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Boro v Rotherham
 

Boro v Rotherham

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Andy R
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Topic starter  

What on earth was that?

Coming off the back of the solid(ish) Sunderland win and having had extra recovery time following Saturday’s postponement, Boro fans were eyeing a home encounter against struggling Cardiff City with relish. We should have known, shouldn’t we? Typical Boro. And not the funny kind.

It was all wrong. Slow and safe when we needed to get into them, rash and risky when we needed some common sense. Liam Roberts would have been forgiven for wishing Zack Steffen had recovered in time to play as Boro slunk back to the dressing room 3-0 down at half-time. It was nowhere near good enough.

As a first half performance, perhaps even first 75 minutes performance, it was completely unrecognisable from the Boro of the past ten months or so. Until you remember QPR in August that is.

What has happened to the swashbuckling swagger of Wilder’s winter of ‘21? Expectations were understandably high (mostly), the pieces looked to be in place (mostly). It’s got to be better than this hasn’t it? HASN’T IT??

Somehow Boro’s central midfield now look incapable of playing Wilderball. If they’re not out of position then they’re misplacing passes. If they’re not caught on the ball then they’re taking the wrong option. Crooks has gone from a diamond in the rough to just plain rough. Howson is declining with each passing half of football and Mowatt is a shadow of the Barnsley version and hasn’t adapted at all as yet.

Many of the other new signings are starting to look suspect too. Roberts has done ok behind a dodgy defence but early question marks were beginning to be raised about Steffen. Clarke had a great debut but has looked confused since. Lenihan looks inferior to the best of Fry whilst Forss and Hoppe are peripheral at best. Only Giles and Muniz currently look the part despite everyone looking just that on paper.

With such a large turnover in playing staff, it was always going to take time to click and, though there was nowhere to go but up on Tuesday, it was noticeable that Boro improved once the fitter and more ingrained Watmore and Bola came on, as well as Djiksteel who surely deserves to start over ponderous Paddy. McNair was admirable when out of position last season but having been granted a more suitable role this term, he’s failed to grasp the opportunity to say the least.

But that “clicking” and gelling is only the fine-tuning. We shouldn’t be uncompetitive while we wait.

Ok, that may be going too far. In truth Cardiff simply took advantage of moments of shocking sloppiness from Boro rather than outplaying us. It’s been that way all season. In fact, Boro did quite well to score twice against a side who had everyone behind the ball and did everything they could to take minutes out of the game. But it was too little, too late. As has been Boro’s season so far, it just wasn’t enough.

There were boos. There were audible “Wilder out!”’s and plenty more on the phones and the socials. Teesside is tense and tetchy and needs a big - and sustained - reaction from its footballing sons.

Step 1: Rotherham at the Riverside, Saturday, KO 7.45pm (eh?).

Paul Warne’s yo-yoing Millers have had a good start to their campaign and arrive on Teesside in 9th place, 4 points ahead of Boro having played one game fewer. Their most recent outing was a satisfying 3-0 win over Blackpool on Wednesday night in which top scorer Chiedozie Ogbene added another to his tally, taking him to 5 for the season.

However, 11 of their 13pts have come from the New York Stadium whilst they haven’t yet managed to win on the road, the two draws coming at QPR and Preston. Blimey, they’re nearly as bad as us away from home!

Rotherham’s away performances match the results in that they have created the fewest meaningful chances of any side in the league whilst only Huddersfield and Hull City have given up more opportunities on their own goal. That said, they’ve conceded only 6 goals all season, making them the Championship’s 3rd best defence overall. Incidentally, Boro are 4th best in the division for chances conceded away which just goes to show how mistakes have cost us rather than overall play.

Lining up with a back three, Paul Warne will be forced into at least one change as Boro loanee Grant Hall will be ineligible to play but it’s one of their other centre-backs, Richard Wood, who is one to watch as he has 4 goals to his name already.

Indeed, set-pieces could be the danger area for Boro in this game as one of Rotherham’s key strengths, whilst they tend to play a more direct brand of football, allowing the opposition to have the lion’s share of possession. Perhaps we can expect Boro to dominate the ball once more but, though that suits us, it perhaps suits the Millers as well.

