Boro v Rotherham
Positives, not getting beat and a clean sheet.
Negatives, repeating myself and I know some do not agree, but we have been "sussed out" Squeeze our wing backs and we have next to nothing more to offer.
The ponderous midfield, very rarely gets into the opposition box to the support the front one/two and so when ball does make it there our forwards tend to be well out numbered by their defenders.
Rotherham came with the same plan as all the other teams now and it worked. Giles and Jones had the space around them squeezed out and had to revert to either coming or passing inside fat too often. Whilst I agree that both are not performing at their best, especially the latter with his crosses, their role is so more difficult without support from the midfield which has been anonymous.
As Werder said, hooking arguably our two best players in Watmore and McGree just played into Rotherham's hands and the momentum was lost to a degree. In saying that, if we had played until midnight would we have scored?
Yes we are only ten games in and the table outside of the top six is very tight. However can anybody honestly believe the Boro are going to pick up the pace after the International break and go on a run.
We are stuck with this squad apart from possibly adding another Free Agent, injury prone Delph being the latest rumour, and so what is it that may cause that leap forward?
What I cannot fathom out is why the club spent nearly 5/6 million on two young boys, as Wilder calls them, one not even making the bench which must be really upsetting for him and any chance of the World Cup gone. Whilst we needed at least one other experienced forward, Wilder´s system dictates that we have a decent midfield with players that have pace and can pass a ball forward. We are very limited there in my opinion, although it hard to believe that Boyd-Munce could not offer more than the ponderous non tackling Mowatt.
With the match being on Sky TV and available on the internet, I would assume that the majority on here must have a first hand opinion on that display last night.
I agree with your assessment and I lost count of the times Jones and Giles received the ball in a stationery position with nowhere to go but backwards. They should be running on to balls and the few times they managed that they were able to get in a position to cross. We need players in midfield who can run with the ball and make through passes either to the forwards or wide players. McGree at least did try to do that but only Watmore appeared to be in the same mode as him so Boro just reverted to the usual slow build up once they received it.
As for signing two players for £5-6m that don't appear likely to play is just a nonsense - which if you add to the fact that another 'club' signing in Martin Payero, who also cost £5-6m, has been sent out on loan because Wilder doesn't probably fancy him either - then that's simply a waste of valuable resources. Indeed, added to the failure to spend £10-12 planned from the Spence/Tavernier windfall then it starts to look like mismanagement.
A club of Boro's limited resources and quality in the squad can't afford to leave over £20m off the pitch and expect to compete with the best clubs in the league. Steve Gibson really needs to get a grip on matters if he thinks this is in anyway an acceptable performance by the backroom.
If Andy's doubts over Chris Wilder's man-management skills are also close to the mark then we have something approaching a self-inflicted handicap of massive proportions. We had a decent war chest and either spent it badly or not at all and then the players who remain have had their confidence dented by the management and are under-performing. This is not a situation that will see the team improve anytime soon and at the moment it looks like being a wasted season that will hopefully not turn into a disaster.
October is a month where Boro should be able to start getting points on the board - we play the bottom two in Coventry and Huddersfield - plus bottom-half teams in Birmingham, Preston and Millwall. Even November sees games against struggling Hull and Blackpool with only the final trip to Norwich looking testing.
We shall see if the Qatar World Cup break sees Boro's hopes for the season over and most likely Chris Wilder's tenure. Even a Boro at 85% should be climbing the table in October - anything less then it's down to whether Steve Gibson's patience remains. Though as I said earlier, the problems run deeper than just the manager.
So, it’s bottom 3 for the next couple of weeks. Ignominious. Going back to Selwynoz’s recent post about expectations, my view is that Boro should always be challenging at the top end of the league. There are a number of Champo clubs - PNE, Millwall, Bristol City, Reading, Huddersfield and others - who usually don’t trouble the play-offs and usually ultimately ‘settle’ for mid-table security; some of them have been doing so for many years. I’m not in the slightest doubt that all are ambitious and all ultimately want promotion, as we do. But in some cases, their expectations are lower than ours, because they’re financially weaker, or haven’t had our relatively recent success in the cups, or they haven’t been to the Prem, or because they’re not really considered big clubs. That is not the case with Boro. We obviously still have some clout at this level, and with the appointment of Wilder we were expected to be among the front runners. It’s therefore doubly disappointing that we’re currently in the relegation places.
