Southgate v Strachan: Bad Boro Boss Battle

BLIMEY!  Gareth Southgate is poised to make his dug-out debut as England manager!  Well no-one saw that coming when he made his ignominious exit from the scene of the Riverside relegation car-crash and the aftermath.

Next month he will go head-to-head with fellow Riverside sackee Gordon Strachan in World Cup qualification action. Boro fans can be forgiven for thinking they’ve just walked out of Bobby Ewings’s shower (one for the teenagers there.) In what crazed parallel universe do the two statistically worse bosses in modern Middlesbrough history  end up as international managers? GS 1 v GS 2. International managers? It really is a funny old game.


The pair were broken and booed out of the Riverside with their managerial reputations in tatters after leaving Boro in a far, far  worse state than they found it. And after starting from great positions. We can all agree they skulked away as failures. But how do their Riverside reigns stack up against each other? Who did the most long term damage? And does either have any mitigation? Who was the worst?

Here their results, style, signings, PR image and legacy are assessed in a long read I did to stop you going stir crazy and get you thinking (and arguing) during the tedious long international break break.  Over to you. Sharpen those knives….



175 thoughts on “Southgate v Strachan: Bad Boro Boss Battle

  1. …or selecting a goalkeeping coach for that matter.

    I’d loved to have been a fly on the wall when Victor first met Leo. I wonder what tips Leo handed out to bring Victor up to his own standard.

  2. I don’t want any bile in response to this post, no bitter and twisted responses.

    Rooney has passed his sell by date. He has played 55 games a season for 13 years in a hard working role. Thanks and time to move on.

    Dier is brought in and the AV’s inevitability drive takes over, Dier has a shocker and gifts Slovenia a chance.

    The other boo boy favourite, Joe Hart, has a great 50 minutes and saves England.

    What chance of Rooney coming on and scoring the winner?

    As I say no bile please.

  3. Cahill, Stones, Dier, Walcott, Henderson, Lingard, Alli.


    International class footballers? yer jokin arn’t yer? What on Earth is any England Manager supposed to do with that lot?

    Personally I wouldn’t have any of them near an England shirt again. Gibson and Fry would be a huge improvement on those two CB clowns and Forshaw and Clayts would be a massive improvement on Henderson and Alli.

    I’m not claiming Boro players are International class, more that the current incumbents would struggle in League 1 let alone Championship level. The whole performance was very Boroesque, pass, pass, backwards, sideways but don’t drive forward and don’t shoot when you can pause and pass.

    On the positive Townsend showed some spirit and fight when he came on and Joe Hart put his doubters in their place. Gareth has a very tough job on his hands. I hope he gets the time and opportunity to change things but the problem is that he hasn’t got much in reserve to change that sorry lot with.

  4. They sound significantly worse when you liken them to the generations Sir Bobby Robson, Venables, Hoddle and Sven had to work with. While it’s tempting to argue the rot started with the joyless World Cup 2010 performance, there has actually been little to get excited about since Japan and South Korea in 2002. Rooney’s then prodigious showings against Turkey and Croatia (2004), extra time against the Portuguese (2004) and a friendly win over Argentina in Switzerland were rare moments of sparkle in a time where, as another fan put it, the “Hollywood FC” nature of Sven’s supposedly Golden Generation began catching up with them.

    **AV writes: Golden Generation? A media tag. Like Liverpool’s Spice Boys. They won nothing. People react to England set-backs as if they are seismic shocks. Putting aside it is the first qualifier England haven’t won for about three, what do people seriously expect? To sweep to emphatic victories in every game? England are an average side and have been all my life. Since 1966 they have reached one semi-final in the World Cup, the same as mighty Belgium and South Korea. They routinely struggle through the groups then go out against the first higher ranked side they meet. That’s where they are.

    I think people are blinded by the fact that the Premier League is the richest in the world and expect high achievement but most of the ‘quality’ in the league is foreign. Fans don’t really care about that. They would rather their team had the best possible players and don’t give a monkey’s about England. They do like a good moan when the national team lose but there is no real desire for change.

