Fly Me To The Moon column: Neil Warnock's Middlesbrough have signalled their intent after an excellent January transfer window

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FMTTM COLUMN: Robert Nichols delivers his verdict on Middlesbrough’s January transfer business.

That has to be the best January transfer window for Boro since... erm.. I am actually struggling to think of the answer but it is a long time. Actually, probably not since Steve McClaren have we seen Boro being so pro-active and prepared to take it right down to the wire. What a lift for everyone and what a way to bounce back from our January slump and week from hell.

Once upon a time Boro would be bidding for a marquee signing, a hot shot striker like Jordan Rhodes to shoot us over the line for promotion. Among those of a certain vintage who can forget how the 1997/1998 Championship winter of discontent ended abruptly in a remarkable week in which manager Bryan Robson brought in not one forward, not even two but an incredible treble of Alun Armstrong, Hamilton Ricard and Marco Branca.

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In the harsh realities of the 2020s it can be more about holding onto what we have got. Yet in Neil Warnock we have a wily old campaigner. Someone who has been there, seen it and done it, so many times before. When the chips are down he rolls his sleeves up and dives in with the Boro backroom team, to come out with a few real gems.

New Middlesbrough signing Nathaniel Mendez-Laing and manager Neil Warnock.New Middlesbrough signing Nathaniel Mendez-Laing and manager Neil Warnock.
New Middlesbrough signing Nathaniel Mendez-Laing and manager Neil Warnock.

Even the players that left on loan on the final day should be positives for Boro. Nathan Wood and Lewis Wing are at different stages of their development but their loan spells at Crewe and Rotherham respectively will provide regular match practice to potentially help them but help our club when they return.

Yes, a typical Boro January slump bottomed out in that terrible week where matters went from bad to worse, injury after injury and defeat after defeat. Yet, boosted pre-match by the signings of Darnell Fisher and Yannick Bolasie, a really strong performance away at league leaders Norwich drew a line in the sand.

Then to bring in Nathaniel Mendez-Laing and Neeskens Kebano just before the eleventh hour, well, what a boost that has been to our attacking options. And a real boost for the fans as well as the rest of the squad no doubt.

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It is all very timely because we now face a real test from a Brentford side that hit seven last week. Not so long ago Boro were Brentford's worst nightmare, they could not buy a win against us. That record has now completely flipped over. In fact if it was not for the positive vibes from the transfer window cleaning we might now even be worrying about repeating last season's failings when our winless run at the Riverside stretched through January to the very end of the campaign.

After the transfer window, all such fears are now so last month. We are only looking onwards and upwards now. Warnock's Boro have signalled their intent to have a real go. What more can you ask for?

Come On Boro and Up The Boro.

Robert Nichols

Fly Me To The Moon fanzine – Issue 613 out this weekend v Brentford

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