I reckon our fans will start to lose patience if we don’t stop the rot soon. Some are already shouting for a change of manager. Over the years, we’ve had a reputation for stability and for giving managers every chance, though that has been tarnished to a large degree more recently with the churn we’ve had and the consequent flip-flopping between styles - Monk, Pulis, Woodgate, Warnock, Wilder. From one extreme to the other and back again. Plot that lot’s playing styles and philosophy on a graph and you’d end up with something like a child’s drawing of lightning or an upside-down W. Gibson is no mug. He knows that he appointed a very good and much sought-after manager with a very good track record in Wilder and he’ll be very reluctant to jettison him any time soon, rightly. Besides, costly compensation considerations apart, Boro’s options in recruiting another new manager, should it prove necessary, are not at all obvious, as I pointed out in my post to Plato a couple of days ago.
However, as I say, the troops are getting restless. Defeat to Coventry would tighten the screw on Wilder. Then, a string of results that leaves us languishing near the bottom would obviously pile the pressure on further. We all hope that the opposite will occur, that Boro become the side we want them to be and Wilder masterminds a run that shoots us up the table. But we know this team is flawed: it has significant defensive frailties and a weakish spine. At some point, even in the middle of a good run, our usual inconsistencies will no doubt resurface. We already have serious catching up to do, so our room for manoeuvre is limited. If it looks like Boro are probably going to miss out again and perhaps end up mid-table - a likely scenario I would suggest, given our current plight - then at what stage does SG act? Does he write off this season, build again in the summer and give Wilder one more season? Does he provide additional funding for the January window to allow one more big push this year? Does he still have faith that Wilder is the man to take us up and that giving him the players he wants (this time) will allow him one last chance to prove himself?
I don’t know the answer. I suspect that Steve Gibson will act quickly if it looks like we’re facing a relegation battle with little evident improvement. Otherwise, I think he’ll be guided by the reaction of the fans if the promotion drive appears to have stalled and optimism is waning.
As I’ve mentioned before I don’t look at League tables until 10 matches have been played so not surprised that Boro are in the bottom 3 after averaging only one point per match. They say that League tables never lie, but was surprised that a couple of teams in the playoff positions are only 5 points ahead of Boro until I realised that Boro had only played 4 away matches out of 10, so maybe the League table is inaccurate and worse as far as Boro are concerned.
I don’t understand that the fact that Boro have kept a clean sheet for only the second time this season should be regarded as some consolation. The fact is that Boro should have scored at least 3 times last night even though they were so laborious in their play when compared to most teams in this division. Maybe we are missing Tavernier but only 4 wins and 18 points from the last 18 matches prior to which Boro were sitting 5th last season suggests to me that we are either lacking in confidence or not as good as some of us perceive.
It’s ok stating that Boro are only 5 points from the playoffs, but it might take 6 successive wins to achieve parity with the top 6 as several of those in front of us at present are bound to pick up a fair percentage of points also during the oncoming matches. Are Boro capable of winning their next 6 matches? Of course they are, but having partly solved the defensive errors of this season, must become more proactive and need to vastly improve on the current wastage of their set-ball situations along with their often haphazard attempts at shooting.
Excellent posts by everyone above with Andy and Werder's contributions brilliantly and accurately summing up the current situation.
As Jarkko said at half-time yesterday, there was only one moment of any quality and that was provided by Watmore. In the second half there were two more- both from Watmore. Our semi-crocked striker who can only play for half a game.
The multifactorial problems identified above are evidence of a deep malaise to which there are no simple solutions, but the fact that we are operating with one and a half strikers when the manager has asked for a minimum of four tells its own story about our dysfunctional recruitment set-up.
I wonder if Wilder is being pushed towards the kind of epiphany experienced by Warnock at 2 o' clock in the morning when he decided to say 'stuff it' to Scott and his useless signings, and go his own way.
It wouldn't surprise me. It was a course of action that yielded an immediate improvement in performance , but exposed a deep rift within the club that could only end in one way.
It's always the manager, the experienced pro who actually knows something about the game , who gets the chop.
Cardiff City have parted company with manager Steve Morison in a bombshell move on Sunday.
The decision comes with the Bluebird struggling near the foot of the table following the disappointing 1-0 loss at Huddersfield Town
Yet Boro who are third from bottom retain the manager, coaches, the chief executive and the recruitment team.
Although I don’t like reporting on rumour (honest!) I have heard that things are not right behind the scenes at the Boro.
Allegedly there is Cost cutting on corporate entertainment and the once lavish lunches and first class service is being reduced to a more cafeteria and “Little Chef” approach (remember them?).
Also behind the scenes money is apparently not being thrown around like it used to be and a more pecuniary approach is being taken with all operating costs.
I have also heard that senior (very senior !) management is apparently quite content to languish in the championship division with average home gates approaching 20k and the odd cup run and sales of key players to keep the funds ticking over.
Of course one hears these rumours all the time but I must confess that some of the people now whispering these have come good before…..
