Steve Gibson: The Downside of a Loyal Chairman

1 06 2009

As a Liverpool supporter there’s not too many things I envy about Middlesbrough. The team has been mid-table regulars for a number of seasons now and finally faced the drop this season. There is one thing I wish we had of theirs though, a loyal chairman like Steve Gibson, or at least I did until the end of this season.

Steve Gibson has always bankrolled Middlesbrough to the best of his abilites, he pulled them back from extinction and turned them into a fairly good Premiership outfit, he even built a new stadium along the way. Not only was Gibson loyal to the club financially he also backed his managers, whether it be Robson, McClaren or in more recent times Southgate he’s always stood up for them even when the going has got tough.

Further away from the dressing room and financial offices of the club he’s also backed the fans, he’s given free tickets to schools and has set up a number of grassroot projects in the clubs name, offering those worse off the chance to get off some of the rougher streets of Middlesbrough and onto a football pitch being trained by some of the best in the country. He’s created a little family at Middlesbrough which is far from what the profit-loving Americans at Liverpool have done.

However, this season has seen all his great deed’s backfire on him. His great loyalty towards his manager has come back to punch him in the face. Still, that may be better than having a season ticket thrown at you, as Steve McClaren or Southgate for their opinion on that particular matter.

In my opinion Steve Gibson’s backing off the headless-chicken of a manager that is  Gareth Southgate has reminded me of another type of animal, an ostrich, hiding its head in the sand and trying to ignore everything that’s going on around him.

Southgate has made mistake after mistake as a manager, from paying £12million for Dutch disaster Afonso Alves to starting Emnes up front in a game which they had to win in order to avoid the drop, his decisions have looked career ending at times, and they would be if he was the manager of any other Premiership club.

Steve Gibson however saw something in Southgate, the player who gained legendary status as a player at the club turned manager. Surely it will all end up okay? Well no, Steve, it didn’t.

The lesson to be learned? You can give ex-players  the management job if you want, it may be worth the risk, but you can’t keep the faith when everything is going wrong and you’re at risk of going down, no matter how good your relationship is with the man you’ve put in charge. Next time Steve listen to the fans, listen to the people around you and only back a manager until they are doing the club you love harm, then get rid.

So, the big question. Would I rather have an owner who has lots of cash but doesn’t have any passion, or a passionate chairman who can’t really compete with the big boys? Well, I wouldn’t mind a rich chairman who loves Liverpool just like I do. any offers?

M.Owen

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