Did Karanka Deserve To Go?
7th May 2016, the day optimism returned to Teesside. The Boro were back! Back in the big time, “Back where we belong” swept around Teesside like wildfire. Yet, just a mere 10 months later Karanka is dismissed.
It’s a funny old game.
Back in 2013, Middlesbrough appointed Jose Mourinho’s assistant at Real Madrid as the Head Coach. Jose’s Assistant this, Jose’s Assistant that, “What’s it like to work under Jose, Aitor?” was a common theme when Aitor joined — He wasn’t his own man.
Aitor joined a club heading into League One, 12,000 fans attending to matches and Curtis Main up front (shivers). Yet, 3+ years later the 30,000+ fans are back, Victor Valdes (6x La Liga Champion, 3x Champions League, World Cup, Euro) in goal, Alvaro Negredo up top and most importantly Aitor has established himself as his own man and not just Jose’s assistant.
It’s been a pretty incredible turnaround in the last 3 years and we’ve had some unforgettable moments, Brentford at home in the Semi-Finals, Beating both Manchester clubs away, taking Liverpool to Penalties at Anfield and who can forget Brighton on the last day of the season? But with all the good times we’ve had our walkouts, our heartbreak at Wembley and our fair share of controversy but isn’t that the typical Boro we love?
It’s never boring being a boro fan and the last 20+ years under Robson, Robson/Venables, McClaren, Southgate (shivers), Strachan (double shivers), Mogga and Karanka have proved it. It’s not always been great, but by God, it’s never been boring.
On the other hand, during Karanka’s tenure Boro have been labelled as “Boring, Boring Boro”, awful to watch and too predictable. Yet, I would disagree, the football Karanka implemented has been the opposite of what the managers above did. He’s built a foundation with bricks and not sand like Robson did, made us difficult to beat unlike Southgate and Strachan did, An impeccable record of clean sheets and a win ratio of 48% (Better than Mogga and McClaren). He may not have won the trophy like McClaren did, may not have had Rav, Emerson, Juninho, Merson, Ricard and Hignett like Robson did but the football Karanka set out to play has been a technical masterclass at times. The only manager who can say he never got a fair crack to rival Karanka is Tony Mowbray and his legacy still lives on in the team.
However, 19th in the Premier League, Lowest Scorers, Lowest Shots, 4 League Wins all season, on paper Karanka deserves to go. He lost the dressing room, he lost the support (Not Season Ticket throwing at our manager like McClaren did) and we just can’t seem to score.
But, I don’t think the record this season has all been his fault.
The recruitment in January was an utter disgrace by the board. Bringing in the likes of Bamford, Gestede and Guedioura are championship buys. It’s harsh to play Bamford after 2 years of not playing, Gestede seems useful but won’t score the goals and well Guedioura is well.. Guedioura.
Karanka got let down and he should not be blamed for the signings.
Plus, a manager can only do so much, the players play the game not the manager and they’ve let him down at times.
However, his spats with players were disappointing. Even though I’ve sided with Karanka over the Downing saga, none of the gruntled behaviour shouldn’t have been made public and I believe that has attributed to him being sacked. The Downing Saga may seem a mystery but has his performances since he came back been any good? With a player of his calibre, no it hasn’t been. Ramirez has been a fool the last few months and he pushed the Karanka out boat to sea (Even indirectly) as it was the start of the end.
Did Karanka deserve to go? I wouldn’t say so no.
Did he have to go? Yes, it seems the La Bamba Express wheels were starting to fall apart and It’s sad but It’s probably best for all 3 parties, The club, The manager and the fans.
Karanka should be thanked for what he’s done for Middlesbrough Football Club, he’s put us back on the map and It is indeed sad to see him go. He’ll be a world class manager one day and he should always be respected by the Boro Faithful.