Premier League boom could turn to bust, feels Middlesbrough manager

December 18th, 2008 - 3:07 pm ICT by IANS  

London, Dec 18 (IANS) Middlesbrough manager Gareth Southgate feels that English football may be heading for an economic meltdown.”I can see a Serie A-style collapse happening in English football. I think there’s a danger about our game that people think it will just keep growing - but there may have to be a period when clubs change the way they do things,” Southgate was quoted as saying by the Guardian.

“Everything goes in cycles. A few years ago Serie A was definitely the place to play. All the money was in their league and it was the place where players got paid the most. That place is now the Premier League. We have the best players at the moment but history tells us that things don’t always stay that way forever,” he added.

Middlesbrough have tightened their belts since Southgate succeeded Steve McClaren in 2006. Club chairman Steve Gibson has decreed that his club can no longer afford to pay the big transfer fees and generous wages that characterised Bryan Robson’s and McClaren’s managerial tenures.

“People say, ‘you can’t afford to drop out of the league so you need to spend’ but the way we were going I’m not sure if we could continue to afford to stay in it,” said Southgate. “You’ve got to be strong-minded enough to take a different view on things.”

Southgate hoped that one day the club will be self-sufficient and no longer necessarily bank-rolled by Gibson, who does not draw any salary or dividends from the club.

“The long-term stability and survival of this club is the most important thing. Myself and the chairman have got to make sure that when we pass on the reins here it’s in a healthy position for people to pick up,” he added.

Southgate is also convinced Boro are not alone in needing to cut their cloth according to reduced means.

“We’re quite honest about our financial situation but I think a lot of clubs are in a similar position. Clubs that are in the process of being sold, that we hear have got to move players on, have got to reduce wage bills,” he said.

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