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  1. 61 points
    Hi guys! PAOK fan here from Greece. You are getting a really hard worker in Akpom. He is a top lad and a good professional. When he first came, he was considered a bench player. It was the 2018-19 season. During the first half of that season he would only come in as sub but during the January transfer window, PAOK sold their best striker, Prijovic in Arabia. Everyone was panicking since we were on route to our first championship in years. Chuba stepped up and was one of the best players, in the second half of the season. He contributed in PAOK's first championship in 34 years (!) where we were also invincibles. Some of his best games were against Olympiakos in Toumpa were he scored an impressive goal and his performance against AEK in the cup final where he scored an impressive overhead kick to win us the double (he was also the MVP of the final). His scoring record might not be the best but he is a really hard working striker, who runs a lot without the ball. His positioning is good and he can press a lot. In Tuesday, we beat and disqualified Benfica (which is considered a big deal considering the teams economical difference) and Akpom was one of the best players. PAOK's pressing started from him and he ran a lot. I mean A LOT. He also kept the ball well against world class defenders like Vertoghen and he had an unofficial assist in Benfica's own goal. Now for the price, I think 2.8 is fine because you are getting a player with important experience for his age (promotion with hull, first team appearances with arsenal under Wenger, double and Europa league with PAOK, playoffs in Belgium side Sint-Truidense). Keep in mind that Arsenal kept a 40% future sales when he signed for us (I do not know the right english term sorry... but I think you get it) which means that you will be paying around 1 mill to Arsenal. To be honest I am surprised that he chose a Championship team to continue his career, but his will to play near his family played a big part in his decision. Last year he was linked with West Ham and this summer with Besiktas (a Europa league team that PAOK also beat two weeks ago in a game where Akpom had an assist and a great overall performance, but a missed pen 😭). IMO he can be considered Premier League level. I dont know if he is a starter there but he can surely fight for a position. Now for the negatives. His heading ability is not that strong despite him being relatively tall. He sometimes lacks concentration and confidence. Also, I don't know how effective he will be in a team that plays long balls (as I read somd of you say). He is although energetic and he is not an old type boring striker who waits in the penalty area. He also played as a winger in some games in Belgium and as a second striker at PAOK in a 3-4-2-1 formation (but not that many times). Overall I am emotional about his departure because his name was written in PAOK's history and he played a huge part in our first double and championship in so many years. I dont know I might be biased but I tried to describe him as objectively as I could. P.S. Sorry for the loooong message but I thought I could inform you. Even though I live in Greece I am interested in the EFL and I support Bristol Rovers so I said why not... P.S.2 I just read the news about Warnock. I hope he stays healthy and good 🙏
  2. 21 points
  3. 21 points
    Although that pic is now out there, I could get in trouble and have been asked to take it down. Good news either way 👍
  4. 20 points
    Was hoping for something a little more humble to be honest...............................goodbye! Thor's account has been deleted fyi Not standing for stupidity and mickey taking
  5. 20 points
    Yes club are expecting 2/3 in before weekend, and gibbo been for talks with Norwich / and Forest none starter with The clubs. Looks like it’s forcing Burnley’s hands. They have ran out of options
  6. 20 points
    Williams fee nearly agreed. 1.75million rising to 2.5 (So 1.75 then 😂).
  7. 19 points
    Hopefully they want them all sorted by Monday next week. But I quote “ working a lot harder on a different transfer Pulling out all the stops to get it done”so might hold out on announcements until answer of extra transfer
  8. 19 points
    I don’t normally post if have ITK info but I have a few things if anyone is interested. I’ve only had ITK info once before and that was when I broke Burnley’s interest in Fry a few year ago. From the same source; Warnock is taking a few trialists to Cornwall with him to have an in depth look, one of them is Maghoma, the other 2 I don’t know names of. Club keeping it under wraps. We’re confident on getting Gibson back as he is being stubborn as he only wants to come back here and Burnley don’t want him at the club again to avoid a repeat of last season, this will go to the wire. McNair & Britt being offered about as we believe we can get a decent fee for both and obviously high wages off the books. Britt not to fussed about leaving but McNair wants out. We have also enquired about Tyler Roberts from Leeds, they don’t believe he’s cut out for the Premier League. If I get anything else I’ll post.
  9. 19 points
    Now I've heard everything. The reason we're in a mess is because karanka wanted an expert in place in each role at the club. Then pulis rides in on his stead and saves us by saying we need to fire a load of people because we can get that fella over there to do his job for the same wages he's currently on. Who cares what that does to his workload and the quality of the output. Its absolute rubbish and deflection to the highest degree. The problem isn't the 50 odd k you might shave off the annual expenses by firing a couple of analysts, its the millions wasted on terrible signings over the years, particularly since karanka left. I guess its symptomatic of this country in general - who needs experts?
  10. 19 points
    I should get some info tomorrow. If I don't then I'll just make something up when I've had a few.
  11. 19 points
    Unless we get a daft offer for Britt he’s not going, we’re going to offer a new contract as well. No idea on the Moore deal. Gibson’s coming back one way or another
  12. 18 points
  13. 18 points
    If you find yourself getting angry over transfer rumours on an online forum, it might be time for some self reflection.
  14. 17 points
    What are other people's views on how whether there is sufficient scrutiny on the Club internally and externally such as through the Evening Gazette and BBC Tees?. My post in the "Should Jonathan Woodgate be sacked?" thread generated discussion so maybe it's worthy of its own thread. I'll get the ball rolling below by adding a few more points. Externally, I think it's pretty much a dictatorship with the Club's treatment of the Evening Gazette and BBC Tees over the years. We're teetering on the brink of relegation to League One after the appointment of Woodgate backfired as expected and is still in a job, yet there seems to have been next to no meaningful scrutiny. Based upon the clear imbalance between the squad at Woodgate's disposal vs our league position, we should be nowhere near the relegation zone. We're only here through sheer incompetence to 1.) appoint a useless manager and head of recruitment, and 2.) to continue to employ that useless manager (head of recruitment did the right thing and resigned - credit to Bevington for that). I completely don't blame the Evening Gazette sports team for their lack of scrutiny as they've got their hands tied behind their backs. They got their hands scolded after relegation from the Premier League when they became too critical of the team and undoubtedly have budget pressures so have to fall in line with the club as they simply can't afford to fall out with the Club. MFC had the power to bully the Evening Gazette into submission, but it shouldn't do so just because it has the power to. It's dirty tactics which reduces my opinion of Steve Gibson dramatically. Similarly, MFC having the BBC Tees Neil Maddison on the payroll is a massive conflict of interest, so he's never going to be impartial. Notably, Bernie Slaven was sacked from that role because he was too outspoken against MFC's failures. It's so obviously tainted. Internally, the sound music from Pulis and Woodgate seems to be one of complacency as they have reassured us countless times that there are good policies now in place behind the scenes and that Steve Gibson knows what he is doing. We've heard lots of propaganda for years about "smashing the league", "the golden thread", how we've totally rejuvenated the recruitment policies etc. However, nothing has improved, and instead things have slowly and gradually got worse ever since Gibson regained full power during that messy January 2017 window. From the outside looking in, it seems like Gibson surrounds himself with "yes men" who aren't fit for their jobs, as emphasised by the appointments of Bevington and Woodgate. Given that culture, I can't imagine someone internal who scrutinised Gibson and co's decisions being particularly welcomed behind the scenes. I'm imagining they'd be sacked and thrown under the bus just how Karanka and Orta were after relegation from the Premier League. He took it to an unprofessional level with them personal attacks. It's from the political handbook of dirty tricks. I think Gibson should be absolutely ashamed of himself for doing that to a manager who got us promoted. Common decency and appreciation of his achievements with us should have prevailed. Again, just because you have the power to do something, it doesn't mean you should do it. In my opinion, the lack of scrutiny internally and externally is contributing to the malaise that has maligned the club for the vast majority of the past decade. It makes me even less confident about our ability to turn things around. In the absence of genuine scrutiny from the local media, fans dismay can only be contained for so long. Before Gibson knows it he's going to come under some well deserved criticism when PR can't paper over the cracks any longer such as if we end up in League One. Maybe only then will he stop burying his head into the sand at any sort of scrutiny.
  15. 17 points
    What a relief! Today's results just show how strong the championship league is! A nice win and performance to finish of what can only be described as a absolutely shocking seasons for the fans. If it wasn't for Warnock then I think absolutely we would of been relegated under Woodgate. Warnock, Blackwell and Jepson have done an excellent job given the circumstances like players dropping like flies. 4 away wins was massive for this football club! We need to improve as a club as a whole and hopefully correct decisions finally get put right in the summer starting by the right appointment as a manager. Can I just say what a pleasure it has been reading members views on this forum. Yes, there is always disagreements but we all have one thing in common and that's the love of the Boro. UTB!
