Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Gibson's Vision Paying off at Middlesbrough

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Gibson's Vision Paying off at Middlesbrough

Article excerpt

TWO games to go in the Championship and Middlesbrough are a fraction away from booking a return to the Premier League.

It has been a long and hard road back for Boro, who have been bruised in a way that Newcastle weren't by their demotion to the Championship. Which just illuminates the vision of long-time owner Steve Gibson, who took a gamble and appointed Aitor Karanka in a bold new direction.

They will play in front of a sold-out Riverside against Chris Hughton's Brighton and must hope that one or both of Bournemouth - quite the story themselves - and Watford slip up to give them the chance to sneak into the automatic promotion slots.

Even if they don't, the foundations of something pretty impressive have been laid on Teesside. A club that seemed to be on its knees has been inspired by Karanka but really, it is Gibson's commitment to the cause and loyalty to his club that will be rewarded if they do it.

Putting aside the rivalries that swirl around this region - is there any Newcastle or Sunderland fan who could begrudge them a return to the top flight? Certainly not here.

Down at the bottom of the Football League, another Teesside club find themselves back in the thick of a fight they must have thought they were going to be well clear of by this point.

Ronnie Moore's renaissance is running out of steam at just the wrong time and a look at the League Two table is worrying. Two from three of Pool, Tranmere and Cheltenham are going to go down and Hartlepool face an Exeter side that could still make it into the play-offs on Saturday.

Then it is a trip to Carlisle, who have faced a long and grim season themselves. Keith Curle kept the Cumbrians in the Football League but there won't be much celebrating at Brunton Park. That is a club going backwards at an alarming rate.

You could say the same about Pool - and both need to start again from the bottom. But Boro, bustling their way back, are proof it really can be done. …

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