The Middlesbrough FC 2019-20 "Woodgate Out!" thread

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Post by dyrewolfe on Fri 02 Aug 2019, 10:40 pm

Well its been another pre-season of change for Middlesbrough (henceforth known as Boro).

Tony Pulis departed, having steered Boro to 7th last season (though we spent most of the season in the play-off places). But apparently he did his job of keeping the club comfortably in the Championship, on a shoestring budget, to counter the previous big spending during Garry Monk's reign and Steve Gibson's ill-fated quote that we were going to "smash the league".

In keeping with our track record of never hiring the same kind of manager twice in a row, (and giving people their first managerial jobs), in came local legend Jonathan Woodgate - former Newcastle, Spurs and England defender, (the less said about his stint at Real Madrid the better). He also spent 2 spells at Boro, the first on loan from Madrid, the second as a full signing.

We've not done too much in the transfer market since Pulis' departure. A few high profile players have left, including Martin Braithwaite and Stewart Downing, while only two new faces have come in - defender Marc Bola from Blackpool and midfielder Marcus Browne from West Ham.

Seems we are still operating on a pretty tight budget. Still, we've retained the core of the squad that performed reasonably well last season and Woody's playing philosophy is quite different to his predecessor's, with more emphasis on passing & movement, pressing and attacking.


Just witnessed the first game of the new regime tonight, with Boro visiting Luton Town and...wow...we could be in for quite a season.

Lots of things were very familiar. Boro started brightly and got the opening goal after a little over 6 minutes. However by the 15 minute mark, Luton were noticeably tightening their grip on the game, with more possession and showing more of a threat on the Boro goal. The inevitable equaliser soon came and before the half hour mark they were 2-1 up.

So far, so very Boro. A few good flashes but generally out-played by their opponents and deservedly behind.

Second half was quite a different story. Woody's half time team talk evidently had an effect, as Boro were decidedly sharper and more purposeful.

Luton can count themselves unlucky as they had a good penalty shout turned away (i.e. completely missed by the ref and his assistants). Basically 2 players scrapping for the ball, got their legs tangled and both went down in a heap just inside the corner of the area.

Not long after, more pressure from Boro resulted in a great chance for Assombalonga. I groaned at first as his shot seemed quite tame, but the Luton keeper chose to sink awkwardly to his knees with his hands out in front of him, leaving just enough room for the ball to sneak past him. If he'd done a full-blooded dive, he'd have saved it...not that I'm complaining. Anyway, Boro were back on level terms.

More out of character for Boro, we continued to attack, although the game was fairly even overall, as the home side continued to get forward and threaten when they could. With just over 20 minutes left, a bit of pinball in the Luton area resulted in the ball falling to Lewis Wing, who had time & space to unleash a perfectly positioned rocket into the top corner...Boro back in front!

Still Boro pressed for a 4th to kill the game off...and should have had it when Coulson was brought down in the host's area. Up steps Assombalonga...unfortunately his penalty was something Owen Farrell would have been proud of. More heads in hands as normal service was resumed.

More normal service occurred in the closing stages as Boro predictably got rather panicky in defence and some crappy defending allowed the hosts to equalise with 5 minutes to go. Final score: Luton 3 - 3 Boro.

If I'm honest, a draw was a fair result. Don't think either side deserved 3 points...but still a bit gutted nonetheless.

I think I can see what Woody is trying to do, with regards to playing style, but there is still a lot of room for improvement. We seem alarmingly leaky at the back, considering JW is a former defender. Then again, we said the same about our play under Tony Mowbray.

Still...it was thrill-a-minute stuff compared to the tedium we endured under Pulis. Don't think we need to concern ourselves with the promotion race this season, but we can still look forward to a lot of entertainment, if this is anything to go by.


Last edited by dyrewolfe on Mon 07 Oct 2019, 12:03 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Post by westisbest on Sat 03 Aug 2019, 8:06 am

Think Boro should be around the play offs.
Will be interesting to see how Woodgate and Keane do this coming season.

Least you’ve started with a point at least. Away to the league 1 champions. Smaller ground. Be tricky for some teams.

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Post by dyrewolfe on Mon 19 Aug 2019, 2:14 pm

Well its early days still, but I have a bad feeling that the template for this season has already been set...and its not looking good.

After the opening day ding-dong at Luton, we've since seen a (mostly) second string Boro lose at home to Crewe in the League Cup. We were 2-0 down until the last 15 minutes or so, after Woody made some subs. Pulled it back to 2-2 to take the game to penalties...only to lose 4-2, thanks to Browne having his shot saved and Britt missing the target...again!

