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Barnsley Chop: Boro Slump Still On Menu

By Anthony Vickers on Feb 9, 13 07:28 PM


DOES ANYONE want to escape this crazy division? Fragile Boro look like they don't. And the equally iffy teams above and around them appear to be locked in a grand conspiracy of ineptitude. Boro have lost five in a row and haven't taken a point in 2013 yet somehow remain in the place-off places and just six points from second.

That's the Championship for you. But we can't continue to rely on the incomptence of others. All it takes is one week for the results to swing disastrously against us and the gap above will yawn open while the pack behind will be on us and then every slip will really hurt. Teams will quickly start to claw past Boro. There is no more room for error if Boro are to stay in a play-off position this term.

Boro need to half the slide NOW. Five league defeats on the spin is the worst nosedive for 13 years. The last time that happened was back in 2000 and Terry Venables arrived the following week. That won't be happening again. Mogga is rock solid in his position and has the utmost confidence of the chairman and, when they calm down after another infuriating flop, the vast majority of fans too still.

There is however a growing sense of frustration abroad among the crowd. Frustration at the unpredictable selections and tactical shape-shifting, at the on-going brittle inability to keep a clean sheet or defend set-plays and at the scary sense of Boro being powerless to prevent a repeat of last season's second half slump.

Boro turned in a turgid first half display of sterile, stodgy sleep-walking. It was as poor a first 45 as we've seen all term - and with 13 defeats so far this term there is plenty of competition. They perked up after the break and it was a quite enteraining if very scrappy second half in which Boro regained control and got the frustrated fans back on board briefly then imploded again in a dismal display of disorganised defending.

All three goals against stemmed from either cheaply conceded possession or woeful individual errorrs. Or both. The second half goals came from easily avoided self-inflicted wounds: Boro failed to clear a routine long throw in to the box for the leveller and a poor back-pass (which could have been row Z-ed) was compounded by a Steele slip and recklessly gifted free-kick.

Rhys Williams is out of sorts and out of position and looks lost and unhappy at righ-back. On the other flank George Friend is still not back to his early season best after his injury and looks every inch a Doncaster player. Seb Hines? Had a mare. Only fast and furious firefighter Andre Bikey can hold his head up at the back.

It was the same in midfield. Nicky Bailey - elevated by those who would poke the manager by proxy to a tactical position of saviour in his absence - was sluggish and ineffective while Kieron Dyer looked like he hadn't played a lot of football over the last few years. There was no balance, no quality and no understanding. Grant Leadbitter can at least claim to have worked non-stop.

Up front, ditto. Mustapha Carayol can walk away having showed flashes of pace and penetration and having scored a goal despite his long lay-off but Emmanuel Ledesma - incredibly lucky to have kept his shirt after his awful show at Ipswich - again flattered to deceive and did his tricks and turns in harmless areas while Lukas Jutkiewicz beavered away but barely got into the box before being withdrawn. Curtis Main, also back after a long lay-off, scored and was more direct and was OK but no world-beater.

A lot of individuals were below par, the shape was awkward and morlae is clearly low. But there was none of the sense of urgency you would expect from a team in our position, knowing the stakes not just in this game but with the season in the balance.

Alarm bells are ringing. Boro have now leaked seven goals in two games to sides in the bottom four - to what had been the two lowest scoring teams in the division. Yes, Barnsley are in form and arrived having won five out of six but they were still in the bottom three for a reason: they are a very limited squad. And for the 25 minutes of the game when Boro were actually functioning they looked it.

Had Boro pressed home the advantage when they were on top we would be sitting pretty and celebrating. Had Boro been able to defend routine balls into the box, or clear their lines rather than play high-risk back-passes they would have hung on to claim a vital and potentially galvanising 'win ugly' three points.

As it is they folded under pressure again and now the season is in the balance with Neil bloody Warnock and Dity Leeds up next.....

More later.

80 Comments

Andy said:

If Mowbray's position is, as you state, 'rock solid', then don't expect Boro to be anywhere but the Championship, or worse. A football manager is, or should be, employed as much for his ability to manage the bad times as the good. It is plain as a pikestaff that Mogga and his crew are bereft of talent in that department.


Imagine how we'd be feeling if we were a dozen places lower in the table than we are at present; currently we're all depressed because because Mowbray and his hopeless rabble are peeing away the best chance we're likely to have to get out of this third rate second tier, however, things would be much worse were we spiralling towards League 1, apparently clueless.


Boro, and Mogga, have been found out - pretty football with no substance, no steel at the back and gummy up front. Like most of his previous teams really, so what did we expect? The Prodigal Messiah brings Barca to Boro? Delusional, but it was a nice thought while it lasted...


**AV writes: Mogga has managed the bad times: he took over a shambolic team heading for relegation and despite no transfer money and slashing the wage bill has been battling for play-offs two years running.


We are six points off second. It is depressing but it is not a terminal crisis.

Paul said:

One up front the entire game? Where was Adam reach? Why persist with the dicky dancer Ledesma who only turns up one game out of every six? Kieron Dyer is not a wideman, why sign him to play him out of position? Seb Hines?(I won't say anymore!)


Yes the players must take most of the responsibility for our ineptitude but the managers decision making and tactics are baffling to say the least.


Two wingers please, (Carayol and reach) play Leadbitter and AN other in the middle (I'd actually prefer Dyer playing there particularly at home as Bailey is too immobile) and let this never need be typed again but PLEASE play with two up front. Also can we stop playing with widemen who in fact are the very opposite and cut inside every time they get the ball.


If you are going to set up your team to be incredibly narrow then you need good goal scoring pacy midfielders who can get forward in numbers to support the front players who are left isolated at times. We don't have this so the gap between the midfield and the attack is huge.


You also need to be aware that lots of Championship sides set themselves up to be difficult to break down and pack men behind the ball hence our strikers looking outnumbered regularly. We look pretty and have plenty of possession but never look like we'll score.


We need to rely on our strikers to score and to do this we must play to their strengths. Plenty of balls into the box. Two wingers getting to the line to whip crosses in. By all means let them come inside sometimes to vary it up a bit but not every time they get the ball.


Paul said:

Oh and I forgot to say the defence need to learn to defend!!

Andy said:

I appreciate your reply AV, but I have to say that you cannot dine out forever on one success story.


Yes, Mowbray saved our bacon following the Strachan debacle and yes, he has had to deal with draconian cuts, but this is HIS team, one he has put together to make an concerted challenge for promotion, and it seems he is powerless to arrest the now alarming run of defeats which look like once again scuppering our efforts to leave this depressing league.


**AV writes: It is "his" team but it is a limited Championship one with obvious flaws (and still with the four biggest earners as an inherited financial burden). It is a team in a transitional phase from the one he inherited but far, far short of one he would field in an ideal world. Do you think Mogga is happy that in January the only business he could do was bring in a 34 year old free agent who had played 22 games in four years? To suggest we are here by design is wrong.


View from the bunker said:

When SrAlex was under pressure Arsene Wenger said that when you are playing well you are not as good as the newspapers say you are, when you are playing poorly you are not as bad as they say you are either.


Back to the bunker.

Redcar Red said:

Those players didn't believe in the set up or tactics and it was blindingly obvious. They looked drilled and marshaled to the point of being fearful of not following the instructions to the letter.


Performances from most were woeful. The line up looked like it was to accommodate Dyer who in fairness retained possession when he had it and was by no means the worst performer but the whole middle of the park was lost and confused without McEachran linking up play.


Defensively we were nothing short of shambolic and at times it looked like the lack of belief in their managers instructions manifested itself in the form of resigned indifference mixed with predicted failure. The best of a bad lot was Bikey who lost possession umpteen times but at least looked frustrated and angry with himself and showed some desire.


Bailey battled and scrapped but was literally all over the park in a desperate attempt to block, slide tackle and track back covering for out of position defenders. Leadbitter also scrapped and battled but his free kick that nobody else seemed to know the set play for summed up the day.


For some reason several of our players were constantly slipping and ending up on their backsides indicating incorrect choice of studs or was that just unlucky. We seem to have managed to stop passing sideways quite so predictably, instead we now just pass it backwards to the equally stud afflicted Jason Steele.


The Juke battled alone, isolated with zero back up or support and was rewarded with the hook at half time. We started the 2nd half with what looked like Carayol and Main playing down the middle which brought success but then they went out wide and that was the end of our purple patch.


Barnsley, outfought, out thought, outclassed and fully deserved their victory. Tactically they were way ahead of our confused, dispirited sorry looking bunch.


The afternoon seemed to display the worst of everything, maybe it was me but we seemed to have had more chances and threats on goal in the five minutes of added time than in the entire preceding 90 minutes.


Still no doubt we will work even harder than before in training. Busy working harder in refining the set plays and tactics that are failing so miserably until we perfect the ineptness of it all. There is something very wrong in the camp and no doubt the truth will out before long.


On a positive note another four or five points in the remaining fixtures should see us safe for another season. Thankfully work takes me out of the area next midweek.


Geoff Young said:

AV I do finally have to say that there is something sadly wrong at this club now.


I have supported them since I first went to a game aged five in 1962 and generally have accepted the ups and downs. But to me at this moment in time there is something sadly wrong with this club and I fear all is not well.


The lack of ambition in the Jan transfer market for a club supposedly going for promotion is actually disgraceful however you or the club want to spin it.


Whose fault is it that vast amounts of money were wasted on useless managers and players? Gibson. And now we have an average manager who wants to play like Barcelona in the championship. What a joke! Sorry AV but Southgate would be better than this as a manager and hopefully from somewhere a new owner.


**AV writes: What lack of ambition? Steve Gibson is putting in £1m a month to support the club. What other chairman in the division is showing that ambition? Most of the "new owners" that have moved into the Championship in recent years have been looking for a way to take money OUT of a club.


The problem is that revenue and gates have collapsed and whereas his £12m a year used to go on transfers it is now going on propping up a bloated wagebill and the running costs of the club. That is a long term problem.


What is leaving fans frustrated is results and the performances of a demoralised side showing its weaknesses. That is a short term problem. I'm sure if you have supported Boro since 1962 you will remember far, far worse spells. We'll live.

Werdermouth said:

Despite the denials of last week it seems Mogga may have lost the Boro dressing gown - we were once again revealed to be too open at the back with little support for the pair up front and rather flabby in in the middle - it's time to go on a winning streak and show some naked ambition before it's too late!

Grove Hill wallah said:

AV, your support for TM and SG is admirable, but unfortunately they live and die by players brought into the club. The present squad is woeful, it comes as no surprise that in the transfer window not one player was deemed worthy of a bid.


You get what you pay for, in our case, not a lot. That we are still in a play off position is a miracle, I'm afraid the slide is inevitable.

**AV writes: If they are so woeful how did they manage a 10 game unbeaten run in the Autumn? They are just inconsistent (which is the norm in the Championship), are struggling to get the strongest team out and morale is low. Every team in the division bar one has far gone through it.

Smogonthetyne said:

Right, I think it's fair to say we are in a bit of mess. Five straight defeats, umpteen goals conceeded against the bottom two, blah blah blah.