  16. 17 points
    Steve Gibson's primary concern is to have total control and likes to see the club as his vehicle to give his mates jobs, which vicariously gives him power. Gibson, akin to his Tory leaning ways, is obsessed with power and controls the media by keeping the Evening Gazette and BBC Tees toting the party lines. I don't blame the Evening Gazette sports team, it's just Gibson and the Club using their power to remove any meaningful scrutiny that the club have. The Club have got Neil Maddison on the payroll with his job within the club. Slaven got sacked in that role after becoming too outspoken. Gibson is doing everything in his power to avoid scrutiny. If he bothered to put the same robust practices that he puts into avoiding scrutiny, into organising the club into being successful on the pitch then we wouldn't be in this mess. There are many parallels between how the Club control the media and how the Tories get an easy ride from the right wing press. The only time when we've been successful in the past decade was when Karanka and Orta took control away from Gibson. Either side of Karanka being here we've wasted money on garbage signings and knee jerked between unsuccessful managers who were either unproven and unprepared to be a manager or dinosaur managers. I also don't like how when Karanka and Orta left Gibson got the Evening Gazette to launch a smear campaign on them. It was very dirty by Gibson. The way I think Gibson views the club is that as he puts loads of millions into MFC then he can do whatever he wants. The mantra is basically that the fans are meaningless and that Gibson is infallible like a medieval King or Pope. I think the Club would be by far better off if there was more scrutiny of decisions, both within itself about appointments to senior positions, such as could anyone have warned Gibson about appointing Woodgate and Bevington into such influential positions?, and externally through the media; There were eyebrows raised on here about both those appointments, yet the club saw no issue and the Evening Gazette and BBC Tees didn't scrutinise the decisions. It has just endlessly produced propaganda on behalf of Woodgate and the club. We're teetering on the brink of relegation to League One, and it’s abundantly clear that Gibson is completely mismanaging the club. We desperately need a Director of Football in the Summer to take away the power from Gibson's incompetent hands. Hopefully we can somehow salvage this season so that we're not walking out as a League One side in August. It's incredibly worrying times.
  17. 16 points
  18. 16 points
  19. 16 points
    I really cant believe people are suggesting Grant Hall should be dropped after his 1st game in 6 months. The level of impatience in todays world is bonkers at times.
  20. 16 points
    2 players back at rockcliffe tomorrow all booked in for overnight also.
  21. 15 points
    Their is a fascinating article about the Boro in today’s Athletic... Nine championship games in 29 days. Following a team in their maddest run ever. Neil Warnock was on the pitch. It was all over. Approaching 5pm on Saturday and Middlesbrough had just won 4-1 at Birmingham City to lift the Teessiders into the Championship’s play-off places. The dark, empty stadium echoed to a brief cheer from the away dugout, then Warnock exchanged coronavirus fist-bumps with Birmingham’s staff and the match officials. His players were heading for the touchline. Warnock called them back. For a minute or so, they formed a red circle near the centre spot. Half an hour later, Warnock stands in a cold St Andrew’s corridor with a warm smile on his face and tells The Athletic: “I just wanted to thank them.” It was sincere gratitude, not just for victory but for another front-foot performance at the end of a sequence of matches that merit the re-use of unprecedented. “It’s the hardest period I’ve ever had in my career,” Warnock says, “by a mile. I’m 72 now, but I bet a lot of young managers are shattered.” Because this was not simply the end of another tough Championship 90 minutes. Warnock was referring to a series of nine Championship matches in 29 days. Saturday-Wednesday, Saturday-Wednesday on repeat. The first 11 games of the Championship season had been spread across 58 days; Middlesbrough were then asked to play their next nine in precisely half that time. Just shy of 20 per cent of the league season had been condensed into less than a month. “I’m in my 41st season as a manager and I’ve never come across anything like this,” Warnock says. “We’re going into unknown territory, even someone of my experience. I honestly don’t know what’ll happen.” Birmingham away was the ninth game and The Athletic has been alongside Middlesbrough throughout. Britt Assombalonga celebrates Boro’s first goal at Birmingham City (Photo: Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images) There were five wins and four defeats, 15 goals (of a total of 25), 32 substitutions, just 12 yellow cards and one red (later overturned), and 18 different players used. Two have succumbed to injuries due to sheer attrition, but goalkeeper Marcus Bettinelli, and defenders Dael Fry, Paddy McNair and Marc Bola have each played all 810 minutes, plus stoppages, which added up to another 50 minutes across the nine games. There have been 18 pre- and post-match press conferences, during which Warnock has referenced Frank Sinatra, Red Adair, Franz Beckenbauer and delivered umpteen warnings about COVID-19. There has been one apparently decisive speech at the club’s Rockliffe training ground. On the morning of the first game — at home to Norwich City on November 21 — Middlesbrough were seventh in the table, three points off automatic promotion, an achievement in itself given the club were staring at relegation when Warnock succeeded Jonathan Woodgate with eight games of last season to go. By Saturday night, they were sixth, five points off the top two with two of their next three games against the current bottom two, Sheffield Wednesday and Wycombe Wanderers. But those can wait. The Championship is in the middle of a week off. Middlesbrough were intending to have no training Sunday or Monday and Warnock said he was planning to spend Christmas Day “in me jammies”. He had mentioned Christmas back on November 19, when we had first discussed the nine-game schedule. This man known for his eight promotions has been managing since the summer of 1980, when he took over at non-League Gainsborough Trinity and bought all the players blue v-neck jumpers so that they might look smart and play smart. In this run, Warnock came up against managers such as Huddersfield’s Carlos Corberan and Alex Neil of Preston North End, who were not born back then. “First,” Warnock says, when asked in general how he will approach the intense month, “we have got to enjoy coming into training. Whatever the latest result is, we’ve got to forget about the game as soon as possible. No time for dwelling on mistakes or disappointments. “I’m pretty good psychology-wise, and I trust the lads. Most managers, when you’ve got a schedule like this, will have the players in the day after a game for a warm-down et cetera. I have never believed in that. I trust my lads to go for a walk, take the dogs out, do something to get rid of the lactic acid. Rather than driving in an hour, driving home an hour. Mentally, that tires them. I’d rather they stopped at home and were mentally fresh. “I feel that trust is repaid. They’d rather have a day off than drive in, warm up, jog, shower and then have another drive home — you know what I mean? Christmas Day, I never have players in. All I say to them on Christmas Eve is to make sure they don’t have too much pud.” And he has moved on from v-necks. “Also, we’ve got to make sure we cover the players in terms of technology, have them wired up during games. We don’t have a massive sports science staff, but they’re very good. I’ve been very impressed.” This seems more specifically related to the physical task ahead. Warnock knows his reputation is that of an old-school, long-ball manager from the 20th century. But he would not be managing as 2020 turns into 2021 if that was all he was. He was a qualified chiropodist at Gainsborough, speaks insightfully of concussion subs and while he would not use the term holistic, Warnock understands the broad picture. “You tell me what year (Arsene) Wenger took over at Arsenal?” he asks. “1996? I’d have been at Plymouth Argyle, then I was at Bury for a few months after Oldham before I went to Sheffield United. It was at Sheffield United that I started to adapt. We went into all the data, fitness, nutrition — psychology with the doctor. You name it, we did it. And that was all down to Wenger. He was a massive influence on the country, on me, on the whole football world. I think he changed everything. “We did ever so well at Sheffield United. I thought in terms of preparation we were very good and that gave us the stability we had. I’ve carried that on, and even more so as technology steps up. When we do our Friday morning tactical things on the opponent here, it always amazes me to see these players zooming around the boards — we used to have Subbuteo. Computer lads can do anything. “But, I still think, no matter what you have with statistics, the human eye can tell you most things — if you’ve got experience.” He looked forward, some anxiety lacing his natural excitement. “It’s a nightmare for managers, this. It’s a nightmare for clubs. Having said that, it’s a nightmare for the country. It’s going to take an enormous effort in the next nine games. I don’t think a lot of people will realise what is going to hit ‘em. “We’ve got four Wednesday games, so we’ll either have Thursday off and Friday preparing — or travelling if it’s an away game. Recovery is going to be so important. We had a tough session on Tuesday (November 17) and that’ll be the last tough session until next year, probably February. No training anymore. All it is now is recovery for a day, preparation for a game and off you go again.” Game 1: Saturday, November 21 Middlesbrough 0-1 Norwich The morning before Norwich arrive at the Riverside, Warnock gives his pre-match press conference via Zoom. Local television, local radio, the Northern Echo and Middlesbrough