Deadline Day Live: Unplugged

By Anthony Vickers on Jan 31, 13 07:52 AM

DON'T expect any dry ice, floating pigs or Arena spectacular interactive day-glo wristbands in football's big gig today. Boro are going for a low-key mellow acoustic set to a smaller audience in a more intimate venue. Transfer deadline day; unplugged.

As I suggested yesterday, I'm not expecting Mogga to go any cash crazed beat the bongs late night trolley dash. But you never know, Gibbo may find a wad of notes down the back of his sofa and sanction a splurge.

But we can still have fun. Don't let Teesside down. I'm looking for you lot to help out with any spottings of Pique in Pallister Park, Becchio in Berwick Hills or Jon Parkin buying a parmo. If you spot Ryan Giggs or Peter Crouch going into Rockliffe let me know (we've got the Tontine covered by webcam). If anyone knows anyone who used to work with the women who lives next door to Gibbo's best mate and who has the inside track on a loan move for Stewie Downing or Tom Huddlestone, shout up because today is the day when no rumour, no matter how preposterous goes unpublished.

I'll be updating here regularly so hit that refresh button and rack up the page clicks as often as you can. Feel free to comment, muse on days past, laugh at Sunderland fans unfolding double think over Mackem-hating Danny Graham, and suggest songs. There is also a Trinity Mirror regional live blog running if you want to check on the activity from around the country or make sarcastic comments about Newcastle and Sunderland activity.

Plus follow me on twitter @untypicalboro. It's anarchy on there.

*****8.30am UPDATE

Blimey, good start as Sky Sports sources lob a hand-grenade onto the breakfast table .....

‏@SkySportsNews: Sky sources: Swansea have agreed a deal with Middlesbrough for striker Danny Graham #SkyDeadlineDay

Mistake based on poor geography? Complete curveball from Steve GIbson? It has certainly stirred up the collective Boro breakfast banter.

It sounds completely unbelievable - Swansea were asking £4-5m and he will be on £25k+ a week so he inhabits a different universe right now - but it is a funny old game and Gibbo has funded shock D-Day moves before now. Sky are saying Swansea have agreed a fee with Boro. Which would be totally counter to last three years of austerity. And would he step down a division anyway.

We are checking: texting Mogga, Bausor and Gibbo - and anyone else who knows me - now to try and clarify. Instinct says this can't be true but it has certainly lit a fuse.

As ‏@Triquertum said on twitter: "I don't care if its true or not. It has livened up what was going to be an otherwise mundane deadline day for me. Come on !!!"


Everyone is now speculating which Boro players would be sold to fund it. Amusingly, everyone who yesterday was calling Emnes a busted flush and a waste of space now seem to think Swansea would value him highly as part of a cash & swap deal.

The only other possibilities of cashing in assets to fund it would be George Friend (but West Ham have now signed Poggi), Rhy Williams (nowhere near his best since coming back), Scott McDonald (no sign of any interest whatsoever) or Jason Steele (and they are adamant he is not for sale.)

The bits are falling into place to suggest there has been some contact with Swansea but club sources are being vague and insisting there has been no fee agreed ("do you think we have even got £5m") and are speaking in very non-committal terms. Hmmm.

Well, they were ready to pick up a big chunk of Downing wages in a loan? Is there some wriggle room there? Could it be a loan with a view to a sale if we go up? We'll see.

Whatever, if Graham does end up here we should all give a big round of thanks to the Sunderland fans for booing him so roundly on Tuesday, thus persuading him that, should he want to return to his native North-east he would not be welcome there.

Both clubs seems a bit surprised it has leaked out. Has his agent leaked it in order to force the hand of Sunderland or other Premier League clubs? Wouldn't be surprised.

****10am UPDATE:

Right. Having called slightly guarded manager, chief exec, assorted 'insiders' and 'sources' in Wales this is what we can figure: There has been no £5m cash bid by Boro, We have been told that - but they have made an inquiry of sorts, possibly for a loan now till the end of the season with an option to buy in the summer.

Graham has asked for a move and Swansea's preference is to sell - and the agent's preference is definitely a permanent move because otherwise he doesn't get his cut. That is why he - not the player - has now ruled out a move. It doesn't suit him. I also think he is the source of the story on Sky, trying to smoke out either a bigger bid from Sunderland or a move from another Premier League club.

We think Boro's position is that they have approached Swansea and said if they can't strike a deal to sell then they would be keen to take him - ie, take the position they were going to with Downing (who is now back out of Brendan's envelope at Liverpool). Possibly tied to a future fee and real deal if Boro go up. We'll see.

Sorry it isn't more concrete than that but Boro aren't in a position to force it through.

That was a busy hour... cup of tea.

Paper gone.. here's the summary in another medium

People are saying Graham has ruled out Boro move. That is not true. His AGENT has ruled it out. Agent wants Sunderland move to go through get his 10%

We think Boro move is a proposal to Swansea that if they don't strike a real deal, they will take him on loan now with view to summer deal.

Hence there is NOT now suddenly a £5m transfer kitty. If Graham doesn't work out, don't expect sudden move for Austin, Becchio etc.

That means unless Sunderland - or AFC Another - are now nudged into pushing a sale through that we could be here right through to the bongs.

*****11am UPDATE

We just have to sit back and wait now. Anyone know any jokes?


Right. Been told some stuff that illuminates the story but slightly ties our hands because some bit need to be kept under wraps so as not to comprise other prospective irons in the fire. That's an occupational hazard of being told things "off the record."

Our understanding is that Boro HAVE made a 'complex' offer worth £5m (ish) to Swansea and the package has been accepted in principle and that it is now down to the player to decide. He is in the area and was expected to talk to Mogga today.

