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Radio Silence For Boo Boys?

Posted by on July 16, 2007 12:58 PM | 

THE BOO Boys will feel they have been disenfranchised by Boro’s controversial decision to pull the plug on Century. The club insist it is a sensible commercial decision that benefits the club to end the Century coverage and hand the BBC a matchday monopoly and given that we have not seen the figures it would be churlish to question that.

But reception of that message among Ali and Bernie’s sizeable armchair audience has been patchy at best. There is a widespread feeling that the club have miscalculated in shelving an important force for promoting the brand, the wider Boro experience and for capturing unforgettable aural snapshots of the emotional turmoil that surrounds the team - and that there is plenty of room on the dial for two stations.

Worst still, right or wrong there is a strong belief among the grumpier element of the Boro fan base that the move is motivated by a desire to silence the troublesome dissident voices that Century often give airtime to.

To be fair you can see why some would think that the club would want to gag Bernie, and not just because his syntax-crunching, cliche-spattered Glaswegian growl. He has frequently been scathing about Boro on-air: he has slated individual players as lazy, woeful or not committed, especially the foreign lads, often seemingly in defiance of the reality of the match unfolding before him and to such an extent that some critics suspect he has an industrial axe grinding machine at home; he has blasted sterile, spineless performances and turgid tactics; savaged some of the club's commercial and ticketing policies and has so often refused to hand over the Man of the Match bottle of bubbly that you not be surprised if it was revealed he was trying to foist his teetotalism on others.

Moreover, club loyalists - listeners as well as those within the Riverside - have not always been happy with his studio persona while representing the Boro on the Three Legends. He has been accused of too readily agreeing with the moaning militant tendency, no matter how ill-informed they were, while being too eager to quiz and slap down the few optimistic callers. Being so closely identified with the boo-boy mentality has made Slaven fair game in a wider battle among the supporters. Over the past few years there have been some close to the knuckle threads attacking him as a Celtic-supporting, cynical, opportunist misery guts on the Fly Me To The Moon message board and the end of the Living Legend has been welcomed in some quarters - although just as many have been rallying to his defence as a Catchphrase style "say what you see" stream-of-true-fan-consciouness commentator who is only making vocal what thousands of people across Teesside are muttering. A kind of populist pessimism by proxy.

So it is to be expected that at times he was in conflict with the club, especially when the team were struggling and he made clear his concerns in a passionate way that struck a chord with his audience. We've all been there and had to take the flak for forceful opinions made public. In his Gazette column last week Bernie suggested that on occasion Boro have asked Century chiefs for the tapes of shows after particularly robust outbursts and it is clear that relations behind the scenes were not always smooth.

But it is a massive leap from there to suggest that the deal was not renewed simply to silence Bernie. It doesn't make sense. While some may feel that such a ‘half-empty’ perspective is unjustified and corrosive there can be no doubt that it reflects a significant - and vocal - section of Boro's fan base. Bernie was the Pied Piper of Doom, the dark fears of the Chickenrun psyche given voice - but Century also offered the other side of the Boro coin and in Ali Brownlee they also had a vocal counterpoint, the silver-lining seeking eternal optimist and ra-ra personified, an evangelist who was always on-message.

Brownlee has been the voice of Boro over three decades now since a debut in 1982 and there can be no question he is totally committed to the cause. His unquenchable enthusiasm has been a powerful antidote to the gloomy shroud of Slavenism, if only because a lifetime of Boro arguments has given him all the rhetorical tools to dismantle the boo-boy position.

Any retrospective official action to defuse Bernie was pointless because Ali always did it instantly and far more effectively than some remote rebuke could do. Brownlee could put down Bernie with panache and wit and with a practiced ease born of years of debating all matters Boro in the pubs and clubs of Teesside. He knew the perfect riposte before Bernie had even finished his sentence. It was a time honoured dialogue of the kind we all engage in almost daily and that was a key part of the duo's success. Far from being persuaded one way or the other by the pair, listeners could simply select the view from whichever end of the spectrum suited their prejudices and feel satisfied they were being represented.

So radio silence falling on the popular long-running Ali and Bernie commentary sit-com will create a massive cultural vacuum because the sparring that is the reality of Boro fandom will be suppressed - and it is the armchair negativists who will feel that most profoundly.

Instinctive pessimists - an important part of the Teesside demographic - will be denied a valuable outlet for their pent-up frustrations and their sincere if sometimes stinging criticism. Their matchday comrades can just boo the players with more vigour and glower in stony silence with even more fury but those at home with Simply Red on speed-dial who are looking to discharge some dark energy built up listening to the match will have no outlet. Instead they will step up their chuntering output down the pub - with a new added grievance - to anyone who will listen and it will deepen the bad-will factor that eats at the foundations of Boro's grand project.

But what of the BBC? Surely the entire shebang will transfer to the cock-a-hoop monopolists, the newly dubbed Radio Tees? I'm not so sure. The more journalistically balanced and analytical ethos of the polished BBC coverage can easily step up to the plate with its matchday commentary and colour. Paul Addison and Gary Gill are a confident and complimentary pairing who have a good knowledge of the game and excellent communication skills while both are local lads and Boro fans who are can sizzle with passion when the occasion demands. They have been overshadowed in the public eye by the showbiz razzamatazz, multi-media marketing machine and slick pre-written ad-libs of the Century pairing but will now be able to take centre-stage and show a wider audience what they can do.

But can the BBC fully reflect the complex and swiftly shifting extremes of Planet Boro's psychological landscape? Because that has been Century’s strong suit and what will be most missed. The BBC have staged successful fans’ forums and a lively Q&A with Gareth Southgate that proved a hit and so clearly have far more to offer beyond just the gantry but they will be restrained by the respectability, objectivity and balance enshrined by the BBC Charter and also by their obligations to listeners who are following Darlington, Hartlepool and other spots. A claim that they are "Boro biased and proud" will not sit comfortably with the Reithian ethos.

For instance, if they run a post-match phone-in if is unlikely it will nurture the dark end of the popular spectrum in a naked bid for ratings. Neither of the frontline pairing are natural shock jocks and even if they tried to pursue that course the powers that be are far more likely to restrain them with clearly defined editorial standards than a commercial station that would look at the ad-revenues as the main barometer of success, which could be good news for the pub banter populism of Jeff Winter's Saturday phone-in on Tfm .

The Beeb will need some nifty footwork now to ensure they get the maximum return from their exclusivity and offer something compelling and different so as not to be seen as Century-lite.

**In best reality show exit style, here's some of the lads best bits...

Comments (122)

dave wrote...

I'm looking forward to Radio Cleveland commentary on an evening match as it will help me go to sleep. I still haven't recovered from the dull commentary radio Cleveland did on some friendlies a couple of years ago.

Give it 2 seasons and we wil hear the cries of bring back Century. In the day and age of football commercialism, MFC commentary is best suited to commercial radio.

Radio Cleveland have a tough act to follow if they want to retain their listeners and keep them interested. Can Cleveland hype it up as good as century?

Posted by: dave  | July 16, 2007 2:57 PM

Paul Byrnes wrote...

I am what now is called a senior citizen, and can no longer go to support the 'Boro'. I have lost time from work, had fights with the wife and even left home albeit temporily. I have travelled to such places as Wrexham, Peterborough, Carlisle and even Roker Park. My only pleasure now is listening to Ali and Bernie during the season. Shame to all concerned.

A p---d off pensioner.

Posted by: Paul Byrnes  | July 16, 2007 3:10 PM

Ian Gill wrote...

It's commentary Vic, but not as we know it.

Whilst there is a danger those of us from afar will get a sanitised product, I am sure the new programme will do well.

Whether it can reflect some of the dark side is another matter. Some of our performances have been absolutely dreadful and deserve to be savaged. Let us hope the new team will have some teeth.

Posted by: Ian Gill  | July 16, 2007 3:28 PM

Harry Basset wrote...

After watching an all too frequent drab display, often combined with defeat by a "Lower" team, tuning to the Century phone in helped to alleviate the disappointment on my journey home across the moors.

Century gave a safety valve to many correspondents who felt they were being ripped off by Boro. I listen to Radio Cleveland a lot during my working day as is, by a quirk of physics, the only station I can pick up.

I do believe that this exclusive deal is too cosy and we will get a constant barrage of unchallenged Boro propaganda, a world were MFC is perfect.

Posted by: Harry Basset  | July 16, 2007 3:38 PM

D.B. wrote...

I think your description of Jeff Winter's phone-in as "pub banter populism" applies equally to Century Radio's Boro coverage as a whole.

You're right to draw a distinction between the shrill, hysterical, polarised nature of Century/TFM's Boro coverage and the more refined public service ethos of that offered by the BBC. If I want to hear pub debates, er, I'll go down the pub. Personally I'd rather be informed by the radio commentary than entertained.

Having said that, it's good to have a nice mixture and getting the balance right is important. Century could at times be brilliantly entertaining, but was just plain irritating most of the time. Listening to Brownlee and Slaven shrieking their opinions and deliberately going to extremes was like being jabbed in the face repeatedly. End of an era? End of an ear-ache more like.

The only thing I'll miss about Century is the familiarity of Brownlee, who is something of a Boro institution. I'd love to see the old Radio Cleveland team back in the commentary box: Ali Brownlee and Gordon Cox - calm, articulate, informative, subtly biased, but never hampered by the commercial imperative to be controversial just for the sake of it.

Posted by: D.B.  | July 16, 2007 4:34 PM

Coggins wrote...

Good to see the back of boring Bernie anyway

Posted by: Coggins  | July 16, 2007 6:11 PM

tonyblack wrote...

I've long, long been a critic of Mr Slavens.

All too quick to praise the " home grown lads " and all too quick to have a go at everyone else. His endless love affair with Downing was especiallly off putting to me.

However, I do think that the club have gotten it very wrong AGAIN here because even when I was massively teed off with how badly we performed all too often under Mccalren, I would always tune in to hear Bernie and Ali.

Bernie Slaven has many faults, but just like with Tony Benn, Mo Mowlem, Anne Widdecombe, Clair Short and the like in the world of politics, he is listened to because he calls it as he sees it, even if everyone else disagrees with him, and I have to say that he often calls it right.

Mcclaren, even though he won the Carling Cup and took us to a dream European Final, played some of the worst and most negative football I have ever seen here and I just couldn't wait to see the back of him.

His tactics were all too often far, far too negative against clubs that we should have eaten alive and his way of talking into after games and at press conferences showed him up as someone totally void of expressing himself and of talking with any real ability about his tactics.

Ali, on the other hand, balanced things up and although Bernie said many a true word, Ali was always on hand to keep the spirit and hope alive until the final whistle.

So even though it pains me to say it, I do think that the loss of this match day commentary is a real, real shame.

Who will ever forget the brilliance of the commentary for the legendary Maccarone goal? I really don't think that the local BBC can compete with this. So why not have both?

For me, this is yet another bad, bad, BAD move by the club as it is brings yet more fan alianation, of which I am one.

I haven't been going regularly for a long time now and it really does pain me to say it as you always get abused for not being a proper fan, or just a fair weather fan, of which I am not.

I just simply refuse to pay to see people play the game that I love and would love to have played professionally had I been any damn good, turn up and deliver so little heart on such a regular basis.

This is why I love the Macarone's of this world. Fans rightly state that he didn't deliver here, as he didn't, but at the end of the day he was a trier and he gave 110% all day long and this is what I want to see from players and staff before I evercome back.

I want to see us believe we can go out and win every game and I want to see us having a real go at the teams that we should be beating.


