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Page last updated at 22:13 GMT, Tuesday, 26 May 2009 23:13 UK

Boro chief Gibson backs Southgate

Gareth Southgate
Southgate has been in charge at Boro since June 2006

Middlesbrough chairman Steve Gibson is convinced manager Gareth Southgate is the right person to take the club back into the Premier League.

Gibson met with Southgate to discuss a strategy for next season after the club's relegation to the Championship.

"Gareth has convinced me he knows what it takes to get us back up," Gibson told BBC Tees.

"He is a man I know and admire and we will work together to get this club back to the Premier League."

Southgate has been in charge of Boro since June 2006 after Steve McClaren left to take charge of the England team.

The club finished 13th in his first season in charge but were relegated from the Premier League on Sunday.

I have to make the decision and I am convinced that Gareth is the right man for the job

Boro chairman Steve Gibson

"We will not have a scapegoat at this football club, it will not be Gareth Southgate," added Gibson.

"He is a good man, an intelligent man capable of being a top, top manager.

"What we need is the support of the fans and the town, and let's work together to get the club back in the Premier League.

"You may disagree with my decision and I respect that, but I have to make the decision and I am convinced that Gareth is the right man for the job."

Gibson was speaking on a televised phone-in on the radio station - and dismissed rumours that the club could go into administration, suggesting Boro's debts - once thought to be in excess of £90m - had been reduced by two thirds.

He also angrily denied claims that he wanted to club to go down in order to cut costs.

606: DEBATE

"We hate the Championship, we don't want to be here," he said. "We are a Premier League club, we are a Premier League town with Premier League supporters.

"At the moment, I am a Championship chairman - I want to be a Premier League chairman. It's daft to suggest anything else.

"It's just daft. There is no evidence to support that theory whatsoever."

Gibson also defended the club's decision to smash its transfer record to land striker Afonso Alves.

If you look at every club in the Premier League, they will have a story to tell on players who haven't worked out

Steve Gibson

Boro paid Heerenveen £12.7m for the Brazilian in January last year, but, after scoring 45 goals in 39 games for the Dutch side, Alves managed only four league goals as Boro struck just 28 times during the entire season.

"He would be the first to admit that the season hasn't gone the way he would have hoped," said Gibson.

"It hasn't been through lack of effort, it hasn't been through lack of commitment to the club, it's just not happened for him.

"Every supporter I speak to sees something in Alves, that there is a talent in there, and it is whether we can get it out.

"When we signed Alves, we had worked very hard on him.

"We had watched him play, but there is always a gamble in asking players to move from the continent into Premier League football.

"If you look at every club in the Premier League, they will have a story to tell on players who haven't worked out."



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see also
Southgate braced for player exits
25 May 09 |  Middlesbrough
West Ham 2-1 Middlesbrough
24 May 09 |  Premier League
What now for north-east football?
24 May 09 |  Football
What's gone wrong in the north east?
22 May 09 |  Football
Southgate puts blame on McClaren
23 Dec 06 |  Middlesbrough
Southgate appointed as Boro boss
07 Jun 06 |  Middlesbrough


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