Boro believe while Sunderland can offer Premier Leaguee football, they themselves tick a lot of boxes - his wife is local and wants to move home to Teesside, he knows and respects a lot of people on the coaching staff, he would be a shoo-in to start, he would fit Mogga's age and skill set profile - and think they can put together a package to meet his wage demands.

It may mean biting the bullet for a few months until they can shuffle a few of the big earners off the wage bill but we are assured by people high up in the club that they can make it work. Now it is down to the player.

It could be that his agent is trying to play off both clubs against each other in order to max the cash. We'll see. Let's hope the Mackem boo-fest on Tuesday counts against the attractions of the Premier League now rather than the potential for the future.

It also appears both player and agent have turned their phones off and are having a quick chin wag in a layby equidistant between Hurworth and Sunderland.

Meanwhile, here's the latest Twitter rumours:

‏@Andrew_Teen Luciano Becchio spotted testing drum sticks in middlesbrough music centre #watchthisspace #TransferDeadlineDay

‏@Rob_Fassbender Kieron Dyer spotted putting towel on Kevin Thomsons bed in Boro treatment room. #mysticmeg

‏@pjeuk #Boro in deadline day transfer swoop. Mowbray seen coming out of WH Smith with a bulk purchase of Letraset

@stechap2010 wish fans would remember that business is done at rockliffe when making up rumours, did see a car with GRA 4AM plate though.

****12.30pm UPDATE

Sunderland now in driving seat. Graham believed to be at Academy of Light for talks about taking up role as new boo-boy. Not looking good for Boro. Money has a way of muffling even the most hurtful of comments.

Meanwhile it has been suggested to me by someone who may know these things that Boro were offered DJ Campbell and Jay Bothroyd by QPR yesterday as part of their January Redknapping. Boro chiefs don't believe they offer either value for money or anything better than what the squad already has.

****12.45pm UPDATE

Danny Graham is having a medical at Sunderland now. Looks like terms have been agreed. It is so far advanced that they have even taken the obligatory shirt pics. There's a bootleg shot snatched on a mobile phone floating around. You can see it here.

And here's that picture of the warm reception he got from the welcoming committee of friendly and forgiving fans

***1pm UPDATE

Tony Mowbray confirms at his weekly pre-match press conference that Boro had made a bid for Swansea's Danny Graham but it was not £5m cash - "we haven't got that kind of money and everyone knows that" - and he was not hopeful of it going through. He said that Sunderland were probably the favourites all along as they are in the Premier League. And it is hard to argue with that other than on a sentimental basis.

He said the complex deal was based around a player plus cash package... it is probably fair to speculate now that, given the backstory, the player in question was probably Swans fans' favourite Marvin Emnes, and it is probably fair too to speculate too that Boro would probably value him at round about £3m.

Mogga also said the Dyer deal was all but done and that he will be in the squad for the trip to his home club Ipswich on Saturday.

****2pm UPDATE

Graham signs for Sunderland in £5m three and a half year deal. As you were. Resumes, mellow acoustic approach to day after all that rock and roll excitement.

Dyer is done on a pay-as-you play until the end of the season. "the onus is on th eplayer to earn a place in the team and earn his money."

Some questions now: will Boro press ahead with the "plus player" element of the deal - let's say Emnes - before the deadline. If they sell and cash in, and there will be people urging that course, can they find a cost effective replacement in time? That possibility will keep us all on tenterhooks and hyper-excited right through to the bongs.

And that's before Sky Sports charge up and unleash the Jim White T-3000 Scoopbot at 8pm. I'm taking a break, Back soon. Talk amongst yourselves.

****4.30pm UPDATE

I've been in touch with the powers that be at Boro and been told that they have shut up shop for the night and will not be doing any business. In or out. So, for all the natural speculation of Swansea still taking Marvin, nothing is going to happen tonight.

Meanwhile... Chris Samba to QPR, £12.5m plus £100k a week for four years... a £33m committment from a team in the relegation zone who get 19,000 a week (and will get 16,000 in the Championship next year).... there's a club with a death wish. Still, Harry is no stranger to seeing clubs in admin in his rear view mirror.

Am told on very good authority (*points upwards*) that Boro have shut up shop for the night and will not be doing any business before the bongs. In or out.

"Jim White IS IN the building".... Untypicalboro sources understand a ludicrous self-parody has been seen jumping the shark. His colleagues are openly laughing at what has become a soulless pantomime.Look in his eyes when he comes on: he is definitely dead inside. There has been some Faustian pact sealed in blood somewhere.

****6pm UPDATE

Right, I'm going to play football (trundling full-back). The onus is one you lot to man the Tontinecam, check for helicopters over Hurworth and kids the kids safely away from the telly when Jim White is unleashed.

****8pm UPDATE

Right, back from playing football (we won, I didn't score, I don't tend to go up that end of the pitch, I'm more of a spoiler. I'm Baileyesque.) What have I missed? Are QPR in liquidation yet? Have Newcastle signed Jacques Cousteau? Have the easily manipulated gurning masses started to gather behind cameras for the the car park doyle fest?

On the way home I've been to the offy to buy a couple of bottles of fine football ale: Striker's Snub, Fenland Old Crock, Android's Bellow and Old Droopy's Tap Up.

***8.30pm UPDATE

While I've been out the mischevous message board rumour mill and twitter have been suggesting that Saha, Hulse,Mackie, DJ Campbell and Kevin Davies are all at Rockliffe. They may well be but Neil Bausor packed up and went home hours ago. He's probably sat laughing at the Scoopbot building up into an hysterical electronic frenzy like everyone else. I've been assured Boro will make no signings tonight whatsoever.