In terms of selection, surely Djiksteel now has to play. McGree has been fine in a more advanced role but Mowatt’s form means Riley has to drop back into midfield with Watmore partnering Muniz. Boro’s best under Wilder came when both Watmore and Marcus Tavernier were in the side - two players who hassle and chase and bring boundless energy. We can’t do anything about Tav but Watmore can set the tone up top and help ensure we’re at it. Bola could be back into contention too after a decent substitute appearance whilst Clarke is still finding his feet. Otherwise, there isn’t a great deal to choose from though new signing Massimo Luongo could come into the thinking.

Whatever side and shape is chosen, Wilder needs a result in this one. It’s still too early for any game to be “must win” but perhaps not for the manager as his tenure comes under increasing scrutiny from the terraces at least.

This was not the start we expected or hoped for. It’s time to start putting that right.


K P in Spain
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An accurate, if somewhat depressing piece, thanks Andy.

It’s my nephew’s wedding on Saturday so I won’t be at the Riverside.  

After Tuesday, I am not sure if I will even try and find a TV at the reception to watch the game as I have become so disillusioned at the way the season has started.

It beggars belief that again and so soon, there are calls for the manager’s head, by some, but understandably so when there was so much promised but little delivered so far.

In the absence of a win, the clamour will build. ☹️😎


Clive Hurren
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An excellent, insightful starter, Andy. Many thanks. 

I guess Saturday’s result will depend on which Boro turns up, or perhaps for how long the most effective version plays as it can. 45 minutes? 60 minutes? Who knows? 

I think there are 4 ‘musts:’ 

1) Dijksteel must play instead of McNair.

2) Wilder must play two strikers, ideally Muniz and Watmore.

3) Boro must play well for much longer than we managed against Cardiff. 

4) We must win this game. 


exmil
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Posts: 707
 

Thanks Andy for another great opener, unfortunately this is one of the few home matches I will miss, as it’s my sisters 70th surprise birthday party and I am supplying a singer for the night (not me I might add). When the party was arranged, kick off was 1500 hrs, so no problem to attend the match and party but then inexplicably it was changed to 1945 hrs on a Saturday night. All the football pre match groups I join before any home game, cannot think of any matches having a 1945 hrs kickoff on a Saturday night and any logical reason why this match was moved, any help in this matter would be appreciated.

Come on BORO.


exmil
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Posts: 707
 

With all previous talk about monies from Spence/Tavernier deals and subsequent spending in the transfer window, I wonder if the two articles below are of interest and provoke comment 🤔

https://www.mirror.co.uk/sport/football/news/championship-financial-fair-play-rules-26673518

https://www.skysports.com/football/news/11095/12584543/uefas-new-financial-sustainability-regulations-to-replace-ffp-all-you-need-to-know

Come on BORO.

 


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David in Cumbria
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Thanks Andy. You seem to have covered all the problems with the Boro team which basically includes the manager and all the players except maybe Muniz and McGree. When Wilder became manager I was impressed with how he changed Warnock's sideways/backward playing squad into a fast attacking unit. Now he seems to be having problems getting "his own squad" to play how he expects. I wonder how many of our new signings are his first choices or even his second/third choices. Wilder has to get the team winning now or I think there will quickly be overwhelming calls for him to go especially from the recent new season ticket holders.

It is strange to have a 19:45 match on a Saturday but, before the rail strike was called off, I was feeling grateful to SKY as it meant I could get to the match by bus(es) in about 7 hours whereas a 3pm kickoff would have been impossible for me to get to. I will know by about 21:30 (or maybe even 20:30!) whether it was such a good thing but as with all the other the supporters (and Wilder?) I have no idea which Boro will turn up, if they do at all.  

 


Ken Smith
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I really can’t see Boro beating Rotherham on Saturday after watching highlights of their match against Blackpool last night. What’s more how come Sunderland were so poor against Boro yet so impressive at Reading looking like a side who wouldn’t look out of place in the Premier League with Paddy Roberts  outstanding? Has Tony Mowbray got the Midas touch?  I really fear that Boro have got one of the leakiest defences in the Championship now and that I can’t see any improvement in the immediate future. I hope I’m wrong but I predict a 1-3 defeat against the Merry Millers.

This post was modified 2 weeks ago by Ken Smith

Pedro de Espana
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Expansive Headliner Andy, thank you.

I personally think that the problems within the team are too embedded to see any realistic change going forward.

We have one of the leakiest defences in the league and that is compound by what has to be one of the worst midfield three. Certainly on the overall performances todate.

