This summer has been a busy one jam packed with sport, Euro 2012 followed by Wimbledon then the London Olympics. The new football season seems to have crept up fast with the Boro playing their first competitive game of season tomorrow v Bury in league cup.
What’s impressed me this summer is the way Tony Mowbray got his signings in early. Helps new signings get full pre season with their new club, get to know new team mates and settle in the area. Boro stepped up pre season training with a trip to Portugal, it sounded like a successful trip, a hard work out for the players doing 3 sessions a day. Good for players to go away helps the team bond and get that understanding, as going into the new football season the games come quick and fast in this league.
Boro new signings
Grant Leadbitter was first to sign for the club on a free transfer after his contract at Ipswich had expired signing a 3 year deal, meaning a return to North East for the former Sunderland academy player. A midfielder good on ball, breaking up play who will chip in with goals. If you told me a few seasons ago we would have Grant Leadbitter at Boro and Sunderland would have Lee Cattermole I would laughed. That’s the Football world always full of surprises. This brings me on to the next signing …..
Jonathan Woodgate well this signing came as a big surprise the news broke out quite late on a Thursday evening with Anthony Vickers breaking story on twitter. I remember replying ‘really? Big player if can stay fit, Prob best debut I seen had Henry in his pocket’ He rejoined the club on a free transfer after his Stoke contract expired signing a 3 year deal. Jonathan come back to his home town determined to help get us back to premiership, at 32 plenty of experience and if he can play 25-30 games for us I’ll be happy. We know his background from in past. I’m sure he’s more sensible off pitch now and will turn out great signing for us one that young players can learn from and look up too.
Emmanuel Ledesma another free transfer who was released from Walsall signed on 3 year deal. A creative midfielder/forward who can play in a number of positions will be a useful addition to the squad. We have been crying out for creativity especially in our games at home where we struggled to break the opposition down last season.
Christian Burgess is a promising centre back who signed on a 2 year deal after been spotted in university football. The 6ft 4ins defender will start football for club in development squad.
Stuart Parnaby rejoined the club signing a 2 year deal with a further one year option. The right back had season out game having talks with numerous clubs coming to nothing. Be good having Stuart back at the Boro he is a versatile player who can play in midfield if needed and another experienced player.
George Friend signed from Doncaster on a three year deal, the 24 year old defender can play centre back and left back. The former Doncaster captain was voted fans and players player of year last season. This signing gives the squad good competition for places especially at left back, since Andrew Taylor left been no real competition for left back spot for Joe Bennett.
Mustapha Carayol signed from Bristol Rovers on a three year deal, the 23 year old is lightening fast winger after watching little clips of him on YouTube. Looking forward to watching him in a Boro shirt Mustapha wasted no time in discovering our own Teesside dish a Parmo after asking fans on twitter where best place to go try one in the Boro! Central Park was place he tried first parmo and said he be recommending them to his friend! Already a Boro legend!
Justin Hoyte rejoined the club signing a new two year deal. Last season he had his best season at club, I put that down to Mogga. He took pay cut and sees Boro as 2nd home now after settling in area. Tipping him to shut the boo boys up and have another good season.
Overall I think Mogga done great job in the transfer market with little money signed some good players. A much stronger squad than last season cover in all outfield areas which should help us cope with injuries to the team. Signed some creative players in Ledesma and Carayol a winger that been crying out for which should excite the fans. The signings of Leadbitter, Parnaby and Woodgate give us experience you need that in this league.
Players left Club
Barry Robson and Tony McMahon are main two who have left the club that played regularly in first team. We knew about Barry Robson leaving after he agreed contract with Vancouver Whitecaps before end of last season. Tony McMahon was offered a deal and for whatever reason a contract couldn’t be agreed by club and player. With a new wage structure in place it has to be right for the club. Only the player can say if it was the money or not been guaranteed first team football. Either way I wish both players well you could never question their commitment always giving 100%. They are also players that used to take the set pieces often arguing who would take them, so new set piece takers for new season with Ledesma and Leadbitter I reckon.
I wish all players that have left the club well. A lot of former Boro players are in League one you can always go and watch when there is an international break.
The summer ins and outs
Mustapha Carayol, Emmanuel Ledesma, Stuart Parnaby, Jonathan Woodgate, Grant Leadbitter, George Friend, Justin Hoyte, Christian Burgess
Barry Robson (Vancouver Whitecaps), Tony McMahon (Sheff Utd), Danny Coyne (Released), Jonathan Franks (Hartlepool), Jonathan Grounds (Oldham), Malaury Martin (Released), Bart Ogbeche (Released)