“Anything that can go wrong will go wrong” – Murphy’s Law
The Murphy who wrote Murphy’s Law was surely a Boro fan (the patron of Scruphy Murphy’s maybe?), as there is no better way of describing the fabric of Boro’s existence than this. So I was somewhat surprised to hear bullish remarks from Steve Gibson that “we want to smash the league next season”. If anyone has experienced the wrath of Murphy ’s Law, it’s surely Gibbo. With this healthy dose of pessimism administrated, I got to thinking about next season and more specifically, Monk.
I celebrated the announcement of Monk as new Boro boss with a mixture of excitement and relief. The thought of Steve Agnew, a man who if he had run Teresa May’s election campaign would claim that she had trained really well during the week, made me paler than his shiny bonce.
Pearson’s ability to make “are you an ostrich?” sound like a death threat is amusing when he’s not your manager, but enough to make you want to take flight if he’s the man in charge at your club. So Boro had got the best possible man available for the job. Or so I thought.
A club and its manager are a lot like a couple. Sometimes, although she seems wonderful, you get a sneaking suspicion that within weeks she’ll be making a stew out of your pet rabbit floppy and there’ll be tears and recriminations all round. And in the same way that you shouldn’t judge Sarah just because her sister was somewhat psychotic, sometimes you can’t help but think that you’ve been here before. With Monk, I get that same feeling.
— Sky Sports World Cup (@SkyFootball) June 21, 2017
Boro once had a manager who was also a no-nonsense centre-back turned purveyor of free flowing football. Like Monk, he had some success with a smaller club (WBA). His Boro sides burst out of the blocks, before stumbling drunkenly down the table and out of the playoffs (like Monk’s Leeds). “It is what it is” as Mogga would say. Coincidence you say? Maybe, but there are parallels with another legendary centre-back turned beleaguered Boro boss.
Monk inherited a League Cup winning squad at Swansea. Gareth Southgate did the same at Boro. As Monk led Swansea to a top half Premier League finish, Wimpgate had a promising first season at the Boro. Monk was put out of his misery as Swansea slumped; Southgate’s slow strangulation of Boro saw us slip to seven seasons in the Championship. Southgate eventually received the ultimate footballing punishment for his misdemeanors – he was made England boss.
Some will say that I’m paranoid, that years of hurt and betrayal have warped my mind. And they may be right. I hope that we’re all worshipping Monk on the pitch after the Millwall game at the end of April. But when I hear Steve Gibson saying that we will smash the league, whilst that should inspire me, all I hear is the tempting of Murphy’s Law.