    1. AV –

      Most of the talent in the league is foreign, but there is some talent there.

      I think that the problem is the national press. By constant whining they have, by default, captured the selection machinery. For no good reason we are operating under a few rules which do not exist in the real world.

      One: all players selected must play for the four leading clubs, two of which clubs must be from London.
      Two: no attention must be paid to current form, that is for thick football fans.
      Three: Once selected, the current darling must be selected regardless of injury or, god help us, form.
      Four: Pay no attention to any team not the big four, even if they win the league by ten points(i know, a lunatics idea, it’s never going to happen)
      Five: take the favourite darling to the big tournaments, even if they have spent the entire season injured
      Six: At all costs protect the value of the big clubs young lads(that means pick them always)
      Seven: Ignore the champions when it comes to selecting the team(see rule four)
      Eight: Once the press tell you that some hopeless youth is the future of English football, keep picking him, no matter that he is useless(stones) ..

  5. So a slow evening just got Slovenia… Regretfully I couldn’t see anything on TV worth watching this evening so I broke my regime of not enduring watching a live England qualifier and instead just sticking to the ‘highlights’ – though England games tend to produce fewer highlights than a hairdresser that has run out of peroxide.

    It’s still safe to say there was nothing worth watching on TV this evening. Anyway, who’s idea was this TWO-WEEK international break nonsense – what’s wrong with just getting these games out of the way on a Wednesday evening and not disturbing our weekend entertainment.

    Plus, it’s not as if we’re actually seeing any benefit from the players getting together for a sustained period of time – they would probably play better if they didn’t get their delicate heads overloaded with game plans and stats and just had a bit of fun with a few days off playing for their country.

    Surely everyone just wants a few beers and a bit of a jingoistic sing-song and something other than Brexit to feel English about for a few hours then wake up the next morning and get back to proper footy.

    Poor Southgate, this job is going to make his agent start to check out the possibility of pizza adverts again soon. Anyway, I’d like to see Donald Trump get the England job as it’s the only certain way he will ever have his reputation ruined – it seems nothing else seems to…

  6. England NFT (that’s National Football Team to you and me) – over coached, micro managed, creatively stifled.

    Who’s to blame? The coaches and the FA suits who demand safety first and impose what they see as the best game to play. They could be right but it leads to yawn fests and public apathy, if not downright anger and disgust.

    The biggest laugh I get is when they bring out there ipads upon substitutions and instruct a player on the side lines. What a nonsense.

    What’s the solution, Spartak? Pick a team that has players who are trained to play of their own accord not trained to play as robots. Players with vision and self dependent decision making ability. But then of course what do the coaches do?

    I remember a story about one P Gascoigne when in the England dressing room with, I think it was Bobby Robson. Bobby was explaining tactics and after a while bouncing the ball up and down on the ground as he sat and half listened, Gazza said ‘Can we play football now, Boss?’ or some such. Class and simples!!!!


  7. AV hits the nail on the head, most of the quality in the top flight comes from overseas players. I seem to remember the idea that the judicious addition of a Zola here and TLF there was supposed to raise the standards of English (British) players so that the national team(s) improved.

    Sadly it hasn’t happened and even the British strengths of defence and goalkeeping are disappearing as well.

    Spartak hits on a theme, we are developing clones out of our academies. Other countries have academies, how come they are better individually than our players.

    1. AV is right, the England team has been traditionally the best of the home nations but outside of Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland they struggle against moderate European opposition like say a Poland or an Austria and against Spain, Italy, France or Germany they are underdogs.

      Meanwhile puts a cross into the centre!

        1. I was living just outside Munich at the time and my screams of joy woke the neighbours – they weren’t happy Bavarian bunnies! 🙂

          1. To me, Spartak, that game was more of a freak than anything else.

            Games like that are instances where things happen or fall into place in just the right place and at just the right time; they’re not instances of the winners really outplaying the losers. (See also, Holland 1-4 England, Spain 1-5 Holland.) Minutes before Gerrard’s game changing long-ranger, Deisler had missed a sitter. Similarly, in Brazil, Spain looked to be coasting at 1-0 before RVP’s flying header from nowhere.

