STEVE GIBSON FACTFILE
Born: Middlesbrough, 1958 (Age 57) Born and raised in Middlesbrough, Gibson spent his early years watching Boro at Ayresome Park alongside childhood friend and future player Chris Kamara.
Gibson abandoned his own ambitions of playing pro football and, in 1979, became the town’s youngest Labour councillor at the age of 21.
Two years later, he borrowed £2,000 from his parents and set up Bulkhaul Limited, a company specialising in transporting chemicals and commercial goods around the world.
Now part of the wider Gibson O’Neill Group, Bulkhaul has helped Gibson amass a personal fortune worth an estimated £205m, making him – as of 2014 – the eighth-richest person in the north-east. A Middlesbrough director from the age of 26, Gibson responded to the club’s financial meltdown by forming a consortium of local businessman in 1986. With closure imminent, he managed to raise £1.25m and save the club, eventually becoming chairman in 1994.
Having first appointed Bryan Robson as manager, the following season saw a move to the Riverside Stadium and promotion to the Premier League, followed by three Wembley finals in the space of 12 months.
Relegated in 1997, Boro bounced straight back and in 2004 won their first major trophy, the League Cup, followed in 2006 by a run to the UEFA Cup final where they lost 4-0 to Sevilla. Gibson was given the freedom of the city.