Birmingham and Middlesbrough have fall out over status

"Some people might not like relegation, promotion, relegation, promotion, but would you want to be a Middlesbrough - stuck in mid-table every season?" said Gold.

"Some people would settle for that because it is better for your heart, but the highs and lows are what football is all about for me."

Middlesbrough chief executive Keith Lamb has hit back, saying, "I was amused to read David's comments that he would rather his side suffered relegation every other season than be like Middlesbrough," he told the club's official website.

"David is a good friend but I can only assume relegation has affected his thinking a little.

"I seriously doubt Boro fans would swap our recent histories.

"Since moving to the Riverside in 1995, we have achieved five major cup finals, are the only English side outside of the so-called big four to have played in a European final, have enjoyed successive seasons of Uefa Cup football, won our first major trophy and enjoyed 11 consecutive years in the Premier League.

"In the meantime, Birmingham have managed a couple of relegations and a lengthy spell in what is now the Championship. Somehow I don't believe even their own supporters would agree their highs and lows have been preferable to ours."

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