With Boro down and pretty much out, players’ futures are being discussed in some earnest. We already know about a few players who will definitely not be here next season. They are:
My work colleague said if there’s one thing American soccer players can do well then it’s keep goal. Clearly that’s true in Brad Friedel’s case, mostly the same for Tim Howard and Kasey Keller was around for a long time, but my buddy had obviously never watched Guzan, who continued the proud tradition of Boro GK’s who are named Brad being awful. He’s going to Atlanta United in the MLS and I can’t see many Teessiders shedding a tear, indeed I would imagine a lobby emerging for the merits of using Dimi in our pointless last final two matches. Victor Valdes will almost certainly leave, with Pep Guardiola making a case for linking back up with his old Barca mate at City, but nothing on that yet.
The on-loan defender emerged as a competent force during his year here, a return to his Southampton form after mixed fortunes with Arsenal. He’s made it clear he’s on the books for a limited time only and is determined to break into Wenger’s line, now expanded to three (to accommodate him?). I’m a bit sad about this one; his partnership with Ben Gibson was good and it looks as though both will do one.
Another loanee whose time at the Riverside is about to end, and with his wages hitting six figures per week it’s impossible to picture him being re-signed for a year of running riot at Championship defences, an environment in which you’d expect him to thrive. I’ve mixed feelings. At his best the Beast was virtually unplayable, but when the cameras were away or the opposition not very glamorous he tended to vanish. Considering his salary that’s a bit unforgivable.
In the meantime, as the identity over Boro’s new manager remains a big question mark, let’s look at some of the leading candidates, which will likely end in a couple of days when the club makes an announcement. Or I get fed up. Or both.
Manager 1 – Steve McClaren
The most successful Boro manager during the post-liquidation period, McClaren over five years won the League Cup, made the UEFA Cup final and achieved some fine league finishes. A period of uninterrupted and not very often jeapordised Premiership football turned out to be no mean feat, but few people would welcome him back.
Experience – in management since 2001 and one of England’s most highly rated coaches beforehand, McClaren has had a hit and miss career. His time at the Riverside was a success with caveats. England was a disaster, Twente very good, Wolfsburg awful, Derby okay but Newcastle a free spending mess.
MFC connection – five years in charge and a well known admirer of Steve Gibson, almost as though he’s touting for employment.
Why we want him – vastly experienced, knows the club and showed at his first spell with Derby that he can handle the Championship.
Why he can eff off – negative and sometimes incomprehensible tactics, only really achieved anything at Boro after spending millions, which he might not get the chance to repeat this time around, made eyes at ‘bigger clubs’ while managing us, clearly in it for Steve McClaren and nothing more, carpet fixation, an unnecessary step backwards.
Rating: 4/10 – one who for Boro is where he belongs, firmly in the past.