Steve Gibson is once again proving he is one of the best chairmen a football manager can have. This opinion seems strange when he has recently admitted to hatching a plot to sack Gareth Southgate weeks before he actually did (http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport1/hi/football/teams/m/middlesbrough/8318553.stm). He strung Southgate along, knowing fore well that come Tuesday he’d be gone – regardless of the outcome of the Derby game.
So why then is Steve Gibson one of the best? Well firstly his decision was not knee jerk. If he was that way inclined he had numerous opportunities to relieve Southgate of his duties. He could have sack him during the slide towards relegation of straight after. Gibson approached his decision in a calm and measured way. He took results into account but placed a lot of emphasis on performance and who those results were achieved against. One has to think that the 0-5 defeat to West Brom was the catalyst for the decision being taken.
Gibson has said that automatic promotion was always the goal and at the beginning of the season ‘Boro, Newcastle, Sheffield Utd and West Brom was the likely candidates for two spots. Losing 0-5 does not logically lead to the conclusion that ‘Boro could compete.
Secondly, once the decision to replace Southgate had been made, rather than sack him there and then, appoint a caretaker, and find a replacement, he kept Southgate in charge. Genius. Results were not horrendous, particularly away from home, so keep the momentum going. Once the successor had been all but confirmed then the dismissal came. Whilst this is not kind to Southgate it helped the team enormously. Steve Gibson has a responsibility to the club, not Southgate.
Finally, and if the reports are true, then Gibson has selected one the best managers available in Gordon Strachan. He worked wonders at Southampton, Celtic and, to a lesser extent, Coventry. He is the perfect choice to lead ‘Boro into the Premier League next season and give the fans renewed faith.
Well done Steve Gibson, not a set of easy decisions but he has handled them very well and done the club proud.