Brum Deal For Bungling Boro

By Anthony Vickers on Dec 1, 12 02:09 AM

DEFEAT snatched from the jaws of victory.... *sigh*

Somehow Boro contrived to a lose 3-2 at Birmingham after twice leading.

Three collosal cock-ups cost precious points after what had been as dominant a first half as you are likely to see this weekend. Bikey finally got caught out after riding his luck with high risk tackles week in, week out, Steeley developed Brad Jones aerial flappy wrist syndrome for the second in a rare lapse of concentration then Josh McEachran, good going forward but who struggled when under the cosh, played a sloppy stray sqyuare ball and got punished. By Marlon King, naturally.

Boro were in command op but failed to make it count, then lost their rhythm, lost their composure and finally lost any semblance of a grip on the game against a limited and demoralised side suddenly galvanised by the gifts.

I still can't believe we came away empty handed. Neither can Lee Clark. He was gleeful in his post match comments knowing he had wriggled off the hook : in the first half with Boro a goal up and ripping his side open the fan unfurled a 'Clark Out' banner and it raised the first cheer of the night from the home fans.

Had Boro got a second then, or had they seen out half-time without conceding that penalty Birmingham would have been booed off and the atmosphere - already tense - would have weighed heavily on a team that looked as poor as we've seen this term. Instead they went in somehow alive and level after being taken apart.

After that the game slowly swung against Boro. They scored a second - the scrappiest goal so far this season that featured two flaps at a loose ball on the ground by the keeper plus an ankle high attempted header by defender Ibanez before Scott McDonald dug it out and stabbed it home - but then conceded the pivotal second very quickly.

Again, if they had held out then - hoofed it clear in the scramble at the edge of the box, closed down Elliott to prevent the lob, Steele got a decent fist on it - and tightened up for five or 10 minutes it would have been job done.

As it was that goal gave Birmingham a massive list, they piled forward and Boro wilted.

The result and the transformation in the respective shapes, attitudes and tempo by the end was almost unimaginable 44 minutes in. Boro were so much on top in a one sided match it was embarrassing. The localpress lads couldn't believe how dominant Boro were (although they were keen to stress that City are routinely awful).

That's the Championship for you. If you don't score goals when you are on top (McDonald opted to try a fancy chip when through one-one-one when a low drilled effort on target would do and Jutkiewicz again squirted headers everywhere but the goal) then you run the risk of letting teams off the hook - and if you can't defend when under pressure then you are going to get caught.

Stiil, its no disaster. Boro are well placed and have a trip to basement boys Peterborough up next. What could possibly go wrong?


Smogonthetyne said:

Are we a good side or a nice side? No team in this division is streets a head. At times we look good, at others not so impressive. We always give the opposition a chance.

Top six within reach if we can toughen up. With a bit of luck, who knows.

It's been a solid start to the season, well know more in January.

Up the boro

'Ignorant' of boroland said:

King bought his penalty. I am not surprised to hear he has had five pens this season. MacDonald had his leg taken away from him before that and nothing doing.

I would love to see what our possession was at half time . Brum hardly had the ball.
Birmingham really grew into the match in the second half and we became sloppy a couple of times and it cost us.

But I thought once Duke a went off we were second best really as Miller didnt seem to get hold of the ball. I didnt rate King when we had him but he looked better than Miller last night.

unlucky lads..... nearly.

adymac said:

My thoughts exactly AV. I went to the match with my Dad as we live in the Midlands now. I think this match irritated me more than when I saw Boro lose 3-0 there last season, at least that game we were terrible and deserved to lose.

Last night we played well, could have been 2-0 up before conceding what i thought was a soft penalty at a crucial time. In fact all there goals came at important stages in the match;

You could feel the Brum fans lift after their second equalizer and I feared the worst from then on as Boro players backed off time after time, encouraging the opposition into decent scoring opportunities. I don't expect Boro players to dive in with two footed challenges but at least close your opponent down to make him work.

I felt deflated after that, we committed suicide after putting in a fairly good display. Oh, and I may have to stop taking my Dad as he keeps ordering people to sit down, one of these days I'll end up getting a shoeing because him!

BoroPhil said:

Absolutely gutted. We've lost three of the last four, and should have won the lot. We might be the best team in the division but if we keep making stupid mistakes we won't finish anywhere.

John Powls said:

And you could see it coming from fifteen minutes before half time when the players began to believe their own publicity, got hypnotised by their own rhythm and started to get sloppy.

Nikeboro said:

Unlike the Bristol match, Mogga got the team for Birmingham dead right from the available players. Albeit in different ways, this was similar to the Cardiff game. We were well on top and looked the better team but lost.

I came away proud from Cardiff. We had played the better football and looked a good team. It was only after reflection and replays that I realised that, for all our attractive play, we actually hadn't tested the keeper much.

I came away from St Andrews frustrated and angry. Birmingham were one-dimensional and poor. Although with a few good players, they were not even a decent Championship team.

