Newspaper article Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)

Gibson Stands Firm

Newspaper article Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)

Gibson Stands Firm

Article excerpt

Byline: Eric Paylor

Steve Gibson will hold his nerve as crisis club Boro battle to try to handle increasing pressure.

The humiliating home hammering at the hands of Aston Villa on Saturday has led to fans' demonstrations, booing of Steve McClaren and calls for the manager's head.

But Boro chairman Gibson is determined to keep a level head as McClaren and his players try to regroup this week and deal with the intense pressure of a deepening relegation struggle.

Champions Chelsea are due to visit the Riverside in Boro's next Premiership match on Saturday and this only contributes to the pressure in the dressing room.

McClaren did not appear in front of the fans on Saturday night, but Gibson had to face a group of around 20 angry supporters still waiting outside the Riverside two hours after the 4-0 defeat.

He told them: "The only way this club has gone under Steve McClaren is up.

"We have had a bad couple of months but there are reasons for that. We need all the fans to get behind the team."

Gibson stopped short of giving McClaren the dreaded vote of confidence, but made it clear that the manager would be carrying on with his job this week.

The chairman also told the group of fans: "When Steve McClaren came to this club we had only managed 42 points under Terry Venables.

"Since then, we have won the Carling Cup, we have got into Europe the last two years running and we are still in the UEFA Cup. You have to look in the longer term."

Gibson dismissed one fan's suggestion that McClaren appeared to lack passion for the club.

He said: "I can tell you if you had seen Steve McClaren after Saturday's game you would see how passionate he is about this football club."

Gibson also stressed there would be no ban for the fan who ran on to the pitch during the match before hurling his season ticket at manager McClaren after the fourth goal had been conceded.

He said: "That man will get his season ticket back with no action taken by the club because we understand that kind of passion."

When asked about Joey Barton, Gibson also confirmed that the club had a bid for Manchester City's 23-year-old midfielder turned down last week. …

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