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Were Boro’ right to sack Southgate?

27 October 2009 by bfcfan1882

After  160 club appearances and taking charge of 127 games ,  Middlesbrough’s adopted son Gareth Southgate was sacked as manager.

Southgate didn’t have the most perfect record with Boro’. Out of the 127 games that he took charge of, he won 36, drew 35 and lost 56. But what was the reason behind Southgate’s sacking? Middlesbrough are lying in 4th place in the Coca Cola Championship, just 3 points behind local rivals Newcastle United who occupy the top spot – this would lead me to believe that the current standing of Middlesbrough isn’t the real reason.

Southgate and Shearer after losing 3-1
to Newcastle in May

With rumours of deceit and wrong-doing emanating from the banks of the Riverside Stadium, enter chairman Steve Gibson. He was quoted as saying “Gareth has given Boro’ magnificent service as a skipper and, in very difficult circumstances, as manager”. Gibson went on to mention that Southgate is a good man and was put in a very unfavourable situation when hired as manager.
Along with this, the rumours were rife amongst many media outlets, speculating that Gordon Strachan had been interviewed behind the back of Gareth Southgate. Steve Gibson countered this by admitting to the media that the decision to replace Southgate had been made two weeks before the 2-0 victory over Derby County, this being around the time where they were defeated 5-0 by West Bromwich Albion.
Surely the club was calling for a change after a terrible final season in the Premier League and falling slightly behind in the Championship. Steve Gibson said “The time is right for change and that change has had to be made”.
The change has been made, with Gordon Strachan being announced on Monday as the new manager of Middlesbrough. With the vacant managerial position being filled within 5 days, it could truly back up the claims that Strachan had been interviewed whilst Southgate was still on the training pitch with the players.
Gordon Strachan under his tenure at Celtic

Strachan brings a wealth of knowledge to the Riverside Stadium, with 13 years experience ranging from 96′ where he was player-manager at Coventry City, which built the foundations for a prestigious managerial career to date. This still doesn’t answer the question as to whether Southgate was rightly sacked. Was it that the boardroom wanted change? Was it the dropping attendances at the Riverside? Could it be an unknown bust-up between Southgate and the Boardroom/players? Or could it possibly be a combination of all or some of these?
I personally believe that it was time for change, as the old saying goes – ‘a change is as good as a rest’. Dwindling attendances and poor results in the final full season of Southgate’s tenure, along with a few poor results this season – although it still leaves Boro’ only 3 points behind top spot – leads me to believe that the key to Southgate’s demise was Gareth Southgate. Boro’ were right to sack Southgate, with a tough season ahead and many hurdles before a return to the promised land, Boro’ needed to build from the bottom upwards starting with the manager.

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