Southgate grateful to Middlesbrough chairman over Alves deal

Gareth Southgate has paid a glowing tribute to his Middlesbrough chairman Steve Gibson for bankrolling the £12million club-record purchase of Brazilian hot-shot Afonso Alves.

With an increasing number of Barclays Premier League clubs coming under foreign ownership, Gibson is one of the few English owners left in the division. The fact he is a lifelong fan of the club he owns and grew up within walking distance of the Riverside Stadium makes him just about unique in English football.

Southgate believes Boro's audacious capture of the prolific Alves from Heerenveen and the fact that bids were also lodged for fellow Brazilians Fred, of Lyon, and CSKA Moscow's Wagner Love, will silence the critics.

He said: "I've heard criticism from some quarters aimed at the chairman for allegedly not backing the team, but this proves just how fortunate we are to have a chairman like Steve.

"No way would this deal have been done without his support. As a manager, I'm delighted to have a chairman like him behind me."

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