Monk rar­ing to get started

Middlesbrough Herald & Post - - SPORT -

FIRST im­pres­sions mat­ter and there’s a no non­sense, busi­ness-like vibe sur­round­ing Garry Monk.

His first press con­fer­ence as Mid­dles­brough’s new man­ager went well on Mon­day.

There were few jokes, as you’d ex­pect, though Monk did deal with awk­ward ques­tions well.

The TV cam­eras were out in force and there were a fair few mem­bers of the writ­ten press, though a smat­ter­ing of North-east scribes were on in­ter­na­tional duty and there­fore un­able to at­tend.

The con­fer­ence was slated to start at 11am and, sure enough, Monk and Neil Bau­sor walked into the me­dia room bang on time.

Un­usu­ally, Steve Gib­son was ab­sent. The chair­man has typ­i­cally turned up for the un­veil­ing of a new man­ager but left his chief-ex­ec­u­tive in charge for Monk’s big day.

It was Bau­sor who got pro­ceed­ings un­der way, in­tro­duc­ing the new man­ager with a short state­ment wel­com­ing ‘Garry Monk as the new man­ager of Mid­dles­brough Foot­ball Club’ and con­firm­ing that the 38-year-old has penned a three year con­tract.

The chief exec also ex­plained that he would be dis­cussing the ‘de­vel­op­ment of his sup­port team’ over the com­ing days, say­ing: “We’ll work with Garry over com­ing days to piece to­gether the sup­port staff.”

Then he opened the floor to ques­tions.

Monk looked as­sured, dressed in a sober grey suit with dark tie and with fair hair neatly slicked back he looked ev­ery inch the mod­ern-day man­ager, or in­deed busi­ness ex­ec­u­tive. He spoke well, too.

He knew there’d be a cou­ple of curve balls to bat away, the most test­ing of which sur­rounded his de­par­ture from Leeds United.

His tac­tic was to get his re­tal­i­a­tion in early and sim­ply ex­plained there were two sep­a­rate sit­u­a­tions de­vel­op­ing once the sea­son ended, one at Leeds and one con­cern­ing Boro’s in­ter­est.

As far as Leeds were con­cerned he said he ex­pected to dis­cuss fu­ture plans with the United board af­ter a rel­a­tively suc­cess­ful sea­son but that didn’t tran­spire and he said he’d be­come a “man­ager out of a job”.

Monk then said Mid­dles­brough had all the “tick boxes” he was look­ing for in a club, hence his de­ci­sion to sign on the dot­ted line.

“It’s a fan­tas­tic chal­lenge for me,” he said. “Once I spoke to him (Gib­son) it was very clear this was go­ing to be the right club for me.”

The po­ten­tially awk­ward is­sue was Ben Gib­son’s fu­ture. It’s no secret the club’s Eng­land de­fender is at­tract­ing in­ter­est from other clubs and Boro will have a job on their hands to keep such a valu­able as­set.

Monk said he was one of a num­ber of play­ers “in­te­gral to the club” so that is­sue would be dis­cussed but at the mo­ment he was fo­cus­ing on as­sess­ing the play­ing staff and look­ing for­ward to work­ing with all of them and would make any key de­ci­sions from that point for­ward.

The mes­sage was he hadn’t had time to ad­dress mas­sive is­sues like the fu­ture Ben Gib­son so early in his time with Boro, but he’d get around to it soon enough.

A ques­tion on ev­ery fan’s lips is: Are Boro go­ing straight back up?

Monk’s an­swer was: “Of course it’s the am­bi­tion. I’ve signed three years and I’d like to make it at the first at­tempt.

“This club is equipped, it’s ready and de­ter­mined and the am­bi­tion from all of us is to bounce back at the first time of ask­ing.”

Bau­sor did step in to an­swer a ques­tion about Steve Agnew’s fu­ture.

He said: “Steve’s been fan­tas­tic and a great ser­vant to this foot­ball club for a num­ber of years and we hold Steve in the ut­most of re­spect for ev­ery­thing that he’s done for us and we’ll be talk­ing to him over the com­ing days.”

There was a mo­ment of levity when it was put to Monk that Steve Gib­son had vowed to ‘smash the Cham­pi­onship next sea­son’.

The man­ager shot back quickly with a sim­ple: “No pres­sure then!”

That light­ened the mood but he then pointed out that he’d been work­ing in high pres­sure sit­u­a­tions with both Swansea and Leeds so it’s noth­ing new.

So, some tricky ques­tions were con­trolled deftly.

But he knows ac­tions speak louder than words and Monk in­sisted that there’s a lot of hard work ahead of him and the play­ers as the new sea­son closes in.

He’ll spend the next few days, as Bau­sor said, fi­nal­is­ing his back­room team ahead of pre-sea­son train­ing.

We can ex­pect a raft of friendlies to be con­firmed in the next week or so and a trip abroad for a train­ing camp and warm-up games to be rub­ber­stamped.

It’s fair to say Monk has passed his first test as man­ager but there are many chal­lenges to come.

On the ev­i­dence of his first press con­fer­ence, he’ll rel­ish each and ev­ery one.

New man­ager Garry Monk speak­ing at his first Boro press con­fer­ence

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.