Welsh Raretrip: Boro 'Defeat' Shock & Mooted Move For Stewie

By Anthony Vickers on Nov 18, 12 11:01 AM

OKAY Boro lost. That's a set-back but far from a disaster. A run of nine undefeated and seven on the road - the last away defeat at Blackpool seems like a lifetime ago - has piled up the points, pushed Boro right into a contention and has raised expectations but this is still the crazy championship and every game comes down to fine margins. We lost.

But as anyone watching on Dodgyvision will tell you, Boro totally bossed the game, had a decent team that had won eight home games in a row on the back-foot and created a string of good chances. It was a good perfromance. After a scrappy start with a lot of misplaced passes and a sloppy leaked goal from a set-play, Boro tightened up and grabbed control. set the pace, imposed the shape and asked all the questions. They just couldn't score on the day. It happens.

Some cynics will have been waiting (for a long time) to say: see, the bubble has burst. We'll see. There are games when you drive home from a 1-0 defeat and feel gutted because you have been roundly beaten, didn't compete and didn't give it a crack, But this wasn't one of those. This drive home was a head-scratching exercise: how on Earth are we coming home empty handed after that? Boro dominated. The shot count, possession stats and any neutral objective view would surely have concluded the away team were better, slicker, sharper and more creative. We can leave with heads high, counting the positives and looking forward to the next game.

Cardiff are rated as one of the best teams in the Championship, they are well resourced, have a strong squad and excellent home form. But on that showing Boro are a 'better' teaam. Cardiff are effective with Whittingham's dead-balls and solid in defence but showed little else to terrifiy anyone. And, not to mince words, they are rubbish away.

So let's take the positives. Boro had to lose some time (put it down to the boss gong curse if you want) but that defeat was narrow and came in a game they controlled and arguably should have won. It was far from demoralising.

Now it is time to start another 10 game run, starting with two winnable home games (while Cardiff have three out of their next four away, and they are woeful on the road) and hopefully taking in another away day victory over a top flight side in the League Cup. Why not?


BORO may be ready to gamble on an audacious big money move for Stewart Downing if they think he can help secure promotion - but the mooted loan move from Liverpool will not happen this week.

That was the indication from within the club today. There has been speculation over the weekend that a loan move before Thursday's deadline was looming but Boro sources insist that is a non-starter.

However, that idea of ending Stewie's internal exile at Anfield when the window opens in January has been bubbling away for weeks - but for it to become a realistic prospect a lot of pieces would need to fall into place first. So don't buy that replica shirt just yet.

Here's the full story from the Gazette.


MEANWHILE here's a few things to chew on while we wait for the chance to bounce back from Cardiff with two winnable home games:

Is Stewie Downing the best Teesside talent of his generation? Is he the best, most consistent product of the Academy? And if not, who is?

Will you boo Matthew Bates? I know it is the done thing to vilify anyone who leaves and now seems obligatory but has he really done anything to offend? I will be advocating a respectful clap for an ex-player who deserves respect for, if nothing else, battling back from five cruciates - but after that he is just an opposition player. I hope he has a mare, gives away a penalty and scores an own goal.

[*NOTE: Football Inevitability Drive has been activated. I'll be having a daft quid on him as first scorer in a 3-1 and/or 4-1 Boro win*]


Redcar Red said:

The curse of the MOM award strikes again!

We totally dominated the game but if we had played until midnight our finishing was so wild and wayward we would'nt have scored. With Nugent, a newbie brought on making his debut at CB plus a midfieler at LB replacing Tayls I thought we would have maybe put Big Ish on to terrorise Nugent and attacked down our right flank. Instead we kept to the controlled, organised and disciplined code that has served us so well which is fine but I so longed for us to roll up our sleeves and really get at them.

Overall we let a sloppy soft goal in but then went on to dominate the game and they parked the Bus. Its never good to lose but our overall performance indicated that of the two teams we are by far the better side. In fairness like ourselves they have a fair compliment of injuries but I suspect that the calibre of our walking wounded will have a more profound impact once fit.

The most worrying aspect was the sight of Friend with what looked like a hammy. We now have two Home games to look forward to which we must look to progress with. The Bogof ticket offer worked with me as rather than miss the Huddersfield game on the Tuesday due to work commitments I have put a days holiday in.

