Middlesbrough Boss Gareth Southgate has grabbed all his players and is holding them close to his warm bosom. Such is Southgateâ€™s protective instinct that he is urging the â€˜Boro fans to boo him in a bid to deflect opprobrium from his players. The last time â€˜Boro won was on September 1st and their 1-1 draw with struggling Spurs will have prompted the boo boys vocal onslaught but Southgate, who is an experienced boo-veteran (Euro ’96 anyone?), has a skin as thick as a manatee in a leather jacket.
“No matter what people think of what we’re doing, we need the crowd with us,” said Southgate, who was unable to field Jonathan Woodgate after the defender picked up a hamstring injury on Friday. If they choose to criticise me, fine. But the players need every bit of support they can. I think anybody could see that if the crowd turned on the team then that would be detrimental to the performance.â€
Southgate displayed his razor sharp intellect with a truly inspired insight, Southgate said:
“I think the supporters are frustrated and they showed that with their reaction at certain times. Expectations are very high at any club in the Premier League and people don’t have the patience to wait for things to turn around.You accept that any decision you make when you are in the position you are in is going to be queried and highlighted.That’s part and parcel of being a Premier League manager so if you don’t like it, or you’re not prepared to put up with it, don’t bother.”
So ‘fans’ – boo to your hearts content, even if you see him in the street, boo him senseless – he likes it. He likes it like he likes Prawn Cocktail crisps, and that’s a lot.