Is it Time Steve Gibson Showed a Ruthless Streak?

According to Wikipedia, Steve Gibson, the chairman of Middlesbrough Football Club (or the ‘King of Teesside’ if you prefer), has never rowed with any of his managers.

And to me, that is totally believable. Another piece of trivia is that Steve Gibson is quite possibly the longest serving Chairman that has never brought himself to sack a manager. From the appointment of Bryan Robson, he has always supported his manager. Even when it all started to go wrong, he stuck by Robson, and it paid off. Sort of. A bit.

It wasn’t until we seemed doomed to another relegation that he finally called in Terry Venables to steady the ship as ‘head coach’, and we parted ways with Bryan Robson in the most subtle of ways… Gradually removing all responsibility and sticking colourful things to doorways I would imagine. Thanks to those nifty guys who keep Wikipedia up to date, I can tell you that he managed a 40.4% win ratio during his stay, before the ‘mutual termination’ of his contract.

And onto Steve McClaren. Well, I won’t dwell on what he achieved, but it wasn’t too shabby. A trophy, and European football essentially, before we cunningly convinced the FA that he was a good manager. It seems they didn’t appreciate the irony with which we sang ‘McClaren for England’, in much the same way that our Northern barcoded friends are now calling for Allardyce to go the same way.

Although never made public, its speculated that we received a little over 1 million pounds for a manager with a win rate of 38.8%, only slightly lower than that of his predecessor. However, I have no doubt that had England not come calling, McClaren would still be at the Riverside now, probably trying to secure a move for Scott Carson.

And now, onto Gareth Southgate. Currently winning a measly 27.1% of his games, playing uninspiring football, and driving more fans away from the Riverside despite his promises of ‘beautiful attacking football’, he would be a cert to go at any other club.

However, Middlesbrough is not just ‘any other club’. We’re a club with faith in our managers and our backroom staff. Or whats left of it at least. Steve Gibson’s reasoning behind not appointing an external manager is that everyone he talked to wanted their own backroom staff, and I agree fully. For what people like Colin Cooper, Malcolm Crosby, Dave Parnaby and the like have done, they do not deserve to be forced out of the club.

But some of them are walking of their own accord. Bill Beswick left with McClaren, Paul Barron presumably left because he felt so ashamed of the performances of Mark Schwarzer and Brad Jones while Steve Round fell out with Southgate over philosophy. You can’t even say they just fancied a real change of scenery as two of them are now just up the road at Newcastle.

Perhaps now we should appoint a new manager, a proven manager, someone who will finally realise Steve Gibson’s dream of Middlesbrough in the Champions League. We might have to shuffle the backroom staff, but surely its better to sort the problem now than to wait for everyone to leave? I’m sure no manager could say no to keeping Coops anyway.

Gibson is a clever man, and I’m sure he’s confident of his decisions, but please, we’re getting tired of these absymal performances. We’ve given Southgate almost 50 matches now, more than double than England gave McClaren, and it still hasn’t worked.

Perhaps it is time to abandon the experiment, and get a proper manager in before it’s too late…

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