FMTTM has come in for some criticism lately for presenting a ‘too critical’ outlook on recent Boro teams. Though it should go without saying, we must stress to those connected, that our job is to offer a fair reflection on the mail we receive and occasionally put up a counter view if required.
True last issue was a bit negative but that’s the way the letters have been coming lately and you’ll no doubt notice a backlash this issue, particularly the Gary Gill business. Anyway, now is not the time for petty bickering, unity is needed on and off the field as we strive for the points that will bring us safety.
With this in mind, i find it particularly difficult to understand the clubs petty attitude to the local press at the moment. It seems they’ve still go the hump with the Gazette (not a bad old rag, getting better) over the Bermuda business. This is a pity because it denies the public their only source of information, sparse though it is at the best of times. We feel the Gazette has always been fair in the way its portrayed the clubs affairs in the past, after all the Slaven controversy would not have started had the club been honest from the start. Every excuse was used save the obvious one about the triangle. Though relatively petty, the whole affair is indicative of the apparent contempt the club has for those it wholly depends upon. Perhaps the club would like to make known it’s own side of the argument?
Anyway, more importantly, the team needs us to get behind them today like never before, hopefully earning some breathing space over our Hampshire relegation rivals.
Signs were that the fans were recreating the atmosphere of old against Everton and it should have paid dividends, but lets not dwell on that, instead lets just sing our hearts out for the lads. Its what they would want and would say so if they could.
Now you might think i’m just a whinging sod, who only goes to the match for a good moan and a laugh when the kids miss a penalty at half time. Well normally this is true, the same goes for the rest of the hard core in the Chicken Run but the Everton match was different, it was a total nightmare. I wouldn’t mind it but it looked so good before the start, a real Boo Boy extravaganza, with Gilly on and this new bloke Barlamb or something.
Then the horror began, Gilly making the first goal. I pick up a bit at 1-2 down, the verbal diarrhoea was really flowing, even though Gilly was having a good game. Then we get a penalty, i just had time to shout out “Bet you wish you’d never sold Glover now Rioch you ya useless prat”, before Parky strides forward and nets it. I’m back on form at 2-3, getting at that Davenport fellah, when bugger me he goes an nearly busts the net. I’m having a breakdown. All around me everyone’s cheering, smiling and shouting “E-I-O” and what have you (i just can’t understand some people). If spud Kernaghan’s header had gone in i was for the gas oven.
The final insult came at the end as they were leaving the field, i can still hear the chants of “Gary Gill, Gary Gill, Gary Gill”. Have these people got no pride, no sense of tradition?
So it’s down to the boozer to drown my sorrows with some serious drinking. I’m staggering to the bog so legless i could eat a kebab, when i slip on the floor and hit my head (luckily its not a vital organ) on the johnny machine, falling flat on my arse, nearly knocking myself sensible. In my stunned state i had a vision – im queuing for my I.D. card when they sit me down in front of a video of a pretty mediocre match (they’ve got loads to choose from, Man Utd, Villa etc) of course my reaction is “You’re *&%@X?*! rubbish Boro”. The next thing i know they’ve stamped my card B.B. and sentenced me to the North East corner – so that’s what its being turned into – a leper colony for the Boo Boys.
Luckily it was only a dream… or was it? Mind you, that pack of Mates was the worst chewing gum i’ve ever tasted (you can’t beat the old ones, ask Mark Proctor).
Despite Gary Gills sterling efforts in the Everton game it seemed that large sections of the crowd would / could not accept he was having a blinder. Every misplaced pass was greeted by more moans and groans than a ‘Mary Milington’ film. Yet Gary Pallisters missed ‘winner’ was forgiven and forgotten as soon as his long legs had taken the four steps back to the half way line.
More hypocrisy followed when Gilly, in the closing few minutes attempted to dismember Pat (the last thing im going to do is shoot) Nevin with a tackle so high that Bernie Slaven got vertigo just watching it (how else can you explain his last cross of the game). Sympathies laid very much with the victim, which would be fair enough were it not for similarly over zealous tackling by Mogga and Ripper being greeted by cheers and chants of “Die, die, die you b**stard”. Lets face it, Deano was canonised on Teesside for his blood curdling antics.
Good thing or not Gilly was as intimidating a presence as Deano ever was, yet still managing to play more balls forward than any other player on the pitch. One pass late in the second half, played with the outside of his left foot, was so beautifully weighted that it fooled everyone in the ground including it’s eventual recipient Bernie Slaven. For a second or two he stared speechless at the ball, scarcely believing its static location, before racing onto it and bringing us back down to earth with a more human like contribution.
