The unfamiliar story of how England manager Gareth Southgate met his wife of 23 years

Gareth and Alison Southgate have been married for over 20 years (Pic: Matthias Hangst/Getty Images)Gareth and Alison Southgate have been married for over 20 years (Pic: Matthias Hangst/Getty Images)
Gareth and Alison Southgate have been married for over 20 years (Pic: Matthias Hangst/Getty Images)
The couple have been married for over two decades, but many may not know how they met

Gareth Southgate is currently focussed on England's Qatar World Cup campaign after announcing the squad on 10 November.

The 52-year-old as already guided England to the final at Euro 2020 and is most likely hoping for a similar result this year for the global tournament in Qatar.

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While his previous achievements with the Three Lions have warmed the hearts of a nation, the national team's manager has seemingly captured the heart of another in his wife of nearly 23 years, Alison Southgate.

According to Gareth’s 2003 autobiography, the pair met when Gareth was in his early 20s and captaining the Premier League’s Crystal Palace.

Alison comforted husband Gareth Southgate after their semi-final defeat at 2018 World Cup (Pic:Alexander Hassenstein/Getty Images)Alison comforted husband Gareth Southgate after their semi-final defeat at 2018 World Cup (Pic:Alexander Hassenstein/Getty Images)
Alison comforted husband Gareth Southgate after their semi-final defeat at 2018 World Cup (Pic:Alexander Hassenstein/Getty Images)

The shy-Southgate saw Alison while she was working as a counter assistant in a Croydon shop and would hang around just to catch a glimpse of her and to try and start a conversation.

However, Gareth revealed that he had to overcome a major bump in the road - that being that Alison lived with her boyfriend at the time and so turned him down.

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Hope was not lost for the young Premier League captain as he spotted the pair on the verge of a breakup in a restaurant and slipped Alison his number.

Some may say he managed the dilemma quite well, as the Three Lions boss who changed to football management after playing for Crystal Palace, Aston Villa and Middlesbrough, bagged a date with Alison the very next day.

The pair wanted to keep their new relationship quiet therefore would meet in secret in the Tesco’s car park until they made it official.

Two years later, Alison provided Gareth with an ultimatum as he signed with Aston Villa in 1997, suggesting that either they move in together and get married or they go separate ways.

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Despite being football mad, Gareth was madly in love leading to the pair celebrating their wedding in his hometown, Crawley before going on to have two children - Mia and Flynn.

On the contrary, Gareth’s dad Clive Southgate previously confessed that Alison is not really a fan of the beautiful game.

He said: “Actually, I don’t think Alison likes football very much. Obviously she has to take an interest because it’s Gareth’s job, and she is always very supportive."

“She will sometimes go to Wembley for an international game - but not during the school term because she always puts the children first.”

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Alison was spotted consoling her partner of 20 years after England’s defeat against Croatia in 2018 when Gareth’s side lost out in the World Cup semi-final.

Here’s hoping to a successful attempt at the upcoming 2022 World Cup.