Indeed. And this is the same Steve Morison who led his side to a 3-2 away win earlier this week at much-fancied Middlesbrough, and whose side gave us a footballing lesson!
Ref to Wilder, he knows that behind the scenes it's not good.
He as been let down by the recruitment team. So he is just scraping along with what he has got. As soon as a job comes up he will be off
Talking about revolving doors, Hartlepool United have sacked manager Paul Hartley after failing to win any of their nine League Two games this season.
Hartley only took over at Victoria Park in June after the Pools agreed compensation with Scottish Championship side Cove Rangers.
Hartlepool are now looking for their third manager in 10 months after Hartley's predecessor Graeme Lee was sacked in May after only five months in charge.
Lee had taken over following Dave Challinor's departure to Stockport County last November.
Up the Boro!
It seems to me that the next couple of weeks are extremely important for the club.
Many of the comments above highlight the current problems in the club including poor recruitment, the lack of quality and motivation of some of the players, the tactical rigidity of the manager and the question marks over the manager’s man management skills. These problems are contributing to poor performances on the field and very disappointing results.
All these problems need to be addressed urgently in the next couple of weeks as dramatic improvement in the team’s performance and a run of good results must be an imperative for the management. Coming back after the two week break and playing the way they have been playing in recent weeks will mean that even a mid-table position is a pipe dream and a relegation battle will be odds on.
The question is whether the management is capable of fixing the problems. I think we know that in theory the players should be good enough to compete effectively in the Championship and it is CW’s job to get them winning games and quickly. We shall in see in October whether he can do it. If he can’t then we are in deep, deep trouble.
@original-fat-bob When it’s not going very well there will always be more rumours than when everything is fine and dandy.
As for cost cutting, I think most companies will be looking at the “Entertainment” Budget. Let’s face it, Teesside is really struggling and the big companies of the Robson days are gone.
Whilst there maybe no smoke without fire, for a very senior person to come out with that defies belief. How many senior people do MFC have on the Financial side? Two? and Mr Gibson is one.
To languish in the Championship, without any kind of ambition will see those average gates fall quite dramatically to around the 15K mark and possibly less on a cold, wet, February night. Let’s be honest, it is only the Wider speak close season that raised the hopes of the fans and ticket sales.
Information from Mr Gibson and MFC these days is more or less non existent.
I know it is early days but you have to admire the Sunderland recruitment team seem to be far better than ours. 5th place in the league after promotion is a great achievement and our very own Tony Mowbray is loving the youngsters that have come through. Just saying. 😀
A different and pessimistic view of the League table to Wedermouth.
You are obviously correct saying Boro are 5 points behind the sixth placed team ( and 13 points behind the leaders Sheffield United.)
However, to pull back the 5 points they need to get 5 more points than the sixth placed team in the coming weeks.
But not only that, they have to do better than the FOURTEEN clubs above them in the league table!!
If they only achieve the same number of points , 10, in say the next ten games and the sixth placed team continue at the same rate in picking up points then they will be 10 points behind- this assumes that all of the fourteen Clubs above Boro continue at their same rate and don’t overtake the sixth placed Club. Unlikely!!
And if Sheffield United continue picking up points as they are currently doing, then after 20 games played , Boro will be 26 points behind them. And the season won’t have reached the half way stage !!
So , at this early stage of the season I see no reason for optimism and if Boro are to make great strides up the table then it is going to take months and months - nearer to Christmas ?
I don’t think I’m being too pessimistic - but other supporters may contribute to help change my mind.
Philip of Huddersfield
I can confirm that the free meals to the aged have been quote “discontinued for the foreseeable future”. I was told this by the courier last month, and though they were most welcome it doesn’t concern me personally as much. But I am concerned for those living in East Cleveland many of whom were financially more reliant on them than me.
@pedro and OFB
I agree, Pedro. I can quite understand any cost-cutting. Boro made substantial losses during the Covid closure, and like most other businesses right now I guess the club’s energy bills have gone through the roof.
I’m with you, too, on OFB’s revelation of a lack of management ambition. Personally, I can’t believe Gibson would ever let that kind of attitude prevail. Surely, like all of us, he wants the Premier League? Surely, he wants us to go back to Wembley and return to the glory days of the UEFA Cup? Isn’t that why he invests so much of his money in the club? Why else would he have gone for a manager of Wilder’s calibre? And isn’t the desire to win things what sport is all about?
That last post of mine is not meant as a criticism of you in any way. I’m just gobsmacked that your sources could have hinted at such attitudes amongst Boro’s senior management.
My brother rang me this afternoon and whilst commenting on the good work that Tony Mowbray was doing at Sunderland suggested that perhaps we both should start supporting the Mackems. I think he was joking, but despite being happy for them and Tony Mowbray there’s no way I could ever stop supporting Boro, Yorkshire CCC or Cas Tigers for that matter.
