Garry Monk may be well settled in as Middlesbrough manager now, but there’ll still be a lot of Aitor Karanka at the football club.
The Spanish manager put all he had into Middlesbrough and it showed, with his emotions coming to the surface both in public and behind the scenes.
Karanka often found it hard to hide his frustration, whether that be at the club’s performance with transfers off the pitch, or what was happening on it. That almost led to the manager’s exit at least once, but when he did leave it looked to be a throw of the dice for salvation.
Speaking to Spanish newspaper Marca, Karanka was asked about Jose Mourinho’s backing of him. The Manchester United manager helped launched the idea of Middlesbrough Mutiny, with players getting their manager sacked, and Marca wanted to know more.
“No. Things were said that weren’t true. The best proof is what happened for my farewell. Assistants and analysts who have been in several teams were impressed that 18 players got up to say goodbye and thank me, and the other six called me. I have an extraordinary relationship with the majority.”
Asked for his best memory at Middlesbrough, Karanka obviously chose promotion and the feelings that gave him as a manager and as a man.
“Seeing 33,000 people so happy in an area that was having such a bad time because of the crisis was my best professional and personal moment. I locked myself in the office and burst into tears. The accumulated tension had to come out.”
Karanka wants to return to management again, and England is his preference, feeling it would help the stability of his family.
Asked if he believed Middlesbrough would still have been relegated if the club had signed requested reinforcements in January, Karanka said: “You always wonder, but you know things are not coming back, so I stay with the experience of having returned Middlesbrough to its rightful place.”
Whilst it wasn’t all good, Karanka is clearly fond of Middlesbrough as a club, the fans and the city, and told Marca: “It’s been three and a half spectacular years that I would repeat. I arrived at a club that was in the middle-low zone of the second division and we were saved without problems.
“The second season we played the final of the promotion playoff and in the third we went up directly. To compete in the Premier League, even if it’s only been six to seven months, has been a wonderful experience.”
Garry Monk has got a lot to live up to.