When it would be much more preferable to wax lyrical over Adama Traore’s superb cameo performance against West Ham, we are instead trying to come to terms with Aitor Karanka’s astonishing comments in the aftermath of another home defeat.
It was doubly mystifying in view of the fact that less than a week earlier Watford fans had come out in defence of the ‘Boro support following a totally unjustified statement from Watford Mayor Dorothy Thornhill claiming they had been disrespectful during Graham Taylor’s tribute. Social media users were quick to point out that the travelling Boro supporters had shown huge respect for the former England manager with one Watford fan writing: “Please ensure your fans know how grateful we were on Saturday. This women does not represent our great town and club, she is so out of touch it’s unreal. Thanks again for your amazing support.”
That’s not the first time this year that ‘Boro fans have been singled out for praise from both opposing clubs and the media alike, and they are enjoying a thoroughly deserved and growing reputation for both their good behaviour and their excellent support.
So after all that – and once again after an afternoon in which the Red Faction never ceased their noisy support even after we went behind, Aitor chose to criticise the chant ‘Attack, attack, attack,’ suggesting it was the catalyst for ‘Boro to start throwing long balls forward and abandon his own preferred formation.
Do we need to point out it hadn’t really worked up to that point and besides, he’d just put two extra strikers onto the field. What were they supposed to chant, ‘Defend, defend, defend? I’ve never heard that done in my sixty odd years of watching football!
So what happens now? On the premise that you should never bite the hand that feeds you it’s going to be very difficult for Aitor to resurrect the strong backing he’s had up to now from the crowd. Constantly thrusting it down everybody’s throat that when he arrived we were nearer the first division of the Championship than the Premier League isn’t going to help him either. We are aware he’s done a great job so far but many still believe that had he shown a bit more flexibility things could have been so much better.
For instance, a little more adventure at home against the likes of Watford, Crystal Palace and Leicester could have seen us out of sight of the bottom three by now. His stubbornness has certainly cost the club money because his treatment of Jordan Rhodes, Stewart Downing and Daniel Ayala has not only left a bad taste in the mouth, but has, without doubt, reduced the trio’s perceived worth in the transfer market considerably. And while we’re on the subject of the transfer market, what on earth has happened to make it look likely that we’re also about to lose our most positive attacking force of the season with Gaston Ramirez apparently set to leave?
The only really good news in a pretty dismal month – though let’s be honest it wasn’t really news – was that Chinese interest in the club has been dismissed with the categorical statement ‘Middlesbrough Football Club is not for sale.’ With the owner/Chairman we’ve got that definitely goes without saying. Steve Gibson is a ‘Boro legend and long may he remain so!
Never mind, we’ve still got the fifth round draw for the FA Cup to look forward to providing we can avoid another embarrassment at the hands of Accrington Stanley on Saturday. (Accrington Stanley, who’s Accrington Stanley? ….. Exactly!)