Negredo Brace Brushes Foxes And Critics Aside

IT’S all about Alvaro….

My colour bit on how Negredo made an emphatic contribution to the big Boro ‘striker lite’ debate that has raged all week and answered his critics in style.

And here’s my “did your guide dog do these marks” player ratings from Leicester. Guess who got top marks.

Plus here’s our digest of an entertaining and enthralling 2-2 draw,  an adamant  Aitor on how Wes Morgan ‘fessed up to the push on Chambers for the first penalty and all round nice bloke Claudio Ranieri in rare opposition manager in good grace shocker and admitting Boro were the better side.  That should be enough for you to get on with.



330 thoughts on “Negredo Brace Brushes Foxes And Critics Aside

  1. Werdermouth

    This is not having a pop at Vic or the others at the Gazette but when we had the old blog on the Gazette site, Vic made the comment he didn’t have any problems with getting on but he did admit he didn’t have to go on externally.

    There is the possibility everything is fine and dandy if you approach the gazette site from within.

    Another possibility is one I come across regularly, many sites have problems and need fixes but unless they affect the website provider at a high level they are not a priority.

    We had a case where clients had to complete a downloadable pdf form and there was a message saying ‘a sample signature was not compulsory’. It was then made mandatory but no one informed the industry and the form remained as it was.

    When scores of people chuntered they came back and said it was a big job and not at the head of the list for techies.

    What they meant was it wasn’t a problem for the company because it didn’t put any of their employees out. A senior manager was vising us and he repeated the same mantra. I pointed out it was only a pdf form that could be amended and replaced in seconds, would he like to drive 40 miles for me to a client on a rather wet and sleety February afternoon to get a signature? I could also place the business elsewhere.

    Oddly the form changed overnight.

    As long as the revenue keeps coming in and we keep giving hits Trinity Mirror won’t give a monkeys.

    On to the next six matches, must win games against Hull and Swansea to help keep them down there. Draw at Burnley and some points from unexpected sources please.

  2. Werder

    A quick PS, on the gazette website we get plenty of survey requests linked to what we spend etc but never one about the website.


  3. Ian –

    Back when I worked on websites for a publisher in London the mantra was that it was all about the user experience and often adverts were rejected if they failed to adhere to our rules.

    But in those days we had to be careful about how the page impacted on the user’s bandwidth and take into account they may have older machines. Today, that’s not really a consideration and many websites have just bloated up to the point they struggle to manage their content.

    I remember the Independent a couple of years ago still displayed the previous season’s Championship table with Leicester top for a good three months into the new season as nobody presumably used their own website extensively enough.

    Also ten years ago publishers were still mainly print-based with their online presence being an add-on but today most people will get their news online and their sales revenues have plummeted – advertising has become their main source of income but nobody really wants to see it as it has become too intrusive and desperate.

    The danger is that content becomes secondary to the advertising vehicle that many sites have shifted towards in search of income.

    Something needs to change – this model is serving only to diminish the user experience and encourage software to block advertising and ultimately decrease revenue. It’s hard to see users actively paying to subscribe as they would end up needing to subscribe to dozens of sites unless companies somehow grouped together and offered something along the lines of TV packages.

    **AV writes: I think a lot of media groups are exploring different models at the moment. Micro-pricing may work within a particular title or group but once you start crossing title boundaries I think it gets very complex and expensive to administer.

    1. I was thinking more of having an umbrella organisation (something like Spotify) to which users subscribe around ten quid a month and then media companies who provide their content will accumulate micro payments for articles viewed in the same way music artists get micro-royalties when users listen to their songs.

      I don’t think it should be down individual companies to manage their own micro-payment systems as like you say it will prove too costly to administer – but I think an alternative to advertising models is needed and it it needs to be simple to join up.

      Maybe I should start Werdify and become a content gateway…

      **AV writes: I’m in.

  4. Werder

    It is not so long that you couldn’t get Boro+ in it’s previous incarnation on Mac’s.