What worries me the most is the reaction of the players. If we get beat, and that has happened a lot this season, it should be having given your all. On the run that we are on, the very least that should happen us that the players show awarness of the situation and with ten minutes to go looking fir an equaliser every last ounce should be given. It was not. As they say losing can become a habit, and we seem to accept it yesterday.


How you stop a run like this, I don't know. But organisation, being hard to beat and a bit of pride in the shirt is a starting block at least. I've said this for a long time but we are a nice team not a good team. Pass pass pass, will only work when you have top quality players who cando that little bit of magic. Jutkiewicz, Bailey, zemmama, ledesma, leadbitter etc are not Xavi, Messi, Inniesta, Silva etc etc


Teeside tikki takka unfortunately is not possible with the funds available to Mogga at the moment.


Do we want to be a nice team or a good team?

Art of War said:

It's obvious you're not a business man AV, because the information that is "seeped" to you via MFC about Steve Gibson's samaritan styled contributions to the club is somewhat distorted.


First thing first apparently it's £800,000 a month so £9.6m a year not £12m that you keep reporting. Remember Steve Gibson has another business called Bulkhaul (and in profit).


If you have two separate companies and one of them is in the red, as MFC obviously is, then you can, for simpler terms "get a tax rebate" on the good business to help the failing one. He simply isn't losing his hard earned cash.


He is clever with his money, that's why he lives in Jersey, he never throws money away, he's astute!, very clever and penny wise. So paying a minimum tax on a business, no tax on another and paying no tax in Jersey on his personal wealth. He understands everything and misses nothing when dealing with money!!


If we were to go into the Premiership then we may have to spend the Premiership money AND more money than the "tax rebate" he already receives. He still has all the chairmans contact details, who are from all walks of life, who invariably have businesses that can be of benefit to Steve Gibson's little empire. He doesn't want to leave the "Boys Club" that's for certain.


To be a success, you have to understand where the benefits are for yourself and he does. He has outgrown the North East, it has served him well. But he has wider horizons and other interests.


What should come as a bit of relief to fans or light at the end of the tunnel, many people in the past, especially so in the last few decades have had to move away from the region, due to the lack of potential in self growth, but are still very proud of MFC. Some of those same people are doing very well, financially.


Some of those people know VERY wealthy people, who are now in a fortunate position to have some fun with their money!. It won't be long before somebody steps into the breach and delivers what is wanted for the fans and let them drink once again from the fountain of hope.


Could Steve Gibson be preparing a "War Chest" for a future assault into the Premiership, obviously not this season. Remember the Lenny Lawrence period with zero investment in the team. He departed and then crash bag wallop, Brian Robson and masses of cash (it seemed a lot of money at the time, especially after such a barren decade).


He may have been investing in is golf course to be able to secure funds for the future of MFC, I think he made a statement to such affect in the past.


Back to Tony Mowbray and the dilemma we are currently in. You don't have to be the best to win, you have to have the confidence. I think Tony needs to read the "Art of War" once again, because, everything he is doing, is a recipe for failure.


Basically he has lost his MoJo, he has got them doing exactly what he wants, but what he wants doesn't seem to carry any conviction. Managers DO make a difference, we are still in the top six, and if Mr Adkins was suddenly here prior to the next match, we would go up this season, with the same squad. So Tony has to look at what was successful for him and where is own weaknesses "lie".


You have to know everything about yourself and be brutally honest. Don't try and con yourself because unfortunately you are conning thousands of people every week in the process, people who have very little money to spend but forfeit the few treats to come and watch MFC.


Tony knew what he was taking on when he accepted the job, but also learn from your mistakes, and the January Window and the slump in two back to back seasons is unforgivable. Fresh blood was needed, both times and we "dually" suffered. Juggle the deck, offload the dead wood, because the statement made to all the players is "I don't have to play well because I'll just be able to sit around with the others and run down my contract!".


Leeds, they can smell the blood!, and have you seen the teams we have to play, wow!, a very slim chance of going up, unfortunately, but I feel we will be in a lower position than we where last year. The players are better, but the confidence and morale really isn't there to be seen and that has to come from the manager, who seems to be out of his depth at present.


Remember the manager's confidence and morale also needs a boost, he seems lost and he needs a little help from the Chairman, BUT the chairman seems unwilling to lend a helping hand. I believe just like many others on here that something just isn't right at the club, but unlike others I don't think we will ever know.


Up the Boro, well may be next year, when it becomes extremely hard to compete again clubs coming down with extended parachute payments, where they can afford to hold onto Premiership players for longer.


This to-date has been the easiest season to go up for many a year, Wolves, Birmingham, Blackburn (Watch out for them!), Burnley and Blackpool have totally faded away and not threatened this season, so it should have been easy pickings for us, but alas.


I noticed AV reply to Geoff Young, and my reply to AV is, no I haven't seen far worst spells for 13 years now!. A least those run of losses where in the Premiership and not in a second rate championship.....BIG difference!


Does Tony want to be remembered as, "that manager in the "second division" who didn't do anything of any great importance, he was OK", but the records will tell us about that long run under him when we didn't win a game, the nearly man, who kept tinkering with a team. Playing his favourites and playing people out of position, also not playing young talented youths who had come through our fantastic academy, criticisms that are well founded.


He seems to have become patronising and treating the fans as a docile gullible crowd, especially in the January window, not a very nice feeling being treat like I have no intelligence. That is the tipping point when Tony has gone down in my estimations not the results, as much.


If Gibson cared then he would help Tony...but he hasn't, he is letting him fail. Has Tony got the courage to admit failure and openly ask for help, before it is to late?, I believe the answer is no "Pride comes before a fall".


Has Gibson got a cunning plan....only Emperor Gibson can give you that answer. Remember no emperor is infallible, history tells you that much. There is always somebody bigger, hungrier and harder, just around the corner to knock off your crown. Has Gibson lost his hunger for the fight and decided to feed off the rich pickings of the Chairmans gatherings to inflate is Bulkhaul empire?.


Remember it's not the sole right of Gibson and Tony to have memories of the real golden years of the 70's and then again in the latter 80's, somebody who also stood in that Holgate End might want to where the crown of emperor for a while and feel the buzz. Food for thought!, and I'm surprised nobody has joined the dots together before now.


AND I am 100% convinced YOU AV will never ask such uncomfortable questions when given the opportunity, to both Tony and Steve Gibson. The club and the fans will always outlast the management!


UTB

**AV writes: I can assure you that I have asked the uncomfortable questions on pricing, finances, strategy and where the major mistakes were made. The problem is that when people don't like the answers or when they are contrary to their own world view or if the answers don't quite tell the whole story, then they fill the gaps in with conspracy and wishful thinking. Or just refuse to accept them.


I am still regularly accosted by people who genuinely believe there was some grand plan to get relegated as part of some vague financial machinations and that further, Boro don't want to get promoted for similar shrouded reason. They think that somehow running a club losing £12-15m a year is a tax scam. And that it is somehow more effective than having a £100m turnover in the Premier League.


None of that has any basis in fact. The reality is the club gambled on staying up, that there were three worse teams, and they got it badly wrong then they gambled again on Strachan being able to get promotion and got that badly wrong too.


Now they are desperately trying to repair the damage done by that double disaster and get back in the top flight. Everyone is totally committed to that. There is no question about that. Ig Gibosn wasn't committed he could have walked away and left the club stagnate and drift and probably get relegated and go into administration and we'd be in direct competition with Coventry and Portsmouth right now, waiting for one of those 'white knight' investors just queuing up.


Everyone is committed to getting back to the Premier League. But it isn't easy. There's no magic wand. And there's no secret slush fund that Steve Gibson could dip into if he really wanted. He is not holding out on Mogga for sinister reasons. There was no timetable either but I don't think anyone said it is this year or bust.


The club are still just coming out of a very dark place. Two years ago Boro were almost £100m in debt, had just had their annual income slashed from £60m+ to £12m and burdened with a wagebill of over £30m. And under Strachan - who provided at least one of those worst runs you can't remember (six months with an away goal let alone win) - they were heading for relegation. You are right that I am not a businessman or a forensic accountant but even I know that the technical terminolgy is the club was going 'tits up'


From there to here - a second successive season struggling to be just good enough to qualify for the play-offs - has been a tough slog. It has been made possible by some shrewd management by Mogga who has reshaped the team and slashed the wage bill by over a third with a net spend of minus several million. And doing it by playing a decent, progressive and occasional entertaining style.


Meanwhile the club has been restructured and the chairman, who you say is no longer supporting it has cleared the debt. Written it off. Not transferred it to another company so that it remains as a toxic shock deep in the books but actually written out a cheque to pay off the banks who had major charges against the company following the exit from the Premier League.


You can chose to believe all the above or not. I do.


Carltonp said:

The people round me asked if it was as bad as this against Ipswich. I was happy to tell them, "Worse!" One distinct improvement was the weather, for example, but I don't see any reference to that in your account, AV.


We must accentuate the positive, eliminate the negative, latch on to the affirmative and don't mess with Mr In-Between.


Now that last mistake is what the reported comments from the dug-out were guilty of making.


It was galling to read that the players share our frustration. They may feel a degree of frustration, but it's different from ours: we PAY money looking for something pleasant and rewarding to occur "when skies are grey"; they are PAID and enough so that they get plenty more pleasant and rewarding moments, more sunshine etc, than most of us. That makes the frustration not one that is shared with us! And, even more differently, they can do something about theirs!!!


But the weather was a good change from last week. That needs to be said.


John T said:

Well AV.
What do square pegs + round holes + Tinker man =
Saturdays Result
Another setback. ,

Andy said:

I am not suggesting we are here by design, merely that the manager does not seem capable of improving performances or improving the morale of the team. I always worry when the old 'honest group of players' cliche is trotted out, generally signifying that they're honest but not very good.


Being unable to put his finger on what has gone wrong from a promising start is also worrying; could it be that he is the master of our downfall with his insistence on change for the sake of change, resulting in an honest, but ultimately confused bunch of players?

kev B said:

Well summed up AV. We are still in a playoff position but neither warrant one nor look even remotely good enough to maintain one. We have already blown an automatic place - don't let that tantalisingly close 6 point gap fool anyone - and now we look likely to blow a play off place too.


It's so serious, las time we were in such poor form, we called in El Tel. As you say AV, no chance of anyone moving Mogga aside, but he has surely got to take the rap for the crumbling form, as we continue to implode.


Players out of position, out of confidence and it seems a team devoid of ideas, needs a manager to show some leadership and direction. Why, even Steele got the jitters yesterday, and the errors are coming from all over the pitch. It's serious, and I'm not looking forward to Tuesday evening, and 4000 goading Leeds fans to contend with.


I hope the fans forum on Friday was productive AV (I couldn't make it due to work commitments) but it will need some very clever thinking to get the ground even remotely full next season if, as I now expect, we are stuck in the Championship once more. Shutting the corners might be the best idea ever!

Denis said:

It is not getting any better is it? Yesterday's performance was diabolical. We are hapless and useless.AV, you pinpointed accurately all the individual weaknesses in the team. presumably Haroun, Emnes, no loss on present form, are banished to outer darkness but why no Reach? Why pick players like Ledesma who are woefully out of form.