Posted by: tonyblack  | July 16, 2007 6:21 PM

Nigel wrote...

AV I posted yesterday, commenting on Boro's new shirt as 'revealed' on the MFC website, has it been erased?

TB I can't believe it you managed to mention Maccarone twice in your post!!

Living in London I'm afraid the local Boro radio coverage has passed me by. I do know that Bernie is highly entertaining and isn't to be taken too seriously.

**AV writes: I've looked back at what you posted yesterday and can't se any reference to the shirt. Nothing was edited. Are you sure you haven't been playing away on a rival board?

Posted by: Nigel  | July 17, 2007 8:48 AM

John Powls wrote...

Just had a look at the new shirts (minus sponsor logo).

No sign of any design input, anything Boro distinctive (barring that they're red) and generally uninspiring - so a great match for the new badge. As Ian has said before it's Scouser-lite or more Scouser-feeble.

Can't help thinking that we're looking at the cheapest tender or the 'kit that Teesside can afford' - escept the prices will still go up in the club shops.

**AV writes: The new kit/badge combo looks like Wales. It could swing it when we bid for John Hartson.

Posted by: John Powls  | July 17, 2007 9:34 AM

JK wrote...

addison and gill's dull tones are far too boring to listen to the away games, but maybe it will get a few back to the ground for home games!

Just another example of the club not bothering to consult the fans views,on top of changing the badge, and the shirt. Its the pathetic PR we are all sick of but sadly getting use to!

Its not as if the fans are hard to get a hold of, they have addresses of all season ticket holders (probably past and present) as well as the ability to contact the twelth man and the fan sites like smogchat, fmttm & come on boro. Why not use us? Giving the fans what they want will always be a better commercial decision than not!

Posted by: JK  | July 17, 2007 10:05 AM

B Robinson wrote...

After 10 years as a season ticket holder I have finaly had enough of spending good money to see 2 or 3 good performances a year so I have not renewed.

I thought I'll listen to the comentary on Century, at least when you listen to Ali he can make it sound exiting, but as for BBC radio cleveland forget it I'd end up slashing my wrists.

Posted by: B Robinson  | July 17, 2007 11:50 AM

Captain K wrote...

""For me, this is yet another bad, bad, BAD move by the club as it is brings yet more fan alianation, of which I am one.""

Totally agree with this point i am starting to think maybe gibson etc are losing the plot somewhat, the badge, the removal of the white band, installing a complete rookie as manager, refusal to reduce season ticket prices as other boro sized clubs have etc.

I am usually upbeat and optimistc about Middlesbrough but just recently i just get negative vibes.

Posted by: Captain K  | July 17, 2007 12:35 PM

Nige wrote...

It's a small time decision by MFC in my opinion.

It seems clear to me that the decision to 'silence' the dissenters on Century was certainly not made in the best interests of the fans, but that's nothing new with MFC in recent years!

Good luck to the BBC, but it's an own goal for MFC who once again show how the club has lost touch with it's supporters, young and old!

Posted by: Nige  | July 17, 2007 12:39 PM

Smoggy Norm wrote...

Couldnt agree with you more about the comments you made about Slaven. In my opinion he has always slagged off certain players and officials at Boro. Why should we have to put up with it? Hes not and never will be a Boro legend! Glad to see the back of him! I do like Alister though.

Posted by: Smoggy Norm  | July 17, 2007 1:09 PM

Radio Ga Ga wrote...

"The club insist it is a sensible commercial decision that benefits the club to end the Century coverage and hand the BBC a matchday monopoly and given that we have not seen the figures it would be churlish to question that."

The club can insist till the cows come home, but the plug puller/s have soured a relationship in a manner of deep mistrust inside a cartel spin.

What is next on their nicety list? Remove the season ticket off anyone who phones in to a radio show and wishes to release the passions inside their heart, because they so openly love the club?

Or perhaps ban every reporter who dares to print a few home truths?

Century Radio was such an important part of match days for thousands of loyal fans. Therefore, perhaps our feedback should have been heard on the issue, because our ears are the gamble.

Goodness knows how Alistair Brownlee took the news, because his voice echoes between the two statues which so proudly front our club.

I would imagine Radio Cleveland will be handed a script prior to each game.

Hopefully, in hindsight a happy medium can be introduced where Century Radio can somehow still play a role in taking the club forward.

Criticism IS Football, because if a team win 5 -0 their manager will tell the whole Nation on “Match of The Day?, he was very disappointed his players didn’t score double figures.

Point/s taken.

Posted by: Radio Ga Ga  | July 17, 2007 2:59 PM

dave wrote...

So what will mr Brownlee do now? Pay like the rest of us?

Over 20 years of getting paid to watch football is now over for him. Maybe now he will understand how a lot of fans feel about football and boro in general.

It used to annoy the hell out of me when its sounded like we were about to score and all we were doing was crossing the halfway line

Posted by: dave  | July 17, 2007 3:06 PM

Nigel wrote...

AV - I could have sworn I posted yesterday regarding the kit! I'm clearly loosing the plot and need a holiday! I'm off to France for two weeks on Friday, I might do a bit of scouting while I'm there and see if I can track down anyone for the right wing.

I'm confident that upon my return I will find scenes of celebration and jubilation at the news of two spectacular Boro signings at right back and right wing and that at last the town has the team that it deserves.

I'm also certain that Steve Gibson and Keith Lamb will announce at the official shirt unveiling that they intend to set up a fans forum where they can hear the views of the 'grass roots' supporters.

I'm off to lie down in a dark room now, if this post doesn't appear then I really have gone potty!

Posted by: Nigel  | July 17, 2007 4:11 PM

Simon Conway Morris wrote...

Are the club trying their hardest to alienate and anoy the fans? They are doing a splendid job of it.

Posted by: Simon Conway Morris  | July 17, 2007 4:54 PM

Simon Conway Morris wrote...

oh and p.s. isn't Paul Addison an Everton fan?

Posted by: Simon Conway Morris  | July 17, 2007 4:56 PM

derek wrench wrote...

I am a season ticket holder, and I am very disappointed that Bernie & Ali will not be covering the away matches this season. I thought they did a first class job.

Yes Bernie did call some of our players but I must say I thought his criticism most of the time was justified, I would rather hear justified criticism of the players than read your articles slagging the fans off all the time

Posted by: derek wrench  | July 17, 2007 5:58 PM

Kenny wrote...

Bernie' it looks like you will be returning to your old Job at Glasgow city council.

Posted by: Kenny  | July 17, 2007 6:45 PM

Redcar Red wrote...

Tesco, Asda Morrisons and Sainbury's etc all sell Corn Flakes and have tried to hype their own brand of Corn Flakes above all else over the decades as they can make better margins.

Boro are not unlike a supermarket, they are trying to push their own brand and control the market and enjoy good margins. Unfortunately the supermarkets have all learned that while there is a place for their own brands the punters want Kellogs.

Yes thats right, the original is always the best. You can change the packaging (remove the band), you can change the labelling (change the badge), you can try and control the marketing in the aisles (dump Century) you can even claim to be the best value for money or to be offering something sensational but the punters always know the real deal. Just ask Tesco, Asda, Morrisons and Sainsburys Mr Gibson!

Another thing Messr's Tesco, Asda, Morrisons and Sainsburys have learnt is that the customer is king and is always right, just ask Wimpy, Co-op, C&A, Ratners and Littlewoods to name but a few. Give them what they want and keep the tills ringing!

Posted by: Redcar Red  | July 17, 2007 8:40 PM

geoff wrote...

Loosing ali-parmo and his rose tinted glass,s is like loosing an arm. Ok he only said what he though he saw in his mind but it added to the fun of it.

As for listening to Radio Tees well that is too be seen, already heard how unlike ali they are. Ali could even make last seasons bore draw at the toon sound good. Next season we will have to tune in and give them a chance.

Saw the new shirt on Saturday sorry its not for me, any idea what the away one will look like or what colour.

**AV writes: The away kit is white with gold trim.

Posted by: geoff  | July 17, 2007 9:02 PM

steve wrote...

I enjoyed listening to Century. I've never heard the commentary on Cleveland so I can't compare it. Any chance of a link to their commentaries on the two come backs?

**AV writes: There was one floating about at the time and very colourful it was too. I'll see if I can find it.

No doubt enterprising computer types will make the BBC commentary available via the net for our overseas listeners.

Posted by: steve  | July 17, 2007 9:06 PM

John Powls wrote...

Well, a better result last night.

We need to get Aliadiere and Tuncay a goal or 2 each soon so that they don't get a Simba complex!

Posted by: John Powls  | July 18, 2007 8:53 AM

Richard Lane wrote...

Cannot believe Century has been blown out, the best laugh on radio. Ali's totally biased Boro (til I die) comments followed by the rancid comments from Bernie, a total opposite, made the show superb listening.

I will not listen to the BBC which is boring, ineffectual and like listening to Womans hour. Think before you leap my Boro or you will start to lose all your support even among the till I dies.

Posted by: Richard Lane  | July 18, 2007 10:37 AM

Never Happy wrote...

JP - At least GS admitted that the team needs to be fitter.

If the training camp in Austria has helped to achieve this then it will have been worthwhile.

If Gook, Tuncay and Aliadiere fail to score against any of Burnley, Darlo, Hibs and Carlisle in the upcoming friendlies, then it will be time to worry.

Then again we might have our 'spectacular signing(s)' in by then and no doubt this will cheer everyone up.

Posted by: Never Happy  | July 18, 2007 10:41 AM

Ian Gill wrote...


The morning after the Steaua comeback Radio One had a battle of the commentaries to judge which was best out of Century and Radio Cleveland.

National radio came out in favour of the BBC, they thought it was more natural and that Ali had 'forced' the commentary.

Personally I have found the BBC to be a little bland though competent but I have only heard the odd commentary. I did like the play between Ali and Bernie, they provided balance between half full and half empty.

What we will miss is the sheer brutality of some of Bernie's comments telling it as it really is and Ali's rose tinted comments. They sounded like two mates watching the football together.

Posted by: Ian Gill  | July 18, 2007 11:52 AM

alf wrote...

"JP - At least GS admitted that the team needs to be fitter. "

we get told every season its the fittest the squad has been.

Posted by: alf  | July 18, 2007 12:08 PM

PM wrote...

Get Malcolm "expletive" Allison back as commentator. That'll make people forget about Ally and Bernie.

Posted by: PM  | July 18, 2007 12:50 PM

Never Happy wrote...

I have just read Eric Paylor’s article, below is an extract from it.

‘The TV money is more or less swallowed up by the wage bill, while the likely gate money of around £8m after tax will be used for administrative costs.
It means that Southgate is still reliant on chairman Steve Gibson providing funds for new signings through the club’s parent company, Bulkhaul.’

Next season the bottom club in the PL is set to receive £30 million, surely Boro’s wage bill is not this high.

If the top 11 players at the club were earning 40K a week, which I am sure they are not, this would come to just short of £23 million.

Has Eric got access to the exact amount that the players earn or is he just accepting the clubs line?

When you see clubs like Pompey, Fulham and Wigan spending more than Boro, it is easy to see why many fans think we will struggle in the PL next season.

Posted by: Never Happy  | July 18, 2007 2:42 PM

Very Happy wrote...

Never Happy

It is beginning to look as if Steve Gibson is not the overriding voice at the club these days. His attention to detail and the way issues were always dealt with have done a u-turn.

He would never hide from the fact of trying to reason a decision, be it minor or major once.The introduction of these cloak and dagger tactics are not acceptable.

