Middlesbrough: Why Mowbray had to go, and could Pearce come in?

Stuart Pearce

Tony Mowbray becomes the next victim of the 'sack race' as poor start is enough to end his time up north.

Tony Mowbray has left his post as Middlesbrough manager with immediate effect, leaving his assistant Mark Venus to see them through the transitional period until they can get a new man in. When Mowbray was appointed to the role on 26th October 2010, I would guess neither club nor manager envisaged this ending.

Tony Mowbray was a highly respected coach and manager in football, especially in the Championship where he was credited with a very impressive job well done at West Bromwich Albion. He had endured a pretty confidence knocking stint at Celtic which statistically made him their WORST manager in history and was looking at the Middlesbrough job to rebuild his reputation.

Middlesbrough’s point of view was different; in comparison to the rest of the division they had a very expensive assembled side and would have expected promotion back to the Premier League fairly sharpish or a complete restructuring on the pitch.

Tony Mowbray’s first two years in the job was relatively successful, he came in and improved on Gordon Strachan’s position leading them to 12th in the division. His first full season he improved on the position and points tally again finishing 7th and only 5 points from the play-offs.

Arguably the best period of his stint at Middlesbrough came at the start of the 2012/2013 season. Middlesbrough won 15 out of their first 25 games leaving them in a healthy position for a strong promotion fight.

To say the wheels came off would be an understatement, 3 wins, 3 draws and 14 losses were to follow. The reasons why will perhaps never be known, for a team to collapse at such magnitude is astonishing even at Championship level.

The board saw fit that Tony Mowbray should continue his job into this season, obviously under a careful eye. After a slow start which has seen them win only twice the board obviously thought enough is enough.

Both Mowbray and Middlesbrough will be disappointed with the outcome of this, as I’m sure both thought that it was going to be a fruitful appointment as did the majority of their peers.

Middlesbrough find themselves looking for a new manager and with few choices around you can forgive some of the reactions to potential names.

Nailed on favourite Tony Pulis is a man that needs little introduction. He has a fantastic record and has managed to do what people said was impossible with Stoke, year on year. The way he achieved it will be scrutinised as much as his hat. The official face of the long-ball, Tony Pulis is what I call a football engineer. He looks to play on every strength and use them to his advantage – people think there was no art or sophistication behind his management but they couldn’t be more wrong! probably one of the most organised managers currently in the game for me and would be a great choice for Middlesbrough.

Martin O’Neill has also been mentioned, now he would be a fantastic coup for Middlesbrough! Questions would be asked about how he would adapt to life in the championship. It would also be interesting to see how the fans would react since he has just come up short for Sunderland. I believe he would definitely be worth the gamble, but how much time or money Middlesbrough have left to gamble with is another topic/question altogether.

Other names mentioned are former Derby County boss Nigel Clough who looks set on becoming Sheffield United’s manager within the next 48 hours and location was always going to a priority in his decision. I believe he would have been a good choice and ‘Boro fans would have embraced his style of play.

Former players Fabrizio Ravanelli and Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink have also been linked, but I would put this down to nothing more than silly season with a few of the bookies and tabloids.

Stuart Pearce has also crept onto the list and would definitely be an interesting choice – Built up and criticised at different periods of his managerial career. He impressed enough to be the man to lead Great Britain to the Olympics but he was also the man that watched us comfortably bomb out without as much as a whimper. A few shocking defeats and not enough on show meant he was officially relieved of his duties as England under 21 manager but would that put Boro fans off? Could Psycho be the man to put a bit of fight in a club?

What are your thoughts Boro fans? Who do you want to come in and why??

image: © stella gonzales

Register for HITC Sport - Daily Dispatch