Gazette are the questioners and Warnock’s mood is bright. “The Gazette keeps running out in my Spar shop!” he says. He reveals an approach from I’m A Celebrity… Get Me Out Of Here! a couple of years ago, has a pop at Northern Ireland manager Ian Baraclough for playing McNair in all three internationals over the break that ended in midweek, including a European Championship play-off that went to extra time — “selfish and immature” — and recalls that in 1998 he was “in the last two” for the Norwich City job. “Bruce Rioch got it.” Warnock then remarks on the amending of EFL Regulation 33.4 on substitutes — “nine subs, or whatever it is” — and points out that Middlesbrough had only six on the bench, not the permitted seven, for their previous game at Brentford. McNair is picked at centre-half and plays the 90 plus six minutes of added time. He is not too extended initially as Middlesbrough’s midfield energetically closes down Norwich. Their physical energy is striking; they are on top of a team who started the day third, a point off the leaders Reading. A sign of the times – disinfectant is sprayed on a ball before Middlesborough’s game against Norwich (Photo: Richard Sellers/PA Images via Getty Images) In the 51st minute, there is a home penalty, but Marcus Tavernier slips and is judged to have hit the ball twice when beating Tim Krul. Twenty minutes later, Teemu Pukki, left on the bench after international duty for Finland, converts a Norwich penalty. The visitors win 1-0 and go top. Reading fall to sixth, having lost away to Bournemouth. Geographically, Norwich is remote, like Middlesbrough, Swansea and Bournemouth. But their financial strength after relegation from the Premier League means they flew to Teesside and back. They then flew to and from their game at Stoke three days later. Norwich even flew the 100 miles to Luton away. “The Premier League is the best league in the world,” says their head coach, Daniel Farke. “The toughest league in the world is definitely the Championship. But… if you always speak about being tired, then you feel tired. It’s important not to mention that too much.” Both clubs name the newly-permitted nine subs and Norwich use all five allowed, though three are only introduced in stoppage-time. Across the Championship weekend, Barnsley and Luton Town are the only other clubs to use all five. Nottingham Forest and Birmingham use just one each. Reading and Brentford don’t fill their nine-man benches. The average substitute use among the division’s 24 clubs was 3.3 out of five. “I loved watching us today, the lads are giving everything,” says Warnock. Game 2: Wednesday, November 25 Middlesbrough 3-0 Derby County A couple of hours before kick-off comes the news of Diego Maradona’s death. The state of the Championship suddenly seems irrelevant. Of course it’s not, particularly for Derby, who are bottom. The club sacked Phillip Cocu 10 days earlier and appointed former Middlesbrough manager Steve McClaren as technical director the day before this trip to Teesside. Unlike Norwich, that trip is taken by bus. The investment from the alleged Saudi takeover is yet to arrive. In between Warnock reminiscing about Derby’s old Baseball Ground home and nearly becoming their manager on various occasions, the visitors’ focus has switched to Wayne Rooney. He is not even half the age of Warnock, whom he wants to follow as manager or player-manager. Warnock recalls trying the latter role himself early on and being “exhausted” by the twin demands. He thinks Rooney “can do it, short-term”. Just how short-term reveals itself quickly. Rooney is 35 and has had 19 seasons of full-pelt professional football. It shows. Rooney plays all 90+5 minutes of a game Middlesbrough control. Derby make four substitutions and were Rooney not called Wayne Rooney he would surely have been a fifth. He has not kicked a ball for the club since this game. Rooney has moved to the dugout, only interim manager but full-time. Warnock made three changes from the Norwich game. McNair and six others again played the full game. Middlesbrough’s tempo was again snappy, though Warnock said of his players: “I had to give them a bit of a bollocking before the game tonight, which is unusual, because they were a bit sloppy in the dressing room, a bit lethargic.” He gave free-agent forward Duncan Watmore a first start since Boxing Day last year. Watmore’s attacking sense, Warnock says, “allows us not to be rigid.” Watmore’s father Ian, who worked in Tony Blair’s cabinet office, says Duncan is loving Middlesbrough after seven years with north east neighbours Sunderland: “It’s an environment where you want to go every day, rather than feel you should.” Game 3: Saturday, November 28 Huddersfield Town 3-2 Middlesbrough A third game in eight days and it looks like a test of stamina. It did not feel like that at 3 o’clock or 3.30pm, though. Even in unrelenting rain, with an atmospheric fog cloaking the stadium at the foothills of the Pennines and darkness falling by kick-off, Middlesbrough were fresh. Warnock named nine of the starting XI who beat Derby 3-0 and after 14 minutes it should have been 3-0 Middlesbrough again. Britt Assombalonga missed two chances before Marvin Johnson gave them a deserved lead. In a 3-4-3 formation with the front seven camped in Huddersfield’s first 35 yards, Warnock’s zippy players were dominant. A happy camp was visible on the pitch, a tone set the day before when Warnock was asked about Maradona and immediately recalled seeing Pele play for Santos at Sheffield Wednesday in 1972. There were also nods to his time in charge of Huddersfield – one of his eight promotions. Warnock was at the club for the last season at their old Leeds Road ground – 1993-94. It was there he once saw Huddersfield striker Andy Booth’s mum, who worked at the ground, run on to confront a player who had fouled her son. Laughing, he recalls this to The Athletic. “I said to (a Warnock assistant then and today) Ronnie Jepson, ‘Can you remember Boothy going down injured and a woman running across the dugout!’ “‘What’s she doing?’ I said. “‘Boothy’s mum, gaffer.’” But amid the smiles, there are jarring moments. Just before kick-off, Huddersfield’s players drop down to take the knee. Middlesbrough’s remain standing. It is a disconcerting contrast, perhaps more noticeable away from home. Middlesbrough had stopped taking the knee when QPR did, with captain Assombalonga explaining why: “It has to lead to something, as opposed to just being a trend. It can’t be a case of us just doing it for the sake of doing it. I don’t want to be doing it for the rest of my career. I’ve probably got six or seven years left – I don’t want to be taking a knee every time but then still be waiting for a change.” Out of nothing, Huddersfield equalise just past the half-hour. Before half-time, they get a second. Assombalonga makes it 2-2 late on but there is still time for Josh Koroma to bend in a home winner. By then, Middlesbrough look tired. Around an hour later, Warnock stalls at the top of the stairs and to the question about individual fatigue, he replies: “Oh, yeah, every club in the Football League will be seeing it. It’s only going to get worse.” He made three substitutions. Elsewhere the average rises to 3.6 with all 10 possible changes being made at Cardiff v Luton. Leaders Norwich concede a late equaliser at home to fourth-bottom Coventry City, having been able to name only six of nine permitted subs. Their midfielder Alex Tettey says: “Those who have played all the games until now and are not injured, well done. Fair play to them, because there will come a point when your body will break down.” Game 4: Wednesday, December 2 Middlesbrough 2-1 Swansea City The pace shifts up a gear: this is the first of six games in 18 December days. But Warnock is not entertaining a discussion about weary bodies. Despite what he said at Huddersfield three days earlier, he previews Swansea with a different opinion: “Every time we lose, it’s gonna be ‘fatigue’. I don’t think we should make an excuse like that. If we’d been three up, as we should have been, we’d have been sprinting for England. Most of it’s in the mind, I don’t get that fatigue thing.” Tiring – or retiring – is not something Warnock wishes to contemplate. He turned 72 the day before and as he says: “I read this morning that apparently the first time I said I was going to retire, I was 58. So it’s one of your Frank Sinatras.” This is his seventh new job in management since then. It came in June — following Middlesbrough’s 3-0 home defeat by… Swansea. That saw them fourth-bottom and the experiment with local lad Woodgate ended. By the following Saturday, Warnock was in charge and the team rose to 17th en route to safety. Warnock stayed on. Against Swansea this time around, only three of their starters from that meeting in June do so again. He has not been on a recruitment drive, he has reshuffled, brought players back in such as Bola and Anfernee Dijksteel. Middlesbrough win a tight match with two goals from Watmore. It did not prevent Watmore getting earfuls from Warnock, audible in the empty Tier 3 stadium. There was a touch of his Cardiff days about Warnock’s attitude towards Middlesbrough’s opponents from south Wales and his reign in the Welsh capital could provide another template. It was there he steered an eighth team to promotion in 2018 with a core of players, nine of them, who started 30 or more Championship games. At Middlesbrough, he has 10 who have started 10 or more of the 15 league games played so far in 2020-21. Three of those – McNair, Dijksteel and Jonny Howson, have just committed to new contracts. There is a gathering sense of unity. “Our strength is our team spirit and togetherness,” Warnock says. “A lot of people focus on the negatives – I think in the north east the glass is always half-empty, whereas I’m half-full.” This feels like an important victory and the only person speaking about fatigue afterwards is Swansea manager Steve Cooper. Swansea flew to Teesside and flew back that night, so there was no multi-hour, 300-plus mile bus journey. Still, Cooper said: “If you keep rolling out the same players for every game, bar maybe in an exceptional circumstance, players will break.” Warnock, meanwhile, was more than half-full. “Paddy?” he says of McNair, “he’s a manager’s dream. There’s so many players here I think, ‘Wow, how lucky am I?’ It wasn’t so long ago that Paddy wasn’t a regular in the team. You’ve just got to see how he’s blossomed and how he’s brought Dael Fry back to life and how those two have brought Marc Bola back to life, and Dijksteel. You go further forward, I’ve never seen (George) Saville play as well, Jonny Howson. It just seems to be a thing that builds up and everybody gets a little bit more confident.” True to his word, Thursday was a day off. “We all had a holiday. Paddy and a few of the lads went off and had nine holes of golf. I was going to join them, but when I saw it raining I thought, ‘Not for me’. If we lose at Stoke, you can blame the golf on Thursday.” By the end of the midweek fixtures, four points cover the Championship’s top 10. Middlesbrough are 10th. The average number of subs used by the division’s clubs in this round is up to 3.8 out of five. Game 5: Saturday, December 5 Stoke City 1-0 Middlesbrough No one mentioned golf. Middlesbrough lost another narrow match; by a single goal for the third (and final) time in this nine-game run. Warnock had no complaints about his players’ energy or application. He had made only one change to the XI that beat Swansea on Wednesday. He used all five subs for the first time, though two of the changes were in the 89th minute and were not fatigue or injury substitutions. What he did complain about were the facilities provided for the away team. “A pigsty”, Warnock called the portakabin in which Middlesbrough were housed pre-game amid COVID-19 restrictions. “In fact, pigs would have seen it and run away. It was an absolute disgrace, that.” There is a flurry of headlines. And then, as quickly as the game had come, it was gone. Middlesbrough were on the bus north, thinking of Preston on Wednesday night. The division’s average use of substitutes reaches a high in the run of 4.1 out of five. Perhaps the strain is telling. Game 6: Wednesday, December 9 Preston 3-0 Middlesbrough Six games in and to the untutored eye gazing down on “Deepdale’s hallowed turf” as the tannoy man put it, the pace is slowing. Preston and Middlesbrough play out a close opening hour and just when the visitors up the tempo, their hosts break away and score. There are two more home goals in the last 10 minutes and it feels like Warnock’s men have hit a dip. That’s no goals and back-to-back defeats in the past five days. The tutored eye of Rob Tatham confirms the impression. Tatham, 42, is into his fourth season as Middlesbrough’s doctor, having been at Derby previously. He knows the current set of players well. “You can generally tell from watching the game what you’re going to get metrics-wise,” Tatham tells The Athletic the following afternoon. “If it looks like a team is a little bit flat, then you tend to see that (in the figures).” Warnock would speak of a subdued dressing room at Deepdale – “heads between the knees” – but Tatham and his medical staff were already focused on recovery and the next game. Rehydration and nutrition begins immediately and continues on a two-hour trans-Pennine bus trip back to Rockliffe. Tatham says these journeys after a loss can be “sombre”, though his department is already thinking of Saturday and Millwall at home. “As staff, we’re fairly busy. We try to chat to the lads as well, look to the next game. But they need time to reflect.” Each training-ground day begins with a COVID-19 questionnaire to ensure the virus does not enter the Rockliffe bubble. “We’ve amalgamated that with the other questions we do regularly, like asking them how well they’ve graded recovery, sleep, any particular issues to another part of the body,” Tatham says. “We do it on an app on their phones. There’s a sliding scale they can score from. It was a late night last night, a two-day trip to Preston. We didn’t get back to Rockliffe until midnight. We’ve tried to maximise the sleep they get but whatever sleep you get isn’t going to be ideal. They’ve come in today at lunchtime for recovery, had lunch.” With every training session and match monitored on the club’s GPS system, Boro’s full-time medical staff of five have other data to study. “We do jump tests intermittently,” Tatham says. “We do it more as a measure of fitness and conditioning, rather than recovery as such. We have certain players we do a groin squeeze test on, which basically involves them having to squeeze a pressure cuff between their knees with their legs in various positions. The reason is some players, especially when they get fatigued, switch off around the body’s mid-section, around the lower back, lumbar pelvis and down into the groin. If that goes unchecked, they can start to develop groin symptoms. So the squeeze test is quite a sensitive marker for those players, because we know what their base line is. That’s quite a good indicator of recovery for those players.” But Tatham does not rely solely on data. He uses the word “context” more than once. “It’s always important to use this in context and use your feel as well as the numbers, looking at how they’re moving, how they are around the building, demeanour. You can get a general sense of fatigue when you’re working with them day in, day out. You can get a pretty good idea if someone’s not their normal self. “It’s the same with any statistic, you have to put it in context. If we are playing tactically a certain way, that can easily change a player’s metrics. If they’re playing in a different position, their metrics might be down, their sprint distance might be down, but that’s because of the position they’re being asked to play. You should never look at the GPS on its own. It’s a tool to back up what you’re thinking or flag up anything you might have missed. So when we produce the spreadsheet we always look at what percentage of their match-maximum they hit on that specific metric. If a player’s hitting high numbers for sprinting, high-speed running or high-intensity acceleration and deceleration, then that is quite fatiguing on the body. You look at that over a cumulative period, not just one game. “In some ways, probably, the players at most risk are those who aren’t playing. When you have two game days a week and travelling, if you’re not careful their load can be very light and they can de-condition. Inevitably you’ll pick up injuries because of the schedule and those players have to be ready to step straight in. If they have de-conditioned, they’ll be at a high risk of injury themselves.” Geographically, it is understandable why clubs would fly to Teesside and Middlesbrough would fly the 300 miles to Bournemouth, for example, rather than go by coach. But why would they travel the 120 miles to Preston the day before? “The problem with travel on the day,” Tatham explains, “is when players have been sitting for a while. It’s neuromuscular. An overnight stay allows you to plan nutrition, mobility sessions, stretching, getting to the game fresh and without being rushed.” He accepts that sleep patterns are disrupted, and the club think about those. Thursday brings confirmation that key midfielder Howson – an ever-present in the run’s six games to date before coming off just past the hour-mark against Preston – will be out for at least a fortnight. Also, back-up defender Nathan Wood’s girlfriend has tested positive for the virus, so he will have to isolate for two weeks. Howson’s hamstring is the problem and Tatham says this is the sort of news he’s getting from peers at other Championship clubs. “From what I’ve heard, hamstring injuries are generally high across many clubs. I haven’t got any official data but that’s the general feedback. It’s a reflection of the load and what players have been asked to do after a period of relative downtime with COVID.” Game 7: Saturday, December 12 Middlesbrough 3-0 Millwall Middlesbrough need a response to those defeats at Stoke and Preston. For the first time, their effervescent manager sounds concerned about fatigue, squad numbers and, without explicitly saying so, morale. He has warned his players again, and the Teesside region generally, about the perils of COVID-19. Warnock has had it already and while grateful it did not go on to his chest “it knocked me back a little bit”. So this feels like a moment. Dijksteel has missed three games since being injured at Huddersfield, Howson was lost at Preston, Grant Hall had been injured in recovery having not played since September and Ashley Fletcher is still out. These are important players – during a fans’ podcast, Warnock dropped in that Steve Bruce had been impressed with Dijksteel as Middlesbrough beat his Newcastle side in pre-season. Warnock mentions the squad sizes of both Stoke and Preston squads before Millwall’s visit and replies to a question about taking Yannick Bolasie on loan in January from Everton: “Hope so.” The players were given a lie-in after Preston but, even so, “on Thursday they were so fatigued they could only go in the swimming pool,” Warnock tells The Athletic. “We’ve never come up against this before as managers. So much fatigue, so many games in such a short time. We need to sign two or three. Some of them have been running on empty. Jonny Howson was an accident waiting to happen.” And yet when they face Millwall, Middlesbrough are 3-0 up in 20 minutes and look on a different level to the visitors athletically. How did he get such a response? Standing outside the Riverside’s away dressing room on Saturday evening, Warnock’s answer is: “Emotionally. “We’ve got some energy in the team, it’s a matter of getting that out of them on a regular basis. We saved it ‘til Friday. I just reiterated to them what lucky players they are, what a lucky manager I am to have a club like Middlesbrough, to have a stadium like this. In such a pandemic, when fans are unemployed and there’s all this misery going on, we’ve got to give this place a lift. And the only way to do that is to get on the front foot and get at teams. “I’d call it a rollicking, you could probably put it another way. They’re all young lads and they feel sorry for themselves. We’d lost two on the trot and all I said to them was, ‘Think where you live. Think where you train. Think how lucky you are. So get a grip of yourselves and let’s