Newspaper article Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)

Whatever Happened to the Signings Trusted by Strachan?

Newspaper article Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)

Whatever Happened to the Signings Trusted by Strachan?

Article excerpt


"YOU bring in people you can trust."

It was August 2010 and Gordon Strachan was assessing his incomings at Middlesbrough. He was pleased.

"Rafael Benitez brought a lot of Spanish players in at Liverpool. Arsene Wenger signed a lot of French guys. You take what you can trust. I know the background of these lads well. I know their character and that's a big thing.

"In the Championship last year there were 70-odd players who had played in the Scottish Premier League. It shows you that it's a good and valuable market to look at."

We all know how that turned out. Six years have passed since Gordon Strachan left Boro - but whatever happened to the first five players who Boro signed under the now-Scotland gaffer's watch? Marcus Bent Anyone who followed Marcus Bent's career closely will know that he wasn't the type to stick around anywhere for too long.

Fifteen clubs in total - starting at Brentford and finishing at Mitra Kukar in Indonesia. As you may well have gathered, his long career was petering out a bit by that stage.

That followed loan spells at QPR, Wolves and Sheffield United after his rather uneventful stay with Boro.

Seven appearances, no goals - not quite the "great form" that Alex McLeish, his boss at Birmingham at the time, hoped he'd find on Teesside.

"Going up there for two months is an opportunity for him," McLeish had said.

"When it's time for him to come back, we hope he'll be in great form and pushing for a place in the team.

"He's obviously had one or two setbacks with injuries. But he's a big, strong centre-forward with pace and presence and, when he's on top form, he's an asset."

Since he retired, it's fair to say things haven't quite gone to plan for the former striker.

In September last year he was charged with affray and possession of a Class A drug after police used a taser to arrest him at home. He was said to have confronted officers with a meat cleaver and kitchen knife after calling 999. And then earlier this year he was fined for having cocaine on him at the Chessington World of Adventure theme park.

Isaiah Osbourne, if you ever wondered, was a continuity player. Quite what that consisted of was never clear.

"I've known about Isaiah for about a year and he'll bring us more strength in the midfield area where we're definitely short on numbers," said Strachan after signing the Villa man on loan.

"He's not a flair player, he's what I'd call a continuity player, but he'll also give us strength, height and get about the pitch."

He played nine times, picking up yellows in his first two games. He did feature in the 5-1 hammering of QPR, mind, the undoubted highlight of Strachan's stay. Let's be honest, it didn't have much competition.

He's at Walsall now after previous spells at Hibs, Blackpool and Scunthorpe. …

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