Patience Pays Off In Boro Bamford Pursuit

PATIENCE is a virtue. After a will-he, won’t he week long wait, Patrick Bamford has opted to sign for Boro on a year long loan. He is fast, direct, good in the air and comes with a proven goal-scoring record in the Championship.  He will be a useful addition to the team, taking some of the burden off Kike and adding tactical options as well as firepower.

But a lot of Boro fans would have given up on him long again. Plenty would have blown him  out last week when he asked for time to think about joining our heroes. Some got in a real Paddy on Twitter and made their point forcefully if not diplomatically.  How dare he want to mull over a move to mighty Boro at a pivotal point in his career! Who does he think he is? And how soft were the club to let him take the Micky like that? We should tell him to sign on the dotted here and now or leg it! Or words to that effect.

But it doesn’t work like that.

Just because we as fans would walk over broken glass to play for Boro doesn’t mean players with no affiliation would. Professionals are pragmatists and his primary concerns will have been: will I get a game?  Will it raise my profile? Will it advance my career?  If I score a lot of goals will I get in Chelsea’s team next year?  Is there a Porsche garage nearby? Will my WAG get on with Yarm’s ladies who lunch? They are all pressing concerns for an in-demand young talent in what could be a decisive season.

He had other options. Wolves and Reading were interested among others and although Jose was urging him to go to Boro as it was more in tune with the Chelsea philosophy you can’t blame the lad for wanting to weigh up everything. His entourage – agents, friends, family – would certainly have been telling him to explore every offer. Football is a precarious business. One bad choice, one injury, one high -profile mistake  and you can be sidelined and a has-been before you know it.  There is always a lot to mull over.

Bamford was up to visit Rockiffe last week. He’s been a few times now. He’s talked over the situation with Aitor. And Jose. He seen the facilities and dined in the Orangerie and Big Ken has give him a glowing report of the club, the squad and the area.  And Bamford sent out a lot of positive signals. If he hadn’t Boro wouldn’t have wasted time working on it. He was keen but concerned.  And it was clearly well advanced even though the deal wasn’t done. Aitor Karanka doesn’t normally talk about “other club’s players” but was so confident he publicly outlined his plans of where to play him and set him a 20 goal target.

But then it went quiet and there was no decision from Bamford.  Boro set a loose deadline of “over the weekend” (which over a Bank Holiday extends to a Monday remember) and when he didn’t appear in a shirt first thing on Saturday morning there was a sudden panic among supporters. Twitter reported him as being at Forest v Reading and the  jitters set in. Surely he would sign for one of them! (He’s a Forest fan and frequent visitor to the City Ground but don’t let that get in the way of a  gloomy spiral).

Then Wolves were touted as rivals. Then a circular cyber-rumour linked him with Reading and cynics had their daft quid on him scoring the winner here on Saturday (even though there wasn’t a sniff of anything concrete in the Berkshire  press.)

Then, with all parties agreed, it was revealed on Tuesday that the deal was done, that Bamford was on his way for a medical and to finalise things and that if all went smoothly then he could even make his debut against Preston. And then we waited again. We were assured by the chairman that everything was done and Boro were waiting on one final bit of routine paperwork. And after the game Karanka confirmed that: it is a minor detail, he said. Bamford would be here in time for Saturday. So we waited. And the jitters began again as fans filled the vacuum with their own  fears and predicted “another” cock-up.

But patience is a virtue. We have said that several times over this close season. Boro made their intentions clear, talked to the player and put a persuasive argument based on football criteria as well as financial muscle and waited. That has been their policy all summer.  KIke had to be persuade too. He took six weeks and several visits to Rockliffe to convince that Boro were a better bet than his Spanish suitors. The Clayton deal had to be steered through some rocky waters and the club stuck with it long after many fans would have abandoned ship and others had opened social media hostilities with the player.

They waited. Fans may not like that. It is at odds with the immediacy of the modern world. But Boro didn’t want to force an early decision with an ultimatum in case he said no. Boro didn’t want Jose to get heavy on him and twist his arm. They wanted a willing volunteer not a pressed man. They wanted Bamford to decide for himself that Boro was where he needed to be. That he could flourish and contribute and enjoy. So they gave him the time to make his decision freely (while working on possible alternatives all the while).

They did and he agreed. Hurray! And then they had to wait again, this time  to finalise the paperwork. And all teh while against a background on increasing anxiety from outside. No matter how instantaneous the internet has made information, in real life the wheels of some things still turn at a mundane pace.