get going again’.” It is an image to consider; this man, born in 1948, galvanising players 50 years younger, many from backgrounds incomparable to the 1950s Sheffield that Warnock grew up in. He calls himself Red Adair, then remembers Adair’s last famous blast of firefighting, at age 75, was in 1991 in the Gulf War and that only two of this squad were born by then. When he compares McNair to Beckenbauer, he realises none of his players saw the German great of the 1960s and 70s play. But he could see a reaction in their faces when delivering his rollicking: “Yeah, I think so. Because everybody’s listening, there’s nobody looking down at the floor. They all know – and they all care. That’s the main thing. They care. They don’t put on a performance like Preston on purpose. It’s not lack of effort when it’s like that; mentally sometimes, it’s easier to chuck the towel in than to fight back. We’ve just got to keep believing.” Game 8: Wednesday, December 16 Middlesbrough 1-0 Luton Another hectic midweek, and in Championship dressing rooms across England and Wales there will have been muscles massaged and tactical tweaks made. In Middlesbrough’s, there was something else. “At half-time, I asked our lads if they’d played Sunday League,” Warnock says. “I said, ‘In the second half, we need to play Sunday League’.” Defender Marc Bola nodded to himself: “Inside I thought, ‘Yeah, I know what he means’.” Warnock was probably thinking of amateur adult football, but Bola understood all the same. He played Sunday League football as a boy in south east London, which is where he was spotted by Arsenal. “I played for Long Lane, based in Blackheath,” Bola says. “I was there from age nine to about 11, 12.” Luton had more than matched Middlesbrough’s intensity in the first half. Warnock was right to be worried. Seven minutes after his Sunday League chat, Chuba Akpom scored the game’s only goal. But then Sam Morsy was dismissed (later successfully appealed), Luton had a penalty disallowed for a double strike, a la Tavernier against Norwich, and the 10-man home side held on during a bombardment that included an added seven minutes. It was seven minutes at the end of his eighth game in 26 days and Bola’s reaction was: “To be fair, I was a bit shocked! We’re down to 10 men for 20-odd minutes, so it’s not what you want. That was probably the hardest moment (in this run). Mentally, yes. Defending non-stop. But I don’t think you really feel it until after the game. You have adrenaline and there’s that much going on. You don’t think, ‘I’m blowing here’.” Not that Bola, who turned 23 this month, would complain. “It’s been good!” he says, “I always enjoy playing as many games as I can. Of course, I’ve found it physically demanding – I’ve gone from not playing for seven months to playing nine games in however many days. I’ve just had to get rubs, as many as I can, and I go with some of the lads to a cryochamber. It’s equivalent to an ice bath, to get your legs ready for the next day. It’s very effective. Most of the lads do that.” From Arsenal, Bola went to Blackpool, then to Middlesbrough in summer 2019, then back to Blackpool on loan last January. A peripheral figure when Warnock arrived, Bola is another who has been revitalised by this manager, part of a regular back four with an average age under 24. Game 9: Saturday, December 19 Birmingham 1-4 Middlesbrough Aitor Karanka was the last manager to oversee a Middlesbrough promotion – in 2016. Today, he watches his Birmingham team take an early lead. Middlesbrough have made two changes and the reprieved Morsy starts. Saville shines, as does Lewis Wing, now 25 and still trying to force a starting position. Middlesbrough have the joint-best home record in the division, but had won only one of nine away games. Dr Tatham has been putting together a home-and-away physicality analysis for Warnock. It will have looked better after Assombalonga and Saville made it 2-1 at half-time and then two goalkeeping errors from Neil Etheridge gave the visitors two more goals – Wing getting the last. Etheridge was one of Warnock’s mainstay players at Cardiff, starting all but one of the 46 games in that 2017-18 promotion season. It was Middlesbrough’s biggest away win for six years and meant no sombre bus journey home. “With a result like that you don’t feel the tiredness,” Warnock beams in a cold St Andrew’s corridor. “I didn’t want to bring anyone off late on because I didn’t want anyone to go on and pull a muscle. To get through all them games – Dijksteel in particular, he’s nowhere near fit – has been amazing. I can’t praise them enough, the players. If you saw the treatment table the day after games – we’ve had Wednesday games all December. You recover next day, then you’re onto set pieces on the Friday for the Saturday, so we’ve had no rest whatsoever. “I feel tired. Bloody hell, it’s hard. The night before is hard, so many games. Your mind is always rushing ahead and I don’t sleep well on a Friday night anyway. I don’t eat well on a Saturday either. I can eat at nine in the morning, then I can’t eat anything until 6.30 at night. So that’s been three times a week. “But the lads have been brilliant. We lost two on the trot away from home and there was all the negativity, doom and gloom, which I’ve seen a few times over the years. But you can’t let it get to you, and I’ve such a good bunch of lads I knew they’d come back. And to come back like that, win three games…” It was why he stopped them leaving the pitch and called them into a circle. “I just wanted to thank them and tell them to remember this. I don’t often give them a rollicking, but I had to on that particular day (after losing to Preston). But we’ve had three wins since and I just thanked them for all their efforts — Paddy McNair doing bloody overlaps in the 90th minute. They’ve put some work in. They listened. We all gave Wingy a round of applause.” Warnock named two goalkeepers on the bench against Birmingham to fill it. Overall, the Championship’s number of subs on this last weekend declined to 3.2, its lowest tally. That might be due to availability or willingness of managers to push certain players knowing there was a rare week off coming. “Birmingham made five changes today,” Warnock says, “we couldn’t have made five changes. “I’m glad we’ve got this week now. It’s great to have a rest. But we can’t forget what a pandemic we have. I’ve said it again to the lads that we’ve got to be so careful. But it’s great knowing I’m going to go to bed tonight and can get up late tomorrow – and I can get up late on Monday because we’re not training. It’s great. It feels like such a luxury.”
  22. 15 points
  23. 15 points
  24. 15 points
    It makes me smile reading this thread. We’re a small town club and unfortunately it’s increasingly difficult for small town clubs to go toe-to-toe with the big boys. We took some chances after we got relegated, if they’d have worked we wouldn’t be talking about Gibson’s failures. They didn’t work and I’m sure Gibbo is a disappointed as most of us here. Let’s not forget that we wouldn’t have a football club if it wasn’t for him. We wouldn’t have had our only silverware and we wouldn’t have had our fun in Europe. I’ve got used to the idea that Middlesbrough will never win the Premier League but that’s Ok, imagine being a Man Utd or Arsenal fan - they were used to dominating the league and suddenly they’re struggling despite their huge budgets. We need Warnock to stabilise the situation and anything more is a bonus. I think he’ll get us playing like a team instead of 11 individuals - that’s what we’ve been missing. Whether he brings in 5 more players or not the team has to rise to the occasion and all this talk of young players being too young - someone once said if you’re good enough, you’re old enough and I think that says it all but obviously you need the right manager and maybe Warnock is the one!
  25. 15 points
    Could we have a separate thread to vent your frustration on lack of transfer activity, and anything else that's wrong with mfc, and just keep this thread for actual transfer gossip/news. Its getting pretty depressing to read everyone say the same thing in different forms. 😕
  26. 15 points
    Even with no rumours today, I still back Warnock to bring in players he would actually use for his style and system. I’ve just watched (I know late to the party) Sunderland til I die season 2 and their January window episode. Firstly, It amazes me how the chairman splurged money on Will Grigg when he could have used that extra money to get Maja to stay. But secondly, and more boro related was that the manager at the time Jack Ross didn’t really fancy Will Grigg, but the chairman bought him anyway. Surprise surprise, Will Grigg struggled and didn’t fit in to how they play. How does this relate to Boro? Well I think in the past, we have bought players who don’t fit a style and system for a manager. I think Warnock won’t sanction players to come if they don’t fit in, and this is obviously a huge positive moving forward. Put it this way, I’m more confident that players will come to us for Warnock and work for him as opposed to a Boro under Woodgate. You can already tell the mentality of moving on quickly and not begging for players had an impact. Why did Woodgate start Gestede vs Swansea, knowing that Gestede wouldn’t want to play in case he got injured. Warnock commands respect and Woodgate was seeking it. Big difference in mentality that I think gets overlooked with Woodgate and the recruitment side.
  27. 15 points
    Is this how it's going to be with every potential link? Those who didn't want Warnock just instantly writing off targets before they've even signed for us? Christ.
  28. 15 points
    Well done, apart from a few spells from us you deserved that. I didn't think it was a pen in the first half, I didn't think it was much of a foul for your first, it looked like Cooper slipped. That puts Charlton under a bit of pressure so a sort of silver lining. We aren't quite there yet, a mid table side that can punch above our weight. That's the thing about the championship, anybody can beat anybody, a small run of results and your in the hunt. F**k it's always a long journey up to your place, that's if we are ever allowed to watch football again.
