On Monday I was proud to be a former player and a fan of Middlesbrough Football Club.
The atmosphere,scenes and noise amongst a sea of red and white was incredible, it made me immensely proud to live on Teesside.
The game itself unfortunately passed us by.
The phrase used by every Boro fan I met after the game was, “We didn’t turn up.”
Since the final whistle, I have not read a paper or listened to national radio.
I was absolutely gutted, not for the team or myself, or the fair weather fans, that made their first away trip of the season to Wembley. I was gutted for all our loyal hardcore fans including my two sons and Chairman Steve Gibson.
When the second goal went in I felt like crying for them.
On the day we had no zip or zest, we looked lethargic and heavy legged. There was a lack of spark throughout the team. The amount of square balls we played was infuriating it looked like we had half a dozen Ray Wilkins in the team.Every time Lee Tomlin picked the ball up he was in his own half and he either played it square or gave it away. Bamford barely got a touch and looked way off pace due to injury, the gamble of playing him never paid off.
The first goal conceded was schoolboy stuff.
Ayala got robbed of the ball,stood complaining instead of continuing to defend and then Dimi left a gap as big as The Thames between himself and the right hand post.
Two goals conceded in a five minute period knocked the stuffing out of us and even the most ardent,blinkered sycophantic Boro fan could not see a way back.
I was quoted months ago in my Gazette article saying that goals would get us promoted as opposed to our defensive qualities and so it has proved.
Bournemouth, Watford and Norwich have confirmed that.
Bringing in two defenders, a midfielder in the month of January and no forwards for me was a massive gamble and a big mistake. We were linked with Jordan Rhodes of course but it did not materialise.
I have said all season fortune favours the brave, but we weren’t brave enough on the big occasion as we witnessed on Monday.
So what now?
The squad will be dismantled
Loanees will head off, a couple may be sold.
So what do we need to be a success next season?
We need Karanka to stay, we need a creative central midfielder,we need a injection of pace and goal scorers that you can hang your hat on this is easier said than done.
We simply have to pick the pieces up and start again.
Enjoy the summer, get ready for next season.