It is reaching the point where it becomes pointless to keep berating the team but this run is doing serious harm to Mogga's managerial credentials.


Leeds are not the team you want to meet next in this situation. Worse for me I am bringing up our Leeds friends who are licking their lips at the prospect.


Therefore can we have some leaders on the pitch, players in their preferred positions? Like everybody else Ihave no idea what team will come out and how they will play. It is a mess!!

Andy R said:

Bugger.


I expected a strong reaction after Ipswich. Instead we picked up exactly where we left off in the first half. The brief second half revival was cruel in the end.


Clearly words were said at half-time, but the way that it petered out smacked of a lack of experience to me, though the goals were awful mistakes. At least we know once and for all that playing Nicky Bailey doesn't guarantee defensive solidity.


The concern is the lack of confidence which appears to be not only in the team at present but also in the stands. It has to be said that Mogga didn't do a great job in turning Celtic and West Brom around when they were on a losing streak.


I agree, however, with AV's response to "Art of War". We need to keep a sense of perspective and appreciate the bigger picture here.


Those who believe TM's time is up need to ask themselves who would do better with continual cost-cutting and bargain bucket replacements. And anyway, it's not going to happen.

Werdermouth said:

As ever, the main problem of losing too many games is that it becomes a habit - five on the bounce is worse than anyone had contemplated and confidence on and off the pitch seems to have ebbed away.


Despite the Barnsley defeat Boro still have the third best home record after Cardiff and Leicester - so perhaps there are many more disgruntled home fans than ours. Boro's problem this season remains their away form with nine defeats on the road already - only second bottom Bristol City have lost more.


Mogga's job is to find away to turn things around - something he managed to do quite sucessfully after he took over from Strachan. So perhaps the call to go back to basics could also be applied to himself and he might need to reign in some of his tactical experimentation until players are back to match fitness and we have a few wins back under our belts.


Leeds should be interesting. Since they beat us at their place to go within five points of the playoffs they are still five points behind us having managed only one point more than us during the last ten games. Even early pace setters Palace under Ian Holloway have managed only one win during their last ten games.


So this is not a League full of teams to fear and any team who can put together half-a-dozen decent results at this stage has every chance of automatic promotion - let alone the playoffs.


Something usually happens at times like these to restore confidence - perhaps a last minute screamer against Leeds to claim three points will put Boro back on track.

Redcar Red said:

When we got Mogga we and SG knew what we were getting. We knew his approach to football and we had imagined the WBA team with entertaining and slick football. Unfortunately we also knew that he like all of us has his foibles but we chose to ignore them in the hope that lessons had been learnt.


The transformation he achieved with no budget has been nothing short of miraculous but success brings its own burden. Success they say breeds success or at least the yearning and hunger for it. Our expectations and hopes had been lifted and briefly we could sniff the promised land, that level of hope raises expectations that I believe could and still can be realised with this squad.


The squad he has assembled or cobbled together to his credit on paper looks pretty useful and certainly capable of the play offs or even better. The block though seems to be from within and his insistence of being the architect of his own downfall. This is the side of Mogga that we hoped we wouldn't see, it was the side Celtic fans I work with warned me would happen, I couldn't see it and defended him stubbornly, they smiled and said just wait, it will come.


His dream of the beautiful game is admirable but right now I would gladly settle for Big Jacks's "Boring Boro". How or the manner in which we get there to me is not important, what is important to me and the remaining Boro fans is that we do actually achieve.


I want Mogga to remain as manager, I don't want a managerial merry go round but I equally don't want to witness kamikaze football just to satisfy an individuals stubborn mantra. Only six teams in this division have lost more games than Boro and its no surprise that they are exactly the six bottom sides, two of whom we have just lost to.


Yesterday, especially the first half was evident to me that nothing at all has even remotely been acknowledged let alone learnt despite "changes" in preparation. This is exactly how the Celtic fans foretold our fortune to me on his appointment.


I do think that there is something simmering behind the scenes with individuals on the playing and coaching staff and I suspect that it is wrapped up in the same misgivings that we the fans have at witnessing the same list of baffling decisions and tactics.


Players are not stupid . They know what works and what doesn't and like all of us at work if the gaffer tells you to do something you know is incorrect you will follow the instruction but you will not make it work as your heart and belief is not in it.


The next problem though is when some employees state their concerns and offer an alternative suggestion. Some managers welcome ideas and create an open healthy atmosphere and some do not, I suspect that those who have been omitted, sidelined, moved on or loaned out fall into the category of "having an opinion".

Powmill said:

Dear oh dear.


Chicken running is popular again I see.


Six points off second with three months still to go. Seems to me we are still in with a good chance of automatic promotion. Not guaranteed of course, but nothing is.
All the same I have every confidence that the current poor run will be more than off-set by the up-coming good run which is surely not that far away.


I never understand why opinion has to be so extreme with not much balance in the middle. Back to the end of August and all those with doom and gloom in the hearts now must surely have thought to be within six points of automatic promotion with three months left to play would be more than a lot of them anticipated.


Come on Boro.


John Powls said:

As if things at Boro weren't bad enough.....

Mad Dog turns poodle! Just seem Pogi playing for The Hammers with a curly perm and a hairband!! Yep, rocks your world, doesn't it.

Masham wiggy said:

Relax everyone. This will all seem like a bad dream when Carayol squares the ball to Marvin who buries it first time to seal victory in the final moments off the play off final.

lenmasterman said:

Beware of a businessman who has read a book.

Mike said:

Conspiracy!


Ha, not really. Between them, SG & TM are doing a solid restructuring job, and we're still in a decent position (surely we never expected automatic promotion this year?). But you don't go to games to appreciate the fiscal rectitude underpinning a club's management.


And it's pretty disheartening for fans to have to console themselves with 'when McDonald, McManus & Bailey move on, THEN we'll be able to make some signings'. I'm not suggesting I'd like any change in the people running the club; but it takes a very right-minded type of person to look beyond the current disappointments and think of the long-term.


The thing that worries me more immediately is that we feel more like a bit-piece, random collection of players now than we did this time last year. Woodgate, Bikey, McEachran, Miller, Dyer, Parnaby - needed as they may have been - give the sense of being temporary contractors rather than part of a proper team.


And jeez, what an improvement it would be if we were able to play the same two centre-halves for five or six games in a row (preferably the best two, though I've no idea who they are?).


Also, is there a danger this post's comments section has turned into a Bernie versus the fans style Century phone in? If so, who's playing the Brownlee role? And also, 'whaddyouthink Bernie?' (in vowel-heavy Eston).

Powmill said:

I'm almost with Masham Wiggy, except I have that at Hillsborough on the 4th May to clinch the 2nd automatic promotion slot :-)

Never Give Up On Boro said:

The writing was on the wall before this current five games slump and you only have to remember the away games at Cardiff, Birmingham and Leeds as well as the home defeat to Bristol City where despite dominating games we were still losing, never good because eventually you are going to play badly and lose as what is happening now and then those previous games become even more costly


Only the players can get us out of this mess. They have to have the same desire and will to win that they had earlier on in the season.


I had hoped after Ipswich Tony would drop five of those players but unfortunately Williams and Ledesma survived and were shown to be woeful yet again.
Presently Neither is worthy of a start, nor in midfield for Williams either. I don't care if he is the captain and I think there are more vocal candidates for this job too.


I bet all the Hoyte haters are wishing he was fit to play now instead of Williams,and although Parnaby isn't the best right back in the division he would be a lot better than one who can't and doesn't even like playing there!


Leeds on Tuesday doesn't instil confidence,we have never beaten them at the Riverside and I don't see this changing but then again Boro never usually do what's expected!

Tonto Bumblestone said:

The three teams promoted last season lost only 11 games (Reading), 10 games (Southampton) and eight (West Ham).


At the end of the season Boro had only lost 12 games but so far this season we have lost 13, nine since the beginning of November. With 16 games to go, we cannot afford to lose any more games to achieve automatic promotion and only two games to be in the play-offs. This seems unlikely so fans need to prepare themselves for the 2013/14 season in the Championship.


Even if by some fluke, promotion was achieved, we would need a completely new team as the current squad are barely good enough for the Championship.

Clive Hurren said:

Three successve defeats is probably a blip; four is a slump; five definitely feels like a crisis. How very depressing.


However, as Powmill has hinted, if we somehow beat Leeds on Tuesday all will suddenly be well with the world again, at least for a few days. From our current position and in our current form beating Leeds looks difficult, but you never know!They're only an average mid-table side themselves, and Becchio, our long-time nemesis, has gone.


An Adam Reach screamer? A George Friend cross-cum-shot that deceives their keeper? Or perhaps a different Boro will turn up, score early, restore confidence and beat Leeds by a couple? The bad run has to end some time. Why not on Tuesday?


It's more the away form that worries me - with Palace and Burnley to follow. It's ages now since we've picked up so much as a point away from home, all of which is all too reminiscent of those awful runs under Southgate and Strachan. If we mantain that form away, I can't see us picking up enough home points to make the play-offs. How very depressing.


Far too early to be calling for the manager's head, as many are. Still all to play for,and most of us would have settled for a play-off place back in August. He's done well with very limited resources, probably better than expectations. But like many others I do share the genuine concerns about tactics and picking a side to confuse the opposition. Seems to me we've ended up confusing ourselves!


Art of War -


be careful what you wish for, mate. Steve Gibson may have his flaws, but he's still the Chairman to whom we owe the existence of the club, and he's still bailing out the club very heftily from his own pocket.


I'd far rather have him than the Venky's at Blackburn or those lunatics running Forest and Portsmouth, to name but three - people who obviously haven't got a clue, and what's worse, don't actually care what happens to the club. In fact, I'd rather have SG than almost anyone else, thank you very much.

richard evans said:

Leeds Utd are probably the very best team we could be playing next to clear the apathy and fading hope now encircling the Riverside.


Neither club boasts particularly good players at present but we need a spark/kick up the backside and that could well come from our fellow Yorkshiremen and their merry band of vile followers.


It’s been dull and dreary for too long and what could be better than Leeds at home to push the focus from our flaws onto an absolute and gut wrenching necessity to beat Warnock’s mob? A shift from thinking to fighting (on-field) may well be what it takes. And of course it would be nothing less than typical Boro.


The extreme variation of some of the posts here in the past 24 hours meanwhile has been interesting. While I feel AV to be overly one-eyed of the team at times, I find it incredulous that anyone can question his analysis and presentation of what Steve Gibson does for our club.


There is no-one, sheiks and Americans included, who I would rather have run our club than Mr Gibson. He has become part of the identity and DNA of the Boro, and yes while he and Mogga were not the only ones stood on the Holgate in the ‘70s, Gibson has got off his backside and done an extraordinary amount of good for the club and area.


And all done as a way to avoid HMRC? To paraphrase Jim Royle, ‘Tax evasion, my arse.” And anyway, Jersey’s a nice place.


I’m sure there are financial offset benefits, and I hope he is using them all, but they are purely offset benefits on the massive monthly losses he is continually accruing. He’s not doing it for the glory and gets to travel to the boardrooms at Doncaster and Peterborough (good clubs both by the way) and not Old Trafford or the Emirates.