  8. Yes, AV is right, which is why I gave up being bothered about England years ago. It’s like watching paint dry and the hysteria that surrounds it all is pathetic.
    Roll on Sunday.

  9. Btw. their boy Oliver Kahn was in goal. Strangely I didn’t hear any calls for Kahn’s kopf to be separated from his shoulders. Of course, for those that care to remember, the kraut chompers made it to the final whilst our boys were beaten by the eventual winners, Brazil, in the 2002 World Cup Finals in South Korea and Japan. Kahn was in goal in the final.

    Perhaps we could feed more sauerkraut to our young hopefuls in the academy canteens.

  10. Steely

    Out of the office today, no doubt it will come up tomorrow. One comment I have heard is that the others they have had have been rubbish.

    I think they will rationalise it as a good move.

    1. His win ratio with them previously was decent (54%?) apart from when they imploded when Schteeeve had his head turned. So long as no other “Big” Club is stupid enough to show interest and unsettle him again he will in all likelihood get them promoted within the next two seasons.

      Almost incredible to think we have been talking about three International Managers this week all of whom were ex Boro Managers and in living memory!

  11. “The others they have had have been rubbish”? Hmm.

    You got me thinking of Paul Clement, Ian, and the seven winless games that it took Mel Morris to pull the trigger. Sometimes the bigger picture ought to be looked at – five defeats in thirty, including that winless run, is hardly horrific (it was two in twenty-four before Albert and George’s late intervention) and I chose to see our 1-1 draw back in August as a game in which both teams were finding their way.

    (As an aside, I do wish some would stop believing that Albert was publicly scapegoated for Derby’s equaliser – AV has confirmed he was not singled out for the goal. Still, I suppose rationality flies out the window in the heat of the moment.)

    But back to Clement. I think these words from Nick Miller in the Guardian, written in February, kind of sum it all up…

    “Clement was not perfect. The football he played was not always attractive and he seemed to have a slightly skittish approach to team selection, a little unsure of the best way to use (the) large group of players purchased…

    “But even then, these faults could either serve as an argument for keeping Clement or for getting rid of him: his defenders might say he needed more time to work all that out, his critics could note that managers have to know much quicker these days, and that sort of time simply isn’t realistic anymore.

    “Particularly for a club in a hurry, as Derby are. (Mel) Morris’s promise (‘this season, we won’t be getting rid of Paul Clement. Period.’) was nice to hear at the time and his words spoke to a long-term plan, but it fell firmly into the who-are-you-trying-to-kid camp: a club in the Championship does not spend £25m on players and remain content with a solid 8th-place finish, ready to build for next season, no matter how much the pretty football is in keeping with the club’s ‘way’.”

    I get deja vu when I read that. I think, harsh though much of the criticism of AK may sound (it’s gone as far as writing off signings who haven’t even kicked a ball), it’s reflective of a climate in which few will be given the time they need to get it right, regardless of how committed and meticulous they are.

    1. Brian Clough was asked about his rapid achievements with Hartlepool, I believe it was, and he said he didn’t have time to sit on his backside and simply enjoy himself or words to that effect.

      That was back in 1967 when he also got himself a coach drivers licence so he could drive the Hartlepools team bus in between going round the local pubs generating funds to keep it alive. Modern footballers and managers could be said to be a bit pandered these days both in time and money n’est ce pa?

      Meanwhile back in the HoC, there are events that I never thought I’d see in my day, that of Conservative MP’s going hard on Conservative MP’s in debate. Whilst the now newly aligned Labour Party are havin a jolly good time at the Conservative PM’s expense.

      Brexit means Brexit unless your in the Tory Party.

      Happy Days Habibi

      **AV writes: There were also a pro-free movement Tory MP (Anna Soubrey) getting stuck into Labour MPs in arguing for stronger controls on immigration. Strange days indeed.

