Neil Warnock wants to go out on a real high in his final year in management - and issued this rallying cry today to the Boro fans.
I waited til the end of today's pre-match press conference before Boro v Stoke to ask a question.
I had picked up a copy of last year's fanzine from this weekend 12 months ago. It should have been the home match v Swansea, instead the game was called off and so started the year of COVID. A desperately difficult year for everyone - I asked him to reflect on that year. The answer was so thoughtful and then passionate that no follow up questions were necessary and I think the words speak volumes and speak for themselves.
Neil Warnock's reply in full to me asking him if he could reflect back on such a difficult year..

I think it has been very, very difficult for everybody, managers in particular. Look how long I have been in the game, Rob. If it had been like this, there is no way I would have been in the game 5 minutes because this is not what we want in football. Even in the parks, places like that. Football is our life really. But its made me realise that I have got to work even harder in these times to try and get yourself and the rest of the fans give them something to cheer about because it is an outlet. People don't realise what an outlet it is, football, for everybody. Yes, you get your people saying why do they get special treatment etc but people don't understand how much mental side that football leaves such a lot of pressure on so many people around the country. I've found myself probably a little bit more under pressure. I don't mean football wise, result wise because it doesn't matter to me, if I get the sack. But I meant trying to please everybody, trying to get the fans... because I realise what it is like when you are in a house without a garden and you've got a kid to look after. All sorts of problems that have been there. Yes, I have got problems with referees but they are really significant aren't they when you look at the problems that families have got kin this pandemic.

So, it has been one of the biggest challenges in my lifetime. And that is why I don't want to end up and Sharon knows my feelings. I don't want to die on the job, I know that but I don't also want to finish at such a horrible time in football. I want to fling my fist up to the fans at the Riverside after the victory and enjoy myself and show everybody, you know I want to let people at Middlesbrough enjoy themselves and get behind the team and the players love to come in and the Oos and Arghs, get a new generation, that is why I want season tickets. I'll end up going on the road soon to sell season tickets just to get them in. But that is what I want. If it is going to be my last season I do really want to give it my best shot.