I meanwhile have bought my match tickets and the programmes, travelled the length of this country, and unbelievably Europe too, to follow the Boro. I have cried into my beer and had the most brilliant times but these destinations and quality of football seen, correlates directly to Steve Gibson and his massive input.


I have no doubt we all have very similar emotions and frustrations to Gibson re the Boro. He is, firstly, a fan too. But he is the one who has really got off his backside and done the deed.


It does not mean he should not be open to criticism (I am still staggered by the utter stupidity of the Strachan folly) but to knock him for perceived lack of ambition or what he gives to the club is mind numbing.


And yes, we will beat Leeds this week...

Our Gary said:

AV -


I admire your loyalty to Tony Mowbray. But I have been supporting Boro since 1967, so, like Geoff Young, I feel entitled to have an opinion. And this is it:


Mowbray as a manager is a trier, just as he was a player. A great battler full of heart and persistence.. but just not enough natural class to succeed at the top level. As a player, I remember him giving his utmost in every game, but getting turned inside out against the top division stikers.


As a manager, it is proving, sadly, likewise. He is an honest, moderately talented, very hard working manager. But in this day and age, he is just not talented enough to get Boro back to the Premier League.


Mr. Gibson, I suspect you realise that now. The decision is now yours..


Bob said:

I must admit I've been getting a bit bored with Boro this season (and last if I think about it). I find myself not being aware of who we're playing next, sometimes even missing midweek games entirely.


This blog too, which used to be essential reading, has become a bit more of an occasional read, as the story gets repeated, and AV's columns and responses get a bit more shrill.


Despite AV's insistence that we are in a "short term" slump, I don't really see it like that. I think we're in for another 4-5 years, maybe longer of this kind of stuff. We may get promoted (remarkably it's still a possibility this year) maybe next year, or the year after. But even if we got promoted I can only see us coming straight back down. I’m not even sure we’d have a relegation ‘battle” to enjoy. I suspect we’d do a West Brom and surrender meekly.


I feel no false sense of entitlement. I supported Boro long before anyone had ever heard of Bryan Robson, let alone imagine he might start a revolution at Boro. I enjoyed the good times, but I know we are a second division side for the most part.


I’m 100% behind Steve Gibson. I thank him for the ride of a lifetime, I thank him for his continued financial support, and I wish him well in his recovery job.


I’m also supportive of Tony Mowbray as manager. He’s a reasonable enough manager who’s trying hard and doing an OK job. During his time as a player, Mowbray was my favourite, an inspirational leader. As a manager, he’s a bit more ho-hum, but I look around and don’t see too many other candidates that would set my pulse racing.


When he was appointed I was hoping for Gus Poyet (although I didn’t think he would be interested) or Nigel Pearson, but would they have been any better? They’re both still managing second division clubs, one just ahead of us and one just below, so probably not. I don’t believe in the media fuelled managerial merry-go-round. It just seems to me to be incredibly stupid.


Am I falling out of love with Boro? Jaysus…that’s a big question.


On reflection, the answer is no. There’s two things happening. Firstly, I’m getting very bored with the platform that the internet and blogs like yours provides to knee-jerk reactionaries and the ridiculous expectations they develop.


Secondly, I’m falling out of love with football and what it has become, a grubby, money-riddled game which has oh so much further to fall than people realize. Can’t happen soon enough for me.


**AV writes: The money bubble bursting can't come soon enough for me.

Bob said:

On a brighter note (I've taken my medication now), Curtis Main became our 20th different scorer this season on Saturday. I reckon that's a record.


I'm with Richard Evan's also. Leeds is the perfect opposition next up. If we'd have played a non-descript club like Birmingham or Derby the stadium would have been like a morgue and we would have snoozed to another defeat or a draw and no-one would have noticed.


Leeds offers a much better chance of shock-treatment to get us out of this rut.

spartakboro said:

There appears to be a dirth of comment from the 'established' contributors (Len M, Jarko, F'Dormo). I can only speculate why and as it's too early in the morn here I'm not inclined to do so.


However, as with their abscence the spirit and direction of our team seems to reflect something of the same. Why? Well to cut to the chase it's quite simple. A leader with the full package of abilities (or with a 'management' team backing him up) is able to organise and motivate to ensure success aka B Clough.


These, whom I shall call the 'golden leaders' are few and far between. Time now and results have shown that our very own (and I say this with some disappointment because I wholeheartedly wanted Mogga to succeed)cannot be classed as one
amongst this club of elite.


Regardless, there is still hope. If Mogga and his team brought in someone from outside who could cast an objective eye on their leadership, communication and management skills and thus highlight areas for improvement, they still maybe able to turn it around (the results that is). Similar situ as we had previously with one T. Venables. Now is the time to bury the ego and gain valuable assistance.


The time is ripe to be positive and not simply grind out the same or stick your head in the sand. But will they listen and if they hear will they act?


UTB

timfromsa said:

That ten game unbeaten run seems far away now. But the players that did that are still on the books so are very capable of doing it again.


Remember normally if you want to go up you need a percentage of players from the league your going into. We got Woodgate and recently Dyer but they will not play enough games to have an effect.


If you look at the likes of the Juke, Coventry were on the verge of relegation. Friend the same with Rovers. Ledesma from Walsall , Bailey from Charlton, Leadbetter from Ipswich who were also not the best at the time. Obviously this had to be done for our state of the Boro situation.


There is no disrespect to those players but its now up to the manager his coaches and the fans to get that confidence back.


I would stick with Bailey he has been warming the bench and i am sure he will play better and will be much needed against Leeds. It will be harder to get players who are used to being in sides that lost a lot of games thinking here we go again.


Thats the job in hand. No amount of millions will help right now as we can't buy anyone. So its stick with what you have gee them up get right behind them against Leeds and hope we turn the corner.

Geordie la Forge said:

"If you have two separate companies and one of them is in the red, as MFC obviously is, then you can, for simpler terms "get a tax rebate" on the good business to help the failing one."


I have seen this assertion in various forms over the years. Has anyone been able to produce any evidence to back it up? Some HMRC guidance or a court ruling?


Unlike Starbucks, for example, I think it would be quite difficult to do this with separate companies in unrelated industries such as Middlesbrough FC and Bulkhaul.


No doubt five defeats in a row is painful, but there is still the points the time and the games to turn the situation around.

Werdermouth said:

Tonto:


Whilst your win/lose stats are correct you shouldn't forget that Boro have only drawn two games this season, which is 14 fewer than last season and incidently Cardiff made the play-offs last season winning 19 and drawing 18 games.


The only stat worth contemplating is that 75 points are enough to get you to the play-offs - last year 71 would have done it and this season it's looking like the low seventies will also suffice.


The team in the top six or so who can now put a winning run together for the last third of the season will get that second automatic promotion spot.


The question is whether Boro can stop the rot - our next four games are against teams on similar slumps - Boro have won just 12 pts from the last possible 30 - likewise
Leeds (13 pts) - Palace (11pts) - Burnley (15pts) - Millwall (8pts).


If the slump continues for another two or three games then the subsequent loss in confidence will probably see the season fizzling out and all the talk will be about next season and more anger will be aimed at Mogga, Gibson and the players (probably in that order).


So the pressures on. It's not as bad as when Mogga took over as relegation is not on the agenda. But his success so far has led to an increase in expectations. It's ironic that those saying Mogga is not up to it have quickly forgotten what he has already achieved on an ever-shrinking budget.

Nigel Reeve said:

Normally, the postings on this blog are incisive, witty and intelligent. Sadly on this thread there is a large percentage of ridiculous tosh.


Steve Gibson and Mogga seem to have become joint public enemy number one amongst a certain faction of Boro's support because we have lost five games in a row. That is just plain ridiculous.


Look at the context: we're still sixth and still six points from an automatic promotion place. All with a flawed squad which is in the middle of being rebuilt.


Look at Cardiff, how many seasons did that club need to build the team they have today?


Losing five in a row and seeing the team play badly is very frustrating, especially when automatic promotion can be seen right in front of you, but slagging off the manager and chairman is not the answer.


I'm not sure how many times in the last 30/40/50 years Boro have hit a bad patch of form, too many to count and we deliberately forget about them. Back in the 80's when the wheels came off and we hurtled into the third division things were a lot worse than they are now thats for sure, but those posters above who've been supporting since 1960 whatever probably didnt bother supporting Boro then........

Chris Harrison said:

How do you know how much SG is putting into the club? I believe that all of the income generated by the club (gate receipts-transfers-media money-hotel & golf coarse receipts) goes into an holding company & is then dispersed by SG as he deems fit.


TM has been left behind by football & he should be replaced. At least 20 quality managers would then apply for his job. We have to stop this "nice club" attitude & be ruthless in pursuit of success.


**AV writes: I have seen the accounts and extensive breakdowns of cash flow and outgoings. I think to do what you suggest is probably illegal. The club isn't run out of a biscuit tin. And the hotel is a completely separate entity.


Very few 'quality' managers would apply for the job because such beast would expect a lot of transfer money to operate with. Of the ones that would apply, Boro fans would look down their noses at most of them: Phil Brown anyone?

Smoggy In Exile said:

So the slump continues. The longer this goes on, the more the season feels like a repeat of last year. Start strongly, raise expectations then fade away, all the while with occasional helpful chirpings from the players about "Automatic promotion is still within our grasp".


I'm going to try to be realistic and not too knee-jerk after another frustrating but entirely predictable defeat. Although we are only six points off the 2nd spot we are way, way, off being the kind of team who can confidently turn that kind of deficit around. Confidence appears shot, and Mogga appears indecisive and to be tinkering for the sake of it.


Ironically, despite last year's terrible January run being, so we thought, due to the absence of key players, this seasons best run was when we had several players injured. This seemed to restrict Mogga's tactical tinkering, and we stormed on a fantastic run.


The more players become available, the more the shape and team seems to be changed to accommodate them. All of this talk of back to basics is good, but to my mind back to basics implies going back to a tactical shape that worked in the past and is relatively simple, and picking players in their natural positions.


There we have the thorny problem of Mr Williams. Without a doubt our best form was when he was injured. Without a doubt he has been a liability since returning. And without a doubt he is not a right back, despite what the Aussies think.


Back to basics means Parnaby at right back. Rhys at centre back (I would prefer him and Bikey to Hines), or on the middle of the bench, and a balanced midfield. I am somewhat of a dissenter to the logical thinking, and don't consider that 442 is necessarily the answer. I would rather that we play to our strengths. Unfortunately, a large but mostly immobile front man is not our strength. For that reason, I'd give Juke the hook.


I would rather we went with Main up front, but supported by two wingers playing higher up - step up Carayol (glad to have you back) and Reach. If not Reach, it would be Scotty - but for his injury. In midfield a narrow trio of Bailey/Smallwood, Leadbitter and Dyer would be fine.


Keep the midfield narrow, try and get Carayol and Reach on the ball in advanced areas and get Main sniffing around the box. Simple?


Werdermouth said:

Chris Harrison said: "We have to stop this "nice club" attitude & be ruthless in pursuit of success." - You mean like Forest? What does being ruthless actually mean?