In contrast Boro looked classy and a far superior outfit. We totally dominated stretches of the game. Our first goal seemed inevitable and then it was just a matter of how many we could rack up.

However appearances can be deceptive. Boro often flatter to deceive. As with Cardiff, the next-day evaluation reveals that, for all the domination, we didn't do enough with it. There is little point in having so much possession if there are so few killer passes and their keeper is rarely tested.

It looked great but there was inadequate end product. Allied to criminally slap-dash defensive lapses, we somehow came away with a defeat when, for long stretches, we looked like winning by two or three.

Three defeats out of four is not promotion form. Merely keeping the ball and rolling it around prettily will not get us out of this division, especially when we have a porous defence and gaff-prone players.

Nikeboro said:

If we have our traditional Xmas slump, we will be struggling. After all, with three defeats out of four we might have already started it!

Having won so comfortably at Blackburn, it would be entirely predictable for us to lose to them at home. It's not unknown for Boro to get only five or six points from the 18 to play for. If we repeat that pattern we risk being outside the play-off places by January.

peaeye said:

Match report from The Bell. Att: 1 (one)

Sit myself down in splendid isolation with a pint of the black stuff. (Lack of interest from rest of punters was such that they asked for the telly to be turned of at the other end of the bar).

First half very pleasing up until last kick of the game, some excellent football, total domination in midfield and a well made and taken goal. It should have been a pipe and slippers job, Lukey Jukey should have scored with a header but for being distracted by his marker trying to swap shirts, plus we had a certain pen turned down. No arguements really about their pen but pretty relaxed about the second half to come.

Well, I'll go to the foot of our stairs! What a turn around, totally out-muscled and out-played, we had'nt a clue, particularly Miller. I watched the replays wanting to believe that Steele had no chance - but no, it was as you said AV, a bad case of FWS (Flappy Wrist Syndrome).

Another mistake for their winner and incredibly we had thrown it away. Every cloud has a silver lining though: finished the night with a Beach Boys special on BBC4 and a glass of Dalwhinnie eased the pain.

On to a "home match" next week, I know we haven't played Posh that often but we need to go back to 1967, for our last win at London Road in the league. Oh cripes. Still, another silver lining, at least they give old gadgie rates on ticket prices.

Pedro de Espana said:

If you cannot keep clean sheets on a regular basis, you will not achieve anything.

The defence is too porous as posted. Mr Woodgate is not going to play sufficient matches to make the difference, and Mr Williams is while from returning. This leaves us light in the CB position, with no other options.

It could be even worse if Bikey or Hines gets injured.

Redcar Red said:

Central defence for the last few games is either porous or dysfunctional with the obvious exception of the Huddersfield game where the midfield won the day.

If Woody is going to be another Tommo its a luxury we cannot afford. Bikey has been superb most of the season but on too many occassions now has had moments of incredulity. If we can't drop centre-backs due to too many crocks on the books we need to review the situation in January.

Steele's clanger just rubbed salt in the wounds and burst the bubble. I hope there were a few broken tea cups in the dressing room because that was simply professional incompetence and arrogance in equal measure.

peterboroangel said:

Hmmm, pleased with the performance after Cardiff. Equally pleased with the performance against Birmingham but getting concerned by the leaking of goals and the nature of the goals.

After watching POSH getting slaughtered today, surely we will get three points next week - even if it's just for me!

Otherwise I'll get slaughtered!

Clive Hurren said:


To give away one stupid goal looks unfortunate. To give away two is careless. But to give away three really, really poor goals is unforgiveable.

I can't help thinking that if we finish third and just miss out on automatic promotion we will look back on this damaging defeat with horror.

And every defeat heaps further pressure on. That's seven we've lost now. 21 points gone. My guess is that we can't afford to lose more than two or three more all season if we're going to get promoted automatically. Time to get a grip.

Nigel reeve said:

The three school boy errors tells me the players were complacent and cocky. They need a good kick up the ars@ from Mogga. Nothing wrong with his tactics or team selection, his players let him down badly.

I would drop Bikey when Woody is fit, he's an accident waiting to happen. So far he's conceded two goals this season through poor decision making, we can't afford that to happen again. Steele and McEachran can be forgiven their errors as they have generally been first class all season.

A very frustrating game to watch , at 1-0 up it was a walk in the park, but we didn't go for the jugular and suffered the consequences for putting our feet up and lighting a cigar.

We, the fans deserve a response from the team next week at Posh.

Ian Gill said:

When John and I swapped emails post match I put the view that it wasnt as bad as the Bristol match.

Couldnt ask anyomre about the line up and way we started. There were some blunders by players but they in no way match the blunder that was the Bristol fiasco - they lost 4-0 at home to a Wolves team in disarray.

An official was bound to give a penalty against Bikey at some point, Steele was due a mistake, the misplaced pass was just that.

