perhaps his best option of getting game time and progressing – if Juke and Emnes can play in the PL then I’m sure he’s got a chance of around 20 games too. I imagine another loan spell awaits him next year even if he’s successful at Boro – look at Lukaku, after a couple of successful loan spells Chelsea decided he wasn’t a world class striker and sold him – albeit for a lot of cash.

    So are Chelsea loaning players with the promise of making their team in the future? or are they loaning players out to increase their value so they can sell them on to fund the big name trophy players?

    Therefore a permanent move for Bamford now may be better for him but probably not in Chelsea’s interests.

    **AV writes: I think that will definitely be one of the factors his people are urging him to think about. But no-one will buy him and pay him what he is on at Chelsea if he does that.

    1. All of this reasoning strikes a chord and is probably the lie of the land for Bamford. In which case, I agree with AK’s thinking that we shouldn’t get players who aren’t sure they want to be here. Let’s have hungry players not reluctant ones.

      1. As AK has said on many times, , he only wants players in his squad who are 100% committed to Boro and our philosophy I hate it when we are left gagging for a players decision, you either want to come here or not. The club is always bigger than any player.

        And by the way, I nominate AV for the ice bucket challenge, I will gladly donate a sum to the charities involved

    2. My understanding is that Bamford can play no 9 (i.e. Kike) or no 10 (i.e. Tomlin). Therefore, even if he’s not to be first choice for either position, with injuries and rotation, all three players should get plenty of games, especially of we sometimes play two up front.

      I wonder whether it’s a status thing? Perhaps he can’t swallow being second fiddle at a ‘mere’ Championship club. If so, it smacks of the delusional Bendtner. With just 8 goals, Bamford didn’t do that well at Derby. I believe he dropped out of the first team later in his loan period.

      1. As regards your previous post, re-ice bucket lets make AV an offer he cannot refuse, its for good causes after all, I will send AV a personal cheque for £100 to forward on to charities concerned.

        **AV writes: I’m not sure I’m of high enough profile or if it will even still be a thing next week but it enough of you throw some cash in I’ll do it.

  35. In fairness to Bamford he is at an age and stage in his career when he needs to take stock and plan carefully his future career. He is at a Club which notoriously spends tens of millions on their strikers. The likelihood of him breaking through at Stamford Bridge regardless of how good he is is slim. Torres struggles to get a look in at the moment so what are his chances.

    If he stays he will be a forgotten man but if he goes where should he go to? A loan that sees him on the TV globally week in week out hopefully scoring 15 to 20 goals this season for a less fashionable Premiership side would be ideal. There again even mid to lower table Prem teams put most of their capital into “name” Strikers. Mid table sides want proven ability rather than risk being dragged into a fight for survival.

    If he signs for a struggling side he will inevitably be playing in a backs to the wall team that struggles to break out and like as not register a low tally in the goals for column.

    If he then decides the Championship is a more likely destination and where he can earn rave reviews he needs to choose wisely. Fulham for example would perhaps have looked an ideal destination a few weeks back but not if it looks like they are imploding and with an £11m striker ahead of him. Hopes of them running away with the Championship now look more like a sacked manager come October and a fight for survival.

    Derby would be a good punt but he wasn’t a definite starter last season there nor was he always played in his preferred role enabling him to showcase his talents. Forest look like they will be at the right end but Assombalonga has started on fire like Kike. Wolves are interesting but can they sustain the momentum. Its a difficult call but I’m guessing he is waiting to see the Championship league table nearer deadline day to get an indication of potential promotion candidates and strugglers. The longer he waits he may even get a call from a Prem side perhaps through an injury to one of their strikers.

    The big danger is that he messes up what opportunities he has now by waiting for something better but ends up with something worse.

  36. Remember Spraggon, Craggs …..but who was Spriggs??

    **AV writes: A pint-sized loan midfielder briefly on loan from Cambridge.

  37. I agree with JMc, it is great news that George has signed a new 4 year deal, if for nothing else (and I want him to stay) we can now get a decent fee if he moved on. Still hopeful for Bamford, I (unlike others on the EG other page) can understand his request to think it through over the weekend.

    The EG article on other striker possible options could be way off the mark, the way AK and NB are playing their cards close to their chest it could be someone completely out of the blue, who had thought of Kike before it happened?

    Come on BORO.

    **AV writes: They are still hopeful on Bamford. Like you I don’t see a problem with him thinking it over. But they are also already talking to several striking options, including one that is completely off the radar plus a few you will know.

  38. What’s great is that George resigning seemed (on the surface) to be done so quickly… if both sides were in a love-fest all along. Really good news.

    I’m with AV, no surprise BamBam is having a think, he needs to get this right, and it’s a loan, not perm, move so let’s remember his ‘loyalty’ is not to Boro, it’s to Chelski and himself! Bang up Wed on Sat with strong support and it pulls him to us, let’s keep up the positive magnetic vibes!

    By the way, if anyone had said back in 88 when I was at Chelsea for the second and decisive playoff match that we would have this close a relationship with them, as the barrage came flying over the fences after the match, well, I’d have laughed and laughed…………..Up the Boro

  39. Striker off the radar,Im laying bets,hes either Dutch or Brazilian,or Brazilian who plays in Holland or,a Croation,Italian or even the guy in the videos playing with Kike,who looked tasty,there Ive ran the gammitt

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