January 2009 Archives
A DISMAL and dispiriting day in which cautious Boro set out to draw a 'must win' match and came out of it claiming some kind of moral victory ("I was proud") after failing to really test the visiting keeper and hanging on for dear life at the death.
In one of the few remaining 'winnable' home matches against a relegation rival, insipid Boro were shown to be lacking firepower. Lacking fire. Just lacking. Time is running out. It was a massive missed opportunity to regain control of a situation rapidly spinning out of control and to give the fans some hope and inspiration in what will be a sticky run-in.
PHILOSOPHER-coach Tony Mowbray has confessed he is a keen student of influential ancient Chinese military strategist Sun Tse and his seminal work 'The Art of War'. Me too.
It is always refreshing, and surprising, to see a hint of intelligence break through like a shaft of sunlight in a cloistered world usually shrouded in a cloud of willful ignorance, short-sighted self-importance and - let's be honest - stupidity.
MARLON KING has signed on loan for the rest of the season. As a striker with lots of baggage who doesn't take kindly to sitting on the bench he will slot straight in for Mido.
Well, it beats calling Tom Craddock back from his loan deal.
Watson was expected on Teesside today to talk over a move to Boro.
Meanwhile for any anyone who missed my live test run of a GazetteLive Boro webchat today here, BBC style, is another chance to see it....
OH DEAR. That was demoralising. Not just the scale of the defeat and the impact on the political and psychological landscape of Teesside. Also the manner of the defeat.
West Brom looked fitter, faster, stronger and hungrier for the victory that was hugely important for both sides. They were organised, motivated and up for it. Boro were overwhelmed by the Baggies intensity and desire and that is deeply worrying.
IT'S quiet out there; too quiet. After the emotional post-derby gnashing and wailing has died down along with the dust from DowningGate there is an eeriie silence. Well, almost silence. You can just faintly hear the metallic scrape as knives are sharpened.
THE POSITIVES: Stewie played, looked well up for it in the first half and looks to be enjoying his newly liberated role, plus that particular distraction can now be put behind us until the summer; the fans rallied round him and turned out in force and in good voice; the "Boro Goal Machine" scored a cracker, in open play and in the Premiership to suggest there is enough in there to help claw us to safety; Josh Walker and Didier Digard looked as good an engine room combination as we've seen all season; and despite a chaotic last ten minutes and the now mandatory gifted late leveller we did not throw it all away in stoppage time - but for Tony McMahon it really would have been a 'typical Boro' moment.
THE NEGATIVES: Boro had three points in their grasp and let it slip when one really wasn't enough; the injuries to Walker and Digard which changed the shape and tempo of the game; the fragility of squad and thinness of the bench was exposed again as a defender was sent on as a makeshift midfielder; playing none up front for long spells against a team that was there for the taking - apart from kicks and picking the ball out of the net did Turnbull touch the ball?; the panic in defence at dead balls; the now mandatory gifted late leveller; Mido's undisciplined wandering deep in his own half when we were chasing the game; a little boy lost display from midfield spectator Julio Arca; Tuncay is off colour, ineffective on the wing and a shadow of the player he was three months ago; the failure to cash in when other key games down the bottom were iced off; a chance to claw Sunderland back into the mire was missed; nine without a win.
BORO SELLING Stewart Downing to a relegation rival right now would be a high risk strategy that borders on the suicidal. In the summer maybe. But not now.
With Boro mired in a cut-throat basement battle it would be reckless to let the team's most consistent and potent creative force leave. That goes double for any notion he should leave to a team we are engaged in a battle for survival with.
HAPPY New transfer window! Here goes for what could be a momentous month, one of immense importance to the future development of the club and to the ultimate success of the Southgate project.