Southgate Stunned…Eventually

Gareth Southgate has admitted the reality of losing his job as Middlesbrough manager is only just sinking in.

“At first, I thought the Chairman was joking”, says Southgate. “He’s like that: always pulling practical jokes. When Mr. Gibson told me, I was smiling. Waiting for the punchline, you know? Or for him to grab me by the nose and wrestle me to the ground like he usually does…when he walked out without saying anything, I thought it was wind-up”.

Sadly for Southgate, it was nothing of the sort. The day after his dismissal, Southgate turned up for work as usual. “I burst into the changing room expecting all the lads to shout ‘Surprise!’. But it was empty and I was all alone”.

Southgate went to his office, expecting to find a note from Gibson telling him he had been the butt of one of his jokes. Instead, he found his possessions being carried out by furniture removers.

Southgate says he began to get a feeling it wasn’t a joke when he saw his image being covered up on the 2009-2010 team photo in reception. “One of the secretaries had a picture of Gordon Strachan and was glueing his head onto my body”.