Aitor Karanka has been courting Bamford for ages. He first inquired in January but the England Under-21 international had already committed to a stint at Derby. Karanka went back in May with a statement of intent and was given a sympathetic hearing by Jose. Bamford was at the top of the list of potential Chelsea targets when Boro met up with Stamford Bridge staff earlier this month and they were all agreed: a stint for the striker at a club with a similar training regime and philosophy would be beneficial for all. Lewis Baker was also on the list and could quickly follow Bamford with the terms all but agreed.

Bamford was initially reluctant, mainly because he was aware that Boro play one up front and that they had spent heavily on Kike who was first choice. He wasn’t so much worried about moving to the frozen North as concerned that he would be parked on the bench for long spells whereas Wolves and Reading, among others, may make him their main man.

But Karanka outlined his plans – which revolve around more tactical flexibility and playing two up top whenever possible –  and that settled his nerves. Boro have been ideologically wedded to 4231 under the Spaniard so far, a system that chimes with the Chelsea approach that both Aitor and Jose played at Real Madrid but at times it has been too conservative and limited by the lack of teeth up front.

Karanka intends to tweak that this term and plans to play Kike AND Bamford. Having had a good look at the Championship the boss is feeling his way to a more attacking outlook and he he hinted he is ready to switch between different formations – possibly 4312 or 433 at home and a more solid 4231 away – and that Bamford has a key role in that. He isn’t going to hit that 20 goal target from the bench.

And with the Bamford paperwork done it seems likely that fellow Stamford Bridge starlet Lewis Baker’s own loan move will also now be wrapped up quickly.  The attacking midfielder was a key part of Chelsea’s FA Youth Cup and Premier League Academy League winning side last term and is highly rated by Jose.  He should be a welcome addition and give more creative option. George Saville, also on Aitor’s litle list, won’t be joining though. He has opted for Wolves instead. You can’t win them all.

And Boro haven’t finished there. They also want another attacking option – a creative midfielder who can play wide left and/or in the No10 role to compete with Lee Tomlin. With Bamford sealed on loan that means they now know what is left of their transfer and wages budget. Had he drifted they would have had to commit cash to their back-up option and that would have had a knock on effect on their recruitment plans. Now their patience and persistence has been rewarded they can press ahead with several possible targets.

It could be a busy week.





131 thoughts on “Patience Pays Off In Boro Bamford Pursuit

  1. So the right back position solved now. Boro signed Ryan Fredericks from Tottenham on season-long loan. The 21-year-old has Europa League experience with Spurs and has had loan stint at Millwall last season.

    So still two more and BamBam. We might see a left winger/nr 10 and a striker arriving. Especially so if Kamara leaves as he certaily does not fit to Karanka’s plans.

    We might be busy selling too as Steele and Halliday are likely, Hines in January.

    The squad are looking good. I hope we don’t rush all the new players in at once. I think the new comers are drafted in slowly by Karanka. As last season with Omeruo.

    Exciting weekend looming. Up the Boro!

  2. Disturbing news

    Nothing against the player but

    You sign a player from Tottenhams academy,does that suggest ,there academy is superior to ours?,if so, heads should role,IIve seen Andre Bennet only on a few occasions,but I think he has potential and only giving him a chance do you find out,ive seen occasions when you are not too sure of a player,but when they are given a first team opportunity they thrive better than some you think are certainties.
    I remember year ago Mark Hughes at Man U,wasnt expected to make the team but because of injuries pre season he was thrust in and never looked back,so maybe someone at the Boro should take a hard look at some of the kids and take a chance,

    Having said all that,the last unknown Tottenham reserve we signed didn’t do too bad,I think he was called Souness

    1. I think it has a lot to do with our players development, AK does not like to rush the youngsters and Bennett is still only 19, Atkinson just turned 20 whereas Fredericks has more experience and maybe a better player at this time. The loan is only one season, which gives our young players chance to develop further at a controlled pace. Just my thoughts.

      Come on BORO

      1. The flip side if our lad goes and gets 40 odd first team games in league one or two and the Spurs lad gets 10 games at ours, who goes back to the parent club a better player?

        If you loan a guy from another academy, it doesn’t mean their academy is better. It means you want that player more than the current players, at this moment in time. In the future this could change.