    When the old Gazette had problems the advice was use Firefox or other providers rather than IE, the problem is that is asking the customer to change to suit you rather than make the site easier to use.

    It isn’t an easy balance to make.

    Do we need Harry Maguire? Will he improve us as a squad?

    We don’t know but if he cant get a game in a team worse than us who couldn’t bring players in during the window you need to be certain.

    1. If you get the newspaper you pay for it. Why should you get the same articles online for free?

      If you don’t like it don’t go on the site.

      1. GHW

        It is not the advertising that is the problem, at times the ads make the gazette site almost unreadable because they stop you getting to the article.

        That has the affect of driving some people away or blocking the ads and as werder says reduce the revenue. As I posted it is a difficult balance to make and it is the price for a ‘free’ press.

  5. Spartak –

    Yes, I’m expecting 3 points from Hull on Monday.

    I’d be interested to read where you think we’ll get the other 11/12 points you’re expecting from though? With Swansea and Burnley to play, I can understand where you might think 6 of those points should be gained – I’ve got 7 points from those two plus Hull – but what about the rest? Southampton away, Liverpool at home and Man Utd away are the three other games. I’m expecting a solitary point there (but hoping for more).

    I worry by that if you’re expecting 14/15 points from December’s fixtures, you might be setting the bar unrealistically high, though anything is possible.

    1. Andy, a shocking display of no-confidence!

      We are the mighty Boro! We should be rolling over every team we play! They’re professional footballers, it’s just eleven men against eleven men, how hard can it be? And if we can’t at least win every game we should sack the manager and replace him with someone off this blog!

      You see, we have an advantage Andy. We aren’t hoodwinked by watching these players train day in and day out. We don’t know what they were told to do or whether they performed as planned, and we don’t have to! We aren’t persuaded by all this detailed stats nonsense, or the medical reports, the training sessions, the coaching reports. None of that pesky long term strategy stuff for us – we are not handcuffed by some fancy-dan five year plan for the club. We see all we need once a week, and we have the advantage of distance so we can see things AK cannot!

      If we don’t get 15 points in December it is all the manager’s stupid fault! There may be two teams on the pitch but the result of every game is entirely down to our manager!

      …Unless we win of course, then it’s all the players, like, like, like, like

    1. GHW fully agree. I suspect he will usher in a long term strategy which like as not won’t start great and have the tabloids wetting themselves but long term will bring deliverable benefits building upon his knowledge of the U21’s.

      1. RR
        Its impossible to know whether the make up of the typical England side will change under the new regime, or not.
        It is many years since the selection was to pick the best player in the position in question, and by that I mean that all recent ( oh, I don’t know, perhaps twenty years) teams have consisted of a slack handful from the champions, a couple from the 2-3-4-5- teams and the rest made up of young ‘projects’, there for the experience,(all, of course from teams 1-2-3). This led to various problems, anyone who was brought in because he was currently the best left back(say) possibly playing for(nowhere united from nowhere) was of course frozen out, he could do whatever he wanted but he still would not get a pass, not ever. This swiftly led to the return of the left back currently playing for the champions(not much cop, but hey, it meant he brought a good price when flogged off shortly after.
        For the results of this old boys network see the last ten? years.

          1. Clive

            yes, their favourite trick was to cut the film clip the split second after he had played a wonder ball across the field to the latest little winger being bigged up by the media(from some stray London club, natch) there has been about six or more, all long forgotten. (but unloaded for big money onto some haplesss club who lived to regret it) .

            the most golden moment to live long in the memory was when he put a lovely ball through for some nondescript striker to score a gift, cue said striker turned and rushed across to Beckham and hurled himself onto him(obviously thinking I’m crap and I know I’m crap, but, by god, the picture in my album will be starring Beckham, not some oil from the north.
            One can only think that it must have been lovely with Terry and his team mates intent on thinking that neither him or his friends were going to be dropped come what may.

  6. Andy R

    If you set the target at 14 or 15 points then if we don’t get them we can blame AK.

