Newspaper article Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)

It's Crowded in the Last-Chance Saloon

Newspaper article Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)

It's Crowded in the Last-Chance Saloon

Article excerpt

Byline: COMMENT By Jonathon Taylor Sports writer

"THE grass isn't always greener".

That was the verdict of one Boro fan following Lee Tomlin's loan move to Bristol City - only five months after securing his Premier League dream move to Bournemouth.

Only three top flight games later, and Tomlin has swapped a Premier League relegation battle for a Championship relegation battle.

How quickly things can change for a footballer.

You can be the best player in the league at one moment, but one bad transfer or a sudden dip in form, and you can soon find yourself cast out into the football wilderness.

Few people could have argued with Tomlin's move to Bournemouth. Boro fans can feel aggrieved at the way that it came about, and possibly the player's comments after leaving.

But I, for one, understood the move. The Cherries needed a bit of extra firepower in the top-flight, and after witnessing first-hand how impressive Bournemouth were last season, Tomlin thought it was too good of an offer to turn down.

Boro also will have looked at the PS3.5m transfer fee and walked away from the deal very pleased. A good deal for all parties.

Except it hasn't proved to be a good deal for Tomlin.

In fact, much like his strike partner Patrick Bamford, he seems to have taken one step forward and three big leaps backwards.

I remember the days in the lead-up to Boro's play-off final defeat at Wembley (sorry for bringing it up). I openly said that Boro's hopes hinged on having a "fit Patrick Bamford".

Ultimately, he wasn't fit - and Boro were second best on the day.

Fast forward only a few months, and Bamford now finds himself in the last-chance saloon, along with Tomlin. It's crowded in there. Two of Boro's standout "X factor" players from last season are now fighting for their careers, or certainly their top-flight careers. …

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