The only way a manager might be able to succeed in a short space of time is if he's given a bucket load of cash to spend (sorry we already tried that with Strachan). Maybe we should head hunt a leading coach to 'transform' our team into title winners without a budget - how long should we give him? a year? Maybe two years max? That's how long you've allowed Mowbray with the same remit before labelling him a failure.


OK, forget the manager let's find a very rich man who's looking for a new hobby to shower it with money in return for adulation by the locals. - sorry, that is never going to happen. Boro are a small to middling club with a core fan base of 15K . The only people we'll attract are chancers and the club would disappear in a cloud of debt before being bought back for pound by Steve Gibson wearing a 'I told you so' T-shirt.

BrightonBoro said:

This has to be the most depressing list of comments I've read in many a good while. No one, least of all Mogga, would deny that our form is anything other than desperate at the moment. Bereft of confidence, it's a miracle we're still in touch with the teams above us. Six points off automatic promotion, without a massive upswing we'll be nowhere near that - like everyone, I'm looking down rather than up.


BUT. What did people expect for the season? Yes, it's as poor a Championship as it's been since we got relegated. And Boro are part of that. Looking at the players we bought in last summer, were people really expecting us to sweep to automatic promotion?


Cardiff have been building that squad for years and have invested plenty in it - remember when they and Boro made Taylor offers, whose was more enticing? Their wage bill is huge, and that's without the Premier League hangover we've had.


And then Leicester, who can afford to spend £2m on a striker in January to bring into a squad that already includes plenty of big names. Look at their squad; there's plenty of players you've heard of there, not much bargain basement shopping for Sven, Nigel etc. Their teams cost considerably more than ours, even allowing for the Strachan folly.


Yet Boro could, should have got something out of all three games so far against those two sides. They didn't, because they're flawed. They're flawed, because they're buying players from Doncaster/Bristol Rovers/Walsall or barely fit Premier League players. They're buying those players because they are who they can afford.


The big thing is the idea that there's better people than Mowbray and Gibson out there. Really? Leaving aside the issue of whether such a move would be good for the Boro (it wouldn't), who is queuing up to invest in the club instead of or alongside Gibson?


Everton have been for sale for a decade; Newcastle were for sale for a couple of years before Ashley worked out his formula (or had it worked out for him). Do people really think those teams are less or equally attractive propositions to us?
If they can't find a buyer, what chance have we got?


Gibson has made mistakes, we all know that. But he's a Boro fan - and the idea that he ever does anything that he doesn't think is in the best interests in the club is palpably wrong. Of course he doesn't get it right all the time - who would?


But he does try to get it right. And some of the best times of my life have come as a result of what Gibson has done for this club. Do you really think he's happy pouring £1m a month in? "Don't worry about it Tony, I'll just keep writing the cheques. Nah, we don't really fancy promotion, for some reason no one can quite explain. Wouldn't work out for me."


Same with Mowbray. He's slashed the wage bill and brought in players on a budget from, in the main, the divisions below us. Do you really think we've fought off competition from Man City, Chelsea etc for those players? We've got them because Boro is a step up for them. The nature of a step up is that there's times when it's hard and it's not working out and things aren't going well. That's the reality - get used to it.


AV's point about Phil Brown should give everyone pause for thought. Why the hell would you want rid of Mowbray? Who else would do a better job - taking into account the job is slashing the wage bill and replacing departing players on the cheap, in amongst the financial toils? Who would you want in: Brown? Curbishley? Ince? Jewell? Because those names and their ilk are the options.


Times are bad currently. It's not so long ago that we were right in the thick of the automatic race. Win tomorrow and, given how results are going, there's every chance we will be again. We're as good as any other team in this division. We were 10 games unbeaten, a couple of months ago.


To think that a terrible run of the last few weeks indicates the club is in terminal decliine after all the progress is just crazy. Get a grip.

Clive Hurren said:

Werdermouth @8.52 and Nigel Reeve -good posts lads (I presume you're both lads?) Cheered me up. I also agree with your latest post at 11.14, Werdermouth.


Phil Brown, AV? Nah! Disaster. If he wore a red track suit we wouldn't be able to pick him out against the banks of empty red seats (of which there would be many more!!)


Come on Boro! Give dirty Leeds a good belting tomorrow night!

wiggy' mate said:

Some excellent points made regarding the bigger picture. It appears that there are some who want a Ridsdale/Brown dream team to ride to the rescue presumably backed by that Kuwaiti who looked a bit like Peter Kay who promised to have Notts County in the champions league, and that.


No one is beyond criticism, but however poor Saturday’s performance was, the three goals conceded all came from individual errors. These errors do not indicate, in my opinion, that Mogga has somehow “lost the dressing room” but that the back four are suffering from a lack of confidence/ability/football nous.


The first goal comes from a deflection and is deemed unlucky by many but for me Friend had got himself twenty yards out of position and was stretching to cover his own lack of discipline. If his starting position had been right he could have jockeyed the man out wide without stretching.


For the second, we had more than enough players in the area to deal with the throw but they resembled nothing more than a pen of sheep who had been startled by the howl of a nearby wolf as they shuffled nervously. Sitting at the opposite end it is difficult for me to tell but perhaps a klaxon had gone off indicating the presence of the ball in the area which had induced this state of mild panic.


The third, blame, but no recriminations from me, is attached to the keeper, he slipped, better players have done similar although I would question the need for the nervous pass back to him. There is a lack of leadership back there.


I can’t imagine that Stuart Boam, big Nige or a host of other limited but honest pros would have tolerated the above. If I do criticise Mogga it is for not addressing this, but how do I know that he hasn’t tried? I don’t, so its extremely unfair for me to judge let alone condemn him.


Ultimately I left the ground wishing that we just had players who were (in the words of Bertie Masson, Bostock Stanley FC)” better at football than what this lot are”. That is the root of it.


There is a case for getting back to basics (Parnaby at RB, Williams at CB) but I don’t get along to Hurworth much these days so who knows what the manager is seeing during the week, but it still seems to be a case of silk purses and sow’s ears for me.


Still, no better way to turn it round than beating Dirty Leeds and their charming manager, Colin W.


In Mogga I trust.

BabelFish said:

Its certainly reaching boiling point now. As someone above said, five defeats on the bounce for the first time since 2000 is definitely a crisis.


Derby could be ruled out due to the team we fielded, but the subsequent games we can't blame injuries. Its a mental fragility that has crept into our game since the turn of the year that is remarkably different from our pre-2013 form.


However, I feel the celebration-or-crisis mentality from the fans also doesn't help. I'm as guilty as anyone that as I was leaving the ground on Saturday, I was fuming and demanding something be done. I felt something was fundamentally wrong. I think the rest of the fanbase reacted the same.


Thankfully, I've cooled off now and can look at it more objectively. I can't understand the calls for Mowbray's head for starters. Who would we get? Adkins? He's want to rebuild the squad, but have no money to do it.


Mowbray is a local hero, who on his return has saved us from financial ruin and relegation whilst guiding us to the top of the league. Obviously his work isn't quite done yet, but he's got the be the choice man to get us over the line, if not this season but next. And it'll be so much sweeter in doing so with a local manager.


Equally Gibson, he's still untouchable in my eyes, we wouldn't have a club without him. He's made mistakes, but we're still alive and kicking. Calling for heads to roll after the years of dross we've had, is, frankly, ludicrous.


That said, something is obviously wrong. Confidence of the players. Tinkering of the system and perhaps a lack of focus. The likes of Bailey, McManus and Dyer being in the dressing room might not help matters either. How do we stop the slump? Work hard.


We might be hearing about the players hurting and giving it all, but we need to see it on the pitch. Pick a formation (4-4-2 please) with the right personnel (Parnaby at RB, 2 strikers) and tell them to go out there and run until they physically can't run anymore. Press, fight, tackle, show that they want to wear the shirt.


That's 50% of the battle in this league. We need to stop playing our way out of the slump and start fighting our way out of it. The tippy tappy football can come back in once we've learnt how to win again.


We'll never get out of this league if we turn on each other. The players need to work for the team, the fans need to work for the team. Quit whining, and get behind the Boro to the Mowbray beat...


Here endeth the rallying call. I expect a torrent of ra-ra rose tinted abuse.

Ian Gill said:

I am invoking the 'points from unexpected sources' mandate.


It worked at Blackburn so should work tomorrow. That performance was based on attitude and pressing as much as anything.


Phil Brown? Shudder!

gt said:

Is there something wrong with having epectations now?


Is there something wrong with wanting your club in the Premiership now?


Is there something wrong with wanting better players now?


Is there something wrong with expressing your feelings now?


Is there something wrong with not wanting to hear all the spin from the insiders now?


Is there something wrong with what you see with your own eyes now?


Is there something wrong with not wanting to be brushed off as a fickle fan now?


Lets get real here we DO have the right, Boro are not the club of the 50s,60s,70s etc We are a Big club with top facilities,known around the world, and the bottom line is,right now the biggest problem is YESSSS,what we get for 90 odd minutes at game time,


Now if this is not addressed sooner or later we will get dragged further and further down to oblivian,You might end up with 5 - 7.000 die hards in the stadium. Remember a few years back,Leeds where in the play offs one year the next they got relegated


So I ask again, is there something wrong with expecting big decisions to be made? Anyone can sit on the fence, either Gibson admits he is ok with a 3,5,7 year plan and explain it , at least we would all be aware of it. I know I am very concerned if the income stream is true. How long this can be sustained without success on the field?


Have a nice day

Werdermouth said:

Three Points from unexpected sources? Steady on Ian, you're beginning to sound a bit like Chris Huhne's wife now - and look at the trouble that caused!

Boro Doug said:

I think there needs to be some balance on here and rightly people arent happy about some of the performances. As some people inc AV have mentioned (and done some great defending work) we need to look at things in a wider view than playing out a few seasons over two weeks on Champ manager and getting your team to the level of Man U in under three seasons (it does feel good though).


I remember a painful phrase of "cutting the bush right back so it can grow again" which TM gave at a supporters meeting just as he took over. Let's be honest here, we arent even right back yet. Thomson has gone (i think this was his name, I dont recall seeing him in a shirt) McManus is still here, so is McDonald and he still has another season here. Bailey as well, as others have mentioned.


"But this is his team, his transfers..." no they arent really. These are the waifs and strays no-one else bids for and they only guys we can attract. If Fergie could only shop in the pound store he wouldnt win the title, it is quite simple.


Boro FC was a Jenga tower from hell waiting to collaspe so it could be rebuilt.


The strike force of Jimmy, Yak and Dukes was the best outside of the top four. This was never replaced (bar one dodgy Brazilian). So the rot TM is trying to fix goes all the way before Southgate.


Then with what was left of our last kitty of hope was wasted by SG2. So the baby, bath water and now bath have all gone. How do you wash this mess up?


TM is trying to do it with sticky backed plastic and bandaids when we really need some serious angle iron. The pot has run dry gents.


No bums on seats.


No parachute money.


No serious sponsors.


No oil rich meglo with a taste for the north east.


We do have a seriuosly commited owner pumping in a mil a month to get slammed for not putting in £4 mil a month! Who here can do that? If you can, stop just bloody reading and call the club. Else be realistic.