I just cannot see a win in this squad at the moment. The system is not working with the current players and only a radical change to say a back four and two defensive midfielders, (Karanka style) may produce a result.

We have the players upfront to score the goals required to win a game, but it seems not at the back to keep a clean sheet.

Wilder has just said it is not the system at fault. Well he would be correct if we had the players that suited it. But we apparently do not or we would not be where we are.

I cannot see anything other than a defeat against Rotherham and sadly the beginning of the end towards another wasteful upheaval.


Andy R
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Topic starter  

I haven't posted too much of late as I'm currently on Jury Duty and it's surprisingly taking quite a lot out of me. It's amazing how sitting and listening can be so tiring!

Anyway, having got the headliner out of my system (obviously as much a post-Cardiff rant as a Rotherham preview) I'll put on record that I'm very much still in the Wilder camp.

I'm glad that some of his post-match comments have been laced with anger and frustration. He's a winner and so they should be. Much as we all admire and respect Tony Mowbray, his frequent use of "it is what it is" was defeatist and I would prefer the manager to be as annoyed as I was.

I don't subscribe to the view that Wilder has been sussed out, principally because I don't believe that well executed, high tempo pass and move football can be easily defended against even if you know it's coming. See Fulham last season and any number of other examples of promoted or established Premier League sides. Karanka had a single template that he stuck to each week. Every opponent knew how we'd play but it wasn't enough to stop us. Why? Because we consistently executed it well.

Like any routine, playing in a similar setup each week breeds familiarity and understanding, allowing for on-field decisions to become instinctive and executed more quickly and to greater effect. Yes, your opponents know what you're trying to do but so do you and if you're good enough, you'll do it.

The problem for me, therefore, isn't the system or what the manager is trying to do. The problem has been execution.

The stats back that up with us having the 3rd best xGA (expected goals conceded) overall in the league (#1 WBA, 2# Sheff U, #3 Boro, #4 Norwich). Despite the goals conceded column, we aren't a side giving away comparatively loads of easy chances. We're making bad errors and getting picked off. The system may be contributing to that but you'd also have to say that it's contributing to us conceding comparatively few good chances.

I think we've got better goalkeepers than last year and that Muniz will prove to be a step up from any of last season's forwards, whilst Giles is a serious upgrade at left wingback. However, the spine of the team has regressed.

I suspect that Lenihan's arrival and Wilder's subsequent preference for him has dented Fry's confidence. Crooks and McNair started to lose form in the final months of last season and haven't recovered it over the summer. Howson isn't a natural defensive midfielder in my eyes and has struggled more so this term than last. Tavernier has been sorely, sorely missed.

Much of this summer's recruitment makes sense when looking at the individuals but I completely agree with Jarkko on the difficulties with the amount of churn. I accept that it isn't a brand new XI on the field but the squad will still have a very different feel and it won't be a settled one. I think, like we did with Strachan, Monk and Karanka, we might have tried to change too much too soon. That is a criticism that I think can be levelled at the manager as much as anyone else.

With hindsight, I would rather have kept more continuity by retaining several of Bamba, Peltier, Payero, Tav and Coburn over the signings of Hoppe, Forss and Mowatt for example. Some of those sales couldn't be helped and some made sense but often slower steps forward have more sustained impacts than trying to take a giant leap. Evolution/revolution etc.

This will, of course, be an increasingly unpopular opinion but I think the last thing we should do is replace the manager. Some Boro fans are criticising the system of play, essentially citing the definition of insanity but if we change managers again, take on a new system of play and require a new squad to try and make it work, are we not also doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result?

Bar certain players bedding in and others rediscovering their form, I don't know what the answer is but I'm certain that it isn't more change.


jarkko
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Posted by: @andy-r

I haven't posted too much of late as I'm currently on Jury Duty and it's surprisingly taking quite a lot out of me. It's amazing how sitting and listening can be so tiring!

Thanks again for another great opener, Andy. 

I have been doing translation live from English to Finnish a few times. So I know how you feel as you try not to miss a word or sentence! Or I see it while I am  giving training in English in the Baltics where a local product manager does the translation on site - the material is so technical that we cannot use translating agencies. It really take quite a lot out of you!

Back to the Boro and the match on TV on Saturday. The match is live on TV here and I will watch it via ViaPlay. But it's late because of the two hour time difference.