****10pm UPDATE

WOW! Out of nowhere comes news that Kevin Thomson has left by mutual consent and suddenly the deflation and chuntering after missing out on Danny Graham is replaced with a buzz among the punters.

Thomson - who captained Boro to Ramsden's Cup glory remember - arrived as a Strachanovite leader with a glowing reputation as a ball playing midfielder with good engines and an eye for a well weighted pass. Unfortunately he has spent most of his time up on blocks frustrated and and saying "wait till I'm fit and I can show you what I can do." Wait till he gets 10 games in a row under his belt. *taps fingers on desk* Ok. Five games in a row? Three?

You can't blame people for being injured - especially when one of them is a broken leg that went unspotted for a dozen games - but the entire move has been an expensive cul-de-sac. An agreement that he leaves is a good bit of business.

The deal will no doubt mean Boro paying up part of his contract but they will save overall, it creates space in the wage bill to possibly bring in a new face when the loan window opens next week and it allows him to leave as a free agent so he can sign outside the window. Probably for his beloved Rangers.


Sifting through the debris, what have we got? Not a lot, that's what. It was an exciting morning that raised the prospect of added firepower and a 'statement of intent' but it quickly fizzled out to the usual low key empty-handed mooching about before finishing with a slightly sad moment as a once vaunted signing was shuffled uncermoniously out of the back door at closing time with a blanket over his head.

We'll talk more about Kevin Thomson later no doubt but the end when it came was a bit undignified. He was a nice guy who, believe me, really wanted to do well and was constantly frustrated by never quite getting up to speed. It wasn't his fault he was injured (especially not when he was playing witha broken leg). He cerainly wasn't, as has been suggested, the "worst signing ever" (there are a lot of contenders for that particular title, which is on permananet loan at the Riverside from the Mido collection.)

Remember, all the other Strachanovites were poor when they arrived. It was a big culture shock stepping from clubs where they only played one high intensity game in four or five and in between got to bully tiny sides. Going from that to the Championship was a massive physical, mental and tactical challege and they all struggled: Boyd was terrible, Scott McDonald couldn't hit a barn door with a blunderbuss in his first season, Big Mick was regularly monstered, Chris Killen and Lee Miller? Jesus wept. Even BArry Robson was a patchy, furious ball of misdirected energy in his first six months.

The key is that six months. Robson and McDonald and to a lesser extent McManus got the chance to play their way into the team, to acclimatise to the new mental landscape, to come to terms with the pace and physicality. Thomson never got that. He never had six or 10 games to get up to speed. He never got a solid six months under his belt.

He is not a bad player. It just didn't work out here. It was part of the expensive Strachan cul-de-sac. He'll be alright back at Rangers.

One other observation from the deadline day activity... the boo-boys should take note: you may think that Marvin Emnes is rubbish and not good enough to play for Boro but someone - Michael Laudrup - clearly thinks he is good enough for the Premier League and good enough to play in a side that is lauded for its pace and passing.

Think about that.


Percypelocks said:

Well that's a turn up for the books, a right curved ball, it can't be true can it.
If it is, what a chairman, if it isn't, what a chairman.

Ian Gill said:

In Pravda style about turn renowned, award winning journalist consigns yesterdays down beat blog to the cutting room floor after audacious scoop for ex player surfaces.

Geeks are warning of a strange cyber affliction which will send the aforementioned thread into the cyber wilderness.

Evidence that Uncle Erics cardie does not confer the same mystical qualities to inheritors of the garment cause consternation in news room.

Could always be a bid in the knowledge he wont come here and swansea are getting all they can out of SAFC. May see a Swansea loanee here such as Michu.

**AV writes: It's live rolling speculation. It's the future. It's exciting,

Bob said:

Well he'd probably be a 12-15 goal a season man, so not bad...but I can't see it somehow. Slightly better than Juke. Not for me, I'd keep the money in the bank.

Jeffrey Wood said:

Danny Graham wow what a shock, if we get him or not well done Mogga and thanks Sir Steve. fingers crossed

timfromsa said:

Its not April 1st is it.
May be the carpets being rolled out due to Downing now being unavailable.
Would love to wake up in the morning and this is reality.

gerard mahoney said:

Boro need to spend money to get back in the premier league .

Ian Gill said:

I was watching skysports and posting on the Window Pain thread about a quiet day.

As soon as I pressed submit over to David Craig at SAFC they went. When he said another club were interested in Graham and sat there waiting for mention of Norwich or Wigan but no it was us.

Certainly caught the Gazette on the hop. No surprise there because I dont think anyone saw that coming. Odd that his agent is an a north east hotel. Mmmmmm?

Cant see it happening but a bit of excitement.

BoroPhil said:

I refuse to believe this is even remotely possible. Laudrup said the other day they wanted to keep Graham so why would they let him go on loan? His agent trying to encourage bids from other teams sounds a lot more likely.

InLagos said:

Cue the cup half empty brigade (not on this blog obviously) screaming that we should never have sold him in the first place and would have saved x million to spend on somebody else....

Matt said:

Danny Graham ? What on earth !

Vic's confident prediction of a quiet, certainly boring Boro wise day has turned out to be a nonsense so far. It does raise a couple of big questions:

Where on earth would we find £4-5M to pay for him ? Where on earth would we find £1.5M per year to pay him with ?

I could maybe understand it if deals were agreed to ship McManus and McDonald out, freeing up the two biggest wages left on the payroll. Otherwise, we are gambling next years PL TV money before we have actually earned a slice of it through promotion. Of course, we all know how well that went last time we tried it, with a certain flame haired Scotsman leading the recruitment drive....

