wins dry up, so must the wisecracks. Gordon Strachan is marking what must feel
like a somewhat gruesome first anniversary as a manager on Teesside.
hardly been comparable to a year in Provence. Amid sliding standards, there are
some fans who would like to see Strachan tossed into the River Tees during this
autumnal break in domestic proceedings.
well-meaning attempts to restore Middlesbrough to Premier League health has
become a trying experience for the North East club in the opening three months
of the season.
A couple of
3-1 losses to Watford and Derby and a 2-2 draw with Portsmouth on Saturday,
a result that came about after Middlesbrough squandered a 2-0 advantage, is not the consistency
required of the newly promoted.
It has been
no laughing matter for a figure as renowned as much for his "witty"
repartee as much as his work as a football manager. There are plenty of
Strachan's public exhibitions of sarcasm to be retrieved from his years
managing Coventry City, Southampton and Celtic.
once asked him if he was the right man to "turn things around" when
he was appointed manager of Southampton.
think they should have got George Graham, because I'm useless."
midfielder of some renown with Aberdeen, Manchester United, Leeds United and Scotland,
has hardly been basking in usefulness, with Middlesbrough trying to escape the
clutches of the Championship's nether regions.
little ginger character, who was affectionately titled "wee Chesney"
by some folk in Glasgow due to his likeness to a Coronation Street character,
is certainly walking gingerly at the moment.
has bedlam has erupted around him after his apparent vanity project in
attempting to terrorise the Championship by tartanising the club.
"The Wisp" Flood, Barry Robson, Lee Miller, Stephen McManus, Kris
Boyd, Scott McDonald, Andrew Halliday and Kevin Thomson have not exactly been
soothing signings, even if they should be judged at a later juncture of the
followers across the chapel of British society like to ponder where Celtic,
Rangers or any other Scottish club would wind up if they moved their belongings
into the lodgings of the English leagues.
Middlesbrough is used as a test tube for the experiment, they would not stand
up to the stress, but that is because Celtic and Rangers are hardly shedding a
tear over the players they have haemorrhaged to Boro's cheque book.
Scots in their ranks than the Labour party had in government a few years ago,
Boro have been kilted and stilted.
fans were scratching their heads about the sale of Robson, but they would
probably endorse the others who have been moved on.
Miller has become a better goalscorer at Rangers with 10 goals this season in
Boyd's absence, while Thomson's departure has hardly devastated the Glasgow
Boyd is the
record goalscorer in the SPL with 164 goals, but seems to have gone backwards.
omitted from the Scotland squad for the Euro 2012 qualifying matches against
the Czech Republic and Spain this week after scoring one goal in eight games
for his new club before being relegated to the substitutes's bench.
not and never will be every supporter's cup of tea. Butch Harmon, the US golf
coach, once said that Nick Faldo, a blethering European Ryder Cup captain of
2008, "fancies himself as a comedian and he's not funny".
has his moments, but attempting to be funny only works in winning times.
remembers trying to conduct an interview with Strachan over the phone in the
past and being left bamboozled by a stream of one-word answers before giving
up amid the hopelessness of it all. It just about sums up Strachan's ambivalence towards such questioning.
He may not
cherish the media, but there is a need for sports people to engage properly
with every channel available in this era, however inadequate or self-important
they may feel.
remains a flawed belief in Scotland that Strachan did not get the credit he
deserved from Celtic supporters after winning the Scottish Premier League three
times in four years, that he was not liked because he was not a "Celtic
man" in not playing for the club before managing it or even because he was
gathering of the club's fans found some of his comments cringeworthy and
excruciating. A few this onlooker has spoken to in recent years relinquished their season tickets, because they did not take kindly to his team's style of play. He got
up their noses with some of his outbursts in defending it.
Strachan kept Celtic ticking along in winning, which must be the sole remit of any decent manager of the two prominent Glasgow sides in the SPL. Managers get away with a lot in winning, which Strachan clearly found a lot easier in Scotland than England. When he left Celtic last year, it was the correct time for him and the support.
Celtic were linked with David Beckham, a figure who had signed for an obscure
club in Los Angeles, Strachan trotted out this little nugget.
you really see the scenario of David, Victoria, myself and Lesley in Tunnock's
Cafe in Uddingston? I know the rhubarb tarts are great - but are they really
good enough for them?"
It is time for
Strachan to prove he is really good enough for Middlesbrough.
time to get his act together, especially if the former Middlesbrough player
Tony Mowbray is being held up as the only viable alternative.
days attempting to maintain a low profile in Glasgow as manager of Celtic,
Strachan wore hats and preferred to visit the cinema on some idle weekday
afternoon rather than the weekend to be less conspicuous.
if he is indulging in similar behaviour in Middlesbrough during what feels like
a particularly patchy spell in his career.
If he is
planning to catch any movies at the moment, one would heartily recommend the
is about a man who is buried alive while he tries to work out how he got there
and how he can escape his dilemma.
in danger of being buried alive under the weight of misplaced expectation in