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Middlesbrough Legend Takes Charge at the Riverside: The Start of the Mowbray Era

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Middlesbrough Legend Takes Charge at the Riverside: The Start of the Mowbray Era
Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images

A Middlesbrough legend took the hot seat of the Northeast club as Tony Mowbray was announced as the replacement for Gordon Strachan.

Mowbray has a long history with both the town and the club which makes his appointment a popular one. His association with the club started on the terraces of Ayrsome Park as a child, he later went on to make 424 appearances for Boro and captained them through the turbulent times of the mid-1980s.

Even the Middlesbrough fanzine, Fly Me To The Moon, is named after a quote about Mowbray. His then manager Bruce Rioch was quoted as saying: “If you were on a rocket ship going to the moon, the man you would want sitting next to you would be Tony Mowbray.”

As a manager Mowbray has had mixed fortunes, he had a successful time with Hibs in Scotland. And he led West Brom to promotion to the Premier League. However, he could not keep the Baggies in the top flight. He then embarked on his nine-month spell in charge of Celtic, where having only won 17 of 30 league games he left the club 10 points behind rivals Rangers.

Mowbray will know many of the Middlesbrough squad as during his time at Celtic he sold Barry Robson, Willo Flood, Scott McDonald and Stephen McManus. The question over how he deal with these players having deemed them not good enough in the past has been raised. However, Mowbray has said that every member of the squad will get a chance to impress.

He recognised that although the club is in a perilous position it is not nearly as bad as when he captained the club in 1986 when Boro were placed in administration:

"To be fair this is a fantastic club, the training facility it is unbelievable to think where we were [in '86]—training on parks and school fields, this is a massive, different club—but I understand we are at the wrong end, the club needs to turn this big steamer around and head back to the sunshine of the Premiership."

It is a massive task for Mowbray, but he has been chosen as the man who is most likely to bring the fans back to the Riverside with his brand of local passion and attacking football.

To arrest Boro's slide he will need to get them scoring goals again, and it remains to be seen whether he will recall the players loaned out like Marvin Emnes and Andrew Taylor to assist with this task.

Although a quick fix is not possible for the situation Middlesbrough find themselves, Mowbray at least will get the fans' backing and has a chance of turning the club around, though he should not under-estimate the scale of the task ahead.

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