TM stopped a freight train wreck heading to League 1. Then over egged our hopes by flying up the league. Then teased us but fell short last season, and is now appearing to do the same with a club that has/had no cash to spend but we are still 6th in the league!!


Rubbish, booo, sack him. Crap freebie transfers. Should have bid for Messi.


Oh we still have a club, at the right end of the championship, in with a shout, but we have lost a few games.


Suck it up.


**AV writes: I think the root of the problem is that a lot of fans simply refuse to face up to the objective reality of the financial situation. Whether they think the club is just lying about it or not for some as yet unknown reason, I'm not sure. And many are placing unreasonable demands on Steve Gibson. He is already putting in £12m a year. He is not legally or morally obliged to stump up more. I for one don't feel comfortable making demands that he should.


That he is helping stabilise the club, to keep it on life support while it fumbvles towards a sustainable long term model is admirable. Plenty of other owners simply walked away after relegation from the Prem. Go and look at the corporate history of all those other clubs: Blackburn, Forest, Southampton, Leicester, Palace, Leeds, Charlton, Coventry, Sheffield Wednesday... it is not pretty. Almost all, if they don't go straight back up have gone down another division and had a brush with administration - or worse - before levelling out.


That Gibson has stayed to clear the mess is admirable and shows the classic bloody-minded stubborness of a Teessider. I'm sure his money men advised strongly against it. In technical terms, they think he is 'bloody crackers'


But that is where we are. The club have made it clear and public often enough. We at the Gazette barely go a week without outlining the situation in one context or another. It would be hard not to be aware of it. What Mowbray has done so far against the background has been incredible and deserves praise not flak.


The biggest single political problem for the club is that a large and vocal section fans have mentally never come to terms with the fact that we are no longer in the Premier League. That's why they expect and demand that we beat the kind of opposition we are up against every week. That we should win ex officio. And that failure on that is a deep wound. I think that is why the angst is expressed in such emotive and personal terms.


They can't get their head around the fact that we are now a Championship club with all that entails, the limited resources, the flawed players, the constant need to sell to fund the running of the club. They are frustrated we can't go out and buy a £5m striker or top notch central defender, that we can't solve our problems with borrowed money. They are maybe a little bit embarrassed to face up to losing games against Barnsley and Watford and Bristol City.


Mentally, a lot of people still haven't broken from the Premier League.


Kenneth McLaughlin said:

I note with interest that Boro are now possibly interested in South American players.


I contacted the club regarding young Canadian players and was told in no way was the Boro interested in even looking at these players as they were only interested in local players due to the fact that they cannot be signed by the club until they are at least 18 and the club preferred to bring them along in their own acadamy and not have them come from countries outside the EU due to the current labour/FIFA laws.


Any comments?


**AV writes: Luckily, almost all Brazilians qualify for Portguese passports.

lenmasterman said:

Some great supportive comments from the perceptive regulars to counteract the knee-jerkers. And AV's comments spot on as usual.


Agree with Masham Wiggy that individual errors are contributing more than their fair share to our lost points. Once again Friend on the wrong side of his man, to add to his two basic errors at Ipswich. And I noticed at Derby a new tendency for Steele to dwell on the ball when a simple welly was called for.


Rhys looks like he has thrown out his dummy at being asked to play full back. Actually he has enough defensive capabilities to play well there with the added bonus of being able to get up and down, and show his pace and shooting ability, something that is denied to the team when he is in the heart of defence. So, he doesn't fancy playing there . So what?


I liked Mike's contribution, and it's true that it's hard to appreciate fiscal rectitude when we are not playing well. But the visit of Leeds should focus all of our minds on what we owe to Messrs. Gibson and Mowbray.


It is over ten years since Tom Bowers fully exposed to the world the nefarious activities of Ken Bates, yet here he is still in control at a football club. If he were our chairman and Warnock our manager I would jack in my lifetime's loyalty, and never darken the Boro's doorstep again.


In a world of sleaze, bungs, backhanders, sweeteners, and the dubious activities of agents, which most clubs show no interest in exposing because they are up to their necks in it, the kind of local loyalty and integrity which Gibson and Mowbray amply demonstrate means a great deal. At least it does to me.

SteveH said:

Bloody hell! What's happened? I thought for a moment I'd pressed the wrong button and ended up on FMTTM!


There is no better manager for Boro then Tony Mowbray.


There is no better chairman for Boro than Steve Gibson.


There is no rich arab waiting to buy the club.


Okay, we're on a bad run. But that will change. And when it does we will still be in an excellent position to launch a challenge for the play off places.


Keep the faith!

Paul said:

Firstly I think TM has done a good job. Given how he has had to reduce the wage bill I actually think we have a stronger squad now than when he took over which is quite remarkable.


However TM's tactical tinkering traumatises me terribly (a bit of alliteration!!)


I also think those fans who still think that a magic wand will be waved and we'll suddenly start winning again are being incredibly unrealistic. Our form has plummeted, particularly away from home and we look unlikely to pick up anywhere near the number of points to finish in the playoff places and there has been little hope in recent times that this will change.


People go on about only being six points off 2nd place but we are only seven points above 15th so let's not get too carried away.


I think judging by the fans reaction on here that TM has lost many of them. I honestly think regardless of what he feels is the best formation or side to put out to counter the opposition there is an argument for fielding a side that the fans would like to see. If he doesn't he risks looking stubborn, he'll alienate the fans further and the atmosphere will be flatter than ever.


An attacking line up with players played in the right position will at least see the fans get behind the players which at the moment with the lack of unity is probably more important than any tactical tinkering!!


**AV writes: Any manager who fields a team to pacify the fans is finished. Besides, on Saturday he included the dissidents favourite Ginger Messiah Nicky Bailey, a player who has got better every week he has been out.


Powmill said:

gt asked "is there something wrong .....?" with lots of things re having expectation, wanting better players, being in the top flight etc etc etc.....


Nothing wrong at all gt. That is what we would all like, including the die-hards and regular contributors on here and all the ones that have been watching Boro through decades and decades and decades.


There is something wrong with an inability to appreciate what we do have - the most loyal and supportive chairman in the country .... no, make that the world; a dedicated manager that not only stopped the rot, but has his team of ne'er do wells and lower league aspirants sitting six points off 2nd place in The Championship; and a future.


There is a difference in unbalanced (negative) expressions of "realism" and considered acceptance of that reality. With the former there is only a route to perpetual disatisfaction; the latter does allow for some optimism, and optimism in my book is one of (or it should be one of)the main drivers for any football fan.


"Glass half empty or glass half full if you like."


Room for improvement? Too bl**dy right there is, but it is only going to take a small improvement in fortune that begets an increasing confidence and then we will look like genuine challengers for promotion again - and quite possibly without the play-offs.


All this talk of replacing TM and SG is no more than assanine nonsense, but hats off to AV for providing the forum not only for that but for everyone's point of view.


Now then, where are those lurking off-whites who usually appear on here without comprehending the paradox of protesting there is no interest on their part in the Yorkshire Derby?

Masham wiggy said:

gt at 3.45. I'm sure your opening could fit perfectly into a Lacey drum driven power chord ridden track. I'd go for 'Great Expectations' by New Model Army.


'But all I wanted in the end was world domination and a whole lot of money to spend!'

Fred Karno said:

Geordie la Forge said:


"If you have two separate companies and one of them is in the red, as MFC obviously is, then you can, for simpler terms "get a tax rebate" on the good business to help the failing one."I have seen this assertion in various forms over the years. Has anyone been able to produce any evidence to back it up? Some HMRC guidance or a court ruling?"


Anyone can go to Companies House and get the actual accounts. Latest ones filed are up to 30th June 2011 (2012 due in next six weeks and will no doubt be reported by the Gazette).


There are a lot of companies in group - but main profitable one which provides the money for Steve Gibson is Bulkhaul. It reported profit of £60m and corporation tax of £10.9m. However, this £10.9m tax is net of £5.5m "group relief not payable". In laymans terms this means the company used losses elsewhere in group to reduce the tax for Bulkhaul from £16.4m to £10.9m. The Football club subsiduary shows its losses reduced by £4.9m tax relief.


So - yes - whatever loss is currently being made will be reduced by tax relief. £800k loss per month is around £620k after tax relief - still a big amount to swallow, but very helpful.


On a footballing note, I'm glad to see some of the earlier extreme views are becoming more rational. Its difficult to see any other available manager would be significantly better - although a new manager often produces a short term boost - and it would simply mean another period of upheaval.


My main gripe is the way TM keeps changing his side to try to second guess his opponents. Other than the likes of Man Utd, where the sheer number of top class players allows rotation, most sides do best when playing a settled side -with everyone in their best position, playing to their strengths. Let the opposition worry about us for a change. We have a huge lack of continuity and are switching players and systems around. How can they get settled into a rhythm.


For me that means Rhys in the centre now he is fit and if Hoyte is not fit, then Parnaby covers. It also means a centre forward like Juke plays mostly in the centre - rather than spending most of his time on the right wing looking for the ball.


I do wonder whether Woodgate's signing, although it seemed a coup at the time, is not part of the current problem. Will he be fit, wont he, will he play while not training etc?


Finally for me we are too slow in moving the ball around. I know TM likes passing football, but both of Saturdays goals came from quick movements which left Barnsley unready. For most of the rest of the match we seemed to try to make sure they had sufficient time to organise themselves whilst we played it from side to side around the half way line, with our players showing a lack of movement to pull Barnsley out of shape and allow quick diagonal or through balls to players with free space near the opposition box.


One player specifically missed here was Scottie - he is always on the move and trying to make space for himself - its a pity TM cannot get a few others doing the same. Carayol in the first half was a good example - he hugged the touchline (presumably under orders) even when the play was on the other wing and there was no player within 15 yards. If he had come nearer the centre it would have given us a pass from the right wing at a speed which would leave free space.


As it was by the time the ball was worked across to him, there were two Barnsley players in close attendance. The Championship does not generally give sides the time and space to play that we seem to want

A said:

To those commenting on our squad being rubbish, just a couple of months ago were we not all raving about our squad and how deep we could dive into it with a full team of first teamers injured?


All teams in this league have wobbles throughout the season, unfortunately we have had a few. It shows that the teams around us haven't made ground and that they must be on slightly less devastating wobbles themselves.


I can't fault some of the arguments however, Mowbray continues to puzzle in his team selections and tactics, one up front for instance. We need to go back to basics and put our best players in the best positions.


Rhys Williams has been phenomenal for us... as a centre back. Stick him back there, Parnaby has done more than enough of a job at right back this season so get him back in there. The midfield also needs a look at, personally I think Reach and Carayol deserve a run, Leadbitter and another. Dyer hasn't shown me anything I couldn't do on a pitch yet.


I'm sure if we beat Leeds tomorrow all will be forgiven. Onwards and upwards. UTB

gt said:

Wiggy -


Im sorry but youve lost me there mate


My overall point is, and I dont think Ive called for anybodies head, but, for too long I believe fans in the North East have been too happy with a little bit of success (promotion or a Cup Run evert ten years) we think second best.


Well I for one from now on expect 100% effort from everyone at my club to bring all the success possible. No more cudda ,shudda ,might have,and if that means shaking up the place, so be it.


