TONY Mowbray last night admitted he only made a move for Danny Graham because of the abuse the striker received at the Stadium of Light.
Middlesbrough made an inquiry about the striker on Wednesday, as Mowbray believed Sunderland’s new signing would be turned off from a move to Wearside after being booed during his final appearance for Swansea against Sunderland.
Swansea agreed a swap deal with Marvin Emnes plus cash for Graham, who completed his move to Sunderland yesterday.
And the Boro boss revealed he genuinely felt he had the chance to land a player who began his career at Middlesbrough.
Mowbray said: “The first time I thought it realistically could happen was when I was driving back from a game on Tuesday and heard that Danny had been booed at the Stadium of Light.
“The week before that I heard Norwich and Sunderland were offering £5m for him and I kept hearing from Michael Laudrup’s interviews that he wasn’t sure what was happening with Danny.
“Hearing he had been roundly booed at Sunderland, did it make him think ‘He can’t go there?’ I thought it was worth a go.
“I had a conversation with Swansea after it rose in my mind on Tuesday listening on the radio to the negativity shown towards Danny when he came on for Swansea at Sunderland.
“I was unsure whether it would cause a problem for the Sunderland deal so I made an enquiry.
“I read he wanted to leave for personal reasons, so in my mind I thought I would ask the question because he might have wanted to come back to the North East.
“There were eyebrows raised in my office this morning. For people to read we have bid £5.5m was a surprise. That was not the case. He could have helped us because he can score goals.
“We got to the point where we were allowed to speak to him, but I never got to that stage. I spoke with his advisers.”
That is where Emnes would have come into the deal, had it gone ahead.
Mowbray added: “We have potentially some assets that Swansea might have coveted in the past and there could have been something to be done along those lines. Danny set his mind on Sunderland and we wish him well.”
As for Graham’s future as a Sunderland player, Mowbray does not envisage any lingering problems as long as the striker scores goals.
He said: “The reality of football is that he could go out in his first game score a hat-trick and he won’t be booed. He knows Adam Johnson and Lee Cattermole well, he has a support system around him and the manager will be telling him to get goals and everything will be fine.
“Danny could start by scoring at the rate of Steven Fletcher and then everybody will forget the night he was booed. His job is to score goals.”