Rumour has it Middlesbrough sacked Gareth Southgate because of
dwindling attendances at the Riverside Stadium, and Gordon Strachan has
been lined up to replace him.
Wee Gord is good for the odd pithy
quote (Reporter: "Gordon, can I have a quick word?" Strachan:
"Velocity.") but is he really going to bring the crowds flocking to the
Despite achieving a record roughly comparable to
Martin O'Neill's, but with a smaller budget, Celtic fans generally
disliked him and his pragmatic management style. A crowd-pleaser he
most certainly was not.
So who would deliver a bigger bang for the supporters' buck and restore the feelgood factor on Teesside?
is to Juninho what cigarette addiction is to millions of others; dirty,
smelly and bad for his health, but he just can't seem to quit it. The
Brazilian had three spells at the club as a player and earlier this
year was in talks over his recruitment as a 'South American
consultant'. Forget the fact that each stint has been significantly
worse than the one preceding it - Boro fans love Juninho and the
feeling is mutual. We all know how well great players fare when it
comes to management but, let's face it, Juninho wasn't quite a great
player. In any case, if attendances are more important than results,
the little maestro will have them flocking.
Steve Gibson is looking for a change of direction, he could take one
more extreme than by employing Maccarone, who had the following to say
about Steve McClaren: "The 'magnificent' McClaren is surely the most
hypocritical and false person I have had the misfortune of meeting. He
disgusted me by leaving me on the bench for the 2004 League Cup final
after having told everyone I was his number one and he was counting on
me." He was not much kinder about Southgate, saying: "He had promised
me he would give me a run of six to eight games. He never kept it (the
promise). Maybe that's the English way of doing things - but for me a
promise is a promise." And to seal the deal, Maccarone described
Gibson, the man who employed these monsters, as: "The best chairman in
the Premier League."
Those samba girls
The best thing
about the signing of Afonso Alves was the bevy of flamboyantly-dressed
samba dancers that pitched up at the Riverside to greet him. In fact,
if Boro had spent £12 million on the girls and a couple of hundred on
Alves, instead of vice-versa, nobody would have complained. Given that
they helped lure several thousand people to the Riverside for the
presentation of the most disastrous signing in the club's history,
surely the girls' appointment as joint-managers would help bring the
razzle-dazzle back to Teesside.
town's two greatest managers, Brian Clough and Don Revie, are sadly no
longer with us, but Chris Kamara is still alive and yelping - and his
friendship with Steve Gibson makes him the logical choice. In an ideal
world, Sky would play hardball with his contract and force him to cover
his own team's matches for Soccer Saturday. Given his combative
approach to management while at Bradford, those strangulated cries of
'Unbelievable, Jeff' could be sprinkled with a few expletives.
were the lowest-scoring team in the Premier League last season and have
found the net just seven times in as many home games this term. The
fans crave excitement, and Maradona guarantees they will get it. If his
time with Argentina is anything to go by, he would usher in an era of
ultra-attacking football, training in the afternoon only ("Diego
doesn't do mornings") and foul-mouthed bust-ups with journalists ("let
them suck my d***"). And while relegation to League One and beyond
would no doubt follow, it would definitely be worth watching.
some nasal folk singer once said, the times they are a' changing. The
people of Teesside do not want to waste £30 to spend their Saturdays
ridiculing a bunch of mediocre wannabes. They can do that for free by
staying in and watching the X-Factor. So ditch the football altogether,
and turn the Riverside Stadium into a reality TV hybrid. Get the
Wheaters, Riggotts and Pogatetzes to attempt a series of simple skill
tests (dribbling through cones, head tennis) and then have Cowell
deliver withering putdowns when they fail to pass muster. The addition
of Cheryl Cole might not hurt, either.