Newspaper article Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)

Deep in a Mess of Our Own Making

Newspaper article Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)

Deep in a Mess of Our Own Making

Article excerpt

We're in the mire - and a lot of hard work is needed to pull us clear.

That Lee Clark equaliser at Newcastle was an absolute sickener because it cost us the chance to get clear of the dogfight.

It's also bound to have hit morale in the dressing room.

With Arsenal coming up next, the odds are not in our favour of improving our situation in the near future. We did win there by 3-0 under Terry Venables, but that included two own goals, and I can't see Arsenal giving us two free goals this month.

On the same afternoon that we go to Highbury, Portsmouth are at home to Everton.

That's a six-pointer for both of these clubs but if Portsmouth win it, then it's another massive blow for us. It will give them the chance to close the gap and leave us looking over our shoulders more than ever.

In any case I can see Harry Redknapp improving things at Portsmouth and picking up enough results here and there to keep them up. It could take a big points tally to stay up this season and you have to wonder where we will get them from.

We won only nine games in the calendar year of 2005 and that's not very impressive.

We might need to win the same number of games in the first five months of 2006 to stay up. But we are in this situation because we deserve to be and only we can get ourselves out of it.

Injuries keep being blamed, but Stewart Downing apart, I can't think of any long-term injuries which have caused us real problems.

I said at the time, when Downing was hurt, that he was the worst possible player we could lose. That's the way it has worked out.

Obviously it's great to know that Downing is on his way back this month.

But he'll still need a little bit of time to get the feel of Premiership football again.

The sooner the better, because the league table makes worrying reading at the moment.

It's funny how David Moyes has been hammered from pillar to post this season because of what's gone wrong at Everton and the same thing has happened to Graeme Souness at Newcastle.

But both of these clubs are above us in the league. So where does that leave Boro? …

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