CroydonBoro said:

I'm not worried, I'm not panicking. I'm a little miffed at not keeping a clean sheet but as someone pointed out yesterday, it's only one point dropped. And surely nobody expects Cardiff to be in the top two at the season's end anyway. They're probably the team everybody hopes to meet in the play-offs.

I am pleased the travelling army were given a decent display by the team,but don't blame luck, fate or karma, get the players back on the training ground for shooting practise.

Back to the Riverside ticket offers.. I hope the current ST holders are given some sort of discount for next season, they deserve it and if the club have any savvy, announcing it now in broad strokes (and working out the details later) would go a long way to placating those currently unhappy.

I recognise that some people will be unhappy regardless but as for everyone else it's all bread and circuses. The players provide the circus, the club must address the issue of the bread.(insert your own jokes at any time).

One last thought, my ST holding sister suggested that the ST holders should be given a free ticket to bring a friend to the 2nd of the BOGOF double header. I'm not sure that's at all feasible but it does suggest AV was on the money when he said they all just want an arm around the shoulder.

Forever Dormo said:

At the end of the last thread I posted (before the games had been played) that if we lost at Cardiff it would not de-rail our promotion challenge anymore than, if Manchester United lost in their league, it would de-rail THEIR tile challenge.

Both teams lost 1-0. We were not "stuffed" but could/should have got something from the game. We move down to third in our league and they move down to second in theirs. Anyone prepared to write off Manchester United after their defeat at Norwich? NO? The same should apply to the Boro.

The squad has it within itself to go on another successful run. We could be six points better off after the next two home games and the two away games after that are not ones to strike terror into the heart of a confident team - Birmingham City (currenly 19th) and Peterborough United (currently 24th and bottom). Let's see where we are after that lot!

I'm sure just sbout everyone (apart from Tony Mowbray?) would have been happy with this position at this stage of the season.

Nigel Reeve said:

I'd almost forgotten what it feels like to lose!

John Powls said:

AV -

agree with that. If the finishing and final ball had matched with the quality in the other two thirds, it could well have been a different story. It would, at least, have brought them out from the 'park the bus' approach they took from the time they scored on. The rest on Boro Banter.

The only thing that let less through than Cardiff on the day were the badly phased traffic lights in the area around the ground - an hour to get from the ground to the M4. The traffic management system in the area is about the only thing that let's down what is otherwise a good away day experience for visiting fans at the Cardiff City Stadium.

angry_pirate said:

Would be nice to think we can go on another long run to cement our place up there but the injury list is getting ridiculous now and the cup(s) could become a distraction.

peterboroangel said:

I watched the last 20 minutes and was very impressed - despite the defeat.

Boro were by far the better team and had the majority of possession and created several openings which should have seen an equaliser.

Not at all concerned though.

Nikeboro said:

One of the few defeats I have been proud to come away from. The Boro were excellent. Cardiff played good quality Championship football but Boro were the only team attempting to play at a Premership standard.

Coming away from the ground, even most of the Redbird supporters (those with more than one brain cell, anyway) acknowleged we'd been the better team and the Cardiff press echoed that assessment.

Unfortunately we could have played all day, and dominated all day, and not scored.

Jarkko said:

AV, exactly my thoughts, too. Well played, Boro. Looking forward to the next game (and forget any Manager of the Month dip). Bring in the next game, Up the Boro!

Sandy said:

AV as usual a very very accurate summary of the game, which apart from the poor goal we gifted them, we controlled. Not too disappointed in that we played well, it would have been a different story had Juke and McDonald put away those two excellent chances.

Mogga keep on doing what you are doing coz its working. Cheers

Ian Gill said:

If we win our next two home games we will need another four wins to make us safe.

I watched the goal a few times and it was definitely not zonal nor man to marking but no marking at all.

At the other end the chances looked to be the type where the ball doesnt quite drop right. I know it happens all the time and they should be able to deal with it but it is too late now.

Lets move on to the visit of Bristol City on Saturday. A bit unlucky on Saturday when Matthew Bates was adjudged to have handled in the 90th minute.

They havent won since September so we must guard against being charitable.

