Times must be hard on Teesside if Middelesbrough boss Gareth Southgate is feeling the heat.
Boro were comprehensively beaten 3-0 by relegation rivals West Brom at The Hawthorns on Saturday to leave them in the relegation zone after a run of 10 Premier League games without a win.
Southgate, who has been in charge of the Riverside outfit for two-and-a-half years, has been through sticky times before but this time he has admitted his ever-supportive chairman Steve Gibson would have every right to end his time at the club saying:
If Steve (Gibson, owner and chairman) thinks there needs to be change, he will make a change. I could have no complaints if he did based on the results we have had.
The circumstances we are in as a club, and the things we’ve worked on together, lead me to believe he is totally supportive of what we are doing. But you have to accept as a manager, and the nature of the industry, that change can happen anytime and I don’t sit here thinking ‘I’m bullet-proof.
I will continue to give every ounce of energy to this club until someone tells me otherwise.
Gibson is widely regarded as one of the ‘best’ chairman in the top flight and has a very close relationship with Southgate, who had a five-year spell as a player at The Riverside. And all the indications are that Southgate will be given time to turn things around, but the football odds compilers are not so confident and Boro are third favourites for the drop.
Newly-promoted Stoke and West Brom are the bookies’ top two for the chop with Betfair offering a tempting 3.9 about Southgate’s Boro ending their 10-year stay in the top division.
By Phil Tomlinson