Middlesbrough chairman pays emotional tribute to Ugo Ehiogu

Ugo Ehiogu
Ugo Ehiogu

Middlesbrough chairman Steve Gibson has paid an emotional tribute to former Boro defender Ugo Ehiogu, who has died at the age of 44.

The former England defender died after collapsing at Tottenham's training centre, where he was coach of the Under-23s, following a cardiac arrest.

Ehiogu enjoyed a long playing career, including a successful spell on Teesside with Boro.

Middlesbrough came calling in November 2000, shelling out a then club-record £8million for the defender who teamed up with former Villa player Gareth Southgate as part of the Riverside revolution and he won the League Cup again in 2004 with victory over Bolton in Cardiff.

Boro's chairman has spoken of his shock and sadness at the passing of "a great man" after the tragic news broke on Friday morning.

Mr Gibson said: "I’m deeply shocked. Ugo was one of our heroes at Cardiff when the club won its only ever major trophy.

"Ugo and Gareth Southgate were the rock on which Steve McClaren brought the club its best period in its history.

"He wasn’t just a good footballer, he was a great man.

"It’s so sudden and so shocking, my deepest sympathies go to his family and all who knew him.

"I would regularly bump into Ugo. Football is a small world and he was always warm, friendly and welcoming.

"All of Middlesbrough Football Club will miss him."