It’s been done before. An ex-England and Leeds centre-half taking his first step in leading a management team at Middlesbrough.
Jack Charlton had won just about everything in the game as a player but in 1973 that career came to an end and what proved a spectacular career in management began.
Boro set 14 different records that season and Charlton, who was named the country’s Manager of the Season, went on to manage at a World Cup with Ireland.
It wasn’t the first time an untried manager was given control at the club and not the last – and while not every one has worked, there have been some spectacular results.
Bobby Murdoch, another with a glittering career in the game as a player, took over a struggling team in 1981, likewise Willie Maddren in 1984, neither able to guide a listing ship into calmer waters.
When Colin Todd took over in 1990 it was the first time in his football career that he had been a manager. England international, dual league winner and PFA Player of the Year yes, manager no.
The next time we appointed a first-time manager, that man had an even more impressive CV. Bryan Robson, often credited as the man oversaw a revolution, signed in 1994, two promotions, one relegation, three cup finals and a host of big-name players followed.
The next managerial novice proved to be the most successful in the club’s history, Steve McClaren putting pen to paper in 2001 and by the time he left to take over as manager of England we had won silverware for the first time in our history, played in Europe twice and reached the UEFA Cup final.
His replacement was the skipper for that final and another who went on to manage his country, it can be argued to much greater success, Gareth Southgate.
Boro’s first foreign coach arrived in 2013. Aitor Karanka, like Woodgate, was a man who had played with one of the biggest club sides in the game, Real Madrid, but was one who was taking his first steps as a head coach.