Byline: Simon BIRD
MICHAEL RICKETTS fired a parting shot at Bolton yesterday by claiming he had stagnated under Sam Allardyce and was sick of playing for a team that rarely won.
Ricketts, who fell out of favour with the Wanderers manager despite winning an England cap a year ago, took a swipe at Bolton's lack of a winning mentality and training facilities.
Middlesbrough boss Steve McClaren yesterday unveiled Ricketts and Derby County duo Malcolm Christie and Chris Riggott, who made up the rest of his pounds 5.5million spending spree.
A delighted McClaren was sure he had secured a cut-price deal, estimating the trio would have cost pounds 26m before the season started.
Ricketts revealed how he completed his move with three minutes to spare before Friday's midnight deadline.
Bolton, in a game of brinkmanship, held back and only accepted Middlesbrough's pounds 2.5m offer for the striker at 11.45pm, leaving little time to sort out all the paperwork. Ricketts was glad to be out of the Reebok Stadium, saying: "I wasn't improving at Bolton. My game was stuck, so hopefully I can improve here. Boro are a far bigger club with a better squad of players.
"Also Boro have top-drawer facilities compared to where I've come from. I can achieve my ultimate career aims here.
"I wanted to get that winning mentality, there wasn't that at Bolton. We didn't win very much there. I've joined a bigger club than Bolton.
"I'd got to a stage in my career where I needed to improve. Working with Steve McClaren will help me do just that. He is a great coach.
"I only found out about Boro's offer on Thursday night. I made my mind up as soon as I heard."
McClaren said: "Tottenham were very strong on Michael, I thought the deal had been done. Once I knew there was a stumbling block I was straight in for him. I've seen him in shooting practice and met him on England duty and have always had him in mind.
"I always remembered his finishing skills. He is the kind of big strong forward we need and we certainly have some competition now. …