BoroPhil said:

There’s no doubt we played the better football, but if you miss chances like we did it’s not unlucky, and you don’t deserve to win.

I hope this is just a blip for McDonald and we aren’t seeing a return to his more profligate nature that he has displayed for the majority of his Boro career.

We’d have all accepted this position after the Blackpool defeat though, and if Cardiff and Palace are the best teams in the division I don’t think we have much to fear.

Norb said:

A couple of reflections from Saturday’s match.

Boro looked the better team, and given we were the visitors, we looked better by some distance. We were mis-firing upfront, and there were one to many misplaced passes in the middle of the park too, but on another day we would have come away with a draw, or probably a 2-1 or 3-1 result.

A Cardiff supporter near me said that Boro were by some considerable distance the best team they had played at home this season.

With the benefit of hindsight, the momentum that seemed to be building in the second half and which was largely lost when George Friend came off injured, was to some extent a tactical error by management.

There may have not been a realistic option to bringing on Bailey as a replacement, but putting him at right back and swapping Justin Hoyte to left back, where he was considerably less effective, simply meant that we had no threat on either wing, rather than the alternative that we kept Hoyte and some attacking threat on the right side, and told Bailey to encamp at left back.

The only reason I can imagine for this decision was that Craig Bellamy had entered the fray and was roaming down the Cardiff right, so presumably Justin Hoyte was considered more likely to nullify the threat.

Very impressed with Grant Leadbitter. Was disappointed to see Barry Robson leave last summer as he provided quality, fight and inspiration in the middle of the park. I think Leadbitter is Robson plus some.

Younger legs less likely to tire as Robson did noticeably almost every game, perhaps even finer closer control, and clearly a much calmer attitude and less likely to be sent off (an aspect of the Robson game that was a serious liability). When he caught the Cardiff player late on and received his yellow card, he immediately acknowledged his error and walked to the referee to accept his punishment.

Finally another with the benefit of hindsight, but have we stopped putting defenders on the posts when the opposition have corners? Had we done so, Cardiff would not have scored.

Percypieblocks said:

Am I reading the correct blog? All the above replies are considerate and reasonable, no moans and groans or criticism. Don't forget lads, we're The Boro, we don't do reasonable and considerate. If things carry on like this, I've going to have to support somebody else.

More angst people, I need my Monday morning fix.

Ian Gill said:

Percypieblocks -

I was just thinking the same thing. Throw in only 15 posts thus far and you would think we had won.

If AV had managed to get the thread posted at 5.00pm Saturday instead of doing interviews, match reports and having scran that would have set a good example.

Instead he drove the six hours from Cardiff then went to bed. I ask you, went to
bed. Probably watched the game on the TV but then just skived.

AV -

In the words of Hansen 'Shocking!' Get a grip and tell Mogga to do the same!

Mutter, havent won for a week and a half, tumbling down the table, still need eighteen points to be safe.

On the plus side we will get Hoyte left back so that will put a damper on his current form. Booooo!

I feel better for that.

John Powls said:

AV -

I'm presuming that the 'Stewie to Boro on loan in January' stories are just that - works of fiction imagined by people putting 2 & 2 together and getting 22!

**AV writes: It's not fiction. There is *something* in it but it is still at the theoretical stage. It will take a lot of complex bits to fall into place to make it happen. And Brendan Rodgers not to get sacked first.

Ian Gill said:

Following on from my reply to percypieblocks will any complaints about the BOGOF be counted as two complaints?

And how are ticket sales going?

Forever Dormo said:

....there is *something* in it? Whoooo....this could get exciting.

Like, for example, at the turn of the year we are at/near the top of the table and a decent bet for Premier League next a loan deal for six months with a reasonable cut-price deal in the summer being a possibility, on the basis that promotion would put some money in the kitty and would also allow an England player to continue his Premier League/International career at his home-town club...?

I think we could find a place for him in the squad. And we'd know that money wouldn't be the primary motivation. Mind you, if it "only" cost a transfer fee of £6M, it would be the same as 60 George Friends. Stewie was a very decent left winger, even someone who might play in the middle behind a striker, but not 60 times as good as George.

Should we lower our sights a bit? How about buying a right back, a centre-half, a right winger and a spare striker OR a creative midfielder with strong bones and sinews, each of them a mere 10 times as good and useful to us as George Friend. We could then save £2M on the outlay for one Stewie, and promotion would be nailed on.

