Can Kike Be King?

Leeds United result on Saturday was majorly disappointing.
The well documented disallowed goal decision was farcical and the goal we conceded late on in the game was a poor one. Obviously the error by the goal keeper was highlighted but it was a combination of mistakes before hand.We allowed Leeds United to pass it along the half way line without pressurising, when the ball got put into our box and eventually fell at the feet of Tonge we were slow at reacting and Mejias the goal keeper will know that he should have parried it around the post or held onto it, unfortunately he did neither.We are back in action tomorrow against Bolton, lets hope we can get back on the rails.

After only a few games people are already tipping Kike to bang in 20 goals in the Championship. Is this a realistic target?
Of course it is every striker should start the season thinking he is going to grab 20 plus goals and with 46 games to play a decent squad around him and two wingers to supply its certainly possible. Of course to succeed he needs a bit of luck and fortune, stay clear of injuries and hopefully he doesn’t lose form.
The downsides are in my opinion he doesn’t have a direct partner to form a partnership with.

Incredibly it’s 25 years since a Middlesbrough player scored 20 league goals, yours truly grabbed them back in 89/90.
During that time we have had a 10 year stint in this division, these are the stats.
1990/91 Slaven 16
1991/92 Slaven 16
1993/94 Wilkinson 15
1994/95 Hendrie15
1997/98 Beck 14
2009/10 Johnson 11
2010/11 McDonald 12
2011/12 Emnes 14
2012/13 McDonald 12
2013/13 Adomah 12

Having a 20 goal striker or strikers, is what every team is looking for, but it doesn’t guarantee promotion. The year I scored the 20 league goals we had to win our last game against Newcastle United and one or two results had to go in our favour to stay up.
When I bagged 16 league goals in the 91/92 season, we gained promotion and my striking partner Paul Wilkinson grabbed 15.
In 1994/95 season when John Hendrie was our top scorer with 15,we gained promotion and in 1997/98, 14 goals by Mikkel Beck was enough goals to get us back into the top flight.
Sharing the goals around is better than giving one player the burden, responsibility and pressure.

So what have I made of Kike?

It’s still early doors but what I have seen has been encouraging. His movement and hold up play have been good, he has a good work ethic, plays on the shoulder of defenders, he is vocal and points the finger at his team mates if they don’t make the right decision.
2 goals in the opening 3 games is a good start from the Spaniard.
His goal against Oldham was what I call a great goal. He received the ball inside left position, he was 16 yards out, lifted his head and guided, steered and curled the ball across the keeper into the far corner, with the inside of his boot. It was accuracy at its finest and sheer composure.
Against Leeds on Saturday, he was a wee bit hesitant and was looking for that extra touch.
But it’s early days he is still adjusting, but the early signs are encouraging.

I’m on CvFm 104.5 between 10-11pm after the Bolton v Middlesbrough game call me on 01642 688104.

On Friday I will be at the Miners Arms, High Street, Eston from 7.30 onwards tickets are £5 profits going to Alzhelmers society.

Also I will be hosting Legends lounge at the Riverside on Saturday, guest will be former Middlesbrough scout Barry Geldart, tickets £99 each includes a 3 course meal, match tickets and a free bar, call 08444991234 to book.

Team and fans shine in the sunshine.

Boros opening game of the season against Birmingham turned out to be a canter, from the off Boro looked head and shoulders above the Brummies. Defensiveley we were never tested, in fact Tomas Mejias Osorio never had one shot to save on a glorious day at The Riverside he could have got his deck chair out, put on the ambre solaire, his shades and laid back and sipped a glass of wine.

Boro  set their stall out they were direct, creative and possessed a good tempo. With a bit more luck and ruthlessness could have scored 4 or 5.

The left side duo of Friend and Reach for me was the highlight of the day. Friend was his usual energetic self, driving forward, creating havoc and having a couple of efforts at goal. Adam Reach showed us what he is all about, kept his shape well, gave the team a nice balance, had good close control, was direct and skilful and whipped in several terrific balls. Personally I am delighted for Reach. I don’t know the lad from Adam if you pardon the pun.

