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Page last updated at 06:40 GMT, Friday, 23 October 2009 07:40 UK

Anderson backs Strachan for Boro

By Nabil Hassan

Gordon Strachan
Strachan left Celtic in May 2009 and is tipped to replace Southgate

Former Middlesbrough assistant boss Viv Anderson believes Gordon Strachan is the right man to lead the club back into the Premier League.

Strachan is on the verge of being named Middlesbrough manager after Gareth Southgate was sacked on Tuesday.

And Anderson, who played alongside Strachan at Manchester United, feels the Scot can help revitalise Boro.

"They are in a good position and with Gordon in charge they can earn promotion," Anderson told BBC Sport.

Southgate, who had been been Boro boss since June 2006, was controversially dismissed by chairman Steve Gibson despite the club lying fourth in the Championship table, just one point off leaders West Brom.

Boro were relegated from the Premier League last season, and Gibson admitted he had made his mind up several weeks ago as he eyes an immediate return to the top flight.

Strachan has had a short spell out of the game after leaving Celtic in May, but the 52-year-old has considerable managerial experience of the English game after spells in charge of Southampton and Coventry.

606: DEBATE
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Anderson, who played with Strachan at Old Trafford between 1987 and 1989, believes the former Scotland international can also attract the missing Middlesbrough fans back to the Riverside stadium.

Slightly more than 17,000 fans saw them beat Derby 2-0 on Tuesday, leaving about 17,000 empty seats at the stadium.

"The dwindling of crowds was a big factor for Steve. At the moment they are voting with their feet and choosing to do something else," said Anderson.

"When I was there we were getting crowds of 35,000 at the Riverside so he wants to get back to that level.

"To do that he needs an experienced manager and of the names around, there is no-one better than Gordon."

Strachan enjoyed a glittering playing career with Dundee, Aberdeen, Manchester United, Leeds and Coventry and embarked on a managerial career as player-manager with the Sky Blues in 1996.

After leaving the club at the end of the 2000-01 season, Strachan was appointed as Southampton boss in October 2001 and guided the club to the 2003 FA Cup Final before resigning in February 2004.

The Scot succeeded Martin O'Neill as Celtic boss and won the SPL title in three consecutive seasons but left the club after failing to retain the title last season.

Anderson, 53, who was assistant to Bryan Robson at Middlesbrough for more than five years says Strachan's natural competitive edge will help him at Boro.

Viv Anderson
Anderson was a team-mate of Strachan's at Manchester United

"He's competitive and wants to win every game," said Anderson.

"At United whether it was a match or training he wanted to win and would do anything he could to make sure he did.

"Gordon worked with Sir Alex Ferguson for close to 12 years at both Aberdeen and United so it would be difficult not to learn from him.

"But with Gordon I think the willingness to win, the thoroughness in preparation and the systems for trying to find players are three attributes in particular that he picked up from Sir Alex."

Anderson does not see Strachan taking over Middlesbrough as a step down for the 52-year-old despite his time with Celtic in the Champions League.

"They've got great facilities at Middlesbrough, an excellent chairman and an excellent chief executive in Keith Lamb. It's a great club to manage," admitted Anderson.

"You look at how loyal they've been to Gareth Southgate and that just gives you an idea of how good they are. Everyone has been calling for Southgate's head for 18 months or so and he's stuck by him until now.

"But the time has come to bring someone else in, improve the standard of football and get the fans back to the Riverside."

Anderson expects Strachan to change Boro's style of play, even if it requires a shake-up of the squad.

"He won't know until he get in there and takes training and sees them playing whether he has the players that are capable of playing the attractive football he wants and the fans want," said Anderson.

"If he doesn't then I'm sure he'll go knocking on the chairman's door and knowing Steve Gibson like I do, then he'll provide the money."



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see also
Strachan named Middlesbrough boss
26 Oct 09 |  Middlesbrough
Southgate decision made weeks ago
21 Oct 09 |  Middlesbrough
Middlesbrough sack boss Southgate
21 Oct 09 |  Middlesbrough
Who will succeed Gareth Southgate?
21 Oct 09 |  People and Places
Strachan happy on football break
06 Aug 09 |  Celtic
Gordon Strachan's career at Celtic
25 May 09 |  Scottish Premier
Strachan resigns as Celtic boss
25 May 09 |  Celtic
Southgate appointed as Boro boss
07 Jun 06 |  Middlesbrough


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