        A – London is a bigger area with more people, more clubs, and more football. So statistically they have a bigger pool of players to attract from – which effects the academy’s performance

        B – Genetics is the key factor whether a player is better, not the academy, then its down to the attitude and work rate of the player, which the academy can help with but ultimately the player decides how much application he puts in..

        C – Players develop at different rates, The Spurs lad maybe better now, in two years time who knows.

  3. gt

    Not seen Andre Bennett, but I thought Atkinson did OK in Marbella. I know that is not the same as proper matches, but obviously AK does think either were ready for the Cup even.
    Looks like one or both to go out on loan. I also guess Fredericks has had some type of first team experience.

  4. Does anyone know if Bamford is training with us while his “paperwork” is being sorted. I supposing Spurs’ fax machine must be a newer model than Chelsea’s…..

  5. Nice words from Kamara following his exit; a move which surely suits all parties.

    I doubt he will be remembered fondly but actually, he started pretty well for us and looked decent when played centrally, prior to his injury and the change in manager.

    Karanka’s defence of Meijas may also be a first. I don’t recall AK defending players too much this far.

    I suspect that will go down far less well than the Kamara news.

    1. I feel a bit for Kei. Not the best but certainly not the worst striker we’ve had in recent times. He had a decent start but once Karanka came in he obviously didn’t fancy him. Not good enough perhaps for a team with aspirations of promotion but I wish him well.

  6. Ian, The Bamford affair is now not so much either a serial or a series, but a saga. This is turning out to be the most controversial piece of paper since Neville(“Tosh”) Chamberlain came back from Munich waving the signature of Bayern’s new “natural leader”.

  7. With Diego Costa’s injury and Fernando Toress’ projected move to AC Milan I’m wondering if Chelsea have gone cold on the Bamford loan. They could see him as an insurance providing some extra depth at limited cost.

  8. I must admit, while I was not particularly impressed with Kamara’s comments about the club, I hardly saw it as the crime of the century like a lot of Boro fans did.

    I saw it all as an overreaction if I’m honest. After all, Kei was just recovering from a disease and probably wasn’t at his usual bubbly best. It seems I was a little more tolerant than the management at the club though, as he has now been released.

    My main concern is that this has cost us a fortune. If that hadn’t happened, I have no doubt we would have eventually found a club willing to give us around £500K for him. As it is, his whole transfer fee (£750 – 900K ish) has been wasted. I’m guessing that they agreed a deal where he left for free, but we didn’t pay up his contract. Maybe Vic will be able to shed some light when he is back from his forays ?

    That way, he will find it easier to find a new club and benefit from a big signing on fee as a free transfer, as well as being able to sign outside the transfer window.

    Steele and Halliday would seem the most likely to follow Kei out of the revolving door at Rockliffe before Monday night. Although, in the case of Steele I still find it incredible considering the questionable ability of the two placed ahead of him in the pecking order. I actually have a sneaking suspicion one of the big boys will come in for him.

    Not because they think he is the next Joe Hart, but as a top up on the home grown quota. He should be good enough to ‘do a job’ in the cup competitions and provide injury cover. After all, I think Steele will be a better keeper than Ross Turnbull, and he spent three years on the bench at Chelsea, ending up with a plethora of (mostly undeserved) winners medals.

    Thinking about it, Man City are struggling like hell to fill their own home grown quota at the moment…

  9. Got to agree with Matt A on the Kamara leaving.
    Unless he has left with nothing in his pockets, it is still bad business to have to write off 900K over two years probably, irrespective of not paying his wages for the remainder of his contract. If he has received any type of pay off that makes it worse.

  10. I’m really over this Bamford thing and wish we would just draw a line under the affair, I mean, what’s he signing, the Magna Carta? He’s been looked at by more doctors than Rhys Williams and Matthew Bates put together and been spotted in more locations than Lord Lucan, in fact, he might be Lord Lucan! Get over him and get A. N. Other frontman on the blower, I can’t be done with all this messing (please feel free to insert your own phrase) around. From being clinical and precise in our earlier transfer dealings, we’re now looking a tad foolish, and I don’t like the feeling.

    1. Agree completely, for over two weeks now, heard the same regurgitated tosh as to why he is not with us, time is against us now, The silence from Rockcliffe is deafening.

