Steve Gibson (businessman)

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Steve Gibson

Born (1958-01-09) 9 January 1958 (age 61)
Middlesbrough, England
  • Politician
  • entrepreneur
Known forOwner of Middlesbrough Football Club
Net worthIncrease£165 million (2012)
27th Chairman of Middlesbrough F.C.
In office
1994 – present
Preceded byColin Henderson

Stephen Gibson OBE (born 9 January 1958) is a British entrepreneur, politician and the chairman/owner of Middlesbrough Football Club. In 2012, he was 451st on the Sunday Times Rich List, with an estimated worth of £165 million.[1]


A self-made millionaire, Gibson was born in Middlesbrough and raised in the Park End area of the town. Raised Catholic, he attended local schools, St Pius X Primary and St Mary's College. In 1979, he became Middlesbrough's youngest ever Labour councillor, being elected to represent Park End at age 21.[2] He is the uncle of Burnley defender Ben Gibson.[3]

Bulkhaul Limited[edit]

In 1981, he founded Bulkhaul Limited, a company dedicated to the global transportation of bulk liquids, powders and gases. He set up the company by borrowing £1,000 from his father.[4] The company operates from a UK base with Bulkhaul centres and offices worldwide. The company covers the principal global routes in European, Atlantic and Pacific regions, using a sophisticated computerised system to track and monitor its tank units in transit around the world and its own fleet of vehicles, both in the UK, and increasingly in Europe. They have done this by building close relationships with most of the world's first class chemical companies. Bulkhaul ceased manufacturing at Teesside, but its main base of operations remains in Middlesbrough.[5]

Gibson is the majority owner of the Gibson O'Neill Company Ltd, the holding company for Bulkhaul with a 75% stake. Michael David O'Neill[who?] holds the remaining 25%. Gibson O'Neill has an annual turnover of £197,692,000, with annual profits of £29,720,000.[6] The Gibson O'Neill group includes Bulkhaul, Middlesbrough FC and Rockliffe Hall Hotel. Gibson O'Neill profits increased from £5.9m to £23.7m for the year up to 30 June 2015.[7]

Relationship with Middlesbrough F.C.[edit]

Taking control[edit]

Gibson is a lifelong Middlesbrough fan, having attended matches with Chris Kamara at Ayresome Park as a youngster.[8] He joined the board as the club's youngest ever director at the age of 26 while Willie Maddren was manager.[9] He helped save the club from liquidation by forming a consortium in 1986. In 1993, he bought Scottish & Newcastle's shares in the club,[10] and succeeded Colin Henderson as the club's chairman in 1994,[10] owning roughly 90% of the club.[11]


Gibson saw the club leave Ayresome Park in 1995 for the Riverside Stadium, a brand new all-seater stadium.[12] He also made money available for the purchase of big-name players. Steve's appointment of Bryan Robson as manager in May 1994 helped raise the profile of the club and achieve three Wembley cup final appearances within 12 months during 1997 and 1998.[13] As a result of ongoing investment in supporting Robson's successor, Steve McClaren, in 2004 the club was able to win its first trophy in 128 years, the English League Cup. His tenure as chairman has also seen the club reach the UEFA Cup final, Europe's second biggest club cup competition. Gibson has since stated that his aim for the club is to see it play more regular European football.[14] In 2004, Gibson was given the Freedom of Middlesbrough after the club won the English League Cup.[15]

Gibson was appointed Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) in the 2016 Birthday Honours for services to the economy, sport, and the community on Teesside.[16]


Before becoming involved with Middlesbrough FC, Gibson was the local Labour Party's youngest ever councillor. Although he retains a modest profile for such a popular football club chairman, Gibson has occasionally raised his profile when commenting on the local political situation. He did so when working with Middlesbrough's elected mayor Ray Mallon in 2009 in the fight to save Teesside's steel industry.[17] They accused the Government and local Labour MP's of "betrayal", with Gibson quoted as saying: "We have got five Labour seats here. If the steelworkers lose their jobs, we are going to work our socks off to make sure the five MPs lose their jobs. It is an absolute betrayal."[18] In October 2015, Gibson launched a scathing attack on Stockton South Conservative MP James Wharton over the collapse of the Redcar steelworks warning he will "bury him" if he does not improve. Gibson later made peace with James Wharton and they jointly visited a local school to give a newspaper interview and explain the reconciliation.[19] In March 2017, Gibson revealed that he would support the election of Labour's Sue Jeffrey in the forthcoming Tees Valley mayoral election.[20] In May 2017, Gibson sent out a message of support to 1000s of local residents for James Wharton's re-election campaign in the form of a letter.[21]


  1. ^ Barley, Sophie (27 April 2012). "Boro chairman Steve Gibson's fortune past £165m".
  2. ^ Westcott, Matt. "Middlesbrough chairman Steve Gibson receives OBE from Prince William". Retrieved 29 March 2017.
  3. ^ Glendenning, Barry (6 April 2015). "Football transfer rumours: Jordan Henderson to Chelsea?". The Guardian.
  4. ^ "Who's Who". Middlesbrough F.C.
  5. ^ "Bulkhaul Limited website".
  6. ^ "Company details – The Gibson O'Neill Company Limited (2011)".
  7. ^ "Gibson O'Neill profits up 300% to £23.7m". Tees Business.
  8. ^ Profile, The Guardian, 10 August 2006.
  9. ^ Steve Gibson live Archived 2 February 2014 at the Wayback Machine, BBC Tees, 7 August 2007.
  10. ^ a b Steve Gibson profile, Middlesbrough Football Club website
  11. ^ Profile: "Steve Gibson, Owner/Chairman of Middlesbrough F.C." Archived 6 May 2008 at the Wayback Machine,
  12. ^ "Middlesbrough FC news, Boro transfer rumours, fixtures and more from the Riverside".
  13. ^ We Are Teesside – Middlesbrough 1986 – Looking Back 20 Years, BBC, 22 August 2006.
  14. ^ Steve Gibson profile, BBC. Retrieved 6 October 2013.
  15. ^ "Freedom honour for Boro chairman". BBC News.
  16. ^ "No. 61608". The London Gazette (Supplement). 11 June 2016. p. B12.
  17. ^ McKenzie, Sandy (21 September 2009). "Ray Mallon backs Steve Gibson's call in Save Our Steel battle".
  18. ^ Passant, Andy (14 December 2009). "Boro chairman and mayor blast MPs over Corus".
  19. ^ "Steve Gibson and James Wharton make peace after 'clown' remark by Boro chairman". Gazette Live.
  20. ^ Brown, Mike (2 March 2017). "Steve Gibson reveals who he will support as Tees mayor".
  21. ^ Cain, James (13 May 2017). "Steve Gibson declares support for Conservative James Wharton".