Monday, 23 February 2009

A shot in the foot

Another week and another depressing chapter has been written in the grim tale of Boro's season. A promising start soon faded after Didier Digard suffered a serious injury following Lee Cattermole's challenge. Ultimately, it was another tepid display that further tested the patience of the dwindling Riverside crowd.

Fans seem increasingly resigned to relegation and, despite the protestations of players and management, its hard to escape the impression that this sentiment has spread onto the pitch. The lack of belief and purpose shown yet again on Saturday is sending our club down and those who protest otherwise are struggling to sound anything but deluded. No wins in 14 games and one goal scored in nine - those are facts that leave little room for debate.

Those who haven't given up are simply fed up. Another turgid afternoon of football was depressing enough but that was not the only thing from the weekend to dent pride in MFC. The vitriolic response to Cattermole's challenge may have been harsh in retrospect but it was understandable and it succeeded in creating an all too rare atmosphere in the stands. However, the attempts of Afonso Alves to get Cattermole sent off were completely inexcusable. If we cannot go down with a fight, it would be nice to go with a shred of dignity.

How to make friends...

The growing disillusionment amongst the fans will not be helped by the spectacularly ill-judged letter (see above) issued to fans in the south east corner. Its not the first time the club have targetted fans in this way (as a Block 17 season ticket holder, I've had first hand experience). The club's belated apology will be too little, too late for many. At a time when club and fans must stick together more than ever, it was a staggeringly ill-considered response. Sitting in the opposite side of the stadium, its hard to judge whether there is a genuine problem. Even if this is the case, its baffling that anyone at the club considered this was the way to solve the matter.

At times like this its hard to know whether to laugh or cry. Some credit must then go to forgotten midfielder Mohammed Shawky for his surreal transfer request in a Sunday tabloid. Discretion would seem the obvious path for any player being kept out of the side by the horribly out-of-form Julio Arca.

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