      Someone did not check his paperwork ? What a feeble excuse

      **AV writes: It was a release document from Chelsea that had to go via the FA. It’s like when you buy a house and everything is agreed and you get a date to complete then on the morning you get told the other person’s solictor hasn’t got back their search from the Land Registry and it will be there tomorrow. What do you do? Walk away in a huff blaming your estate agent and saying you didn’t want the house anyway? Or sigh and chunter a bit but wait?

      1. Patience is a virtue, no matter how many deals have taken a while to complete there are some people never learn that not all deals are instant.

        Come on BORO.

  11. Not related directly to Boro but a comment on good and bad decisions evening themselves out

    It never does because you cant get back what you have lost, the points the other team/person received stay where they are.

    A classic case in formula one, Rosberg has been disciplined by Mercedes for causing Hamilton to retire. Both drivers have been warned about driving for the rest of the season.

    Nico Rosberg says sorry, I bet he is because he is now 29 points ahead of Hamilton. Easy to be sorry when you keep the spoils. If he was genuinely sorry he could always retire in the next race.

    Same as in football, sorry the ball was over the line but the goal is still disallowed. Sorry the ball had gone out of play but it is still a goal.

    These admitted errors never change the tables, the goals/points stand as awarded, see the paper in the morning.

    You cant do anything about it.


    A saga? Maybe a soap is more appropriate. We are told he is travelling to the Riverside this afternoon, lets hope a different cleric sorts out his travel details.

  12. Patience! Patience! – Bamford is due to arrive at the Riverside any day now in his private sedan chair carried aloft by the fittest Chelsea pensioners available that have been strapped together with as much red tape as they could find.

  13. I’m really over the being-over-Bamford-thing. It’s clearly not the lad’s fault the paperwork hasn’t been completed.

    After tomorrow there’ll still be 41 games to play. Why should we spite ourselves by pulling out of the deal because someone, somewhere hasn’t checked and signed a document?

    He wants to come, his manager wants him to come and so does ours – he’ll come. And when he does we’ll have 123 points to play for.

    1. Andy R,

      When you want documents formulated, formatted, amended, countersigned or whatever, it can be carried out within hours. It’s a bit like the police when they want to come and kick your door in, a warrant can be arranged in an instant to enable them to do it. I don’t see any signs of the kid or his entourage making any attempt to kick our door in.

  14. I’m looking forward to a strong reaction from Boro tomorrow and a good performance. I’ll also be very happy if Mejias has a blinder and has me eating humble pie. Here’s hoping he proves me wrong.

  15. Andy R

    I don’t think it is a big deal, it is a bit of fun though, cant expect us to refuse an open goal. We are not Juke or Alves.

    Vic at Thirsk races! Wonder what his daft quid will be on tomorrow?

  16. Well in my absence it looks like Boro have invented a new “Board” Game, Where’s Bammy?

    The Preston banana skin successfully navigated, a new RB in and Tomas actually is “untouchable”.

    Fortunately my holiday means I will miss Mejias’s next flap tomorrow. I just hope at the end of the Season we are not left counting the lost points dreaming of what could have been. It’s a very mixed and inconsistent management message. I understand that there were ironic jeers sorry cheers on Tuesday when Dimi caught the ball. I am still very much of the opinion that this is all going to become very unfortunate. I hope we don’t end up with a stand off because that would be a great shame after all the hard work (and my daft £40).

  17. If Mejias’s display against Leeds was the poorest by a Boro keeper in many a long day, and it was. And all the more depressing because he had so little to do. Then the decision to continue to play him is an even poorer managerial decision, and a further example of Karanka’s inexperience.

    When a goalie is playing badly, making fundamental errors, and is clearly lacking in confidence, then, if you have reasonable back-up, the only sensible decision is to take him out of the firing line, give him some much needed respite, and give him the opportunity to restore his form out of the limelight. Karanka is doing Thomas no favours by continuing to select him, because every slip and lack of judgment will be seized upon and magnified by the growing number of fans who need little confirmation of the lad’s frailties.

    This is to say nothing of the fact that the ‘philosophy’ of not tolerating mistakes, one strike and you’re out, having no loyalties, being ruthless with under-performing players and subjecting them to public criticism has been blown out of the water and now lacks any credibility. It leaves Karanka with no place to go in terms of any kind of consistent approach to managing his players.

    Add to this a half-time team talk in which the players are urged to be more arrogant. And the lunatic idea that defence is the best form of attack, and other assorted nonsense, and it becomes increasingly difficult to have very much faith in what the manager is doing. He does not seem very sure himself.