I think we will see Massimo Luongo to make his debut on the match. The biggest tip is that the player was giving a press conference to the media yesterday. This has happened before - they bring a player to the frame before a debut is give (note, it was not after he signed).

His interview can be found here: https://www.mfc.co.uk/news/2022/september/15/watch--massimo-luongo-meets-the-media/

Massimo seems to be an allrounder so he can fit everywhere in the midfield. So either Crooks or Howson can be rested (we have enough option on the left). He runs a lot and cover miles in a match, can tackle and is often a destroyer in the midfield like George Boateng was (you understand what I mean). So our captain can be benched!

I will expect to see a reaction from the players, though. I hope to see much better play and will be happy to see any kind of win and three points gained. Up the Boro!


jarkko
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@andy-r A very good post, Andy. As was the post by Werder a bit earlier to summarize the discussion.

I do not need to repeat my view but I totally agree with you saying: "Some of those sales couldn't be helped and some made sense but often slower steps forward have more sustained impacts than trying to take a giant leap." Growing pains. Up the Boro!

This post was modified 2 weeks ago by jarkko

Powmill-Naemore
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Thank Andy for your opener and for your considered post this morning. Dismal is the word for typical Boro so far this season and if  I am honest I cannot see quite how that turns around.

Agree wholeheartedly that Djiksteel and Watmore have to start. However  a team is the sum of its parts and if CW is failing to motivate them and at worst (re publicly insulting the intelligence of everyone in the squad, as Len reminded us) instilling a "why should I bother" mentality, then perhaps there is no great reason to believe having those two back on the pitch will be enough to galvanise the whole team.

I agree that for now that unless there has been some enormous breakdown behind the scenes  involving the manager and coaching staff, that moving the manager on now might not be the best thing. But let us be honest  the buck stops with the manager. He is responsible for getting the players prepared and motivated for every game. That they are clearly not reflects on them that they cannot self motivate as a collective (poor team spirit?), but reflects even more so on the manager and his coaching staff.

So. I'll go along that it is not time to move CW along  but I do think he is on notice and that unless he can show that he is turning the season around over the next 3 or 4 matches then I would suspect this challenge is beyond him.

No prediction from me. I am not expecting to be entertained and if we do win we will scrape it by a single goal. But I am not going to hold my breath.


 

This post was modified 2 weeks ago by Powmill-Naemore

lenmasterman
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Great post this morning Andy. 


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Plato
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@andy-r 

Unfortunately, the cause of our malaise is precisely the change which you describe. Change starts a breakdown of organisation, which is the bedrock of success in football. No matter what the level of skill in your team, or even genious, without ruthless organisation nothing will be achieved. For us to believe that the ideas which brought us to this point can restore our club to it's proper position in the football World is frankly fantastic. Our system is broken, and a continuation will lead to an even more distressing situation. Every move which we have made has had the smell of desperation about it. Just one point, any follower of the game knows that coaching is now accepted to be king, talent is no longer enough. To continue to hire a string of time expired managers is the road to nowhere. When they come with the usual list of provisos, i.e. I will not be moving to the area, I will be missing on the following days, (fill in as told) I am not a great one for telling the lads how to play, there is far too much talk about tactics, he's a Young lad and will be great in two seasons time. If these remarks ring a bell, you have just discovered one of the fault lines in our club. Time for a change!     


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Ken Smith
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Powmill Naemore

I know how you feel, but although you might not be entertained by Boro on Saturday night I’d be surprised if you aren’t entertained by the Merry Miiiers.  I know that’s not what you want to hear but this is the best Rotherham side since the 1954/55 season when they would have been promoted to the First Division as Champions except for one uncharacteristic slip-up in their penultimate match of the season. It was Boro’s first season in the Second Division after the Second World War when after drawing the opening match at Plymouth they lost their next eight next matches to hit rock bottom.

However I don’t want to go over that again, because I’m reminiscing here about Rotherham’s amazing season which gripped the nation at that time. Rotherham were the form team going into the final hurdle going neck and neck with Birmingham City and Luton Town. They had just won 7 successive matches in the space of 17 days to head the league table with only two matches remaining as they headed to Burslem to play 17th placed Port Vale. All they needed to do was avoid defeat in the Potteries and win their last match at home to Liverpool. Unfortunately tiredness got the better of them and they lost 0-1 and needed a cricket score against Liverpool or hoping that near neighbours Doncaster Rovers would do them a favour by at least taking a point at home to Brum in their final match. 

