Boro’s Southgate gets another chance. Does he deserve it?

May 29, 2009

Most people agree that sacking a manager after a few weeks or a handful of matches is ridiculous, but sometimes chairmen go to the other extreme and exhibit reserves of patience that would be beyond most fans.

Given the frantic pace of the soccer industry, Middlesbrough manager Gareth Southgate can consider himself an extremely lucky man after a season that brought the club just seven league victories, 28 goals and relegation.

Boro chairman Steve Gibson said in a BBC Radio interview this week he was backing Southgate to get the club back in the Premier League next season, vowing not to make the former England international a scapegoat for the club’s relegation.

A lot of people will be wondering why not.

In January 2008, Southgate brought in record signing Brazilian striker Afonso Alves for 12.7 million quid from Heerenveen and let captain George Boateng and fellow midfielder Lee Cattermole go in the close season.

This campaign, Boro struggled to compete in midfield and could not score goals. Alves managed just four all season and despite this problem Egyptian international Mido was allowed to leave on loan, along with another Southgate signing, Marlon King.

Gibson showed similar patience with former England manager Steve McClaren and Bryan Robson. While it is an admirable and rare virtue in football, it certainly has not done Gibson many favours to date.

Can Southgate prove the chairman’s faith is not misplaced by bringing Boro straight back?

PHOTO: Gareth Southgate kicks the ball during Middlesbrough’s Premier League match against Sunderland at The Stadium of Light, April 26, 2008. REUTERS/Nigel Roddis


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Southgate seems a nice bloke but there comes a time when you should stand accountable for your transfers and inability to change the way your team plays week in week out.

The Premier League will be a better place without Boro, until they learn to play decent football..

Posted by Clive | Report as abusive

Middlesborough don’t deserve to be in the premiership. As Clive says it will be better without them. They have to be the worst team I have seen in a long time. Even Fulham have improved. When your top scorer gets Six goals then you are technically rubbish. They spent 12.7 million on Alves who is rubbish to be honest. You know you are in trouble when your best player is Stuart Downing.

Posted by mark | Report as abusive

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Posted by Boro’s Southgate gets another chance. Does he deserve it? – Posted In English Premier League | Soccer News Info – Soccer News Info | Report as abusive

Lay off “the nose” boro will be fine next year, they play good football and they’ll get a few quid from the sale of downing to sort things out up front

Posted by Billy the fish | Report as abusive

Gibson’s legendary patience has now turned into arrogance and short-sightedness.

He needs to appoint a proper, experienced football manager or Boro will be heading down the Charlton Way to League 1.

Posted by Jonny | Report as abusive

Who should replace Southgate Jonny?

Posted by Neil | Report as abusive

Whilst Gibson’s patience with his managers has been admirable, the decision not to replace Southgate last term looks to be a poor one. Boro struggled all season, and perhaps a new man in the dugout could have kickstarted their season and provided them with the four points they needed for safety.
Next season will be make or break for Boro. They’ve been relegated before and bounced back, but next season poses a whole new challenge. The upcoming Championship season promises to be the most competitive ever, and with the likes of Downing and Tuncay heading for pastures new, Southgate will have to quickly assemble a squad capable of competing in the second tier or his days are numbered.

Posted by Dan | Report as abusive

I agree Dan, but Southgate’s transfer decisions to date have been one of his biggest downfalls as a manager. He is a good coach, but has not been able to attract the right type of player to the Riverside.

Signing flops like King and Alves will have not done his confidence for the new transfer window any good.

I too think it will be make or break for Boro. They either bounce back at the first time of asking or get ready to settle into a good few seasons in the Championship.

Posted by Neil | Report as abusive