Boro fans decry Ziege treatment

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The Independent Online

Middlesbrough fans yesterday united to express their outrage at the people who sent death threats to their former defender Christian Ziege.

Middlesbrough fans yesterday united to express their outrage at the people who sent death threats to their former defender Christian Ziege.

The German international's house was also pelted with rotten eggs following his acrimonious transfer to Liverpool.

Dave Buckton, chairman of the Middlesbrough Supporters Club, said: "What has happened to Christian Ziege is abhorrent, no matter how people might view his transfer. The guy has gone and we have to move on. We cannot condone actions like this. The people concerned are not true supporters.

"These kind of incidents give the town and the club a bad name. But the majority of our fans are fair-minded people. While we might disagree with the way the transfer was conducted, we are all sorry to see him targeted in this way. We just hope that the people who did these things are weeded out and punished."

Rob Nichols, owner of the fanzine Fly Me To The Moon, described the incidents as "an absolute disgrace". He said: "Some fans may not have been happy at the way he conducted himself but this is supposed to be sport. Some people take it too far It might be okay to boo Ziege when he comes back with Liverpool but this is an absolute disgrace. These are not the feelings of true football fans."

Ziege, whose drawn-out £5.5m transfer from Boro was completed earlier this month, still lives on Teesside. He said: "A few idiots have adorned my house in Middlesbrough with rotten eggs. There was also a murder threat in the mail box.

"Perhaps these people should be told that Middlesbrough signed a contract with me in which a fixed transfer fee was mentioned. If they signed the contract, they must have known the consequences. I do not have the desire to play the scapegoat for a contract which Middlesbrough also signed."

Middlesbrough refused to comment yesterday.

The Germany coach, Rudi Voller, said yesterday there was no question of his remaining in the job past next summer, when he is due to hand over to the Bayer Leverkusen coach, Christoph Daum.

Voller said that winning his first two games in charge made no difference. "Christoph Daum is an excellent coach who has thoroughly earned his job as national trainer from next year because he is simply the best."

Daum, who took his club Leverkusen to the brink of winning the German title last year, has had a shaky start to the new season after selling the Brazilian midfielder Emerson to AS Roma and losing out-of-contract Stefan Beinlich to Hertha Berlin.

The German Football Association wanted Daum to take over straight after Euro 2000 but his club would not release him from his existing contract, leading to Voller's appointment as caretaker.

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