Last season via my Gazette column, website and radio, I was fighting his corner, hopefully this season he stamps his authority and is in the starting 11 on a regular basis.

I was delighted for Kike his movement and hold up play were very good, he had several chances and put 1 of them away. To open your account on the opening day especially for a striker is a dream start. Hopefully there are many more to come.

For me the only thing that didn’t click on the day was the right side. Hines was out of position, failed to give Adomah the service and back up he required. In saying that Adomah looked lethargic and lacking in ideas when he did get the ball.

All in all a terrific opening start, 2 goals, a clean sheet, 3 points on the board and it was great to get over 18,000 fans witnessing it.

I personally thought the fans generated an excellent atmosphere which was led by the drummer.A word of caution, its important not to get carried away, its 1 game and in my opinion we are still 4 players short. No doubt Karanka is aware of this and is working his socks off to get them in. I say it every season, we will have injuries, loss of form, suspensions and when those occur its important to have a beefed up squad with able replacements.

A quick word on my Legends lounge debut as a host. I thoroughly enjoyed it,thanks to my guest Gary Pallister and it was great meeting big John Hickton and several former players. The room was full and there was a good atmosphere. Hopefully they all return for our next home game against Sheffield Wednesday.

If you want to book the Legends lounge its £99 which includes 3 course meal, match ticket and free bar call 0844499 1234

 

You can also listen to me and phone in after every Boro game on CVFM 104.5FM  to phone, call 01642 688104, so listen tomorrow from 10-11pm.

If you have a child aged 5-7 bring them along to Redcar and Cleveland Community Heart between 1-2pm on Sunday 17th August for a free coaching session with myself and ex Boro coach Mark Proctor.

Great to be back.

Over the years there have been a number of former players hosting the hospitality lounges at The Riverside and for whatever reason I had always been over looked, rightly or wrongly.

Some put it down to my strong and forthright opinions, my character, some accused me of being over critical.For years the rumours have been flying around that I had been banned from the Stadium, that was purely fabricated and utter nonsense.

Recently I received a call from the football club asking if I could go in and have a chat with them.
On the way there I was thinking surely they are not going to ask me to play? Im 53 years of age have a bad back and dodgy knees.
Thankfully it was nothing to do with the footballing side. It was an offer to host one of the lounges. I was half expecting to be told you can’t say this and you can’t do that, but I can honestly say all that I was asked was to be myself.

I am honoured, privileged and pleasantly surprised to get the opportunity.
I think that it’s ironic that the Legends Lounge,where I will be present every match day, is where I had my last public appearance and picture with my late great father. I’m sure he will be looking down and smiling at my appointment.

Over the course of the season, I’m hoping to entertain, give opinions on performances and have a bit of fun. I will also have a guest every week. My first guest for the opening game against Birmingham will be former Middlesbrough and Manchester United centre half Gary Pallister.
People have been on the social media saying I will last a week, what’s your money on?

If anyone would like to book a table on match day, ask a direct question or give me some verbal abuse, feel free.

You can buy seasonal places or match by match, which is £99 and includes a 3 course meal, match ticket and a free bar.
Please call 08444991234 to book.

Pre Football Academy

Myself and former Middlesbrough 1st team coach Mark Proctor are going to start coaching 5-7 year olds every Sunday at the brand new football facilities in the Redcar Leisure Centre, starting on Sunday August 3rd between 1-2 pm.
As its the opening day we are putting on a free session.
If you would like to bring your child along for and introduction and a bit of fun please call 01642 771070 or 07476747442.

As we all know early development is essential, it is our goal to help your child on their way.

We both hold UEFA B and Pro Licence qualifications.
We are both DBS checked.
We have clocked up over 1,000 proffessional games, scoring over 270 during our football careers.

We look forward to seeing you all on the day.

UTB.

LEGENDS AIM TO GIVE PARKY A WORLD CUP BOOST

BERNIE Slaven and Mark Proctor aim to give former Boro team-mate Gary Parkinson a World Cup boost when they hold a Riverside Stadium dinner.

