Middlesbrough have announced the departure of manager Gareth Southgate with immediate effect, despite sitting just one point off top spot in the Championship.
The club announced the decision late last night and will now be on the lookout for a replacement in the hope of returning to the Premiership following last year’s relegation.
“This has been the most difficult decision I’ve had to make in all the time I’ve been in football,” said chairman Steve Gibson.
“Gareth has given Middlesbrough Football Club magnificent service as a skipper and, in very difficult circumstances, as manager.
“I appointed Gareth in a situation that was greatly unfavourable to him.
“He is a good man and has all the qualities and integrity that we wanted in a manager.
“However, the time is right for change and that change has had to be made.”
Despite the club’s current league position, Gibson said that both performances and reults were not of the required standard, hence the decision.
“When I sat down and considered our start to the season, I felt that the league table was actually more favourable than some of our performances,” Gibson continued.
“Then I looked at the important games against the teams immediately around us, and took those results into account.
“In general the results and the performances have not been to the level I would have hoped for.
“Before last night, our five home games had brought in seven points. That will not get us promoted – and promotion is the only objective for the season.”
The decision comes despite a 2-0 win over Derby County last night.
Southgate moved to the Riverside as a player in 2001 from Aston Villa and captained them to a League Cup victory in 2004 before becoming manager in2006.