Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Football: Gibson Support Lifts Southgate

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Football: Gibson Support Lifts Southgate

Article excerpt

Byline: By Jack Pickering

GARETH Southgate claims Middlesbrough chairman Steve Gibson would replace him if he felt it was the best thing for the club.

The 37-year-old continues to enjoy the full support of arguably the most supportive chairman in the Premier League.

However, while he is eternally grateful for the backing of a man who has employed only three managers in almost 14 years, he knows the club rather than their relationship is the most important thing.

Southgate said: "I was looking at the managers in the league and I think there are 12 teams now whose managers were appointed after me, and I have only been in the job for 16, 17 months.

"It's the nature of the job, seemingly. I am fortunate that I have got a very strong chairman, who is not swayed by knee-jerk reactions. I keep saying we know what we have got, we know the reasons why we are where we are and we do not look to make excuses about that, that's fact.

"We have to get our heads down and keep working, there is no substitute for that. If he thought a change would be of benefit to the club, I am sure he would do it."

For all he finds himself in an enviable position as a new manager, Southgate is equally well aware results will ultimately determine just how long he gets to put his long-term plans into action.

He heads to Reading today looking for a first league victory in nine attempts having been spared a place in the bottom three last weekend only by North-East rivals Sunderland's 7-1 hammering at Everton.

He said: "I do not want to be in the position I am in and I do not want us as a club to be in the position we are in.

"We are not accepting of it, we are not enjoying it in any shape or form in terms of being in the league position we are in.

"But we know it is in our own hands to turn it around and we have got to focus on the things we can affect."

Confidence was in short supply at the Riverside Stadium last weekend as a promising first-half display ebbed away into a 3-0 away victory for Aston Villa.

Once again, there were thousands of empty seats, a fact which has implications for what Southgate will be able to do in the January transfer window. …

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