Middlesbrough supporters can now heave a sigh of relief while the likes of Tottenham Hotspur and Newcastle United need to draw out their hankies and dab at the corner of their eyes. Because England international winger Stewart Downing has signed a new 5-year contract with the club.
Sky Sports reports that Downing will now remain a Boro player until the summer of 2013 and quotes the 23-year old as saying:
This is where I want to be. It’s my hometown club, but I had told them that I didn’t want us to stand still. Signing Alves shows how ambitious we are. There’s been talk about other clubs, but I never wanted out. This is what I’ve wanted all along. I’d like to thank the fans for the support they have given me. They could have really got on my back in recent weeks in response to all that was being said. But they have been great.
Downing’s relationship with the club and the fans was impaired in January when he handed in a transfer request which was subsequently rejected. Downing then denied to open any contract negotiation with the club but manager Gareth Southgate continuously motivated him to do so and has ultimately been able to convince the player than the Riverside is where he belongs.