    To have any hope at all of meeting the fan’s (too) high expectations of this season we needed to have hit the ground running in our opening, comparatively easy fixtures. Instead of which it looks as though we are going to be eight or ten games in before the players get to know each other’s names. The much vaunted careful recruiting system looks pretty chaotic to me. The season is now already well under way and we are still thrashing about keeping numerous imponderables in the air.. An experienced manager would have made all of his major decisions and signings weeks ago.

    On the other hand our ball retention has improved. Credit where it’s due.

    **AV writes: The recruitment has been methodical and patient and bar Juanfran the manager has got all the targets he set out to get in May. With one to come. I know because I was told at the time exactly who they were after and it has pretty much all been done, Boro haven’t been screwed on prices and they have got out most of the players who weren’t in his plans. Up to now, it has gone pretty much to plan. The club are not responsible for the air of cyber-hysteria created by fans who can’t contain themselves of believe tha unless something happens immediately then it is somehow a sign of ineptitude.

    1. I’m not quite sure how your reply [AV] responds to what Len was talking about?

      Len was talking about consistency of treatment of players; train the best and you’re in the team – be the player who gives me most confidence and you’re in the team – explaining why Jason Steele is out, but hang on a moment, it explains why there has been in chopping and changing in Ak’s tenure, but not why the woeful Mejias continues to get the manager’s backing. An utterly ridiculous and ultimately doomed decision

      Bad keepers never ever change their style – with TM in goal we have no hope of finishing in the top six

      **AV writes: I was responding directly to a point addressed to me.

      On the keeper situation, I discussed it at length in my column last week…. here:

      Generally I think it is too early to call. David De Gea faced exactly the same criticisms when he first arrived at Man Utd. Fans do tend to make their minds up early if players make mistakes – and when keepers make mistake they are very visible and usually costly. It may be he turns out to be rubbish but that will be seen in time. Karanka is fiercely ambitious and is after success at Boro in a hurry. I can’t for a second believe he will risk that on a player. If he is picking Meijas it is not because he is a mate or is Spanish or because he is being stubborn and wants to put critical fans in their place, it is because he thinks that he is the best player. You may disagree with that but he has to make the call.

  18. Len

    An experienced manager would have made all his major decisions and signings weeks ago? I dont see any finished squads at the top never mind this far down the food chain.

  19. Pease have a look at the EG MFC page as there is a video where Bamford explains to lenmasterman what took so long and then AK comes on to ask len, who he should play in every position on Saturday.

    Come on BORO.

  20. Ian

    You are right. The transfer window makes the idea of having a “finished” squad even at this stage rather difficult. But my point is that for a good manager the opening day of the season is an incredibly important deadline. He will have worked hard at the end of last season and throughout the summer to ensure that most of his pieces will be in place for the first game. He will want to have a reasonably settled squad with whom he can work on shape, set-pieces etc.

    You will know better than me, but the likes of Derby, Forest, and Wednesday look pretty well settled and are reaping the rewards. Man Utd.’s difficulties, by contrast, are the result of their pre-season tours according to an infuriated LVG, as well as the manager’s own involvement in the World Cup. They look seriously under- prepared, and are having to solve problems which should have been tackled in the summer. This is Karanka’s first experience of prepping a new season in the UK. He’ll do better next time. But I cannot remember a more chaotic start to a new season for the Boro.

    1. Len

      I think that you’ll find that Man Utd’s problems are way deeper than having an ‘iffy’ pre-season and LVG being involved with the WC, you’ve only got to look at how they performed last season to see that. Even LVG himself admitted that it will now take him a season to sort the mess out, whether that’s him buying time if results don’t go his way, or lining himself up for an almighty pat on the back and a bonus if they do, I don’t know. But, the trouble is a lot deeper than what you’re alluding to.

      Let’s see how long Derby, Forest and Wednesday’s good runs last before giving their respective managers credit. In fact I remember there being a bit of dust in the air at Forest with Pearce and the owners, so all may not be hunky dory down there.

  21. exmil, Karanka isn’t asking anyone who should play in goal on Saturday. With good reason.

    It would be churlish, however not to congratulate Aitor on the Bamford deal. Looks like a good bit of business. As I said, credit ( this time without a scintilla of irony) where it is due.