Looking on the bright side we only need five wins to stay up!

On to the Posh.

And we beat the All Blacks at rugby.

Ian Gill said:

Just checking scoring stats on MFC, it is a long list with 17 different players having notched. The biggest confirmation that it is a squad game is the fact 20 diffrent players have aquired yellow cards!

One posiive has come out of the last couple of games, Halliday looks to have made the transformation to full back.

Five more wins should see us safe. Im only joking.

Paul said:

The reason we lost was the same as Bristol city. Hines and Bikey are terrible together. Hines looks too lightweight and gets pulled from pillar to post. Bikey can only play if someone is telling him exactly where he needs to be.

I thought the majority of the team played well, but unless we shore up the defence or get injured players back we will not get promoted as we are dropping too many points due to rank bad defending.

For me when Woodgate comes back it would be Hines out. Bikey can play but only if he is next to a talker. Ideally we need Williams back, but in the meantime given how well Halliday did at left back I'd contemplate trying Friend at centre back.

We need to stop dropping silly points or this season will fizzle out and potentially we are the best team in this division, but potential doesn't get you promoted, hard work and good players do that!!

Jarkko said:

Saw the match "live" on TV. We played so well in first half than one started to dream about a five goal win that would have taken us top of the league.

The Bikey penalty was horrible. What was he thinking there on the 46th minute - he did stick the leg out. That said I think he was our best player in 2nd half.

Also Steele did not had his usual, high standards. But I still think he will become the England number one in the next five years.

Same can be said about McEachran. Not his best of days yesterday but he could be an England International in the near future.

The teeam played well around 60 min but made terrible personal mistakes. But let's move on. We'll have Woody back in the next match and Rhys is there or thereabouts before Chrismas.

In January window we must buy a defender and possibly a striker. I would rather see Danny Graham here and a left sided defender. Do we have Miller on loan unti May?

Up the Boro!

Steve said:

Gutted!!! That pretty much sums up my feelings about that result. It was like the Cardif match in that its hard to actually have to much of a go because 90% of things we did very well.

I can take a defeat if your beaten by a better side (Blackpool) but its hurts so much more when your beaten by a side that looked frankly awful. As most have stated on here its the old simple footballing saying 'you must take chances when on top'. Juke was again a key part of this missing two guilt edged headed chances at 0-1.....made worse by the fact that he actually had another good game leading the line and linking up with 'Ozzy'.

I have no doubt the loss of George 'Robocop' Friend made a difference and Woody (although he misses that many games its just a bonus to have him one in five). So you would think things will be a little more 'sturdy'at the back in the up and coming games?

It was a really bad result against a really bad side but we are still in the mix and its clearly not the end of the world. That said if we really want to win automatic promotion then we really must beat the Brums and Bristol Citys of this world.

That brings me on to Posh on saturday. They are rock bottom for a reason and beaten 1-4 by Blackpool yesterday. So dare i say it? A 'banker'? No excuses next week we have to get a result (Unlike last year in the 1-1 when we took the lead and dominated unly to come away with a point).

Heads up Boro and keep the faith.....UTB!!

Ian Gill said:

AFC Wimbledon, AFC Wimbledon.....

Then we will be drawn away to ? in the FA Cup. Burton Albion please.

Masham wiggy said:

The championship is a lava lamp. Have I said that before?

Werdermouth said:

It's not exactly going to plan at the moment - three defeats in four games - all of which should have been avoided.

It basically means we've now dropped out of the group for automatic promotion and back into the play-off pack and only two points ahead of seventh.

It's probably more down to a loss in concentration than anything more significant - but if it isn't nipped in the bud soon it could erode at confidence and have a more long-term effect.

Anyway, at least we can still look at the car crash that is Chelsea if we need cheering up - can there be a club that it's easier to dislike and revel in their self created misfortune?

Also, I read today that the PL seems to have joined the rest of the super-rich in avoiding paying tax - Is it only the people with the least who end up paying tax these days? Sorry I meant mugs! why is all this apparently 'legal' and what's the point in having a government if they can't do anything to stop blatant cheating?

Better watch another replay of Rafa's face again!

Ian Gill said:

Werdermouth -

He's just a Fat Spanish Waiter. Fact. I must admit I dont why Chelsea hired him because apart from the mutual dislike there was between them when he was Liverpool manager Abramovich wanted a manger to develop a Barcelona like style.

He is a defensive manager. The other major role was to remotivate Torres. When Torres son was born and he went into the changing room at Melwood (?) all the players were asking how the baby was and congratulating him. Benitez came in and berated him for not tracking back.

By all accounts he is a cold fish.

Enough of their problems and a home tie in the cup. lets hope it is a great day out for the non leaguers. Hope it will be Harrogate and a good number can travel up.

Damn, Sunderland have pulled one back. And there is another thought about fans. 4.00pm away to Norwich on a Sunday, it is a long way to travel back.

