Lamb, Stew And A Transfer Not On The Menu
HANDS off Stewie! Spurs can get stuffed. When did they become Real Madrid, announcing publicly which players they intended to sign? Big club? It's 45 years since they won the title. One half decent season and they have become delusional.
And good on Lambie for weighing into Arsenal's arrogant little unsucccesful neighbours. Boro's faxmeister has blasted Martin Jol's market methodology, knocked back their 'derisory' offer for the England wing wizard and countered with a cheeky bid for right winger Aaron Lennon.
Keith Lamb and Steve Gibson are as cheesed off as everyone else on Planet Boro with Spurs' constant transfer window stalking of Stewie and have rightfully had a pop. The repeated media rumours have been fuelled by Jol in a bid to unsettle the player, to continue his quest to buy every midfielder in Europe and to disguise Spurs' insipid start to the season.
Lamb said: "Steve Gibson and I are appalled at the way Tottenham conduct their business. We are shocked and disappointed that they should talk publicly about their interest in one of our players."
Good. Clubs should not sit back and be shafted as "big clubs" cherry-pick their squads with a mixture of black propaganda, manipulating agents and big money bullying. It is a dispicable aspect of the game and it is allowed to flourish by spineless authorities scared to challenge the rich clubs who hold the purse strings.
Jol told the London press yesterday he had made an improved final £10m offer for Downing, a claim dismissed robustly by Boro chief executive Lamb.
"They have not made a £10 million offer for Stewart, and would be wasting their time if they did", he said. "In actual fact, they made a derisory offer. I won't even be responding to the bid because they knew in advance that it would be unacceptable."
"We can only consider that it was a mischievous attempt to unsettle Stewart and cause a problem between the player and his hometown club. If that is the case, it won't succeed, and we won't be giving their offer even the courtesy of a rejection."
And then Lambie launched a counter-punch. "We would be more interested in buying Aaron Lennon from Spurs than selling Stewart because we remain extremely ambitious to take this club forward," he said. "In fact, during the course of our talks with Spurs, we have already expressed our interest in signing Lennon."
Sterling stuff. A firm two fingers to Spurs attempt to lure away our young talent coupled with bait for a talented Northern youngster who may be feeling homesick in the capital. No doubt Spurs will go squealing to the press and the FA about the approach.
The clubs' assertive response has been very welcome, and not only to quash the latest batch of rumours. Keeping local hero Stewart Downing at Boro is hugely important, and not just because he has been the club's assist king for the past two seasons. Dowing is a cypher for the direction Steve Gibson's Boro is taking to success.
The days of Boro being a selling club are long gone. In fact, Boro can compete with most clubs outside of the G-14 on financial terms. Certainly they are under no pressure to cash in on Downing - and politically there is a burning desire to keep him .
The club have spent years developing their academy structure and have a grand vision in a conveyor belt of talent feeding into the first team. It is the future. For a middling club with a relatively smaller crowd, television appeal and commercial impact, developing local talent is the only realistic long term route to sustainable success.
In that respect a home grown player who has broken into the England side is of massive symbolic value. It proves not only that players can achieve their ambitions at the club - Downing has played in the World Cup and a UEFA Cup final while at Boro - but also that young talent can get their chance in the first team.
It is important to keep Dowing at the club until he reaches his potential and until Adam Johnson and Nathan Porritt are ready for first team action. And if, a few years down the line, he does leave Boro, it should be for really big money and to a really big club. Not bloody Spurs.