Promotion fears prompted Southgate sacking
Middlesbrough chairman Steve Gibson today said he sacked Gareth Southgate because he feared the club would fail to win promotion back to the Barclays Premier League this season.
Southgate was fired following a string of bad results - and despite last night's victory over Derby which took Boro to one point off the top of the Coca-Cola Championship.
Gordon Strachan, the former Celtic manager, is the clear favourite to replace Southgate.
Gibson told the club's website: "When I sat down and considered our start to the season, I felt that the league table was actually more favourable than some of our performances.
"Then I looked at the important games against the teams immediately around us, and took those results into account.
"In general the results and the performances have not been to the level I would have hoped for.
"Before last night, our five home games had brought in seven points. That will not get us promoted - and promotion is the only objective for the season."
Middlesbrough have already lost four times this season, and against some of their main promotion rivals - West Brom, Bristol City, Leicester and Watford. The club had suffered a run of home defeats without scoring that was the worst for 77 years.
Gibson added: "As difficult a decision as it was to make, the decision was made before last night's match.
"One good result wasn't going to change that decision."
Strachan could be in position by tomorrow - Gibson revealed that plans to appoint a new manager had begun before Southgate was sacked.
"We already had a strategy for Gareth's replacement," said Gibson. "The timing of Gareth's sacking was determined a little by the implementation of that strategy."
elephant appealThe first 23 lots in our charity auction have now gone. But there are 22 more still up for grabs
From rainforests and reefs to beaches and boat trips
The Silicon Valley awards which treat scientists like rockstars
comedy'Fresh Meat' star sees off stiff competition from Alan Carr, David Mitchell, Graham Norton, Lee Mack and Sarah Millican to win top prize
Latest in Sport
World Cup 2014: Football Manager developers predict the team of the tournament - but which England player makes it into the XI?
Manchester City should have known rules in Bayern Munich match, says Rafa Benitez
Robin van Persie injury: Manchester United striker ruled out for a month after picking up thigh injury in win over Shakhtar Donetsk
Ashes 2013-14: Bowlers go short to let Aussies off the hook again
Champions League last 16 draw 2013: Who could Arsenal, Chelsea, Manchester City and Manchester United meet?
- 1 French café starts charging extra to rude customers
- 2 Australia incest case: Deformed children found in remote farming community after generations of inbreeding
- 3 Physicists discover 'clearest evidence yet' that the Universe is a hologram
- 4 Woman who miscarried in private prison 'made to clean up after herself,' court told
- 5 Fox News presenter tells viewers it is a 'fact' that both Jesus and Santa Claus are white