Former Middlesbrough and much maligned manager Steve McClaren recently made a dramatic return as manager of Dutch side FC Twente (who beat FC Groningen 4-1 under his stewardship at the weekend) where he experienced success after a fraught couple of years. It’s interesting to think that in the not too distant past he was held in high enough esteem to be appointed for the job every English manager (and a fair few foreign ones too) dreams about – no not the Nottingham Forest job, but that of England manager.
Before then he was deemed a success in relative terms by delivering league cup success in 2004 and finishing runner up in the 2006 UEFA Cup final with Middlesbrough. No mean feat for a club starved of success and a trophy room barren of any major honours, yet there always seemed to be an underlying feeling that he just wasn’t quite up to the job of England manager when he was given the role.
Right man, right place, right time
Fast forward to today and Tony Mowbray (a player who once adorned the sacred Middlesbrough shirt) has the team riding high in the Championship, playing good football and looking like they may have finally shaken off the headache brought on by relegation and a poorly appointed successor to Gareth Southgate. Most importantly Mowbray has the backing of the fans, who see him as the right man for the job, and should this season end in the disappointment of not gaining promotion, they will at least acknowledge the team is finally heading in the right direction.
Return of the Mac
So has McClaren made the right decision to go back to Twente? Personally I think he has – His infamous Dutch accent may have had everyone in stitches but there’s no denying the ‘wally with the brolly’ seems to fit in well with the quirky culture of Holland(I’m allowed to say that as my wife is Dutch). Like Mowbray he will be given time to succeed thanks to the success he experienced at the club, winning their first ever league title in 2010, and much like his time at the Boro bringing success where it was sorely lacking before.
Can Tony Mowbray bring success toMiddlesbrough just like his predecessor did? It’s a tough call, McClaren was backed in the transfer market with cash to bring in players for large sums of money (some worked out, some didn’t), but Mowbray will have to be more prudent with the club’s finances. Signings like the recently purchased Lukas Jutkiewicz for £1.3m show that the club is still willing to back their manager though, should the right player become available at the right price.
A great draw against Sunderland shows they are heading in the right direction and if Mowbray can take the club back to the Premier League he’ll cement his place in Boro folklore for many years to come.
Many thanks to Christopher Powlay (@Boroyouths on twitter) who supplied the pic for this article!