Who’s next? Assessing Boro’s managerial candidates

Rejoice! For Boro have finally put fans out of their misery and let Pulis go. Now they are looking for a fourth manager in two years, and speculation is rife on who that might be.

I had a look at some of the names mentioned by bookies and fans to see how well they might do.

Jonathan Woodgate

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The current favourite, probably just because he’s well known and already at the club.

I can see the logic of promoting from within in order to bring through more academy players. However, it is obviously a big risk to promote somebody without any managerial experience.

Even a year managing a reserve or youth side might give more of an indication of playing and management style, but at the moment this would be a complete leap into the unknown.

VERDICT: Too risky for now

Aitor Karanka

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They often say in football to never go back. And I think that would be good advice in Karanka’s case.

Fans get all misty eyed when they think of his reign, but it wasn’t without its problems. And do we really want to spoil his legacy with a failed return?

Sometimes it’s best to leave the past in the past.

VERDICT: We’ll always have Brentford

Michael Reiziger

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Somebody mentioned his name a little while back and I was intrigued. Then somebody spotted Neil Bausor and Adrian Bevington flying to Amsterdam and the rumour picked up pace.

Manager of Jong Ajax since 2017, he won the Eerste Divisie in his first season before a disappointing 11th place finish this season.

A number of his players have been promoted to the Ajax first team or other senior teams in Holland, and he has earned praise for his playing style and management.

I think this would be a really positive appointment for the club to move forward into a new era, similar to the appointments of Aitor Karanka, David Wagner and Daniel Farke in recent seasons.

VERDICT: Would be a really good appointment as long as we get the right players in

Chris Hughton

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As soon as Hughton was sacked by Brighton, many Boro fans put 2+2 together and figured he’d be a shoe-in to replace Hughton.

He might not be the young, exciting appointment many people are craving, but I still think he would be an upgrade on Pulis.

His style might not be the most glamourous, but he has proven he can instill a winning mentality in this division.

Not my first choice, but wouldn’t be terrible.

VERDICT: Maybe as a fall-back option

Danny Cowley

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Lincoln manager Cowley’s name has been popping up for a while now, having guided The Imps to two promotions in three seasons.

He also gained national attention by leading them to the quarter finals of the FA Cup in his first season.

League Two to Championship would be a big step up, but Cowley looks set for a big future in the game.

Could Boro make a bold, brave move and secure on the country’s best up-and-coming managers? It would certainly fit in with the ethos of developing academy players and bargain signings.

VERDICT: Get him now before West Brom do!

Steven Gerrard

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Gerrard has taken to management like a duck to water, choosing a less traditional route by taking a job in Scotland with Rangers.

It’s hard to gauge whether managing in Scotland is a good measure of ability, but Gerrard has definitely helped cement Rangers as the second side north of the border.

I doubt he would leave Rangers for Boro, but if there was any way of luring him away this would be quite a coup.

A high profile figure like Gerrard would definitely help attract players to the Riverside, and his connections with Liverpool would be an added bonus.

VERDICT: Would be great, but never going to happen

David Moyes

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I think he’s just on the list by default, but he might see a stint in the Championship as an opportunity to rebuild his reputation.

After the dourness of Pulis’ reign, Moyes would be a big step backwards in terms of where the club wants to go in the future.

VERDICT: Steer clear

Mikel Arteta

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Another popular choice for the fans, his association with Man City and Pep Guardiola being a big plus.

He has the same problem as Woodgate having not managed a team, but more experienced and might be able to exploit links with City.

Seeing as he was seriously considered for the Arsenal job last season, I doubt he would be willing to join Middlesbrough.

VERDICT: Good but unrealistic

Phil Neville

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Has been involved in the England men’s set-up and has done well so far with the women’s team.

It’s really hard to judge whether someone can successfully transition from the women’s game to the men’s, but maybe now is the time to try.

Would certainly be a high profile appointment.

VERDICT: Could be interesting, but there are better options

Dick Lukkien

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Not mentioned in the early bookmakers’ odds, but was briefly mentioned by one fan on Twitter.

The manager of Eredivisie side FC Emmen lead the club to the top flight for the first time in their history and kept them up this season.

It was recently revealed that the club were looking at Dutch coaches, so maybe Lukkien was one of them.

A word of warning though: having only scored 58 goals last season, and 41 this, he might not be the attacking manager the fans are craving.

VERDICT: Left-field choice, maybe not quite the right fit

And just for giggles here are some other random shouts:

  •  Fabrizio Ravanelli: Would be terrible but hilarious
  • Craig Hignett: Has done wonders keeping Hartlepool in the conference
  • Jose Mourinho: Can you imagine?
  • Max Allegri: The timing of his departure from Juve is a little too coincidental…
  • Jason Ainsley: The next Danny Cowley?
  • Alun Armstrong: The next Jason Ainsley?
  • Sam Allardyce: Twitter would explode
  • Juninho: Fans from the 90s would wet their pants  
  • Tony Pulis: GOTCHA! He never really left

One thought on “Who’s next? Assessing Boro’s managerial candidates

  1. I would like to think woodgate as manager if he has been first team defence coach but I think a attack minded coach required is the better option and get moral booster Leo Leo Leo back

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