MIDDLESBROUGH chairman Steve Gibson may end his “buy British” tradition in his search for the best possible replacement for Tony Mowbray.
The Boro supremo gave English trio Bryan Robson, Steve McClaren and Gareth Southgate their first manager’s jobs and also employed ex-England boss Terry Venables.
Gordon Strachan was next with Mowbray being called in on an SOS mission – Save Our Season – by Gibson after the Scot’s disastrous reign at the Riverside.
Gibson has already, privately, ruled out two of the early candidates – former Stoke boss Tony Pulis and the much-travelled Neil Warnock.
But he has intimated that he could well employ his first overseas Boro boss.
While a winner of the Champions League taking over a low-table Championship side would appear a far-fetched idea, Roberto Di Matteo could well be in the frame.
The Italian, who once broke Boro’s hearts in the 1997 FA Cup final, has not worked since being sacked by Chelsea in November 2012.
Peter Kenyon who, as Chelsea’s chief executive, worked closely with Di Matteo has been to a number of Boro games this season and has been helping Gibson and the club in an advisory capacity.
Di Matteo has attracted support from Boro fans in an internet poll.
The former midfielder gained 24.4 per cent of the vote – less than half a per cent less than early favourite Martin O’Neill.
Bookmakers favourite Tony Pulis took 11.6 per cent though Gibson has already indicated he does not want the experienced Welshman.
Former Boro striker Fabrizio Ravanelli gained 8.3 per cent of the poll while ex-England U21 boss Stuart Pearce, ex-Boro midfielder Graeme Souness and MK Dons manager Karl Robinson all got less than five per cent of the votes cast.
Mark Venus, currently in charge of Boro, will lead the side in Friday night’s Championship match against Doncaster Rovers at the Riverside.
It is believed he is NOT out of contention for the job full-time despite his close association with Mogga, who he has worked as assistant to at Hibs, West Brom, Celtic and Boro.
The Seaton Carew lad and former Hartlepool United defender is a lifelong Boro fan.