**AV writes: We understand that Downing is keen on a loan return and that both clubs see it is a a viable solution to his Liverpool limbo. So if the club is in a favourable situation in January - in the table, financially, possibly with an outgoing transfer to create some wriggle room - then the bits could all fall into place... but we understand there is no intention to do a deal this week.

John Powls said:

Well, well, well.....

Watch this space for more *something*, then.

Jarkko said:

Yes, we have had one defeat in a row now. AV, do you think Mogga job is jeopardised now as we might face nearly a week's long row of defeats.

Secondly, do you think there is any chance of Bates playing on Saturday? And scoring from a set-piece which is very typical Boro.

Anyhow I think we will see a 3-1 win, though. Up the Boro!

BoroPhil said:

Downing back on loan, even if it was only til Jan, would be give the club another massive boost. Hope it happens, but I won’t believe it until I see it. It would seem to make sense for all parties though if he is going to be kicking his heels for the next month or so.

Ian –

we could play Halliday at left-back, Mogga seems to have been grooming him for that position and it would definitely be a sign of attacking intent against a team in the bottom 3.

We might not even have a choice, do we know if Parnaby is injured? He wasn’t on the bench on Saturday. Matthew Bates could have done a job at left back…

timfromsa said:

Did not see the game but by all accounts a good display from the Boro.

They wont be all good this season and its good to see that most of us understand this and are happy with the progress being made. Couple of home games coming up to get back on track.

What's all this about Downing?

John Dobson said:

Now come on Boro, show some ambition and get Stewie back. I suggested it a couple of weeks ago and all you have to do is relate it to seats filled. It is not beyond the wit of man to work out a realistic figure, perhaps £5 per seat, bringing in about £50,000 per home game. A big chunk towards his Liverpool wage.

So,as Delia says, lets be having you

John Dobson

Matt A said:

Just a quick word on this Stewie back on loan story.

When this was mooted over the weekend, Skybet would give you 10-1 on it happening. I checked last night and there is a measly 6-4 on offer now. Somebody obviously believes there is plenty of substance in it !

I did laugh at Vic's comment about Brendan not getting sacked in the meantime. At the moment, it seems like Suarez is single handedly keeping him in a job with his goals. The team performances have been average at best from what I have seen so far.

peterboroangel said:

I think it is more likely Downing would move now until January - not less - as he has few other options. I don't believe these denials anymore.

In January I would be amazed if Villa were not interested after his successful time there.

Ian Gill said:

BoroPhil -

I had fogotten Halliday when I TRIED to post at 11am but forgot to copy before submitting so lost the posts when the system told me I hadnt entered name etc. Needless to say I had but hey ho.

I mused that I thought Reach had played there before. I also discussed permutations of midfielders and attackers since which the Stewie rumours are firming up.

Maybe Brendan wants him to come and play left back! Maybe not, maybe he just wants shot.

Masham wiggy said:

Ian Gill

Hopefully saturday will present an opportunity for Andy Haliday. Against a struggling side its probably an ideal time
and would give us 2 attacking full backs

gt said:

Before the season started I was of the opinion it was the weakest squad weve had for a long time. I based this as I said not on the talent in the squad(there is) ,but I couldnt see the consistancy required to win promotion,

I have always felt in order to get out of this league,you need a squad of reliable pros who work for each other, ready to put at times their body on the line, plus two or three players with genuine class.

I worried about Hines, Carayol, Ledesma, L.Williams, Reach, Emnes, Mcdonald, Thomson, Woodgate(injuries) over a forty six game period, and its ironic, most of these have not been used in every game.

But I have to give Mogga great respect based on whats happened in the last 6/7 games,its still early as we know, but his patience with the likes of Ledesma, Friend, McEachran, is turning these players into potentially really good players. He's waited for Ledesma when others may have banished him to the reserves,he may turn into a £10m player.

Mogga has also got them playing at a higher grade than you see with the majority in this league

On other notes, and talk of loan deals, I feel one or two quality loanies may just lift the squad and send a message. I'm thinking if a Downing one can be done,im in a dilemma because I like Stewart but I have always felt hes wasted on the wing. I think he as more to him than that, he sees the field and his passes are very accurate,so for me id play him in a midfield role,but thats the dilemma.

