Newspaper article Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)

Season's over Now but We Moved on Long Ago

Newspaper article Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)

Season's over Now but We Moved on Long Ago

Article excerpt

Byline: Anthony Vickers The Big Picture

WELL thank God that slowmotion car crash of a season is over.

There is very little positive to take from a season of self-inflicted wounds, internal divisions, shotshy and meek performances and being oh so easily beaten.

The highlights video will be dominated by five wins (three of those against the other relegated sides) and a goalless draw at Arsenal. And oh, a goal by Gaston Ramirez against Bournemouth before he had his head turned.

That aside there is very little that we will want to preserve for posterity. The incredible passion of the fans, yes, but that is a given. The rest of it has been an endurance test at best.

So there won't be many folk tales handed down the generations of the rigid, regimented, toothless football in a season that shrivelled into fruitless frustration.

This campaign will quickly be airbrushed from history.

Luckily the post-mortem has largely already been done. Boro were technically relegated at Chelsea a fortnight ago but in practice the game was up after the serial surrenders in the "Week of Destiny."

In fact, all the ingredients of the implosion were in place and evident from January onwards so we've all had time to identify the key problems, rage at the machine and apportion blame to our own personal scapegoats elect.

But we have also all had time to think about the next step. We've had time to draw up the lists of players who should be swiftly shipped out and the kind of qualities - physical and mental - we need to bring on to the pitch and into the dressing room and the dug-out if next season is to be a success.

There is really only one final piece of the jigsaw left to slot in now to complete the picture and that is in the chairman's pocket.

That bit - the manager - needs to be slotted in quickly because we are only six weeks away from the start of pre-season and we need to move on quickly. And collectively.

There will naturally be a period of recriminations, score-settling, back-biting and tortured selfflagellation. That is part of the healing process. It is part of the supporters' grief cycle.

But a lot of that has already been played out. The anger came after Bournemouth. We've done denial and bargaining. We are already through resignation and looking towards the future.

As a club and as a crowd we are ahead of the curve and that has to be to our advantage.

Boro need to act swiftly and decisively now. The club needs to be rebooted. Rewired. Refocused. Re-energised. And ready to go.

We need to be fired up and ready to go before new campaign even kicks-off.

We can't be eking the essential personnel changes right out until deadline day and starting the season in a state of flux and uncertainty.

The Championship is unforgiving and it is a grind and is very competitive and by the end of August five fixtures will have been played. …

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