Places remain available at The Three Legends World Cup Dinner when Slaven and Proctor will be joined by Newcastle legend Malcolm Macdonald to mark England’s opening World Cup match against Italy on the night of Saturday, June 14.

Taking place in Middlesbrough FC’s Legends Lounge, the event includes a three-course meal, Three Legends question-and-answer session and an auction and raffle to raise funds for the Gary Parkinson Trust.

The former Boro defender needs 24-hour care and is unable to move, speak or swallow since suffering a stroke that left him with Locked-in Sydrome.
With a late bar until the early hours, guests can watch England’s big match against Italy – which has an 11pm kick-off – on a big screen and six smaller screens in the company of the Legends.
During the meal guests can also watch a live screening of the game between England’s group rivals Uruguay and Costa Rica.

Boro legend Slaven, who was part of ex-Boro boss Jack Charlton’s Republic of Ireland squad at the Italia ’90 World Cup, said: “It promises to be a cracking night, with plenty of debate and banter about club and international football before the screening of England’s big match with Italy.
“If we can give Parky’s fund a good boost then so much the better. As former team-mates of Parky’s, me and Proc feel that it’s the least we can do.
“We’ve got some fantastic items for the auction and the raffle, so we’d simply ask those who attend to be generous.”

Proctor, the former Boro and Sunderland player, is standing in for ex-Black Cat Dickie Ord, who is to undergo a knee operation just days before the dinner.
Newcastle legend Macdonald, who scored five goals for his country against Cyprus in one of his 14 England appearances, added: “Fans can enjoy a great night of food, beer and banter, with plenty to discuss and debate on the club scene as well as the World Cup. Then it’s fingers crossed for England’s big match.”

Tickets for The Three Legends World Cup Dinner are priced £35 each or £330 per table. Please contact events@mfc.co.uk or call the Events team on 01642 757672.

Organised by former Boro media manager Dave Allan of DNA PR & Publicity, the dinner starts at 7.30pm with reception from 7pm. Dress code is casual and football shirts are encouraged (no ripped denim).

Join The Three Legends For World Cup Dinner

THE Three Legends are to reunite at the Riverside for a special dinner to mark England’s opening World Cup match against Italy on the night of Saturday, June 14.
It was recently announced that The Legends radio show had come to an end after a 14-year run, but Bernie Slaven, Malcolm Macdonald and Dickie Ord are back with a special live performance.
Appropriately held in Middlesbrough FC’s Legends Lounge, The Three Legends World Cup Dinner includes a three-course meal, raffle, auction and Three Legends question-and-answer session that Slaven promises will be “full of our usual irreverent straight-talking with lots of banter thrown in too”.
With a late bar until the early hours, guests can then watch England’s big match against Italy – which has an 11pm kick-off UK time – on a big screen and six smaller screens in the company of the Legends.
During the meal guests can also watch a live screening of the game between England’s group rivals Uruguay and Costa Rica.
Boro legend Slaven, who was part of ex-Boro boss Jack Charlton’s Republic of Ireland squad at the Italia ’90 World Cup, said: “We may now be off-air but the Three Legends live on through our live shows.
“This will be a unique event and a cracking night, culminating in the screening of England’s big match with Italy.
“Ahead of England’s opening fixture – and with seven games having already been played by then – there’ll be plenty to debate and discuss, while the three of us will be happy to dissect all things Boro, Newcastle and Sunderland too.”
Newcastle legend Macdonald, who won 14 England caps and once scored five goals for his country in a 5-0 victory over Cyprus, added: “We’re looking forward to a night of great football banter with a World Cup theme. The late bar and the big screen make it the perfect way to watch the England match at the end of what promises to be a memorable evening.”
Tickets for The Three Legends World Cup Dinner are priced £35 each or £330 per table by sending a cheque to Three Legends World Cup Dinner, c/o DNA PR & Publicity, Boho 4 Gibson House, Cleveland Street, Middlesbrough, TS2 1AE. For further details call 07711 025009.
Organised by Dave Allan of DNA PR & Publicity, the dinner starts at 7.30pm with reception from 7pm. Dress code is casual and football shirts are encouraged (no ripped denim).

