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Gibson ready to hand Southgate more cash

Steve Gibson has promised to do all he can to bring the biggest names to Teesside as he attempts to hand Gareth Southgate the tools to make Middlesbrough a power in English football.

The Boro chairman has famously backed all his managers handsomely in the transfer market over the years, finding the cash to recruit the likes of Juninho, Fabrizio Ravanelli, Paul Merson and more recently, record signing Afonso Alves.

But in a message to thousands of current season card holders at the Riverside Stadium, Gibson has set out his vision for a bright future with a particular focus on the next generation of supporters.

He said: 'The groundwork is in place for the team and the club to really go forward next season.

'We want to bring the best that we can to this club. We have a search for global talent. We want to be in a position to be able to attract the best world talent.

'We have done that with Alves, Tuncay and others and just look what we have done in the past with the likes of Juninho, Ravanelli and Merson.'

Gibson's comments are included in a dvd to accompany the launch of the club's season card renewal prices under which existing holders can pay the same as they did for the current campaign before May 11, while under-18s can see every home league game for just £95, a reduction of up to 75% in some sections of the stadium.

Gibson said: 'The fans are everything. Without them, there's no point in us being here. We need their vocal and financial support for all games, not just the big fixtures, and we want full houses.

'Look at the last 10 years. We understand we have had some inevitable lows, but look at the tremendous highs we have had.

'Be proud of the club, get behind the club, get behind this manager - and we will do everything we can to produce a team that the town and the fans can be proud of.'

Southgate has never had any doubt over his chairman's continued commitment to the club he rescued from the brink of collapse more than two decades ago.

He said: 'I know how he is thinking because we obviously have those conversations anyway, but it is important the supporters know that.

'People sometimes have said does he still possess that enthusiasm to do it after this length of time, and I think it is clear that he does from my work with him, but also what he is saying publicly.

'He is as driven as ever to make this club as successful as it possibly can be, and because of his desire and his drive, I don't think that will ever change.'

However, Southgate is particularly happy with the decision to target younger fans amid fears they are being priced out of football.

He said: 'Across football because of the expense of going, the age range of people who go has slowly got older and older, and there has been a danger that football has priced younger supporters out of it.

'We have taken that step to try to encourage younger supporters back knowing that they are our future.

'We need to excite the young fans, we need to get them in the habit of coming to games and feeling part of the club and part of the team.

'The offer for under-18s is outstanding, in my opinion, and I hope the fans respond to that and take up the offer.'

Meanwhile, Southgate revealed that midfielder Gary O'Neil will miss the rest of the season after undergoing surgery to repair a tear in his lateral knee ligament.