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 Posted by ESPN Staff
Feb 21, 2008

Gibson: Boro's David v Goliath battle with top clubs

Middlesbrough chairman Steve Gibson claims his club is engaged in a ``David and Goliath'' battle with the Barclays Premier League's big guns.

The man who continues to fund the Teessiders' efforts to break into the upper echelons of the division on a regular basis is in little doubt as to how unequal a challenge that is.

Speaking to members of Boro's supporters' club at the Riverside Stadium earlier this week, he said: ``To keep this football club in the Premier League for the last 10 years or so has been a tremendous achievement.

``I would hope that the next 10 years are better than the last 10.

``But I am a realist - we are not going to win the Premier League and we are not going to win the Champions League.

``It is a game of resource and the likes of Manchester United are just so far ahead. Our income simply doesn't compare to the likes of Manchester United, Arsenal and Chelsea.

``We are David taking on Goliath.''

It was Gibson who provided the finance for manager Gareth Southgate to make a club record swoop for Brazilian striker Afonso Alves last month despite having to underwrite a £17million loss for the last financial year.

But he admitted once the Heerenveen frontman saw the facilities at Boro's Rockliffe Park training headquarters and the Riverside, the job was half done.

Gibson said: ``As soon as we get the players here, we win them.

``Afonso Alves was gobsmacked when he first came here and saw Rockliffe Park and then the Riverside.''

The Teessiders like to do their business in private, but were caught out when they brought Alves to the north-east for a hush-hush visit, only to run into fans who were having Sunday lunch at the stadium.

Gibson said: ``It was always planned to take Alves to the Riverside and show him around - what was not planned was to bump into dozens of supporters enjoying their Sunday lunch.''