FFS Woody take Assombalonga off penalty duty as he's shockingly bad!  mad


Following that was a home defeat by Brentford...against the run of play, some would argue. Boro had the better of the game in all respects...more possession, more shots on target, more corners...yet we failed to convert them into goals. Well, Fletcher put the ball in the net twice in the first half, but both efforts were ruled out...first for handball and the second for offside. Britt also hit the post, but that was a good as it got for us.


And on Saturday was a dismal, lethargic, toothless performance at Blackburn (who were hardly great themselves). Game was settled by a 1st half penalty, conceded by Dijksteel, pulling a player down in the area. Just 2 shots on target all game. Absolutely pathetic.

So just 1 point from our first 3 games and dumped out of the League Cup in the 1st round, by a League 2 side. I'll still give Woody and the team the standard 10-game period before I start trashing them in earnest (or praising, should they turn things around) but its not looking good so far.

Our defence is a shambles, our midfield static and lacking any creativity and our forwards are barely getting any service. Sad  If Woody and the coaching staff can't get some semblance of organisation & discipline instilled into the team, we are in for a long and depressing season. Hard to believe its mostly the same squad that Pulis guided to 7th place last season.
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Post by dyrewolfe on Mon 23 Sep 2019, 9:18 am

Well, we're 8 games in and its still looking like a potential relegation scrap season.

Got our first win of the season at home to a pretty poor Wigan. Just managed the 1 goal and 3 shots on target all game - Assombalonga scoring mid-way through the first half.

Followed that up with a dour draw at home to Millwall. McNair getting on the scoresheet for the Boro with 20 minutes to go. Our defence promptly went to sleep and the visitors got the equaliser just 4 minutes later. We had just 2 shots on target all game...Millwall managed 4...

Would have taken a draw away at Bristol City and overall not too disappointed we got one. Hosts took the lead in the first half, with Boro benefitting from an own goal, not long after the hour mark. Britt then struck just 4 minutes later to put us ahead...only for Bristol to grab an equaliser inside the last 10 minutes. We actually largely outplayed Bristol...had more possession, created more chances & corners, so we could also be proud of the performance.

Just when we were thinking the Bristol game might signal signs of growth and improvement, we were brought back to Earth pretty swiftly with a dire performance at home to Reading. Johnson scored on the hour to give us the win...but bloody hell was it painful to watch and we owed a big debt to Darren Randolph for keeping a clean sheet. Boro were largely outplayed by the visitors, who had more possession and created more chances.

Just followed that with a miserable trip to Cardiff, where Boro were sunk by a Fletcher own goal after just 2 minutes. Headed a corner kick into his own net under no pressure whatsoever. Though we had more possession and won more corners, we failed to muster a single shot on target all game. Absolutely abysmal performance.

So, still no real signs of improvement. Still playing like a collection of individuals, rather than a team. A defence that still has no clue how to do its job and midfielders who still fail to create many chances for our forwards.

We've averaging just over a point a game, which would be just enough to keep us safe...hardly inspires confidence. Still time for things to change, but its gonna have to happen fairly soon.
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Post by dyrewolfe on Mon 07 Oct 2019, 12:23 pm

Right, I'm calling it now...WOODGATE OUT!

11 games into the season...basically a quarter of the way through...and Boro are sitting just 2 points above the relegation zone.

Following the dismal showing at Cardiff, Boro hosted Sheffield Wednesday (led by former Boro Manager Garry Monk). To call it a disaster is putting it nicely.

Boro were 0-2 down inside the first 6 minutes (one of them yet ANOTHER own goal).

Boro pulled a goal back after 20 minutes, but Wednesday restored the 2-goal cushion just 3 minutes later (courtesy of former Boro player Adam Reach).

The visitors made the score 1-4 with 10 minutes of the first half still to play...and thats how it stayed (not sure how...it could have been a cricket score).

More abject, clueless defending, coupled with equally clueless forward play and utter lack of threat in attack (just 2 shots on target all game).


That was followed by a pretty lacklustre home draw against Preston - both goals coming within a couple of minutes of each other at the end of the first half.

Then on Friday, Boro travelled to Birmingham for a predictably tough game. Brum took a deserved lead midway through the 1st half and dominated for most of the match. One of Boro's few passages of good play resulted in a late equaliser - the 87th minute! You might think that would have been enough to salvage a lucky point...but no...Boro had switched off yet again and let the hosts score again just 2 minutes later. mad Rolling Eyes furious

Far from improving, our players are looking more clueless and less interested with every passing game. I suspect Woodgate has lost the dressing room already, because god knows the players look like they don't give a damn when they're out on the pitch.

I sincerely hope Gibson has been taking note and is already on the lookout for potential replacements, because based on performances so far, Woodgate needs to be gone in time for the January transfer window. The club also needs to make a SERIOUS effort to bring in some QUALITY replacements for the bunch of Muppets currently masquerading as professional footballers.
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