    Simples! For your predictions go to and get a free Spartak toy.

  7. Dear, dear, dear – you chaps really dont have a clue do you!

    You challenge people do perform to the very best of their abilities, you believe in them amd they will reach for the stars regadless of circmstances.

    What do you suggest as an alternative, the Moyes ‘we’re crap and relegation fodder’ and it’s only 5 games into the season OR the AV apologist approach ‘we’re not really in their league, so don’t expect too much -wimper!wimper!’

    Good God, look at the team and results/displays against 3 out of the top 4. Look at the displays last season in the cups.

    And you call yerselves Boro fans -shame on you all!

    1. They dont like it up’em Mr. Mannwaining!

      I bet they all vote Tory when they get into the confines of the polling booth.

      Fear not brothers for we are the Boro the cock ofthe north. We hate Newcastle and Sunderland of course….the Boro boys are in town!!!!!

    1. We draw Liverpool – we win the rest both home and away – we’ll be kicking in after hard graft win against Hull, then its party time and upto 27 pts.



      1. I make that 16points. That’s some going, especially given how low an opinion of our manager you have.

        You must really think AK is 10 Guardiolas (or whatever) if you expect that.

  8. AR

    If I was unkind I suspect certain parties would be on AK’s case if he got less than 21 points from the next six games.

  9. Whilst we spar on here spare a thought for those suffering elsewhere, the players, families, officials, fans and journalists of a small football club spring to mind but many others elsewhere in the world have a life we couldn’t dream of.

  10. In my season long predictions from before the first game I have us down for 10 points from December. That will still leave us 1 point behind where I predicted we will be. Still quite confident that 10 will be achieved.

  11. The Gazette is reporting today:

    “Boro made a radical switch from Aitor Karanka’s default 4231 shape to play a 4141 system when defending at Arsenal, Manchester City and champions Leicester but were quick to switch to a 433 when attacking.

    “And against Chelsea they started with those shapes but changed midway through to match the high flying Blues’ effective 343 system.”

    Eek! We cannot blame AK for not having a plan B when he is already up to C or D.

    What can we moan about next? Well, we did lose to Chelsea – it is no use Conte said we are the best team they have played against in their last six games. So the Chelsea defeat must be AK’s fault, like.

    Well, let’s hope there won’t be a typical Boro result on Monday. Up the Boro!

  12. I see the press have splashed the story that poor Southgate will have to struggle to get by with a salary of only £1.8m a year – I’ve no idea how he’ll manage as it’s barely 12 times what the Prime Minister earns just for running a bloody country and she doesn’t even have the Wayne Rooney dilemma to cope with or whether Harry Kane should take corners – mind you Gareth will want to avoid a hard Brexit at the Euros if at all possible.

    Clearly Gareth is only worth half of what Roy got and less than a third of Capello, as they had something money just can’t buy – though at the moment I’ve forgotten what that was (it may come back to me).

    Still he can console himself with the fact that he’s getting about 50% more than the French manager and just under a 5th less than the German coach – who afterall has only won one World Cup so may be a tad over paid.

    Gareth is simply doing the job out of his love of the game – a sort of charitable favour for the FA who found themselves in a bit of a pickle because that nice uncle Sam Alladyce apparently was left feeling a bit short-changed after the FA only offered him £3m – and spoke to some men about things that an ‘ambassador’ is not supposed to mention (so be warned Nigel).

    I thinks Gareth has been victimised because he’s too nice and got hoodwinked into accepting this derisory sum – maybe the fans should have a whip-round at Wembley to help him through the campaign – ‘Gareth in Need’ – please donate now to avoid an innocent young man suffering!

  13. Spartak,

    if I didn’t know better(!) , I would say that by setting an arbitrary points target, which to me looks a little optimistic, what you’re actually doing is setting AK up to fail. So that come January you have the ammunition to say AK is no good so fire him. Which would feed nicely into your ‘AK is rubbish’ narrative.