Jarkko said:

Do you prefer Martin O'Neil over Tony Mowbray as a manager? No brainer methinks. Norwich leading by 2-0 against MON's team currently.

Up the Boro!

gt said:

Rumours are out that Boro will make three signings in January for the big push and SG has given Mogga the ok to do it.. They are:

R.Williams from Middlesbrough
M Careyol from Middlesbrough
C. Main from Middlebrough

Will these players help?

Forever Dormo said:

Is gt (at 5.34pm) making some mischief???

Ian Gill said:


I like it but before then we will have signed Woodie, Haroun and Gorgeous. No doubt Arca will be another January signing.

Werdermouth said:

Don't be so harsh Ian, spanish waiters are very professional - though perhaps when Rafa told Roman that he could deliver on Torres he meant the wine not the footballer.

Is there a FIFA limit on how many manager you can sack per season? surely there must be a chance of John Terry becoming player manager at some point - and then he might end up playing Torres in goal in order to remind him being in the six yard box feels like.

gt said:

Ian Gill

Thats seven new players in then,hope they all settle in ok

Sandy said:

Three defeats in four games, leaking goals like a bleeding sieve and letting that donkey Marlon King score twice when he couldn't hit the proverbial barn door when he played for the Boro is a bitter pill to swallow.

Typical Boro comes to mind and strongly suggests this season will be a roller coaster ride. What is particularly galling is that Cardiff don't play well and grind our results - Boro need to toughen up and get mean otherwise we will get washed away in the snow and rain of winter.

Percypieblocks said:

It appears that Halliday is going to be ok at full back, so just put Friend at centre back until Woodie is fit again (2014?). Something has to be done about the defence.

Too angry to comment on the match.

peaeye said:

You can't beat a good bout of schadenfreude to pick you up after a depressing defeat, and what better target than Chelski?

Ian Gill said:

Peaeye -

The weekend got gradually better, Monday may even be tolerable Sunderland in relegation battle. Maybe Wigan can continue the good work tonight.

Truth is I would rather we had won than having to gains solace from others misfortunes but you have to take what consolation there is no matter how scant.

GT -

Ben Gibson is due back on the 3rd Jan I believe so that makes it eight new signings. Mogga will have a field day, selection meetings will be like Countdown.

lenmasterman said:

Amidst all of the doom and gloom let us not forget that Leadbitter put on a near perfect performance. Not a single pass failing to find a man, never dispossessed, always available, and winning a fair share of tackles. Ably supported by Bailey. Pity about that final, stupidly wasted free-kick.

No wonder Mogga was frustrated. What can a manager do when his best laid plans are undone by unaccountable individual errors?

What the Birmingham game demonstrates, I think, is that the manager is doing a very good job in organising and getting the best out of a group of players whose individual limitations are there for all to see.

I'm interested in the criticism that we need to tighten up in defence. That is true, and it is the very reason that Mogga has put so much emphasis on defensive security since he arrived.

Given that our first choice central defenders are Woodgate and Bikey you do not need a coaching badge to recognise how vulnerable we are to counter-attacking strikers who have a bit of pace. And this vulnerability becomes a major liability whenever we go behind and have to chase the game. Hence the manager's generally cautious approach which has drawn a good deal of criticism, even on such a tolerant forum as this.

Perhaps responding to this kind of criticism, the manager went on to the front foot at Birmingham, and we saw what happened: a very positive performance with both full backs joining in the attacking play, but with a consequent draining of defensive resources and an undesirable end result.

I do not think that we can quibble. We do not have enough players of outstanding quality to enable us to play on the front foot with a high defensive line, without the risk of leaking goals. Nor can we play deep and rely on the creativity of our midfield and the killer instincts of our strikers to produce convincing wins.

We dominated Birmingham, yet we did not create a great deal and our strikers missed some of the golden opportunities that we did carve out. Birmingham won because of our three individual defensive errors. But also because, with far fewer opportunities, they produced two strikes on goal of a quality that we were not able to match.

I remain of the view that, given our injuries, and the players at his disposal, Mogga has performed a minor miracle in keeping us in contention. The team is playing pretty well and, in spite of recent results, there is no reason for anything other than optimism. The vast majority of us would have taken fourth place by this stage at the beginning of the season, even without the injuries.

Nigel Reeve said:

lenmastrman -

good post, just one thought; aren't Woodgate and R Williams Moggas first choice centre back pairing? I hope they are..........

I'm looking forward to standing on a proper terrace at Peterborough and hopefully watching a good Boro performance.

Ian Gill said:

Len -

I would have taken being top half and within reach of the play off places at this stage.

I dont think the recent blip is anything to do with being more adventurous and is more to do with individual mistakes.

Against Cardiff we left a giraffe standing unmarked at the far post at a corner. Bikey made a daft challenge to give away a penalty. As Vic said above Steele develpoed flappy wrists and McEachran played a sloppy square ball.

