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Page last updated at 15:05 GMT, Friday, 20 February 2009

Southgate defends Gibson position

Gibson is vital to Boro - Southgate

Middlesbrough manager Gareth Southgate believes the club would not be in the Premier League without the support of owner Steve Gibson.

Gibson has come under fire from some fans, who have questioned his commitment to the club.

The Riverside club have cut back on big-money transfers of late, and lie second from bottom in the league table.

"The attendances we get and the revenue we bring in without Steve's backing, we couldn't be in this division," he said.

"The success of the last 10, 12 years is because he salvaged the club at the time and he's been the one that's enabled it to have the success in the cups and to maintain its Premier League status."

As one of the directors in 1986, Gibson formed a consortium that saved Boro from liquidation, prior to becoming chairman in 1994.

The club's recent plight has led some to query the role of Gibson, the local man turned self-made millionaire who has bankrolled the club over recent years.

The Boro boss admitted there could be some short-term difficulties in order to secure the long-term future of the club.

"It's very simple for me. He's [Gibson] someone who cares about the long-term of the club and that's why financially we've had to do certain things this year," he said.

"Now that's left us a huge challenge in terms of staying in the league but it's a challenge we can win.

"But long-term it might have been the most important couple of years for the long-term future of the club."

Southgate said he was "very confident" Boro - who host Wigan on Saturday - could get out of relegation trouble, despite being locked on points with bottom-placed West Brom and earning just five league wins all season.

"What's pleased me in the last few weeks is the improvement in performance and obviously everyone outside the club is going to focus on results and the position that we're in," he said.

"But to get those results we're going to have to play well, we're going to have to play our way out of the position that we're in."

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see also
Middlesbrough v Wigan
19 Feb 09 |  Premier League
Cup form inspires Boro - Downing
18 Feb 09 |  Middlesbrough
West Ham 1-1 Middlesbrough
14 Feb 09 |  FA Cup
Southgate feels pressure of job
17 Jan 09 |  Middlesbrough

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