    As for challenging people to aim high, I agree, but where AK is concerned that’s not your gig. I think you’ll find the Chairman will have done that and I’m not sure a pro like SG will have been daft enough to set monthly targets.

    I think most of us believe the target this season is survival, which equates to 40 ish points come May.

    15 points from the coming games would be fantastic, but it’s not a sensible target to measure the manager by.

    **AV writes: That is the great flaw in the “realist” position – they say the team is flawed because of X, Y or Z then set artificially high targets. Hence last year the “realists” said the team wasn’t good enough to be promoted AND criticised them for not winning the title by double digits. This year they are not good enough to stay up but should have beaten Arsenal. It is a time honoured refrain. Repeat until fade.

    1. I have to disagree with you there Vic. A realist can either say one or the other, not both. Otherwise he’s not a realist.

      **AV writes: You are talking about realists. I’m talking about the self declared “realists” who are anything but.

      1. I think Spartak was just throwing a little bait to see how many nibbles he got including AV’s myopic definition of Realism. Wonder what lures he has lined up over this weekend or perhaps he will just go out and get himself a net.

  14. Agreed, congratulations to Gareth, I hope he makes a big success of it. Although I do think he is a little bonkers taking it as the press will just be chaffing at the bit to destroy him. And let’s face it the quality of the English pool of players he has t draw from isn’t great. Let’s hope he can forge a strong team spirit and getting the team performing above the sum of its parts.

    Hull is an unusual game for Boro, there won’t be many games this season where we expect to win. It will come with its own unique pressure.

    1. The quality of the English pool of players he has to draw on isn’t great? What, Nigel? Aren’t you forgetting Gibbo, George, Legbiter, Stewy, Nugent, Forshaw, Clayton, Chambers, Fry? Nearly a full side, there!

        1. LOL! I’ve often pointed out how, usually, four, five, maybe six of our starting XIs these days are English. (Choose from Chambers, Gibson, Clayton, Forshaw, Downing, George.)

  15. Nigel

    The target AK will be judged against is N = X+3 where X = the points actually achieved.

    If we win all six then N = 21.

    You saw it here first.

  16. Clive

    Listened to talk about Rooney being captain of England.

    Wouldn’t fit in with players from high tempo pressing teams like Spurs, Chelsea, City Liverpool etc.

    Looked at the team that played Iceland and it heavily featured players from those teams. Maybe it was all Rooney’s fault.

    Half that team play for Spurs so maybe a Rooneyless Spurs would show what could be done on the international front. Erm, not very well in the Champions League.

    Maybe Rooney is a red herring and the simple fact is we are not very good on the international stage at the moment.

    More pressing matters for us with the visit of Hull.

  17. One thing in Gareth’s favour is that he can’t do much worse than the last few managers. Anything better than a quarter final and he joins our top 4 managers of all time.

    1. SteveH,

      He’s already worse than the last one, Big Sam was 100%. Find me another manager anywhere that can match that record, the man was a genius and sadly missed (tongue almost bursting through my cheek).

  18. As good as it is to watch our team give a good account of themselves against the top six sides I’d trade all those points for wins against the teams around us.

    So far results against teams within our reach have been pretty poor and it’s these results which will determine our fate!

    Before a ball was kicked I would think most of you would have expected more than 2 wins in 13 at this stage so is it now realistic given improved performances or unrealistic to expect(or hope) that we will win 3 out of the next 5 against Hull,Swansea and Burnley??

  19. Interesting matches tonight.

    Toon down to nine men but lead 1-0 with Forest missing both resulting penalties.

    In the FA Cup, Macclesfield drawing at home to Oxford in the FA Cup. I have been to the ground once in a pre season match following relegation. Drove up to the ground and asked where to park. There will do about ten yards from the turnstile. Second half Arca screwed a shot wide and out of the ground. Gave him some abuse, it was closer to my car than the goal.

