FOR a managerial novice, stepping into the dugout for the first time must be a daunting prospect, regardless of confidence or playing experience, but for Michael Carrick it was a huge help to know he had Middlesbrough's "biggest supporter" in his corner.

From the moment Carrick first met Steve Gibson to discuss the possibility of taking charge after the exit of Chris Wilder, he was struck by the Boro chairman's passion and love for the club and the area.

Carrick knows that he's extremely fortunate to be working for a chairman who cares so deeply for the club, but backs his managers without interfering.

Gibson remains as driven as ever and is desperate to get Boro back to the Premier League. And Carrick wants to make his boss's dream come true.

“Steve has been incredible for this football club and I could see straight away when I first met him his passion for the football club and also the area," says Carrick.

"You can tell how much it means to him. I want him to get excited and be passionate, because that’s why he’s still in it. He still wants to achieve things and try and build this club and make it great. He wants us to get back to the top tier and pushing to be better all the time. That’s his dream, if you like.

"It’s not for me to calm him down because he’s his own man and he’s done incredible things for this area. For us in it, building the team for a performance on a weekend, it’s a little bit different. But I would never try and calm him down or fire him up.

"He runs the whole thing and does that incredibly well. He’s given me terrific support since I’ve been here, and while that support has been amazing, at the same point it’s not in any way interfering. He lets us get on with it. I think the biggest thing I could say is that he’s our biggest supporter and you can really feel that."


Carrick has taken to management like a duck to water, overseeing a transformation on Teesside in just four months, turning a side that looked destined for a scrap to avoid relegation into League One into contenders - favourites perhaps - for promotion to the Premier League.

But it's been an enormous help, says Carrick, to have such support from the chairman.

The head coach knows the opportunity to work for a local owner who invests so much both financially and emotionally in the club is no longer a common occurrence in the game.

He said: “I think it’s becoming more and more difficult [to find owners like Steve] just because of the value and money in the game really. That’s understandable and I do feel very fortunate to be in this position, being at a club like this when it’s so stable and calm and having someone like Steve at the head of it who understands what it’s all about and what it takes.

"And, for someone in my position in this position for the first time, knowing I have someone like Steve for the support I might need.

"I’ve always coped fine with pressure, but I think you’ll understand that with Steve there isn’t that intensity. It’s all about support and enjoying the ride and the emotion of it, which is exactly why he’s in the position he’s in. It’s for the love of it, and so it should be.”