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28 July 2017

Middlesbrough chief Steve Gibson has backed his manager again… but can Garry Monk deliver?

BORO fans are very upbeat and optimistic about their return to the Championship following the appointment of Garry Monk to replace the defensively minded Aitor Karanka.

Over 20,000 season tickets have been sold as Steve Gibson once again backs his manager to the hilt.

Jeff Winter is a former Premier League referee and lifelong Boro fan
Jeff Winter is a former Premier League referee and lifelong Boro fan
PA:Empics Sport
Jeff Winter is optimistic about Boro's chances of an instant return to the top-flight
Jeff Winter is optimistic about Boro’s chances of an instant return to the top-flight
Getty Images – Getty

Over £40million has been spent already although with a revamp of Karanka’s misfiring squad from last season necessary the outgoings have helped defray the cost considerably.

There will be more comings and goings before the transfer window closes.

With the addition of Britt Assombalonga, Martin Braithwaite and Ashley Fletcher, Boro fans are expecting goals and a much more attacking approach from their side.

There isn’t over confidence though as the Championship will be even more competitive this season.

Also signing a load of new players doesn’t guarantee instant success, they will need time to settle in and gel as a team.

The other thing is that whilst you need strength in depth for the arduous 46 game season, it is difficult at the moment for fans to second guess what Monk’s starting line-up will be.

Garry Monk has spent over £40million on new players since taking charge
Garry Monk has spent over £40million on new players since taking charge
PA:Press Association
Boro chairman Steve Gibson has once again backed his manager
Boro chairman Steve Gibson has once again backed his manager
Rex Features


With the new attacking players added to the likes of Patrick Bamford, Adama Traore, Rudy Gestede and Monk’s reported preference for a 4-2-3-1 formation, it’s hard to imagine how the jigsaw will piece itself together.

With question marks over the future of Marten De Roon, Ben Gibson and Gaston Ramirez it is even harder to assess who will be in the squad come the first week in September.

These though are problems that most Championship managers would love to have and overall the feeling on Teesside is that Boro are well equipped to make an instant return to the top flight.

Jeff Winter says Boro fans were short-changed by Aitor Karanka's defensive tactics
Jeff Winter says Boro fans were short-changed by Aitor Karanka’s defensive tactics
PA:Press Association
Boro have broken their transfer record to sign Britt Assombalonga for £15m
Boro have broken their transfer record to sign Britt Assombalonga for £15m
PA:Empics Sport
Danish international Martin Braithwaite has also arrived for £9m
Danish international Martin Braithwaite has also arrived for £9m
AFP – Getty

The supporters knowing that it took seven years to return after the last relegation won’t be counting their chickens.

They will be demanding a more adventurous approach and entertainment as opposed to what they endured last season.

The Teesside mantra has always been to expect a 100% effort and if you are to be beaten to go down fighting.

Middlesbrough fans have every reason to be optimistic ahead of the new season
Middlesbrough fans have every reason to be optimistic ahead of the new season
Getty Images – Getty

Middlesbrough's summer spending

Britt Assombalonga – £15m from Nottingham Forest

Martin Braithwaite – £9m from Toulouse

Ashley Fletcher – £6.5m from West Ham

Darren Randolph – £5m from West Ham

Jonny Howson – £5m from Norwich City

Cyrus Christie – £2.5m from Derby County

Connor Roberts – Season-long loan from Swansea City

The club have already sold over 20,000 season tickets for this campaign
The club have already sold over 20,000 season tickets for this campaign
AFP or licensors

The supporters were short changed under Karanka, however they have remained behind the club and the full away allocation for the first away game at Wolves on August 5th went inside an hour.

There will be twists and turns and no certainties in probably the most competitive division in European football but Teesside expects and anything less than promotion come next May will be deemed as failure by the majority of the supporters.

Jeff Winter is now a popular after dinner speaker. To contact the ex-Prem whistleblower you can follow him on his official Facebook page or on Twitter @WinterJeff.


Keep up to date with all the latest news, gossip, rumours and done deals in SunSport’s live transfer blog



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