Saturday, 31 December 2011

It's All About The End Product

Afternoon, readers.

As we come towards the end of 2011, the self-titled year of the "Moggalution", I realise that it would be futile of me to dedicate another post to the miracles that Tony Mowbray has performed at our club. After all, Anthony Vickers, Mike Baker and Andrew Glover have already done so very effectively in their own blogs, and my "Magnificent Seven" post from back in May summed it all up pretty well too. (Okay, we didn't sign Paul Smith permanently, but you can't have everything...)

Rather, I'm going to conclude the year with a word of caution for three of our best players...

For once a new year begins, a new transfer window opens. Most of the paper talk has revolved around Rhys Williams, Marvin Emnes and Matthew Bates. No surprise, since they've all been key players in our promotion campaign.

What is surprising is that Bates's contract on the verge of running out while he, as yet, has shown no inclination to sign a new one. Why on earth is this the case? Especially considering that the Moggalution is, at this moment in time anyway, leading towards a successful conclusion?

To me, it's all about the end product.

What's become of the likes of Ross Turnbull, Tuncay and David Wheater should be a lesson to anyone who contemplated deserting a momentous revolution in favour of an instantaneous Premiership dream. Yes, there is quick and easy satisfaction to be gained from a far comfier pay packet at a "bigger" club. But to what end? And at what price? Less adulation from fans, less games, and above all, lower morale.

It worked out for Rob Huth and Stewart Downing but they are clearly exceptions to the rule. At both Stoke City and Bolton, Tuncay has found himself warming the bench more often than not. Ditto Wheats, who is too often seen as a last resort by Owen Coyle these days - at a team near the bottom of the league.

Meanwhile, Leroy Lita hardly gets a game for Swansea. And Andy Taylor, who could have been a great left-wing option for us this season, now finds himself looking up the table at his old club. Wondering what might have been, perhaps?

I am aware how tricky it is for any club to hold on to key players, especially with the growing influence of agents. But in my opinion, if Bates, Williams and Emnes have seen what's happened to so many ex-Boro men in the past, they will know what's best for them. In short, resist the call of the vultures, lads. Because you're on to something very good here. 

(As I type, Rolls Rhys has just made an exceptional goal saving tackle against Peterborough. All the more reason for him to stay, then...)

* * * * *

Of course, it's not just about the players, it's about the club. To me, having the likes of Juninho, Ravanelli and Emerson in the squad brought both the best and worst out of Boro - their skills were ridiculously out of this world, but they created an imbalance within the team that took the best part of two years to repair. And at another price, too - Boro were never the same club again. Which is why I'm delighted with almost all of Mogga's signings to date (yes, I haven't forgotten that Haas been) - they have gelled into the side and helped to bring the team's performances to another level altogether.

So, when either players or a club's board start dreaming of "bigger" and "better" things, it's always best for them to consider three little words first: "To what end?"

Happy New Year, everyone!

(ADDENDUM: A postscript to this particular blog post has been written following the Peterborough match. Visit the "Comments" section to read my thoughts...)

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

following Peterborough match...

It looked like we were going to finish the year on a high after Scott McDonald put us ahead early in the second half against Posh. He later went on to hit both the bar and the post, which led me to think that I hoped we wouldn't live to regret those missed chances... and in almost typical Boro fashion, we did, conceding a very soft goal that has left both Mogga and numerous fans furious.

The final score, 1-1, has been enough to take us into second place, something that I would have taken at the start of the season. But it's very hard not to lament what might have been.

It is indeed all about the end product, and the ability to cope with raised expectations - and it would appear we haven't got enough of either! For the fourth time this season we've failed to fully capitalise on Southampton and West Ham losing.

So basically, we've finished 2011 as we started it - by drawing a game we thought we'd done enough to win. My conclusion? We've come so far in such a short space of time, but we still have a lot to do if we really are to fulfil both our potential and our new, more lofty aims.

For now, let's put that to the back of our minds and party the night away.

Happy 2012!