Top six finish - you must be jokin'

Last updated : 29 December 2005 By Reggie Holdsworth
Another home defeat by Manchester City at the Riverside on Saturday could see Boro confirmed as a bottom six side.

Last nights postponement and Aston Villa's draw at Fulham leaves Boro in joint 14th place, with an identical record to Fulham. For the pessimists out there we are joint 6th form bottom!

In the year-to-date Boro have earned just 38 points in the 38 games played, not exactly the top six form that we were all expecting.

It would appear that in a year that promised so much we have moved backwards and not forwards. A poor run at the start of the year left our UEFA Cup qualification hopes in tatters, before an injury-time penalty save on the final day of the season earned Boro a prize that they perhaps didn't deserve.

Certainly, injuries played a major part in Boro's New Year slump and helped to end their participation in the UEFA Cup a little sooner than hoped, but with three new signings in the summer everthing was looking set for a bright season ahead.

This term Boro have flattered to deceive, a couple of good wins at home against Arsenal and Manchester United and the papers had Boro pushing for that top six place that we were all expecting.

However, embarrasing home defeats by Charlton and then the Makems proved that perhaps this wasn't going to be the stroll in the park that many had suggested. Boro have not won two Premier League games in a row since November 2004.

The new signings, Yakubu apart, have been as inconsistent as the team, and several key injuries have forced Boro to introduced more of their talented youngsters to first team football.

My fear is that Steve McClaren has lost the plot, he has always found something positive from even our worst performances, but he recently admitted, after the Blackburn Carling Cup defeat, "I'm very disapponted and very angry, we limped out of the tournament. It was a great opportunity and I can't defend that performance, it was poor, we were second best to everything and it wasn't good enough."

Has he run out of excuses or has he seen enough? I have great admiration for McClaren, but not wanting to be the first to call for his head, I hope he does not out-stay his welcome and that Chairman Steve Gibson remembers the acromonious passing of Bryan Robson.