There have already been denials from "Graham's representatives" about his willingness to make the move. I just find it odd that the club would even bother discussing a fee with Swansea, before sounding out the player (all legally, through a third party, of course) as to his feelings on making the step down a division.

Come on Vic, check that mobile and give us the real story from those in the know at the club. We're all on tenderhooks here you know !

**AV writes: There's some new information come our way. I'll update once we have assembled the bits into a bigger picture.

spartakboro said:

It's all Billy Bull****! It's all designed by the Boro propaganda unit to lull the masses into the belief that they're at least trying to pull the rabbit out of the hat, but we all know, for haven't we heard it so many times before, that old Mother Gibbons' cupboard is bare (or have we been the receiptents of mass porkies for years) and there isn't even a bone for the dog.

Mark my words, fellow blind devottees that come tomorrow morn we'll be lucky to see a loanee from Chelski's nursery (I kid you not). I'm so certain of it that I'd happily put a tenner on the same, that's if I had the tenner to spare mind you.


**AV writes: Never under-estimate the twinkle of fandom in Gibbo's eye.

Phil,Norton said:

Got a joke for you AV

Heard the one about the half decent young striker who was given away by
his football club , who then tried to sign him back for £5million six years later.

Sums up how bad a manager GS1 was.The fact he replaced him with Lee Don Gook! You couldn't make it up

lenmasterman said:

Fella goes into a Sunderland pub and says, " I hear Danny Graham might be playing for one of the two best north-eastern teams after the deadline."

"Really?", says the barman.

'Yeah", says the bloke." He will be turning out for either the Boro or Boro reserves.

(Carbon dated circa 1963)

**AV writes: Scolding wife shouts at husband: "I think you love Boro more than you love me!" "Listen pet, I love SUNDERLAND more than I love you." Bdummmtsssh.

Ian Gill said:

We missed out on Beckham.

Ian Gill said:

Sunderland agree fee for Graham with Swansea.

Agent breathes huge sigh of relief.

Werdermouth said:

Perhaps the Graham deal is being financed by Gordon Strachan's first signing as Scotland manager before he realises that he can can't actually buy players and that Scott McDonald isn't Scottish.

Phil,Norton said:

Apparently the deal was scuppered when we offered Emnes as part of the deal.
Swansea wanted an extra £2million for taking him off our hands

Ian Gill said:

Phil Norton -

That was only a warm up act for GS1. In his top of the bill performance he got rid of Boateng, Catermole, Rochemback, Mendieta and replaced them all by Didier Digard.

Letting Graham go when he wasnt featuring regularly pales in to insignificance when JFH, Veruka and Yakubu leave and you bring in Midough, Aliadiere, jason Euell, Alves, Dong Gook, Caleb Forlorn, the wrong Bent. The list is endless but it even makes Lee Miller look a snip.

Matt said:

"some needs to be kept under wraps so as not to comprise other prospective irons in the fire"

So the suits at Boro ARE trying to add a player to the squad today then ?

I would not imagine things are terribly urgent for us, or any other Championship team, when it is only a couple of weeks until the emergency loan window opens. When that happens we can strike a 'loan now/pay later' deal a la the bargain we grabbed when signing Sean St Ledger a couple of years back !

Having a think about this, there must be clubs trying hard to offload players today. If you have a player whose contract runs out this summer, today is the very last day you can sell him on and add a few quid to the coffers. In the summer, these guys will be walking away for nothing.

As far as I'm aware, the fee for George Friend was only so low because he was into the last year of his contract. That makes today the last day for buying clubs to pick up a bargain.

Just think, you could have FIFTY George Friend's for the price of a Danny Graham.

Being completely honest, I would rather have Mogga snap up another Friend like bargain for pennies today, than put the clubs finances into turmoil again with a big money/big wages striker from the PL.

Taking of putting your finances into chaos - QPR are paying £12.5M for Chris Samba and paying him £5.2M per year for the next four and a half years. Absolute madness for a club who are likely to be relegated in May !

BabelFish said:

We're missing the important point of the article so far here...

"because some bit need to be kept under wraps so as not to comprise other prospective irons in the fire"

...well, we can dream, right? It'd be nice to see Swansea take Emnes off our hands for £3-5m, and us to spend the money on A.N.Other striker to give the promotion push the jolt it badly needs.

But I can't see it happening.

Andy R said:

Blimey, that was exciting!

Fair play to Gibson for "rolling the dice". A loan with an option to buy was a smart move if that was the deal.

Back in your sheds everyone.

Grove Hill wallah said:

As Swansea are a bit flush, might they still sign Emnes?

InGabon said:

Ian Gill 1:02.

In fairness to GS1, Digard was an up and coming talent at the time he bought him and suffered with injuries while he was here. I've recently seen him play in France as captain of his current club and he's a very good player.

What if.....

Grove Hill wallah said:

Newcastle in mascot swoop. Pepe Le Pew in talks with Mike Ashley. In related news, Roary to be replaced by Dusty Bin.

Ian Gill said:

In Gabon -

Didier was a project but we threw away the centre of the squad for one project.

A project who had spent the previous six months out with a serious knee injury. A project who came here unfit and as such didnt have a chance to get fit, settled in and established.

He also played well when on loan at Nice(?). The lad had talent but the wrong player at the wrong time and that is not solely his fault.

Taking of treatment rooms, here is a bit from the BBC by Chris Evans I think

'What is the treatment room like at the Riverside? The only reason I am asking is that Middlesbrough manager Tony Mowbray has just confirmed to BBC Tees Sport that Kieron Dyer has joined the club on a short-term deal. QPR released the 34-year-old former England international midfielder this week. A good signing, IF he stays fit...'

That sums up the situation at Boro and it isnt Mogga's fault. I was a bit concrened when the Gazette article said he had been at the club but wasnt training.