Unfortunately although Rotherham thrashed Liverpool 6-1, Birmingham won 5-1 at Doncaster and the Millers had to settle for 3rd place on 54 points equal with both Birmingham and Luton and missed out on promotion on goal average as Leeds United finished on 53 points and Stoke City on 52 on one of the tightest finishes to a Second Division title in my lifetime.

Is this Rotherham team as good as the class of the mid 50’s is anybody’s guess, but the Millers cannot be taken for granted especially on set pieces and in the current climate I reiterate my forecast of a 1-3 defeat for Boro.

This post was modified 2 weeks ago 2 times by Ken Smith

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deleriad
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Really good posts on here today. 

Fundamentally it comes down to diagnosis. Results and performances have been poor for a sustained period. The question is: why. It's a really important question because if we get the wrong answer we risk making it worse. 

Probably the answer is "it's complicated." We had one of the best defences in the Championship, then Wilder took over and now it's one of the worst. On the other hand, we were struggling to create chances and take them. Now, under Wilder, we create a boat-load of chances most games and take a reasonable number of them, leading to us becoming one of the best attacking teams in the Championship.

So maybe the problem is Wilder or maybe the problem is the inevitable side-effect of trying to change our DNA. Under Karanka, Pulis and Warnock our players were taught to defend for their lives and only head into the other teams' half under cover of darkness. Under Monk and Woodgate we were just a confused mess. Agnew was a fever dream. 

Maybe the problem is that Wilder has been blinded by his Sheffield Utd experience and is trying to replicate something that can't be replicated. Maybe *his* proposed cure is worse than the problem. The difficulty of being a fan is that we all have opinions but we're all seeing just a part of the issue; like blind men describing an elephant.

Wilder has a very impressive track record and you would expect him to have a clear view of how to improve us. It just doesn't look that way from outside. There's another cliché where someone is asked how did you go bankrupt. The answer was "slowly, then quickly." The same is probably true of managers. At some point they start to slowly lose their edge but they have enough experience and goodwill that you don't notice until it suddenly falls apart. Managers like Chris Hughton and Steve Bruce seem like classic cases of that. The risk is that the same has happened with Wilder and it's Scott's job to make that assessment. 

Basically, at this point, I feel like I can see enough to be concerned but I don't know enough to be sure of what the problem is. I very much hope it's an issue of Wilder struggling to get the transition right.

As for Saturday. Rotherham have over-performed and could well come down to earth against us. Cardiff notwithstanding, our home form is pretty good and their away form is dire so we really ought to win this comfortably. Any other result and the crowd is really going to start losing faith but possibly in a very divided way with some blaming Wilder, some the players and some the recruitment. If so, it won't be pretty.


werdermouth
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Thanks Andy for an excellent and comprehensive preview plus equally good bonus post - while I agree with your verdict on what needs to happen and the players have been guilty of some shocking crimes defensively this season, the jury is still out on whether Chris Wilder can turn it around.

I've just been looking at Wilder's last 23 games in charge at Boro and it makes for a grim half-season report: W7 D6 L10 - 27 points from a possible 69 with four of those wins coming against sides either in the bottom three or just hovering above it. It confirms what Deleriad has been saying for quite a while and unless Chris Wilder can find a way to start winning games he could find it difficult to plead his innocence to Steve Gibson.

He wouldn't be the first manager to insist his system is perfectly fine but it's just that he either doesn't have the players to make it work or that they are not executing it correctly. Unfortunately, he has to find a system that works with what he has got and while errors have contributed to the lack of success, a system is only as good as its weakest part. Playing on the edge has rewards but also has greater risks - this Boro squad lacks the quality to play fast one-touch football and also lacks the pace to easily recover from errors when it breaks down.

Granted, many of us have enjoyed seeing the team try to play on the front foot and the squad does seem to have better quality wide and attacking players - but the foundations are looking creaky and the midfield crumbles easily under pressure.

Of course the other factor is that the team is under unexpected pressure after failing to get results and also perhaps reeling under the manager's ire, who can't be the best company on the training ground at the moment. Failure to win tomorrow evening will make for long international break with Boro most likely in the bottom three - indeed, they could well be in that relegation zone before kick-off as level-on-points Swansea are at home to the leakiest defence of Hull in the lunchtime game before Boro's supper one - could it be Wilder's last supper? He's certainly not looking like the Messiah to the Boro faithful!