  29. 15 points
    STOKE VERSUS MIDDLESBROUGH Details Teams – Stoek v Middlesbrough Location – The Bet365 Stadium Competition – The Championship (only just) Date – Sat 27th June 2020 Kick off – 15:00 Introduction A quick foreword (if only he had a quick forward...) from our new manager. https://voca.ro/cV9kHJ2vrpW The Last Games Boro: Boro 0 – 3 Swansea. Boro were comprehensively tonked by Swansea in a desolate Riverside. The Swans had two close misses before twisting the knife and scoring three goals in the first half. Luckily, they took their webbed feet off our necks in the second half and didn’t completely ruin our goal difference. Stoke: Stoke 1 – 1 Reading Stoke drew with Reading. You could probably have worked that out yourself from the scoreline though… Form (League only - most recent last) Boro: L Stoke: D The View From The Other Side They’re all stoked to be playing the Boro… Their views on the new gaffer https://oatcakefanzine.proboards.com/thread/295117/woodgate-warnock The Un(ger)-Official Match Preview We may win. Graphs. If it’s graphs Mr Downsouth wants, it’s graphs Mr Downsouth will receive… Graph 1. Boro v Stoke attendances in the last game. As you can see, neither Middlesbrough or Stoke are well supported teams. Graph 2. People’s favourite gate. In a long term study, 2053.3 Boro fans were asked what their opinions were of different types of gate over time. Wrought iron has enjoyed the most sustained spell of popularity over time – with a brief dip just after the global financial crisis for unknown reasons. Graph 3. With news that Woody is going to be offered a role at the club, we asked 563.8 people what job they think he would be best suited to? Graph 4. With virtual fans all the rage nowadays, we asked 7,793,312,996 people what fan noises they thought should be introduced to the loudspeakers during the game. In retrospect, this survey should probably have been carried out with a smaller sample size. Enjoy the game folks
  30. 14 points
    I think it's ludicrous to criticise Britt about his time here to be honest. Not once have we played to his strengths - for the last 4 years we have consistently reverted to hit-and-hope hoofball regardless of the manager we've had (even saw it against Shrewsbury, to my IMMENSE frustration) and it just isn't his game. My abiding memory of watching Britt Assombalonga play for Middlesbrough is watching our defence by-pass the midfield, ping a long ball towards him, and seeing the taller centre back win the header and turnover possession. The man has been done an absolute disservice.
  31. 14 points
    Yet if DJed Spence scored and got an assist people would be talking him up. I’ve said from the start that Marvin Johnson really hasn’t had a fair crack at it the Boro fans haven’t liked him since his displays under Monk when let’s face it most of the players were ****. Now every time he puts a foot wrong the fans kick off but when he does something good the fans still don’t want to compliment him.
  32. 14 points
    No this is a totally different scenario than idiots moaning about ridiculous things. This is the culmination of 4 years of terrible decisions, from the pathetic attempt at building a premiership team, putting our shot at survival in the hands of gestede, guedioura and Steve Agnew, spending £30m on strikers when we already had bamford, abandoning a £50m project after 6 months. All the way through to trying to pull the wool over our eyes with woodgate and a boatload of bad PR. We have the people spewing out the ‘gibson pumps money in to keep us afloat!!!’ And the ‘we have to get used to operating on a small budget!!!’ Lines out at us. They don’t stop to think WHY gibson has to pump millions in to keep us afloat, or WHY we have no money. It’s simply our own fault, gibson has to do that because we got stuck with gestede for 4 years on big wages, because we spent a fortune on players we didn’t really need. Not all of these decisions are ‘poor in hindsight’, no boro fan thought gestede and guedioura would transform the team, no boro fan thought woodgate would achieve ANYTHING. We knew at the time they were terrible decisions. BUT that isn’t why people are moaning, we moan now because the people that oversaw not 1 or 2 but 3 shocking periods of this club are ALL still here, the people that seen over £200m pass through the clubs finances are still here. Not only that but we continue to make the same mistakes over and over and over and when we make a poor decision we make sure we DOUBLE DOWN on it. People aren’t moaning today just because of the lack of signings or because we can’t afford any of the bigger names. It’s because we’ve been put in this position by people who continue to have positions of power. There are plus sides however, warnock is probably the most sensible manager we’ve appointed for a while, we apparently have made changes to the scouting set up and I don’t think our squad is as bad as made out, warnock will get a tune out of them. I just hope we can at least get 2 or 3 of the players he actually wants through the door.
  33. 14 points
    This thread isn't about the transfers... but the memories, friends, and enemies we make along the way ❤️
  34. 14 points
    I love that DZ has thrown shade at someone then allowed for his brother to be wrong over the same player. Top bantz.
  35. 14 points
    Apologies for the lack of update, my phone's knackered. Unfortunately not much of an update. Source was very tight lipped on everything. Other than that we trying for Roberts and still confident Gibson will come, we're trying to swap with Fry but looks like he doesn't want to go again. Said we've got a lot of offers in and hopeful on at least a couple players signing next week. Clubs are wanting too much, free transfers are wanting too much. Explains the lack of movement in general. Didn't get chance to speak to him much because he was constantly on his phone, club are very busy trying to get on with it.
  36. 14 points
    As it's looking a virtual certainty that Warnock is going to get the job for next season, it's worth noting both the significant positives and negatives that will result from Warnock being our manager, and also how accommodating his style of football will effect our long term direction once he inevitably leaves. Clearly, Warnock is a very effective manager who knows how to assemble promotion winning Championship teams on a tight budget. In simple terms he's the perfect manager to get us out of the situation we are currently in. I think the timing of us having so many players out of contract, which provides him with such a clean slate to build from next season, is only going to help us implement his style in the short term. I dread to imagine the short term mess that we would have made in such a state of flux under either Woodgate or another incompetent manager who Gibson fancied. I'm confident that if Warnock is here for two seasons then at a minimum he'll have us finishing in the play off spots, possibly even by next season if we can get some good business done this summer. They are signifiacant positives, albeit in the short term. Whilst I understand the short term logic for Neil Warnock, my key concern is how we will react when he inevitably leaves us. He's 71 year old, seems to prefer it down South and only likes to commit to one year deals; He's the epitome of why modern clubs have evolved towards a sporting director/director of football & head coach combination. Considering he'll probably only sign a rolling one year deal here, it's going to be naïve and short sighted for the club to authorise him to be handing out 3 and 4 year deals. It's why a long term vision within a football club is essential. It will be especially daft in positions such as fullback that are heavily dependent upon what the managers style of play requires from them. For example, in fullback positions Warnock is probably going to prefer more defensively solid fullbacks that are technically pretty limited (e.g. a younger version of Shotton), than say the requirements that someone like Karnaka would want (such as Nsue or Fredericks) as he required his fullbacks to have the engines to consistently overlap the wingers. It would therefore be naive to allow Warnock to sign them sort of fullbacks on a 3 or 4 year contract. However, the question remains of whether Warnock should be given so much short term freedom, despite the potential long term damage. Gibson's historically knee-jerks between managers with contrasting styles so, if we were to have this sort of "bigger picture" analysis of Warnock's short term transfer activity, this sort of potential limitation on Warnock's transfers is especially important. However, I don't think Gibson has this sort of long term vision of the club. In the past decade, taking Karanka's reign out, we've constantly been in a state of transition with an unbalanced squad and with many players who didn't fit into a new managers plans. That's why we need a more long term outlook. Giving Warnock free-reign would make a lot more sense if Gibson was completely open to appointing a successor who has a similar style of play and man management style. For example, someone like Dyche, Rowett, Allardyce etc. However, knowing what Gibson is like, whenever Warnock leaves us he will have us knee-jerking back to a manager with a more possession based style of play - which will again put us into a state of transition for 3 + years minimum - assuming he sticks with that next manager - due to having players that largely cannot play that way. Gibson acts in a very similar role to a sporting director in that the decision about manager and style of play from the manager are through him. That isn't even within doubt among fans with common sense. However, local media has had their wings clipped by Gibson over decades of censorship. He is primarily focussed upon acting like a power mad Tory politician and not an effective administrator of the power he holds. The Evening Gazette and BBC Tees have been suppressed by Gibson to the point that they're terrified of highlighting Gibson's incompetence. A proper sporting director would never deviate from the template in such drastic fashion that Steve Gibson does every time he appoints a manager. Whilst I'm incredibly appreciative about the huge funding that Gibson puts in year-on-year and I've got absolutely no doubts about his intentions, the application of his intentions has been absolutely pathetic. He just doesn't have either the long term outlook or self-restraint to see a vision through. That settled template and self-restraint is what seperates Steve Gibson from the likes of Stuart Webber at Norwich and the other successful football administrators. In the long term I'm an advocate of a sporting director and head coach format as it's key benefit is that, once implemented, when a head coach leaves the long term plan remains and all players still fit the template. That is incompatible with the way Gibson wants to rule as an absolutist King and does not want to vest any of his power into anybody but himself, and places power into underqualified but loyal courtiers like Gary Gill (basically the Chris Grayling of recruitment - absolutely useless), Adrian Bevington (he had zero experience in recruitment), Jonathan Woodgate (again, completely unprepared for the job) & even Neil Maddison (he's currently in charge of monitoring our players out on loan, which calls into question his impartiality on BBC Tees that is already like North Korean state media). Any seemingly disloyal people like Victor Orta were kicked out and had the kitchen sink thrown at him in an attempt to tarnish his reputation - typical medieval King tactics. Everything about it stinks. To conclude, maybe it's my passion for the mix of football, history & politics, but Steve Gibson through his combination of having a close circle of loyal incompetent "Chris Grayling" courtiers, his control of dissenters and his abhorrence towards vesting powers in others, strikes me as an - albeit well intentioned - incompetent King who is absolutely out of his depth but can't see the bigger picture. Until something drastic changes we're going to suffer in the long term despite Warnock's short term appointment.