One area I would like to strenghen is the middle of the back four, and a player I see on the fringes at his club now is Sylvan Distin. If we could get him on loan put him next to Woody or Bikey, with a Downing on board (do i see a Merson,Pearson combo) I really believe we could be all smiles in May


Ian Gill said:

I have been trying to put a bit of thought to the chances of Downing to Boro happening.

My eventual solution was based on the BBC ignoring us. If I couldnt find anything about him returning on their breaking news section that would make it a certainty.

I kept working back down the timeline and there was no sign of Stewie but my heart sank when there listed was the report from the Northern Echo.


Would it be a good thing? They say you should never go back but the third spell of TLF included the Carling Cup win. Mogga came back but as a manager. Woodie has come back and reclaimed his rightful place in the treatment room.

It is tricky to know what to do for the best. I suspect Peterboroughangel is right and if it runs until January then the likelihood is he will join a premier league club - Wigan springs to mind.

There is always the chance a team like Blackburn might move in for him.

Then there are Stewies own wishes. Matt Bates went to struggling Bristol rather than stay here. Maybe Stewie would rather not come back, I am sure there is an element who would take great pleasure in making his life miserable - the 'he was useless when he was here brigade'.

Maybe it would be too much of a blow to his self esteem. I am deliberately not using ego here because he left to play in the premiership and to maintain his England chances. He has slipped so far back under Rodgers that dropping a division might be too bitter a medicine to swallow.

Grove Hill wallah said:

One thing we know is that Stewart Downing is an exceptional player and possibly the best player to come from our renowned youth system.

So, what does he offer the present squad? First of all we would be getting a highly motivated individual, one who has the opportunity to help drive his home town team back to the Premiership, and at the same time, to put the proverbial two fingers up at Brendan Rodgers.

He is very familiar with the set up here, so wouldn’t require the usual settling in period a player new to the club would require.

As ever the main yardstick is, is he better than what we already have? I think the answer to that is a resounding yes. His inclusion would enable 'Guy', to play both Miller and Jutkiewicz up front, and allow both MacDonald and Emnes to leave the club in January.

As AV alluded to it, will all come down to number crunching. Once again the club will be looking to Steve Gibson to dig deep. If promotion is achieved then it will be a gamble that was worth taking.

I look forward to AV’s piece after Stewie has played his first game at his old club.

Downing, Streets Ahead!

Nigel Reeve said:

One Stewart Downing, there's only one Stewart Downing!!

Sign him on, sign him on, sign him on..........

Nigel Reeve said:

My guess is Stewie would love to come to Boro in January and play in a Boro side chasing promotion. Why would he go to Wigan and play in a relegation battle? It's a perfect opportunity for him to enjoy his football and regain form and confidence.

What's more Mogga is the perfect man to bring the best out of him, as are the 25000 Boro supporters who would come to watch him. It's a no brainer, a win win, choose any cliche you like.

Forever Dormo said:

It is said one has to speculate to accumulate. A lot of speculation is going on here.

timfromsa said:

By all accounts so far Stewie is quite keen to come back short term. Which would mean now as he is not playing right now.

I would imagine there will be too much competition in January. So I don't think it will happen as we dont have the funds to take him now. Now is the time as by Jan, Carayol will be back and hopefully a good few others.

Will it help if we all chip in to the biscuit tin?

Ian Gill said:

Nigel -

I only used Wigan as several players have chosen them over the Boro when we were in the top flight. Whilst they have struggled to say there that is exactly what they have done.

Despite small grounds and lower payments than us they stayed in the Prem and we are where we are. There are probably other Prem teams willing to take him come January. Given the choice he may prefer top flight football.


I don't think Mogga will play two big men up front at once. I guess he will hope Scottie leaves for the wage bill but Emnes stays.

It is all academic as so far it is all paper talk.

Werdermouth said:

If Downing came on loan to Boro then Liverpool would have to pay nearly all of his wages - so what would be in it for them?

Anyway, I fear the Brendan Rogers experiment may not be allowed to reach it's conclusion at Anfield as it seems it needs too many steps backwards before it can move forward - plus it seems to require that their most expensive players need to be ditched as they don't fit into the new system.