I was thinking of putting 50p on him starting at right back, giving away a daft penalty and going off injured after 20 minutes.

But plenty of time for a rabbit out of the hat.

Suarez on loan? Lampard gets hacked off at Chelski and looks for a new challenge.

wiggy's mate said:

Careful in Gabon, you don't want to let reasonable, evidence based analysis get in the way of blinkered entrenched opinion.

There was a back story behind the exit of most of the list of released players (economic reality, off field antics,age, better players ahead of them in the queue at the time) but that doesn't fit the "wisdom" of the elders of the blog that GS1 was simply no bloody good and that's an end to it!!

Football management? If it was as easy as some people on here make out, you wonder why they are not doing it.

Grove Hill wallah said:

Perhaps the "players" in question were Thomson and Arca. As Swansea play an expansive passing game, they would fit right in on the Swans training cones!

Ian Gill said:

Wiggy's Mate -

As an oldie I take that as a compliment.

If you went back and read the posts of the time you would find no questioning the reasons for the players leaving.

If you do the sums it was four players out of one area of the team and one unfit playing project coming in.

Unless I am mistaken four minus one leaves you three short. That the one came in injured makes the one questionable. Maybe your maths is different.

If you dont have any players you needn't pay their wages, worry about their antics or their discipline. Maybe Mogga should follow the model and have a squad of twelve? The problem was the not the clear out but no replacements.

Poor Gate was the patsy in all this but I would have played the Patsy for that much money. And he sat his contract out.

Meanwhile Jim White is building up momentum.

Forever Dormo said:

wiggy's mate at 2.41pm: "...but that doesn't fit the "wisdom" of the elders of the blog that GS1 was simply no bloody good and that's an end to it!!"

I don't know who the elders of this blog are (though I can hear Len Masterman clearing his throat in the distance), but I would defend to the death the right of any contributor to this blog who wishes to put the view that GS1 was no good (as a manager). Mind you, GS2 made him look like Mourinho. I really fear for Scotland's propects.

(Any news of Iniesta - has he left The Tontine yet?).

Fulanitoria said:

InGabon -

I do not agree with your analysis, but I respect.

Ian Gill said:

AV -

Having it on good authority that nothing is happening, is that the same good authority that told you nothing about Graham?

A bit like Redknap having a car with non opening windows or Jim White hosting Antiques Road Show.

I agree with your view but are you sure?

**AV writes: I've spoken to the chief exec and the chairman today. The story and the deal has evolved quite a bit quite quickly. It started as a proposed loan move for Graham if he didn't go to Sunderland, Swansea worked Emnes into it, it became a 'complex' player plus cash deal that was worth up to £5m. We missed the big developments in the paper - it is still a loan move there, which it was when we went to press - but online we have been up to speed all along. We have done a good days work.

Forever Dormo said:

I really can't believe it. Surely with all this hype about Deadline Day, it was realistic to expect Boro bids for Ozil, Ronaldo, Messi, Iniesta AND Gareth Bale today. I suppose four of the five would have been a good haul.

Not that I'm disappointed with Dyer...but could have done without all the knowing winks and nudges from a Newcastle fan last night at the Battered Badger. Back to reality it is, then.

Andy R said:

Has Kevin Thomson done a Strachan and walked away? Or are we talking a decent pay-off?

It's a good move regardless. I think that he was desperate to do well for us and himself and there was a good player in there somewhere but sometimes things are just never going to work out.

I hope he gets over his injuries and does well elsewhere.

**AV writes: I would imagine there has been a compromise pay-off. He had 18 months left and will have written a good chunk of that off in return for being able to leave on a free and get a new club.

No chance of selling him at Boro given his fitness record wages unless he took a big cut anyway so his nightmare scenario was being a forgotten man and leaving next year having played six games in a year. Best all round this way.

Andy R said:

PS Has Dyer bagsied Thommo's treatment room table?

Werdermouth said:

Since the transfer news has dried up I'll stick to the elders debate.

Football management is not an exact science. It all depends on what a manager is expected to deliver and whether he has the resources and coaching ability to achieve his goal in a time period acceptable to the chairman and supporters (which is not necessarily the same) - not to mention luck with injuries and decisions.

Southgate had no experience or training to be a manager - he probably had the intelligence and understanding of the game but perhaps lacked the presence or charisma to get that bit extra out of the players whilst he got upto speed.

He was also perhaps too honest with the media and tried to explain and justify his decisions, which doesn't help to create an aura of mystique that keeps everyone on their toes. He was also probably not really in charge as managers who take on the role usually demand.

Strachan on the other hand seemed to concentrate on being an arrogant eccentric who didn't need to justify himself or his decisions - he thought he just needed to take his pick of the old firm and quip his way to success without understanding the club ethos of building on the academy graduates. Not Boro's finest hour and we're still paying for that thesis - at least he left in dignfied manner after having trashed the place.

You feel with Mogga that he's in tune with the club and fans who now have now realised the financial situation means he needs time to get in the right players - plus he quickly steadied the ship and you feel he's in charge and generally knows what to do to achieve the goal of promotion.

Sometimes it's probably just about being the right man at the right time for the given circumstances. Some managers only ever succeed in one job - only the special ones are able to be successful at several clubs - plus their status usually means they are given the money to have every chance of making it work, though usually not the time.

Phil,Norton said:

Thomson gone , makes Moggas decision to
play him at Leicester even more baffling

Forever Dormo said:

Well - that's over then.

Is anyone up for interviewing Odemwingie's agent then? Birmingham Argus: "Talk us through your advice to the lad today, and what does he intend to say when he gets back to the Baggies dressing room..."

richard evans said:

I'm with InGabon and wiggy's mate.

