12th August 2016
I will be the first to admit that I’m not a big fan of pre season games and I witnessed nothing on Saturday against Real Sociedad to change my opinion. The games are simply for the players not the spectators. they are about fitness, working on your touch, getting to know your new team mates. If you are a striker it’s good to grab a goal and defenders thrive on keeping clean sheets. I had to laugh at the team sheet and the substitutions which included three goalkeepers. The team that started the game should be pretty much the team that lines up against Mark Hughes Potters.
I am really excited for the start of the new season after a seven year absence it is fantastic that we are back in the premier league.
Boro’s transfer business has got me fired up especially Victor Valdes and Alvaro Negredo, both of those transfers have the wow factor. Negredo fits the bill perfectly with Aitor Karanka favouriting the lone striker.
He is a big powerful lad. he is good with his back to goal, a good link up player and he has proven at this level he can score goals. Rhodes and Nugent are less suited to the role. I am first to admit that I would have struggled to score goal in the current Boro set up. I did not have the physical strength or ariel power to cope with the demands of being a lone front man.The arrival of Valdes and Brad Guzan have cast doubt over Dimi and where that leaves him next season. If I was him I would be knocking down the managers door asking him to judge me on my merits and not against backgrounds, fees or reputation of the new arrivals.I did the same when £1 million signings Davenport and Payton arrived at Boro under bruce Rioch and Lennie. All sorts of question marks get attached to players when a side has being promoted to the top flight. Will they be good enough to cope with the difference in levels, can they score goals? Pundits openly doubted whether I would be able to score consistently in the top flight back in 1989. I remember been asked if I was confident about hitting the back of the net on a regular basis and I said that if I got the service I was sure I would. The goals are the same size after all! I ended up finishing third top scorer behind Liverpool’s John Aldridge who’s team finished second and Arsenals Alan Smith who won the league and don’t forget we were relegated. You don’t know if some players can handle the step up unless you give them a chance. Some players you might have doubts about end up handling the transition with ease, while others that you thought would strive end up struggling.
Our goal this season is to stay in the division and I’m super confident we will achieve that especially with the continental style of football we play.
Fulham in the Cup away from home, let’s hope we don’t neglect it, let’s hope we can stay in all competitions for as long as possible.