    AV: I’m one of your biggest fans, but your representation of the recruitment process set out last May as being methodical, patient, and successful does not square entirely withe the fact that we started the season with no right back, one striker, no back-up for the vital Tomlin role, and anything from one to four Chelsea reserves in the pipeline, and the fact that we will be approaching Christmas before we will have any real sense of whether all of this adds up to any kind of cohesive unit. Perhaps we should have had three month’s less patience.

    **AV writes: But it has been all those things: methodical, patient and successful: they have signed almost all of Karanka’s priority targets. Admittedly, it wasn’t fast because if you want the players you want at the price you want then you have to wait as the selling club and the players weigh up their options. The only way to short circuit that and get the players you want immediately is to pay more money. Putting a big bag of cash on the table is a great way of lubricating the entire process. Boro can’t do that anymore.

  22. Karanka’s decision on Mejias is certainly a brave one, if he gets it wrong there will be hell to pay. I made my thoughts on Mejias’ ability clear after the Wed game. I haven’t changed my view, I simply don’t think he’s up to it, its not a case of recovering confidence or playing in to form. I hope I’m wrong simply because I want to see every player that plays for Boro flourish and I want my team to be successful.
    Let’s hope Karanka as the professional knows what he is doing and that Mejias isn’t his blind spot.

    len –

    Derby and Forest have been building for some seasons, we’ve effectively started building this season, they’re bound to be ahead of us in terms of a settled side. As for Wednesday, they’re in a bit of good form that’s all, helped last Saturday by a dodgy keeper and a team that couldn’t find the grit to dig deep and respond. They’ll end up mid table, they weren’t special.

    1. I disagree, I think Sheffield Wednesday will finish above us, what say you?

      I’m prepared to wager the vast sum of £10 for our nominated charity that they’ll finish above us.

      They are a very organised side and we have a manager blinded by a woeful keeper, we will not finished in the play-offs

  23. AV:

    In terms of preparing for a new season the timeline is of vital importance. The club has chosen to compromise on this. For example it has chosen to wait on Chelsea’s decision on whom to release with all of its attendant uncertainties for the start of our own season. This may well turn out to be a well justified strategy, but we should acknowledge the drawbacks in terms of our own preparation.

    Had we not landed Bamford the strategy would have been in shreds. And knowing that we would be awaiting the decisions of the Special One, making sure that almost all of the other pieces were in place by the Birmingham game might have had greater priority than it appears to have done. The art of the successful strategy is getting the timeline right without spending extra money. We do not seem to have been brilliantly successful in achieving this. That’s all.

    **AV writes: Very few teams have their squad in place for the opening fixture. The presence of the transfer window has moved the timescale for the entire game as clubs and players are involved in brinkmanship hoping to get the best possible price or move. That is not a situation of Boro’s making. It is a structural problem affecting all clubs.

    On Bamford, the club did not have all their eggs in one basket and were talking to several possible targets. They waited for him because getting a priority target in on loan meant they could then allocate funds ear-marked “attackers” on the more expensive of the other two targets that they are quite advanced on. Had Bamford fallen through they would not have been “in shreds”. They would have just gone for the cheaper of those two options and also had another striker lined up who would have come on loan. They have prepared well to put them in a strong position come the game of deadline day chicken.

    Having seen Boro’s transfer strategy close up for many years this is the most methodical, focussed and cost-effective for many years. Of course, the proof of the pudding….

  24. AV, a very interesting comment you made about the transfer strategy. You claim the its the most focused you have known.
    I think that alone verifies what many of us have maintained,its been a shambles in the past.

    **AV writes: And that is the “typical Boro” fan’s mentality in a nutshell: if something isn’t brilliant then by definition it is “a shambles.”

    1. Let’s wait til Tuesday morn, see the squad we have and hope Aitors has got it right first time for us to get out of this god forsaken wilderness .

      He is a hell of a manager IMO, and there are certainly interesting times ahead no doubt with many twists and turns

  25. So our homegrown goalkeeper has been told he can leave, but if he doesn’t leave he’ll be part of the squad. Presumably a lot of people have known about his availability for a while, or have they? The situation seems rather strange to me.

    I hope he gets his career back on track and fulfils the potential that is undoubtedly there.

    Any insider info AV?

    **AV writes: There has been no interest as yet. He is in a strange position financially. The problem is that he is on relatively big money so the Championship teams who may be keen can’t afford to match what he is on but Premier League clubs who could afford it are probably looking at more experienced and better keepers. It may be that he ends up going on loan where there is more leeway to tweak the numbers.

