City leaders have hit back after a radio presenter branded Sunderland an 'awful' place to live.
Talk Radio's Mike Graham caused a stir yesterday while discussing a recent study which named Sunderland as the best place to live and work for over 30s.
Sunderland came first in the Liveability Index - based on a range of factors, including living costs, happiness and crime rates - followed by Leeds, Aberdeen and Milton Keynes.
But Graham, who hosts the station's 10am-1pm show, branded the city "ghastly" - despite admitting he has never actually been to Wearside.
He told his listeners: "I don't know anyone who likes Sunderland.
"I don't know anyone who has been there who says it's anything other than a completely awful, ghastly place and I'm talking about people who've studied there."
But Coun Michael Mordey, Deputy Leader of Sunderland City Council, dismissed the presenter's barbed comments.
He said: "I know lots of people in Sunderland, and indeed thousands of people across the world, who will have a very different view.
"This sounds to me as if some Talk Radio presenters need to get out a bit more."
After delivering his opinion on the city, Graham then invited Andy Dawson, a podcaster and talkSPORT presenter who is from Sunderland, onto the show to defend his city.
The 46-year-old hoped to talk about his city's good points, but hung up the phone on Graham after the presenter admitted he had never actually visited the city himself.
Graham said he had never visited Sunderland, because everyone he knew who had been there deemed it a "dump".
Andy, who lives in Tunstall, told the Echo: "I was hoping to go on air and sing the praises of Sunderland to the nation but it quickly became obvious that it wasn’t going to happen so I hung up, drove to Seaburn and had some chips for my dinner instead."