  12. Bit quiet down t mill!

    And sooooo much appen sports fans. Yep, new/old manager at Derby. Further, another Steve has jumped of the revolving carousel that is Championship management and landed in the Villians comfy chair. My thoughts are keep a weathered eye on movements at the Boro with one Steve Aggers. Has SG feathered his nest sufficiently to ward away any enticing approaches or is Aggers thinkin the grass is greener….. If he does jump the good ship Boro, does it mean his assessment of the Boro’s future is not a pretty one?

    Time will tell, sports fans.

    And yet, as Sunday rushes upon us like a great male buffalo in heat, what of our chances against a dangerous Watford side? Will our dodgy defence be able to plug the leaks in the defence or will the word ‘water-tight’ belong to the past?

    Let us not forget 1 point gives us 3 in 6 games and no longer merits the title of a ‘win’ by any other name. 15 points gone begging calls for serious analysis not blaise phrases espousing unconditional love and trust in misjudged managerial caution and expert acumen.

    What you on about, Spartak? Dear friends don’t be surprised at added calls for AK to go as the next three games are perhaps even more challenging.

    Happy Days


    Halas Habibi

    Brexit means Brexit means ‘well not quite sure at the moment’ 🙂

    1. Quick one for you, sports fans.

      A link to a short but hilarious clip with the redoubtable Laural and Hardy – in their place of course you could place David Cameroon and Theresa ‘Do you like me new shoes?’ May when the topic of Brexit is discussed.

      Enjoy Habibi

    2. Aggers is an interesting litmus test. Should we get beat on Sunday will it be used as a “distracting” influence?

      If he stays it will be intriguing and if he goes interesting or should that be the other way around? Either way I predict he will stay until the end of October at least.

  13. Spartak

    As we have debated before, there is a charge sheet for managers with a list of pro’s and a list of con’s, no, not agents, things they have done well.

    Managers don’t get the HR ‘what have you done well and what have you done less well or could have done better’ type of appraisal. The table tells it’s own story.

    1. Good morning, Ian! How are you on this politics free football blog this morning, where no mention of a Tory meltdown will be made so as to placate the more sensitive members and ensure their breakfast is not spoiled 🙂

      You’re a stanch reader of the Torygraph are you not? Perhaps you might like to take a look at the link below:

      Question is, if the managers are so bad, how bad are the complete and utter numpties who employed them in the first place? And as far as ‘appraisals’ go and the ‘table tells its own story’ (whatever that means), the numpties that appoint, I believe, more often than not are simply reflecting their own 5* quality numptiness, EPL or any other league for that matter.

      It’s not confined to the EPL or English game national or international. For who in their right mind would employ a person with no, absolutely no experience of the Spanish La Liga 1 – hmmm Valencia did!

      Ultimately, the lack of professionalism is appalling – I mean who appoints someone coz they met him in a bar in a casino or the toilets of a rest stop on a motorway FGS! The football business is run by.. well I’m sure you could think of a word to describe them. Still, they’re great on hanging on to their positions and that’s what matters the most f.e. Blackpool et al.

      Thank god we’ve got competent people running the country in these most challenging of times. But I promised not to mention Politics.

      Halas Habibi


      1. On the Valencia theme, after Enschede you could throw in Wolfsburg with Derby’s version of the “Returned” and then there is Mr Moyes up the road once of Sociedad fame and fortune (Chris Coleman also had a short and just as miserable stay there).

        Going further up the A19 a certain Mr Robson senior didn’t do too bad with his Spanish sojourn in the sun many years ago (not to mention Eindhoven, Lisbon and Porto). Indeed his time there was infuential in the chosen ones rise to fame and of course ultimately our own AK, pass it on as they say!

        Who could forget wotshisname the ex England manager, no not the fat one, the nice one, Roy. Didn’t he enjoy the delights of Toblerone a while back and some Scandinavian smorgasbord.

        John certainly didn’t seem Tosh at all at Madrid. Our very own El Tel done alright over in Spain. Mind you don’t mention John Gregory’s name in Israel or Tony Adams in Azerbaijan.

        Getting back to one of our own Souness is still revered in Galatasary for his Standard bearing Flag planting exhibition (just don’t mention him to Fenerbache supporters) although Torino and Benfica supporters probably would side with the Fenerbache fans.

