Rave Review For Southgate Show

WHAT A thoroughly nice bloke. Thoughtful, articulate, reasonable but capable of passion, realistic but very ambitious, serious but with humour, honest, modest, polite, engaging, genuine, diplomatic, human, self-deprecating… but enough about me – did you catch Gareth Southgate in his illuminating hour long Q & A session on Radio Cleveland?
The Boro boss ticked all the right boxes and pressed a lot of populist buttons as he eased to a comfortable PR win. As with the team, it was an open and crowd-pleasing display that was totally unthinkable under the old regime. Stony Steve McClaren’s interaction with supporters was frosty at best and he would never consider making himself available to the local media in such an uncontrolled format. It would have been a string of foot in mouth moments that would have inflamed the mob, sparked new divisions and left in its wake accusations of arrogance, duplicity, self-serving spin and disrespect for the supporters.
But Southgate is far more personable, open and, well, intelligent. He realises the importance of the relationship between the fans and the club and is keen to foster it. He has a feeling for the club and its importance to the people and to the town. What a refreshing change.


It was a propaganda coup for BBC Cleveland too. The Beeb’s more considered Boro coverage is sometimes over-shadowed by the off-the-audible spectrum hysterical superlative-splattered sonic assault that is Ali Brownlee over on commentary rival Century. But with the crisis ravaged Two Legends show staggering towards disaster this timely gem would have prompted a mass switchover that could reap long term benefits. It was good radio.
It didn’t have the explosive political implications as Steve Gibson admitting on the Legends that he though McClarens one up front at home style produced “dross” football and that he intervened to make sure that formation was not used again. Nor the slither of steel in back as Keith Lamb casually told a suspiciously well informed caller that McCalren actually hadn’t signed his new deal he was seen with pen in hand four months previously.
In the Beeb’s Gareth Southgate show there was none of the behind the scenes manoevering, none of the air of crisis management and none of the strained reluctance of what were effectively damage limitation exercises on Century. Southgate’s session was far more relaxed, upbeat and underpinned by a resurgent optimism throughout the fanbase.
The highlights:
The Boro boss said he was pleased at how things were going but insisted there was still a lot of work to be done in changing the outlook and style.
He said that he was working steadily towards his badges and that continually educating yourself was a good thing in whatever field.
He underlined his commitment to the chairman’s vision of a self-sustaining club based on homegrown talent with a strong affinity to the area – “the heartbeat of the team” – but admitted he would still need to buy off the peg to supplement the kids.
He showed he was well aware of Boro’s place in football’s pecking order and had come to terms with the problems of Cockneycentric media bias and poor image and that he was dteermined to put the area on the map through the success of the club.
He lashed into agents and said they did not always act in the best long term interets of the players’ football career.
He spoke spoke warmly of the symbiotic relationship between team and crowd and insisted that full houses and passionate atmospheres had a positive impact on team displays but admitted the side also had a duty to entertain.
Admitted there were problems of perception with the old regime and that, while he felt a loyalty to his former manager and believed there were achievements of real substance, knew that if the club were to take the next step they needed to change their style to a more attackminded and entertaining one.
Confessed a love of parmos which occasionaly appear on the training ground.
Admitted that when on long walks torturing himself over selection dilemmas sometimes “the dog picks the team”.
You can watch/hear the whole thing again – or for a first time if you are an exile – here on the BBC Sports website. You can download it and save it for posterity.

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15 thoughts on “Rave Review For Southgate Show

  1. Doing a decent job but we are still below mid-table as where we have been all season. And in the cups Man Utd are the first premiership side wh have come up against.
    Considering the quality of our squad compared to last season, are we really doing aswell as we should be? I would expect us to be 7th, we are under achieving but southgate can play the ‘new to management’ card.
    It will get tougher next season as fans look to see us push on. But if viduka,schwarzer and woodgate dont stick around that wil lbe tough
    **AV writes: But there has been a marked improvement in the second half of the season and the common consensus last term was that Boro were a side with relegation written all over them.
    Whatever, setting that aside, isn’t it a refereshing change to have a manager capable of understanding and answering the question and do it in an honest and thoughful way?

  2. Vic
    Excellent! Just what I would have wanted to hear – I will make a point of downloading and listening.
    I’m looking forward to Prem safety being secured soon, a Wembley final (I still think our name’s on it) and an interesting close season of squad building with a few exits to open some more headroom.
    Next season – one to look forward to!

  3. When GS was appointed I like many were worried that he was too inexperienced but Steve Gibson has got this appointment spot on.
    Its great to have a manager who gives an honest opinion to the fans and who is open. The improvement in Boro’s football this season has been great to watch and gives me a lot of optimism for the future.
    I also hope that the respect and warmth the players have for GS means he can persuade both The Duke and Woodie to stay.
    If he can pull off that double coup and start next season in the same form as we since Christmas then Alfs assertion that we should finish seventh may become reality.

  4. “**AV writes: But there has been a marked improvement in the second half of the season and the common consensus last term was that Boro were a side with relegation written all over them. ”
    i think we are only 2 points better off than same time last season.
    **AV writes: That is true but if you break the season down into two halves you can see a marked improvement. There are not a lot of wins but Boro are now hard to beat. Some young and new player have bedded in nicely.
    Perhaps more importantly there has been a change in philosophy towards more open football.
    I am not by nature easily moved to optimism but I can see reasons for confidence that were not there at the start of the season.