GS has now said, “He will lose no sleep if the cheque book remains in the safe?. He won’t get any sleep if he doesn’t wake up his senses to the right side of midfield.

Who on earth is going to buy a season ticket knowing full well it’s the same old song? The shirt sponsors don’t wear football boots so the “Watch this Space? warning is a Joke well wasted.

Someone had better wake up their ideas & get real & get positive very quickly.

Posted by: Very Happy  | July 18, 2007 2:59 PM

Never Happy wrote...

VH - I just hope that GS is keeping his cards close to his chest and knows which RB and RW he is going to sign.

I still harbour hopes of Tony McMahon fulfilling his potential and becoming an England class RB however due to his injury problems that will not be next season and so signing an RB is as much a priority as signing a RW.

I am not a fan of Luke Young but he is a solid enough PL RB and should do a good job if he is signed up.

I am with JP and think that Boro should go for Appiah, and he could be classed as a 'spectacular signing'.

If GS sticks with what he has got, I wonder what SG will have to say ref: 'spectacular signings'

Probably not a lot.

Posted by: Never Happy  | July 18, 2007 3:29 PM

Nigel wrote...

Eric appears appears mis-informed. I do not believe that SG uses Bulkhaul profits to fund Boro transfers, that would be madness on his part and he is no fool.

AV's article midway through the season showed Boro's income was slightly better than average for the prem. Suggesting we can compete with most teams in the transfer market.

To suggest that the SKY money (£30m-£40m, depending where we finish) plus £10m for overseas TV rights plus gate money of £8m plus sponsorship £1m? plus merchandising, leaves us short is quite incredible.

That gives the club an income of maybe £50m if we finish bottom. That covers the wage bill by a country mile and leaves plenty for transfers.

If we assume we finish tenth then you can add another £10m on. If Yak is sold thats another £10m to invest.
There is no way Boro are short of money for transfers and no way they need a sub from Mr. Gibsons current account. I have to say the article doesn't impress.

Posted by: Nigel  | July 18, 2007 3:41 PM

Ian Gill wrote...


I believe the big money will start coming through this season but it isnt here yet.

On the subject of the right side of our team it looks like we may have to compromise. It is the attacking options on the right that have made us so lopsided, if we improve that then we can at least play a defensive right back.

The current scenario (based on the fact Morrison is not flavour of the month) is that we are playing defensive players at right back and no one in front of him to give impetus, eg Boat, Cat etc.

Hopefully we can sort both positions out and maybe we might see a spectacular signing or two. I do not intend to hold my breath waiting.

Posted by: Ian Gill  | July 18, 2007 4:03 PM

Very Happy wrote...

Eric Paylor’s feature missed this out.

What did our run to the UEFA - CUP - FINAL bring in alone?

We are an established Premiership club, not a daydream from the Conference.

Our financial loss is solely down to club’s with a lot less money than us, showing us the business end of the market, via the pitch.

What do points make? ££££££££££

Fax that across Eric please and see its response.

**AV writes: Because of almost negligible TV income until the final and very little commercial activity specifically designed to cash in, the club made very little little from the UEFA Cup run, less than £2m including prize money.

Posted by: Very Happy  | July 18, 2007 5:44 PM

boropete wrote...

re: century losing the right to broadcast the commentary for the middlesbrough football club matches.

Have you ever listened to century online, sometimes there have been occasions when a newcastle match has received preference to a Middlesbrough match or music has been played instead of the match.

Whereas with the BBC at least we know that we stand a much better chance of achieving a wider audience as the stations are broadcast worldwide.

I think it is a real shame we will be losing Bernie and Alistair as they are fantastic broadcasters however as I have already stated I feel that this can only be a positive one for the club and its reputation for the future.

Posted by: boropete  | July 18, 2007 6:08 PM

Mick wrote...

Another typical action by the MFC autocracy. Do the club actually give a toss about what the fans want?

First we have the new club badge, which was foisted upon us without any consultation with the fans. As soon as it was announced (and unveiled), it was in circulation. I know this to be true, as I know someone who works for the club who was given a blazer with the new badge on it within days of the new badge being announced. Do the club give a toss what the fans want (or at least think?).

My other half is Graphic Designer and she said that the badge is an "amateurish" effort, totally devoid of imagination. Do the club care? Well they should, since the badge is the most important symbol a club has. It is its foremost promotional tool!

As for the club's football strips, dear me! Year on year, we have the same kit maker who perennially cannot make the quantity of shirts required and/or they are poor quality.

Errea seem to make kits, Boro excepted, for small clubs and cannot cope with the demand and expectations of MFC. Why do we persevere with them? We could easily get another kit maker in such as Nike, Umbro or my personal favourite, Adidas.

We could improve our distribution of kits far more effectively with a kit maker such as those I mention above, as they could quite easily meet demand and more. But, it seems that the club want to hold everything within their control, i.e. they will only allow shirts to be sold in club shops or over the internet and not by third parties.

The latest addition to club's portfolio of arrogant deeds is the removal of broadcasting rights to Century. There is definitely room for both Century and BBC. Why didn't the club look to the fans to decide what to do? What do the fans really want? I think we know the answer to that one!

I think that the fans' suspicions that MFC are trying to silence the fans by stopping Century's broadcasting rights is not unfounded. After all, they make decisions without caring what the fans think or want, so they don't want the fans to have the opportunity to air their views, disobediently complaining about the club or their players.

That is not allowed! We fans only pay for shirts, other merchandise, match attendance and other money that contributes to the clubs' upkeep. What right do we have to complain!

This club is run like a totalitarian dictatorship. I wonder if our government is taking inspiration MFC. After all, very soon we will have no rights in this country, just like we have none where MFC is concerned.

Posted by: Mick  | July 18, 2007 7:04 PM

Redcar Red wrote...

I'm really struggling to grasp what the club are trying to achieve with this new dictatorship style of customer service. Seems to me it all started back when TLF was unceremoniuosly shown the door and it was inferred at the time that it was all MaClarens doing.

Since then there appears to have been a trench warfare mentality within the boardroom that has gradually become deeper and more desperate.

It's possible to adopt a hard nosed management style in business with your employees, indeed it may even prove succesful under certain circumstances but MFC does not employ its supporters; we are free to think, act, express views and vote with our feet.

Its a tragic shame that Steve Gibson is apparently taking counsel from very ill-judged and mis-informed advisors and as a consequence damaging his image, popularity and reputation in the process. In business it takes years to build up an enviable reputation and mere minutes to destroy it (ironically just ask the BBC right now).

Posted by: Redcar Red  | July 18, 2007 9:58 PM

Ian Gill wrote...


I once made similar views on the message board and was called an idiot by one poster. There again I likened MFC to the KGB with its attempt at control of the media under the previous regime. There were still foam hands in plenty at that point to disagree.

To be fair, it is all a bit clever for MFC. They appear to blunder along from misinformation to mismanagement. To accuse them of a concerted and organised campaign is too much of a compliment.

Sadly, John Powls may read this and I have promised not to wind him up.

Posted by: Ian Gill  | July 18, 2007 10:22 PM

Tokyo Chris wrote...

As a long-term Middlesbrough fan (35 years) and Middlesbrough exile (20 years in Japan), the Century commentary over the Internet was a lifeline for me.

Having spent my early years in Japan trying to listen to live games (rarely Boro) on the BBC World Service via a radio connected to 20 or 30 metres of wire strung from my apartment balcony, live broadcasts of every Boro match over the Internet from Century's Web site were a God-send.

I subscribed to Boro World for a couple of seasons but the coverage was amateurish to say the least and the streaming quality was appalling. On one occasion I had to listen to first-half commentary of a Newcastle game! Many times the coverage stopped almost as soon as the game had finished... no post-match phone-in coverage.

Then I discovered the Century web site was broadcasting the game, pre-match interviews and fan call-in for free.

Too good to be true? Of course it was. Last season Century stopped broadcasting over the Net - the excuse given was that the company running Boro's official web site had exclusive Internet broadcast rights to live Boro commentaries.

Now the coverage has moved to the BBC I have no chance of listening to it. If I try I will get a polite message informing me that "due to contractual obligations the BBC is not allowed to broadcast Premiership games to non-UK residents." So now, if any ex-pat wants to listen they have to pay.

I can only assume that the club are so desperate for cash that they need all ex-pat fans to pay for match day commentary. And how much money would these fans generate for the club? We're not a Man Utd, Liverpool, Arsenal or Chelsea. Worldwide Boro may have, what, 5,000, 10,000, 15,000 fans? Hardly a cash cow.

At 25 quid for a year's subscription to Boro World commentary that would amount to between 125,000 - 375,000 quid. Big money?

Ah, but what about all the Turkish and Korean fans I hear you say. Well you can be pretty sure they're giving all their money to Sky to see Boro games on the box with local commentaries. So this latest decision by the club is going to rile a lot of ex-pat fans.

Can't the club see that the money they will make is not worth the bad feeling this decision will cause among the ex-pat Boro community? If the club want to stay a small town in Europe they're certainly going the right way about it!

**AV writes: I am not sure the internet issue is driven entirely by the club. The Premier League collectively are getting tough on web content as a prelude to making live video streaming their next big cash-cow. Hence Century and other similar local websites were taken down for the duration last season.

Soon you will be able to find the match footgae on the net, theoretically as PPV but as we know there are always the enterprising buccaneers of cyberspace who will make them available elsewhere for free.

I am sure the BBC commentary WILL be available for you next season so long as you look hard enough.

Posted by: Tokyo Chris  | July 19, 2007 3:12 AM

John Powls wrote...


And there I was trying to keep calm!!!!!

In a week where we're hearing a lot about 'trust' or, more accurately, the lack of it in dealings between branches of the entertainment industry and the public, it's ironic to watch the same contunuing to happen - and get worse at Boro.

To misquote a famous phrase, there are lies, damned lies and then there's what comes from the higher echelons of the club.

And when someone at a senior level talks about 'only being a steward, holding the club in trust for the people of the town who really own it' you know you're in trouble.

Only one saving grace - but it doesn't help in other areas of our business (transfers, shirt sponsors, ticketing, commercial, PR etc etc) is that you have to be really competent to mount a decent conspiracy!

Posted by: John Powls  | July 19, 2007 8:31 AM

harry Basset wrote...

A conspiracy theory, BBC Radio Cleveland is about to change its name to Tees as well as become the sole propaganda arm of Boro. MFC has to the best of my knowledge not yet got a shirt sponsor, will we see the new season start with BBC Radio Tees on the shirts?

**AV writes: I'm not sure the BBC Charter, or indeed non-Boro supporting licence-fee payers would allow that.

Posted by: harry Basset  | July 19, 2007 9:47 AM

Very Happy wrote...


All the way to Eindhoven for 2 million quid seems beyond belief but your facts, bring me back round in a circle to what this blog is all about.

The club could have made more by marketing a specially designed Alistair Brownlee parmo and flogging them on eBay at a Tenner each. To late now though, because it’s all gone a bit stale on the home front.

It is totally unfair to be critical of any of our local radio stations, because each brings a lot into the lives of so many and they have a league of listeners to win over.

However, we all know why the axe fell and to cease such a long standing relationship so callously shows a side of the club which is not welcome.

Both parties have been pushing so hard in the same direction for so long. Therefore, surely a few words behind closed doors could have strengthened tomorrow, not blunted it.

The beautiful game has been paralysed by back stabbers, greed merchants and a few millionaires’ who use up more energy walking the dog.

Throw in the odd 50 million touts who get vast amounts of Cup Final tickets every season at the fans expense then Tele football is the game.

Why should any fan buy a season ticket that kicks you right in the teeth on the big occasions?