You (and Ken earlier )are of course right to say that Boro have to overtake all the clubs above them before they are in the top six and who knows if some are under-performing or others over-performing.
I suppose the best way of looking at it is to work on the assumption that to get into the play-offs requires 75 points. As things stand that means Boro need 65 points from their remaining 36 games, which works out at 1.80 points per game or to make it easier to picture 9 points from every 5 games. In comparison to the target of 1.63 points per game over 46 games it has crept up a little.
The current top six only need a maximum 1.67 points per game to achieve the 75 points so we're looking at needing to gain an extra point every 7 games - which is not a massive amount at this stage. Anyway, it all depends on whether Boro can up their game from the current 1 point a game, which is poor to say the least.
Interestingly, in comparison to last year Boro had 12 points after ten games, four more than Nottingham Forest and the same as Sheffield Utd. It's fair to say the Championship this season is looking more open as the points tally of those in the play-off places this season after ten games is 15-15-17-18 compared to 16-18-19-20 last year.
So it's still all to play for but my main concern with Boro is the squad doesn't look deep enough for the next six weeks where we play 11 games before the Qatar break - with players already below par and others hardly having much pitch time, I'm not sure if a low-on-confidence Boro are ready for the challenge ahead.
Although not usually given to Schadenfreude I make an exception concerning West Ham United and was pleased that my favourite Premier League club Everton beat them this afternoon. Also pleased that in the early qualifying rounds of the FA Cup that Darlington beat Southport 3-2 and that Marske United won 1-0 away to Whitby Town.
Speak for yourself, Ken - I had Emerson and Bowen in my fantasy team and was looking for more than a grand total of 3pts from the two!
Just noticed Real Madrid v Athletico Madrif is live on ITV4 at the moment - omly 5 minutes gone and looking feisty!
OFB, as per Clive’s post, my post also was not meant to be a criticism of you or your information.
After all we all like a rumour. 😂😂
Sunday is usually a catch-up day for me with other sports l’m unable to fit in during the week such as golf and speedway, but always find time to record Songs of Praise for the stories and interviews from people who have suffered miserable childhoods or became drug addicts etc and turned to religion to revitalise their lives. This week it’s naturally turned to Queen Elizabeth II and her favourite hymns. It started this week with a black and white photograph of her when she was probably in her late 20s and I’d forgotten what a beautiful young lady with film star looks she had, so stunning that I had to take a photograph of her from the television with my iPad.mm
Today was about her Majesty’s favourite hymns and as I’ve always loved hymns from my childhood when once a month during the Second World War we used to congregate with all the servicemen billleted in Redcar and Marske some staying at my parents home, for our own songs of praise. I’m fairly eclectic with all types of music and hymns were just another genre of my musical tastes. Well if the selection of hymns portrayed on today’s Songs of Praise were fit for her Majesty then they are fit enough for me as I sang lustily this afternoon.
No offence taken
Obviously we all hear rumours but what was quite perturbing regarding this one of lack of ambition it came from a source who has provided accurate information in the past which quite surprised me to say the least!
So i have passed it on in good faith and understand that there will be scepticism and rebuttal regarding the validity of yet another half baked rumour.
The trouble is something doesn’t seem quite right with the Boro at the moment though does it???
@original-fat-bob We hired Pulis to correct the wrongs at the club. Then Warnock to do the same. A year ago we (finally, I must say) hired a head of football in Kieran Scott. And soon after we hired Wilder who made some changes behind the scenes, too.
I just hope we have found the root cause of us being still in the Championship!
As I have said, we perhaps had too many changes in playing staff this summer with over ten players arriving. Cardiff and Hartlepool have made even more chances in their playing staff in one window, now they have sacked their manager, too.
I think clubs should go back to the basics and give managers and coaches more time to work on players. And the same applies to us, fans, too.
Up the Boro!
I know that everyone on here appreciates good analysis and so I must draw everyone's attention to the Boro Breakdown Podcast. The three presenters are huge Boro supporters but that doesn't stop them from being very open about weaknesses and failings. I'd recommend that people take a listen. The latest episode - This Wasn't Part of the Plan - is particularly good.
@jarkko the root cause of us still being in the championship is we don't win enough games and are not good enough, 🙂 wow this football management is easy. Twittersphere saying we have a new head of scouting
Thanks for the suggestion I look forward to hearing what they have to say
btw You didn't give a link but I found this one below - just press play and close the pop-up asking to subscribe as you don't need to
It’s taken one day short of a year for Celtic to lose their unbeaten league record, but few would have expected that St Mirren would have been the team to do it. Even more so that former Darlington and Boro striker Curtis Main would be voted man of the match.