This post was modified 2 weeks ago 2 times by werdermouth

Original Fat Bob
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Great opener Andy a high benchmark for anyone to follow such a fine post. I agree with Werder that your second post is as good as well. I agree with everyone’s posts as we can all see where the problems lie and have been saying this for a while.

I had internet problems and couldn’t see the game and listened on the radio and we switched that off after the third goal went in and watched a film instead. Mrs OFB and I were feeling pretty poorly after having the latest COVID booster which affected us more than previous jabs so it’s been a poor week really!

I’m afraid that I must disagree with our elder statesman Ken Smith in this instance and I forecast that Boro will win this game 2-0. Yes there will be changes to the lineup and hopefully Crooks and Howson will have to look at their performances and shape up or be shipped out. I have criticised both of these players for some time and any team needs a fully fit and hard working midfield to generate goal scoring opportunities and also limiting any threat from the opposing team.

Dijksteel has to play as does Bola and Fry. These players are producing steady performances and are a known entity. 

As per Werder’s comment regarding Wilder “Is he the new messiah” No he’s  just a naughty naughty boy !

OFB


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K P in Spain
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@original-fat-bob.  Hope you and the boss are soon fully recovered.

A friend of my brother texted him on Tuesday whilst we were at the match to say that he had been watching on TV and after the third goal went in he decided to switch over to watch Eastenders as it would be more interesting!  

We decided to grin and bear it and sat through most of the second half but left when the board went up for 5 extra minutes, following the many who had left much earlier. 😎

This post was modified 2 weeks ago by K P in Spain

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Powmill-Naemore
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Posted by: @original-fat-bob

... As per Werder’s comment regarding Wilder “Is he the new messiah” No he’s  just a naughty naughty boy !

OFB

😆

Reminds me,

Q. What did the Wilder ever do for the Boro?

A. Better goalkeepers...

Q. Well apart from better goalkeepers, what did the Wilder ever do for the Boro?

A. More entertaining football...

Q. Well, apart from better goalkeepers and more entertaining football, what did the Wilder ever do for the Boro?

A. A decent striker...

Q. Well ..........


werdermouth
Site Creator
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Posts: 1415
 

@exmil 

Sounds like the replacement for FFP in the Championship is still under discussion with Rick Parry appearing to be looking for a fairer distribution of income as part of the deal. It makes sense as clubs with parachute payments will have an even greater advantage if other Championship clubs then have to stick each year to the 70% of revenue for wages, transfer and agent fees.

It will be quite a small figure as clubs like Boro only have under £20m turnover unless they can sell players and 70% of that will be less than £14m, which means newly relegated PL clubs would be allowed to spend 3-4 times that amount - though they would of course be carrying a larger wage bill and would be reluctant to lose parachute payments. Fulham's wage bill is around £50m and they would have to sell most of them if they had to manage without parachute payments.

It seems any new rules will be phased in over three years - In 2023-24 the cap will be 90 per cent, in 2024-25 it will be 80 per cent and from 2025-26 it will be 70 per cent. Hard to see if clubs will agree to the new FFP or whether it's just an exercise in trying to pay lip service to protecting clubs from themselves.

Many Championship clubs were bought by foreign owners with a view to investing to break into the PL - if they can't inject capital then there's no need to have a wealthy owner. Some would welcome that but you only have to look how the Saudi investment in Newcastle was received by the fans - they don't really care about FFP as they just want the club to have more money to spend.

Not sure if the new rules will make football any fairer and it may even trigger a new breakaway - possibly a Premier League Division Two as the wealthy foreign owners reject having their hands tied.


deleriad
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Posts: 375
 
Posted by: @werdermouth

Not sure if the new rules will make football any fairer and it may even trigger a new breakaway - possibly a Premier League Division Two as the wealthy foreign owners reject having their hands tied.

Thought it was interesting that they specifically said this is a financial "stability" package not a package that is aimed at levelling the playing field competitively. The cynic in me thinks that this is something owners want to minimise the risk of their clubs imploding financially. The competition bodies don't really mind if some clubs have three times as much to spend as others in the same league as long as no one is at risk of going bust.