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Three Legends full time.

The Three Legends have called full time on the show.
After 14 years of being one of the biggest shows on North East radio, we’d like to thank everyone who has listened, taken part and made the show the success that it’s been.
Sadly a lot of local radio is struggling to get sponsorship and we don’t have a marketing team to chase it.
It’s no secret that we’ve been swimming against the tide for the last few years looking tirelessly at ways of trying to make it work – the audience is there but the advertising isn’t.
The truth is that we haven’t been paid for months, we’ve been doing it for the love of the show and we’re all gutted it has come to this.
We’ve agonised over it for some time but we feel now is the time to call it a day.
The bigger stations would rather have cheap bland wall-to-wall music than locally-produced topical talk shows and smaller stations can’t get the advertising.
We have a loyal audience who have stuck with us all the way, a lot of regular callers, real characters who have made us the success we have become so we’d personally like to thank you because without you, there would be no show.
We’re proud of what we have done over the years. At our peak we had a huge regional evening audience that was never beaten.
We will however be on the road over the coming months and are hoping to do a final farewell show.
We’ve already been to Blyth and Newton Aycliffe and we are at the Riverside soon so watch this space.
Bernie Does Boro will be going until the end of the season and hopefully into the next.

Stubbornness could be costly.

Our ridged set in stone formation of 4-5-1 is becoming a chore, a bore and farcical.
Our team like our formation has become predictable.
Boro have only won one game in twelve and have just gone through the longest goal drought in the clubs history.So you can’t say results justify sticking by Plan A, for me it’s time Karanka looked at a Plan B, in fact he should have done this weeks ago.

From the outside looking in the manager is becoming a mule like figure, (stubborn).
Poor Danny Graham must have thought dropping into the Championship would have reignited his flagging career but if anything his career has gone backwards. He is isolated for long periods, service into him is sporadical, he looks heavy legged and way short of confidence.
The uneducated would point to Graham as the villain for me it’s Karanka who has to take responsibility.
With eight games remaining there are no benefits, in continuing with this formation.
Why not go with two up top? Why not lose one of the defensive midfielders? Why not get more bodies into the box more often? What is there to lose?
I could totally understand the logic sticking by the strict formation, if it was to drill it into the players for next season, but we keep being told expect massive change in the summer. Half of these players, now being drilled in this shape and this philosophy are odds on to not be here next year.
We have loanees going back,a few out of contract, a couple the manager doesn’t fancy, it could be all change again this summer if the manager gets his way.
If that happens he will have to start from scratch all over again and drill the new arrivals.

Going back to our stubborn, non flexible team/shape, Karanka has no previous managerial proof, or history that his philosophy works. That is another reason why he should be experimenting in my opinion.

With Boro’s season cards up for grabs, we are looking to rope in new fans for next season and to hold on to our regulars, playing the remaining eight games, with fear, caution and stubbornness, could be costly.

Danny double could have easily been a treble.

