When Jonathan Woodgate recently departed Middlesbrough for Tottenham in an £8million deal he could not help himself in having a pop, not only at his former boss Gareth Southgate, but the ambition of his hometown club.
The England international central defender enjoyed a fantastic first season back in the Premier League when Boro brought him back from an injury-ravaged nightmare spell at Real Madrid in summer 2006.Woodgate enjoyed his time at the Riverside so much he agreed to sign a £7million deal before the end of last season. However as Boro struggled for form in the first half of the season, so did Woodgate’s and he was promptly offloaded to Spurs in the January transfer window.
On his departure, instead of thanking Southgate for handing him the opportunity to re-establish himself in the Premier League, Woodgate instead crowed about how it was great to be at a club with a ‘proper manager’ in the guise of Juande Ramos and slammed the Teessiders for their lack of ambition.
In response Southgate, who made no bones about the fact he is vastly inexperienced compared to Spanish tactician Ramos, was more miffed at Woodgate’s attack on the club’s ambition. The rookie Boro boss rightly pointed out that a £12.7million swoop for Brazilian striker Afonso Alves, which broke the club’s transfer record, is not the actions of a team lacking ambition. As for silverware prospects Woodgate could secure a Carling Cup Final medal this month, but Spurs must get past Chelsea for that to happen. T
hen again Boro travel to Sheffield United in the FA Cup fifth round this weekend knowing a win would put them two games away from a Wembley final and a probable return to European football. In the Premier League Spurs are a meagre one place and three points better off than Boro which leads to more head-scratching when Woodgate’s departing comments had us all believing he was leaving Teesside for one of football’s super powers.
Finally, perhaps Woodgate should have looked at the more recent history of both clubs stretching back to 1997. Boro’s average Premier League finish is 11th to Tottenham’s ninth, while the North-East outfit have been to an FA Cup Final, three League Cup Finals and a UEFA Cup final with the 2004 Carling Cup success to show from that. Spurs have managed just two League Cup Final appearances, one of which was won, to show and one to come on February 24.
When the facts are laid it out for all to see it certainly makes you wonder where Woodgate is coming from here? Then again why should Boro worry too much when they got their money back and have arguably a better replacement already in the team in the form of David Wheater which you could say is why he was allowed to leave in the first place. Anyone for Sour Grapes??
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