Championship

Flashback: Middlesbrough’s 2016/17 Premier League relegation

Flashback: Middlesbrough’s 2016/17 Premier League relegation

Yes, the news currently circulating around Middlesbrough is all about their newly vacant managerial position. Tony Pulis is no more and after finishing 13 points off the play-off places, it’s hardly surprising.

Boro scored just 49 league goals this season — less than anyone in the top 15 — and that is simply shocking for a club with such ambition. Yet, it could be worse. Fans will remember the devastation upon being relegated from the Premier League just two years ago. Perhaps we should remind ourselves of the occasion.

Under the guidance of Aitor Karanka, Boro secured an automatic promotion place with an impressive 89 league points back in the 2015/16 Championship season. It was a close one though, wasn’t it? After looking certain to obtain automatic promotion, finishing the term with four consecutive draws saw Boro finish 2nd, marginally ahead of Brighton on goal difference.

Celebrations were aplenty in the north of Yorkshire, but importantly there was real hope — something that would be quickly diminished the following season. Boro were immediately relegated, winning just five games all campaign.

The masterful Karanka, who had earned such widespread praise during his time at the Riverside Stadium, was sacked in March. While his successor, assistant manager Steve Agnew, managed just one win from nine on taking charge. It was truly a season to forget. They equalled an unwanted record — a fourth Premier League relegation.

Middlesbrough now find themselves once again in a position of promise. They are free from Pulis, the master of the mind-numbingly dull, set to embark on a new journey. Things can only get better.

But who will be the man to bring the identity back to the Riverside? Could we possibly see the return of Karanka? Or will they turn their head in a new direction?

What do you think Boro fans? Would you like to see the return of Karanka? Or would that be a backwards step? Comment below.

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