Besides, I thought former Boro Academy graduates were contractually obliged to end up at Sunderland - especially as Martin O'Neill bought him when he was at Villa.

Also, would Downing get into our team at the moment?

Smoggy In Exile said:

I'm with Werdermouth, whilst I would LOVE IT to see Downing back here terrorising lumbering Championship right backs, he is obliged to gravitate slightly futher north to Sunderland, to help Marty O'Neill's fight for abject mediocrity.

Can you imagine a Sunderland midfield line-up of Downing - someone - Cattermole - Johnson! If that was the Boro midfield I'd be salivating at the mouth, two tricky wingers, a pocket card magnet and someone else to balance it out. However, only O'Neill would be able to maximise their potential to over-hit crosses, shank shots wide, get sent off and generally be a bit useless.

Joking aside - I'm not sure Sunderland, or any other lower order PL club would be the right move for Stewie come January. I think he needs a confidence boost, and blasting his home-town club, which he's always said he would like to return to, to automatic promotion - on top of the fact he managed to swell our coffers by £12M despite being crocked at the time - should cement his reputation as a Boro legend of the Mogga order. Surely too great an opportunity to pass up?

And to all of those naysayers saying that they don't want him back - don't be ridiculous - he would easily be the best player we have at the club aside from Woodgate - another Boro lad who's played at a very high level.

**AV writes: If Sunderland go for Stewart Downing they should double it up with a bid for James Morrison to complete Boro's 2007 midfield.

lenmasterman said:

No need to rush over Downing. Adam Johnson will probably be available on loan come January.

Ian Gill said:

AV -

Good spot about the midfield. Wasnt the whole point of Gates appointment to use the academy to get a team based on home grown players?

Away from the Boro the Chelsea manager gets the sack within months of winning the Champions League and FA Cup. The owner wants the team to win in Europe with style and it looks like Benitez is a target.

My memory may be playing tricks but didn't he build success at Liverpool by developing 8-1-1 as a formation relying on Torres to terrify defenders whilst chasing long passes by Alonso and Gerrard to thrash in the loose ball.

Didnt he also have a miserable time at Inter? Doesnt he always fall out with club owners an officials?

Seems a perfect fit for Chelsea.

beeline said:

Liverpool will not loan Downing to Sunderland or any other Premiership club for that matter. Why strengthen your relegation rivals?

Smoggy In Exile said:

Insane news down at Stamford Bridge; Roman's knee jerks again and there goes another manager with a holdall marked "pay-off".

Presumably the Benitez interest, confirmed by the man himself, has the double-think that he will restore Torres to his £50M self. Time after time we hear that his only problem is that he needs an arm around the shoulder and to be told he's a beautiful stallion and to let those fetlocks flow around the field.

If that was truly the case, they should send him on loan to the Moggaspa. Feeling low? Confidence shot? Not sure where your career is heading? Come to the Moggaspa - now with guaranteed goals and home victories. Turns knackers into stars.

Torres to Boro on loan. You heard it here first.

Nigel Reeve said:

Ian -

My view is that given the choice of playing on loan for a bottom third Premiership team with whom he has no affinity or playing for his home town club in an exciting promotion challenge, there is every chance Stewie would choose the latter.

He needs to be playing football, enjoying it and getting his form back in order to put himself in a good position come the summer when he moves from Liverpool.

I think it is easy to ignore/overlook the advantage Boro has where Stewie is concerned compared to a mediocre Prem club. He has an emotional investment in Boro. His wages wont be effected wherever he plays.

The issue will be that Liverpool will want to loan him out to the team willing to pay the greatest proportion of his salary, which is where Boro are at a competitive disadvantage compared to Wigan et al.

Hopefully we'll still be in the top two or three come January and hopefully the crowds will have increased as a result of that and the special offers. Thus allowing Boro to finance an offer attractive to Liverpool. Also Liverpool will be reluctant to loan him to fellow relegation struggles (lol) I would imagine!

Grove Hill wallah said:

Got my ticket for the match on Saturday. really looking forward to my first live game of the season.

Hope I don't put the mockers on them!

How are sales coming along AV?

