The pride of the northeast
Pride of the North East is a well-deserved title given recent results from Middlesbrough Football Club, sharing the loot with title contenders Arsenal and Manchester City.
Few outside the North East expected Boro to make a fist among the big boys feasting on the top of English football this season. While the club may lack an overabundance of star players and expensive signings, what they do have is one of the brightest young coaches in the game, having honed his coaching skills under the watch. vigilant Jose Mourinho at Real Madrid, at a time when his star was shining in the firmament. As you will find out later, Mourinho was linked with another famous Middlesbrough coach as he took his first tentative steps in his coaching career.
When Aitor Karanka was named Boro’s first overseas manager in November 2013, the club may have seemed to take a gamble on raw talent, rather than playing it safe with a trustworthy pair of hands with extensive experience in the game. British game. A lack of success on the part of Gordon Strachan and Tony Mowbray, may well have influenced their thinking.
This brings me to reflect on a time in Boro’s history when the club hierarchy in their wisdom decided to turn to Malcolm Allison, who at one point, like Karanka, was considered one of the brightest young coaches of his generation. The difference being that when Big Mal arrived at the old Ayresome Park stadium in October 1982, his star as a visionary coach was on the wane.
Ironically, when Malcolm Allison was manager of Portuguese team Vitoria Setubal just before his dramatic arrival at Teesside, he was aided by former Boro conditioning coach Roger Spray and an ambitious young coach by the name of Jose Mourinho. While the special’s stock may be currently in decline, as was the case with Big Mal during his fateful spell with Boro, few would say that in their prime they were the most successful coaches of their time. . As a tribute to Big Mal, who unfortunately left this world in October 2010, Roger Spray holds him in such esteem that he considers him as influential as Mourinho and Arsène Venger!
The club’s difficult financial situation further compounded the depression that surrounded Boro’s loyalists. While Sunderland’s neighbors were labeled the ‘Bank of England’ in the late 1950s due to their abundance of cash, the early 1980s was the time for drastic financial action in Ayresome. Park.
Considering the club are now valued at around £ 87million and the outgoing England manager by the name of Southgate opened the floodgates and splashed £ 13.6million on the Brazilian’s record signing Afonso Alves during the 2007-08 season, Allison’s antics seem to be from a long forgotten distant past!
When Big Mal was lured to Teesside by ambitious president Mike McCullagh, the club were at the bottom of the old Second Division, drawing doors of just 5,000, half a million pounds in debt and losing £ 12,000 a week!
Today, the average attendance at Riverside is a staggering 30,000, which is in stark contrast to the poorest crowd since World War II of just 5,435 who attended their home game against Fulham in March 1984. That almost inevitably led to Allison being relieved of her leadership role. Middlesbrough having finished sixteenth in the former Second Division in their debut season, the club’s heroic effort to keep Arsenal to a 1-1 draw in their FA Cup fifth round draw at home, has represented the zenith of his short stint with the club. Unfortunately, time was not running out and Big Mal failed in his quest to revive the sleeping giant of the Northeast!
The manager’s antics and double standards recalled scenes familiar to viewers of the Carry On films of this period. True to her reputation for her insatiable appetite for breathtaking birds and the high life, Allison was in her seventh heaven, entertaining her companions with the finest champagne in the Baltimore hotel, while raising a hefty £ 3,500 bill. Comically, his response to the harsh financial measures required was to sack the tea man from the club with £ 18 a week! Fortunately, the man capable of a good drink was reinstated after being assured that the players would pay his princely salary!
Big Mal, always one for the limelight, has embarked on his mission to bring the stars into the gloomy Teesside, with ambitious efforts to sign George Best from San Jose Earthquakes and Liverpool duo David Johnson and David Fairclough! He only managed to sign ex-Ipswich Town star Kevin Beattie to bolster his defense, although at that point he had a knee injury! Indeed, some would say her best capture came from the field in the form of local beauty, 28-year-old school teacher Lynn Salten, by far the classiest act on the show!
Today, the football landscape has changed beyond recognition with Middlesbrough plying his trade at the magnificent Riverside Stadium and the recipients of the huge sums of money provided by entry to the top of English football.
It remains to be seen whether Karanka and her accusations can maintain their Premier League status, but Boro’s loyalists will be encouraged by the recent performances. Some would say that football has come a long way since the 1980s, but it seems that today’s global nature and the rich attributes of the Premier League seem to have left our beautiful game empty of real characters like Malcolm Allison, who despite the failure on the pitch, has certainly illuminated the North East with rich experiences that will forever be part of Middlesbrough Football Club folklore!