I wish Radio Cleveland good luck, although to be fair I am not into their air waves one bit.

Finally, I’ve heard a whisper that Roy Chubby Brown is going to be their touchline reporter, so another statement could be imminent.

Can we keep that private to your Blog please?

**AV writes: So, just you, me and 15,000 readers then?

Posted by: Very Happy  | July 19, 2007 10:04 AM

Never Happy wrote...

AV - Will Eric reply to our questions. If not, the article ranks alongside those that are printed in the likes of the Sun, you know the cut and paste type with no name attached.

Ian , JP - Rumour has it that the club have signed Lord Haw Haw to assist with the BBC radio bulletins.

**AV writes: As you know, Eric has "sources close to the club" and is very reliably informed on these matters.

Posted by: Never Happy  | July 19, 2007 10:16 AM

John Powls wrote...


I note an interesting, emerging trend towards editing/ moderating/ suppressing (choose your version) on my posts to the blog recently.

2 with text removed - one where I named names who were perfectly obvious to identify from the text left in; one where I accurately quoted (in the public domain and the quotees own auto-biography) a perfectly innoccuous similitic phrase.

1 post never appeared at all.


**AV writes: John, the only changes I have ever made to either your submissions or anyone else's on here have been on legal grounds and subjects being perfectly obviously identifiable in the text is one of the problems.

I have no problem in discussing even the most controversial subjects but I am not willing to carry statements that could land me and the Gazette in court.

You must remember this blog is very closely watched in certain quarters and not everyone is as liberal as I am in interpreting what is "fair comment", especially when it covers questions of commercial activity where we have almost no chance of producing compelling evidence or on questions of individuals' professional competency where it is easy to stray into defamation.

I can't remember ever removing a post completely. Why would I? I want to promote a wide ranging debate and you are one of the most interesting and informed contributors and you know we agree on very many issues.

But I am bound by publishing law and my first duty is to keep the site clean, crisp, lively and legal.

Posted by: John Powls  | July 19, 2007 10:19 AM

Nigel wrote...

Ian , I take your point on the TV money not being 'in the bank' yet, but a lot of transfers take this into account by paying some now and the rest later, as it were.

Also clubs can spend borrowed money in the certain knowledge they will be getting income in the near future. This is clearly what a lot of clubs are doing.

My frustration is the 'spin' put out by the club (presumably) that they are relying on Bulkhaul/SG for money, I strongly believe that to be simply not the case.

Posted by: Nigel  | July 19, 2007 10:25 AM

Lee wrote...

Why doesn't Eric Paylor ever challenge or question decisions made by the club? When decisions like this are made The Evening Gazette should have a responsibility to question the motives of the club. Does Eric only manage to keep his contacts by always saying exactly what the club want him to say? I think The Gazette has an obligation to the fans and not the club because we buy the papers. I think Eric should stop sucking up or move on.

**AV writes: The Gazette have a lot of overlapping responsibilities and a lot of different methods of meeting them. Part of the job is questioning and analysis, part of it is relaying information and statements from the club and part of it is leading and shaping the news agenda

To get the package right requires a wide range of skills and approaches and a delicate diplomatic balancing act to maintain relations as the fortunes of the club ona nd off the pitch change. Generally I think we get it right.

Posted by: Lee  | July 19, 2007 11:34 AM

Never Happy wrote...

Nigel - I think you are right in what you have posted.

Even if Boro finishe bottom of the PL next season they will receive £30m. Boro are still paying Pompey for Yakubu, so if they sign a player now for £8m the payment will probably be stretched over 4 years.

If Boro continue to finish where they have over the last few seasons potentially they will earn £140m in PL payments.

Other teams are buying on the strength of these payments, if Boro don't then I fear we may be on the slippery slope to the Championship.

**AV writes: But you are starting your calculations from now, when the finaces have shifted in favour of clubs like Boro. What about the decade where the wage bill was still £25m but TV income was just £17m? What about the transfer deficit left by a legacy of say Maccarone (£8m fee, £8m wages and no return) and many more.

The club have a significant deficit in recent years and it makes more sense to tackle that and address the imbalance in the transfer policy, curb the rash spending and start investing in players who could turn a profit or at least pay for themselves.

I for one don't really want to see the club borrowing heavily against future income and wasting the opportunity the new cash offers for a change in direction.

Posted by: Never Happy  | July 19, 2007 11:35 AM

Joff wrote...

Gutted, they were the best by far. I won't be tuning in to the radio Cleveland commentary. 1st it was the badge, now it’s Bernie and Ali, Gibson is slowly trying to take the ‘Boro Brand’ away from the fans. Supporting The Boro is getting more boring by the minute.

Posted by: Joff  | July 19, 2007 11:52 AM

Never Happy wrote...

AV - Fair enough comment, however you me and the club cat know that there will be no progress next season if a RB and RW are not signed.

I hope GS is bluffing when he says he is happy with what he got.

Posted by: Never Happy  | July 19, 2007 12:17 PM

Nigel wrote...

AV - I have no problem with the club being prudent, and I also believe GS is right in not being prepared to pay over-inflated fees.

However my BIG beef is the club spin (I know I'm repeating myself here!) is the club spin that Bulkhaul are/have subsidising Boro. I simply don't believe it.

By making Boro a part of the Bulkhaul Group this allows any 'losses' Boro may make to be offset against profits in other areas of the Gibson business. This reduces the companies corporation tax bill. Fair enough why not?

So for example the paper loss from Maccarone being initially an asset on the Boro books to an asset worth zero will have been off-set against Bulkhaul profits.

I strongly believe that hard cash will not have been moved from Bulkhaul to Boro to buy a player which may prove to be a diminishing asset. It does not make sound business sense and I don't believe Gibbo would sanction it.

So coming back to my original beef I believe the club are 'spinning' the way the finances operate. Of course I would be prepared to admit I was wrong if the club were to publicly state clearly if Bulkhaul cash has been used to buy a Boro player....but that won't happen will it.

I believe that Boro are moving in the right direction that GS is doing a great job and that Steve Gibson is a terrific chairman, but the spin, lack of openness and a lack of willingness to listen and to be seen to be listening to the fans is his biggest weakness by a country mile.

Posted by: Nigel  | July 19, 2007 12:44 PM

John Powls wrote...

Never Happy

I'm with you in hoping that Gate was bluffing in much of what appears in that nice Mr. Paylor's piece from yesterday's Gazette website.

All the stuff about how the market would be was all very predictable - indeed we discussed it before the end of last season on this very blog, as well as what to do about it. It's the fact that it appears to come as some big surprise to Gate and others at the club that makes one incredulous.

It seems that, as ever, we're being prepared for another disppointment as the promises made before the season ticket renewal deadline fade faster than Brits at Wimbledon.

If we make no more signings and don't address our lack of a right side and the lack of creativity and drive in the central midfield then we're in for another season of stuggle and players being played out of position.

If we only sign them in our traditional 31 August panic then you can guarantee it being Xmas before we see whatever benefit there's going to be.

I'm really struggling to see the money as an issue. I won't rehearse the detailed argumets others have made here and although the Prem/TV money doesn't come in until the end of the year the deals are often structured over several years. I would expect many clubs are phasing payment so that the bulk kicks in towards the end of this season.

Even Fulham seem to have got it right, for goodness sake!!

AV - OK, I take what you say but I'm not sure how a Bill Clinton quote I have seen endless times on TV - because he made it in a televised Presidential address and he quotes it in his own autobiography - can be in any way difficult. But I'll take your word for it and go with your judgement.

**AV writes: The problem is that the quote relates to a deliberate attempt to cover up the truth. To stretch that to cover other individuals is potentially problematic.

Posted by: John Powls  | July 19, 2007 12:49 PM

Nigel wrote...

JP - Is the Boro PR dept. signing up Bill Clinton? That would be fun!

My guess is GS is now down to looking for two players, a right back and a winger. Without those we will struggle to progress too much.

As for a central midfield player I think GS has a lot of faith in Rocky, so don't hold your breath on that one.

As for a striker, I'd be very happy to keep Yak and not sign Smith. Even though that would probably mean selling Yak for less money in a years time.

Now....I'm off to look up 'Bill Clinton quotes' on Google.........

Posted by: Nigel  | July 19, 2007 1:30 PM

Ian Gill wrote...


31st August signings often take longer than Xmas to settle because they have missed pre season - we had the infamous quote during the winter of discontent from MacMoses in November stating he still hadnt sorted out the best formation and personnel!

Some of them never do because on many occasions you have bought a pup. The reasons are many:
* someone no one else wants or needs to offload.
* wrong player for the position you need to fill
* not had a full pre season with you
* not fully fit.

Sadly much that takes place is predictable. Some time ago I predicted the following team.





At the moment it doesnt look far off, may be minor changes such as Ali changing with Tuncay.

Meanwhile we await the sponsor for the shirt.

I would be intrigued to find out what AV pruned from your posting but will await that with interest.

On the roles of Uncle Eric and AV, I guess they play good cop/bad cop as far as MFC are concerned.

I have jokingly accused AV of being a stoolie for the MFC KGB in the past (safe in the knowledge he wasnt) but we all know that it would be way beyond their abilities to think of such a cunning plot.

Posted by: Ian Gill  | July 19, 2007 2:05 PM

Very Happy wrote...


What any party have in their bank account and how they move it about is private to them. Therefore,one must neither presume or speculate, because it is a no-go road.

You are a very loyal fan indeed, which is why you are looking at all aspects of improving the club and as much as I support Steve Gibson too, I am not at all happy with events of late.

He and many others will no doubt read this board and it is always best to be open and honest, which is why I am not at all pleased with some events of late, which my posts quantify.

It doesn’t matter to me when the player/s is signed, because if you rush into things then it quite often back fires.

However, for GS to honestly believe he can operate without signing a right-sided midfield player is not a mistake, it is a well seen and established fact.

But, his words could be a ploy to throw us off the scent, then Hey Presto we have him. We are not far away from having a great team, because the lads who have come through the club’s academy are gems.

Therefore, that is a wonderful pat on the back to that team and the medical team need one too, because they did what Real Madrid could not do.

Now I have diverted my intentions into thinking that we may need to place Eric Paylor on the rack instead of Keith Lamb, because I definitely think 10 minutes of handle turning would bring reward.

Now just imagine in the first five minutes against Blackburn Rovers that we go one goal down and Radio Cleveland asks Roy Chubby Brown, what reactions are coming from the bench. Roary would be on his back passing water and that’s only for starters.

I am looking forward to the kick off, because these lucozade levels need to be seen & compared to what I saw on the Tele last night.

This geezer was going up this mountain on his push bike and he passed seven motor cycles and one Helicopter and that’s gospel.

Posted by: Very Happy  | July 19, 2007 2:10 PM

Nigel wrote...

Very Happy - we will have to agree to disagree on whether or not a companies bank balance is a private issue or not.

Private limited companies are legally bound to produce an annual set of audited accounts which are public documents. So I am fully entitled to speculate on the state of Boro's finances.

I'm also 'allowed' to do so on the basis that as a fan/ customer of the club I invest money in the club, that gives me the right to question.

Posted by: Nigel  | July 19, 2007 2:35 PM

dave wrote...


I kind of agree with you. The story of Bulkhaul propping up MFC goes back to 1994. In those days it was probably true as the revenue was a lot lower then. Now i believe the club runs at a profit or with no propping up. the revenue is a lot more and the wage bill is the same as in 1997.

A few months ago one of the Sunday papers listed the revenue each club had generates and their wage bill. the only club that refused to give information was Middlesbrough. Its all run very secretive with gibson reluctant to let the fans know any information.