Finally our goal famine is over after a 138 year club record wait of 12 hours 13 minutes for a strike.Danny Graham who has been going though his own personal drought/famine of 1 goal in his previous 42 games grabbed both goals.
On the day we deserved a victory, we created several chances and Carayol who had been isolated in recent weeks returned and put in a very good performance. He was a constant threat with his pace and trickery and assisted with both goals.
George Friend after a ropey 10-15 minutes went on to have an outstanding game.
Loanees Omeruo and Chalobah oozed class and debutant Lee Tomlin gave Graham the support he has been lacking in previous games. He showed flashes of flair and skill, was direct and wasn’t afraid to take on opponents.
The biggest disappointment for me on Saturday as Boro fan and ex striker was that Danny Graham was taken off and wasn’t given the opportunity to score his hat trick.
This was a trait I had witnessed on several occasions under Steve McClarens management, it is one that I am totally against and it infuriates me.
Back then the logic behind taking a player off who had scored 2 goals, was that they didn’t want one player stealing the limelight or the headlines, it was a team game, it was about we not I, there was no I in team.No Doubt psychologist Bill Beswick played a part in that.
Talking from personal experience, scoring a hat trick is a unique occasion and its every strikers dream to take home the match ball. There is no better feeling in the game than to grab a treble especially if your team wins.
In my career with Middlesbrough I was fortunate to score 7 hat tricks and none of the managers I played under took me off when I had scored 2. I don’t believe any of them considered it. In fact If any of them would have attempted to drag me off they would have had to come on the pitch to get me.
Both Middlesbrough and Danny Graham’s confidence was at an all time low after the barren spell and here we had a chance to boost Danny’s confidence tenfold but we rewarded him by taking him off.Some people could point to the fact that we have got a game on Tuesday against Nottingham Forest, but I don’t buy into that. It’s not as if we are chasing promotion.
No disrespect to McClaren or Karanka but I think that it is highly unlikely that either of them have ever scored 3 goals in a professional game and Bill Beswick certainly wouldn’t have ever scored a hat trick.
They can only imagine what it feels like and what it means to the individual, what it does to their mental state. Their reasons and answers will come out of a book.
If I was a manager there is no way on this earth I would take one of my players off who had scored 2 goals.
We seem to be contradicting ourselves when players are firing blanks and are out of form, we leave them on and when they are scoring we take them off.
I am sure the fans that attended the Riverside on Saturday and who have suffered through the drought with the team, would have loved to have boasted about a hat trick hero.
I am sure Danny himself would have loved the accolade, but it wasn’t to be.
Maybe if he scores 2 against Forest,we might keep him on ( unlikely ).

Karanka cannot afford to hold grudges.

The biggest surprise for me on Saturday down at Sheffield wasn’t us not scoring a goal we have become hardened and accustomed to that,it was that Mustaph Carayol failed to make the squad.
It has been well documented about his spat with Karanka and by all accounts it was down to his bad attitude. There has been a whole load of rumours flying around Teesside over the last few weeks. I am not claiming to know all the ins and outs but I think we can safely say that the pair had words.Last week the manager went on record as saying that he left Carayol out of the squad because of it. Obviously the feud continues.
Believe me if that was the norm in my day I would have never have got a game. As a player I had strong opinions, voiced them regularly and had ding dongs with every manager I played under during my eight year stint.I was marched into the office many many times by Rioch, Todd and Lawrence. I have fallen out with all the bosses but they all still played me barring one.
Football is a game of strong characters, opinions and big personalities, it is inevitable that you get disagreements and that people will clash, don’t forget the dressing room is full of testosterone.
For me it comes down to man management surely you don’t drop a player because of a bad attitude.Bad form yes but not bad attitude.Every player has different makeup some are mouthy, confrontational. It is down to the manager to channel that,get them to perform on a regular basis.
As a manager you can’t cut your nose off to spite your face.
Looking back at my own career working under Lennie Lawrence things became personal and from the outside looking in that is what it’s looking like regarding Carayol. Leaving him out the squad hurts the team, the fans and takes away a huge part of our attacking flair.
I am all for discipline, if I was in charge I would be a strict disciplinarian but there are other ways of stamping down your authority as manager.
Bruce Riochs favourite was to fine you a percentage of your wages.
The other surprise is that our top scorer and arguably player of the season Albert Adomah, has been on the bench recently and was replaced on Saturday. I keep hearing that he is on the bench because he is injured, I don’t believe this for a minute.
Whatever the problems are with Carayol and Adomah, Karanka must sort it otherwise he could lose the dressing room.

I went along last night to The Carling Cup 10th anniversary dinner, it was organised by the Former Players Association. There were some great stories told by Mclaren, Queudrue, Boateng and Co.

Our next opponents on Saturday are Ipswich Town, I have come to the conclusion that if we don’t score we should demolish the Riverside and turn it into a Tesco. As far as I am concerned Carayol should be on the left, Adomah on the right and Graham and Tomlin should be up front.
The chant from the fans should be “ATTACK, ATTACK, ATTACK. “