TONY Mowbray has told Boro fans he is looking to bring a 25 to 30 goal a season striker to excite them next season.
Well good luck with that search Mogga because strikers like that are rarer than rocking horse droppings!
That’s why the big clubs pay multi-million pound transfer fees to snap them up as soon as they appear on the scene.
Boro have done it too. Boro have splashed out record fees and huge wages to bring in one of these mythical creatures.
They’ve broken the bank for Ravanelli, Boksic, Maccarone, Viduka and Alves over the years looking for the player that is going to rewrite the record books and fire the club to success and glory but they have not managed it yet.
All these big money international players have not managed 20 a season – yet Mogga is out to buy someone who can … and he’s shopping in Netto!
I’m not saying he shouldn’t look. He desperately needs to because every successful team must have a proven, clinical striker who can make sure you finish off teams when you are on top in games and pop up and snatch on even when you are not playing great.
And Boro don’t have that. That has been one of the biggest failings of the team this year.
Yes they’ve let a lot of sloppy goals in – way too many – but it is not scoring goals in games they have dominated that has really cost them.
I’m a big fan of Scott McDonald and think he has been the best of a bad bunch but he has missed far too many chances in games when we needed a goal to take control.
Lukas Jutkiewicz hasn’t played enough or scored enough, Curtis Main is powerful and direct but still very raw and Ishmael Miller has just never done it when he’s played.
Then there is Marvin Emnes. Dear me. Emnes got 18 last season and that’s great – but even then I wasn’t convinced he was a natural goalscorer. I said that I got flak for it.
But I said at the time “let’s see if he can do it again”… and he didn’t. He’s been a massive flop this season. He hasn’t played enough games and when he has plyed he hasn’t done enough to hurt teams. He has never looked alive or as if he could hurt the opposition.
How many goals has he got thsi season? Five in 28 in the league? Including a penalty. Blow me! I’d get five in 28 now myself – and I’m 52!
So yes, if Boro are to be up there and challenge next year and reach the play-offs or beyond that, Mogga has to find a proven goalscorer who can do it week in, week out. A guy who you can rely on to hurt the opposition and who will get the goals that win matches.
I hope he does. It’s just a shame that he has to go scouring the lower league and Europe to unearth one.
For me it has been the greatest failing of the Boro Academy that it hasn’t produced one single striker for the club.
The Academy has churned out good keepers, centre-backs, full-backs, left wingers, right wingers and midfielders and you could put together a decent team full of them playing right now in the Premier League – but it wouldn’t have a proven top level striker in it.
Yes, there was Danny Graham but he was a Geordie and he joined the Academy late and anyway, he barely scratched the first team and had to leave to find his feet in the game.
It puzzles me and hurts me that a region like this with so much talent and so much passion for the game can’t produce a guy who can score.
Now, I know loads of fantastic young 60 goal a season junior strikers get signed up for the Academy – David Wheater was one! – but most seem to get converted to other positions over the years before going on to be flogged elsewhere.
And it’s not just the modern age either. When I was playing at the club it was the same.
We had some great young strikers banging them in for fun in the reserves, lads like Nicky Peverill, Andy Fletcher and Charlie Agiadis who looked like they had it but for whatever reason never made that step up to the first team.
We had local lads as mainstays of the team all over the park but not up front. It’s strange.
Real strikers are very rare. There are only a handful of genuine natural goal-getters around at any one time.
You know, in the entire history of the Boro only 10 players have scored more than 100 goals for the club. Only 10.
Six of them were local lads: George Camsell, Wilf Mannion, Brian Clough, Alan Peacock, Micky Fenton and David Mills – but that last of those came through 40 years ago.
We desperately need to find another one soon. It is a generation since the last Teesside goal hero emerged. The time is ripe for another one.
And when we find one we need to make sure he is nurtured as a striker by the Academy, not over-polished and turned into a full-back and wasted. Let the natural talent shine through, lord knows we need it.
In the meantime, let’s hope Mogga finds a striker who, even if he can’t get 30 a season or even 25, at least threatens to break the 20 goal barrier.
Because unless we find some goals, some punch, some teeth, some cutting edge, then next season could be a real grind just like this one was.
THE Legends show, with Bernie, Micky Horswill and Malcolm Macdonald, is on air across the North-east from 6pm-8pm Monday to Friday.
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Thanks to The Evening Gazette.