Onside: No anger over Middlesbrough slump, just disappointment

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I remember one night when I was a kid, kicking a ball about out the front with my drive as a goal and the road as the hallowed turf of a Premier League ground.

A standard weeknight game of heads and volleys soon turned into a childhood disaster when my miscued cross flew past the incoming forehead of my mate, crunching into the wing mirror of the next door neighbour’s family saloon.

Morality flew out of the window and I legged it, and for a couple of sleepless nights thought I had got away with it.

That was until my mum sat me down and fed me the lines that strike a dagger to the heart of any young’un,

“I’m not angry with you son, I’m just disappointed.”

I shuffled round to the neighbour’s house, unbeknown that they had seen the whole thing unfold and had waited two days for me to knock and apologise.

The Boro players haven’t broke any wing mirrors, admittedly, but it’s that flat feeling of disappointment that is going to be the overriding emotion of the season.

A feeling of disappointment somehow worsened by last night’s rot-stopping win over Forest. Not that we needed it but it was yet another reminder of what should have been this season.

Forest were your standard Championship side. Physical and full-blooded with two or three decent players which turn mid-table mediocrity into a play-off challenge. But the shots of adrenaline which Billy Davies packed into his suitcase on his journey back to the City Ground appear to be wearing off.

It was a victory stuffed with relief. On the night Cardiff and their now-quiet protesting fans dancing around in red were promoted - the team we played off the park twice - it should have meant more.

One bloke steaming up to the Riverside 10 minutes before kick-off moaned to anyone that would listen that “Mogga has lost the dressing room” and it’s time he walked. I’m disappointed the suggestion is even being entertained by fans.

2013 has been a torturous experience - not helped by the fact that we’ve somehow kept within touching distance. But the fans, the ground and the team has been flat.

There were no ravenous roars of discontent when relegation haunted Posh left the Riverside with a point after a dull Tuesday night affair - just a resigned flat feeling of disappointment.

I don’t feel anger that the Hull team we battered at the Riverside and matched at the KC are in a prime position to somehow get out of this league.

No anger that Bolton, nowhere near us for the majority of the season, have launched their late assault and will most probably sneak into the cherished top six, or that Sheffield Wednesday, the team that left the Riverside battered, bruised and begging for forgiveness after a Friday night mauling were at one point last week just three points behind us.

No anger. Just disappointment. Disappointment in a season which promised so much.

An uninspired feeling worsened by the fact that if our disastrous run was merely a bad one we would still be sitting firmly in the play-off places.

Eleven points out of 54 yet still six points short of the play-offs. Remarkable. Yes, it shows how impressive we were before Christmas but it’s more a harsh reminder of how poor this league is.

Be under no illusion, we’ll never get a better chance to get out of the Championship.

For how often, out of the three Premier League relegated teams, is there one hoping to scrape into the play-offs while the other two - admittedly led by chairman making monumental error after monumental error - are fighting relegation.

Hull, Watford, Palace and Brighton are all average Championship sides, but they’ve taken the chance. We haven’t and now we need to rebuild and go again.

I’m not angry Boro, just disappointed. In fact I’m absolutely gutted.

– Dominic Shaw