Alan Fettis explains decision to leave Manchester United for Middlesbrough

Alan Fettis says Chris Wilder sold him the exciting project at Middlesbrough that made switching Manchester United for Teesside a ‘no-brainer’ this summer. And knowing that Boro was such a welcoming and good football club, it made the decision to accept the goalkeeper coaching role an easy one.

Fettis was appointed as new goalkeeper coach this week, bringing to an end more than a decade at Manchester United in various roles to do with their goalkeeping department. He replaced Ian Bennett at Middlesbrough, who has in turn quickly found employment after taking on the same role at Doncaster Rovers.

Most recently Fettis has been serving as head of academy goalkeeping at Manchester United but has experience of coaching both youth and first-team players at Old Trafford and held ambitions to once again work as a first-team goalkeeper coach. He turned down numerous opportunities to leave Manchester United in recent years, but decided this was the right opportunity to leave for.

READ MORE:Chris Wilder’s delight as Middlesbrough confirm appointment of Alan Fettis from Manchester United

Explaining why he felt Boro were the right club to leave Manchester United for after over 11 years at the club, he told the Boro club website: “I think the stature of the club. Whenever I’ve been here with Manchester United’s academy they’ve always been good footballing people. Even the time when Dave Parnaby was running the academy, it was always a very welcoming and very friendly club.

“It’s a really good football club and obviously the manager that has come in has done really well wherever he has been previously. I had a few dealings with him when Dean Henderson was at Sheffield United and so I understand what he’s about and how he plays.

“Like me, he’s a good and honest footballing person, as are all of his staff. It was a big wrench to leave Manchester United after so long but I had ambitions to want to push myself a little bit further so it was a no-brainer really in some respects.”

Boro have big ambitions for the season ahead with Wilder not hiding from the fact that he is aiming to take the club back to the Premier League. Such goals were also a major factor in Fettis making the move, and he knows he will have to get his house in order to help make that a reality.

The goalkeeper role has been an issue for Boro for some years now and while Wilder and Boro still hope to recruit a new number one this summer having already added Liam Roberts, Fettis is looking forward to the challenge of working with the shot-stoppers and pushing them to produce their best.

“I hope I can help the club achieve what they want to achieve,” Fettis continued in his first interview since joining. “And I hope I can help the manager achieve what he wants to achieve. If he’s brought me in with that in mind, that’s great. It’s a bit of pressure on I suppose.

“But I look forward to the challenge and it’s a great challenge. I had a wonderful time at Manchester United but it’s a different perspective now and it’s a different situation now. There are a lot of people here who want success, and of course the fans want that too. We all want to be back in the Premier League.

“It’s always a challenge because you’re trying to push the lads and take them that little bit further. You have to find ways of pushing them. But the main thing is building relationships with them and that’s hopefully the main thing that pre-season will achieve. We can then work together to try and improve their games in any way we can.

“I’m looking forward to it and the lads all worked really hard this morning and they all seem up for the challenge. You need competition in that position and we look forward to seeing how that pans out over the next few weeks.”

Elsewhere, former Middlesbrough goalkeeper Dimi Konstantopoulos has started a new role in Greece after leaving Hartlepool United this summer. The promotion-winning ex-Boro stopper has been appointed new goalkeeper coach at Greek Super League outfit Panetolikos.

Konstantopoulos held conversations with Boro over the vacant goalkeeper coaching role on Teesside this summer before the club ultimately decided to appoint Fettis. And the 43-year-old, who made 112 appearances for the club, has instead made the move back to his home country.

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