JON Gittens, the former Middlesbrough defender, has died aged 55.

He scored the goal at Wolves in 1992 that earned Boro promotion to the Premier League, the first season for the rebranded league.

He played 24 times for Boro after initially joining on loan from Swindon.

“Our thoughts and condolences are with Jon’s family and friends’’ read a club statement.

Neil Maddison, the BBC Tees commentator, said on Twitter: "So sad to hear the news that Jon Gittens has passed away. Played for Saints and Boro and I was his apprentice for 2 seasons at Saints. A great guy who will be massively missed. RIP my friend."

He joined Southampton in 1985 before moving to Swindon, where he made 165 appearances.

He went back to Southampton in 1991, before moving to Portsmouth in 1993 upon leaving Boro and later played for Torquay, Exeter and Nuneaton before retiring and taking up the manager's job at Fareham.