This sort of thing often gets put to the public vote. But we ain’t that organised. So, we had our own crack at picking Boro’s team of the decade. Don’t be getting all riled up about it – you know we’re big fans of what both of you think. We’ve tried to make it difficult for you to disagree with us. But no doubt some of you want to know why Deimantas Petravicius isn’t in here. If so, you might want to have a bloody good look at yourself. Let’s get crackin’…
Oh. Do bear in mind that all appearance and goal counts are from the 2010s ONLY. None from 2009 or before.
Boro’ Team of the Decade: 2010s
16. Chris Day
Apps: 281 (3) | Goals: 0
If you’re not getting past our first pick without throwing your hands up in the air in disgust, this could be a long read. Not since Dessie has a stopper left such a massive impression. You could’ve been mistaken for thinking Daysey’s time was up more than once during the decade. But he kept coming back to show how it should be done.
25. Ronnie Henry
Apps: 275 (11) | Goals: 0
Is this the last-ever decade we’ll see someone set a new Boro’ appearances record? With football as it is these days, it seems likely. Not that we thought Ronnie would do it after he left the club for Luton Town in 2012. He came back (obviously) in 2014 for five more years – storming past Mark Smith’s previous record and finishing up on 500+ outings.
5. Jon Ashton
Apps: 194 (7) | Goals: 3
You simply don’t mess with Jon Ashton. Not Jermain Defoe. Not Cheick Tiote. And not the Colchester lad outdone by his Cruyff turn on Boxing Day 2011. Ash was one half of Boro’s most formidable centre-half pairing; if not ever, then definitely since Sodje and Smudger in the first Conference-winning days. What? Were you expecting Bondz N’Gala here?
14. Mark Roberts (c)
Apps: 179 (0) | Goals: 21
Captain. Leader. Legend. Need we say more?
3. Scott Laird
Apps: 132 (2) | Goals: 17
John Hunt, Lee Hills, Jerome Okimo and now onto Chris Stokes or Tyler Denton. Our left-back spot has been giving us grief ever since we lost Lairdy to Preston North End after the end of the 2011-2 campaign. Hard for opposition attackers to escape, Laird was also very much a nightmare to defend against us; 17 goals from left back in the first two years of the decade is not bad at all.
22. Charlie Lee
Apps: 105 (25) | Goals: 14
We won’t hold it against you if you look twice at this pick. It’s probably our first huge call of this team. But we couldn’t just fill our starting XI and subs bench with lads from the first bit of the decade. Well, we could – but it’d be too harsh on those lads who did a fine job even if the team as a whole wasn’t quite firing as we’d become used to. Charlie Lee was one of those lads – and his departure was keenly felt. Even then-gaffer Darren Sarll regretted it.
12. Ilias Chair
Apps: 15 (0) | Goals: 6
It’s not often, but every now and then someone comes in and loan and looks the part. We had Bradley Johnson back in the day, while Jamaal Lascelles also looked decent. But we can’t think of any who had such a huge impact on our fortunes as Ilias Chair. If we’d made the 2018-9 League Two playoffs, it’d have been in no small part due to the Moroccan and his ridiculous habit of scoring stupid goals from a million miles out. Can we get him back?
24. Michael Bostwick
Apps: 127 (0) | Goals: 14
Chair had a knack for the unconventional when it came to long-range goals. With Bossie, however, it felt a bit more conventional: line it up from 25 yards, get the foot going like an absolute traction engine and, where possible, use the post for extra effect. We’re not sure if all Bossie’s goals were from outside the box, but who cares. Apart from the bangers, his presence in midfield (or defence) was as imperious as it was unflappable. We’ve had few better on our books.
15. Luke Freeman
Apps: 111 (18) | Goals: 17
We’re still not sure we quite believe our luck. Luke Freeman came to us on loan from the Woolwich; soon followed by Chuks Aneke. Aneke was fine for us (at best), but Freeman? He was some player. How on earth we managed to prise him away from the Gooners on a permanent deal we don’t know. But thank our lord Martin Gittings we did. Like a similar lad before him, Freeman wasn’t the fastest. But bewitching skill more than made up for that – and he could genuinely turn a game on a sixpence. He went onto bigger and better things. And so he bloody should.
19. Danny Newton
Apps: 66 (23) | Goals: 24
OK. We’re now in full-blown controversial territory here. Boro’ made an art of not needing a 20-goal a season striker during our remarkable ascent up the chart. After Steve Morison left, the goals got shared; Charlton Griffin, Yemi Odubade, Lee Boylan, Craig Reid and all the rest. We’re genuinely sorry if we’ve left anyone… Byron Harrison. But Newts – like our next pick too – showed us what out-and-out goalscorers could do. Truth be told, we’d like him back from injury right about now.
24. Matt Godden
Apps: 80 (7) | Goals: 35
No-one has scored more goals for Boro’ this decade than Matt Godden. This is a team of the decade. It needs goals. Godden will get them.
1. Paul Farman
Apps: 61 (0) | Goals: 0
Farms is a more-than-decent goalkeeper, which explains why our Goals Against column is not abhorrent for a side bottom of the Football League. He’s not Chris Day though.
Apps: 103 (11) | Goals: 12
We really did um and ah about putting our mystery hunk in the starting XI – rather than on the bench. But even an evening bothering him in the cinema with our #LawrieFacts won’t quite do it. He is our go-to first sub, though #lawriefacts…
Apps: 142 (25) | Goals: 18
Who doesn’t want a defensive centre-forward on the bench?
11. Lucas Akins
Apps: 73 (13) | Goals: 15
Out of all our picks, we might cop the most grief off this one. But, in the turgid mess that was Gary Smith’s first proper squad, Lucas Akins isn’t deserving of any criticism. He did what he was asked, he scored some goals and then turned out in the Championship for Nigel Clough’s Richard Burton. James Dunne is currently playing for Barnet, FYI.
18. Dean Parrett
Apps: 73 (16) | Goals: 10
If Deano isn’t injured when we’re two goals to the good against MK Dons in March 2014, are we staying in League One? Well, that’s a fuppin’ call to make – innit? But things went south quickly after Parrett left the action and we’re still picking up the pieces today. So, it seems like you underestimate Deano’s abilities at your peril.
20. Chris Beardsley
Apps: 89 (39) | Goals: 21
Oh mate, we wonder if sometimes we used to make him listen to screeching blackboards on maximum volume with noise-cancelling, over-ear headphones on when in the dressing room – just to rile him up. The number of opposition defenders’ ankles irreparably borked by Beardo snapping at their heels is estimated to be in the millions.
21. John Mousinho
Apps: 73 (10) | Goals: 12
We’re not sold on his penalty taking, but give it to him 25 yards out in a playoff final and we’re laughing. Nice rendition of Mr Sandman on his day too.