These things happen and you just have to grate the teeth and bear it.

If the likes of ManU, Arsenal and Chelsea can make them then so can we. I certainly dont think Woodie would help against pacey breaks.

Any criticism of the managers approach has been on occasion his apparent obsession with matching the opposition at home. The two most blatant examples led to defeats against Leicester and Barcelona City. Derby we got a draw even though Bailey played half the match behind the centre backs!

Even Mogga held his hands up after the Bristol game - subsequent results have shown what a howler that match was.

Leadbitter has done very well in central midfield. There have been many comparisons between him and Robson though it is unfair on both of them. Robson certainly contributed more goals but spent most of his time on the right wing, I dont think Leadbitter would be as effective on the left wing as he has been in the middle.

A big plus has come out of the last couple of matches in that Halliday has done well. Oh for him at left back against Bristol though Mogga didnt want to risk him in case Adomah scored and Bristol won. Doh!

If we keep in the play offs and get players back we will be in decent position, I still think next season will be our best chance.

Arthur James said:

"The weekend got gradually better, Monday may even be tolerable Sunderland in relegation battle. Maybe Wigan can continue the good work tonight."


Why are you so bothered about teams and their supporters who do not regard Boro as local rivals in any shape or form.

Do you think that any Boro fans have your feeble attitude when it comes to following results of your other team, the Rams?

peterboroangel said:

It never ceases to amaze me how football fans waste their supporting resources on negativity towards the opposition or local rivals rather than funneling it towards positive support for there own team.

Visitors to Peterborough on Saturday - I'll see you in Charters before the game (that's the barge on the River Nene, three minutes walk to the ground). Plenty of real ale options. JHB - good light session beer and can be bought in 5 pint jugs.

BoroPhil said:

Arthur James -

The Sunderland fans I work with certainly consider us our local rivals, though obviously not to the extent of the Geordies. So try not to speak for everyone, eh?

Despite our defensive frailties, I wouldn't be so quick to move George Friend inside considering how good he has been at left back. Halliday did well against a very poor Huddersfield team and I thought he struggled in the second half against Birmingham, so let's not get too carried away.

If we have Friend and Woody back on Saturday, it will make a big difference.

**AV Writes: It will be a struggle to get Friend back. He's still a major doubt and I don't think he will be risked. Woody's is a better bet.

timfromsa said:

Ian -

I think another thing Leadbitter brings is less yellow cards. Yes he has had one match so far but I think Robson had far more by now. No disrespect to Robson thats how he was and always gave 100%. But with all the injuries we have had it would have been a disaster to have players out suspended too.

We will have to put those bad results behind us and get something this weekend.
With a few home games coming up we could be top two by the end of December.

lenmasterman said:

The scandal of Gareth giving our prospective cup opponents the lowdown on Woody's weaknesses: HarrogateGateGateGate.

**AV writes: Our sub-editors are all desparate for "A Battle With Hastings."

Harrogate would make a better game. They may bring 2,000 fans whereas Hastings will bring 200, tops. That would make it a decent buzz and a good atmosphere.

Grove Hill wallah said:

I never understand this slagging of local teams. I want to see Newcastle, Sunderland and Boro in the Premier League and the derbies that go with it. In fact I'd love to see Hartlepool and Darlington in there as well.

**AV writes: There is light-hearted "banter" based on mutual leg-pulling, the shifting sands of bragging rights and the use of traditional well known colourful readings of history and current status for comic effect (ie 'trophy vigins' 'n-n-n-nineteen, nineteen, the total of points of was n-n-n-nineteen,' jibes about Boro's crowd size etc) which is funny and inclusive and part and parcel of football culture.

Then there is vile "banter" which is amoral gutter-scraping calculated to insult and incite which is really very unpleasant, unfunny and indefensible (ie references to paedophilia, aircrashes, the industrial murder of human beings etc.)

I think most of the partisan 'slagging' falls within the first strand, we get plenty of it in our mixed office. I think increasingly though some very nasty and once rare aspects of the second strand are seeping into the mainstream through message boards and social media and are gaining traction beyond their natural consttuency: that is the stupid, the boorish and the emotionally incontintent.


Ian Gill said:

Arthur James (and Peterborough Angel) -

I did own up to it being scant solace and it was said (in part) with tongue in cheek -or by the response foot in mouth.

There isnt the animosity such as Liverpool ManU, it is more of a leg pull.

England between New Zealand was great as was South Africa's demolition of the Aussies. They did make me laugh, Sunderland's defeat was just a passing smile.

Ian Gill said:

Tim from SA -

Robbo made 37 appearances in the league and scored seven goals. Half his appearances were out of position on the left.

If Leadbitter makes 37 in his best position in central midfield and scored seven league goals I would be over the moon. He will pick up a knock and get a couple more bans before the seasons end.

