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Teesside Steel

Stewart Downing - The View From Teesside

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Nice post but I really hope you won't get the chance to welcome Smallwood! There's every possibility you will though.

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Just now, Teesside Steel said:

I've read some of the opinions on here regarding the signing of 35 year old Stewart Downing, shocked to be honest that very few Rovers fans don't see this as an excellent signing for you. Arguably our greatest ever academy player he is not the flying winger he once was, you won't see him bombing past a player and whipping it into the box. You will see him keep the ball move possession on and shift the ball, whip balls into Danny Graham who I think will be buzzing someone of Downing's quality has signed. I and many other Boro fans would of liked to see Downing stay until he retired. He came back to his home town team from West Ham to get us back into the premier league - he succeeded. Always given a hard time by sections of the Boro support his very close and personal relationship with Woodgate and the fans opinions on that said relationship may have swayed Woodgate to let him move on. Boro's loss is Rovers gain - He will bring experience, calmness in possession and importantly a strong voice in the dressing room - he will help players like Chapman, Armstrong and even Dack. Good luck Stewwy - he will get a cracking reception from the Boro fans in August. As will Mogga, Smallwood and Graham.

 

Good luck for the season chaps hope you are in and about the top 6 this season or even better runners up behind the Boro. 

Thanks for the insight.  Out of interest, why did he get stick from sections of the Boro fans?

Edited by Wing Wizard Windy Miller

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Just now, Wing Wizard Windy Miller said:

Thanks for the insight.  Out of interest, why did he get stick from sections of the Boro fans?

Like any local lad they never get the same time as some Jonny Foreigner with a fancy name who cost £10 million. I think on his return some Boro fans expected the flying winger who gave us so many memorable moments back. Downing was instrumental in our Carling Cup victory and run to the Uefa Cup final in 2006 - some fans forget he was also instrumental in our promotion back to the big time. DESPITE playing under a much more negative manager than Mowbray. I think its a real coup for Blackburn and very low risk.

Just now, Sparks Rover said:

A very close relationship with woodgate?  His legs must have gone or he would keep him 

Woodgate is married to Downings sister. 

 

Just now, 47er said:

Nice post but I really hope you won't get the chance to welcome Smallwood! There's every possibility you will though.

What happened with him? Seemed to be well liked by your support when you got promoted? Always rated the kid at Boro - 110% is what you got from him and wore his heart on his sleeve, I remember him scoring and crying straight after in the corner V cardiff, limited in terms of going forward but a solid championship battler - I suppose if your pushing for top 6 you want a bit more quality....

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Just now, Sparks Rover said:

A very close relationship with woodgate?  His legs must have gone or he would keep him 

The poster mentions in the opening post that the reason Woodgate didn't was for fear of being accused of conflict of interest/favouritism. 

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Just now, Teesside Steel said:

Like any local lad they never get the same time as some Jonny Foreigner with a fancy name who cost £10 million. I think on his return some Boro fans expected the flying winger who gave us so many memorable moments back. Downing was instrumental in our Carling Cup victory and run to the Uefa Cup final in 2006 - some fans forget he was also instrumental in our promotion back to the big time. DESPITE playing under a much more negative manager than Mowbray. I think its a real coup for Blackburn and very low risk.

Woodgate is married to Downings sister. 

 

What happened with him? Seemed to be well liked by your support when you got promoted? Always rated the kid at Boro - 110% is what you got from him and wore his heart on his sleeve, I remember him scoring and crying straight after in the corner V cardiff, limited in terms of going forward but a solid championship battler - I suppose if your pushing for top 6 you want a bit more quality....

Thanks for clarifying.  If he can't go past a man on the wing, where has he been playing for Boro?

Smallwood was great in league one.  Needed that type of blood and thunder player.  Very limited technically  though - really struggled at championship level. 

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3 hours ago, Teesside Steel said:

What happened with him? Seemed to be well liked by your support when you got promoted? Always rated the kid at Boro - 110% is what you got from him and wore his heart on his sleeve, I remember him scoring and crying straight after in the corner V cardiff, limited in terms of going forward but a solid championship battler - I suppose if your pushing for top 6 you want a bit more quality....

 

I think he's still liked as a character, and is popular for his approach to the game. Hugely influential in getting promoted the season before last. Even the most critical of fans couldn't knock his effort, desire and importance in getting the club back in the Championship. 

It became obvious last season that our squad needed a couple more players of more quality if we want to be talking about promotion. We have plenty of good characters who are decent players, who will probably see us lower-mid table easily enough but not much beyond that. Smallwood's become a bit of poster boy for that dilemma, a bit unfairly in my view when there are several others in the same category. I think defensive-minded midfielders generally get a bit more stick than is warranted unless they really stand out, and that's at all clubs.

I think a fair summary will be that Smallwood is still valued as a member of the squad by plenty (admittedly not all) of fans, just that if he's starting most games next season, that we can't really expect to progress that far in my view. Then again it's more than feasible that we'll be going into next season with him as our 4th choice centre midfielder, and I bet there aren't that many of those in the division that I'd swap Richie for.