        Then there is Robbo and Reidy’s time in Thailand although its probably best not to go there although Reidy last I heard was out in India somewhere. Mad dogs and Englishmen and all that.

        Mixed fortunes as they say but there is very much a North East connection with many of them.

  14. Spartak

    No politics as agreed but I prefer Corbyn or May to Trump or Clinton.

    As for football recruitment, it seems fairly random at times. I guess the difficulty is how do you measure their achievements or lack of.

    It isn’t the same as the work situation where the process can do half the job for you. Can you turn football in to a process? Here is an article about Brentford.—the-club-thinking-outside-the-box/

    **AV writes: Getting the right manager is never an exact science. It is much about luck and unquantifiable things. Brian Clough. Brilliant taking over second division Derby abd Forest. Who would have thought in between he would have been a disaster taking over one of the best teams in the country?

    1. But that’s the point AV, ‘Who would have thought?’, they don’t, for the most part think, because it’s too difficult for them!

      Football management is multifaceted. Not only that but it’s about people management skills and people change from post to post, team to team. Not only that but if you are bringing in a new manager to an already established culture then you’re going to need some form of change management abilities.

      What’s required is an overall assessment of where the team/squad are in footballing terms, the character of the players involved, the style of play deemed to be optimum, the culture of the club and the position they are in. When you’ve got a handle on that then you look for a manager who fits the bill for the job you want doing. Has he experience he doing what you want? If not, then chances are it will take longer. Have you clearly identified the realistic aims given your resources (remember Cloughie went round the pubs raising cash for the club. Would any manager be prepared to do that for their club today?) ?

      Ultimately, I believe the people tasked with the job of appointing the manager are either too lazy or too incompetent to do the job properly and source the manager that best fits the job. Then, of course they may in a rush of blood to the head give the manager they have appointed a extended five year contract on the basis that someone MIGHT want him in the near future. This is on top of the fact that the job itself may change and you need a new type of manager to take that on i.e., gain promo, then keep said team in newly gained league.

      All that said, some do get it right e.g. a couple of clubs on the south coast spring to mind and some get it disastrously wrong e.g., Barcodes,Mackems et al and I refer to the Toryagraph link I posted earlier.

      Halas Habibi


      **AV writes: Sometimes you can recruit the right man for all the right reasons and they can be doing everything right behind the scenes in building the platform but fans build up pressure and antagonism because results or performances on the pitch aren’t improving as fast as they would like. Sometimes you get demands to throw the baby out with the bathwater because patience is a very limited quality in football.

      One of the biggest problems in the game is that well thought out managerial models and projects for all their validity and reason, rarely get the time to come to fruition. I think you get more time at a ‘middling’ club that are on the up (say Boro, Southampton, Swansea in recent years) than at big clubs where instant success is demanded. Or small clubs (or troubled clubs who have been on the slide) where there is no leeway (or money) for experimentation.

      1. I agree, there is a limit to what extent the external variables can be controlled but I still suggest that the management of clubs up and down the league is lacking in the skill sets that are required to optimise efficiency and success. I believe the major flaw is in many boardrooms in many clubs and their inability to manage is the root cause of a clubs failure or lack of success as you may prefer.

        At the Boro many would say we have had a typical example how failure to react or plan for more difficult times has led to failure to achieve promo. The responsibility lies finally with SG. That being said, he owns the club in real terms so all we can do is point to the facts and keep supporting or not.

        As an alternative, I would like to see every business or organisation have a minimum of 30% state ownership and a member of the ‘workforce’ on the board. However, I believe that many powers that be would fiercely resist this because then people may find out how incompetent those in positions of responsibility really are.

        Happy days

  15. I see our shirt is back in the news because of the “alternative sources” for our Sunday Pub League Catalogue item. Incredible that the Club were apparently led to believe that it takes nearly a year to select and then get delivery for a standard stock item yet “traders” can source identical shirts and have them for sale in a matter of weeks.$sitewide%20p$5

    Who would have thought it possible?

