With a new manager in charge, it’s amazing how much different the whole Middlesbrough FC spectrum now looks.
The superb all round league display in the 3-0 win at QPR followed another excellent performance against Fulham, and though that culminated in a 1-0 defeat – it was the biggest travesty of justice I’ve seen for a long time.
Both games suggest that new incumbent Tony Pulis has indeed made a huge difference in a very short space of time.
Consistently good displays from the likes of George Friend, Adama Traore and the back four as a whole – including his decision to switch Ryan Shotton to left back – confirm Pulis’ ability to create the kind of organisation that’s vitally important as the basis from which everything good about the team emanates.
And to add to that impressive on-field influence he has also been brilliant off it. The difference between his press conferences and those of both Karanka and Monk is like chalk and cheese.
Honesty is something you don’t see very often in the modern game but he does answer questions honestly, tells the truth about his intentions (‘I won’t be spending any more of Steve Gibson’s money’) and his assessment of players reveals his true feelings that allow everybody the impression they know what’s going on.
It’s a remarkable turnaround in just a few weeks and I genuinely believe we have a much better chance of getting back to the Premiership than we had just that short month ago.
His recent assertion that he won’t be tinkering with the way the academy is being run is also good news because while Dave Parnaby is seen to be a huge miss around the Hurworth complex his successors are still fairly confident of maintaining the supply to the higher ranks that was so successful during his tenure at the club.
Overall, things are now looking much more organised and much more transparent than before his arrival and I sincerely hope the moaners who criticised the appointment start to ignore the undeserved reputation Pulis has gained as a dour long ball specialist and take more notice of his exceptional history with unfashionable clubs and the kind of expansive forward play it was a pleasure to watch at Loftus Road.
The future for the ‘Boro certainly looks much, much better.