NEW MIDDLESBROUGH boss Garry Monk says that joining Boro represents the ‘right challenge’ in his managerial career - and provides the long-term clarity which he felt was lacking at former club Leeds United.
Monk walked out of Leeds after 12 months and 53 games in charge last month, two days after Andrea Radrizzani’s takeover of Leeds and 24 hours before the club’s chairman planned to activate a clause to extend his contract to the end of next season.
Leeds said they had been asked by Monk’s agent not to exercise that option, claiming that during talks between Monk and Radrizzani “it became clear that Garry was considering life beyond Leeds United as at no time did Garry wish to discuss terms for a longer contract.”
Monk’s resignation made him a free agent and he was linked with several clubs before Boro won the race to secure his services.
He said: “It is good to have that clarity. The club are also quite far down the line in terms of organisation and the determination with what they wanted to do and that ties in with myself and having those ideas and they aligned really well.
“The key is the opportunity and understanding of what the club wants to do and how we are going to go about it. The clarity of that is what appeals most.”
It has happened now and I have moved on. I don’t want to go into the details. I have a lot of respect for that club and I had a really good time there.Garry Monk
On his exit from Leeds, he said: “It is important to make clear it was two separate situations. Obviously, there was the situation with Leeds in having the season I had and expecting them to go forward with that process and be at Leeds in terms of discussing with the new owners.
“We couldn’t find that (agreement) and I then became a manager without a job. Obviously, I am ambitious and want to be working and find that right challenge, which is something I always wanted.
“All of those tick boxes that I needed to go forward with a football club, Middlesbrough had.
“Obviously, having gone there and worked with Massimo orginally and then Andrea (Radrizzani) came in, it was a new owner and new structure. Obviously, as the season finished and having that three or four weeks afterwards to finally sit down with Leeds and try and discuss what that structure and new process would be; I have to be honest it wasn’t right for me.
“I won’t really go into the details of it, but there were things that didn’t suit me and I couldn’t find that clear process of how to go forward from that point and obviously made that decision. The next process was to look and find that right challenge that I wanted.
“I spoke to Middlesbrough and it was everything in terms of the challenge I wanted.
“The fans (at Leeds) were fantastic and it is a great club and there were a lot of good people at that club. I wish them well and hope that club can get back to the Premier League. It is a club that deserves to be in the Premier League.”
“It has happened now and I have moved on. I don’t want to go into the details. I have a lot of respect for that club and I had a really good time there. I thought it would carry on; it hasn’t for whatever reasons and I had to go into the next phase of what I needed to do which was find another club aligned with my ambition. Middlesbrough, for sure, was that club.”
Monk was linked with several other club after leading Leeds, including Sunderland and Hull City, but insists that his mind was soon made up that he wanted to come to Boro after speaking with Riverside officials - and has targetted promotion back to the Premier League at the first time of asking.
Monk said: “As soon as I spoke to Middlesbrough, I knew it was the situation and opportunity that I wanted to take.
“I have signed for three years and I would to make it at the first attempt. But this club is equipped and ready and the ambition of all of us is to get back up at the first time of asking.”