Werdermouth said:

Any idea how long emergency loans made before Thursday are for? I was thinking the Boro squad is carrying quite a few injuries at the moment and we've still got eight league games and a cup game before the year ends.

So getting Downing on loan this week might be more productive than waiting until Liverpool fail to sell him before the end of the January transfer deadline - though given the usual panic by clubs hovering around the bottom of the PL it would probably mean someone taking a punt on him.

**AV Writes: Emergency loans last a maximum of 93 days.

Ian Gill said:

Nigel -

You may be right but who knows what is going on. For all we know it could be posturing by one side or the other to provoke interest.

Interesting that the Cheshire Chronicle - part of icnetwroks - say that no contact has been made with Liverpool. The story came from somewhere, someone is testing the water.

Benny Brown said:

Not having seen Boro this season I have been unable to comment, but after seeing the statistics for the Cardiff match I wonder how Boro lost this game.

As far as getting Stewie Downing back on loan, I agree with other comments about the Liverpool manager leaving Anfield before Downing. Liverpool do not suffer failures in their manager position lightly, as appears the case with the present manager.

It is the same case as with Adam Johnson, both players not to the manager's liking, after being signed by the previous one. If both Adam and Stewert are to furher their England careers a move is imperative.

Richard said:

Concerning Stewart Downing: There are too many hearts talking here.

What would Downing add to Boro's setup at the present time? Would he be real VfM? Or would he inject a bit of discontinuity to a squad and a "system" or "understanding" (whatever it is!), that's got Boro challenging for an automatic promotion position.

If he doesn't go straight into the squad and an automatic first name on the team sheet, what's the advantage to him? Would it disrupt things?

Then there's the gamble of whether he could actually perform in the Championship? Has he ever played in this league? It's a different game. Stewy was never the bravest. He prefers to protect his legs and the quick closing down and uncompromising style of play in this league may negate his individual style and strengths (which may NOT be as strong as they were when he left for Villa).

I can understand the sentimental attraction, but in this I'd consider a few notches of mental shift towards the Roman Abramovich end of the spectrum when making any decision on this, might be in order.

If the finances do permit, then I hope that Gibson leaves it to Mowbray to decide and that it's a football decision - not a sentimental one, or one of "convenience" for either party. We've made some howlers in the past when Gibson was suspected of having had a hand in it, perhaps forcing the issue a bit. I'd suggest the evidence is that it needs less forcing currently. Unless Mowbray thinks otherwise.

I'm sure that Gibson remembers with gratitude the Downing (senior and junior) decision to delay his departure when Boro were on the slide. But bringing him in with a guarantee of a place in the starting line-up for reasons of gratitude, I think would be a mistake.

peaeye said:

Just back from a couple of days visit to Teesside. Tuesday’s Gazette splashes big picture of Downing on front page with his “mooted” move back to Boro, arguably a marginally better use of valuable front page space than the day before when a Teesside X-Factor hopeful was featured. For goodness sake!

There was no other news around of course – oh, hang-on reading inside I see an insignificant story about the trial of some local gadgie who is alleged to have committed a couple of murders! It’s all about selling papers I suppose.

Now here’s a much more likely story. I’m reading the Gazette in one of my old watering holes not a million miles from where Downing comes from as it happens and – wait for this. The barmaid chirps up to say that her nana’s chiropodist saw Victoria Beckham looking at curtain material on Doggie market just last Saturday. You could have heard a pin drop at this news.

The general agreement was though that there was more chance of that move happening than of Stewie coming back, especially when “Becks” checks out how many high-class tattoo parlours there are on Teesside.

Werdermouth said:

Boro have 17 league games in the next 93 days - 12 of them before the January transfer deadline closes.

Though they also have 17 games after the January deadline until the season ends - so which Downing deal would work best?

If he doesn't get much game time at Liverpool until the end of the January deadline then he's probably going to need quite a few games to be match fit again - so I would say if the numbers are right then doing a deal today would help continue the momentum on and off the pitch.

chris said:

I don't know what all the fuss is about with Downing or what is hard to sort out. If he really wanted to come back and help our promotion push then surely he could come back on reduced wages or even for free like Bellamy did with Cardiff originally.

