All hail the return of the conquering hero in the shape of Mark Proctor. Having said that, he hasn’t exactly achieved a lot since he’s been away where as we’ve been to hell and back with a succession of personnel.
Proc was part of the big sell out from the early eighties, which including Armstrong, Johnston and Hodgson and set us on the road to near oblivion. He is is the second of the quartet to return, Hodgy having already been here rather unsuccessfully on loan. It will be interesting to see how Proc and Hammo get on, as when they have played against each other they have been mortal enemies.
Reading one of the daily papers this week, it was suggested that Mark Wright shone against Boro and should be reconsidered for an England place. Yet again i begin to wonder if i have been to the same match, as in the one i saw Wright had an adequate game but struggled nearly every time against Ripley.
Finally i must thank all the contributors to this issue who make it possible for us to provide you with a fanzine every home game.
Just what is a big and bustling centre forward? For those of you unable to quite put your finger on it, I reckon I’ve come up with the answer. A ‘big and bustling centre forward’ is a player with no skill, who should more accurately be referred to as a complete spud.
Every time i read the name Billy Whitehurst, he is constantly referred to as ‘big bustling Billy’. However, the only highlight of his appallingly laughable career was when he showed the Geordie boo boys what he thought of them by way of a ‘friendly’ hand gesture after being substituted. This led to him looking for yet another club stupid enough to sign him. Oxford and Reading both took the bait before Blunderland tried their luck with the old carthorse and look how long that lasted, surely if you can’t make it with them then it’s time to hang up your boots.
Other examples of this classic breed include such clowns as – George Reilly, Colin West, Nial Quinn, Tony Cunningham, Keith Walwyn, Ron Futcher, Scott McGarvey, Carl Airey, Nicky Cross and of course who could forget our ex Trevor Senior and still with us Big Al Kernaghan.
None of these players can run more than 10 yards, they miss open goals and show opponents ‘who’s boss’ by frequently getting sent off. During their illustrious careers they wander from one club to the next going from bad to worse, leaving supporters wondering how the hell they became professional footballers in the first place.
Some even manage the impossible and actually score a few goals along the way… but not many.
The time has come to channel some serious, yet constructive criticism in the general direction of Peter Davenport.
Dav has been afforded the kind of patience he would not have received at any other First Division club. His strike rate says it all really. Even Trevor Senior had scored more goals than Davenport to date and in fewer games too. It’s worth remembering that the fans chose to thank Trev for his superior firepower with the kind of disloyalty that culminated in his eventual departure.
That said, the reason Senior’s scoring was superior to Davenports was that he was a tryer and it made up for his lack of skill.
We all know that Davenport has skill – we’ve seen it. But it shows itself all too rarely as his performance against Liverpool emphasised. When his services were needed most he was nowhere to be seen. In contrast, Slaven (who was having a nightmare) kept bouncing back, showing determination if nothing else, despite his critics on the terraces.
On one occasion in the same match there was the possibility of a Boro penalty, which the referee was having none of. Davenport decided that rather than play his part in the attack (which was continuing), his efforts would be better exploited arguing with the Ref. He may have done that at Man Utd during his Prima Donna days, but you cant do it here where you have to play good football to earn your keep. So come on Dav, get your finger out before Bruce kicks your arse good and proper. Let’s see you make me eat my words in the next few weeks. We all know you can do it.
Bernie has been the man who got us up from the Third to the First Division in the last couple of seasons, but i think he’s finding it hard to adapt to the rigours of the worlds top league.
Okay, he’s got 13 goals so far this season but even his most ardent fans cannot deny he could have doubled that, missing some absolute sitters along the way (see Newcastle game). Also he’s too slow and has really struggled when confronted with speedy defenders like Ratcliffe and Parker. a forward needs to be able to keep up with them and sadly Bernie can’t do this.
Don’t get me wrong, i like Slaven but i’m trying to look at things rationally. He simply doesn’t have the class to be successful in such a tough and ruthless Division. The Wolfman seems to have lost interest in the game, he seems to have adopted a couldn’t care less attitude, a long shot in the 2nd or 3rd Division would see him racing onto the keeper to pick up any loose ball, now its as if he’s saying “Sod that, let Davenport do it!”
Speaking of Dav, i’ve got the feeling Bernie’s a bit jealous of him, he’d rather beat a man and lose the ball than pass to Peter. Fair enough, Slaven did set up Dav’s goal against Man Utd but did he really mean to do it? He doesn’t seem to be bothered about being offside anymore either. I’d be rich beyond my wildest dreams if i had a pound for every time he’s caught.
Maybe if another forward is bought Slaven might wake up and realise he isn’t indispensible but until this happens my opinion is that Bernie should move on.
I will indeed answer the letter that Tommy (foul mouth) Stephenson sent you regarding Gary Go Go Gill in which he dared to question my loyalty to Boro. He tells us that Gilly played well at Luton but does not reveal if he actually attended the match. One of my mates who went told me Gill was tripe but did manage one shot and touched the ball on two other occasions, mind you that’s more than he normally manages in about four games, so i suppose he did play better than normal.
‘Foul mouth’ is right, Gill did score against those world class teams Carlisle United and Newport, the former now struggling in the 4th Division, the other virtually none existent. He’s also right when he says ‘himself and Endy are Gills only fans’, Bruce only plays him because we have no other midfielders in the squad to stand in if a player gets injured.
True if he did score we would cheer but as for him becoming a hero – come off it – we’d cheer a Boro goal if a headless chicken were to score it. But realistically, how the hell is he going to score at this level if he cant even execute a half decent pass?
As for me being a hyporcrite who doesn’t care about the Boro – give it a rest. I have followed the Boro since i was 16 and until recently i have endured a team of mostly spuds who got beat by no hope teams like Grimsby and Burnley etc. We would try to scrape enough home wins to ensure survival in the 2nd Division until inevitably we did go down and the rest is history.
I wonder if ‘foul-mouth’ followed Boro through those nightmare days, when we would have 4 or 5,000 at home games and a travelling bunch of supporters around the hundred mark. I doubt it, or did you jump on the bandwagon in the last few years? I also doubt you go to away games because during my travels i have never heard or met anyone with anything good to say about Gilly. If you had been to places like Grimsby or Blackburn 84-85, or Rochdale or Newport 86-87 when we only took a few hundred fans, then surely i would have heard you shouting for Gill to come off the bench or cheer him when he did get the odd appearance (which was rare), because individual voices stood out and no one ever cheered for Gill.
The results of me being loyal through the bad old days are plain, i have become almost bald and nearly an alcoholic. I blame this on stress and worry brought about from following the Boro, especially from 83-86. As for me going to Darlo, i think you’ve got it the wrong way round, if you follow Gill’s career as closely as you say then it will be you going to Feethams after we give him his long awaited free transfer to Darlo.