Mowbray full of praise for Gibson's methods

BORO PASSION: Chairman Steve Gibson

BORO PASSION: Chairman Steve Gibson

First published in Sport The Northern Echo: Photograph of the Author by , Sports Reporter

AS he continues to push the club back towards the Premier League, Tony Mowbray has paid tribute to chairman Steve Gibson for standing by the club during testing times.

Mowbray's side go to Cardiff City tomorrow and a win could take them back to the top of the Championship after eight games without defeat.

Such form has brought a feelgood factor back to the club and that was evident during last Friday's bumper crowd for the win over Sheffield Wednesday.

It's clear Mowbray and his men have recaptured the imagination of their public, but the boss admits a lot of the credit must go to Gibson.

The Teessiders are enjoying a brilliant high, but the financial turmoil has engulfed the club in recent years and their relegation from the Premier League offers a reminder that things can change quickly.

Boro are now in a better financial position than they were a couple of years ago, but Mowbray insists things could have been very different had it not been for Gibson's genuine affection for the club and the town.

Where some football chairmen have failed, Gibson has continued to hold a good relationship with the Teesside public and much of that is down to the loyalty he has demonstrated since bringing the club back from the brink in 1986.

"As a supporter of the football club for many years, it is very difficult to point any fingers at the chairman over a lot of years," said Mowbray, who is expected to be named October manager of the month today.

"We found ourselves in a situation and without the chairman subsidising that out of his own pocket this club would have been in a little bit of trouble.

"It's a really hard adjustment to make from Premier League salaries to Championship salaries, especially when you didn't see it coming.

"I don't see any real areas where the chairman is up for criticism and I think supporters realise that. I saw the big banner at the game the other day thanking the chairman for the ticket deal he had just done.

"I know from my conversations with him that his first thought is really for the community of Teesside and I think that's why he wants his club to be successful so the people have smiles on their faces."

Gibson's support has been paramount to Boro's survival and the chairman has had to make several difficult decisions over the last few years.

Even when the club was teetering on the brink of League One football under Gordon Strachan and close to the edge financially, Gibson remained determined to keep the club afloat.

"I'm sure there will have been stages over the last 20-odd years when he has been more interested than other times and yet he's continually supported us whether his main goal was something else," Mowbray said.

"I'd imagine early on that was to build his own company as big as he could and at the same time invest in the club and bring great stars like Juninho and Ravanelli and yet the past four years have probably been tough for him.

"He's has to readjust the finances and make some very tough decisions about people he really cares for and yet the finances dictated that some of those decisions had to be made.

"I think at this moment in time he seems very engaged in the football club, very positive in trying to help us get back to the Premier League and the longer we can keep that going the better chance we are going to have."

Mowbray is also thankful for being able to get on with his job and for having the opportunity to manage the club his own way.

With money still tight, Mowbray has been allowed to bring in players he deems capable of helping the club gain promotion.

Although he admits he isn't the type of manager to speak to his chairman on a daily basis, Mowbray insists he has a good working relationship with Gibson and hopes they will continue to better the club for years to come.

He said: "I think my managerial style isn't necessarily to pick the phone up to the chairman every day, but he knows my number!

"He is very supportive and I think good management is not always to pick the phone up when you've had a great result and tell you how good everything is.

"It's sometimes better when you've had a few bad results and he tells you not to worry about things.

"I think he understands that, his management skills are good. I like to get on with the job, work on the work floor and the chairman can pick the phone up and ask everything.

"Generally it's a good working relationship that has the strength when we don't have to speak every day because the club is in safe hands.

"Steve Gibson is a good man and has been supportive in the two years I've been here and hopefully that will continue."

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