  37. 14 points
    Hull v Boro Details Teams – Hull v Middlesbrough Location – The Tiger King Stadium Competition – The Championship (only just) Date – Thur 2nd July 2020 Kick off – 17:00 Introduction Hi. The Last Games Boro: Stoke 0 – 2 Boro Boro beat the toothless Stoke 2-0 with goals from Fletcher and a peach of a strike from Tavernier. Jack Butland could only jump up and down and have a strange little tantrum as he watched both goals fly past him. Warnock’s Boro looked a lot more confident and refused to give up their lead, despite several gilt-edged chances for the toothless stoke, who made Boro look clinical in comparison. Hull: Birmingham 3 – 3 Hull Hull had a high scoring draw with mid table Birmingham and twice let their lead slip. Hull were 2 up at half time thanks to early goals from ‘Reserve player 1’ and ‘Reserve player 2’. Birmingham’s Gary Gardner pruned the advantage to 1 soon after half time. After Crowley had equalised for Brum, the auto-generated football manager player Herbie Kane scored for Hull. Then Gardner weeded out a third goal. Form (League only - most recent last) Boro: LW Hull: LD The View From The Other Side Hull City don’t seem to have a forum so dunno… The Un(ger)-Official Match Preview Boro should be looking to take advantage of Hull-light for another 3 points on Thursday. Warnock will have had a few more days to work with the team and we will surely win 3-1! If the tigers go down this season, they are sure to never financially recover from this... Those still at work, be sure to start saying you feel a bit peaky at ~3pm, then get sent home ill at ~4pm so you can make it home in time to watch the match at 5pm. Graphs. Graph 1. The last 5 Boro manager’s win rates. As you can clearly see from this data, Warnock is twice as good a manager as Karanka and is on track to win the Champions league with Boro if he keeps up his win rate. Graph 2. This graph shows the number of remaining games over the season. As you can see, the number of remaining games tends to drop over the season. Graph 3. This graph explores what wavelengths of light Stoke player nick Powell could see throughout the game on Saturday. As you can see, Powell looked to the sky in despair each time the Boro scored. Farewell
  38. 14 points
    Warnock. Retires (for the 473rd time). Signs 8 match contract with Boro. Keeps Boro up with 2 games to spare. Can't resist the allure of one more season in management, for a club and chairman he's always had a soft spot for. The Mrs is just happy to get rid of him for another year. Finishes 2nd in his first full season with Boro, 4 points behind recently relegated Villa. Cannot turn down the temptation of one final shot at PL management. Signs 1 year deal. Keeps Boro up on the final game of the season with a point at The Amex. Standing ovation from the Boro faithful, Warnock in a flood of tears. Forever inscribed in Boro folklore. Retires (for the 474th and final time). It's written in the stars.
  39. 14 points
    Good Afternoon Ladies and Gentlemen, I have finally had some time to have a really good look at our financial accounts for the period upto June 2019 (The 2018-2019 season). As a word of warning this will be a post that is very number heavy. I apprieciate this will not be a thread that is everyone's cup of tea, but as far as I am aware, no-one has a gun to your head making you read this. The Facts: Turnover: In the latest figures released for the 2018/2019 season turnover was £55,643,000. Compare that to the 2017/2018 season's figure of £61,996,000, we have a decrease of 10.25%. *Cost of Sales: Our figures for the 2018/2019 season haven't really changed all that much compared to the 2017/2018 season (they actually increased by less than 1%). This is a little concerning as you'd expect a business to cut costs to fall in line with a reduction in turnover. I'll look at the wages aspect of this in more detail, but because there is not breakdown in expenses (like the turnover), it would be pure guess work as to why our cost of sales has remained high. Admin Expenses (Including **Amortisation): For the 2018/2019 season total admin expense was £34,233,000. Compare that to the 2017/2018 season's figure of £30,982,000, we have a increase in admin expenses of 10.49%. So turnover has dropped by 10% and admin expenses have increased by 10%, so far things aren't looking great. Profit on Sale of Registrations: This is effectively the profit we have made on selling players, but it is a little more complicated. At the time of sale a player will have a net book value - NBV for short (this is going back to amortisation). If a player has a NBV of £1,000,000 and we sell him for £2,000,000, we will record this as £1,000,000 and then wipe the NBV off the accounts (I'll look at this later on). For the 2018/2019 season this figure was £33,225,000, compare that to the 2017/2018 season's figure of £15,335,000, and we have doubled the money made. This £17,890,000 increase from last year has more than made up for the £6,353,000 drop in turnover and £3,251,000 increase in admin expenses. Profit/(Loss) before Taxation: All the above factors including a few of the omitted items (Other operating income and interest payable) lead us to ending up with a profit for the year of £2,012,000. Compared to last year's figures of a loss of £6,396,000, this is a good result financially. Further Breakdown of Figures: Turnover (Detailed): Looking at the turnover breakdown for the 2018/19 season, all areas of turnover decreased compare to the 2017/18 season (with exception of Sponsorship and Competition money, which actually increased). Income from gate receipts dropped by 14.89% (Probably due to not having a play-off game, like the season before, and also the attendances dropping) and merchandising was down by 11% also. Broadcasting income was down by 12.21% (£5,652,000), this was mainly due to our parachute payments reducing from £41,600,000 in the 2017/18 season to £34,900,000 for the 2018/19 season. Wages and Salaries: Wages and Salaries are included in the cost of sales figure, but I think it is important to seperate them out. In the 2017/18 season our Staff costs (Including Social Security and pension costs) were £48,707,000. For the 2018/19 season they were reduced by 17.62% to a figure of £40,125,000. Between the beginning of July 2018 and the end of June 2019 we saw the following first teamers leave; Barrangan, Cranie, Mejias, Fabio, Bamford, Gibson, Traore, De Sart, Ripley and Leadbitter. We also brought in the following first teamers; Flint, McNair, Saville, Mikel, Hugill, Besic, Batth, Mcqueen and La Parra. Those player movements allowed us to reduce the wage bill by £8,582,000. *Cost of Sales - This figure will normally include any cost that is directly contributed to making a "sale". In a manufactoring business this will include, direct labour and raw materials. For us management staff and player wages will be included in this figure. **Amortisation in this sense is the original transfer fee for a player split evenly over the years of their contract. For example Saville was signed for £8,000,000 on a 4 year deal. Each accounting year will include £2,000,000 (£8,000,000 / 4) worth of amortisation for him. Saville's NBV will decrease for each passing year. Analysis: Turnover: For the 2019/2020 season our turnover is going to drop by a huge amount. We will no longer have any parachute payments, so we are looking at taking away £34,900,000 from the turnover for 2018/2019. Plus if our average attendance drops this season we are going to see a drop in gate receipts. This is before we factor in the relatively new prospect of the rest of this season being postponed and or scrapped entirely. As an estimate I'm expecting to see us with a turnover of between £20,000,000 - £25,000,000. Cost of Sales (Wages): With our transfer activity and our player turnover, I would expect that our wage bill will drop off considerably in the 2019/2020 season. I wouldn't be surprised to see it drop down to a similar level to our (estimate 2019/20) turnover. Between July 2019 and June 2020 we have seen the following first team players leave; Downing, Dimi, Braithwaite, Randolph, Flint, Mikel, Hugill, Besic, Batth, Mcqueen and La Parra. Plus any players that leave this summer will also reduce the wage costs, but that won't be fully reflected until the set of accounts that covers the 2020/2021 season. Admin Expenses (Including **Amortisation): I would, like the wages, expect this figure to also drop in the next set of accounts due to us being able to remove amortisation for players we no longer have. This will help to reduce our expenses in the accounts and thus will have a direct impact the end profit/(loss) figure in the next set of accounts. Profit on Sale of Registrations: This figure is also something that has a big impact on our profit/(loss) figure for the end of the year. I expect in the next set of accounts that this figure is considerably lower than the current figure. Mainly due to us not getting 8 figure fees for players like we did in the 2018/2019 season, but also due to certain players having a similar NBV to what we sold them for (Flint and Braitwaite IMO). Compare this to us selling Gibson for £15,000,000 with him having no NBV in return (due to us not paying any transfer fee for him). His transfer would contribute £15,000,000 in profit. What does this mean for FFP (Profit and Sustainability)? FFP is judged on a 3 year rolling basis, so the 2017/2018, 2018/2019 and the 2019/2020 seasons, will all be included in the 3 year rolling assessment. So in the 2017/2018 we made a lost of £6,396,000, but then in 2018/2019 we made a profit of £2,012,000, so we have a net loss of £4,384,000. This looks good for the first 2 seasons in the assessment as we are permitted to lose upto £39,000,000 over the 3 seasons. As it stands we can afford to post a loss of £34,616,000 for the 2019/2020 season, without running the risk of being punished. But remember FFP is a rolling assessment, so once the new season 2020/2021 starts we will be judged on the results from 2018/2019 (Profit of £2,012,000), the 2019/2020 season (loss of upto £34,616,000) and the 2020/2021 season. We would only be allowed to lose upto £6,396,000 in the 2020/2021 season, before hitting the £39,000,000 limit. This is where in my opinion the club will potentially struggle, we are really trying to cut costs this season so that we have some leeway (in terms of profit/(loss)) so that in future assessments we are able to post losses without the risk of punishment. Just to add to this, those figures i've posted in regards to the FFP section, will change as there are exemptions to certain expenses in the FFP rules. So potentially the profit that is stated in the accounts, will be a higher figure when used for FFP as we can remove certain expenses (like academy costs) for FFP, but we can't remove them for accounting practices. Anyone that reads this far well done. Took me a little time to compose, but if anyone has any questions feel free to ask. ❤️
  40. 13 points
    Could be worse we could sign an injury prone league one player who couldn’t find a club in the summer and last played well 4 years ago.