Yes, GS1 took us down after three years in charge and yes he made some howlers but the midfield clear out was understandable at the time. Mendi's legs had gone, Boat never did anything elsewhere afer he left and there was a time when Rochemback did little for us and, it seems, even less after he left.

GS1 was a victim of inexperience, his own mistakes, poor timing and the end of an era and the need to rebuild.

But please can we stop referring to him as GS1. He remains Gareth Southgate, our most succesful captain ever and an excellent player for us. Remember his signature swinging fists to the crowd after many a European win.

He always played for the club first, and not himself and has remained very decent and not publicly vitriolic re the boos and worse that affercted the latter stages of his time as manager.

Why on earth, on this blog and wider, do Boro supporters denigrate Southgate? How mean and petty and pathetic is that? Have Liverpool fans turned on Dalglish after his recent failures?

I am extremely proud to have supported the club during Southgates's time as a player and to place all the post 2006 ills at his door is wrong. Like Dalglish, he was approached for the job and didn't court it.

Unlike McClaren, Southgate was there to build a team and not his own career.

The appalling Strachan is worthy of GS2 abbreviation and its dismissive implications and we should stick to that.

But it's time for an amnesty for Southgate. Mogga has not done that much to-date as manager but we, rightly, do not knock him personally at all and, if we wanted to be catty about him, we could point out that he left club as a player for bigger pastures. But we don't.

Southgate and Mowbray are two of the best, and most iconic, players ever at the Boro and have had the club in their hearts always.

Being bitter about Southgate is not only pathetic but welds us emotionally to the past and it's time we all got over it.

Come the Wembley play offs in May, Southgate I'm sure, will be cheering for one team only and it will be from the north-east.

And we should all fully re-embrace him too.

**AV writes: I got castigated at the time for pointing out that despite the poison chalice of taking over at the high water mark and having to cut the wage bill (and despite not having complete control over transfers) Southgate actually kept Boro in the top flight for three tersm after taking over - which is more than cash fuelled Robbo, shrewd Lennie and revered Bruce managed. But that is heresy.

Forever Dormo said:

Richard Evans -

there is no doubt that Gareth Southgate was a really good servant of the club as centre-back and captain. I agree he remains an intelligent and articulate man, but most of all he appears to be a decent one.

As a manager I doubt many would disagree that he wasn't ready for the job at that time - not only because he didn't have the relevant certificates/licences, but because he was fresh out of the changing room and therefore had to change hats in front of his colleagues.

No doubt he had been given instructions from on high, and no doubt he was subject to many constraints which were not all known at the time, but which tied his hands. There are those who say that he wasn't in control of transfers and contracts offered to players. We will never know the detail.

The result was the slow but inevitable crash of the ship onto the rocks. The captain of the ship nearly always gets the blame, even if they go down with the ship. A legend as a player, but not as a manager.

How many of us will ever be regarded as legends by those who know or follow our careers? Not many, I suspect.

gt said:

Richard Evans -

If you think Gareth Southgate and the like where all thing Boro when they where here {and still are) , youre in cuckoo land,

All this kissing the badge and waving to the fans is a joke. I recently saw him on a show with Ugo,both of them extolling Villa,saying " great club, fans, big club ,loved it there",

He also stated in an other interview his words "Looking back I should have played Mendi more when he was Manager"

I have no animosity against GS1,I know he went to the chairman and put his name forward,and he got the job.

But A is A and the guy ruined what had been achieved for the previous 10 - 12 years, and infact AV you prove the point,he kept us up with someone elses players, but as soon as he made his changes {in the backroom staff and signings},


Never give up on Boro said:

Must be short of treatment tables at Crockcliffe if they have had to ship out Thompson before Dyer arrives!

Ian Gill said:

Poor Gate seems a decent bloke who got handed a decidedly short straw.

If circumstances had been more favourable he would have been a success. I dont think he failed, it was the whole management structure that took us down.

He didnt sign the cheques for Alves and Mido but he was part of the system. I still maintain that if we had brought someone in to stiffen midfield we may well have stayed up. As I replied to Wiggy you cant clear central midfield out without bring some replacements in.

Sadly he is tainted by that but he is still the man who lifted our first trophy and gave good service.

As AV says he kept us up for three seasons. The one thing we know about clubs our size is that eventually you go down. Just look at Derby, Forest, Southampton, Leicester.

The Strachan period nearly turned in to a disaster but Mogga climbed in to the runaway train and applied the brakes.

wiggy's mate said:

Werdermouth, Richard Evans and FD.

Fully agree with your analysis of Gareth Southgate’s managerial reign (very good point about not minimising him by referring to him as GS1 btw). An extremely complex situation not best suited to “he was rubbish” bite size analysis and in my opinion his constant denigration here, which is rarely tempered by reference to his outstanding playing career, is unworthy.

One point though, FD I would hate it if Len thought for a minute that I was including him in my “elders of the blog” remark. I tend largely to agree with him anyway but even when I don’t find his posts well argued constructive and enlightening.

What I was really getting at is posts that start with phrases like “One last time” and conclude, “End of story”. Like the stentorian bark of an angry sergeant –major, just seems plain rude to me and out of place in a forum for enlightened debate.

The term “elders of the blog” was coined by another poster sometime ago and I would like to think that Len realises that he wasn’t in my sites, but if not then sincere apologies.

PS Andy R, fair point about Kev T, it hasn’t worked out here and I wish him well too.

Grove Hill wallah said:

Transfer Window? Be careful what you wish for sometimes.

The demise of MFC can be attributed to one thing, player recruitment.

I feel a bit sorry for KT, he didn't do an Odemwingie and pitch up with his boots at the Riverside asking for a contract. He, like a long list before him were signed and turned out to be not good enough. (Insert your own list of failed transfers here#.

