We asked a Middlesbrough writer: What should Sheffield Wednesday fans expect from Garry Monk?

Of all Garry Monk’s four previous jobs in management, his six-month stint at Middlesbrough is seen by many as the one blotch on an otherwise promising copybook.

Tuesday, 10th September 2019, 16:47 pm
Updated Wednesday, 11th September 2019, 10:52 am

Eyebrows were raised when the former Swansea and Leeds man was sacked just hours after Boro’s 2-1 win at Hillsborough in December 2017, but how did the now 40-year-old’s stint go at the Riverside and how is he thought of on Teesside now?

We asked TeessideLive ‘Boro writer Dominic Shaw for the inside track on Monk’s turbulent half-season in the north east.

- Monk arrived at Boro with a solid reputation after spells at Swansea and Leeds. Were fans excited by his appointment?

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I'm not sure whether they were excited by Monk's appointment as such, but they were excited by the prospect and possibilities of the coming season.

It was what chairman Steve Gibson was saying that had the fans hoping and expecting. Gibson said he wanted to "smash the league" and backed up that vow with heavy spending on proven stars like Britt Assombalonga and Darren Randolph.

As for Monk himself, he was by no means an unpopular appointment but nor were fans absolutely thrilled at his arrival. It was probably somewhere in between.

- Boro had been relegated months before he arrived and were expected to challenge for promotion. Why didn't they fulfil this promise?

A short but eventful Garry Monk reign at Middlesbrough ended after a 2-1 win at Hillsborough.

A number of reasons. First things first, there was undoubtedly a hangover from the previous season when Boro's dressing room was fractured in the relegation season.

It takes longer that a summer to repair those fractures, as Stoke City have found out in the Championship.

What didn't help, though, was the fact Monk didn't seem convinced on what type of team he wanted Boro to be.

Having adopted a certain formation throughout pre-season, he changed the shape the week before the start of the season and Boro looked a muddled and confused side.

He had too many players and too many options. It was impossible to predict his team or the formation each week.

- What style of play did he employ at the Riverside?

Steve Gibson made it clear he wanted Boro to play with pace and flair and at times it seemed as though Monk was trying to be something he's not.

As mentioned above, Monk's vision in terms of the playing style was never clear.

He was the envy of the Championship with his attacking options but Boro never looked convincing.

They also lacked steel. Defeats at Bristol City and Millwall were grim and very concerning.

- How did Monk perform in the transfer market?

He certainly had the backing. That summer Boro brought in Assombalonga, Randolph, Ashley Fletcher, Martin Braithwaite, Jonny Howson, Cyrus Christie, Ryan Shotton, Marvin Johnson and more.

Boro were unsurprisingly made favourites to win the division. Some of those players have been excellent and consistent performers for Boro but there was nothing consistent about the performances under Monk.

The mindset of the fans in the early months of the season changed from when Boro would click to if they would click.

- He left under something of a cloud just six months after joining Boro despite having beaten Wednesday and being within three points of the play-offs. Was he harshly treated?

The timing of his sacking, just hours after a win over, ironically, Sheffield Wednesday, was surprising. That was one of Boro's best performances of the season so far.

And it was also surprising that Monk only had half a season, given Gibson is known for his patience with managers.

But it wasn't an unpopular decision. It was hard to see which direction Monk's Boro were heading and there was no doubt about the fact an extremely strong squad was underperforming.

Monk had lost a large bulk of the fanbase by the time of his sacking. In fact, I can't recall a Boro manager who lost the fans as quickly - and I include Gordon Strachan in that, who did an utterly dreadful job on Teesside.

It wasn't just the performances that fans struggled with but Monk's persona off the pitch. He was named MonkBot by the fans for his robotic and media-trained approach to interviews.

- How do you expect him to get on at Hillsbrough?

Boro aside, Monk has a good record at Championship level.

He did a good job at Leeds and a fine job at Birmingham under the circumstances.

At Boro it just never felt like a good fit.

I would expect him to do a solid job at Wednesday.

This is the latest in a series of Q&As with experts on the new Wednesday manager’s former clubs. READ MORE: