Onside: Middlesbrough need to cope with the Championship’s frustration factor


IT would be wrong of me to suggest it was anywhere near levels which could be described as excitement but 45 minutes into another new campaign - and with one sweet-tasting free pint better off - the Boro faithful were pleasantly content.

Three quarters of an hour later and we had reached breaking point.

A loss at home. A lead let slip. Not an ounce of creativity. No prospect of goals.

Strolling out of the Riverside a passer-by could be mistaken for believing he was stranded in the middle of the loyal band of followers of a team in crisis.

Talk of a team in crisis. Former battering-ram hitman turned lower-league manager James Beattie suffered a mauling on the first day of the season as he was introduced into the world of management at Accrington Stanley.

Three days later his confidence-shy team visited a stadium void of any confidence at the Riverside and knocked the Boro out.

A lot can change in football in three or four days.

Granted, we should know. For four days after making an early exit from a cup forever in the hearts of Teessiders, we headed south and beat - and played off the park - a team who, let’s not forget, finished above us last season, and if the campaign had stretched just a month further may well have found themselves inside the much-cherished land of the top six.

Welcome to the new season. It didn’t take us long to be reunited with the frustration, followed by the sheer shock, followed by the renewed hope, of the football league.

We don’t need our esteemed leader to tell us - it is what it is.

But - cliché alert - it’s a long season. We’ll lose games where we should comfortably be picking up three points and we’ll win games that we have no right to win.

We’re bordering on experienced campaigners when it comes to knowing the Championship inside out now. That means we all have absolutely no idea of how things are going to turn out.

The boys who count the cash in the bookies seem to think we are more likely to go down than go up. I disagree.

But everytime we lose a game, let a lead slip or miss out on a transfer target shouldn’t automatically trigger a reaction to cough up a bellowing ‘boo’ and call for Mogga or Gibson to walk.

Coventry are a team in crisis. Rangers tick every crisis box as well.

But regardless of our form in 2013 - last season - we aren’t.

And with a few more much-needed new additions, especially up top, and the breakthrough of a couple more youngsters knocking on the door, we’ll be alright this season.

The world of low expectations may well welcome us with open arms.