Who was the last successful signing at the club? We can go back to McClaren for some bad ones, and Gareth and Strachan were equally as bad.

Let's take a look at the present managers signings. Zemmama, Jutkiewicz, Miller, Arca #by default#, Ledesma, Haroun, Parnaby. Not forgetting #although I forget his name) the German centre half.

The only real success has come from the academy players .Until we get this aspect of the club sorted we will remain a middling Championship team.

Werdermouth said:

I guess Thomson gave Mogga an ultimatum after hearing about his interest in Dyer - "This treatment table aint big enough for the both of us!" (or maybe the cost cutting at Boro meant there were only one pair of crutches left?) .

Either way he was not a player Mogga could plan his midfield around and given he was one of the highest earners he was probably finally told to hop it.

spartakboro said:

Looks like another ones spun off high into the stands again AV. Not to your taste perhaps (BPU?).


Nigel Reeve said:

Tommo going is good news, although he was a good player, pity he was never fit. That's another big earner off the payroll which will help come the summer.

So where is Dyer going to play tomorrow? It's got to be right midfield surely? Even Mogga wouldn't play him at right back!! I'm off to Ipswich with another eight members of my family, most of whom are East anglia based so should be a good day out. If ever we needed an away win tomorrow is it.

Jukebox up front please Mogga.

Jeffery said:

Excellent post Dormo, you hit the nail right on the head re Gareth.

Try as you like you can't be a pal and a boss at the same time. I also consider Gareth to be an intelligent, decent man, who gave his best to the club in whatever role he was given, either on or off the pitch.

So there, ner.

lenmasterman said:

Great posts by richard evans , and Wiggy's mate.

Richard's assessment of Southgate is one of the most coherent I have seen and a credit to this blog. Shrewd point about the use of patronising nick-names. Boro Banter( which I generally like, appreciating all of the time, hard work and insights that John puts into it) sometimes falls, unnecessarily, into this habit.

WM - Apologies completely unnecessary. Quite the contrary. Agree with every word of your post at 2:41, 31st Jan.

Haven't got time to go into it now, but at the time, and on the evidence then available the appointments of both Southgate and Strachan looked pretty sound to me.

Ian Gill said:

Wiggy's mate

I have a solution for you, I just wont bother posting. Save you the stress.

Steve said:

I do not belive the whole Danny Deal. How on earth was this going to happen? How would we pay him? How would we fudge a deal to the value of 5mil? Why would Swansea want Emnes?

If we were really looking to let go Marv the we should have. To anyone. If we could have got anywhere near £2-3mil for him he should go and we could go out and buy a Billy Sharp. How about short term DJ Campbell 10 in 19 on loan at Ipswich.

Also as we always her Marv is a confidence player what will offering him out do for him??

On a plus side Thommo going is a godsend just a shame we couldn't have off loaded other crocks and 'fringe' players like Arca,McManus,Zemmama who have contributed nothing this season but claim wages week in week out.

**AV writes: The Graham deal was real. It started as a loan inquiry and ended up as a £5m package with Emnes valued at £3m and the balance staggered. That's how Boro could afford it. It doesn't mean there is suddenly £5m to spend.

Boro were offered DJ Campbell last week by QPR but he was on too much money and the staff believe he is not better than what they have. I agree. He is just another patchy one in four man. He'd soon be getting booed here.

Andy R said:

It's amazing that we're still discussing Gareth Southgate the manager. Perhaps things really are going quite well so we feel the need to bring up unresolved bad memories from the vaults.

I've always been of the opinion (and argued it at the time he was fired, much to the annoyance of some!) that Gareth wasn't nearly as culpable as was being made out. He didn't have the tools and it was myopic to single him out amongst the plethora of management errors at the time.

Anyway, as I've mused in the past the argument about managers is less about "good" managers and "bad" managers, and more about "suitable" ones, which helps explain why Strachan succeeded at Celtic where Mowbray failed (although with limited time), and while the opposite is happening at Boro. It is a regular occurance in football that a manager can succeed in one job and fail in the next. Does that make them good one day and bad the next?

Chairmen ought to to take much more care in their management choices, picking a manager who can work with what he's already got in the squad. It's worked nicely for Swansea, and I do wonder what would have happened if we'd gone directly from Gareth Southgate to Tony Mowbray - two managers with similar outlooks on how the game ought to be played, though Tony's vision appears more complete.

Forever Dormo said:

I was just having a little joke when I mentioned Len Masterman as one of the Elders of the Blog. I had meant an affectionate little dig at the number of candles that would appear on his birthday cake, rather than a reference to his being a community leader.

And, without our noticing it, a football game looms up on the horizon. So, it's rugby on the TV and football on Radio Ali. That's tomorrow sorted.

I wonder if there's a Finnish Chapter of the Boys in Red, or of supporters of the Leicester Tigers, or even Hull Kingston Rovers (to introduce a Yorkshire note to proceedings). In fact, if the islands on which we live had never been separated from mainland Europe, would there ever have been much sport in the world?

Think of it: cricket, football, rugby, what the Americans call "field hockey", boxing, golf, table tennis/ping pong, billiards, rounders, shinty, curling, croquet, hammer throw, the modern Olympics themselves (the Wenlock Olympics having been visited in 1890 by Baron de Coubertin who went on to establish the International Olympic Committee)... and there's more. Most of the popular games played throughout the world began, and/or had their rules first agreed and codified here.

Reasons to be proud dot com.

Jarkko said:

Nearly felt like the old days during the last day of the transfer window. Secrectly I dreamed about the return of Danny boy back to Boro. But of course it was possible only if the deal to Sunderland would have collapsed.

