Even after the sacking of Aitor Karanka it looked as though, there was still a glimpse of hope for the Riverside faithful. Yet after Wednesday nights 4-2 defeat at the hands of Hull and a 1-1 draw at home to Burnley today; it is quite simple to understand it’s all over for Middlesbrough’s survival hopes. However unfortunately for Boro fans it had already been looking increasingly more and more likely even prior to the Spaniard’s exit.
Without a win since the appointment of Steve Agnew, picking up only 2 points from a possible 12 it is now easy to understand Boro fans current frustrations at an ultimately poor season of Premier League football. Early on it had looked like a campaign full of potential. New signings, stadium upgrades and an early derby victory away to Sunderland, it seemed the Reds had adjusted well to top flight life and could well of stayed in the league with ease. Certainly most followers of Boro would still of taken a 17th place finish ensuring first season survival but it really did look like the club were capable of even more.
Yet today with 7 fixtures remaining, including final games against the likes of Arsenal, Chelsea, Manchester City and Liverpool with 5 points still to make up. It feels an eternity since the early season hope. Despite this Middlesbrough had made it to the January window with a huge amount still to fight for. Nevertheless a lack of ambition from chairman Steve Gibson along with poor signings including the 12 million spent on Rudy Gestede and Patrick Bamford have led to the demise of the clubs position in Premier League.
A lot of blame can rightly be shifted onto the heads of both Agnew and Karanka although surely the main criticism has to be targeted at Gibson. With his boyhood club back in a league they’d been without for 7 years, you’d think he may of gone all out but indeed quite the opposite was to happen. Fast forward to only a matter of weeks ago from January and his club now manager-less it would of been a perfect opportunity to appoint an experienced manager, in the hope of survival but in spite of that Mr. Gibson went with Agnew. A man with zero managerial nouse and ultimately his decision has backfired.
Fundamentally, unless a sheer miracle is to happen Middlesbrough will be back in the Championship next season. Not only with a poorer team that they were promoted with but also without players such a Ben Gibson, Adam Clayton and George Friend which were such a crucial part in the progress of Boro after the Play-Off final of 2015.
Middlesbrough fans let us know your thoughts on the relegation battle and whether you think your team are doomed in the comments below!