Tony Mowbray has been sacked by Middlesbrough after the club’s disappointing start to the Championship season.
Mowbray was informed on Monday morning of the decision, which follows the team’s woeful 3-2 defeat at Barnsley.
That loss saw supporters turn on the manager, who had been in charge for nearly three years after succeeding Gordon Strachan. But his status as a club legend did not give Boro the lift-off that Steve Gibson had hoped for, and he paid for the club’s mediocre form with his job yesterday.
Assistant boss Mark Venus, who came to the Riverside alongside Mowbray, will take the reins for Friday’s game against Doncaster and will be given a chance to impress the hierarchy over the next few weeks.
But Gibson may favour a new brush to try and kick-start Middlesbrough’s push back up the Championship, with Tony Pulis, Nigel Clough and Martin O’Neill all immediately installed as early favourites by the bookmakers. Former Hull City boss Nick Barmby, who played for Boro, was also among the early front-runners.
Gibson is not understood to be sold on Pulis and may even look to a manager who has performed well in the lower leagues after seeing his last three ‘big-name’ managers all fail to live up the billing that they enjoyed when they were appointed.
A statement on Middlesbrough’s official website read: “Middlesbrough Football Club have today announced that manager Tony Mowbray has left the club with immediate effect.
“Assistant manager Mark Venus will take charge of the team until further notice.”
The statement continued: “The club would like to place on record their sincere thanks to Tony Mowbray for all of his substantial efforts, dedication and integrity.
“He leaves with the very best wishes of all at the club.”
Middlesbrough’s start to the season has been disappointing, which follows on from the unprecedented collapse that saw their promotion hopes evaporate after leading the Championship at Christmas.
Boro are marooned in 16th after winning only three games this season and lost to bottom-of-the-table Barnsley on Saturday to swiftly wipe out any momentum gaines by their 4-1 win against Yeovil.
Middlesbrough had also been knocked out of the Capital One Cup in the second round, falling to Accrington Stanley. While Mowbray’s reign had its highlights – knocking Sunderland out of last year’s Capital One Cup on the way to the quarter-finals, for example – form in the league had collapsed.
They won just five points out of a possible 51 on the road in 2013 and were ten points adrift of the play-offs when Gibson decided to act. On reflection, the manager’s problems might have arrived in the summer when Gibson allowed room in the budget to bring in players to see if Mowbray could encourage a promotion push. But with the team 16th, he has acted swiftly.