We seem to forget that his bulkhaul partner - o'neill - must be involved with mfc if bulkhaul is propping up mfc. who owns the shares, is it gibson or bulkhaul?

Do we know how the golf course and hotel is being financed? Is it taking money away from the team? In recent years revenue has gone up a lot, our wage bill is still about £28m but still only about the same is spent on transfer fees. I'm guessing that currently boro is running itself without any financial help.

I feel gibson has now decided that it is time the club stands on its own two feet.

**AV writes: The club have been saying publicly for two or three years now that the strategy is that the club must be self-sustaining - that is where the "Teesside getting the club it can afford" mantra came from.

The past two years has seen marked pruning of the wage bill and a change in recruitment policy with a view to player purchases eventually being balanced by sales.

That prudent approach can only be a good thing. Unless you think Boro should splash the cash in the hope that the football bubble will never burst.

Posted by: dave  | July 19, 2007 3:44 PM

Richard wrote...

Great article Vic! I'm no great fan of Bernie Slaven's style and I do think it encourages negativity in support rather than constructive advice that may be acted upon by the Club's Management.

Bernie Slaven has given me the impression over the years that somehow he must know better than Management how to run the club and better than players of each generation/ season squad, how to play the game.

Constant carping about what's wrong, rather than building on what's right - even if the latter happens less than the former, is no way to support your team. It's like your wife or partner (to stay on the right side of PC) nagging you to change, rather than working with you or encouraging you by appealling to what you do well! And I guess we all know how that feels!

So if the decision to remove Century was because of the caustic effect of Bernie Slaven's style, then I applaud it, frankly. I do feel for Alistair Brownlee however, whose commentary I have enjoyed.

He WAS a great foil and balance for Bernie Slaven's rants, but Slaven always seemeed to encourage responses from the negative ranks of supportersand when I'm feeling bad enough about a poor result or performance, the last thing I want to listen to is a series of serial whingers reinforcing each other's negative outlook.

When it's been like that, I've switched it off and put my trust in the club's management to sort out the issue, whatever it is and look for a positive improvement within the constraints, financial and otherwise, that inevitably restrict the club's ability to act.

It may well be that the Club's Management ARE indeed addressing such an issue in granting sole commentary rights to BBC Radio Cleveland. If so, I believe they're biting the bullet and I'd like to think it was a bellweather for further positive change in running the club. I want to be supporting winners - not whiners.

Posted by: Richard  | July 19, 2007 3:48 PM

Very Happy wrote...


Our right to question is one thing, but the answer we would receive would not be such.

Changing the subject:

Rocky cannot fill the role I see, because of his lack of pace. However, he is a very talented player who we cannot afford to lose.

If Bill Clinton is spotted anywhere on Teesside by the way, it is obvious he is either tying up the loose ends of the deal that brings Golden balls to our club or dropping Xavier back off.

Posted by: Very Happy  | July 19, 2007 4:03 PM

Capio wrote...

Supporting a team is all about choice…I choose not to listen to bbc when I do not attend games because they’re about as exciting as the rhetoric and teachings of the self-appointed prophets of the Teesside’s internet underworld i.e. the pseudo-middle class middle-aged ex- coal miners clique that surrounds all of us that choose to participate in this medium.

I will miss Bernie and Allie, they have been an important part of football culture on Teesside for a long time, and helped many an expatriate have an honest appraisal of current events.

Perhaps Mr. Slaven is negative by nature, but there is no doubting that his commentating era has coincided with the most mind-numbingly negative football that has seen fans leave in their droves and everybody loves a scape goat. It is like blaming an alcoholic for being unhappy during prohibition.

He has become another victim of the brainwashed Smac lovers who couldn’t see that the guy is a chancer. Thanks for the cup and don’t come back.

The idea that a retired footballer from Paisley created this cloud of negativity around football and football on Teesside in particular is absurd and nonsensical. Are the people of Teesside so easily influenced? I think not.

We have simply tired of watching a team devoid of skill and pace a team that doesn’t even have a right sided midfielder, it’s bizarre.

I like Slaven. I personally find him honest and like the fact that he has agendas and makes it obvious he doesn’t rate/like certainly players, it makes him human like the rest of us.

I like most people am neither a positive fan nor a negative fan. My mood is influenced by what is happening at the club, I am happy-ish because I am 100% behind Southgate but unless we get the cheque book out a long hard season awaits.

If we sign 4 good players then I will be positive, that is called being objective just like Mr Slaven is.

**AV writes: Ex-coalminers? It seams you are talking about the union leadership of another board.

Posted by: Capio  | July 19, 2007 4:15 PM

Hudson wrote...

For the last few years I've been listening to Radio Cleveland's online coverage for the cup games when I've been unable to get back to Teesside for them as well at Century ones when I'm in the area.

I enjoy Ali's commentarys, I've grown up with them since 1982, and it is a shame that he won't be continuing. However there's nothing wrong with Radio Cleveland's either. As for them not criticisng the side, I've heard plenty of criticism from Gary Gill during games.

We don't know the details, which includes how desparately Century wanted them in the first place. In 1995 they were prepared to pay for a monopoly, but as we know with media their budgets and priorities change over time, especially if the Sunderland option was there.

Posted by: Hudson  | July 19, 2007 5:49 PM

David wrote...

Bernie talked sense. Boro have not been run properly for years and although good intentions have always been in Gibsons thoughts at the heart of it there are huge reasons why our home attendences are dwindling.

How many teams in the premiership can't field a team of 11 players in their correct positions? Its certain that the one place we have not got it right is on the pitch where problems can be seen almost instantly and yet nothing is done.

Promises have been made the latest of which was a promise of two spectacular signings which have not arrived and the promise of an experienced manager which we didnt get!!

Bernie called it down the lined and praised the Boro when they did well. It was just out weighed by the useless performances which were far more apparent.

We need to do something to get the fans back that should be the most important thing or our agenda!!!! Its a laughing stock not to have a full stadium

Posted by: David  | July 19, 2007 7:55 PM

Popalu wrote...

I was there in the 70's freezing my balls off on Tuesday nights watching Boro from the Holgate, play crap teams, with my cup of bovril and a dodgy meat pie

I nearly cried when they locked the gates of Ayresome and we all thought it was over,

I was over the moon when they moved to the Riverside.

I was in heaven when they won the cup (no thanks to Smacs negative tactics... just ask England now if they made the right decision).

They now seem to be moving in a totally different direction, new badge (Who picked it and consulted with the fans), new kits (No white band - I know it has only existed 30 odd years, but to the younger generation it is the boro - will the Goerdies drop their stripes in favour of a new design, now they are embarking on a new era, not likely), dropping Radio institutions in favour of bland, safe commentary... what is happening to the boro I love?

They wonder why loyal supporters are changing into "fair weather's" and "stay aways". The club belongs to the fans, as we keep getting told, so why not let them know what is going on, and involve them in some of the decisions being made in our name?

I go very rarely now, I sit and listen at home to Century - now that's gone. Slaven is a moaner and Ali has red and white tinted eyeballs, but they expressed what most of were thinking most of the time, balanced each other and were our voice. This is now no more, has as been suggested the clubs move for a "censorship of the feedback" has curtailed that minor irritation.

I should be there with my sons, like I was with my father, but the costs involved, the level of commitment from overweight, overpaid Aussies, means spending money to see the 'Superstars' is no longer worth it.

You pay for what you get. We get an overpaid, under achieving team, going through the motions week in, week out, for unjustified wage packets, just missing out on relegation each year and settling for the lowest common denominator, mid table safety.

No thanks, for now I would rather keep my hand in pocket in this "New Labour Utopian Society" until the club wakes up to the realisation that the club does belong to the fans, they are only the custodians.

Give us a desire, give us the team who want to achieve, give us the excitement and involvment and people will come back. Until then, just count the empty spaces in the Riverside on the opening day and see who is right, the club's leadership or the supporters.

One disgruntled ex-boro stalwart and "2 season" radio listener.

Posted by: Popalu  | July 19, 2007 9:34 PM

Ian Gill wrote...

You sense a groundswell of grumpiness amongst the fans. Something is not right at MFC. It is not a new theme I have followed, it has been of concern for some time.

From afar you are not privvy to local gossip that takes places in the pubs and clubs so I dont know things that may be happening that the press cannot reveal. It just doesnt seem right.

It could just be a recent history of mismanagement, drivel and a lack of regard that has caught up MFC.

I deliberately use MFC for the club and Boro for team to differentiate the two entities. We love the Boro but are disenchanted with MFC.

Somehow Gibbos dream which we all bought into has gone stale. The similarities between our ex prime minister and his government and the current incumbents at MFC is quite spooky.

Started as a breath of fresh air as new Boro. Then over the years the gloss starts fading. Fans have realised that our leaders have somehow lost touch. Mistakes are repeated, communication does not match delivery, fans are almost ignored, told they need to be educated, the club rebranded and relaunched but putting a spolier on a Morris Marine doesnt stop it being a Morris Marina.

What is happening now is that the club can't do right for wrong, every action and word is picked over, every time something is not right or doesnt suit another cross is added to the grump list.

The shirt, badge, sponsorship are just recent examples. Spectacular signings and cutting cloth to suit do not sit well together. Century FM is another niggle.

I am sure the people are trying but has familiarity caused loss of focus. Does Gibbo need a reshuffle and bring in new blood MFC? Is he being too loyal?

Gate is trying but is suffering because he is the tip of the iceberg that is visible. The dreadful performances under Mac have not disappeared but we hope he is moving in the right direction, he appears to be an honest guy.

Let us hope he has the people above and around him to help rather than weigh him down with yet more baggage. Empty seats and grumbling on the terrace reflect not just on the team but the club

Posted by: Ian Gill  | July 20, 2007 9:50 AM

Never Happy wrote...

Its looking more and more likely that Yakubu will be off to Man City.

Smith obviously does not want to come to the Boro, so what other forwards has GS got his eye on?

The rumoured fee for Yakubu is £12m, will GS be allowed to spend all of this on any new signings?

We are three weeks away from the first game of the season and still no sign of a RB or RW.

GS says he is happy with what he has got, still season tickets holders will get in the ground quicker with their new gold cards. No doubt the club will broadcast how well the new system works off the pitch (forgetting to mention lower crowds).

However its the systems on the pitch that counts, unfortunately the powers that be at MFC don't seem to understand this.

Posted by: Never Happy  | July 20, 2007 10:33 AM

Steve wrote...

Am I the only one out here who actually likes the new badge? As for the dropping of the white band, I always thought it made us look like a team of no entry signs, especially as we seem to favour the more portly players.

I read recently an article in FMTTM by John Nicholson about having a badge without the lion rampant. Does he know what an honour it is to be able to have the lion rampant as part of your emblem?? I think not.

Embrace change, be positive, you never know, you might just like it.

Posted by: Steve  | July 20, 2007 12:37 PM

John Powls wrote...

Garmin, eh!

Cue the jokes about knowing where the goal is etc!

At least it's settled and hopefully it can give some direction to bothe Boro and MFC (neat distinction, Ian)

**AV writes: In an ironically perfect world the sponsors would have got lost en route to Hurworth.

Posted by: John Powls  | July 20, 2007 1:39 PM

Never Happy wrote...

May as well start the ball rolling - lets hope the new sponsor helps point the strikers in the right direction to goal.

Had to laugh with the comment about the sat nav equipment helping get the players to away games.

They's me thinking that the players just jumped on the plane or coach, I did not realise that the squad made their own way to away games.

