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Golfing complex will help provide income to boost Boro transfer kitty.


STEVE Gibson's multi-million pound new development at Rockliffe Park will eventually help Boro to balance their books.

The club will benefit financially once the state-of-the-art hotel and golf course complex is fully up and running.

It's part of the dream the chairman holds to make Boro self-sufficient as soon as possible in the future.

Gibson has made clear the club's gate income is only pounds 7m.

This kind of cash does not go very far, considering the annual wage bill now tops pounds 30m.

Gibson said: "We have to find other methods of income.

"We felt there was an opportunity at Rockliffe Park to boost the income of the football club.

"Simply to create 250 jobs there is very satisfying, and hopefully it will be very helpful to the local economy.

"We hope that Rockliffe Park will become a real destination centre, and it that happens then it will bring additional funds into Middlesbrough Football Club." Gibson bought Rockliffe Park from the Hospitaller Order of St John of God in 1996.

The training headquarters were built relatively quickly, and then Boro spent several years applying for planning permission to develop the grade two listed mansion and its grounds into a village, hotel, spa and golf course complex.

Gibson has stressed that the development - the golf course is believed to be the most expensive ever built in Europe - has not been funded in any way by the football club.

The magnificent facilities should have appeal all over Britain and hopefully the world.

In fact Boro have already looked at the possibility of having the facilities included in England's World Cup finals bid. The development has also been listed as a potential Olympics facility.

While Rockliffe should generate vital future funds for the football club, Gibson has revealed Boro already have the financial planning in place to push for promotion next season.

This is despite the fact club expenditure has been continually trimmed over the last three years.

Gibson told BBC Tees: "We have punched above our weight for a long time because we have limited resources to draw on.

"But we have made a lot of changes, plan to make more and not only will we mount a promotion bid, but we will be better placed financially if we can go back up again next summer." Gibson has revealed that Boro have already sold 10,000 season cards for the new season in the


The club will hope to sell half as many more, at least, before the end of July to ensure that the team has strong backing from the stands for the promotion push.

However Gibson knows the gate money alone will not make a sufficient impact on Boro's promotion chances.

In the short term Boro are still well-placed financially, despite the fact the club will have to rely on a parachute payment from the Premier League to help keep the wage bill at a high level.

Several players will be leaving the club during the summer but there are plans to strengthen the squad..


COMING TO THE FORE: The Rockliffe golf complex, above and left, is part of the plans by Boro chairman Steve Gibson, right, to boost income for the soccer club
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Publication:Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)
Date:May 30, 2009
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