Fine Margins
By Neil Garratt
Thursday 12 Sep 2019 12:22:00
Browse all Boro Views articles

Six games into the league season and already the vultures have been circling the wagons. Boro have only won one league match yet some have predicted relegation to league one or a mid-table finish! Get a grip. Smell the coffee and take a good look across the football moonscape:

Football is littered with former managers, owners, chairmen and players who have tried and failed. There are many who have persevered against all odds and achieved relative success: Lee Bowyer, Charlton Athletic`s 18th Manager since 2000, got them promoted via the play-offs and currently sit 2nd a place above a team from West Yorkshire. How many reading this will put money on them achieving promotion based on the first six games?

In the last 20 years we've had fewer kit sponsors than managers, one of whom began his career here and is currently manager of England. He was a rookie - made some mistakes - one error being Afonso Alves. Aitor Karanka was another rookie who could be described as Boro’s most successful since McClaren - taking us back to the promise land for one season [5 wins / 27 goals - amongst the lowest in Premier history behind Sunderland and Derby County].

Boro graph

Many weren't enamoured by Karanka`s style of play - typically defensive - but he delivered promotion with established players from Tony Mowbray's reign: Grant Leadbitter, Albert Adomah, Danny Ayala and George Friend. Arguably, they were the spine of the team which gained promotion. Non were expensive off-the-shelf items. Indeed, Bamford [inconsistent and unable to settle at any club for long yet became Championship Player of the Year!], Lee Tomlin [on his day could produce top draw performances], Forshaw [that side-foot against Reading!], David Nugent [remember the header against Hull!] and Kalas - performed well amongst far more expensive players. The signing sagas over Jordan Rhodes and Stewy Downing - will we ever know the truth?

Strachan and Monk spent big and neither were successful: Mogga had to rid the club of overpaid failures from Strachan's disastrous reign whilst Woodgate has been left with a handful of players whose wages aren't matched by their footballing qualities and skill. Tony Pulis was an experienced manager and frankly the least said about him the better.

Woody needs to be given the opportunity to build and develop his team. Turning the philosophy of the team from a defensive, boring, turgid, frustrating long ball game isn't going to happen overnight. Bringing in young hungry players means we have to expect them to make mistakes - and lose games! Someone once said "you cant win anything with kids" - but that was about the infamous "class of 92" at Manchester United, which included David Beckham, Nicky Butt, Ryan Giggs, Gary Neville and Paul Scholes. I'm not suggesting we have a David Beckham in our ranks or that we are going to end up playing in Europe (?!) or winning domestic honours (?!) - but you have to start somewhere.

Woody and the boys deserve time and patience - the team needs to gel and we have some of the best coaches in football amongst our ranks. One season in the Premiership in the last 10 years isn't a successful record - Strachan spent big and got nowhere. Monk's reported £50M spend included players for whom we paid over-inflated prices for raw unproved talent and those who thought they were bigger than the club. We can’t afford that luxury any more.

Recruitment has come under the spotlight and we have brought in players who are young, hungry and raw - but they won't become world beaters overnight. We have players who are arguably past their peak approaching the end of their contracts. Some have been excellent servants to this club:– George Friend was a bargain at £100K and no one can doubt his commitment. It is that sort of [young] player we need to find and develop.

Let’s get behind Woodgate and his team. The landscape has changed. We cant afford to chuck money at overpaid prima-donna`s. Turning a club around is more akin to that of an oil tanker not a mini. Onwards and upwards.

Til next time

Up The Boro!


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