Having said all that I did believe a couple of impact signings would have given everyone a lift including the fans. And just to finish off, McEachran is our best midfielder and Moggas starting the head games with him now.


UTB

Barney said:

"Mentally, a lot of people still haven't broken from the Premier League."


Totally disagree, the ones who have not "broken from the Premier League" stopped going long ago to spend their weekends doing something they enjoy and then ring in to phone ins.


The dwindling numbers that attend regularly are well aware of the financial situation of the club and the fact that Gibson gives it CPR every month too keep it going.


We know we cannot afford to buy, or loan anyone without outgoings. It's why when we had a "fee agreed" for Danny Graham it was an utter bombshell with a bigger shockwave than a Chubby Brown fart.


What has changed is a team who, while not world beaters, were confident, unified and determined to grind out a result even when they shouldn't have (Wolves not so long ago anyone?), which has disseminated into that mess we saw on Saturday.


It's not Gibson telling the manager to play one up front at home to a bottom four team, not Gibson who cannot get a handle on an over-rated, sulking forward, not Gibson who chops and changes the team and formation several times. It's the manager, and whoever he is, when he is getting wrong he needs to be questioned about it. That's what he is there for.


I am sure something has changed behind the scenes, whether it be an unruly player, coach, or unpopular decision has been made, the dressing room - from the outside - looks like it has gone from a united, determined unit to a disjointed group of unhappy individuals who would rather be anywhere on match day than on a field in Red.


It needs to be sorted - and fast - and whatever or whoever the problem is needs to be removed. The only reason we are in the top six still is that no other team can put a run together.

Gutted!! said:

AV writes "The reality is the club gambled on staying up"


Yes they took a huge gamble in appointing Southgate. Surely gambling to stay up would've been paying a proven manager?


**AV writes: Appointing Southgate was two years earlier and he'd done OK for first two seasons. The gamble was when they were struggling in that January and they opted not to spend to strengthen. They thought there were at least three teams worst than them. And there were. But the run in was so timid and the team so mentally weak that it all went horribly wrong.


Chris Powlay (@BoroYouths) said:

I think Gibson needs to go, we need a new Chairman at the helm of the club. One of those rich people who speak English but with a foreign accent.


Then i feel the next thing that needs doing ischanging the strip colours, to say....black and white. And when fans complain about that I think the club should hold a meeting, say they are listening to the fans, but explain the financial burdens that will drag the club down if Black and White isnt accepted.


And then after all that change to black and white bcause supporters are just cash cows there to be milked, and if they moan a bit? meh we will replace them with non moaning types!


Next step get rid of this bloody academy, it costs a freaking fortune to run and it only brings through a player every season or so. It costs nearly as much to run it as it has brought in revenue. We dont need home grown players, we need flair players from sandy shores, like erm China, Krea, Japan and other Asian markets. For their ability of course, not for the financial benefits.


You win nothing with home grown players, ask Ferg...i mean ask Arsene...


Idiocy aside.


Before this summer the club had spent a whopping three bags of peanut m&m's and a signed copy of Ah-ha's Greatest Hits on Maxi Haas and Zemmama. This summer the chairman dug deep and allowed the pocket change from the right pocket to be spent on Friend and Carayol. The cloth has been cut, financial fair play on the horizon the chairman has done the right thing.


He didnt gamble AGAIN on red (head/Ginger head) he took stock, he realised big money had been paid out for Thomson, McManus, Bailey, tonto, Robson, add player playing in Scotland here, McDonald etc.


He realised the wages were in place that needed paying, so adding more weight to the listing ship wasnt what was needed. He shut up shop, he trimmed the fat and he hopes under a shoe string Mowbray can turn water into wine. But he does that knowing we will still have a club next season, that we have £ for £ one of the best academies in the land to suppliment Mowbrays bargin basement collection.


The best thingabout our chairman regardless of this current situation results wise, is we know its not Premier League or bust. Its Premier League or try again next season.

Forever Dormo said:

I haven't emigrated or fallen out of love with Boro - just a lot of work to do at the present.


I will try to keep this short. We are not on a "wobble" but a catastrophically bad run of form. No points yet in 2013. We are shipping goals at the back (seven in the last two games). We look brittle and lacking in confidence. At Ipswich there was a widely reported lack of commitment, bottle, shown on the pitch.


As I am sure I said in the last (Ipswich) thread, that commitment, effort and organisation should be a given. They cost little or nothing. I accept we can't afford top quality TALENT in our current financial situation, but lack of commitment?


Playing people out of position is inevitably going to attract comment if things go badly.


If we had an all-conquering midfield, players (fighters) like Bailey and Smallwood could hardly complain if they didn't see much game-time. But our midfield has stuttered, to put it mildly. I suspect players like Bailey, Smallwood, Reach, Main, and Carayol might be hoping to start in light of recent events.


Until Christmas, players like Leadbitter and Friend seemed a cut above the run of Championship players they were up against from week to week, and McEachran was regularly performing well. Since injury the first two, at least, have had some decidedly average performances. Rhys has seemed more like a Lada than a Rolls. I know right-back isn't his preferred position but his quality should enable him to be at least adequate there against Championship opposition.


Maybe Leadbitter, Friend and Rhys are not fully fit?


It is all so very perplexing that the wheels have very obviously come off.


Having said all the above, we are STILL in a play-off position (at the moment of typing). Clearly we have to start putting points onto the board or that position will also change. As people have suggested, it is as though all the play-off contenders have been trying their best to avoid going up! So, a few wins under our belt and almost anything becomes possible again. Admittedly there don't seem to be any signs that we might be about to turn it around, but we can still hope...


I do not subscribe to some of the more fanciful views that "the Board doesn't want the club to go up". Of course they do! It would be financial insanity voluntarily to cut oneself off from the enormous tranche of money that would follow on from promotion.


Even going up and coming straight back down again would give the club so much money over the four following years that it would be possible to keep players providing there were no silly new signings after promotion, and then have a realistic chance of mounting a "straight-back-up" challenge the following year.


If we don't go up soon, then it will become increasingly difficult to go up in the future as the clubs in the Championship will have difficulties competing with the "rich" relegated clubs each year.


People previously said the Board was happy with relegation from the Premier League for various spurious reasons. That view equates with the conspiracy theories that Elvis lives on the Moon in a crashed Lancaster bomber.


People have suggested that we should somehow get rid of Steve Gibson. Let's not be silly here. He is not God. He CAN be criticised. But there isn't a queue of billionaire Boro supporters waiting to invest in the club, and I don't think there is any evidence to suggest he doesn't, like the rest of us, want the best for the club. The difference is that most of us are not digging into our pockets for several hundreds of thousands of pounds each month to keep the club afloat, as he does.


I support Mogga remaining in charge. I guess he knows more than me why things are going wrong. I would hope he can turn it around, and soonish. Obviously if we went another five games without any points (that would be almost a quarter of the season without points and surely that couldn't happen...?) there would be mounting pressure on his job. But at this stage I can't think of anyone else I'd rather have in the manager's seat.


I haven't been happy for several weeks, but I am not yet preparing a noose. It would be good if the football was fun to watch but I'd be prepared to accept results. I'm good like that! But a good performance and result tomorrow against Leeds and suddenly the Sun will shine brighter and the sky will be a more pleasing shade of blue. I just hope, so much, that it does.

richard evans said:

AV -


While I’m thoroughly in agreement with everything you say to Boro Doug re Steve Gibson, I’m not sure we should yet be positioning ourselves emotionally as a second tier outfit.


I have supported the club since 1974 and in that time we have spent more time in the top flight than out. We’ve had six promotions and six relegations but have not really had any sustained period in the second flight.


We cannot compete with the top four Prem clubs but then neither can the likes of Everton, Newcastle, Villa or other teams with a larger fan base than ours.


Once the fans, and the area, start accepting and thinking of us as a Championship club (not team) then we’re in for a long spell out in the cold.


We do have players on our books who have cost some considerable money - Emnes, McManus, Bailey, Juke, McDonald are serious seven digit signings and in theory we should be winning every week with them - but the problem is that they’re neither very good nor committed to the cause.


Historically, we haven’t had a truly successful signing for some time and Mogga, many qualities aside, has not done well here. Viduka (and only periodically) and JFH were our last outstanding incoming players and Mogga can’t really point to anyone he has brought in who has made a great difference, Leadbitter and McEachran the pick of the bunch probably.


Our promotions since 1974 have largely been built on spirit and fight and a momentum that has built and solidified among team and fans. Big Jack signed just one fat Scotsman on a free to take us up while Bruce couldn’t even stretch to that in 86-87 and only really added a temporary Trevor Senior later in the ’88 campaign.


It changed with Lennie and also in 94-95 but, to my mind, John Hendrie was the key man that year with Mustoe and (the new) Pearson next.


The last promotion, in 1998, was bought it has to be said but that’s fine if you can afford it.


Of all these campaigns, the best feelings for the fans, without doubt, came from Bruce’s boys. I think we all thought we would never be in a position to achieve again and it came with local players and bit part players who played for each other and for the team and the captain and the manager. It was not done through expensive signings, or really, any signings at all save for Senior.


I don’t feel that wishing for money to spend on new players is the answer now either. It has to come from within and we have a darn fine Academy that produces a very good output most years.


Mogga saved us post Strachan but since then I don’t feel he has done much on the field though that should not mask his success in realigning the club off the park where he appears to have done very well indeed. So good for him there.


So we need to keep the faith and belief in ourselves as a top tier club. We will get back up, it’s just when.


It may also be that ultimately Mogga’s success and legacy will come through the behind the scenes overhaul and keeping everything on a solid footing in tempestuous times. He may or may not be the coach who can take us up but after 40 years, I for one, am more than happy to give him more time to show his mettle on the field.


Just never stop thinking big.

Richard said:

Werdermouth @ 11:14 on 11 Feb 2013 said:


Chris Harrison said: "We have to stop this "nice club" attitude & be ruthless in pursuit of success." - You mean like Forest? What does being ruthless actually mean?


Werdermouth, I suspect you may find out this evening! ;-)

uxter said:

I cant wait for the money bubble to burst either, preferably before we get promoted and get dragged into factoring it in our own plans!


I do think a few people need to get some perspective going, I think we are hitting above our weight at the moment, latest results apart, we had a good run and now we are having a bad one. If they had been more erratically spread we would be be pretty happy being in 6th, and only deux point off second, maybe its just gonna be one of those leagues, we wont know any answers until May so lets have a bit of faith eh?


I have on many occasions criticised the club for its off field professionalism, but I do believe the club is heading in the right direction, I can see the sense in it, you only have to look at other clubs or the clowns running the country to see what the alternative could be.


Will it be a disaster if we get promoted? or not? lets just deal with it one game at a time eh?

Chris Glynn said:

Chris Powlay at 11pm - "The best thing about our chairman regardless of this current situation results wise, is we know its not Premier League or bust. Its Premier League or try again next season. "


Well said. We almost lost Boro in '86 and no promise of short-term glory is worth the risk that we could lose Boro forever.