  20. “That is the great flaw in the “realist” position – they say the team is flawed because of X, Y or Z then set artificially high targets. Hence last year the “realists” said the team wasn’t good enough to be promoted AND criticised them for not winning the title by double digits. This year they are not good enough to stay up but should have beaten Arsenal. It is a time honoured refrain. Repeat until fade.”

    Spot on really – we should always be doing that bit better than is realistic – and therefore never actually meet it.

    If AK had performance targets in his annual appraisal this year it would have been pretty short – “keep us up”. Current status (as per the league table – we all like a good fact) – On track.

    1. Well, look at you, BP, agreeing with that- I almost choked on me porridge in surprise. Your viewpoints are certainly more predictable than AK’s team selections. Lol

      And as to tha fallisty that I’m a ‘realist’ of any kind – well all I can say is after 40+ years of supporting the Boro, they’ve radically changed my mindset from eternal optimist to perpetual stoic.

      AK’s performance as a manager? Great strengths and great weaknesses. In the former defensive acumen, in the latter understanding the merits of attacking football and a dearth of man management ability, which due to personality includes ability to motivate and inspire.

      Ok, suck on those peanuts and I await the Ultras responses coz their man is being attacked (or appraised in anyone else’s reality).

      Btw. AV – love your use of the ‘realistic’ inverted commas. It caught on eventually lol!

      1. Sparta
        AK certainly has a good appreciation of attacking football, both its merits and its drawbacks,
        Example one is Man city, quite brilliant at attacking, but inferior teams keep taking points off them, they are also a very fair team, and keep getting done by teams that have not their standards of fairness.
        See todays match, the man who got Chelsea back onto the game, has a big problem distinguishing the difference between his arm and the rest of his body when it comes to playing the ball, he is a serial offender.
        It looked like the city lads thought , well, you’ve stolen the points so here’s something to remember them by.
        As for boro, lets hope that they carry on with their present tactics during their run of home matches, you never know, we might collect some points before Xmas. Now that would be nice.

  21. The fantasy football tipsters (who have avoided Boro players recently) have included Barragan and Ramirez in their squad of 14 this week. Not sure if that’s a good omen or not.

    An interesting stat they used for justifying Barragan though – “The Tigers have conceded more chances down their left flank (40) than any other team on the road this term,”

    Could be a good night for Traore as well…

  22. Promising Signs Since Watford

    In spite of the two points which slipped from our grasp at Leicester, there are a series of promising signs for the club following the low point against Watford when I think many of us were starting to fear a desperate struggle against relegation, down among the deadest of the dead men all season.

    AK has shown that he can adapt his approach and the team formation effectively at this level. From a point where some were suggesting he had to go, we have what I think most would regard as an effective backroom situation which inspires confidence. There are a few points of judgement still at issue (otherwise the blog would be extremely boring) but it’s mainly very positive. The team have a pattern of play which has proved to be capable of extracting points from even the most difficult Premiership fixtures, although we have yet to show that we can deliver Bournemouth-type home results on a consistent basis. Cue Hull…

    New arrivals Chambers and Fabio have come into the defence and both look capable. This gives us more options including a viable alternative to Antonio Barragan at right back, and suggests that we will not need to field a seriously weakened defence at any point unless we are very unlucky with injuries.

    I think there’s a general trend of players developing and becoming more competitive as they gain experience of the Premier League, rather than becoming demoralised by the quality of opposing teams. I think we could list George, Adam Clayton and De Roon in this category (and it would be desirable if at some point Fischer and Rhodes can be added to the list, if only by getting a few 20-minute slots as sub).

    Meanwhile Ben Gibson and Adam Forshaw have continued to perform very effectively at this level as they did from the off. Stewie has shown that he is still very useful, although without the dynamism of Ramirez and Traore.

    Adama Traore has been introduced and gives us an exciting new dimension, although with some rough edges. Traore’s recent Gazette interview shows that AK is personally devoting time and effort to making sure that he understands how to deliver the defensive cover and solidity which is essential, and meanwhile he has made some thrilling runs and has unsettled opposing defences. His eventual success will hinge on whether he can consistently deliver a calculated final ball.