  26. Listened to the Bamford interview, seemed a pleasant lad though it was only five minutes but first impressions were good.

  27. Finished squads. Everyone is so organised that SkySports have cancelled their deadline day show, Jim White and Natalie are given the evening off.

    The only teams looking to finalise their squads are Chelsea, Man City, Arsenal…………………………………………………………… Hartlepool,……………………real Madrid, Forest Green,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,, Matlock Town, Bordeau,,,,,,,,,,

    We are no different to anyone else, it is a game of musical chairs which will go on until the window closes.

  28. Are expensive loanees from the Premier League really cost effective?

    I assume that Kenny O, “Frankie” Fredericks and Paddy Bam Bam are on 20K plus a week, and we are probably paying a significant proportion of that. It wouldn’t surprise me if these deals are costing us over £2m. That’s a lot of outlay in a FFP environment with no chance of a return.

    With that money you could have bought the forward and midfield equivalent of Husband. A talented young player proven at this level who, if he thrives, will earn the club a substantial profit. That’s how a club like Boro should operate: low outlay with a prospect of a substantial reward. These loan deals are the equivalent of a hard working family of four renting an expensive penthouse flat. effectively dead money.

    None of this matters to Karanka, of course, who has no interest in a sustainable long term or even medium term plan. He’s in a hurry to get us up and improve his own CV so he can move up the coaching ladder. What he leaves in his wake, should it not turn out as we hope is of no consequence to him. That explains the barmy decision to exclude one of our prize assets Steele thus slashing his value and the crazy sale of Burgess( fee undisclosed but undoubtedly a pittance) without him even been given a first team chance. FFP means nothing to him.

    We have no strategy beyond ” Let’s Get Promoted”. If we don’t then, well, we’ll deal with that later.It is likely to involve giving selling a load of homesick Spaniards at a substantial loss.

    At the moment, both on and off the pitch, there is no Plan B.

  29. PP – excellent post. That is my concern as well.

    There are echoes of the McClaren era but with no chance of a trophy or European football to (in some way) justify it.

    I am excited by the signings and the hope of short-term results that they bring. But I preferred the mooted Swansea model of patient building towards a sustainable future with a pleasurable, recognisable playing style focused on technique.

    I very much hope that Steve Gibson has a contingency plan should we fail to get promoted this season, but I’m struggling to see what it might be.

    Karanka still strikes me as an achiever and I expect him to have a successful managerial career but at this stage his record is strikingly similar to his much maligned predecessor.

    It feels very much like promotion or bust. I haven’t placed a bet on promotion.

  30. So MFC have tweeted that the Bamford loan is actually only for three months and not for the season – was the ‘clerical’ hold-up more that Boro and Chelsea couldn’t agree on the terms of the deal? Or is this an interim solution to get him signed before the deadline and allow for further negotiations?

    **AV writes: I’ll try and find out the details today.

  31. The decision to give 100% backing to Mejias and to make Steele a pariah is one of the worst and least honourable that I have encountered in nearly 70years of supporting the Boro.

  32. Just quickly on the goalkeeping issue. Certain players can look absolutely fantastic in training (I remember harry redknapp saying adel taarabt was the best player in the world In training)

    However, this leads onto my point that it is actually what you produce on the Saturday that counts.

    Never has this been more true than that of the position of goalkeeper.

    You can’t recreate the pressure of a game on the training ground. When meijas comes out to grab a catch there isn’t the weight of expectation that there is in front of a huge (sometimes!) crowd.

    I am sure meijas looks the best in training and that is why he is first choice but unless he actually starts producing it on a Saturday, the position of keeper like no other highlights and magnifies all your flaws and weaknesses. In a keeper I would rather have solid, dependable and unspectacular than a maverick who is always open to a clanger.

    On a similar note we persisted with brad jones for months when he was clearly not up to the job. We were told he’s fantastic in training but that counted for nothing when he made errors galore on a Saturday.

    I understand AK giving meijas one more match to hopefully give him some confidence back. To drop him now at the height of his clangers may make his position in he club untenable, but if he has a stinker today I hope he isn’t afraid to bite the bullet and say that maybe on he pitch, where it matters meijas isn’t up to it. The position of keeper in my mind is 50% talent and at least 50% temperament. It is that temperament that training does not let you see.

    **AV writes: Karanka is ruthless and he won’t risk his project on one player.

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