Len -

I would be delighted if we were in the postion for Harrosouthgate to exploit Woodie's weaknessses.

I was hoping for Burton Albion away and some revenge.

BoroPhil said:

The rivalries are all about banter. I know plenty of Mags and Mackems and it’s always good-natured, yes there are idiots who take it too far, but that happens in any walk of life.

I can’t understand people who try and deny rivalries, from my point of view the more rivalries the better, it creates a better atmosphere in the build up to matches, and at the matches. Trying to deny rivalries exist is like trying to deny yourself some fun.

And yes, all three of us in the Premier League please, and Leeds as well. Though it would be absolutely hilarious if Sunderland did manage to get themselves relegated.

Nigel Reeve said:

I see no paradox in saying how much you'd laugh when the barcodes/Mackems/Leeds/Liverpool etc etc get relegated and in the next breath saying you wwant to see all the NE teams in the prem.

It's footie banter, taking the mick out of the opposition is a big part of what its about. Having Boro, Sunderland and Newcastle in the prem is obviously what we all want because if nothing else it guatantees us 12 points!

In my football fantasy world Boro win the prem, with Newcastle second and Sunderland third, how much could we laugh then!!

So for those who are having a pop at posters slagging off/laughing at the misfortune of Sunderland erc, ease off a bit, its a laugh. Times are hard we need to get our fun when we can!

lenmasterman said:

If publicity surrounding the Gareth scandal were to significantly increase the size of the crowd for the cup-tie, we could have a bumper HarrogateGateGategate gate.

Forever Dormo said:

Ian Gill and Tim from SA:

To make a proper comparison between ROBBO and Leadbitter you'd have to -

Put on one side of the balance for each player (maybe marks out of 10?):

Commitment and effort on the field (high for both players, surely?),
The effect his contribution has on the team's performance,
Goals scored,
And general "reliability".

Take away from that, for each player, (marks out of 10 again?):

Disciplinary record on the basis that any player who keeps getting bundles of yellows or a few reds will not be available for the team through suspension at regular intervals,

The size of the transfer fee paid/received and the wages paid***, and there is always the difficult-to-quantify issue of how the player fits in with the dressing room****.

* If Woody had been able to keep his fitness and avoid injury, he'd surely have 150 England caps by now and one of Rio Ferdinand or Terry would have spent most of his international career on the bench (I suspect Rio, as Terry would be a better "fit" with Woody - one smooth, quick and in the right position, and the other a little more, how can we say this, physical rather than cerebral in football style).

** Obviously a player who can do it season in, season out, must make a bigger contribution than one who plays a bit-part. How much would David Armstrong be worth now, with 358 consecutive games played for us?

*** This is the basis on which the majority of supporters feel the sale of Bennett (who will be 23 next March) for £2.75 to £4M depending on games played or honours won, was a good deal for Boro when compared to the purchase of George Friend (25 years old 6 weeks ago, so age isn't a major factor between them) at £0.1M, and the wages of the players.

**** Scoring 31 goals in a season is a good performance irrespective of the fact that a high proportion might have come in cup competitions, but if there are difficulties between the player and others in the squad that cause problems in the dressing room with squad morale, then that would have to be put in the balance, too. If, for example, a playing partner were consistently berated on the field for things done within the match, or if the relationship was so bad that, even before a really important match, violence might break out between that player and another.... Vic might have more inside information than we "outsiders" have.

Give it a couple of years before making a judgement - after all, neither Friend nor Leadbitter have been here for half a season yet. I suspect, after a couple of years, most might agree that both will be judged to have been massive success stories at the Boro. AND if they move on, we'll get a decent profit on the deal by way of transfer deals, as both are of an age where they might be sold if need be, rather than walking away with no value.

**AV writes: I think you also have to judge individuals against the standard the club is competing at any given moment, We had squad players ridiculed for being rubbish at the high-water mark who would be hailed as Gods now.

CroydonBoro said:

Bristol City was by far away the worst result of the last three defeats. Two defeats away is only two points dropped. Plus we played well (by all accounts) at Cardiff and I watched the first 30 mins of the Brum game before a long drive home. Only one team turned up for that first third.

The Bristol game was far more damaging because it was a poor performance built on poor managerial decisions and being at home it was three points dropped.

Back to Brum, yes Bikey was going to give away a daft goal or pen sooner or later but generally he's been a decent buy and his no nonsense physical approach isnt provided by anyone else.

If Steele had made that mistake last season or especially the one before questions would have been asked but now he has do much credit in the bank I just shrugged. The same with the other goal and that's after half a season by a new signing.

Three mistakes in one game? Good. Get them all out of the system together, re focus and move on. No witchhunt, no knee jerk reactions.

peterboroangel said:

Banter is just harmless fun which I'm indulging in at the moment which will no doubt build to a Crescendo by Saturday. I'll be watching the game with mates who are Peterborough fans.

The away support is generally more positive than at home in my experience, so looking forward to a big contingent at the game from Teesside to cheer the team to victory.

