Dismal season for relegated Middlesbrough as Boro record only 5 wins
It has been a frustrating season for fans at the Riverside. Middlesbrough were relegated with three weeks to go, having only managed five wins in the 2016/17 Premier League season. With the lowest goalscorers in the top four divisions - top scorer Alvaro Negredo only has nine goals to his name - they had to wait until the end of April for their first win of the year.
The Mirror calls their season "nothing short of a disaster", arguing chairman Steve Gibson ought to shoulder the blame: "It is the Chairman who signs the cheques and as he admits himself, they made too many mistakes bringing in players.
"Adama Traore is raw and unproven. Despite the wages Bamford and Gestede aren't Juninho and Ravenelli. Middlesbrough signed two goalkeepers nobody else wanted, and paid £12million for Marten De Roon.
"Gibson also said he never considered anyone else other than Steve Agnew when replacing Karanka. Well he should have. He's not got the personality or ruthlessness of, for example, Craig Shakespeare (at Leicester City)."
Aitor Karanka was sacked following disagreements with players, fans and the board after three and a half years at the club on March 16, with the club three points adrift of safety. While Boro had the fifth-best defence in the Premier League under Karanka, they had the worst attack.
Steve Agnew took over as caretaker boss, winning one game against Sunderland, before Boro were relegated on May 8.
Middlesbrough will probably only spend one season back in the season, before bouncing back up to the Premier League, according to the bookies. Boro are the third favourites to win the title, and are the best placed of the three relegated sides (Sunderland and Hull City) to launch a promotion push next season, Gazette Live reports.
While the entire make-up of next season's Championship is still undetermined, with Bradford City and Millwall fighting for promotion from League One in the playoffs and Huddersfield Town and Reading going head-to-head at Wembley for promotion to the Premier League, Aston Villa (8/1) and Fulham (9/1) are the most-fancied teams.
Relegated Middlesbrough face Champions League-pushing Liverpool at Anfield on Sunday (K.O. 3pm).