Southgate hailed by chairman for Boro overhaul

Middlesbrough announced yesterday that they have sold out their allocation for Sunday's FA Cup quarter-final against Cardiff City at the Riverside as the club's chairman, Steve Gibson, showered praise on his young manager, Gareth Southgate. In his second season in management, and having lost both main strikers, Yakubu and Mark Viduka last summer, Southgate "has done terrifically for us," Gibson said. "I can't emphasise enough how ugly the job was that I gave him."

Southgate, then 35, succeeded Steve McClaren when he left for England in June 2006. Boro had just reached the Uefa Cup final against Seville and lost the FA Cup semi-final to West Ham, but Gibson said that it had been a period of upheaval at the club.

"It was a time when the club needed great change on the playing staff," Gibson said of the squad Southgate inherited. "The season before we reached the Uefa Cup final, we finished 14th in the Premier League with an ageing squad. We had to have a heavy turnover of personnel because otherwise we wouldn't have survived. You need a clear head, a clear plan and a strong hand at the helm at times like that and Gareth brought all three.

"Look at how much the team has changed since then. We've got four new strikers this season and Mido is the only one with any real experience of the Premier League, so it's going to take time for them to gel." Southgate joked after the goalless draw at Sheffield United in the fifth round that he had "spent the season being second favourite to be next manager sacked", and there was a spell from September to November when Boro did not win in 10 matches. But Gibson said Southgate "never panicked". Nor did his chairman.

Though Boro remain just four points above relegation, they ended that run by beating Arsenal, still the only club in the League to have done so. It was a victory that provoked appreciation from the Arsenal manager, Arsène Wenger, for Southgate's work. "You enjoy hearing that kind of endorsement, but we knew that anyway," Gibson said.

"Gareth is such a good man and such a decent man that you want him to succeed and flourish, but there's far more to him as a manager than that. Nothing's certain in football, but we have enough talentto survive and, with two years' experience behind Gareth and with a bit more support in the transfer market this close season, we could have something very special going on here."

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

Syria crisis: Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more refugees as one young mother tells of torture by Assad regime

Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more Syrian refugees

One young mother tells of torture by Assad regime
The enemy within: People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back – with promising results

The enemy within

People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back
'In Auschwitz you got used to anything'

'In Auschwitz you got used to anything'

Survivors of the Nazi concentration camp remember its horror, 70 years on
Autumn/winter menswear 2015: The uniforms that make up modern life come to the fore

Autumn/winter menswear 2015

The uniforms that make up modern life come to the fore
'I'm gay, and plan to fight military homophobia'

'I'm gay, and plan to fight military homophobia'

Army general planning to come out
Iraq invasion 2003: The bloody warnings six wise men gave to Tony Blair as he prepared to launch poorly planned campaign

What the six wise men told Tony Blair

Months before the invasion of Iraq in 2003, experts sought to warn the PM about his plans. Here, four of them recall that day
25 years of The Independent on Sunday: The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century

25 years of The Independent on Sunday

The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century
Homeless Veterans appeal: 'Really caring is a dangerous emotion in this kind of work'

Homeless Veterans appeal

As head of The Soldiers' Charity, Martin Rutledge has to temper compassion with realism. He tells Chris Green how his Army career prepared him
Wu-Tang Clan and The Sexual Objects offer fans a chance to own the only copies of their latest albums

Smash hit go under the hammer

It's nice to pick up a new record once in a while, but the purchasers of two latest releases can go a step further - by buying the only copy
Geeks who rocked the world: Documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry

The geeks who rocked the world

A new documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry
Belle & Sebastian interview: Stuart Murdoch reveals how the band is taking a new direction

Belle & Sebastian is taking a new direction

Twenty years ago, Belle & Sebastian was a fey indie band from Glasgow. It still is – except today, as prime mover Stuart Murdoch admits, it has a global cult following, from Hollywood to South Korea
America: Land of the free, home of the political dynasty

America: Land of the free, home of the political dynasty

These days in the US things are pretty much stuck where they are, both in politics and society at large, says Rupert Cornwell
A graphic history of US civil rights – in comic book form

A graphic history of US civil rights – in comic book form

A veteran of the Fifties campaigns is inspiring a new generation of activists
Winston Churchill: the enigma of a British hero

Winston Churchill: the enigma of a British hero

A C Benson called him 'a horrid little fellow', George Orwell would have shot him, but what a giant he seems now, says DJ Taylor
Growing mussels: Precious freshwater shellfish are thriving in a unique green project

Growing mussels

Precious freshwater shellfish are thriving in a unique green project