Sports Letters: Please end bias against Boro

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The Independent Online
Sir: I can't help but notice a serious bias in your reporting. I am a Middlesbrough supporter, and while I can understand that the most interesting matches will be the ones between the title chasers - Man Utd, Arsenal, Aston Villa et al - the Independent should surely take each match on its merits and forget the teams playing.

However, Middlesbrough always seem to be the last team mentioned. In last week's Sport section (15 March) they are on page five, along with the First Division reports. Even when the Boro do pull higher into the pecking order, it only seems to happen when another team have thrashed us; see the Everton match this season. Everton is another team which is supposedly unfashionable, and yet the Independent's writers gloried in the 5-0 Boro loss.

Why is it that everyone hates the Boro? I could understand it if everyone felt that way about Chelsea, but Boro are a hard-working, open and friendly team who do a lot for their community. Steve Gibson is also one of the best chairmen in the Premiership; Middlesbrough had its own local television channel, Boro TV, way before anyone else, and yet when Manchester United got a TV channel it was on the back page. Gibson has stood behind the manager, Bryan Robson, and built one of the best stadiums in the country, as well as turning Middlesbrough into a true Premiership outfit.

Robson was one of the best international midfielders around, and it must be remembered that he has only been in the job five years and is improving all the time (ignoring our usual post-Christmas slide down the table).

I think it is interesting how teams can be perceived as fashionable and unfashionable, but I don't think that should affect the way they are portrayed. Look at the football, not the reputation.

ED KIRTON-DARLING

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