“It’s exciting times for Middlesbrough”
Tony Mowbray has overseen a remarkable turnaround in Middlesbrough’s fortunes since he took over last October, transforming them from relegation possibles to promotion contenders. And the Life’s A Pitch panel feels that it’s only a matter of time before he leads Boro back to the Premier League.
John Cross of the Daily Mirror has been impressed by how Mowbray has achieved such good football and results so quickly at Middlesbrough after the failed spell of Gordon Strachan. ”It was probably one of the biggest squads – one of the most expensive squads – in the Championship and yet they fell completely flat under Gordon Strachan,” he says. “Mowbray then had to take a group of players demoralised by the previous regime. He’s lifted them up and built on that strength again. And taken them towards the upper echelons of the Championship.
“What’s really interesting is that he has taken on his philosophy of football and got them playing nicely as well. So it’s exciting times for Middlesbrough. They’re certainly a Premier League club – in the right circumstances – so that’s his vision, I’m sure.”
It was a good decision all round for Mowbray to go back to former club Middlesbrough as manager, says Martin Lipton, also of the Daily Mirror. “He’s gone back to somewhere where he knows he’s loved,” he says. “He was an iconic player for the team, they loved him there. They wanted him back and he’s done a really good job. And it helps when you’ve got [Steve] Gibson as your chairman, who has been incredibly patient with all of his managers.”
Tom Hopkinson of The People thinks employing a former player as manager is often a clever move in these days of little patience among fans. ”The supporters of Middlesbrough were over the moon when he went back in,” explains Tom. “It’s very clever tactically from the owners and the chairman, because it buys them time as well. The supporters won’t get on the manager’s back so quickly if things don’t go their way. And of course, Mowbray has been given the time to turn it around.
“One thing we have to mention as well is the job that Dave Parnaby does at the academy – he’s been absolutely superb.”
The panel also discusses how well fellow Championship promotion-chasers Southampton are performing under Nigel Adkins.
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