Stokesley White said:

Can't be bothered to read through all these comments. It's just good to know that all you daft Smoggies are ripping yourself apart again, crying because you lost to mighty Barnsley when you think you are Barcelona. It is just you slipping down to your natural station in life again. Get used to it


For those of you who want shot of Mr Punch, Mighty Leeds will help you tonight when we beat you again. Six on the bounce should see him off... although I'd rather he stayed and finished the job. Ha ha.


I'll be there tonight in the FULL away end with the Teesside Whites banner. I'll wave at you little club scruffs in the empty end.


M.O.T


**AV writes: Hello. I was getting worried at your absence. I thought you had been bought out and shifted offshore in a mysterious paper exercise.


lenmasterman said:

Chris Powlay -


Great post. We have to put week by week results into some longer term perspective. What's the betting that in three years time we are not in a far healthier position than QPR?

Geoff Young said:

I think really we have all to accept we will be in this division next year or I will do a Bernie Slaven and that wont be pretty!


The main thing now is will we make the play-offs and improve on last year. And who will we lose and buy in summer to try to ensure promotion next season. This will be Mowbrays crunch season and he will have to come out of the blocks flying.


Quite frankly I don't think any of the teams that go up this year will survive as they are all poor. And that includes Cardiff.

Andy R said:

AV, any idea how and when (or even if) we will be trying to get Gibson's monthly cash injections down to zero?


If we were £800k in the red per month before January, with Thommo leaving replaced by Dyer I guess we are now £740/750k out of pocket.


With Bailey, McManus and Arca out of contract (plus Bikey and Ledesma and the loan signings if we are contributing anything to their salaries) I still can't se us being any better than about £500k/month out of pocket next season and that is before any of the above are replaced or any young players are given new contracts with pay rises. My guess would be that Bikey and Ledesma would be offered extensions anyway (if they are indeed out of contract).


Will the remainder have to come from sales, or are we talking about a very long term return to zero?


What do the Financial Fair Play rules say about what a chairman can input above club income?

**AV writes: Financial Fair Play starts next season when external investment from individuals is limited to £8m. That gradually decreases over the next four seasons to £3m. That's the timescale.


If clubs bust the limit they face a transfer embargo and solidarity payments (TV money) will be withheld. If they bust the limit but get promoted they will be "fined" the excess from their PL money. That will be distributed amongst the rest of the Championship as a 'let's see what you could have won' consolation prize.


Although it will tie Boro's hands (GIbson's £12m imput this season is keeping the club afloat) they support FFP because it sits alongside their own strategy of reducing wages in a move towards sustainability. It will affect a lot of other clubs far more dramatically. Those who are bringing big (borrowed) money in from outside - Cardiff, Leicester, Forest, Hull, Brighton, Watford etc - are pouring two or three or more times as much in from 'investors' - and they face a massive problem.

Andy R said:

PS That was all presuming that we don't get promoted of course...

Smoggy In Exile said:

I will have to join the voice of those who can say that the "problem" for me is not that I expect us to be in the Premierleague and signing Neymar on 100K+ a week.


I will concede that there are a worrying number of people commenting above who seem to think that we are the perfect rich-man's plaything and that some previously dodgy foreign owner, no doubt through a myriad of BVI and Jersey holding companies, will come to our rescue and pump millions into the club. The fact that even one person thinks this is possible is alarming and worryingly disillusioned!


That aside, the "problem" for me is the same as the general consensus we seem to be heading towards - namely that Tony the Tinker seems to have tinkered past a point of common sense. I appreciate his theory that you assess the strengths of the opposition and attempt to counter them, this is sound theoretical tactical thinking, whether it be on a battlefield or a football pitch, but would it not be better if this was done within a framework that is at least familiar?


It has been mentioned before that Ferguson has said he tinkers the Man Utd team to match the opposition, and that this bears out Mogga's approach. Yes, he may do that, but that is within a system that the players understand. His rotation is more in terms of personnel than formation, and the personnel rotated are experts in the position they play in.


Mogga changes the formation, the tactics, the personnel and probably the half time oranges for every game. Even assuming that the players are above-intelligent rational thinkers this would require a massive amount of zealous commitment to the cause, and belief in the manager, not to at least have a nagging, questioning doubt in your mind that it doesn't make sense.


And if you've lost 2-3 in a row, by the time the next game comes along then you must be beginning to doubt the new formation, and then the next game those doubts grow larger...


The point is, we do have the same players who went 10 games unbeaten (well, without super Kevin Thomson of course). But, the best part of that run came when most of the currently under-performing ones were out injured, and hands were somewhat tied.


I don't know the answer, but I'm guessing it won't be 352 with Friend, Hines and Bailey at centre back and Rhys as a left wing back. Don't pretend you can say with 100% certainty that Mogga wouldn't try it.

simon in stockton said:

Some right on the nail comments by Brighton boro & borodoug.


Its good to see there are a few people still talking sense.


i also agree with the poster regarding AV's increasing shrill comments.
personally AV i find your rose tinted view is getting a bit much. although to be fair to you its in regard to the performances and not the behind the scenes info you provide to us.


I don't go to every match, but the last time I went I was expecting a bit more after reading your reports..What i saw was a load of rubbish.


But ulitimatly I am behing Mogga all the way. he is working with what he has, which is nowt! Go and ask Mourinho to do better with the same resources. So until people realise this fact there is no point in bleating on for Mogga & Gibson to make way.


Let's face reality, there is no money, no big tax dodge, no rich owner just itching to buy the club. Lets all pull together and get on with what we've got!


Rant over!!


UTB

Werdermouth said:

AV, the effect of what you said in your reply to Andy R about financial fair play rules will probably mean that it will be virtually impossible for a Championship club to have anything but an average team (where's the change I hear many of cry).


Any PL club or PL relegated club (on relatively massive parachute payments) will easily be able to trump any offer a Championship club could make for a player.


Maybe their parachute payments should be ring-fenced for expenditure on existing PL contracts only - otherwise where is the fair play? It only creates a two-tier league where the rest can only hope the rich relegated clubs implode.


Also, is the money needed to run an academy included in the external investor allowance - if so, will this signal the end of our academy when the limit is just £3m? Especially if 10,000 fans will only bring in around a further £4.5m - leaving it accounting for a very significant portion of our budget.


Sounds like Boro (or any other club with PL ambitions) have about 2-3years to achieve promotion otherwise it may become next to impossible to build a team capable of it.


**AV writes: I think in theory any relegated PL team should be able to trump any Championship now. The problem is the size of the wage bill they are carrying and how far the bank/owner/investor is prepared to go in risking that thyey don't have an instant return. Last's year's three don''t look likely.


But yes, a lot of clubs are seeing that they have a two year window to throw money at the problem, hence the blank cheques at Cardiff and Leicester. If either fail to go up this year they have serious problems. Brighton and Watford to a lesser extent. Hull and Blackburn too are carrying massive wage bills and will be getting a bit jumpy too.


Academy spending is exempt (and eleite status is subsidised to the tune of £750k a year too) and so it makes sense for Boro to put so much emphasis on it. It costs £2.5m a year to run but if it produces one first team player and one sale a year (Johnno, Bennett in last few) then it is a financially sound method of recruitment..

Ian Gill said:

I must admit I dont think the division is any weaker than the last few seasons.


Going back a few years the promoted teams would be in the bottom three and those that were relegated would be in the top six of the second tier.


Looking at teams promoted over the last three seasons and there is a fair spread up to West Brom omongst those teams.


If this division is so weak at least one if not all of the relegated teams should be in the top four or five places (just like Forest, Boro and the Mackems when Robbo took us up) especially considering their parachute payments.


Next season I would expect one of the teams to do reasonably well, one to have a decent season and the other to have a real struggle.


First of all three points tonight please.

Andy R said:

Thanks for your response, AV. Public service at it's finest again!


I've mixed feelings on the outcome for Boro, but am slightly heartened overall.


If we fail to gain promotion (and you'd have to say that that is becoming more likely) then clearly there will be nothing to invest next summer. Mogga will be picking up scraps from the football pound shop once again.


As an aside, however, we regularly worry that TM can't bring in good payers on his budget but you'd have to say that Bikey, Leadbitter, Friend and Carayol have been relative successes, all things considered.


The good news though, is that we are actually quite well placed to cope with FFP. Much more so, in fact, than several of our competitors of which a maximum of three can get promoted. I don't see us having a major problem in reducing debts from £800k a month to £670k, not with McManus, Bailey and Arca out of contract and Thomson already departed. Whatever you make of his tactics, you really do have to give credit to Mogga for that.


Still, despite the conspiracy theories, our best option is to get winning again, preferably tonight, and get ourselves promoted.


PS Smoogy In Exile - I hope Mogga does change the half-time oranges from game to game!

Geordie la Forge said:

I think there is something wrong with having unrealistic expectations if they damage the football club by poisoning the atmosphere by belittling what success we do have.


I vividly remember comments that winning the league cup and getting to a European final was "papering over the cracks".


For me the downside of SG's investment was the Boro crowd went from defiant unconditional support to a big club mentality of entitlement without going through the intervening stage of having actually won anything.


How we used to laugh when the home fans of fallen giants used to turn on their own players when things were going against them.


How it hurt when our own fans started behaving in exactly the same way.


If everyone can come to terms with the fact that each little success is hard won and to be celebrated, and each temporary advantage to our opponents is a personal affront, will we rekindle the white hot atmosphere that swept our heroes from the third division to the first in successive seasons.


I blame Sky, and the evil empires of Manchelsea City and Madelona. Not because I believe they are entirely responsible for all our woes but they are vampires sucking the lifeblood out of football.


The old enemy from West Yorkshire is a pimple on the backside of football history by comparison.


**AV writes: What he said^^^^^^^

uxter said:

When you factor in the FFP rules its hard not to feel a little bit smug, We should all really feel a bit smug, what we seem to be building is a sustainable club. When you look at the panic thats going on in other clubs, well actually as AV reports it, its more like the worst sort of gambling.


These clubs are toying with their very existence, the storm that will do for some clubs could take out a lot of collateral as well. I can see a lot more players, coaches and scouts out on their ears and very quickly.


You have to look at the Boro and think that possibly, for the first time in its history, the club is prepared for survival in a cauldron that will take out the weak, possibly from all divisions. If the PL ever gets its financial act together and works on a sustainable model (yes that is laughably naive on my part, but if not, that bursting bubble will make a few people deaf!) then we may well be in a good position for decades.


I am genuinely content that the future of the club is in good hands, maybe too many people think the only success is to be in the PL, regardless of whatever else your status says about you.


If this was your own life what would you prefer? Big House, car, holidays all on tick with a loan shark who without any warning can come around and take everything? Or the right size house, car and holidays that you can afford and that safeguards your family's safety and future, your kids future and their kids future,.

So what if you never had that weekend on a yacht in Monaco. You would only feel like a doyle!

Forever Dormo said:

How different does the world look now, then?

Geoff Young said:

Actually Uxter you talk sense there. I think the Championship is a very competitive division which makes for exciting games right to the end of the season. Compared to the Premiership which is down to being won by one of four clubs by December. It is all about money buying success.


But on the other hand the financial reward for the also rans are also massive. Maybe the whole league system needs a big shake up.

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