In a pre-arranged radio interview with a local radio station, Middlesbrough chairman Steve Gibson was typically open and honest about his feelings towards his former manager Gordon Strachan, who reportedly offered his resignation before tearing up his contract and forfeiting any claims of compensation.
Hailing this gesture as the ‘measure of the man’, Gibson showed us a glimpse of his high regard for the Scot, who apparently endured a torturous time in charge of Middlesbrough.
On paper, everything was perfectly placed to secure Middlesbrough’s promotion back to the Premier League: a stable, well-run football club boasting fantastic training facilities, backed by a chairman who has resources and patience in abundance, as well as a passionate commitment to the success of the team.
Add to that a veteran manager with a proven track record; and a squad of players who between them offered a decent blend of youth and experience, pace and skill, and it looked like a recipe for success.
And yet something didn’t click – despite the best efforts of all involved, this blueprint for success failed to materialise on the pitch.
The Middlesbrough chairman, who is notoriously fair-minded and patient when it comes to his managers, has already made it clear that his decision who to appoint as the next Boro manager won’t be rushed. But the media loves a guessing game, and the managerial merry-go-round is nothing if not self-perpetuating.
So, who will be next to take the helm at the Riverside?
Will it be bookies’ favourite, Tony Mowbray? He seems to be carving himself a nice career following Strachan’s own career moves, and is held in high regard both by Boro fans and by Gibson, so the smart money would probably be on him.
But there are a whole host of other names being touted around on various message boards and forums, and according to ‘sources’ of varying repute, we could soon see Alan Curbishley, Nigel Pearson, Stuart Pearce, Ruud Gullit, Billy Davies, Paul Ince, Kevin Keegan, Gary Megson, John Barnes, Martin O’Neill, Glenn Hoddle...the list goes on and on.
Disclaimer: The views in this article are that of the writer and may not replicate those of the Professional Footballers' Association.