The Chairman, The Manager and Players
It was uncomfortable and unfortunate to see Garry Monk appearing in celebratory mood on Channel 5 after we knew he had been sacked. It made his sacking more heartless than it was. From the Chairman’s point of view this week would be perfect timing if he was minded to sack Monk.
We are exactly at the halfway stage of the season, enough time to reflect and make a judgement on Monk’s tenure at Boro and enough time to make a new appointment prior or during the transfer window. Boro are at a point where the new manager will need to conjure at least 18 victories out of the remaining 23 matches. No pressure.
Gibson as a single owner has the right to do as he wishes with the Club and he will be dismayed that a promising young manager like Monk has failed to meet expectations. Gibson has a good record of hiring young untried Managers, as we know with McClaren and Southgate. Monk was a good bet to succeed at Boro but it was not to be.
Appointing and interviewing people into leadership positions is not an exact science, sometimes you get it right, Karanka.
Some times you get it wrong; Strachan, badly and Monk unfortunately.
Who will the Chairman appoint? Two criteria; one he knows the Championship and has a good track record of success in this division. Second, he knows the Club. My guess is Nigel Person will be invited to return from his sabbatical in Belgium.
Regarding Monk, this sacking does not look good on his CV. Middlesbrough are a stable, attractive club, not prone to extremes of behaviour from the owner who shuns publicity and allows the manager to manage. Monk has had money and the priceless opportunity to build and develop a team and articulate his philosophy and style of football.
Monk never knew what he wanted to do and how he wanted to do it.
Sadly this is a blow for a younger generation of coaches with fresh ideas and original thinking. Too often English football suffers from tired conservatism, the merry –go-round of predictable and trusted coaches who have failed at so many clubs but still retain some purchase on fearful club owners who choose them despite rather than because of their failures.
Monk was not helped by the banning of the two Gazette journalists from Rockcliffe He had no direct platform to communicate his ideas, plans, challenges. He appeared as an approachable, rational, courteous man, who expressed sensible, plausible views on what he was trying to achieve.
That the team was unable to execute those views on the pitch has undermined his credibility. Monk and Boro it was said were a good fit, but the last six months showed if anything, how disjointed and disconnected Boro had become under Monk.
Monk still has a good future in the game and there will be a club that will benefit from him being their Manager.
As for the players, simplistically speaking, they get Managers sacked, but remain in employment once he has gone. They may or may not flourish under new management. A cynical view but that it is how it works in football.
We all know the team has become inconsistent, mistake –ridden, often lacking spirit, determination and aggression.
The team lacks a clear, coherent, consistent playing style, these being the basic ingredients of Championship success. All of which is lacking from us at the moment.
Enough has been written about which players should or should not be in the team. Monk never reached a satisfactory outcome on that point, with inconsistencies besetting him like the banishing of Downing in early season to his rehabilitation in the current team.
We can possibly expect the new manager to be in the stand over the next week and installed in time for the duration of the January transfer window. There is not a deep well of quality in domestic Coaching/ Management personnel. Monk fitted into that category and has failed.
One curiosity remains, Gibson has released two managers this week; Agnew, quietly, has left and gone to Aston Villa and Monk. Is there a link or an unfortunate coincidence?
Where next for Steve Gibson?