Edited by Admiral Nelsen

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Just now, Wing Wizard Windy Miller said:

Thanks for clarifying.  If he can't go past a man on the wing, where has he been playing for Boro?

Smallwood was great in league one.  Needed that type of blood and thunder player.  Very limited technically  though - really struggled at championship level. 

Well he's struggled under Pulis, for me his best position now would be RW where he can come inside and use that wand of a left foot or behind the striker in the middle.

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A coup ?  Steady on he may or may not turn out ok but it's not in any way a coup the coup is for him being fortunate enough to have somebody like Mowbray and a club like Rovers ready and waiting with a contract he'd unlikely get anywhere else and the promise of games.

He won't even have to move house.

I said straight off this would be trumpeted up as a marquee signing and going off the endless columns of him praising TM and TM praising him then posts about the Boro Messi and how grateful we should be kind of points that way.

The money for contracts like this needs investing far better IF there isn't much of it and not much else is coming in, if there is well then it doesn't matter but end of the day we've just signed another big wages squaddie with certain things stacked against him like age and one who had he been a Leeds lad at Leeds or Sheff Weds or someone Mowbray probably wouldn't have gone anywhere near him !

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28 minutes ago, Teesside Steel said:

I've read some of the opinions on here regarding the signing of 35 year old Stewart Downing, shocked to be honest that very few Rovers fans don't see this as an excellent signing for you. Arguably our greatest ever academy player he is not the flying winger he once was, you won't see him bombing past a player and whipping it into the box. You will see him keep the ball move possession on and shift the ball, whip balls into Danny Graham who I think will be buzzing someone of Downing's quality has signed. I and many other Boro fans would of liked to see Downing stay until he retired. He came back to his home town team from West Ham to get us back into the premier league - he succeeded. Always given a hard time by sections of the Boro support his very close and personal relationship with Woodgate and the fans opinions on that said relationship may have swayed Woodgate to let him move on. Boro's loss is Rovers gain - He will bring experience, calmness in possession and importantly a strong voice in the dressing room - he will help players like Chapman, Armstrong and even Dack. Good luck Stewwy - he will get a cracking reception from the Boro fans in August. As will Mogga, Smallwood and Graham.

 

Good luck for the season chaps hope you are in and about the top 6 this season or even better runners up behind the Boro. 

I'm pretty sure we had Cardiff fans saying  similar things about Whittingham and Fulham fans regarding Danny Murphy. Mowbray's plan was to have Whittingham playing in a similar role to the one you have pencilled Downing in for. That plan lasted a handful of games until he realised that Whittingham could no longer get into anything more than a leisurely jog and as a result we looked awful as a team.

After that " experiment " we reverted to a more conventional formation and looked 100% better for it.

The smart managers know when a player is approaching the wall and know when to move them on.

Edited by Tyrone Shoelaces

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Just now, Tyrone Shoelaces said:

I'm pretty sure we had Cardiff fans saying  similar things about Whittingham and Fulham fans regarding Danny Murphy. Mowbray's plan was to have Whittingham playing in a similar role to the one you have pencilled Downing in for. That plan lasted a handful of games until he realised that Whittingham could know longer get into anything more than a leisurely jog and as a result we were we looked awful as a team.

After that " experiment " we reverted to a more conventional formation and looked 100% better for it.

The smart managers know when a player is approaching the wall and know when to move them on.

He would of played 46 games for us last season had the contract situation not arose, was arguably one of our better players in a team that finished 7th on the final day - would of been higher if not for Pulis' negativity. He's achieved miles more than the other two in his career IMO and is a class above those in terms of ability. You're not getting a player who cant put himself about the pitch or put a shift in - he's as fit as a butchers dog.

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Just now, Tyrone Shoelaces said:

I'm pretty sure we had Cardiff fans saying  similar things about Whittingham and Fulham fans regarding Danny Murphy. Mowbray's plan was to have Whittingham playing in a similar role to the one you have pencilled Downing in for. That plan lasted a handful of games until he realised that Whittingham could no longer get into anything more than a leisurely jog and as a result we were we looked awful as a team.

After that " experiment " we reverted to a more conventional formation and looked 100% better for it.

The smart managers know when a player is approaching the wall and know when to move them on.

The Whittingham/ Murphy trope strikes again! 

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Just now, Tyrone Shoelaces said:

I'm pretty sure we had Cardiff fans saying  similar things about Whittingham and Fulham fans regarding Danny Murphy. Mowbray's plan was to have Whittingham playing in a similar role to the one you have pencilled Downing in for.

That's a fair enough comment. Something to be said for both of those being pencilled in as our main men meant that they were bigger let downs though.

Another way of looking at it, a 35 year old David Dunn still had loads to offer at this level, albeit very injury prone. I think Dunny always had more natural quality than Downing, but equally Downing has an abundance at this level. He might be another Murphy/Whittingham, but just because we've had our hands burned with players in their 30s doesn't mean we always will. 

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6 minutes ago, Teesside Steel said:

Woodgate is married to Downings sister. 

