Boro Are Going Up
After another long and tough campaign in the Championship, Middlesbrough can finally celebrate their return to the Premier League.
It was in May of 2009, that Boro had to say goodbye to England’s top flight, despite having been there for 11 years and reaching the UEFA Cup final a few years earlier.
Boro were expected to bounce straight back up but the Championship is a tough league to escape from, as previous seasons have shown. It has taken some time but Aitor Karanka, the first non-English manager to take charge of the club, has guided Boro to automatic promotion and Premier League football next season. The relief, of not only winning promotion but having done it without the play-offs, is massive. So, the question is, what can Boro expect from the Premier League next season and what do they need to do, in order to be successful?
Well firstly, it depends on what success actually means for the club. If that’s avoiding relegation, then you only have to look at the likes of Bournemouth and Watford, to see what can be achieved. For Bournemouth especially, they have sneaked under the radar somewhat, to ensure Premier League football for next season. Norwich are still struggling to stay alive but have given themselves a chance, going in to the closing stages of the season. This shows that newly promoted teams can stay in the Premier League and perhaps Boro should be looking at teams like Swansea City, as a basis to follow.
It’s easy to say the club need to throw money at it, in order to avoid relegation. Yes, the team will need to be strengthened but Bournemouth have stuck with the bulk of the team which won them promotion and Leicester have gone from being relegation candidates to Premier League winners, without spending anywhere near that of teams who have finished below them. These are teams who played in a certain way and stuck to their principles and it’s important Boro do the same and are not swayed by how people perceive they ‘should’ be playing.
Furthermore, the likes of Watford and Bournemouth have shown it’s not just about home form, which is what many people concentrate on. Both teams have picked up plenty of points away from home and it’s wrong to focus on picking up points mainly at the Riverside Stadium. In fact, prior to the last two games of the Premier League season, Bournemouth have won more away games, than they have home. If this season has highlighted one thing, it’s that every team is capable of taking points off any other and Boro should go in, with the attitude that every match is winnable.
Yes, staying in the Premier League is going to be tough but will it be tougher than finishing inside the top two of the Championship?