MIDDLESBROUGH FC have tonight announced that manager Gareth Southgate has been relieved of his position with immediate effect.
Football consultant Alan Smith will also be leaving the club as part of the change.
Chairman Steve Gibson said:
"This has been the most difficult decision I've had to make in all the time I've been in football.
"Gareth has given Middlesbrough Football Club magnificent service as a skipper and, in very difficult circumstances, as manager.
"I appointed Gareth in a situation that was greatly unfavourable to him.
"He is a good man and has all the qualities and integrity that we wanted in a manager.
"However, the time is right for change and that change has had to be made.
"Gareth will always be welcome at our football club. English football needs people of his stature and we feel certain that this experience will serve him well.
"Gareth deserves another opportunity once he has had the chance to rest and refresh himself."
The club will not be making any further comment at this time.
Now chairman Steve Gibson has made the decision to axe Southgate, the first manager he has ever sacked as Boro supremo. - Ariff Ahmad