Still the deal is done at last, lets hope we now get news about signing some players to fill the new shirts

Posted by: Never Happy  | July 20, 2007 1:56 PM

Very Happy wrote...


Fans are footballs main memories and those pound shilling and pence days, bring home everything which has tarnished the beautiful game forever.

When one has stood on the concrete steps of loyalty, which were once the homes of father, son, mother and brother, you felt an appreciated voice of belonging.

No-one could be ripped off, because such merchants were non-existent, which made the best day of the week something most purses could manage.

The only drawback was the tannoy, which was castration surgery minus anaesthetic.

Mind you, an ex British Rail spokesman was always on hand tom let the crowd know that the pork pie man had driven over another 6 inch nail.

Then one greedy soul spread an infection and look how deep it has festered?

The commentary issue is now dead and buried in the water in my mind.

I am looking forward to the season,knowing we can get back into Europe.

We have youth in strength on our side, which is so vital and maybe one day we just may supply both the England full backs.

Now Alan Smith’s name is back on again and in my mind he would add some talented bite to the fight

But, if we don’t sign a top right sided midfield player then I just cannot see how both sides can gel.

Gareth Southgate by the way is not a happy loser, if 100% has been mislaid. That is his strength and he deserves our support from the off and so do our our new tomorrows.

Lots of players and officials at the club, plus Alistair & Bernie etc, will read these posts cos that’s life.

Positive posts are the way forward and if someone cannot take positive growls then perhaps it's time that they too, moved on.

Posted by: Very Happy  | July 20, 2007 2:23 PM

Never Happy wrote...

VH - Nothing has changed with Alan Smith, he is unwanted at Old Trafford and does not want to join the Boro. The Gazette article is just churned up old news assigned to a different reporter.

Posted by: Never Happy  | July 20, 2007 2:49 PM

Redcar Red wrote...

Its about time all these whingers laid off MFC and their perception of the current administration of the club.

Here are a few home truths in an attempt to “balance? all the negative posts on this blog.

1. Steve McClaren was an upbeat and uniquely interesting individual whose exciting devil may care attacking philosophy was a refreshing change for true supporters of football everywhere.

2. Michael Ricketts was a fantastic striker who was let down by the Middlesbrough fan base and as a direct consequence the Premier league was starved of a great crowd pleaser.

3. Juninho was never a great or loyal servant to the club and deserved to be unceremoniously shown the door without the opportunity for the so-called fans to show their appreciation for him.

4. Aston Villa are a poor unfortunate team from a deprived area of the West Midlands which is why MFC like to roll over each season and get our bellies tickled by them at the Riverside just so their fans can have a nice day out! (insert Portsmouth etc. as appropriate)

5. The white band on our shirts has been given to the Red Cross to make bandages for poor starving people in third world countries.

6. Century radio was far too popular for its own good and Bernard Slaven’s strong Glaswegian accent made it very difficult for the Teesside public’s delicate ears to understand him. As a safety measure the sanitised Radio Cleveland version where Boro always play brilliantly and are always robbed by jolly fortunate opposition will now become the norm.

7. The badge is very popular on the latest Harry Potter film and if you watch closely you can see it in several frames alongside the Gryffyndor (sp?) badge.

8. Sponsors are overrated and in line with the public outcry over Global warming we believe that MFC are right in saving on all that ink and printing processes thus reducing the clubs Carbon footprint!

9. The MFC ticket office is a well-oiled machine and ticket purchasing is now easier than ever. Just roll up and we can guarantee no queues!

10. MFC does not have a siege mentality. In a real Dictatorship, society becomes extremely sensitive to any information and cues transmitted by other societies that may indicate negative intentions.

This developed sensitivity is based on lack of trust and suspicion that society members feel toward other societies which, in their view, have negative intentions. It’s the rest of North East society that has negative intentions toward the club so MFC merely give the impression however so slightly that other groups are evil and malevolent.

This new club ethos simply allows Boro season ticket holders to define the world in relatively simple and manageable terms. So come and join us at the Riverside and pretend you are really watching Liverpool in disguise with our budget look-a-like kit from the Market.

Oh and stop whinging and start believing!

Posted by: Redcar Red  | July 20, 2007 2:51 PM

Ian Gill wrote...

Never Happy

My experience of away games is that in many cases they didnt bother turning up so the sat nav would be irrelevant. Come to think of it that applies to some of the home games as well.

We could use it to show our central midfield where the opposition penaly area is.

Posted by: Ian Gill  | July 20, 2007 3:47 PM

Never Happy wrote...

Ian - hopefully with all this high tech equipment the team will now turn up for away games.

If it works and shows the midfield where the opposition penalty area is, I will be out to buy one and I don't have a car!

Posted by: Never Happy  | July 20, 2007 4:10 PM

Peter Collins wrote...

Is it me or is this new home shirt a bit shabby.

I've never heard of "Garmin" before either!

Posted by: Peter Collins  | July 20, 2007 5:03 PM

steve h wrote...

Vic, do you think Steve Gibson reads this blog?

**AV writes: I don't think it is stored in his favourites Steve but people at the club read it and I'm sure, as with the column, anything perceievd as being overly critical or contentious is brought to his attention. Do you think he reads it?

Posted by: steve h  | July 20, 2007 7:00 PM

Malc wrote...

Garmin-what a joke.

I usually arrive just before K/O but arrived early one time as I had friends from abraod and wanted some beers and to show them our ground.

Low and behold the shock when the doors were shut and one of the braindead stewards told me the ground wasn't open. It could hardly have been more than an hour before K/O during the festive season yet the ground was shut. What a joke.

However, an even bigger joke is the chase of Smith. He's slow, can't score and doesn't want to come. To add to things, Gate says he'll play Tuncay in midfield. Wad the heck? IF we can get 12m for Yak it's good business (though the Raj Barrie on Yarm HS will be sad) but we must reinvest it in DEFOE. Whatever it takes to get him. Damn, we could've had KEANE last year for 4m.

Posted by: Malc  | July 20, 2007 7:34 PM

Very Happy wrote...

Peter Collins

Now we know why the club said "Watch this space" with regards to our new sponsors.

Garmin look a superb choice to me, even though I too, have never heard of them. It will give the company a massive injection to be seated on the front of the shirts.

The satellite navigation which Ian Gill has mentioned probably sealed the deal. Mind you if the players start bumping into each other who changes the batteries?

Please banter that one out Ian.

Finally, it is good news and let’s hope more follows on.

Posted by: Very Happy  | July 20, 2007 8:18 PM

steve h wrote...

"Vic, do you think Steve Gibson reads this blog?

**AV writes: I don't think it is stored in his favourites Steve but people at the club read it and I'm sure, as with the column, anything perceievd as being overly critical or contentious is brought to his attention. Do you think he reads it?"

I think he has more important things to do than sit on the internet, reading message boards!

But then again, who knows? Maybe his lass is always moaning at him, as well, to get off that computer.

Posted by: steve h  | July 20, 2007 9:53 PM

tonyblack wrote...

Very Happy,

am i missing something here ?

" Garmin look a superb choice to me, even though I too, have never heard of them. It will give the company a massive injection to be seated on the front of the shirts. "

Why should any of us care about Garmin and the benefits to them of being on the front of our shirts ?

All we care about is that we get the maximum amount of cash from them. Where are the figures for this so called great deal that you are raving on about ?

I'm not convinced and I won't be until I can see how much cash we got and how that compares with the deals all the other premiership clubs struck.

People in here seem to be able to just support all things Boro, well i can't.

The club say that this is a great deal so why don't they prove it to us all instead of just serving up the usual array of empty, meaningless words by releasing the details of this amazing bumber deal as other clubs do ?

I want to get back on the Boro bus as it were and be there with the rest singing my heart out, but i just can't help but feel that the Keith Lamb propaganda machine is at work 24/7 to make us believe that the club is safe in his hands, when as far as i'm concerened it simply is not.

Who leaves it so late in the day to renegociate players contracts, as we do ? Who leaves the sponsorship deal so late in the day, as we do ? Who alters the badge, and the kit at thier own whim without every really considering what the fans think, as we do ?

I'm sorry, but i just feel so not a part of this club and i really, really want to.

When i heard that bloody radio advert about buying a season ticket and supporting the club from some actor guy putting on a broad Boro accent it just reminded me of when Eastenders ratings hit rock bottom but they kept on telling us that everyone was talking about it, as if we would actually buy into their stalinist propaganda hype.

Well i for one didn't and i won't here either.

I was against the appointment of the rookie pairing of Southgate and Coops and I absolutely long to be proved wrong and to be made a complete and utter fool of in here for not having faith in these Boro player legends.

But I can tell you all this. If these people don't deliver you can count on me being amonst the first to call for their heads.


Posted by: tonyblack  | July 20, 2007 10:41 PM

Shaun wrote...

We're all agreed that the delay over sponsorship was a big step in the do-do on the clubs part, but they wiped their feet and come up with a potentially exciting partnership.

Why are the boo-boys calling Garmin a joke? I think 19m sales worldwide speaks for itself. I'd rather have that plastered on the shirt than dealing with the ethical consequences of having a betting website emblazoned across the front.

Sponsorship deal is nailed down, the shirts will be on the production line in the shops sharpish and we've had a bid accepted for Luke Young (£2.5m is good value as well).

Posted by: Shaun  | July 20, 2007 10:54 PM

Peter Holton wrote...

Graham Fordy said..."Their sponsorship will help Middlesbrough FC continue to compete at the very highest level of English football and build on an era that has made us the fifth most successful club in English football over the last 12 years"

This is the most EMBARRASSING comment I have ever heard from an employee at Middlesbrough FC and makes me wonder what kind of mentality there is at the Riverside these days.

(By the way, Leicester Everton Villa and Spurs have been more successful than the Boro over the last 12 years you nugget Fordy.)

**AV writes: And arguably Newcastle and Bolton too.

Posted by: Peter Holton  | July 21, 2007 9:33 AM

John Powls wrote...

I don't think the deal with Garmin can be criticised, they're a reasonable mid-sized company on the up in an industry that's also on the rise. Some may call that absolutely appropriate for Boro.

The big issue was that the deal took so long to get round to when the need for it was clear from years back and is clearly last minute with Garmin, if you read the terms of the deal. I have to say that I prefer a satnav company to an online gaming mob too.

The deal for Luke Young is a solid bit of business - so long as we can tie it up swiftly. Remember we had a bid accepted for Smith weeks ago, so let's not count the chickens.

Can anyone help on the 2 Egyptians (a striker and a midfielder) that we're being linked with? Not much money involved - apparently - but then they aren't likely to be an instant hit either.

So, if The Yak is staying or going, what about settling the right wing and a classy right sided central midfielder.

Riquelme and Appiah are both still want-away from their clubs and could be got for the same money or even less than we currently have as a bid for Smith.

Even I would credit one of those 2 as one of the 'spectacular' signings that we were promised. Go to it, guys!

Posted by: John Powls  | July 21, 2007 10:42 AM

Chris Gibson wrote...

The shirts may well take some getting used to, I am going to miss Bernie and Ali. The sponsorship is good news.

For me though, signing Luke young would make my weekend. He is an England International and whilst he might not be world class, he would be far and away the best RB at the club and can certainly hold his own in the top flight. Let's hope there's no hitches.

Now for a right midfielder and a central midfielder. Let's just be done with it and keep Yak. If Smith was to have a change of heart and join us we then lads, have ourselves a squad. Even if we do have to listen to drab commentary and watch them in a Bristol City reject shirt.

