Football: Ravanelli arousing irritation
Middlesbrough 2 Charlton Athletic 1
Monday 11 August 1997
After spending the close season hawking his talents around Europe, Fabrizio Ravanelli was welcomed back with a physical punch-up involving his team- mates on Thursday and a cold chorus of boos from his supporters on Saturday.
Although he wore their red shirt, his heart clearly was not in it. It was not until five minutes after the break that he roused himself to first berate his team-mates for failing to read his delicate flick and then abuse a linesman who had the audacity to flag him offside.
Ravanelli's only other contributions were to miss an open goal from three yards - substitute Phil Stamp getting the blame for providing an inch- perfect rather than a millimetre-magnificent cross - and to score the last-minute winner. That the White Feather has not lost his golden touch is his only escape route.
Emerson, though, does not even have that. He started last season as the most complete midfielder in English football. Awesome strength, surging acceleration, delicate touch. All have deserted him now as he chases the shadows of the ordinary talents and ordinary names of the First Division - the Jones boys Keith and Steve, and John Robinson and Steve Brown gave him the run-around on Saturday.
Which leaves Paul Merson. Bought, in his own words, to play either up front or right midfield, he started on the left and struggled to connect with Mikkel Beck. The Dane was out of his depth in the Premiership and appeared only to tread water in the First Division. Whenever Merson found him, he dallied until the danger had gone. Only when he had departed, substituted in the 73rd minute, did Merson push forward and Middlesbrough overwhelm Charlton's ninth-minute lead.
Robson reckoned Saturday was a kick up the backside for his showboaters. "If they thought they were going to play nice, pretty football they got their answer in the first 45 minutes," he said. For Charlton, prompted by Clive Mendonca's wiles, could have been three ahead by the break.
While Robson tempts Platt with "a financial package" and pursues Oldham's left-back Carl Serrant, he will also have noticed Richard Rufus, who skilfully contained Ravanelli and Merson.
"I see all these big-name transfers and foreign signings but English talent like Richard should get recognition," his manager, Alan Curbishley, said. "He was a match for anyone. Outstanding. Not that I'm trying to sell him... "
Goals: S Jones (9) 0-1; Festa (80) 1-1; Ravanelli (90) 2-1.
Middlesbrough (4-4-2): Roberts; Fleming, Vickers, Festa, Kinder; Blackmore (Hignett, 30), Mustoe, Emerson, Merson; Beck (Stamp, 72), Ravanelli. Substitute not used: Liddle.
Charlton Athletic (4-4-2): Petterson; Brown, Rufus, Balmer, Barness; K Jones (Nicholls, 73), Newton, Kinsella, Robinson; Mendonca, S Jones (Bright, 75). Substitute not used: Kerslake.
Referee: T Leake (Darwen).
Bookings: Middlesbrough Emerson. Charlton S Jones, Brown.
Man of the match: Rufus.
Latest in Sport
Liverpool injury news: Brendan Rodgers could be without up to seven players for Burnley game... as Jordon Ibe posts picture of knee brace
Pornhub: Cheeky Liverpool fan uploads Philippe Coutinho wonder-goal video to adult website
Watch the moment a basketball player reassures a small boy after a mass brawl erupted on court
Jon Stewart brings The Daily Show to WWE Raw as Seth Rollins pays the price for feud with TV presenter
Manuel Pellegrini future: Why Manchester City could turn to Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers if Pellegrini is dismissed
- 1 Home Office says Nigerian asylum-seeker can’t be a lesbian as she’s got children
- 2 What happens to your body when you give up sugar?
- 3 Japanese island overrun with cats after population explodes
- 4 Apple and Google users being spied on for a decade because of 'Freak' security flaw
- 5 Have sex with your iPad thanks to the new sex toy no-one asked for
'Jihadi John': CAGE representative storms off Sky News accusing Kay Burley of Islamophobia
Durham Free School: 'Creationism taught at' free school facing closure
Nearly 100,000 of Britain's poorest children go hungry after parents' benefits are cut
Ukip would cut billions from Scottish budget to fund English tax cuts
End of the licence fee: BBC to back radical overhaul of how it is funded
Ukraine crisis: Top Chinese diplomat backs Putin and says West should 'abandon zero-sum mentality'
£35000 - £45000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This distributor and wholesaler...
£26000 - £29000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An opportunity has arisen for a...
£25000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This highly successful business...
£28000 - £30000 per annum + Bonus, Pension, 25days hol, PHC +: Ashdown Group: ...