Middlesbrough’s 2016/17 season
League Position: 19th in Premier League – relegated to Sky Bet Championship (2015/16: 2nd in Championship – promoted to Premier League)
Average league attendance: 30,449 (2015/16: 24,627)
Top league goalscorer: Álvaro Negredo (9)
Middlesbrough’s return to the Premier League lasted just one season as they were immediately relegated back to the Sky Bet Championship. The North-East side had lost in the 2015 Championship Play-Off Final to Norwich City, after beating Brentford to get to Wembley, but went one better a year later. They finished second behind Burnley and secured promotion with a draw against Brighton and Hove Albion on the final day of the season. That was one of four straight draws as they stumbled over the line, albeit they were unbeaten in their final ten games.
That promotion back to the top flight for the first time since relegation in 2009 had been built on a solid defensive record and it looked as if they may be able to build on it when the picked up five points from their opening three games. But by the end of November they only had two wins and were hovering above the relegation zone. A win over Swansea City just before Christmas took Middlesbrough in to a lower mid-table position but they one won one more match. Aitor Karanka, who had overseen the two previous successful seasons, left and Steve Agnew could not arrest the slide.
Middlesbrough were relegated with two games of the season to go and eventually finished 12 points from safety. Their total of 27 goals scored was the lowest in the top flight and no team – not even bottom-placed Sunderland – won fewer games. The defence remained solid, the best in the bottom half, but only Álvaro Negredo scored more than four goals for them.
Steve Agnew took over the Middlesbrough managerial role on a caretaker basis in March. He replaced Aitor Karanka, who was sacked with the North-East side heading for relegation. Karanka had been at Middlesbrough since 2013 and in his two full seasons at the helm led them to the Championship Play-Off Final and then promotion.
Agnew spent most of his playing career at Barnsley but also played for Leicester City and Sunderland, winning promotion to the Premier League with both. His coaching career started at Gateshead and he worked at Leeds United and Hartlepool United before arriving at Middlesbrough as Reserve Team Coach in 2007. He had previously coached in the Middlesbrough Academy and ended up as caretaker boss in 2010 before leaving to join Hull City. Karanka brought him back to Middlesbrough in 2014 and he took the helm for the last 11 games of the season. He won just one of them and earned six points, meaning Middlesbrough were relegated.
Last Time Round
Head to Head
Brentford wins: 7
Middlesbrough wins: 13