  5. we are a hard team to beat i agree. thats what steve mac did and el tel when they first arrived. Remember under steve mac we lost four games on the trot and he went back to basics and played with a solid midfield.
    But the hard part is pushing on to go into the top half. which steve mac could not do.
    Look at our last 10 games we have 1 won lost 1 and drawn 8 in normal 90 minutes. So even though we area hard team to beat we are finding it hard to win games.
    The key this season compared to last season is having Cattermol and Arca in there alongside baoteng. Last season rockembach went walk about all ove the pitch and leavingf us exposed to counter attacks. and mendieta was too slow and past his sell by date.
    At times our midfield was over run and lacked pace. now it is more balanced and has other attacking option. Not rocket science what southgate as done as it was obvious last season to a lot of fans what the problem was. .Wonder if mac had stayed on if they would be still getting games?

  6. also like to add. Its no surpise that southgate has binned rockembach because who better than Southgate to judge rockembach, when southgate was a centre back in the same team as rockembach.

  7. When McClaren was in charge I went to every home game as a matter of duty. This calendar year I look forward to every home again and am enjoying them all.
    Crowds are up and entertainment has emerged. Down to a consistent team – same 11 ever yweek, and two strikers up front. When we score a goal we try and score a second and then a third. McClaren would sit back.
    Still some way to go – but light years ahead of where we were. I’m afraid I don’t judge by points, just by entertainment value – and that’s why Southgate’s team is so muych superior to anything McClaren put out!

  8. Since Autumn 2005 many of us have posted about the pending chnages necessary at the club, the ageing squad, the confused tactical thinking, the spin, the disregard of fans.
    Over last season it was clear that change was necessary and that MacMoses would not be the man to be doing it. Luckily we got some money for him and a couple of cronies have left as well.
    In the summer window I posed the question of how good was the squad, would the kids make it. Like many I thought Gate was unproven and was a risk. I was not of the view however that some of the names touted would come here and we didnt want a Curbishley.
    Gibson made his choice and Gate is making his mark on the team.
    Alf poses the valid question are we better off than last year. We have lost several high earners who were unlikely to contribute. After the first half of the season we now are trying to play with shape and purpose and look likely to finish mid table.
    On balance we have moved forward, Arca proving so good in midfield is a huge boost. If we can settle on a right sided blend the future is promising. Woodie and Veruka staying would be great. If they dont there is nothing we can do about it.
    In contrast, under our former leader England are looking more disorganised and confused as each match comes and goes followed by spin and glib PR. Ting, all accompanied by the Colgate smile.
    If Gate continues to learn at his current rate and we move on to seriously challenging for europe next season I will be happy. A win over ManU and a trip to Wembley would do nicely.
    I am quite pleased at this moment in time.

  9. southgate is a great speaker and even after we have lost he says all the right things – unlike the ever smiling steve mclaren.
    what he said about newcastle was good about taking four points “not bad for a smaller club” and also when he talked about the penalt against man u and said “you dont get them against the big clubs do you?” i like him.

  10. Just like to disagree with the above post by Holgate Ender.
    Southgates comments that refer to Boro as a small club show a small minded mentality in my opinion and he should nip this in the bud quick sharpish. He is doing a fine job but does not need to resort to this sort of pettiness.
    Though Boro are not and never will be a massive club in the sense of Man Utd Arsenal etc, we have come on leaps and bounds in terms of stature since the Premier League was formed.
    How many people outside the UK had heard of Boro before 1992-93 compared to now.
    Not many, thats for sure.
    Cut the crap Gareth, you are bigger and better than that and you AND the club do not to be getting a reputation as people with chips on their shoulders!
    **AV writes: To be fair, Southgate said that with tongue firmly in cheek. It had those little American imaginary quote marks round it and all the press corps laughed. Glenn Roeder rose to the bait though and spent most of his session with the hacks spluttering with indignation.

  11. Does this mean southgate will be the next england manager when McClaren is binned?Then cooper becomes manager.
    BTW, i see mogga’s west brom are starting to fade now

  12. sorry man i aint got internet i only go on at uni so does that mean nxt season no white band??? that is really poor man really poor…

  13. I watched my first UEFA cup match since last seasons final last night. I thoroughly enjoyed it, great result, AZ Alkmaar are a fine fine team!!!

  14. Whilst I agree that Gareth came over as a decent, intelligent and honest guy and we can all see the progress the team has made, particularly since Christmas, I was very disappointed in the programme.
    Seldom have I heard a more anodyne set of questions, most of which had little to do with the team or club.
    It sounded as though the editor had filtered out all the interesting callers. No pressing re the Viduka situation or about the parlous state of right midfield, contract for Xavier,etc. Really quite soporific and a missed opportunity for which I blame the editor.
    Cutting edge broadcasting I don’t thinks so.

  15. “Ronaldo cut inside and Woodgate stuck out a foot”
    It seemed more to me like …
    “Ronaldo cut inside Woodgate and stuck out a foot”
    Bring on replay technology!!

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