  16. Going back to the original article, I always think of Southgate’s appointment as losing a top class defender and captain than gaining a manager. He may one day turn into a club manager but I don’t see it if I’m honest. Nice guy, I just don’t see him inspiring a team. And for my money we will never have a decent England team until we stop giving millions of pounds to our best young footballers before they’ve actually achieved anything.

    Less said about Strachan the better.

    1. A very valid point Smoglodyte. Gareth was one of the best CB’s in Europe at the time and possibly the best captain and leader on the pitch. To lose both simultaneously was no minor impact.

  17. “Football fans are being urged to be on the look-out for fake replica kit following Boro’s return to the top flight.

    The warning comes amid reports of cheap adult shirts and children’s kits being advertised via social media and on online selling sites.”

    Warning? Ha Ha. More like snap them up! The replica shirt ( any club) is one of the biggest rip-offs of all time. Grossly overpriced and changed too often.

    Go to any market on your holidays and you can have your choice of any PL club. That’ll be 10 of your English pounds please sir. (And they are still making a profit).

    When I see stories like the one in The Gazette, my first thought is, if you didn’t price them so high fans wouldn’t buy “replica” replicas.

    Serves the greedy so and so’s right. The PL clubs are awash with money, without squeezing the last penny from fans for shirts.

    1. GHW

      The Boro shirt is an Adidas Regista shirt (Adidas even have matching shorts with a slanted band to match) from their 2016 range.

      Retailers in the UK are selling Regista shirts at around £12.50 to £13.50. Now those catalogue ones are Blue and Navy or Red and Black for example as oppose to Red and White but trust me using White fabric for the band is no dearer than Navy or Black fabric.

      Throw in the cost of a Boro badge, a Premiership badge and Sponsors logo and it still falls well short of £20. If the UK Kit suppliers are making profits at a selling price of £13 I would guess they are paying no more than £8.50 to £9.00 (probably less) at cost from Adidas. No wonder fans are buying elsewhere, even those “copy” shirts are ridiculously priced but offer a bargain in comparison with the “official” shirts.

      I don’t know the Club’s landed cost price but I suspect they were duped rather than deliberately setting out to fleece the fans by sharp sales practice. A uniquely designed and styled product can and should command a premium price but both the Club and Adidas left themselves wide open to an incredibly naive commercial decision.

      It very much relates to Spartak’s point above about the level of Management Skills in Football Clubs. In Boro’s case it was probably handled by someone with little product experience or knowledge allied to a sales person smelling blood and a good commission. The result is that everyone has lost out, Boro, Adidas and most importantly the fans.

  18. Ah, RR. You bring back memories.

    The first time I’d heard of Roy Hodgson, he was the only other Englishman at USA 94 barring Big Jack. He’d qualified Switzerland for the tournament before Italy, led them to a spectacular 4-1 win over Hagi’s Romania in Detroit (Sutter, Knup, Chapuisat, Bregy, Sforza… I have fond memories of that Swiss generation) and then led them to Euro 96 before moving on.

    Souness at Benfica, less so. I believe they had past and future Boro men on their payroll at one point. I also heard they “bought” Brian Deane for 1 million, but didn’t pay, and then flogged him off to us for 3 million. To this day I still wonder if I’m wrong about that.

  19. I’m honoured. AV repeating a line from my 4.33pm post on 12th regarding the return of “our Steve” to Derby. To be fair, I was quoting Jimmy Greaves.
    It does, however, make a change from being chastised for my occasional introduction of C…..t to the blog.

    1. Ironically there will probably be more shirts sold this year than previous seasons, just that most of them will probably be not from “Official” sources.

      When I read the following from Councillor Julia Rostron, “It’s also understandable that they’re on the look-out for good value – but if a bargain looks too good to be true, then it’s probably best avoided.

      “I’d urge them not to pick up cut price items that will result in disappointment, but make sure they get the real thing.”

      I hope she was referring to the new shirts and not the new signings!

  20. For what it’s worth, it seems Gareth has won this contest hands down but there’s still a lot of doubt that he can succeed in management. I hope he does.
    What is undeniable is that he is one of the greatest defenders and captains this club has ever had.

