I'm sick to death of reading how we need to keep the faith, that promotion is still possible, and how we need to back the team. The latter is true, but just because something is mathematically possible it doesn't mean it's going to happen, and it isn't.
Personally when the Boro spin machine churns out the 'we can do it' messages I feel insulted. It’s like they think they can dupe you into still believing. I think Middlesbrough Football Club need to be looking at how to get fans to renew and come to the games next season rather than trying to con the fans into thinking our promotion campaign is still on.
£370 to sit in the North Stand next season (the early bird price), another price freeze - but I'm sorry, I really think that Steve Gibson has dropped a clanger... There are only so many seasons that you can pay nearly £400 based on 'blind faith', and I think after 4 seasons of dross the Boro fans are finally realising this. I would personally have gone for a £50 drop in season tickets prices, making the early bird price in the North Stand £320 - an offer that I'm sure would have had many doubters renewing straight away. Maybe if that wasn't practical throw in a half price shirt, or £20 to spend in the club shop - something... but alas, no.
There will be people who have already renewed, but these would have renewed even if the price had gone up - it’s the middle grounders that Boro need to convince - the ones who haven't been entertained, with families, that maybe have lost their jobs or have low incomes. Why should they renew? £370 is a week’s holiday, which after the season we have endured would be much more preferable if you had to choose one or the other.
My prediction is we will finish around 10th in the league this season, and will be facing regular sub 15,000 crowds at the Riverside next season unless something is done fast, and that might be reducing the renewal prices, or signing someone that will bring the crowds back - but who would that? - I don't even think Juninho could bring the fans back now.
The next few months are the most important since 1986, correct guidance could see Boro flourish next season, with 25,000 fans at every game, but if even more mistakes are made I dread to think of the consequences - relegation, administration - they are all possibilities. I hope I'm wrong, I hope we could somehow manage to get promoted, I hope we sell more tickets next season, but I'm a realist, I just can't see it happening.