Next Permanent Middlesbrough Manager Odds
|Slavisa Jokanovic||5/2||Paddy Power|
|Jonathan Woodgate||2/1||Paddy Power|
|Simon Grayson||9/2||Paddy Power|
|Michael Reiziger||6/1||Paddy Power|
|Danny Cowley||16/1||Paddy Power|
|Steve McClaren||50/1||Paddy Power|
Tony Pulis’ time as Middlesbrough manager came to an abrupt end on 17 May, 2019 when the Welshman was given his marching orders at the Riverside Stadium. It was hardly a surprise after the Teeside club had failed to finish in the top six of the Championship table, being pipped to sixth place on the final day of the season by Derby.
Even if Boro had made the play-offs for the second season running, it would have masked over a disappointing campaign that had made the natives increasingly restless. Pulis was initially popular with the fans after replacing Garry Monk midway through the 2017/18 campaign, although a pragmatic style of management coupled with a failure to get results meant owner Steve Gibson acted quickly.
In Pulis’ absence, the former Stoke manager was asked to work with a limited budget after Monk’s big spending the season before had not worked out in the intended manner. There were no big money signings last season and a scaled down wage budget despite the club managing to sell Adama Traore to Wolverhampton Wanderers.
Gibson is a passionate owner and chairman at the Riverside Stadium and is now contemplating a new way forward, with the best betting sites pricing up who could take up the hot seat. Aitor Karanka, Monk and Pulis were all similar types of hire in terms of the uninspiring football that Middlesbrough played under each manager, even if the former did steer the club into the Premier League before they were relegated again.
Next Permanent Middlesbrough Manager
With the Premier League parachute payment money now drying up, Gibson has to consider a new organic way forward, with young players being promoted from the Under-23 squad, along with the potential to capture exciting talent on loan. That way forward might also mean finding a progressive manager who can execute a long-term plan at the northeast club.
Gibson admits that “we have to run ourselves differently now” with Financial Fair Play rearing its ugly head and that could point to the hire of Jonathan Woodgate who is trading as the 2/1 bookmaker favourite at the time of asking. It should be noted that Next Manager markets can change very quickly although the 39-year-old is already a coach at the Riverside and could well be promoted from within.
Woodgate is part of the Middlesbrough fabric considering he was born in nearby Nunthorpe and he’s enjoyed two playing spells at his boyhood club before returning as part of the coaching staff. He came in as part of Steve Agnew’s management team following the departure of Karanka and has been on the payroll ever since.
Bookmakers' Next Permanent Manager Markets
- Next Arsenal Manager Odds
- Next Liverpool Manager Odds
- Next Chelsea Manager Odds
- Next Manchester United Manager Odds
Many Boro fans might feel uncomfortable with such an inexperienced manager being installed, but Woodgate would receive a massive amount of goodwill considering his affiliation to the club and it’s likely that he would have senior coaches as part of the set-up who can advise him on any number of key matters.
Steve Gibson will have seen the way that Dean Smith has quickly made an impact at Aston Villa being “one of their own” and a similar story applies to Frank Lampard at Derby, with the Rams having reached the 2019 Championship play-off final by cleverly leveraging loan deals and securing the likes of Mason Mount, Fikayo Tomori and Harry Wilson for a season.
Could Jokanovic Be a Safer Option?
If Woodgate is considered too inexperienced, then the same thing doesn’t apply to the second favourite for the Middlesbrough manager position. Twelve months ago, the stock of Slavisa Jokanovic was very high. The Serbian has steered Fulham into the Premier League after getting past Derby and then Aston Villa in the playoffs, with the Cottagers about to chance their arm in the country's top division with a host of new signings.
Unfortunately for the 50-year-old, things didn’t work out too well in the top flight. The London side retained an attractive brand of football but defensively were lacking to the extent that Jokanovic made way for Claudio Ranieri on November 14 and has been out of work since.
