The date, Saturday 6th March 2010, is the day when Boro's season was finished off by a recent nemesis, Cardiff City. The Bluebirds, responsible for Boro's exit from the FA Cup the season before, hammered the final nail in the coffin for Gordon Strachan's men the 3rd minute of play, and typically Boro were unable to find an answer.
So what now? Maybe a token victory against Newcastle? The chances of that are slim, and even it did happen it would just prolong the agony even more. Even if we beat Newcastle we still have no chance of reaching the play-offs in my eyes. The gap is 5 points, Cardiff have 2 games in hand, and the gap to 5th is another 2 points away. On our recent form we will be unable to pick up enough points to keep up, never mind overtake anyone.
All we can hope for is that Steve Gibson has learned a few valuable lessons:
* You can't get promoted automatically if you sell your best players
* Sacking a manager a third of the way into a season when in a play-off place is bad timing
* Leaving a manager who gets the club relegated in charge is a bad idea
* Not to make promises to fans that he can't keep ie. Promotion, signing TOP players, Johnson staying etc...
I sadly predict that Boro will finish mid table this season, and that after the Newcastle game attendances will fall, booing will increase, and so will the calls for Strachan's head. All very sad, but that's Boro fans for you.
The Newcastle game couldn't have come at a worse time for Steve Gibson. Defeat in this game will be a disaster for the club, ensuring that no fan will have any hope of our promotion this season. The worst case scenario is the most likely, defeat on Saturday, and 8 point gap to the promotion places, and quite probably spin coming from the club telling us all to keep the faith. If this isn't a reason for fans to stay away for the rest of the season I don't know what it.
So looking ahead to next season what do we need to do to get promotion a second time around?
* Keep Strachan on as manager - any more change is too disruptive to the players he's already brought in
* Keep Gary O'Neil if possible
* Buy some strikers who have a PROVEN Championship goal scoring record
* Buy a creative midfielder
* Buy a left back and a right back
* Get rid of Aliadiere and use his wages for someone who either scores or creates goals, as he does neither
I think if we do the above we should get promotion. Please add your own suggestions in the comments box, or if you disagree with mine please post also!
As usual, I hope I am wrong, I hope we can still turn it around, but alas I think it is to late. Boro, its been emotional, and as long as sensible decisions are made for the good of the club I'll see you next season. If not a Boro Pride card it will be...
Thanks for reading, and as always comments (good or bad) are always appreciated. Keep a look out on Twitter (@MFCFacebook) and check the links section of this blog for the Facebook MFC Fanpage.