I still think we have good enough strikers on this level, though. Scotty Mac is as good as anyone on this level, Emnes has talent (remember last season?) and Juke is improving all the time. And we have Miller as an impact player available, too.

I was always a fan of Thomson. So sad to see him leave. All these injuries must be very hard to take by the player and feel really for him. I just wish him better luck with injuries where ever he goes now. A great player but did not get a long enough run in the team to show his talent.

Interestingly Mogga has reinforced the squad with a right sided midfielder/winger. An area we have not had a natural player for years. We have usually played a leftie there recently, so - if fit - this could be a interesting signing in the end. At least the balance of the squad is better, now.

And of course we have Carayol back to full fitness. Of course he is still a bit rusty and could well play 90 min at an U21 team on Saturday. But still, he will be available to Boro from now on.

If Woody is back on Saturday, too we have only two players injured now. Hoyte with the hip injury and Arca with his toe. I hope it will be intersesting and successful spring time!

I just hope Leadbitter scores tomorrow. He has scored in the last two matches when Boro and Ipswich have played each other. So a minimum of a draw tomorrow with our luck turning...

Up the Boro!

BoroPhil said:

Whether GS1 was any good or not, we still had plenty of opportunities to stay up in the relegation season, particularly in the first half of it.

Sunderland away 0-2 Downing misses a pen with 10 mins to go at 0-0
West Brom at home? 0-1 battered them
Blackburn away 1-1 last minute equaliser
Hull away 1-2 dodgy pen?

Alves scored, what four goals? If he had only doubled that, we probably stay up.

Was any of that the fault of Southgate?

As Mogga says, fine margins. Who knows what would have happened had some of those games gone our way.

paul bell said:

Well only KD signed in the the transfer window: another crock .I think the club can forget promotion. I think they will start to sink down the league faster than the titanic.

I don't believe the club are ambitious enough and you need hard cash now to provide top players even in the championship. Don't rate TM, rubbish manager and don't rate SG. He should have acquired the services of a top manager when SM took the England job. Being out of the Prem has cost the club dearly.

Forever Dormo said:

Maybe this will be on the wrong thread, but here goes:

When we take a 4-1 win in the FA Cup against Hastings, that doesn't make us the best team in the world. When we lose to Leicester that doesn't make us the worst team in the world. Sometimes we have to keep some perspective, and it might be best to wait a while before sending a post (especially after a 0-4 defeat).

However we are hoping to be promoted and we have now lost 12 games (if I have counted correctly) in the League and we are just into February. Middlesbrough FC is on the crest of a slump. Unless there is a massive turn of fortune, we are NOT going to be promoted.

I really don't care to hear players saying we are not in a "wobble" (when we plainly are) or that they are confident we will win automatic promotion. I think someone else has said "Talk is cheap". I'd rather they did their talking on the pitch. Is that too much to ask?

I am tired of hearing that the other team was "honest and hardworking" or "difficult to break down". Does that mean our team is full of dishonest shirkers and that we are easy to break down (which the last four results would seem to imply)? If that is right, shouldn't that be addressed?

We don't have the funds the club had whilst in the Premier League. We can't afford the really expensive very skilful players. But surely being "hardworking" doesn't cost anything. You can't blame a player for not having been given the technical gifts of a Messi. But you can blame him if he doesn't appear to put the effort in.

Good organization (I'll use a "z" to stop the computer complaining) doesn't cost anything. like having the players take up a particular role to defend corners or free kicks, for example. "Bill, you come back for corners, Rob you stay at the top of the D, Mike you stay on the far post..).

I accept that if you have a spate of injuries, so that players have to come in and out of the side, that may disrupt things. Mind you, if you intentionally buy players with a very poor fitness record, you make that scenario almost inevitable. For example I accept Woodgate is very talented but his moving into the side for a game here or 50 minutes there, means having to rearrange the defence to accommodate him. If he could play 46 games a season the club wouldn't be able to afford him, but if he can only play every now and then, can the defence afford him?

I have heard people on the radio commenting that there was no passion at Ipswich. Passion doesn't cost anything. Amateurs in a Sunday league team can show passion. No commitment, no organization. If that is correct, it really is unforgiveable.

Has Smallwood ever let us down or shown lack of passion or commitment? Has Bailey ever shown a lack of passion or commitment? I suspect either or both of those would have stiffened up the team at Ipswich. There would have been no doubt as to their hard work. Does anyone think Adam Reach would have improved the team, as well? He tends to make things happen, and to "work" the players he is up against. It all helps.

I hope we don't get many of the "bad day at the office" responses by way of explanation. After all, it isn't one bad day, is it? This year we have won at home in the FA Cup against Hastings and Aldershot (when a defeat or a draw against either would have been a major sporting headline) and we have lost in the league to Derby County, Watford, Leicester City and now Ipswich. In this results game, maybe a bad five weeks in the office?

The important thing is to make sure it doesn't grow to be a bad six weeks, then seven weeks or more, because then the whole season will have been a write-off. There is a limit to the number of times the other teams around us can avoid taking points from their games and, eventually, if they play each other ONE of them at least must get some points, so we would slip further behind if we continue our current form.

We do NOT need a team that has players in it that are booed off for perceived lack of effort. If we lose, we lose, but it should never have been because of lack of "bottle", effort, commitment or whatever other words one might use. That should be a given for every player, every week, whatever the opposition.

Some hard work is needed to put this right. You might play well but lose 1-0. You might be unlucky. But it would stretch credulity to suggest we were unlucky to lose 4-0 at Ipswich. It sounded as if we were lucky to get nil.

Nigel reeve said:

Just back from Ipswich, shocking performance.

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