Back on June 9 2017, Championship outfit Middlesbrough announced that Garry Monk had taken over as the club’s new manager following their relegation from the Premier League.
The Teessiders finished 19th in the English top-flight in the 2016/17 campaign under the stewardship of Aitor Karanka and Steve Agnew, with the former losing his job in March 2017 given the precarious state the club were in near the bottom of the division.
And Agnew wasn’t able to keep the North East outfit in the top tier, paving the way for ex-Leeds United and Swansea City chief Monk to take over at the Riverside Stadium ahead of their Championship campaign in 2017/18, an appointment that was met by much excitement from Boro supporters on Twitter…
Gunna win the league lads
— Ryan Smith (@BoroFc_Ryan) June 9, 2017
What a signing. We need to strengthen now.
— Michael Gair (@MichaelTG91) June 9, 2017
Good manager meet Great Chairman.. enuf said!
— Ariff Ahmad (@ariffmfcsg) June 9, 2017
Huge coup. Very happy with it!
— Ryan Chittenden (@ryanchitt) June 9, 2017
And now my boro will win the league! 🙂
— Johnny Sardines (@JohnnySardines) June 9, 2017
he’s a wise man going to a better club UTB
— kieran stead (@kieranstead95) June 9, 2017
Left Leeds and turned down the mackems hero already UTB!!
— Big Al (@AlanWoodall) June 9, 2017
UTB Welcome @GarryMonk
— Elizabeth Bowes (@BowesElizabeth1) June 10, 2017
And while there was much anticipation that Monk could be the man to lead the club back to the top-flight at the first time of asking, chairman Steve Gibson’s big call to appoint the 39-year-old backfired greatly given he lost his job just a matter of months later.
Ultimately, Boro were in need of a lift after meekly surrendering their Premier League status in the 2016/17 season, finishing the season with just five wins and only 27 goals from their 38 league games – both of which were the lowest tallies of any side in the division that season.
Yet many felt that it was still a decent squad full of quality to thus succeed in the second tier, with Monk the man trusted by Gibson to stabilise the club following relegation, and thus oversee a promotion challenge at the first time of asking.
Big money summer additions in the form of Britt Assombalonga, Martin Braithwaite, and Ashley Fletcher only served to further excite Boro fans that Monk was the man to lead the club back to the promised land, and a decent start with two wins from their opening three league games further heightened the sense of expectation.
However, Monk’s men simply weren’t able to string a run of results together and thus find the consistency needed to challenge at the right end of the division, with the North East outfit dipping in and out of the top six throughout the Englishman’s time in charge.
But it was after four defeats in seven games between November and December in which Gibson decided to relieve Monk of his duties, with the decision actually coming following Boro’s 2-1 victory at Sheffield Wednesday on December 23, a result which left them ninth in the Championship table.
Yet given the job Tony Pulis then did leading the team to fifth place upon appointment as Monk’s successor, it was clear that Gibson made the right call getting rid of the 39-year-old – he simply wasn’t getting the best out of a very accomplished group of players.
Ultimately, any managerial decision after relegation is a huge one, and that was none-more-so the case than with Boro back in 2017 after their frankly disastrous season in the Premier League the campaign before – they needed someone to bring the good times back to the Riverside Stadium.
And Monk simply wasn’t able to do that during his short stint in charge, with it pretty clear that Gibson’s big call to appoint the 39-year-old backfired.
Middlesbrough fans… what do you think? Let us know!