  21. To quote a much loved football cliche, at the end of day, the job of manager is to get the best out of their players. Whilst I accept you can drill defences to cope with set plays and likewise develop set plays of your own – after that you are dependent on the ability of your players to think on their feet and execute their football skills to their best ability.

    So I’m with Spartak on this one in terms of avoiding micro-management and instead creating an environment for players to express themselves and simply give them the confidence to play their game to their best ability.

    I’m hopeful that Gareth will put the players first and his intelligent non-confrontational manner should benefit the players. Encouragement at this level is always going to lead to better results than hammering them for not following your every instruction.

    Over recent years, football managers have been built up by the media into being the most significant part of the system – top managers have been elevated to a kind of football-guru, a trait that the likes of Jose and Wenger actively encourage.

    But they only work well when players buy into them and feel confident in what they are doing will work – Having the best players is probably more significant and perhaps they play better when they are confident.

    Mourinho usually works well in he first couple of years until the novelty of playing for the ‘Special One’ wears thin – Professor Wenger’s graduates also have a tendency to flunk their final exams. Players probably just need to know what is expected, consistently applied they need to be drilled to think for themselves and praised when they do well and not left to wonder what they did wrong.

    So a manager can only try to continue to encourage the right attitude of his players so that they play at their best level – perhaps that was what SAF managed more often than most.

    It seems our Gordon’s pearls of wisdom may have already become less inspiring north of the border but perhaps sensible Gareth is the right man at the right moment for England.

    1. I read somewhere a quote about one’s route to success. It read something like ‘If you’re doing something the same as everyone else, you’re not succeeding!’

      Now, like all pearls of wisdom there is a counter side to the meaning and more often than not it’s just so much safer to stick with the crowd. As a colleague of mine once said ‘Any nail that has its head raised above the wood will be hammered down’. This of course relates to the resistance towards change and may I suggest you find it everywhere, but change will come and you either embrace it or fight it, because without change you stagnate and then go backwards.

      A football manager is a vital component to the success a club, but it’s not rocket science to understand that it’s the whole operation working synchronously to the optimum level that achieves the greatest success.

      And that starts from the very top!

      Halas Habibi

      Sunday comes rushing forwards and I’m ready for a game = Urrrraaaaahhhhhh!!!!

    2. Good post Werder!

      My experience of micro management is that it eventually destroys the heart and soul of the worker and they either conform and become subservient or clear off freeing their expressive creativity and ability. The need to ensure conformance to requirement from those above becomes overriding instead of doing what is required in individual situations. Making a mistake is inevitable for everyone in life its a normal process from time to time but making an error by not adhering to micro demands from the micro manager is something else entirely.

      I’ve always said to my staff if you make ten decisions and get seven right and three wrong, don’t worry we can revisit the three wrong ones, learn from them, fix them and improve. When I have witnessed micro managed employees they are more concerned with what their superior will think rather than what is the correct decision so they invariably either try and duck or pass the issue. Football is little different in how it affects the psych of the workers/players.

  22. Thank heavens the weekend approaches.

    Seven games gone and it will be intriguing to see the attendance for a Sunday lunch game on TV against one of the smaller clubs. I don’t know how many Watford fans travel but I would be surprised if they sell out the way section.

    I think we may see our first sub 30,000 turnout.

  23. Funny you should mention cliches Werder…..

    **AV writes: We use all those every day and they are NOT cliches. It is a form of shorthand conveying quite complex situations in time honoured forms that a well trained audience understand. All worlds have their idioms understood to those who actively participate but which seem strange to outsiders. But that language has evolved because it works. All the words on that list have an important other function too: they are short and snappy so are ideal for printing at 120pt in a back page headline: ACE HACK ‘SLANG’ BLAST (Then in 48pt sub-deck: Vickers weighs in on ‘cliche’ storm.)

      1. Poster blasts hack for using capitals to emphasise point.

        Hack reels at ‘too big’ broadside

          1. Bring Back Capital Punishment

            Poster calls for draconian answer to latest furore.

            **AV writes: DOPE ROPE HOPE
            Cliche scribe ‘should swing’ call

  24. Got me thinking of “Headers”…

    Bullet, Glancing, Cushioned, Diving, Flick, Back, Towering, Planted, Clearing, any more….

