HOW any Boro fan can be happy with a point against Peterborough I don’t know.
I heard and read people saying it ‘had stopped the rot’, and ‘at least it was a clean sheet’ and ‘they were a side in form.’
Dear me. It was Peterborough! Peterborough! They’re second bottom! For me it is a sign of just how low expectations and morale have got at the club if Boro fans are ready to claim a goalless draw against relegation fodder as a moral victory.
If Boro can’t go out and beat them when the players all supposedly still believe they can make the play-offs then there is no hope for them.
That point doesn’t help Boro close in on the play-offs. All it does is keep us mathematically in touch and will drag out the agony in what has been a long slow death of a season.
And we only got one point because right now the strikers can’t buy a goal. Miss after miss after miss let a poor side off the hook. Again.
After the game I heard Tony Mowbray explain his policy of rotating his strike force in order to keep them fresh. Fresh? They barely play games from one week to the next.
The only thing that keeps strikers fresh and hungry and full of the desire is goals.
If a striker scores they feel ten feet tall and can’t wait for the next game so they can get another buzz. That is what freshens strikers up. Goals.
And you can’t score goals or find a rhythm if you rotated – dropped! – every other game.
How are you supposed to get a goal if you’re not on the pitch? Or if you are on the pitch but are playing wide on the left or as a deep lying midfielder?
For me the way to get the best out of a strike force is to pick your best and stick with them. Give them time to build a partnership and start scoring.
And if they don’t score for few games you don’t give them the hook. You show a bit of faith. I know that. I had barren spells, all strikers do, its part and parcel of the game.
I remember when I was at Boro and I had the worse run of my career. I had gone a dozen games without scoring and one day after training Bruce Rioch called me over and I was sure I was getting dropped. And I couldn’t have argued.
But he put his arm round me and told me I was his best goal-getter and he was going to play me and play me until I started scoring again and to save us both time I should start tomorrow. And I did.
Strikers respond to a show of faith like that. And Mogga should do that with his striker. He should decide on his best and tell them: you’re the main man, go out and get goals.
For me that man is Scott McDonald. I know he missed about four chances against Posh and few more at Wolves – but he is still the best bet.
He works hard, he gets into the box, he gets into dangerous positions and he is not scared to pull the trigger.
He’s the top scorer even though he sat out the first few month and, for me, if goals are going to come, they’ll come from him so put him up front and let him get on with it.
Starting to score is the only way to get this season off life support and revive the fans.
Most seem to have given up and to be fair you can’t blame them. Boro’s form has been in freefall since New Year.
But, and’s that a big but – and you feel a bit daft even saying it – the prospect of a play-off place is still dangling there.
Given how rank bad Boro have been that says it all about this division. It is poor league full of average teams who haven’t been able to pull away and kill us off and somehow – don’t ask me how as I don’t even believe it is possible – Boro could still get into the play-offs.
Not that I think they would win them because for me they are not good enough.
And not that I think promotion was the priority this season either. For me, the priority was just getting through while wage cutting, book balancing and getting the finances.
All clubs are run by moneymen these days. They call the shots. In that, Mogga has done what has been asked of him so it is painful to hear some of the things said about him by disgruntled supporters.
I feel sorry for Mogga. He has done what they asked off the field but he has to carry the can for the results on it.
And the damage of the results and not getting promoted goes on his CV and it looks worse every season we don’t go up. A lot of managers would have walked. I know I would.
For him to stay and get to grips with the job and not complain says a lot about Tony Mowbray the man and the manager.
BORO go to Hull on Saturday for a tough clash against one of the promotion favourites.
And Tigers boss Steve Bruce looks like he get the last laugh on Sunderland.
He was sacked by the Mackems and replaced by Martin O’Neill but now the Black cats are in a mess and could be changing places with Hull.
Bruce has done a good job there and built a solid side who are hard to beat.
Meanwhile, for me Sunderland are in a right mess and look like going down.
They were already in big trouble under Martin O’Neill because they were playing poor football, not scoring and looked like their heads had gone down. Even O’Neill looked to have lost his zest.
And their fixtures… oh boy.
Then, to throw fuel on the fire they bring in Paolo Di Canio!
I’m not going to go into the politics of the guy but that won’t stop other people asking questions. It’s not going away.
Plus, Di Canio may be a big personality but he’s got no record managing a big club with a big and demanding crowd right at the top level.
So me it seems crazy that a team under pressure in the dog-fight do something so risky that will double the pressure off the pitch but has no guarantee of improving results and performances on it.
If Boro don’t go up – and I’m not gambling man but I wouldn’t bet on it – at least we may have a derby next year.
THE Legends show, with my fellow broadcasters Micky Horswill and Malcolm Macdonald, is now back on air across the North-east, from 6pm-8pm Monday to Friday.
On Teesside, you can listen to us on 104.5FM via Community Voice FM, but we are on air in other regions via Star Radio, Koast Radio, Hartlepool FM and NE1 FM.
Thanks to Evening Gazette.