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Terry Pierce - Boro meltdown started with the sacking of Southgate

Published: 19 Oct 2010 - 13:17:41

Just when you think it's been a quiet week in the Football League, up pops another managerial change and a club in crisis.

This time round it's Middlesbrough's turn to be in the spotlight for all the wrong reasons, with Gordon Strachan tearing up his contract and walking away empty handed after a rotten start to the season, leaving the Teessiders languishing in 20th spot in the Championship.

Strachan had been in charge at The Riverside for less than a year and won only 13 of his 46 games in charge, presiding over Boro's worst start to a season in the second tier since 1985.

Conveniently for stats fans, he took charge of exactly one season's worth of games, and the points total would see the club relegated from the Championship more often than not.

His record becomes even more shocking when you consider the amount of money he had at his disposal and the calibre of player he brought to the club in the summer, including half of the Scottish Premier League select XI it seemed.

But Boro's problems didn't start this season, or over the summer. They didn't even start when they employed Strachan.

Their current predicament can be traced right back to the frankly ludicrous decision to sack Gareth Southgate.

A year ago tomorrow the former England defender was relieved of his duties at The Riverside. He left the club sitting fourth in the Championship, one point off top spot.

The nucleus of the squad was not too dissimilar to the one that battled against relegation from the top flight and, although their form was inconsistent, they looked well positioned in the early promotion mix.

But Chairman Steve Gibson, usually very well respected, decided on a change.

All the hard work put in by Southgate and his staff to prepare their new squad for the ensuing promotion challenge went down the pan, and his departure triggered another massive turnover of players.

Cue Strachan and the Scottish invasion.

It's very hard to put your finger on exactly why it went so terribly wrong for Strachan. His dealings in the transfer market looked solid and his CV stands up to most other bosses at that level.

But it clearly went drastically badly from day one.

Now the hunt is on for another gaffer, and another coach-load of departures and arrivals will ensue as soon as the transfer window opens.

Early rumours point to another former Celtic man, Tony Mowbray, leading the queue to succeed Strachan.

But make no mistake, Boro are a team deep in the dauldrons - with plummeting crowds, a large squad of unsettled players and a relegation battle on their hands.

Not the most attractive of jobs, is it?

Sav Celebrates In Style

Love him or hate him, Robbie Savage deserves huge respect.

He celebrated his 36th birthday and 600th professional appearance by scoring in Derby's home win against Preston on Saturday.

He'd be the first to admit he's not the most talented of players, but he has carved out a long and fruitful career at the top through hard work and commitment.

Fair play to the bloke.

DSG


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FOOTBALL.CO.UK BLOGGER:terry pierce
Terry was born and bred in Wiltshire, and is a massive Swindon fan - travelling the length of the country most weekends to watch the 'mighty' Reds. He also manages a successful(ish) Sunday league side, and his life pretty much revolves around football. Five-year-old Terry was in the crowd when Swindon won promotion to the Premier League in 1993 with a 4-3 play-off win against Leicester. He cried after every goal. Read Terry's thoughts every week on life outside the Premier League. Follow Terry on Twitter @telpierce.

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