    **AV writes: Looping, the most frequent and productive of all the headers.

    1. Or describing the trajectory of the ball e.g. upwards or skywards header, downwards header. These can be both positive or negative depending where it happens on the pitch. An attacking downwards header can leave the keeper flat footed, but a defensive downwards header often lands at the feet of the opposition. On the other hand an attacking upwards header can spoon over the bar but a defensive upwards header gives the defence a bit of breathing space.

  25. An aside (you may skip if not interested 🙂

    Scary Clowns

    There have been a number of instances of the phenomena called ‘Scary Clowns’ arising over the past few years. Below is an explanation of sorts to the said phenomena.

    The Scary Clown is an archetypal representation of the spirit Mercurius, which is a further representation of the ‘Trickster’ figure seen throughout the ages and across cultures. He is the summation of the dark primeval past of the human species. He resides under normal circumstances in the collective unconscious of mankind, who falasely believe they have left all previous development behind and become autonomous creatures of civilisation who simply react to their immediate needs and circumstances.

    The Trickster has a duel nature in that he is extremely dangerous and malicious on the one hand but that due to a quirk of his character he ultimately and inexplicably becomes a saviour character for the cultures in which he appears.

    I refer interested readers to the works of C G Jung Collective Works 13 Ch 8 & 9 ‘The Spirit of Mercurius’.

    I thank you.

    Halas Habibi

  26. Starting this weekend, all PL managers should be forced to wear clown shoes whenever they are in the technical area.

    That would be a wonder to behold when they are overcome by histrionics.

  27. In the news I read that BBC Breakfast Presenters have apologised after an image of a Gorilla was shown instead of Nicola Sturgeon in a news item.

    I hope the Gorilla seen the funny side of it and accepted the apology!

  28. The one I choke on is “winning ways”, which is what any team has to get back to after a defeat. Never used in any context, other than football. “Winning” would suffice.

    I do like the way that some key headline words can be used in any combination:

    eg Bid plea probe

    or Probe bid plea

    or Probe plea bid etc etc

  29. AK on Agnew…

    Asked what Agnew brings to the Boro table, Karanka added: “When I called him and met with him, I knew how important he could be for me.

    “He knew the league at the time, and he knows the Premier League too. He knows the referees and can tell me things that are different here from how they are in Spain. So he is really helpful.” (Isn’t that why Hignett got the push, a refereeing altercation?)

    Jeff Winter should put his name down to replace him.

  30. A few months ago I read an article about why members of the family Vespidae (wasps) sting at this time of year.

    In essence they are often drunk having fed on rotten fruit which has been fermenting.

    Hornets are big wasps, I hope they don’t sting on Sunday

  31. Redcar Red

    Looking at the footage, the Gorilla didn’t have red hair but clearly was keen on independence and being free of control by London.

  32. Footballing mixed-metaphors are even more fun, though far less frequent, than cliches.

    Stuart Pearce’s “Carrot at the end of the tunnel” ranks highly.

      1. I🇺🇸❤️ Are you at the match tomorrow then please keep a look out for our collection buckets around the stadium!!! We would love it too if on the 5th minute everyone would chant Finley’s name to mark his 5th birthday!!! Please share with everyone you know let’s spread his message so all Boro fans know #getfinleytoamerica #oneofourown ❤️🇺🇸

  33. 🇺🇸❤️ Are you at the match tomorrow then please keep a look out for our collection buckets around the stadium!!! We would love it too if on the 5th minute everyone would chant Finley’s name to mark his 5th birthday!!! Please share with everyone you know let’s spread his message so all Boro fans know #getfinleytoamerica #oneofourown ❤️🇺🇸

  34. I am in attendance at the match tomorrow, against normally watching on a screen.

    Just cannot see us keeping a clean sheet with Watford’s forwards, so we have to hope that AK will be positive from the outset and although he will play it tight I am sure, also goes for goals. My opinion is we will need two for a draw, three for a win, maybe a hat-trick for somebody?

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