Southgate - I didn't buy Alves
Former Middlesbrough manager Gareth Southgate has, for the first time, revealed he did not sign Afonso Alves.
Last Updated: 09/10/10 12:39pm
Former Middlesbrough manager Gareth Southgate has, for the first time, revealed he did not sign the club's record buy Afonso Alves.
Then Brazilian international Alves was signed by Boro in January 2008 when they paid Dutch club Heerenveen in excess of £12million.
However, Alves' time on Teesside - despite starting promisingly with a brace against Manchester United and a hat-trick against Manchester City - ultimately ended in failure.
Southgate was criticised for Alves' arrival but he now says he did not make the signing, suggesting it was a decision made by chairman Steve Gibson.
"Alves? At most clubs now there is a group of people who make buying decisions. But no, I didn't buy him," Southgate told the Daily Express.
"But you make a decision. You can walk out - as Alan Curbishley did at West Ham - but if I had done that I might not have got another opportunity.
"There were players I did want and didn't get. I wanted Brett Emerton and we could have had him for £750,000. That was one where I was told we had no money, but then years later we bought a £12million striker."
Southgate admits he does not look back on his time with Boro, who were relegated from the Premier League with him at the helm, with too much regret.
"My first win at Boro was against Chelsea, so I'm one of the few managers to have beaten Jose Mourinho in the league."
Southgate has also been backed by one of his signings, Didier Digard, who has slammed current boss Gordon Strachan.
The French midfielder is currently on loan from Boro at Nice.
Digard has never started a game for the club since Strachan took charge and he is less than flattering about the Scot's approach.
He told the Daily Express: "He blamed the foreigners for poor results, what about now?
"We were second place in the league just one point behind leaders Newcastle when Gareth Southgate, who brought me to the club, was replaced.
"I saw no reason to sack Southgate. Boro have never been as well-placed since and he really knew his football."