  41. 13 points
    Some of you lot are unbelievable the way you moan 😂🤦‍♂️ What do you expect under Warnock and this squad, champagne football? Or maybe Woodgates “the leagues lyin tho’ heart thumping style of play? Warnock’s doing a good job under less than ideal circumstances, long may it continue
  42. 13 points
    Here is my entry. Completed using my s-pen from my Samsung galaxy note 10+ 😆
  43. 13 points
    Hi guys, good to be back on the forum after health issues the past year. Hoping I will be more active this time around!!!. I mentioned Betinelli in one of my very few posts on July 1, 2019 so i'm chuffed to bits that he's coming to the mighty boro.
  44. 13 points
    Jesus Christ... There's some on here who make me genuinely embarrassed to be a Boro fan. There Birmingham fans down here who've read Boro forums, including this one, and regard some of the posts as absolute laughing stock. There's an inherent negativity in some who act like entitled, spoilt brats. Transfers are not the be-all-and-end-all of football. It's laughable. Genuinely laughable. Because I've been laughing at it with Blues fans.
  45. 13 points
    It's a very emotional time for me as you can imagine 😢 I have to be careful what I say because I had to sign a non disclosure agreement or they threatened to hide my earring 🤫 It hasn't been the easiest environment to work in for a while now. There's a lot of tension in the building and there has been for some time. Anyway, it all started a while ago. Each day I prepare my lunch at home and pop it in a paper bag to bring to work. A nice tupperware box of salad or pasta, some fruit, a yoghurt and a cheeky little bag of crisps. It clearly states 'ANTH'S DINNER, KEEP OUT!' on the outside of the bag in big letters so that everyone knows it's mine. However, someone kept nicking the crisps and opening the yoghurt but then leaving most of it! Being a top investigative journalist I decided to track down who was responsible. My first move was to stand in the middle of the office and ask who had done it but nobody owned up. I was stumped. My good mate Dom suggested that it could be Tallentire as he is "always nicking stuff". I confronted Phil but he of course flatly denied it. I'm not proud to admit that this lead to some fistycuffs between us. Dom said he would have joined in to help me but he was in the middle of a bag of crisps. Good lad is Dom. The fight between Phil and I got reported to management somehow. There was only me, Phil and Dom there, so it must have been Phil who grassed the weaselly little git 😡 Phil of course tried to pretend that it wasn't him but you can't pull the wool over my eyes. Not a top investigative journalist like me, no way! Dom tried to stick up for me. He told them that it wasn't really a fight at all as we are both soft as ***. He said it was more like watching two sea lions trying to turn a door knob but they wouldn't listen and we were both told to find other employment opportunities. I didn't understand what they meant at first but Dom explained that they were telling me to *** off. 😢 I think Dom was gutted. Looking thoughtfully at the bag of crisps he had in his hand, he mumbled that he would miss me. I think Dom really looks up to me in a lot of ways, especially the goss I get from Steve. Dom said he considered leaving as well in solidarity, but with me and Phil gone, they were offering him a big pay rise, and he reluctantly felt that he should stay for the good of local journalism. He really is one of the good guys is Dom. So there you have it. I'm gonna miss looking in here for the next major scoop while I'm sat at my desk twiddling my thumbs. But I won't miss having my crisps nicked every day by that swine Tallentire, that's for sure!
  46. 13 points
    It is with very much sadness that I advise everyone on the forum that Tom and his wife Bekka have lost their first baby. With all the toing and froing that we discuss on the transfer thread we often forget that there are far more important concerns in life and sadly Tom is experiencing the very worst. On behalf of everyone Tom our thoughts, and those that want prayers are with you both and your immediate families. We have had this before when Trekkers and his wife went through the same situation and I know the pain he went through. Much love to you both
  47. 13 points
    Don't know exactly what they're doing but Gill is being pushed out. Warnock is doing the job that we paid Pulis £3m+ a year to do.
  48. 13 points
    Besic was quality at this level, saying you would rather have Gestede, Guedioura ect back is absolute insanity.
  49. 13 points
  50. 13 points
    The Evening Gazette has said that Steve Gibson is against a director of football because it would add another 6 figure salary onto the wage bill. I can't help but question whether that is the true motive as it appears to be more down to Gibson wanting to retain power. The best way to assess whether this 6 figure salary is value for money, is to consider how Steve Gibson and his loyal courtiers like Gary Gill and co are actually performing with the powers that they have which, if we were to appoint a director of football, would be taken away from them. Firstly, how much has our knee-jerking between managers of contrasting styles cost us through wasted transfer fees, wages and resulting underperformance of players not suiting the next managers tactics? I have our managerial merry-go-round as: McLaren (250 games) > Southgate (151 games) > Strachan (51games) > Mowbray (153 games) > Karanka (171 games) > Monk (26 games) > Pulis (80 games) > Woodgate (41 games) > Warnock. Considering the 3 and 4 year deals that each of them managers handed out only for them to leave shortly afterwards, it has left huge inefficiencies due to a lack of cohesion between what the current manager wants and what players he has which were bought by his predecessor. As an illustration (estimate figures), Britt Assombalonga was bought for £15 million in the summer of 2017 on a 4 year deal with wages of around £40,000 a week. The financials of that will cost us £23,320,000 (£15,000,000 transfer fee & £8,320,000 wages) over his 4 years here. This signing was thought to bring in a new era under Monk, however, he was sacked after 26 games and replaced by Pulis who did not rate Assombalonga as he could not lead the line as a target man, and wanted him sold in a cut price deal. Similar examples can be made about Monk's signings of Cyrus Christie & Martin Braithwaite who were bought for big money and wages only to be not wanted by Pulis as they did not fit his tactics which were in stark contrast to Monk's. My point is that this is the sort of extremely costly inefficiency that results from Gibson's knee-jerking between managers. Also, what about all of the settlements for sacking the awful, reactionary appointments to key positions like Monk, Woodgate and Bevington. If we had a competent decision maker at the top of the club then we wouldn't needlessly bleed money as a result of appointing people who are unprepared for the job and only got the job through their closeness to Gibson like Woodgate and Bevington. To give Monk such a huge transfer kitty, and sack him 26 games later is bonkers by Gibson. If we are terrified of adding a 6 figure salary onto the wage bill then this financial restraint is out of keeping with the lavish wages and financial packages Gibson is happy to give managers such as Pulis' £3 million a year a 6% of the transfer fees on all players sold. Equally, Warnock will not be coming cheap either and it wouldn't surprise me if he's on a similar sort of deal to Pulis. Them sorts of financial packages are more than enough to afford an excellent director of football and a head coach with the way Norwich have Stuart Webber and Daniel Farke. If we had a director of football who set the club culture, long term template of tactics, style of play, recruit players to fit that template, personalities we sign to fit into that culture, appoint a head coach who must implement tactics to fit that template, then we would not regularly be in states of transition. Considering all of that, my view is that Gibson's argument that we can't afford a director of football is absolute garbage. The utterly bonkers signings of Gestede and Gueudiora would have funded a director of football for many decades! The true reason why he doesn't want a director of football is that the only way one could be accommodated into the club is by Gibson giving up control of appointing the head coach, Gary Gill's "head of recruitment" role would become defunct and the director of football would be able to recruit player and sell players without Gibson's impulsive, reactionary input. Steve Gibson giving up that level of power to a director of football is never going to happen. Gibson's abhorrence to a director of football is not becuase of the 6 figure salary. It all comes down to the fact that Gibson wanting him and Gary Gill to retain their power.

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