Mowbray’s Delight at New Signings

Four SigningsIt was all smiles at Hurworth yesterday as Boro’s four new signings were seated at the top table before the media. A mixture of experience and rich potential could the four contain the missing ingredients from last term to push on back towards the Premier?

Boro boss Tony Mowbray yesterday expressed his delight at Boro’s four new signings as they were paraded for the media at the Hurworth training ground. He was keen to point out that they are quality players but also quality human beings that can make a big, positive impact from day one on those around them at the training ground. Mowbray was also quick to add that the four could make all the difference as we strive for promotion.

Boro boss Tony Mowbray looked a pleased and contented man as he sat with his four new players in the press room at Hurworth. I’ve not seen the place so full for years as it was crammed full of representatives from national as well as local tv, radio and newspapers. And me..

This is all a positive sign I think of how much interest these four new signings have brought to Boro. Furthermore, the acquisitions of Grant Leadbitter, Stuart Parnaby, Jonathan Woodgate and Emanuel Ledesma have been realised without breaking the bank, Mowbray wanted to push out that point. But they have signalled the ambition of the club to climb a few rungs further up the ladder from last season’s 7th place finish.

But Mowbray was also keen to add that we might expect more new faces before the big kick off in August.

I taped a few of the questions and answers for you:

Q: Are you pleased to have secured the four new signings?

TM: I think we are obviously delighted with the quality of the footballer. But just as important for me the personality and the quality of the human being we have brought in as well I would like to say. It is good that they are in early and that they are making an impact from day one in pre-season. And out there when they are all doing hard work their characters are a little bit more open and obvious to see when you are pushing them to the boundaries. But yes delighted.

I think there will be more additions before the ball starts rolling in August 11th for us against Bury but I’m just delighted that we have got some good footballers and some good people. Good players win football matches.  That has got to be our aim this year. We have got to try and win games, be at the right end of the table again, be very competitive in what is always a hard league. Some teams are spending money and going for it. And I would like to think that we will be in there with a good shout.

Q: Three of the signings have very strong North East connections. Is that important that they understand about what is required here?

TM: Yes I think so. I have always talked about Teesside and Middlesbrough being like an island in the UK. And I think people have an understanding of what north east football fans are about and what their expectations and demands are. It’s good that Jonathan, Grant and Stuart have got that knowledge from day one. The demands are always high when you play for any of the north east teams. We are striving to get back to the Premier League to get back on a level par with our north east neighbours and we will be giving it our best shot this year.

Q: You mentioned how strong the Championship is both in terms of the strength of teams but also financially. How well equipped do you think are to cope on both fronts?

TM: Well I think we are still going through a slight adjustment with the finances but I think the signings sitting at this table show that you don’t have to spend millions and millions of pounds to bring good quality footballers into your club and we can draw on their experience and quality in the position they play on the pitch to help push forward from last year. Our last year, for a long, long spell was progress for us and as in every football club you want continual improvement and we are striving to improve on 7th we will give ourselves a chance to get out of the league this year.


Woodgate Aiming To Get Back to the Top with Boro

Jonathan Woodgate’s signing for Boro was like a bolt from the blue sending shockwaves across Teesside but also pushing us back into SKY News for the first time in aeons. Last week all four of Mowbray’s new signings were officially unveiled at Hurworth and the media were there in droves, not just local but nationals were represented. The return of the local lad that made good for England has ushered in a new wave of interest and underlined our ambition and determination to leap out of the Championship.

I joined Tfm’s Sarah Colley last week as she chatted with the former Nunthorpe school pupil about his return to the fold at Middlesbrough. What were his aims and intentions in coming back? And what did it mean to him playing once more for the team he supports?

JW: The aim is to get back in the Premiership. We all know that it is really tough, with 46 games but the aim is to try and get back in the Premiership.

Q: How do you feel playing for Boro cos you are from here? Is it different from when you are playing for different teams, like Stoke?

JW: You give it all. You give it your all, no matter who you are playing for. Possibly when you are playing for your hometown team you have got everyone at you. When you’ve finished playing you have got your friends ringing you, you have got your family. But you give your all for every single team. Being a Boro fan it is a bit different.

Q: How has it been being back in pre-season training?

JW: Hard. Do you want to try it?

Q: No you are alright (laughs)..

JW: No, it is hard. It is double sessions every day. There is a lot of running involved. There is a lot of football but times have changed. Where you were just constantly running before the ball is out on the first day, the manager says and he puts across how he wants to play and we do a lot of passing. So it is not as hard as it used to be.

Q: Is there a particular part that you don’t really like? Something at the gym etc?

JW: No I don’t really mind. I think you have got to try and do it all. In every session the coaching staff put on you have got to apply yourself right.

Q: It is all about diet etc these days as well, isn’t it?

JW: You’ve got to look after yourself. The chef upstairs who looks after us is a really good cook. We go home and we get fed as well.

Q: What are your thoughts about the rest of your teammates?

JW: They all share the same ambition as myself to try and get the club into the Premiership. There are a lot of young players here obviously they need to grow and try and hopefully get in the first team. They could be the difference this season.

Q: Do you think this year is the year that we can really go back into the Premier League?

JW: Are you a Boro fan? I like the way you said “can we.”

Q: Of course..

JW: That is the aim from everyone. Everyone wants to be in the Premiership, the fans do and we are no different and I think we can do it this season.

Q: You play the same position as Tony Mowbray used to and he was talking earlier about how he was his fittest when he was in his 30s. Did you ever used to watch him play when you were younger?

JW: Yes I used to go to Ayresome Park when I was 6 and watch him and Gary Pallister play at the back, a great partnership together. I used to try and model myself on Gary Pallister, the way he played. He said that his best years were when he was 32 and onwards and hopefully I can bring that to Middlesbrough as well.

Q: What other teams do you think are going to be a big threat for Middlesbrough this season?

JW: Blackburn, Wolves, Brighton. There are a few though aren’t there?

Q: Why do you pick them out in particular?

JW: They are strong and they are spending a lot of money on players. They’ve recruited Danny Murphy, they’ve got a forward from Portugal in Gomez, they’ve got Leon Best from Newcastle and they are spending a lot of money not just on transfer fees but on wages as well.

Q: What has it been like just getting to know the other lads in the team again? Has it changed a lot here?

JW: Yes all good. It has changed a lot. The manager said there are ten spaces free in the changing room now. When I was there it was rammed full. Hopefully he can bring a few more players in.