Please next year, Nike, Umbro, adidas. Evan Wigan wear Umbro. Errea have been ok but this latest version is bland. Still I'd watch us in pink binliners if we make those two or three more signings.

Posted by: Chris Gibson  | July 21, 2007 11:03 AM

Very Happy wrote...

Tony black

Gamin looks a superb choice to me even though I have never heard of them? I researched their history, just like the club would have done, but obviously in a lot more depth.

No doubt many a household name fell by the wayside when the decision was made!!!!!!!

I believe in giving someone a chance in life, because that attitude produces winners and gets rid of the rubbish.

The club badge was designed to salute a period in time, which is exactly what it resembles. What do you expect on the front, a DNA stamp?

GS and CC are just trying to put together a team, which runs for 90 mins and gives value for money. The season will judge them, not now.

I hope we get a cheaper - HIGH DEFINATION box, via Garmin’s influences.

Finally, no-one had heard of the Chelsea chairman till the news broke which answers a million questions in one go, plus ours.

Posted by: Very Happy  | July 21, 2007 11:25 AM

tonyblack wrote...

Very Happy,

I totally respect your position and have enjoyed your many informed comments since I joined this forum.

However, for me sponsorhips only value is how much money it puts in the coffers, so let the club tell us how much they got so we can all then accept their usual hype as fact.

The fact that this is an initial one year deal doesn't strike me as anything but a last minute deal because the club left it all too late, as they do with most things, contract negociations included, as was confirmed by Schwarzy.

When Xavier left he was applauded by many, many people for speaking so highly of the club, so when others criticise it is only fair to take their word as well, especially from such a great servant as our keepers.

To me the club badge looks like it was designed by a five year old and judging by the response in here, most people think the same way.

Unlike you I absolutely don't accept your mentality about giving people a chance, as you put it. For me, putting the future of the club in the hands of two people who have never managed is the wrong way to go, as these people can only ever be learning as they go and have little else to offer but from what they have seen on their travels. I'd rather always go for people who have already made these rookie mistakes elsewhere.

If this is not the case then the best manager ever in the world SHOULD have been Pele or Maradonna.

Both failed miserably.

Who is in charge of Bulkhaul may I ask ? I bet my left testicle that those that are there when Mr Gibson isn't are very, very highly regarded people who hav been round the block for 30 years before they got to that position.

For me, just because you were a good player, and in the case of Coops, a VERY AVERAGE player at best, doesn't qualify you to be in charge of a big Premiership football club.

Coops IS a Boro legend and he absolutely deserves to be on the new banner. But for me personally it ends there.

I'm not a boo boy. I just want to feel that I belong and it pains me to say it but I don't here anymore.

Personally, I feel that the club takes me for granted, don't consult me, and just expect me to keep paying my very hard and very finite cash, even when they force me to watch negative, God awful, toe curlingly poor, poor football.

You can do what you like with your money, but i'm sorry, until we get a tried a tested foreign manager in who will drag this club out of it's pie and pea, dark age mentality and who will instil some real discipline and passion, then I won't be happy.

Southgate says that this year is going to see the fittest Boro team. Great. Only why didn't this happen last year or the year before when we had the same team in the fitness department?


Posted by: tonyblack  | July 21, 2007 6:22 PM

Richard wrote...

Tony Black,
Your last post sounds like the rantings of a menopausal woman with acute PMT! So, I reckon your bet is a con. I don't think you've even got one testicle with which to gamble!

Incidentally, who do you suppose appointed these great guys who look after Bulkhaul in Steve Gibson's absence? Duh! Would that maybe be the same Steve Gibson that appointed Boro's manager? Is he applying double standards then?
I think you owe us all an ovary!

Posted by: Richard  | July 22, 2007 12:29 AM

nick s wrote...

It's the monopolising tendency of the club that continues to annoy me. One outlet for shirts. One outlet for radio. If you want to watch the match, then you inconvenience yourself to fit our needs, and should think yourself lucky for it.

Nige upthread called it 'small time', and there's something to that argument: it's smacks of a desire to be master of a small domain, rather than the confidence to place some things outside the club's overall control.

I'm an expat exile, so I'm way down the queue compared to the season ticket holders in airing grievances. I also know that aspiring beyond your means puts you in the position of Leeds Utd. But the reluctance to look beyond a well-defined fiefdom just feels like it's shutting the door on so much.

Posted by: nick s  | July 22, 2007 8:10 AM

Very Happy wrote...

Tony Black

Tony, opinions’/comments are just worded circles, which bring us back to the beginning again.

But, passion is passion, and because we are merely human beings that’s its explanation!

That bag of wind causes uncontrollable jubilation, and severe depression, which just goes to show what effects it has on our minds.

Moving on, I am pleased to see Luke Young join our club, because as John Powls pre-stated.

It is a solid bit of business.

Now we have a right back who in my opinion fits the bill perfectly. However, once Tony McMahon regains full fitness and gets a shout, then that position will become his in my eyes, because he is a gem.

We have a few unbelievable gems and hopefully with Garmin now topping up our nest egg, we can now but a top class and well established right sided midfield player.

Garmin might have shown the club a series of satellite pictures which far pin pointed this crater, which is of course a tongue in cheek comment, because smiles are the day.

Imagine if Bernard Matthews had won the contract.

That may have meant our players running having to take to the pitch wrapped frozen solid, but it would have fitted in well, with our running round like headless chickens tactics.

That is what Gareth is going to correct, because he has had a good look at things, by letting them run their course and marking cards.

When the season gets under way it will be his team on show and imagine how it must feel to have a chairman like Steve Gibson at your side.

There are times when I have questioned whether he has locked himself away in some closet, but you can bet your life that he and his team will have left no stone unturned in reshaping tomorrow, because he’s a WINNER and winners do live in closets.

Enjoy life whilst it lasts and go with the flow is my way forward after talking backwards, but I want to finish on a positive whinge.

Radio Tees can put who they like behind the mike, but there’s only one Alistair Brownlee, and you watch those words echo round the ground.

Just like there’s only one Steve Gibson, because that bag of wind knows the score long before the whistle blows.

Posted by: Very Happy  | July 22, 2007 1:44 PM

Chris wrote...

AV: I have to admit to having a little chuckle to myself after reading some of the comments about Garmin.

What planet have these people been hiding on? Garmin is one of the leading Technology Companies in the world. Have your readers never set foot in PC World, Dixons or Halfords?

I suppose if we had been sponsored by Tom Tom some readers might have thought they were a percussion instrument manufacturer !! Come on guys catch up....

Posted by: Chris  | July 22, 2007 3:33 PM

John Powls wrote...

If the 2 bidders for The Yak are Citeh and Brum then we should sell to neither, nor to Pompey either. They are liable to be in the group we are competing with in the coming season - why give them what is usually 15 - 20 goals a season?

Money is OK but we can't guarantee the goals from whoever we could get in whereas The Yak - before February when the pies, parmos and nightlife overtake him - is pretty well nailed on for 15 or so.

It is also alleged that Brum have made a £6m offer for Fletcher from ManUre. If that's what'll get him I suggest we switch our bid from Smith to Fletcher - much more what we want; can play centre or right of midfield, pacy, a 100%er and a good range of passing.

Posted by: John Powls  | July 22, 2007 4:48 PM

Billy wrote...

Radio Cleveland is fine for a breakfast show, but as a sports programme? Hell's teeth, they couldn't even make the fire under the press box sound exciting, can you imagine the last 30 seconds of the commentary if Bernie and Ali had been sitting on a potential fire?

I've never heard such a boring commentary in my life, they kept telling me it was a half decent game but you wouldn't know it from the commentary.

Bring back Century and be quick.

Posted by: Billy  | July 22, 2007 6:46 PM

Shaun wrote...

I think with the way things are shaping up, GS might move Tuncay into centre-mid. Aliadierre on the right, Boat/Catt in the middle with Tuncay, Stewy on the left and Yak upfront, alongside a new striker. That's a very progressive and exciting forward line, all of which have the ability to move around and play in different roles.

I saw an analysis of a Man Utd game last year in which Andy Gray pointed out the rotation between positions of Roony, Giggs, Ronaldo and Scholes during a 90 minute game. They're almost impossible to mark because each one of them are comfortable in each of the other's position.

We've bought players that are not one-dimensional, and if GS does rotate during a match then he has a lot of options at his disposal.

If we keep Yak, then that's great news providing we have a foil for him - Smith could fit the bill but he has to want to come here.

We've got three weeks before the big kick-off and its time to start being positive. One, maybe two more signings and we have the chance to do something next year.

Posted by: Shaun  | July 22, 2007 9:24 PM

Never Happy wrote...

From rumour central.

I was in the bookies and a mate told me his mates mam works in the ticket office and Boro have so far sold 10,000 season tickets.

Posted by: Never Happy  | July 23, 2007 8:47 AM

Ian Gill wrote...

Very Happy

Sorry this is late but I for one would be pleased if some players bumped into each other because it would mean people were making runs. One of the biggest problems we have had is like of movement to give passing opportunities.

The next bit would be meaningful runs to open up space. We Know Gate has been talking about tempo and movement and I back him 100%.

So we expext to see Luke Young for talks. He would be a good buy at his age and experience.

Dont know about the Egyptians.

Posted by: Ian Gill  | July 23, 2007 12:11 PM

Never Happy wrote...

I know that it is almost impossible to keep transfer targets and deals quiet, so lets hope that Boro are not gazumped by another club in the Luke Young deal.

£2.5m looks a fair price in this summer of transfer madness.

How the hell can the Mackems seriously offer 9 / 10m for a Scottish goalkeeper.

How can Darren Bent be worth almost as much as Henry?

With these transfers in mind Yakubu must be worth as much as Bent, and as I can not see a PL striker available that is as good as Yakubu, hanging on to Yakubu seems the best option.

If he has one of his trademark fall outs with Nigeria then he also might miss the African Cup of Nations.

Posted by: Never Happy  | July 23, 2007 12:26 PM

Never Happy wrote...

Just been having a bit of a mooch to find out about the Egyptian players Boro have been linked to.

Striker - Moteab 24, 11 goals in 25 International games.

Defensive Midfielder - Shawky 26, do we need another DM? only if the Boat leaves.

If and it would be a big if, these could not be claimed as spectacular signings.

Prehaps one of Mr Gibson's minnions who allegedly read this blog could ask SG to give us an update on the spectacular signings that he promised.

Posted by: Never Happy  | July 23, 2007 12:45 PM

Adam Newton wrote...

We havent only sold 10,00 tickets. We have sold loads more that that, 25,000 at least!!

Posted by: Adam Newton  | July 23, 2007 1:39 PM

Neil wrote...

I hope we can tie up the Luke Young deal quickly. Yesterday on boronews.com, an obscure site carried a story that Man City were trying to hijack the deal.

Thankfully, I haven't seen the story anywhere else. As a few people have pointed out, 2.5 million for an established prem right back is a great piece of business in the light of some teams' silly spending.

Posted by: Neil  | July 23, 2007 1:43 PM

Lee wrote...

Did'nt Steve Gibson say "one or two spectacular signinings"?

I assume Tuncay was one of them so there was no promise of another one. So I think everyone should forget about so called "spectacular" signings because it is'nt going to happen.

Also, after listening to GS today, do you think that he has settled for using Tuncay as a right winger and has abandoned his search for a right sided player?

**AV writes: Gibbo said they were working on a few spectacular signings and hoped they may bring one or two to the club. There was no "promise".

Posted by: Lee  | July 23, 2007 1:52 PM

Ian Gill wrote...

I have some praise for consistency for MFC. I thought the home kit looked iffy and by jove the away kit is the same.