So, his legs must have gone .  

If he was worried about accusations of favouritism it could only be because Downing has lost it. He wouldn't get criticism if Downing deserved to be playing....

Iffy move this for us.

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Just now, Sparks Rover said:

So, his legs must have gone .  

If he was worried about accusations of favouritism it could only be because Downing has lost it. He wouldn't get criticism if Downing deserved to be playing....

Iffy move this for us.

Well at the end of the day judgement will have be reserved until he plays but I'm uneasy about this one. If his days as a winger are behind him and he's going to play in midfield who's place will he be taking ? Travis -and lose his energetic running or Evans- and have two midfield players who both like to go forward ?

Or will we revert to the old 5 in midfield plan that had Whittingham's name written on it ?

Edited by Tyrone Shoelaces

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My worry is that if Mowbray is planning to use Downing in midfield he will slow our build-up play even further. We're a pedestrian team lacking pace and the ability to break quickly at the best of times and Downing as I see it will make the problem worse. You need to be young, strong, fast and hungry to get out of this division -  Rovers for the most part last season was none of these. 

Great post from the Boro supporter - always liked Boro and a very similar club to us (without the trophy room). Would be interested to hear his views on Chapman

Edited by jim mk2

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Just now, Tyrone Shoelaces said:

Tell me I'm lying .

It's your lazy opinion, I can't say its a lie! 

All 3 players are individuals and each move had it's own nuances. 

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Just now, jim mk2 said:

My worry is that if Mowbray is planning to use Downing in midfield he will slow our build-up play even further. We're a pedestrian team lacking pace and the ability to break quickly at the best of times and Downing as I see it will make the problem worse. You need to be young, strong, fast and hungry to get out of this division -  Rovers for the most part last season was none of these. 

Not if he replaces Evans and partners Travis

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Just now, Bigdoggsteel said:

Not if he replaces Evans and partners Travis

So which one sits and provides defensive cover?

Edited by Sparks Rover

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46 minutes ago, Teesside Steel said:

He will bring experience, calmness in possession and importantly a strong voice in the dressing room - he will help players like Chapman, Armstrong and even Dack.

I think the deal makes a lot of sense on this basis alone. You could extend that list to many of our younger players, and the ones with ambitions of reaching the top will most certainly benefit from having someone around who has been there, who is a positive influence in the dressing room.

In terms of his place in the squad, I’d see him as offering a different set of skills, potentially a clear head next to Travis in our current 4231 style. “One Artist, one Soldier”..

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Just now, jim mk2 said:

My worry is that if Mowbray is planning to use Downing in midfield he will slow our build-up play even further. We're a pedestrian team lacking pace and the ability to break quickly at the best of times and Downing as I see it will make the problem worse. You need to be young, strong, fast and hungry to get out of this division -  Rovers for the most part last season was none of these. 

Great post from the Boro supporter - always liked Boro and a very similar club to us. Would be interested to hear his views on Chapman

It's a definite risk. Think the effectiveness of Downing will depend on who he's playing with. Downing with Evans, Bennett, Travis could be extremely pedestrian, putting a massive amount of pressure on Dack.

Swap a couple of them for Rothwell, Chapman or Armstrong out wide, and all of a sudden someone with Downing's ability to pick them out first time could add another dimension. 

Come to think of it, you could probably say the same about Murphy and Whittingham if we're going to carry on using them as reasons not to sign him. Both big let downs, but their lack of legs wouldn't have been as obvious if they had decent out-balls. There was definitely a 'they should be able to run a game by themselves' approach to both, which won't be the case with Downing. 

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Just now, Tyrone Shoelaces said:

Well at the end of the day judgement will have be reserved until he plays but I'm uneasy about this one. If his days as a winger are behind him and he's going to play in midfield who's place will he be taking ? Travis -and lose his energetic running or Evans- and have two midfield players who both like to go forward ?

Or will we revert to the old 5 in midfield plan that had Whittingham's name written on it ?

 

Just now, Tyrone Shoelaces said:

Well at the end of the day judgement will have be reserved until he plays but I'm uneasy about this one. If his days as a winger are behind him and he's going to play in midfield who's place will he be taking ? Travis -and lose his energetic running or Evans- and have two midfield players who both like to go forward ?

Or will we revert to the old 5 in midfield plan that had Whittingham's name written on it ?

I think the problem with our view of this signing is that its the first one after lots of ''gonna do this , gonna do that'' rhetoric form the management at Ewood.  If he was the last signing rather than the first and we could see that he was a final piece in the jigsaw then fair enough. The worry is that this is the start of more haphazard transfer dealings without any real plan or structure .Undeniably our primary requirement is for a couple of stalwart defenders but the first thing that happens is an ageing  player in  apposition where we are quite well covered and that makes us all wonder what budget we have and where he might fit into FFP concerns which have also been put forward by the Club. I doubt he's here for £2k a week.

Like I said in another post, hardly singing from the rooftops but we should really wait until the window closes and see where we end up then. The major concern is that history is not on the side of Venkys or Mowbray on that particular score. 

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