Middlesbrough chairman Steve Gibson was today launching his search for a new manager after Gordon Strachan tore up his contract with the struggling club.
Gibson revealed his telephone was ringing off the hook once it emerged that Strachan’s stay at the Riverside Stadium was coming to an end last night.
The 53-year-old Scot, who succeeded Gareth Southgate last year, offered his resignation and chose to walk away without compensation after a spell on Teesside which brought only 13 victories in 46 attempts.
Gibson, a fan himself, promised he would do all within his power to forge a recovery at a club which barely four years ago played in the UEFA Cup final.
He told BBC Tees: “It would be dishonest to day I have enjoyed the last two or three years – I am a Middlesbrough fan, it has been bloody awful.
“But I am the one guy who can have more influence than anybody else in changing that around.
“It’s time to dig deep, it is time to be ferocious in our commitment and to be tenacious.
“That’s what we have got to do and that’s what we are going to do, and let’s turn this club around.
“It won’t be overnight, but we will turn this club around.”
The name of former Middlesbrough defender Tony Mowbray has been on the lips of Strachan’s sternest critics for some time, but Gibson was refusing to put forward names as he considered a list of potential candidates, with speculation also linking the likes of Paul Ince, Paul Jewell and Alan Curbishley with the job.
While he is giving nothing away, Gibson is confident the club remains an attractive proposition.
He said: “I think we are very attractive with our facilities, with our fans. We have got to be as good as it gets, certainly in the Championship.
“We have got a long Premier League pedigree with no small success in the last decade.
“We have got to be as interesting as it gets for any manager outside the top half of the Premier League.”
Strachan’s demise was confirmed at around 6pm, although it was clear his departure was inevitable earlier in the day with the manager having cancelled his pre-match press conference ahead of tonight’s npower Championship trip to Nottingham Forest, ostensibly because of illness.
He had met Gibson earlier in the day and had his resignation accepted, and coaches Steve Agnew and Mark Proctor will be in temporary charge at the City Ground.
Gibson said: “He kept on saying the biggest regret was he had let the fans down, he has let the club down, he had let me and [chief executive] Keith Lamb down personally.
“He was quite tortured in the end, and I hope he goes away and feels some relief, spends some time with his lovely wife and family and gets back to enjoying life.
“It’s been a torrid time for him.”
Boro currently sit in 20th place in the table, 16 points adrift of leaders QPR and seven shy of the play-offs.