Setanta Say Boro And Toon For The Drop!

Last updated : 23 May 2009 By Boro Mad

Boro have struggled in attack. They have obviously sold key players, they are a club that has always tried to live within the budget set by Steve Gibson who is, as people widely acknowledge, one of the best chairmen in The Premier League, and I think it is a sign of our times that when Steve Gibson joined the board in his early 20s, in the mid 1980s, his money was a very significant factor behind the rebirth of Middlesbrough and his fortune, such as it was, had a significant impact on the club. His fortune hasn't diminished that much but so many other people with real money are now involved, he can't have as much of an influence any more.

I think Southgate and the chairman work very closely together and I think that Steve Gibson has made it known that the budget was a fairly strict one in which he had to operate, to the extent that you look at the balance of the squad and there isn't a proven goalscorer fit and available, maybe you ask questions of the manager, but I think that in the medium to long term Gareth Southgate could prove to be a very good manager. I think he is the right pick at the wrong time for Middlesbrough but he will continue to enjoy the patronage of Steve Gibson and, just like Bryan Robson 12 years ago, the last time that Boro went down, he will have the chance to right a few wrongs and try and bring them back up.

They are a very stable club. It is not like they could go and say to a proven, world-class manager, right come and manage us, firstly because they couldn't afford him and secondly because the job wouldn't seem very attractive because they would be in The Championship, so they might as well stick with continuity and the benefit of having one of the best academies in the country under Dave Parnaby.

They have produced a stream of young players, and there are more on the way. Josh Walker I think will be involved on Sunday and Rhys Williams has just come back from a loan spell with Burnley. There are other players like Seb Hines and Nathan Porritt who are on the fringe of the first-team squad who will get a chance in The Championship next year and if they do come up they'll possibly be ready to make the step up to The Premier League. So there is a case for saying that short-term pain may lead to long-term gain.


I think Newcastle is a fascinating case study in over-extending yourself really, and having false dreams. It is not too dissimilar to Leeds United five or six years ago. I think the trump card they have is Alan Shearer. At least they have someone who connects between boardroom and supporters. I am fairly certain that he will stay and he would be well-placed to try and lead them back into The Premier League.

They will always have a lot of money coming through the gate, even if they go down they will have possibly 40,000 coming every week, and while they miss out on advertising and TV revenue they will have the parachute payments for two years. I expect them to make a decent fist of it if they do go down. Bringing in Shearer was the only thing they could do. They were in a desperate situation and they had to do something, it perhaps smacked of desperation at the time and the jury is probably still out on Shearer as it is far too early to make any judgements. What you can say is that he brought some self-respect to the club.

It is my feeling that Alan Shearer will stay and galvanise the club. I know behind the scenes there is a lot of bargaining going on. If Shearer does stay I think he is keen to have the money to lavish on the team to make the difference, and I think that is a potential sticking point at present. There is a battle to be had over the playing budget for next season if Shearer does stay.
I don't think Mike Ashley is suggesting they will spend as much money on the playing side as Shearer would like, it is a debating point when it comes to negotiating Shearer's future at the club. But the key thing for Ashley is that he has to have Shearer at the club, if he does want to sell the club it is worth more with Shearer there than it is without him.