Middlesbrough fans urged to give Woodgate time to make his mark

Date published: Monday 17th June 2019 2:19

Middlesbrough fan Graeme Bailey reflects on the appointment of Jonathan Woodgate and reveals why the new Boro boss needs time to make his mark.

Steve Gibson has resorted to type when it comes to his latest managerial appointment after deciding on Jonathan Woodgate as the man to take Middlesbrough forward.

During his tenure Gibson has overseen the appointment of eleven managers at Boro, and of those five were first time bosses; Bryan Robson, Steve McClaren, Gareth Southgate, Aitor Karanka and now Woodgate – who is only the third Teessider ever appointed.

But this really can’t be a surprise that Gibson has gone this way. When he has looked at a big name, costing big money it has not worked out too well with both Gordon Strachan and most recently Tony Pulis departing with the fans calling for their heads.

Woodgate’s appointment has taken a number of weeks and many fans had hoped for a bigger name like a Slavisa Jokanovic – who Boro did talk to, but Gibson knew the path he wanted to go down.

Some Boro fans have met the appointment with annoyance believing it is “jobs for the boys” and whilst clearly convenient, this was not the easy choice for Gibson.

I understand that from his first interview Woodgate demonstrated a real understanding of where he wanted the club to go and impressed hugely with the explanation of his own footballing philosophy, which I believe stems back to his early playing days at Leeds United.

Woodgate has already won some doubters over with a thoroughly professional and articulated media conference, where he underlined his belief that the club need to play real attacking football – arguably a tactic not seen on a regular basis since the days of Bryan Robson.

Woodgate also helped his cause by managing to persuade former Tottenham team-mate Robbie Keane to come in alongside him…but it is performances that will dictate his success or not.

And hopefully my fellow Boro fans will give him a chance and at least two years to deliver, and we must also remember whilst this is a new era for the club, the same hierarchy and recruitment staff are in place, which is a huge concern.

Chief executive Neil Bausor, chief scout Gary Gill and most recent addition Adrian Bevington, as head of recruitment, are tasked with giving Woodgate the right squad that is good enough – something they have failed to do in recent years.

I would argue that Tony Pulis’s ability to guide the club to fifth and seventh, respectively, in his two years at the club, helped paper over some huge cracks and was in spite of those above him rather than because of them.

But this is a new beginning for everyone at Middlesbrough and the hope is that Woodgate will be allowed to lead the club the direction he wants and the least he deserves is the backing of all his fellow Teessiders.

Graeme Bailey


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