It's clearly related to but different from how broadcast revenue is shared out in England. Again, the cynic in me figures that most of the current Premier league owners would be happy with a closed shop in all but name. That's what parachute payments do. You end up with around 25-26 clubs. About half of them are either fighting against relegation from the Premier league or competing for promotion to it. 5-6 are competing for Champions league places and the rest are there to make up the numbers. Each season one of the clubs in the middle makes a run for Europe. Replacing parachute payments with a more equitable distribution of money among the football league clubs will lead to a greater variety of teams getting promoted. That's better for the football pyramid but would be like turkeys voting for Christmas for a good half of the current premier league owners. 


Malcolm
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Ref to the unreal kick off time 7.45 on a Saturday night.  Is it because the fans after the match will be able to drown their sorrows in the pubs 😀 just saying 🤔


werdermouth
Site Creator
Joined: 6 years ago
Posts: 1415
 

@deleriad 

I don't really know how you can make any transition between the Championship sustainable (in either direction) while the gap in turnover between the two is an order of magnitude of around 5-6 times. How can any organisation plan for such a drastic change given they employ staff (i.e. footballers) and suddenly need to pay them either several times more or less in order to keep within their income.

There is no way to manage such radical change, some clubs simply try to get promoted and financially plan for relegation and become yo-yo clubs - others gamble and lose and nosedive with a fire sale, while others speculate on promotion only to fail and spend the next five years regrouping financially - I suppose that's where Boro have fallen.

If you have a league pyramid then each step needs to be manageable financially - or indeed the steps within a league such as the PL. Regulators are just tinkering around the edges but 70% of £20m is a lot different than 70% of £70m (in the case of a newly relegated PL club) or 70% of £130m with the worst off in the PL or 70% of £500m in the case of the elite PL clubs.

It's attempting or dealing with the transition that is creating the financial stress - until that is smoothed out the problem will never go away.


jarkko
Member
Joined: 2 years ago
Posts: 1298
 

@werdermouth At the end of the day it needs to be sport. If no promotiion or relagation is possible in the EFL, what is point of following it? The basic values must be there  - it is still football. Not theatre (of which some dream of in Manchester). 

If the big clubs keep their positions financially, it really becomes a theatre and we know who the top four teams are every May. Suddenly it might collapse.

As ever, the product - sport - must be there and work. Everything is built on it. Up the Boro!


werdermouth
Site Creator
Joined: 6 years ago
Posts: 1415
 

@jarkko 

I would favour each league having a cap on an actual sum that can be spent, which shouldn't be beyond the majority of the teams in it - otherwise there should be a higher league if they want a higher limit. The Premier League is about providing games for the top 6-8 clubs to see which of them win it and qualify for the Champions League.

This is the opening sentence on the Premier League website...

The Premier League is the top tier of England's football pyramid, with 20 teams battling it out for the honour of being crowned English champions.

In 30 years 50 clubs have been in the Premier League but only 7 have ever won it with Blackburn and Leicester winning it once each - So in 28 of those years just 5 clubs have been "crowned English champions" Man Utd, Man City, Chelsea, Arsenal and Liverpool.

I think someone at the PL needs telling that 20 teams are not battling it out to be crowned English champions - it's more like 12-14 teams are battling it out to avoid relegation!


jarkko
Member
Joined: 2 years ago
Posts: 1298
 

@werdermouth I hope the Boro will join Blackburn and Leicester in the "long" list of champions during the Gibson era 🤐.

And I expect us to win vs. Rotherham United today. My prediction is a 4-0 win.

Ok, I will get my coat. Anyway, up the Boro! 

This post was modified 2 weeks ago 2 times by jarkko

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Selwynoz
Member
Joined: 2 years ago
Posts: 395
 

I posted this on the Wilder blog but thought that I would drop it in here as well.

”Well, things haven't gone very well so far, have they?

Apart from perhaps our resident Cassandras, this is a source of something between disappointment and dismay for all of us and we would like to see some signs of improvement. Part of the reaction is to call for Wilder's dismissal as if that is some magic formula that will somehow bring together this vastly changed squad.

Writing a while ago, I suggested that it would not be a suprise if we didn't challenge for promotion this season. We have a solid squad but not Championship-winning and we have young players who are doing well at Academy level or scattered round the leagues but not ready to make a difference this year. Therefore, assuming that we can avoid relegation and some miraculous Nottingham Forest-like transformation, this could be a mid-table season that sees the club doing no more than trying to get ready for future success.

