Apparently, Mark Yeates is the first player Boro have signed from outside of the top two divisions (or abroad) since Craig Hignett in 1998. Where did it all go wrong, ask BORO MANIA?
Vital Colchester has teamed up with the proud Middlesbrough fanzine, Boro Mania, as their writer Daniel gives a reaction from the Championship club on Mark Yeates` signing.
“Back in 1995, Boro signed Jan-Aage Fjortoft, from Swindon Town, for a club record £1.3million. The fans were delighted.
In the same year, we signed full England international Nick Barmby. Then we signed Brazilian prodigy Juninho. In 1996, we signed European Cup winner Fabrizio Ravanelli. The excitement was too much to bear.
Now, we are signing Mark Yeates, from League One side Colchester United, for an undisclosed fee. Cue tumbleweed moment.
Is this an uninspiring, unimaginative and un-ambitious signing by a club in financial crisis, with a manager who hasn`t a clue how to mount a promotion challenge? Or is it a return to the Middlesbrough of old?
Before Fjortoft and his famous flying celebration, Boro had precious little glamour. Bryan Robson had only recently arrived on Teesside, and his revolution was in its precocious infancy. The club`s biggest signing to that point had been right-back Neil Cox, for a then club record £1million from Aston Villa. Cox`s signing seems light years away from that of Ravanelli just two years later.
But hang on. Coxy was a good right-back, who played an integral part in the team that got promoted in Robbo`s first season. He went on to give a pretty good account of himself in the Premier League.
Jan was a pretty decent striker, and a natural fans` favourite. He helped us get promoted, and was then the fulcrum of the famously successful ‘midget gems` attack that tormented Premier League defences before Juninho`s arrival.
After Juninho signed, we plummeted down the league. After Ravanelli signed, we were relegated. We threw money at more stars. Gazza, Hamilton Ricard and Paul Merson were all bought in the pursuit of promotion, and promotion we got.
Since then, a galaxy of stars has passed through Teesside: Yakubu, Mark Viduka, Gaizka Mendieta, Ray Parlour, Ugo Ehiogu, Michael Reizeger, Danny Mills, Gareth Southgate, Massimo Maccarone, Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink; the list goes on. Each world-class player signed was greeted with fan-fare, delirium and the promise of greatness. The result? £90million debt, a mickey-mouse cup and a 4-0 drubbing in the UEFA Cup final.
Now we have been relegated again. Where did it all go wrong?
Shouldn`t we have bought more stars? Shouldn`t we have dug ever-deeper in to Steve Gibson`s bottomless pockets? Shouldn`t we have kept Yakubu and Viduka and Schwarzer even if they didn`t want to play for us? Why on earth are we signing Mark Yeates?“
Daniel goes on to answer some of his questions in the second half of the article; read on by clicking here.
Vital Colchester expects to have a column published in return on BORO MANIA very shortly, so keep an eye on their fanzine!
Article reproduced with kind permission of their editorial team.
Are Boro fans right to fret over the fututre, or is Yeates the player to win them promotion under Southgate?
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