I’M STILL in shock from Boro winning. I’d almost forgot what that even felt like.
It wasn’t the best of games against Nottingham Forest and, my word, Boro made hard work of it but they did what they had to do and got over the line and that’s all that counts.
People tell me Boro can still make the play-offs now after that but they must be better at maths than me because I’ve looked and I’ve looked but I can’t see how that adds up.
For me the win doesn’t mean Boro have suddenly got a second chance to go up, it just means we are finally safe from the drop after a couple of anxious weeks when a lot of Teessiders were seriously worried about that happening.
And rightly so. Results and performances since New Year have suggested that if Boro were leaving the Championship this year it was only going to be via one direction. And I don’t mean the pop group.
Don’t get me wrong. I’m delighted Boro won the game.
I’m delighted for my old mate Tony Mowbray because he really needed the relief of that victory after a tough slog over the last few months.
I’m delighted for the players because they worked hard for the points and deserved it.
And I’m especially delighted for the long suffering loyal fans who have been incredibly patient watching dross while the wheels fell off the promotion bandwagon one by one.
But I don’t think we should be planning any open top bus parades just because we won a game and are now officially safe from relegation.
I don’t think staying up is any cause for celebration when you think where we could have been with a bit more consistency and organisation.
One scrappy win and a wave of relief can’t cover the cracks in what has been a very, very disappointing season.
And even though we won against Forest I still think there are reasons to be dismayed.
When I looked through the team-sheet I groaned.
We should be looking to build for the future now. We should be planning for next season and giving pitch-time to the players who will be in the Boro team come next August.
So why were Kieron Dyer, Josh McEachran and Sammy Ameobi there? They won’t be at the Riverside next year. Not in a Boro shirt anyway.
Why are we putting them in the shop window for other teams to benefit? That’s barmy. There’s no value in it for us.
We should be blooding the youth now. We hear they are pulling up trees in the Under21s league and that the next crop are going to be the future of the club and save us fortunes in fees. We should be seeing if they can cut the mustard in the first team against men. And there’s only one way to find out: throw them in!
For me we should have been doing that for weeks already. The senior players haven’t been doing it. The kids can’t have done any worse.
Maybe now the pressure is off and Boro are safe, Mogga will blood the next generation.
I’d like to see a very different teamsheet when Boro play at Bolton on Saturday.
We’ve seen Adam Reach in flashes this season and he has looked impressive at times but now he should be given a run through these next three games to show us that he can do it over 90 minutes.
He could be a first team or squad players next year so it benefits us if he plays. There’s no value in Ameobi there.
There’s others too. I’d rather local lad Luke Williams gets a run out instead of Zemmama who has had years to show us what he can do and never nailed down a shirt.
I’d give defender Christian Burgess a run-out. And winger Cameron park. And hot midfield prospect Bryn Morris too. These kids will benefit from first team football. They will learn something and we will learn something. What will we learn if Kieron Dyer plays?
It’s all about next season now. This one has been a grind and it can’t end soon enough for me – but in the three games we’ve got let we have to be preparing for next year.
Mogga wil have in his mind a list who is here next year and who isn’t. Anyone who isn’t shouldn’t take a shirt from someone who is.
SUNDERLAND gave themselves a great chance of staying in the Premier League with their derby win at Newcastle – and pulled the Magpies right back into the relegation mire.
Listening to the Mackem callers on the Three Legends you can see that Di Canio has blown away the gloom and given them a bit of a buzz.
Whatever you think of his politics – and I’m not going to talk about that – he has galvanised Sunderland.
I think teams can mirror their manager. Di Canio is energetic, passionate, colourful, driven, animated, unpredictable and great fun to watch and I think Sunderland have already started to show some of those characteristics.
Against Newcastle they were unrecognisable from martin O’Neill slow, cautious team.
They had so much zip and I think that and a bit of momentum will keep them up now whereas two weeks ago, with their fixtures and injuries, you would have tipped them to go down.
But the Geordie callers, they are all now very worried. And you can see why.
Newcastle did amazing last year and qualified for the Europa League and the Geordies were buzzing but it has become a millstone for them and affected form in the bread and butter games.
Alan Pardew has moaned the European fixtures and talked about his squad being too small to cope and about fatigue and tiredness. That’s rubbish. Players never complain about tiredness. It is just an excuse for managers.
It gets my goat to hear managers moan about Europe. Last year it was the objective and celebrated as an achievement. Now it is an inconvenience and an excuse.
And to talk of professional players being tired is an insult to the fans who slog their guts out for 40 or 50 hours a week to pay for their ticket.
But if that is Pardew’s attitude you wonder if it is affecting his team. They have some quality players but they haven’t done it this season. It hasn’t quite happened for them.
Yes, they have lost the goals of Demba Ba to Chelsea but you wonder too if they have been a bit complacent and distracted by Europe and that if they do get dragged into the dogfight if they are ready for it.
I think they have the quality to stay up – but it will be close.
Boro fans may have to wait a bit longer for their next derby.
Thanks to Evening Gazette.