Thus, the real question as I see it is to ask the supporters, the club and, more specifically, the owner to come clean and say exactly what is going to happen if things pan out this way. Is that going to be enough? Will the supporters accept a mid-table year without tearing down the stadium. Will the club leave the current management in place as part of a long term plan. I know that the words 'long term plan' don't often appear in football but maybe that's the best that we can hope for. In that case, would everything be calmed down by Steve Gibson coming out and saying quite simply

"The club is going through a transformation. We have long term faith in the management team. We are sorting out cost structures and will leave the current structure in place until next season when we expect to be much stronger."

I'm not sure how this would play out? Would the supporters accept a 'non-season'? Probably not and, to be honest, I dont know whether the management team would like to see their year written off. It's also fair to say that it's much too early for this to happen but further into the season, I can see us safely ensconced in mid-table with no chance of going up or down. Do we then accept the long term plan, accept Wilder and his team and wait for 23/24. Why not?

For me, I still believe in miracles because optimism is more fun than pessimism and I'm too old to always see the worst in things. Having said that, I'm also getting too old to wait forever for another season in the Premier League.

utb”


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Clive Hurren
Member
Joined: 2 years ago
Posts: 274
 
Posted by: @plato

@andy-r 

Unfortunately, the cause of our malaise is precisely the change which you describe. Change starts a breakdown of organisation, which is the bedrock of success in football. No matter what the level of skill in your team, or even genious, without ruthless organisation nothing will be achieved. For us to believe that the ideas which brought us to this point can restore our club to it's proper position in the football World is frankly fantastic. Our system is broken, and a continuation will lead to an even more distressing situation. Every move which we have made has had the smell of desperation about it. Just one point, any follower of the game knows that coaching is now accepted to be king, talent is no longer enough. To continue to hire a string of time expired managers is the road to nowhere. When they come with the usual list of provisos, i.e. I will not be moving to the area, I will be missing on the following days, (fill in as told) I am not a great one for telling the lads how to play, there is far too much talk about tactics, he's a Young lad and will be great in two seasons time. If these remarks ring a bell, you have just discovered one of the fault lines in our club. Time for a change!     

Plato.

I’d be very interested to know whom you’d want to appoint as Boro manager if we were to sack CW. You seem to be calling him a ‘time-expired manager.’  But why - because of one bad season at Sheffield United? Surely his overall record says he still has a lot to offer, even if it isn’t working with us yet? 

I’m guessing you would include Strachan, Pulis and Warnock in the time-expired category, too? Who else? Mogga? But he’d served his time (brilliantly) at Celtic, and since leaving us won promotion at Blackburn and looks to be doing more than ok up the road so far. 

Apart from the ‘time-servers,’ Boro have also had a relatively recent record of appointing rookies - Robson, McClaren, Southgate, Karanka. You’d have to argue that collectively, and even individually, they all achieved success. I still think Gareth did well in his first job to keep us in the Prem for 3 seasons. So is it another rookie you’d be looking for as Wilder’s replacement? If so, there are obvious risks - they might eventually come good, but it usually takes time. 

There is, of course, the third route - appoint a relatively young manager who is making his way, making an impact elsewhere. I’ve often argued that there are plenty of these in the lower leagues. Think Rob Edwards at Forest Green and now with Watford, or Ian Evatt who did very well at Barrow and is following that up with positive impact at Bolton. But they certainly don’t all work out -  for instance, Danny Cowley, who did a brilliant job at Lincoln, but bombed at Huddersfield. In Boro’s case I can think of only one recent young manager we recruited from elsewhere on the basis of his growing reputation - Gary Monk. Nuff said. 

A possible fourth way - bring in a manager from a top club with a string of trophies - Zidane, Klopp, Ancelotti, Guardiola - clearly isn’t an option for Boro right now! 

So, given your apparent wish to get rid of Wilder and any other time-servers, which of the remaining two categories would you choose, and whom would you want? Would you want to bring in another foreign guy, perhaps someone doing well in one of the European leagues, or is there someone in the Championship who might be tempted to come to Boro (and whom we could afford?)

This post was modified 2 weeks ago 3 times by Clive Hurren

Liked by 5 people: lenmasterman, Malcolm, exmil, Ken Smith and Powmill-Naemore
 
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Clive Hurren
Member
Joined: 2 years ago
Posts: 274
 

Selwynoz

A brilliant and thought-provoking post! I think that should really prompt some good debate on here. I’ll have a think and will perhaps respond when I’ve had time to organise my thoughts. 


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