Ian Gill said:

Forever -

It was time for Robbo to go as he was getting to an age where both he and the club probably needed to move on.

Thats why I would be delighted if Leadbitter played 37 games and scored seven goals in the league. Throw in set piece delivery and that is a great replacement.

I was defending Robbo rather than criticising Leadbitter. Has Grant played right back, left wing or as second striker? Course he hasn't because that would waste his talents. Robbo did all the equivalents for the sake of the team. I suspect there is a hint of Strachan in some of the criticism.

I must admit I wouldnt argue with Robbo in a dark alley!

Andy R said:

Ian -

Do you not think that Robbo was himself partly responsible for being played on the wing rather than in the middle?

I loved Robbo. Wherever and whenever he played his combination of quality left peg and frightful combustablilty made for great entertainment. I would have loved us to have found a way to retain him for one more year. But he wasn't a disciplined player, and besides the obvious I'm also referring to his positional play.

There were plenty of games when he was played wide (or even at full back once I think) to cover injuries or because the gaffer didn't fancy the alternatives, but most of the time I think he played wide because he wasn't trusted in central midfield. Even by Strachan.

**AV writes: When he felt aggrieved (which was often) he would stomp and snap and charge around the pitch, not only running the risk of getting booked (which was often) and undermining the collective concentration but also leaving big gaps in midfield to be exploited by the opposition.

Andy R said:

AV said: "When he felt aggrieved (which was often) he would stomp and snap and charge around the pitch, not only running the risk of getting booked (which was often) and undermining the collective concentration but also leaving big gaps in midfield to be exploited by the opposition."

I agree with that.

To be fair to Robbo he's not alone in this. I though that Gary O'Neil was a frustrated centre-mid who didn't hold his postion well enough to be trusted there. Even Steven Gerrard has had problems there and was often shunted forward or wide.

It shows what a tough position central midfield is. At our level, Grant Leadbitter looks as good as there is.

Ian Gill said:

Andy R and AV -

Dont get me wrong, it was time for Robbo to move on. All I was doing was sticking up for him. He was never perfect but people just writing him off is wrong.

It was the very attributes/flaws that you mention made the whole point of playing him on the right wing pointless. To use him to his best advantage was to use those fires that burnt within him.

He was the player to drive the team forward, if he was going to do that you needed someone to mind the shop. After the supine displays that got us relegated he was a breathe of fresh air, make that fresh fire.

It is all academic because he has gone. As I posted it was time for him to move.

Here is a piece of mischief. Robbo had 13 yellow cards and a red last year. Leadbitter has had five cards already and been suspended. Bet Leadbitter gets up around that total.

It goes with the territory, someone has to put the foot in. If nobody is doing it you get over run.

Andy R said:

Ian -

I think Robbo in the middle needed two players to mind the shop, that was the problem with him there. A bit like Arca (though in another way!), I think he would have been better in a central three rather than a two.

I don't think he was pointless on the wing though. It may not have made the most of his qualities but it limited his deficiencies and his managers, including the one who brought him here, must have thought that was best for the team overall.

Interesting point on Leadbitter's card count. One to watch.

boro1953 said:

Their second goal was a fluke, hard to blame Steel as he did what most other keepers do and stood a few yards off his line and was unfortunate that the shot dipped over him. Shades of Roberts v Chelsea.

Bikey had his usual disaster moment. The challenge was over the top,and we can probably see why successive bosses have dumped him. Their third was by courtesy of a diabolical pass by McEachran that put them clear.

Lets hope this mini slump doesnt turn major,we dont want to fall too far behind the two "Cs".As for the general consensus some bloggers have hit on the fact that pretty possesion football does not win games and making too many mistakes loses games,simple really.

Werdermouth said:

First we hear that PL clubs awash with money are getting away with only paying 0.5% corporation tax on their billions due to the fact their accountants are able to show that they're all broke - the 'sorry guv we've blown it all' excuse.

Now we see that one of these PL clubs is going to be gifted a tax-payer financed £400m stadium with a further £180m being spent to enable it to be used for the odd athletics event.

Though some things just don't add up - how can spending £180m on additional 'removable' seating end up reducing the the stadiums capacity from 80,000 to 60,000?

Also will West Ham find another 25,000 fans to fill their new stadium? they're already heavily in debt and don't have a billionaire owner like Man City so I can't see them building an expensive team of 'watchable' stars - especially not managed by Fat Sam.

Perhaps Sullivan, Gold and Brady will be able to use this windfall to sell on the club at a massive profit to a prospective billionaire seeking a new hobby in London.

Still at least the Olympic stadium has found a use other than holding a three week party - value for money? not something that usually occupies the minds of governments and PL football clubs.

Forever Dormo said:


The normal accounting rules seem to be suspended when we talk about football.