It should be noted that Jokanovic has previously helped Watford land promotion at the first time of asking and the fact that he’s trading at 5/2 with Paddy Power to become the next Middlesbrough manager indicates that he’s likely to be on Gibson’s shortlist for the job. The style of football that Fulham played was a real joy to watch and the fans have been starved of entertaining football for what seems like decades.
The big concern is that if the former Chelsea manager did help Boro to land promotion to the Premier League, would he be able to then create a squad who are capable of remaining a top-flight entity? It’s also true that Jokanovic has had seven different managerial positions since 2007 and his three-year spell with Fulham was the longest by far.
Danny Cowley Linked to Vacant Boro Hotseat
While Slavisa Jokanovic knows Championship football management as well as his own children, the same can’t be said about Danny Cowley who is currently the highly-rated manager of Lincoln City. Making this hire would carry a definite risk although perhaps Gibson will think it’s time to dispense with a tried and trusted man following Pulis’ holding role as manager.
Cowley took charge of the Red Imps when they were out of the Football League although the former Concord Rangers and Braintree Town manager took just one season to propel the club back into League Two and they landed promotion to League One in May 2019 after winning the title. The 40-year-old could be said to be on an upward trajectory and his modern approach to coaching could completely freshen up the situation at the Riverside.
Cowley works in tandem with his brother Nicky and will certainly have attracted the eye of Championship and League One clubs, especially as Chris Wilder has enjoyed a similar career path to work wonders at Northampton Town and then Sheffield United. He’s now contemplating the Premier League with the Blades and has become a club legend in the process.
Regarded as a highly progressive manager, he has shown himself capable of building successful teams on a modest budget. However, there’s a danger to hiring someone who hasn’t worked in football management at a level higher than the fourth tier of English football.
Steve McClaren Trading at 20/1 for Boro Return
If Steve Gibson is serious about a new way forward with Middlesbrough FC, then we’re surely unlikely to see Steve McClaren back at the Riverside Stadium, although he has been linked with a return to the club in some capacity. It explains why he’s currently around the 50/1 mark and could potentially be part of a new set-up as a Director of Football.
Like Woodgate, McClaren has a strong affiliation to the Teeside club and no shortage of managerial experience including a five-year spell with Boro between 2001-2006 before the FA came calling about the vacant England manager’s position.
Since then, the 58-year-old has managed abroad with Twente (twice) and Wolfsburg, while he’s had a mixed bag of a time in England with various roles at Nottingham Forest, Derby County (twice), Newcastle United and Queens Park Rangers.
Other managers that broadly match McClaren’s profile include Nigel Pearson, Chris Hughton and Steve Bruce. We can rule out the latter considering that Bruce has only recently taken charge at Sheffield Wednesday and will feel as though that club’s prospects are possibly greater than Boro going into the 2019/20 campaign.
Pearson played 115 times for Middlesbrough between 1994-1998 although Leicester City remain the only club where the 55-year-old has experienced any kind of managerial success and his abrasive style might not wash with some of the players in the Riverside dressing room.
Hughton probably doesn’t fit the profile of someone to move in a new direction despite his successes with Newcastle, Norwich, Birmingham and Brighton in the Championship. He recently parted company with the latter club who felt he had taken the team as far as he could.
Will Reiziger Be the Left Field Choice?
Older Middlesbrough supporters might remember Michael Reiziger who spent a brief time at the Teeside club as a player. The full-back made twenty-two appearances during the 2004/5 season after a massively successful seven-year stint at Barcelona, while he also made 72 appearances for the Netherlands national team during his career.
Reiziger is now 46-years-old and has been coaching since 2013, with the Dutchman starting off with Sparta Rotterdam before returning to his beloved Ajax and he’s been successfully managing the reserve team in Amsterdam since 2017.
Some media reports suggest that Steve Gibson is interested in speaking with someone who is massively respected as a coach in the Netherlands, especially considering Ajax’s brilliant Champions League campaign during the 2018/19 season which saw them reach the semi-finals before narrowly losing to Tottenham Hotspur.