Posted by: Ian Gill  | July 23, 2007 4:04 PM

Lincoln Burrows wrote...

Tony Black, you probably only loved Maccarone because you could blag free tickets from him, and you no longer will attend matches because you haven't got an inside man to issue you with freebies.

Posted by: Lincoln Burrows  | July 23, 2007 4:07 PM

Jimstrummer wrote...

Bernie Slaven: ALWAYS calls a spade a spade. Yes he is a Boro Legend.

Ali: Over-optimistic sometimes, but a brilliant articulate commentator. Boro always, just like the rest of us.

Steve Gibson: Lost the plot ? Never !! without him we could be Plymouth or Port Vale or Notts Forest.....

Wake up and stop wingeing !

Posted by: Jimstrummer  | July 23, 2007 4:21 PM

John Powls wrote...


No, there wasn't a promise on 'spectacular' signings but - on the day before the season ticket deadline closed - the club themselves banged on about it for a full day, including putting it on the official website and made absoulutely sure that the media would carry the story.

And it can't have included Tuncay, Never Happy - as I pointed out at the time the deal for him was already signed and sealed before that statement.

Adam Newton - I'm all for optimism but I think that 25,000 would meet with the old 'Dad's Army' phrase - 'I think you're in the realism of fantasy, there.'

Posted by: John Powls  | July 23, 2007 4:30 PM

Simon wrote...

lets all get the moaning out of the way!!

the season is nearly here, its time to get behind the boro

surely the only reason we get crappy shirts sold from only two shops is that we make the most money this way

yes they would be better made by nike and you could get them in any sports shop but we would not get as much cash, and we need a all we can get.

if you dont want one dont get one!
then next year the better deal might be with someone else, i emailed the club and told them i wont be buying one.

lets all get behind the boro!!!

whinging won't make it any better

Posted by: Simon  | July 23, 2007 7:34 PM

Very Happy wrote...

Ian Gill

Ian, when players make runs, they're not supposed to bump into each other.

I think tactics is the word I am looking for.

But if the Mad Dog BUMPS into an opposing player and the end result prevents further damage, then that BUMP is acceptable, hoping of course that no-one suffers serious injury.

I don’t think a roundabout on the pitch would solve much, or replacing the assistant referees with traffic lights, but that’s just my opinion.

Mind you, if my memory serves me correctly, I think there is some mention of a Red Traffic Light in AV’s archives.

Maybe he has jumped the lights, because these reporters are anything but green.

Finally, I just wish we could find another Joe Cole, because that would be a brilliant buy.

Posted by: Very Happy  | July 23, 2007 7:50 PM

Malc's Happy wrote...

Thought I'd get in on the Happy banter.

Fletcher is a poor player. Reminiscent of Greening. Fletcher for £6m - Powls, yerjorkinarnyer?

We should sell Schwarzer to Sunderland and bring in Jaaskelainen who has one yr left on his deal and wants out. Just as we missed out on Keane, I bet Gibbo is wishing we'd bought Sorenson when he left the Mackems and even more so Paul Robinson. £1.5m and wanted to stay in the north of England but only Spurs came in. Ridiculous.

So, with Jaaskelainen (£2m or £3m) complimenting Young we'd have a great backline. If we can get the mooted £10m-£12m for Yak I'd take it but ONLY if we had a deal in place for Defoe (£8m-£12m).

Posted by: Malc's Happy  | July 23, 2007 8:07 PM

Never Happy wrote...

JP - I have never posted claiming that Tuncay was one of the 'hinted at' ( no one promised us anything) spectacular signings.

Hopefully he will turn out to be spectacular.

Without doubt Steve Gibson has been a great chairman, however for staff from the chairman down to almost daily come out with promises to the fans that will / cann't be met is getting embarassing.

Posted by: Never Happy  | July 24, 2007 9:17 AM

Ian Gill wrote...

Very Happy

Making runs would be an improvement on last year, intelligent runs are much better. With the players we have brought in I can see lots of improvement in movement off the ball.

Yak will still be a bit static but once the ball is at his feet will run and outmuscle defenders (until he gets into the area at least).

Posted by: Ian Gill  | July 24, 2007 9:44 AM

Ian Gill wrote...

Never Happy

That is the crux of the matter. We all know and understand things arent as easy as we pretend they are. We all know and understand that there isnt a bottmless purse. We all know and understand that the last ten years have been one of the best periods in our history.

The problem appears to be the club keep getting the message wrong or confused or both. They refuse to push against the open door that is the fans loyalty and support, to bring us onboard and develop the relationship. More worringly, they possibly havent even recognised the opportunity.

**AV writes: That was the real missed sitter in "the relaunch" of Boro. We could have been a new kind of community club, inclusive and vibrant with a real dynamic relationship of all the component parts, not just the same old club with a new badge plucked out of the air.

Posted by: Ian Gill  | July 24, 2007 10:44 AM

jimstrummer wrote...

Hang on,

"missed sitter" !?

It seems to me we are starting to become something a little more than the same old club.

A young bright, articulate manager. instilling new ideas (new to us anyway) vibrant attacking football, purchasing young, hungry players..surely this is the first step and hopefuly the rest will follow. Isnt July 24th a little early in the season to be voicing the same old whinge.

Lets give it a chance.

Oh one other thing, there's no use talking about another Joe Cole or Ronaldo or whoever, they're one offs...lets support our own.

To me, Gareth is doing all the right things, as ever. Time will tell wether he makes a memorable manager. All the greats where young unproved managers once. Who would you rather have had in the recent manager merry-go-round ?? Allardyce ? Goran-Erikson ?........Excactly

**AV writes: I agree that there is much to be positive about but the supporters seem more divided than ever long before the season even starts.

For me, that is the missed sitter, the chance to articulate and deliver a new vision of communicatonand inclusion that actually unites the crowd around the club.

That new vision could have been at the heart of the new post Red Book season ticket, a membership scheme with real benefits and real possibilities.

A relaunch, rebranding or what ever you want to call it offers the chance to renegotiate realitionships as well as just chanc eth elogo. That has been missed.

Posted by: jimstrummer  | July 24, 2007 12:26 PM

alf wrote...

"To me, Gareth is doing all the right things, as ever. Time will tell wether he makes a memorable manager. All the greats where young unproved managers once. Who would you rather have had in the recent manager merry-go-round ?? Allardyce ? Goran-Erikson ?........Excactly"

Southgate has achieved nothing yet. Allardyce and Erikson have achieved a lot more and have got the experience.

When southgate took over we were told it was for continuity, now its a complete overhaul and change in tactics. Its a massive gamble by such an inexperienced manager. However there is no chance of us getting relegated just as there is no chance of us being in top 7

Posted by: alf  | July 24, 2007 1:06 PM

alf wrote...

and don't be fooled by this rebranding with a new badge. it's all to do with protecting the trademark. a lot of clubs are doing it with the increase in revenue from the premier league.

Posted by: alf  | July 24, 2007 1:15 PM

Very Happy wrote...

Ian Gill

The only person the YAK will be bumping into is another club!

Never Happy has addressed the only issue which concerns me at this moment in time.

How can Darren Bent be worth almost as much as Henry?
Plus, the signing £ 2 .5 million pound signing of Luke Young has stemmed some madness.

I don’t know what the YAK is worth, because it’s fools money. I’m just staggered at seeing people moving for prices which just don’t add up.

The lads who have come through our academy are Bank Breakers, which means our team is costly£

If we can sign a top right-sided express train, who is known to wear a bullet proof shirt then I will be delighted, because that is what the fans love to see and will pay up front for.

That would help the season ticket sales and I wonder how many have been sold as now?

Any idea AV?

**AV writes: No word as yet......

Posted by: Very Happy  | July 24, 2007 3:29 PM

keepyourspin wrote...

I think you are spot on with the missed chance line AV.

I suspect that I am one of many that want to believe but have been worn down by the spin from the club about Viduka, new signings et al. It's gone on for years but the recent "keep the faith line" reeks of a club that has not the faintest idea of where it is going wrong.

As SG said when he appointed Gate "its my club so I will do what I want." Fair enough but as a customer its my time and my money and i'll spend that as I want too.

Posted by: keepyourspin  | July 24, 2007 4:55 PM

jimstrummer wrote...

And where is the club going wrong exactly ?

Appointing a young articulate, highly motivated, ambitious manager. By having arguably the most successful youth development policy in the premier league. By demonstrating a commitment to play more attacking, high tempo football. By attempting to bring in only young, hungry, technically competent players ?

Hey, i'm not saying that everything is, or will be perfect.....but come on. Have a word.

**AV writes: Those are areas where they are going right.

Posted by: jimstrummer  | July 25, 2007 8:46 AM

robert atkinson wrote...

listened to darlington friendly last night on radio tees. it was rubbish, kept turning off. hope there is better to come

Posted by: robert atkinson  | July 25, 2007 11:00 AM

jimstrummer wrote...

Yeah, me to Robert.

They've both attended the Eurosport School of commentary - Finishing every sentence with an inflection as though they are going to add something, and don't........

It gets on my bloody nerves !

And when they did say something, is wasn't very insightful.

If it was up to the standard set by five live (factual and informative) without the Bernie and Aly humour i could take it. But Radio Cleveland commentary falls between two stools

Posted by: jimstrummer  | July 25, 2007 5:09 PM

Coop3000 wrote...

I listend to todays match against Hibs and they 'left the Boro game' to get the cricket scores!. Now, whats that all about?

I understand it was a friendly game against Hibs so im hoping and praying this wont become a regular feature if other sports results need reporting upon.

Maybe, just maybe the Boro decided to ditch Century knowing full well that the Cleveland commentry will annoy most people and force the real fans to go buy an season ticket. Its gotta be the ONLY alternative we now have to follow our boys and i feel like ive been backed into a corner, and i dont like it there!

Posted by: Coop3000  | July 28, 2007 5:42 PM

Very Happy wrote...

Eric Paylor

In reference to Radio Cleveland taking over the commentary you stated in the Gazette that we may be “Pleasantly surprised?.

Those were your very two words and I thought, eh up, I’ll test Eric’s hearing out.

It was like shaving with blunt sand paper to put it mildly. It would make a wild animal drop out of a tree in surrender if it had a Red and White top on.

Radio Tees have won the contract, but they will not win the ears. I listen to a lot of local Radio Eric, & football is definately not their game.

A Premiership match needs a Premiership voice.

Posted by: Very Happy  | July 29, 2007 9:01 PM

Bootlebarth wrote...

So the Premier League has cast its greedy eyes over video streaming to make shed loads of cash from world wide sales eh. Well in that case I'm off to watch Rugby League. Football the peoples game - don't make me laugh!

Posted by: Bootlebarth  | July 30, 2007 2:55 PM

Bringbackaliandberniecampaign wrote...

We are a campaign to remove the gag that has been placed around the mouths of Teessiders, to bring back what is the voice of the Boro, Alistair Brownlee and Bernie Slaven.

In early July 2007 Middlesbrough football club sold the rights of radio coverage of all matches for the forthcoming 3 years to BBC Radio Cleveland.

This means the most popular commentators in the Teesside area will be silenced. We, along with your support aim to persuade BBC Radio Cleveland in identifying the wish of the Teeside public.

Sign up and send emails voicing your support, along with your name to bringbackaliandbernie@hotmail.co.uk or sign up to www.myspace.com/bringbackaliandberie

Many thanks

**AV writes: I think the horse has bolted.

Posted by: Bringbackaliandberniecampaign  | August 1, 2007 3:29 PM

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