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Gibson addresses Boro's pressing issues head on
STEVE Gibson has earned a reputation as one of the most loyal chairmen in football, so when he dismissed Middlesbrough legend Tony Mowbray as manager on Monday, he did so with a heavy heart.
He is now engaged in the search for Mowbray’s successor, with caretaker boss Mark Venus a viable candidate as he prepares for this evening’s home game with Doncaster Rovers.
Despite struggling in 16th position in the Championship, Gibson continues to regard the Middlesbrough job as one of the most appealing in English football, citing the infrastructure, wage bill and wider financial support as factors that any manager would covet.
In an interview with Chief Sports Writer Scott Wilson, the Boro chief addressed the main issues affecting the club as it looks to rebuild.
Gibson on Tony Mowbray:
“It was a huge decision, but it was an easy decision to make given our performance in this calendar year. Tony is a great guy and I love him to bits. I’ve got great respect for him, but this is a results-driven business, and our results for this calendar year have been totally unacceptable.
“The decision wasn’t a difficult one to make, but implementing it was because he’s a really good guy, and it’s a decision that nobody wanted to take.
“That’s it really, and we have to move on. I wish Tony all the luck in the world and I hope he’s kept within football. But we have to look forward now.
Gibson on Middlesbrough’s financial position:
“Every manager at this football club in the last 20 years has had the resource to compete. I am sick, and I don’t want to hear any more, about the financial restrictions at our football club. It’s a myth, it doesn’t exist.
“There can be no complaints from any manager about the resource at this club. We are competitive in this league, and are in the top six in terms of wage bill. We’re certainly in the top six in terms of transfer spending, and we’re certainly in the top six in terms of the resource that is spent behind the scenes.
“We have a fantastic medical department, fantastic sports scientists, fantastic everything. We are free of debt. We have a modern stadium and one of the best training facilities, not in the Championship, not even in the Premier League, but in Europe.
“Whoever comes in, comes in with a club that is in a great position to bounce forward, and that’s what we have to do.
Gibson on parachute payments:
“If we look at the clubs that have come down from the Premier League, very few bounce back in the first year. In fact, quite a lot have done what we’ve done – they come down, and they stay down for a while. Indeed, some clubs have even passed through to a lower tier – we’ve seen that with Wolves, Sheffield Wednesday and Sheffield United recently.
“This myth that you need a parachute payment to save your club – when you’re relegated, you have players on Premier League wages who are not Premier League footballers but it takes three or four years for their contracts to run down.
Gibson on Financial Fair Play:
“Financial Fair Play is not just for Middlesbrough, it’s for every team in the league. We are not handicapped in any way more than any other club. We can actually provide the funding to take us up to the maximum of Financial Fair Play, and we’re probably one of only half a dozen clubs that can do that.
“We have an owner and shareholder who’s willing to back the club to the maximum amount. This year, Financial Fair Play allows a substantial amount of investment from owners. It’s whether the owner has the ability to do it, and we do, and we are.
Gibson on future ambitions:
“We’re a Premier League club that’s currently languishing in the Championship. We’re Premier League in everything but on the pitch, and that is what we’re striving to change.
“History shows it’s possible to get to the play-offs from where we are. There are many clubs that have been in our position and come with a late run that’s took them all the way up.
“We have to find the right manager. Could it be Mark Venus? I don’t rule that out. We have our list and we will work through it slowly. We will do our research and speak to others, and we will hopefully come up with somebody who is capable.
“We mustn’t underestimate the degree of difficulty of getting out of this league. This is a tough league. There are 23 competitors and we have no right to be in the Premier League as a town or a club. We have to be clever and work at it.
“We need as much resource as we can get from the fan base, and we need people to turn up and be supportive.
Gibson on the Middlesbrough fans:
“When we’ve been at our darkest, our fans have been magnificent. Against Yeovil, when we went 1-0 down, they responded. When we were getting beat at Barnsley, it was only when it went to three that they made their feelings known.
“The truth is, I think I led the booing against Barnsley. I was so disappointed and frustrated. We understand what people feel. Our fans – those that come – we are very, very proud of. We took 2,300 fans to Barnsley and we’ve got the Twe12th Man and the Red Faction who are absolutely magnificent.
“I know we will get the same support on Friday and we hope to have the Riverside bouncing. Let’s get behind the club and the players. I’ve challenged the players to show they care as much as the fans, and we want a response.”
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