Comment: Plenty of positives from Boro setback

Last updated : 13 January 2005 By Marc Higginson
Granted, we are playing well and the improvement from last season is there
for all to see but the statistics were against us from the off. Firstly, City have never beaten the Smoggies in the Premiership and have won just 9 of 57 games up there.

I mean, which team can have no shots on target, see 17 efforts rain
down on their own goal yet still come away with all three points? Answer: Middlesbrough at Eastlands last season. For some reason, Middlesbrough are our bogey side and, aside from the awful statistics going into the game, the man in charge was one Graham Poll.

However, there are plenty of positives to take from the defeat against
Middlesbrough; the main being the ability of our youngsters, to a man, to come into the first-team squad and make an impression.

Stephen Jordan exudes confidence at left-back and shouldn’t be dropped
once Ben Thatcher returns, Joey Barton runs himself into the ground, only to
lack the vision of a certain Mr Berkovic, and Bradley Wright-Phillips
showed he knew where the goal was with a predatory strike that Robbie Fowler in his prime would have been proud of.

And, on the subject of players that have broken through from the
academy…SWP! Need I say anymore on that lad. Apart from, Keegan don’t sell him!! We may need the money and if we are to sell anyone, then I’m afraid Nicolas Anelka has to pack his bags.

Anelka is undoubtedly one of the best strikers in the Premiership but his
ability to fill the tabloids with juicy quotes is becoming far too regular.
If he thinks his comments in a French magazine won’t reach England within
days, if not hours, then he has as much sense as Alex Ferguson when it
comes to sampling the delights of China.

You may be bemused by this comparison but, on reading the Guardian yesterday I was reminded of Fergie’s shrewdness in the transfer market.
In his infinite wisdom, Ferguson tried to jump on the City bandwagon and
try to muscle into the lucrative Chinese market by signing Dong
Fangzhou for the small matter of £3.5m.

That is peanuts if he had the Sun Jihai effect. However, the Chinaman has lasted no longer than the standard free bag of prawn crackers, for he has been farmed out to feeder club Antwerp for 2 years and his only chance of fame now lies with TV executives, who may sign him up for Belgium’s version of ‘I’m not a celebrity…get me out of here!’

If not, then he can always visit Eastlands…the lad confesses to being a
blue! Cheer up Fergie!