    Ramirez is a potential matchwinner, depending on whether Gunslinger Gaston or Headless Chicken turns up for the game. Along with the revitalisation of Alvero Negredo we now have three forwards who will all be a serious concern to opposing managers.

    Victor Valdes and Negredo have both shown that they are not just here to make up the numbers and collect a handsome late-career pay cheque. With Valdes he has steadily grown in stature and started to make some terrific saves, confirming that he is still a capable shot-stopper. Although I’m sure that eventually miscommunication or a dropped cross will lead to opponents scoring, he now has credit in the bank with the fans and self-confidence to ride out the odd mistake.

    But none of this is worth a plugged nickel unless we can actually put significant points on the board by clinching victories, after all we are a third of the way out in the season with only two wins, and that was where the Leicester outcome felt like a dagger to the heart.

  23. Mark
    Good summary. As I stated a few days ago, we’ve got to turn a greater proportion of the draws into wins to ensure the survival target is achieved. The next six or so fixtures could be season defining.

  24. I’m not sure it’s useful to dwell on how many games we’ve won, it’s all about the overall points tally. Last year, draws were pretty much useless, this year every point counts.

    You could theoretically stay up without winning a game, 38pts will usually keep you safe.

    1. And such a belief may well get you relegated with 2 other underachievers. But hey we could still have the comfort of saying ‘well what can you expect, it happens!’
      Myself I expect the Boro to be mathematically clear of the relegation zone 4 games before the end of the season – like!
      It could be coz I have confidence in the players we have – even the management is improving abeit slowly. lol


  25. “I don’t think fear is an element in our team makeup.”
    “We plan to break them (Australia) physically and mentally.”

    Eddie Jones England Rugby Union Team Manager

    It’s reported that the England team with create a new record of 14 or more consecutive wins after they beat Australia today in the Test match.

    This manager and the England team are WINNERS. They are afraid of no one and are completely determined to crush their opposition on the field of play. I don’t believe for one minute they would consider anything but winning.

    Question is ‘Why are so many who contribute to this blog prepared to accept less?’


    1. Perhaps by lowering hopes and expectations thereby settling for less they find greater contentment and satisfaction in supporting Boro and all things AK related. Defeats are easier to accept, draws are seen as progress and wins are euphoric. UTB and all that good stuff.

  26. In my view, it’s not so much a case of accepting less, Spartak, as acknowledging that we haven’t been in the Premiership for seven years and hence both getting up again and readjusting to life in the big league will be more difficult.

    It’s a balance between optimism and realism, idealism and pragmatism. Ipswich (circa 2001), Reading (circa 2007) and now, possibly, Leicester have illustrated the danger of too much, too soon. (See also: RobboBoro 1995-97.)

    Now, I’d also like to add…

    Towards the end of 2014-15, AK was heard to grumble about fan “negativity”. He clearly felt that Boro, despite being in an excellent position to claim promotion for the first time in many years, weren’t getting the kind of backing that, say, Bournemouth were.

    In this very comments section, an erudite Boro fan named Richard Antill went some way to nailing what the issue was: expectation.

    Had we not reached the play-offs in 2015, it would have been the first time we’d have finished outside the top six of the second tier for six consecutive seasons. As Richard then added,

    “Even in the eighties, despite all the turmoil, we were promoted back to the top flight at the end of the sixth season after Bobby Murdoch’s side went down… It’s true that we spent twenty years in the wilderness before Big Jack turned up, but even then we had regular top-six finishes…”

    His point? That Boro were overdue a promotion push, and that being where we are today (say, challenging for promotion to the Premier League, then surviving once there) is pretty much the least people expect.

    When you go on to point out, as he then did, that we Boro fans were utterly spoiled between 1994 and 2008, it’s suddenly crystal clear why comments such as “soulless” were made about AK’s promotion campaigns, both unsuccessful and successful. Harsh, but understandable.

    It’s all in, as Richard said, that Tim Booth lyric: “If I hadn’t seen such riches I could live with being poor.”