English clubs making enormous losses year on year (how many of the 92 actually made a profit last year?) yet they still carry on trading....some of them must be trading whilst insolvent so how come the directors seem to get away with it.?

A small minority of clubs may have rich sugar-daddies to pay the bills (though one wonders how "clean" all that money is)....vast sums of money sent abroad for players some of whom are of very doubtful value, and to agents, in a manner that makes one think of money-laundering compliance etc....ridiculously inflated wages for players that might be appropriate and even affordable for the superstars employed by a few very rich and successful clubs but wages which also seep down to "lesser" players and to clubs that clearly can't afford it....

Organised crime hiding drugs money or other ill-gotten gains in multi-million pound deals for players no-one has heard of before, and may not hear much of in the future, anyone? Or even, lets say, £2m goes one way to a Colombian club and a £5m "facilitation fee" to the player's "agent", whilst the player comes to the UK shortly followed by a number of "shipments". The "shipments" will be sold on but the player sadly fails to meet expectations and disappears back to Colombia (or wherever) with little said. A crime waiting to happen?

And normally if one uses an agent, one has to pay his fee. For example if an employer uses an agent to fill a particular vacancy (headhunting), the employer will pay a fee when the vacancy is filled, maybe a flat rate fee, maybe a fee depending on the pay given to the new employee and the number of years/value of the contract. Or an agent empoyed by an actor or an artiste might be expected to find contracts for the actor/artiste and may receive a salary, or a commission depending on the contracts secured.

In football, as well as the few well-known agents, it is possible for a player to use the PFA or a solicitor/accountant as their agent, to negotiate the terms of a new "deal" (in which case the player would pay a fee or even an hourly rate for the work done on his behalf). But it would be the player who pays the fees, and he should know that the agent is working on the player's behalf. But we regularly have the situation in football that part of the deal is that the "buying club" will pay the agent's fees for the player.

We have all heard: "He who pays the piper calls the tune". Where do the loyalties of the agent lie - with the player or the paying club? What if there is a conflict?

How about: "Look, Agent, you want £XXXXX per week for your player. Instead of that, how about you tell him you can only get £XXX, times are hard. To sweeten the deal will give that other out of contract player on your books, who has been looking for a club for over a year, £XX. You get our target cheaper for us, we get you out of a hole with your other player. You get two fees. We're all happy..."

Or - back to Wedermouth - why should public money, contributed to by taxpayers from Penzance to Peterhead, go to help a professional football club in a league said to be awash with money? Posssibly to the detriment of other local clubs (Leyton Orient anyone?) with much less money but still supported by fans who love their club as much as anyone expressing a fondness for bubbles?

We forget that active support for football is a minority activity. More people go to church in England on a Sunday than go to all the Premier and Football League games at the weekend. Any chance the government might find £200M for an absolutely state-of-the-art Cathedral to be built near Northallerton as there aren't any in the near locality?

Honestly, it could be made available for use by other community groups as well - Mothers' Union, Mother + Toddler Groups, reading lessons for those who missed out on schooling, pensioners groups can use the attached Hall, and the local judo group as well as Slimming World and the local history society. Everyone would benefit. And we could also build one near Berwick and another near Tiverton, and it would still cost less than the Olympic Gift to West Ham.

It would be complete madness. But then football and its economics are mad. I just hope I'm not next to it when the baloon bursts because it's going to be some explosion.

**AV Writes: And every time a club moves towards rationalising their finances, inject some sanity into their wage structure, use logical and well planned recruitment process, move away from big money/big agent moves they come under pressure from fans for "lacking ambition."

Millionaires who have never played a first team game, £100 tickets, agents getting £2m to facilitate a free transfer... football in this country is based on the economics of the madhouse and the hope that the music does not stop.

Ian Gill said:

No wonder Mogga will be unlikely to buy in January. Woodie,Main, Arca, Carayol, Friend, Haroun all in various stages of getting back to fitness.

It looks like McManus is going nowhere soon, we are now told Williams is two players.

Jarkko said:

Ian -

How about the young Gibson lad coming back from Tranmere? If I remember right Pallister and Wheater were on loan something like three months at Darlo (or similar) and they came back as first team players. This lad has played half a season in a team on the top of the third tier!

Yes, depending on the injuries we do not need many inforcements in Januray. Of course, if Steve Gibson approves, we could do with a goal taker like Danny Graham. But I don't know if the Swansea striker is available on loan or if he suits our team pattern. But at least he not playing currently.

Up the Boro!

InLagos said:

Just read that McEachran could be recalled by Chelski in January due to Obi Mikkel being at the African Cup. That would be a big blow for our promotion chances.

Any behind the scenes insight AV?

**AV writes: We'll ask after the game.

Morrissey Forever said:

You're totally right.
Nigerians are very good!!!!

Leave a comment

 Energy Efficient Windows and Conservatories Ltd


Follow Untypical Boro on

Untypical Boro's Twitter

Sponsored Links