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Two years on - Mowbray speaks of his Boro progress
TONY MOWBRAY celebrates his two-year anniversary in charge of Middlesbrough today - and has asked for supporters to judge him on the work so far once the season is over.
Mowbray succeeded Gordon Strachan on this day in 2010, alongside assistant Mark Venus, charged with reviving a club which had shown no signs of being able to gain promotion back to the Premier League.
Two years on, they are still playing Championship football, but Mowbray feels that progress has been made in that time.
"We came in with 12 games gone, we were at the wrong end of the table trying to win football games," said the Boro manager ahead of tomorrow's npower Championship game against Bolton Wanderers.
"We've had one full season when we finished seventh and that was a season of change. How's it gone? We'll judge it a little bit better at the end of this season, there have been a lot of changes.
"I feel that since we're a third through the season it's difficult to judge. I'd like to think there has been progress since we came in, and that's what we'd ask.
"I speak of football utopia - you get promotion in the first year because you win every game, that didn't happen, obviously.
"It's for other people to judge how it's going. I'm trying to build a team that can give us long-term success. Keep going until you're told to stop."
When Mowbray was unveiled in front of the Ayresome Park gates outside the Riverside Stadium, the Redcar-born manager spoke of realising a dream in managing his home club. So, two years on, is the spark still there?
"When you're a football manager, you feel a burden of responsibility," he explained.
"You're carrying the flame for that club, the buck stops here. Yes, it was the team I followed as a boy, I'm desperately keen to do well and be successful, but it's the same job wherever I manage.
"I'm enjoying the work. I enjoy getting up every morning and coming into work and looking forward to the next game."
Mowbray has spoken of his passion for success on Teesside, and while his side has won 45 times in 101 games under his charge, attendances at the Riverside have tailed away - the 2-2 draw against Derby County hitting an all-time league low of 13,377 since the ground opened in 1995.
And the Boro manager is keen for the club to open a dialogue with the fans as to why this is happening, revealing that chairman Steve Gibson and chief executive Neil Bausor were looking into ways to make the football more affordable for the supporter.
Mowbray said: "Having sat in the Riverside with the big numbers, 28,000 for Boxing Day last season, it makes such a difference for us to drive the team on, to give us a better opportunity to win football matches.
"What can we do? I know that Steve and Neil are in discussions about it. If it can be done we will be helping people as much as we can to ensure that it's not the cost that is keeping people away from football.
"I can talk to the owner at any time, yet it's not something I'll do to talk about the crowds. Steve's passionate about Teesside, as I am, and I'm sure he hurts when he sees the stadium half-empty. Together we have lots of discussions,
"I'm pretty sure Neil and Steve are looking to see whether it is a financial issue, whether a change in ticket pricing will have an effect on the crowd. It might not.
"Tickets may come down and the crowds may stay the same, then the club are losing money. That doesn't make sense. Unless you look, try and experiment, you might not know.
"If there is a gesture from the club with ticketing and pricing I hope the people come and watch and send a message loud and clear that the reason the stadium isn't full is the cost."