    Bournemouth? They do not *have* to live with such expectations. They are currently achieving more than they ever have.

    Similarly, the Burnleys of this world have been fortunate enough to hang on to the positivity of a recent double promotion (2014 and 2016), their Premier League fans, and – importantly – most of their squad. As Richard pointed out, we pretty much had that in 1997-98, but not in 2009-10.

    1. You set yer parameters before even the first ball is kicked in the first match of the season.

      Brian Clough joined Nottingham Forest in 1977, they gained promotion that season and won League Division 1 the next.

      Managing expectations is for pussies. Fear no one and produce your best. Nothing less is acceptable.


  27. RR

    But is it reasonable to judge the manager on expectations that his boss hasn’t set for him?

    Gibson’s target for him this season will have been (a minimum of) 38-40pts and 17th place. That is what AK will be trying to achieve. If you are judging him on a top half finish with, what 50-55pts – how is that fair?

    1. What on earth has ‘fair’ got to do with anything?

      Who gives a damn about the targets yer boss has set – you set yer own standards!

      You convey a winning mentality.

      I’ve given you all a quote from the lips of a world class manager. I’ve shared with you an example from one of ou own who won not one but two consecutive European Cups and you talk about ‘fair’ and ‘targets set by others’.

      Come back and talk to me when the pennies dropped.


    2. If thats all AK is trying to achieve then he is unlikely to achieve. What was all the talk of bringing “winners” like Valdes into the Riverside in aid off. I dont for a millisecond believe that AK or Steve “we’ll give it a go” Gibson are aiming for 17th. As a last gasp desperate default measure maybe but I believe AK alone has higher ambitions than that. If he hasnt then it doesn’t augur well for either party.

  28. Given that Hull and Burnley both came straight back up after relegation in 2015, Burnley after one Premier League season and Hull after two, and then last season both had parachute payments, we are competing against 19 teams who have all had PL money to build their squads over a decent period of time.

    Every other club has a good roster of players experienced at this level, even including Hull who have a solid core of guys who have recent PL experience, and as Simon has pointed out Burnley have kept most of their squad since 2015.

    We have a core of Championship players who have had a lot to learn, including George Friend, Adam Clayton, Ben Gibson, Adam Forshaw, Jordan Rhodes and Dani Ayala. Stewie has played many PL games but is approaching veteran status at 32. Gaston Ramirez has PL experience but has not performed at this level for some time, likewise David Nugent.

    Then there are new arrivals who have had to be integrated into the team. Negredo and Chambers have some limited PL experience to draw on and Fabio has good PL experience but not recently and suffered an early injury.

    Obviously Valdes has played at the highest level but not in England and is coming back from two years out, and Barragan, De Roon and Fischer have top flight experience but have to adapt to the pace and intensity of English football. Adama Traore is coming off an awful previous year and has little experience. Stuani is an enigma, plays alongside Suarez and Messi, but again needs to bed into PL football.

    All in all, this was not the easiest or most straightforward group to pull together into a competitive PL unit ready to hit the ground running at the start of this season, especially compared with the sort of time and money the other sides have had over several years to build up to this season. (Although to be fair, Hull did not invest this summer.)

    This suggests that the start we have made this year reflects well on AK.

    1. 2 wins in 14 games – your expectations are lower than a snakes belly 😉 Mark

      And the apologist for poor performance this year goes to ….(drum roll) … Mark Wheeler (huge round of applause from tinned audience).


  29. I see our resident nomad has been on the Carpathian Chucklejuice.

    You can have the best attitude and winning mentality as you like, but that needs to be backed up with high quality players.

    The draws that killed you in the Championship will be your salvation in the Premiership. I would endeavour to say that considering our circumstances a “we will not be beaten attitude” is as good as any other.

    1. Sorry GHW, you too do not make my Sunday league team either – and although I’m not teetotal, I can tell you I haven’t had a drink in over a month.

