Boro back Southgate

Gareth Southgate will remain as manager of Middlesbrough and try and guide them to an immediate return to the Premier League the club chairman Steve Gibson said on Tuesday.

The 38-year-old former England international has been in charge since June 2006 but having taken them to 13th in his first campaign he failed to keep them up this term as they joined fellow North east club Newcastle in being relegated.

However, Gibson, who has bankrolled the club for well over a decade insisted that Southgate - capped 57 times by England but who will probably be best remembered for failing to convert a penalty in the UEFA EURO '96 semi-final defeat to Germany - was the right man for the onerous task of lifting them out of the Championship.

"Gareth has convinced me he knows what it takes to get us back up," Gibson told BBC Radio after meeting with Southgate. He is a man I know and admire and we will work together to get this club back to the Premier League."

He is a good man, an intelligent man capable of being a top, top manager,
Middlesbrough chairman Steve Gibson on manager Gareth Southgate.

Gibson, who has seen his side lift the League Cup and reach the UEFA Cup final when Steve McClaren was in charge, said that there should be no witch hunt of Southgate. "We will not have a scapegoat at this football club, it will not be Gareth Southgate," added Gibson.

"He is a good man, an intelligent man capable of being a top, top manager. What we need is the support of the fans and the town, and let's work together to get the club back in the Premier League. You may disagree with my decision and I respect that, but I have to make the decision and I am convinced that Gareth is the right man for the job."

Gibson also rejected claims that the club was in a parlous state financially and was in no danger of going into administration, insisting that the £90 million debt had been reduced by two thirds. He was also at pains to deny he was pleased they had fallen into the Championship so it would mean he could cut costs with several of their higher paid stars set to move on such as Turkish international Tuncay Sanli.

"We hate the Championship, we don't want to be here," he said. "We are a Premier League club, we are a Premier League town with Premier League supporters.

"At the moment, I am a Championship chairman - I want to be a Premier League chairman. It's daft to suggest anything else. It's just daft. There is no evidence to support that theory whatsoever."