If it is a case of ££££ or wages spoiling the deal then maybe he doesn't want to help that much really! I mean he is not poor and 6 to 8 weeks of lower wages would not destroy him.

Just my thoughts :)

Ian Gill said:

So no Stewie against Bristol City. It didnt seem likely so we can focus on whats next.

Over 16000 tickets sold, ahead of the same figures for Sheff Wed. Lets hope for a decent crowd and a performance.

AV asked about booing Bates, I hope he gets a good reception then is roundly hounded in the match.

I remember the comments from Derby fans about the return for Rav. They were impressed by the good reception he got and agreed with the less than forthright applause during the game.

On to Mr Clattenberg, lets hope it can be put to bed. The New Zealand Football Union should be put on alert in case some herbert has a go about being called the All Blacks.

Pick the bones out of that one Vic. :)

**AV writes: There was never any chance of Downing in on loan this week, as you would know if you read the Gazette, who are well aware of the shifting sands behind the scenes, rather than some other papers who are just two-plus-twoing.

richard evans said:

Richard makes the good point that Stewie has minimal Championship experience and also wisely counsels that perhaps Steve Gibson should step back given his alleged involvement in one or two recent transfer disasters. That head must rule.

But it really can’t. Football support is based on many deep and conflicting emotions that bind and blind us all together. Stewie would undoubtedly be a feel good transfer, be another PR coup and is a darn fine player too. And he’s a Boro supporter.

Stewie bided his time here, didn’t run off, committed to us and went with our blessings and for good money too.

There will forever be a whiff of treachery and disloyalty re: Bates and ‘one of our own’ Wheater, who contributed very little to the first team at Boro over the years and left for the dosh only.

Not so with Stewie. Go to Youtube now and the last minute of the Steaua game - Downing wins the ball, to the touchline and then the most sublime cross ever for perhaps the best moment we’ll ever know as Boro fans. It will forever be tears to the eyes stuff.

He’s only 28, is rarely injured, can still do it and is an England player. His current boss is David Brent to our Caesar.

If only from January to May, come back Stewie. It may be all conjecture but this is the biggest no brainer ever.

Derek Russell said:

Hi AV, I'm assuming the figure of 17k so far for the two home games is just for tickets sold and does not include ST holders or away fans. Am I right in thinking this and if so, how many ST holders do we have these days?

I'm guessing Bristol will only bring a couple of hundred but Huddersfield may round up a fair few (even if it is a night match). Cheers.

**AV writes: We have 10,000 ST "give or take a few dozen."

Richard said:

Richard Evans:

Afonso Alves will bring in 20 goals a season.

Lee Dong Gook will give us presence up front and options.

Southgate's ready for Premier League Club Management (Oh! And by the way Gareth, we're selling all your experienced first team squad members as quickly as we can because we're too deep in debt!)

Never mind, Gordon Strachan will stop the rot.

Also, please consider this:

There's a time to recognise you're breathing rarified air. And that's before you're breathing it!

Sentimentium has a half-life of two home matches!

Ian Gill said:

Derek -

Just had a quick look at seat map before booking mine by phone and it looks like the 17000 quoted at that time included season tickets.

There are roughly 90 blocks and roughly a third had well over 50% availability, many in 80%+ range. If we assume 30% sold that is 8000 unsold plus 4500 unsold in the away end.

Allowing for limited availabilty in the rest of the ground I guess around 20000 sold so far including season tickets.

Totally fag packet

**AV writes: Nudged up to 19,000 by 11am... big surge at 1pm as people turn up to buy on the day... I'm thinking 22k or thereabouts. Which would be a massive success. We shouldn't judge it on Sheff Wed crowd but what gate would have been if no ticket initiative had been undertaken. At full price and with no away fans it would have been about 13,892 today.

Ian Gill said:


As a certain person reported Clattenberg to the Police based on tittle tattle do you think we could get a gagging order for 3 or 4 weeks?

boroboyabroad said:

Oh well another Typical Boro disappointment- or was it Manager of the month syndrome? Never saw the game but from all accounts it was a matter of Bristol playing their best game of the season whlst we played one of our worst.

To all the doom mongers out there it is not the end of the world we will be back on another good run which keep us in touch with the leading pack even being in the top two is not out of the question by xmas keep the faith.


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