      Happy Days

  30. Well not the best results today, with West Ham to follow, com´on Arsenal. All those that had written Moyes and Sunderland off, a win and 3 points makes alot of difference at this end of the league.

    AV will tell us Monday is not a must win game, which I accept as there 24 to go after that, but we need to pick up some wins and certainly against those around us.

  31. Comparing the present England Rugby Union team with the current Boro team, that’s very funny!

    Fear no one I agree, most pros won’t fear anyone, assuming all twenty premier league teams play with that mantra, then how are they separated?

    The answer is easy, by experience and talent, which currently puts Boro punching above their weight.

    There is absolutely nothing wrong with the Boro players and the managers mind set, determined performances recently against the big hitters prove that.

    Fearing no one doesn’t guarantee anything and for certain the England Rugby team haven’t won 14 on the trot simply because they have no fear. Would Eddie Jones have managed Italy given the chance? I doubt it.

    1. The purpose of the comment Nigel is not the specific team, sport or manager, it’s about the mindset. Maybes you missed that?
      Cloughie brought a team up from the old Second Div to win the First in the same season of promo. Then they went on to win TWO European Cups. Maybes you missed that too?
      It seems that those who are accepting of slow or below par performance will forgive and excuse almost anything.

      Just sayin like!!!!!

      1. I think it’s you that’s missing the point Spartak, if all teams in the prem play with a fear no one mentality where does that leave us?
        Do you enjoy supporting the Boro?

        Just wondering like.

      2. Sparta
        Just perused the sporting pages(monday 5-12-16) three teams with good attack’s played their opponents off the park, went in front, cuda shuda paralysed them. In each case the other team built a wall, sweated and chased lost causes, used any means both legal and illegal to cling to the life raft, and guess what, two lost, and one drew, no, they do not know how, it isn’t possible to explain how.
        One of these teams even had two men sent off, now, even I saw at least two players commit dismissal offences in the general mêlée at the end of the match, both from Chelsea. When one thinks of our player being sent off at Liverpool for touching the cheek of the man who had attempted to decapitate him, I do wonder at the intelligence of the officials.
        Do we still want our team to field an extra forward and try to monster Hull, or will common sense rule? Just get the three points.

  32. “We’re going to break them physically and mentally!”
    Eddie Jones 2016

    England 37-17 Australia

    No messing about. No papping yer pants.

    I rest my case 🙂

  33. I proudly accept your award, Spartak. This almost makes up for all the weeks I missed out on the ‘Moaning Get of the Week’ honour.

  34. The crucial issue is whether we have taken on aboard lessons from the first part of the season.

    My view is that points left behind are points lost. If you draw the mantra of ‘it may be a valuable point at the end of the season’ fails because three points would be much more useful.

    Looking at the table shows us that a win against Hull would give a little breathing space.

    The table never lies, we are where we are because at times we have been shoddy. The argument we are new to the top flight and learning only holds true if we start winning more games.

    A valiant points from unexpected sources wont be enough to keep us up. Wins will.

  35. btw I’m not being negative, just trying to be realistic BP.
    Not losing is a good habit but a few wins can make a big difference.

  36. RR-

    “If thats all AK is trying to achieve then he is unlikely to achieve. What was all the talk of bringing “winners” like Valdes into the Riverside in aid off. I dont for a millisecond believe that AK or Steve “we’ll give it a go” Gibson are aiming for 17th.

    No, and I didn’t say that was either of them was trying to achieve – I said that was their minimum target and one that I’m sure would be celebrated hugely at Rockcliffe if we achieve it.

    1. Thats similar to celebrating not coming last in an ugly contest, but second from last. Might be good enough for some but I reckon Cloughie might have had a word or two to say about it. Then again he and his Forest team were winners not simply looking not to get relegateted. IMHO thats a philosophy for LOSERS!!!!

      1. Never cared much for the red nosed one but Icouldn’t fault his managerial achievements. Conversely I thought well of Tommy Docherty but if I remember rightly they only won the FA Cup under his supervision (I await correction by my learned peers).

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