KARANKA HISSY FIT BODES ILL FOR PREM
EVER since the days of He-Man, She-Ra and questionable food additives, I’ve had an irritating friend. I’ll call him ‘Pete’ and he is the kind who needs his ego stroked like Blofeld’s cat and, for want of a better phrase, needs to feel the love.
When we were young, he’d refuse to come out to play, changing his mind only after you’d begged for half an hour.
Or you’d trawl the streets drumming up numbers for a game of football, only for ‘Pete’ to say he didn’t fancy it, leaving you with nine people and a ruined game. Of course, once you’d explained, repeatedly, just how much his talents were required, he’d lace up his boots.
This behaviour continued into adulthood. Nights out were frequently thrown into turmoil at the 11th hour by a bombshell text. Sometimes ‘Pete’ would be skint. Sometimes he’d feel tired. Sometimes you didn’t get an explanation at all.
Except he wasn’t, of course. We all knew full well that when we texted, begging him to come, saying how it wouldn’t be the same without his wit and personality, ‘Pete’ would be there in his oversized Ben Sherman and shiny shoes.
We’ve all got a friend like that. And Middlesbrough, it seems, have a manager too. Aitor Karanka’s 48-hour hissy fit was petulant and immature.
Whatever you think of the players – and to undermine a manager in the midst of a promotion battle was unprofessional in the extreme – nobody in a senior position should respond to an argument by storming out in a fit of pique.
Karanka himself said he never wanted to leave. By definition, then, the whole episode was a manipulative charade, designed to bring chairman Steve Gibson begging and force a show of appreciation from fans.
And if this is how he reacts to promotion pressures, what will happen when the salaries, egos and scrutiny ramp up in the top flight?