Before becoming a Sports Journalist for Free Super Tips, Aaron spent three years studying Sports Journalism at the University of Sunderland while taking in the Black Cats' 'glory years' under Martin O'Neill. Now back in Northern Ireland he turns niche stats into predictions for FST, while he's one of the few people on this island who is equally comfortable at Windsor Park and the Aviva.
After failing to deliver Premier League football to the Riverside, Tony Pulis has left Middlesbrough. The former Stoke boss was supposed to be the man to kick Boro on, but he failed to adapt to the Championship after 10 years away from the club. Pulis walks away with the side in seventh place, which is a foundation for the next boss to build upon.
However, the reaction to Pulis sets out what Middlesbrough are looking for in their next manager. The Welshman’s style of football was frequently criticised, especially given the lack of results that it produced. Pulis also brought two disappointing cup exits, while his team fell out of the automatic promotion race in the autumn and never returned.
With Pulis gone, the focus turns to his successor. Just who will take over the reins at the club? We’re looking at the candidates currently in the frame, along with the latest betting odds for the role.
A lack of experience will count against Woodgate. This Boro job is a big one, with a squad revamp needed on a limited budget. Last season saw Pulis sell £50million worth of players to balance the books while pushing for sixth. That makes us doubt that they’d turn to a rookie, regardless of his link with the club. He can be found at 4/9 with Betfair to take charge of the club, but we see little value there given the contenders in the field.
Just days after his sacking from Brighton, Chris Hughton is a man in demand. The former Newcastle boss could return to the North East, but is this a risk worth taking for him? Hughton is exactly the kind of boss that Boro need: he’s worked on a shoestring before, delivering multiple promotions and pulled sides like Norwich and Brighton to safety.
However, that reputation should give Hughton plenty of options. West Brom are already being linked with him, with plenty more resources available at the Hawthorns. Having shown time and time again that he’s a capable top-flight manager, we don’t see why Hughton would stake his reputation on turning things around with Boro. He certainly ticks a lot of boxes, given that he’s a free agent with plenty of experience, which has seen him priced up at 9/2 with Betfair here.
One early mover in the market is Sol Campbell, who has come into 9/1 with Paddy Power. The Macclesfield boss has just saved them from the drop in League Two, which has him linked with a step up in the EFL. The former Arsenal man has been more impressive as a manager than his failed political career, as he took them from five points shy of safety to survival on the final day. However, his results overall were mixed, so it’s hard to see that justifying a leap up to the Championship for Campbell.
In his first season in charge of Jong Ajax, Reiziger took them to top spot in the second tier. However, they were able to be promoted to the Eredivisie alongside Ajax. Last season saw them start well, but they faded late on and finished up in midtable. Reiziger has experience of dropping down a division, gaining success while moulding young talents.
Given the recent success of Daniel Farke and David Wagner in the Championship – who both came from Borussia Dortmund’s second side – getting Reiziger could be a shrewd move. Those two showed that you can be patient in the Championship and slowly build towards promotion. Chairman Steve Gibson does have an eye for talent, so we are going with Reiziger to land the job at 14/1 with Betfair.
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