Despite all this Gilly still had the intelligence, skill and stamina to be on the end of Boro’s best moves whilst also having a hand in all the goals. His heading ability may be dubious but he did provide genuine nuisance value in midfield and got to some crucial flick-ons in the box.
So it was with wry satisfaction i noticed he didn’t hang around to long at the end of the game to milk the applause from the Holgate End, who for so long have jeered him with or without cause. He’s had his critics, lets face it we’ve all questioned his ability at some time, to put it mildly, but after that performance lets applaud Sir Bruce’s judgement and patience and get behind Gary. He can’t help any lack of technique but must be commended for his commitment and capacity to learn. With Mark Proctor playing so well in a supporting role he could well hold our First Division future in his hands.
Gills Match Stats – Accurate Passes: 39, Misplaced Passes: 7, Shots on Target: 6, Shots Off Target: 2, Fouls: 8, Serious Fouls: 3, Near Fatal Fouls: 1, Fingers Groomed Through Hair: 7,389
One of the best things about having a season ticket is being able to go along to Boro reserve matches for nowt and I tell you what, it’s damned entertaining stuff too – honest. Consider if you will these strange reserve game phenomena:
Any road, there are plenty of people getting themselves down to games. In fact more crowded into Ayresome’s old North Stand to see Peter Davenports debut than were scattered around the entire ground for many a gloomy 2nd Division stuffing. The football is of excellent quality with players of real potential. There are more than a few waiting to follow Nicky Mohan’s lead in mounting a first team challenge. Trotter is a play-making centre back out of the Pallister mould, whilst Robinson stamps his class down the central channel, Agnew has a canny left boot and Fletcher a cool head in front of goal.
Don’t rule out Mark Barham either, his appetite for the game seems to be returning and it really is a privilege to witness flicks and crosses of such pin point accuracy. One memory i will always treasure is the sight of the sadly departed Deano-O Glover crashing a 40 yard free kick into the roof of the net for a last minute winner against an utterly bewildered Oldham Athletic. Not bad at all.
I am writing to you in answer to the points raised by Scotty in Issue 12. Firstly, let me tell you that i once thought Gilll was a waster and gladly joined in the chants of “Who the **** is Gary Gill” prior to the kick off at Southampton. During this game he played as well for Southampton as Kerry Dixon did for us in last seasons play offs. He was without doubt Southampton’s best midfield player. He played some lovely one touch passes to their players. As soon as he left the field the Boro changed gear and scored 3 goals.
At Luton though Gill’s fortunes changed and he had a good game. In fact the Luton supporters standing next to me couldn’t believe our best player was being replaced. The comments made so far on this game have clearly been made by people who did not go to the match. They probably went to Scarborough for the day and returned to Middlesbrough only claiming to have been to Luton.
In contrast to these charlatans and through a skillfull mobilization of forces, the ‘Middlesbrough Supporters South’ managed to get at least 30 Boro fans into the Kenilworth Road Stand. This was done with only a handful of membership cards. When Gill charged down the right and crossed the ball into the box it reminded one of our elder members of ‘Foggon the Great’. Last weekend Gill repaid Rioch’s patience by playing a starring role in our games against Wimbledon and Everton. It was a toss between Proctor and Gill for man of the match in both games.
So all of us who thought Gill was rubbish can now eat humble pie. He is playing with confidence and starting to come out of his shell. I believe his booking against Everton will do him the world of good. We need to get stuck in and win more 50 / 50 balls. We need Gill more than ever seeing how Marco Van Brennan seems more interested in pi**ing it up than putting on a Boro shirt.
Last year Gary Parkinson was not a good player but with everybody’s encouragement his improvement this season has been an inspiration. If we all get off Gills back and encourage him then Bruce won’t have to spend £370,000 on a midfield player who couldn’t give a toss about Boro and their supporters. So come on Scotty and all the other Boo-Boys, we’re Boro and proud of it, we’re the best supporters in the country and ought to be above this kind of thing. Gill has answered your criticisms with good performances and it is now time to put ‘The Great Gary Gill Debate’ to bed.
If anyone has to be criticised then it has to be Mark Brennan. We all know he is a Southern Softy and has spent far too long in the part of the country where Maggie looks after her own. Answer this question for me Scotty, is Brennan committed to the Boro, or is he just happy to pick up his pay cheque every month without having to do very much for it? I look forward to your reply.