'There is more to Sunderland than a simple joy ride to Newcastle' - families jump to city's defence after radio show criticism

Crowds flock to Sunderland Airshow each year.
Crowds flock to Sunderland Airshow each year.

Sunderland natives and visitors to the city have leapt to its defence after a radio presenter talked it down live on air.

Talk Radio's Mike Graham prompted a wave of criticism after taking aim at the city on his 10am-1pm show on the station yesterday.

Keel Square in Sunderland.

Keel Square in Sunderland.

Graham, who admitted he has never visited Sunderland, said he didn't know anyone who liked the city, before branding it "awful" and "ghastly".

Talk Sport presenter Andy Dawson, who lives in Tunstall, was invited on to the show to defend the city, but hung up live on air after Graham revealed he had never even been.

Everyone he knew who had visited, Graham continued, told him it was a "dump" - but you weren't having it.

Dozens of you headed to our social media channels to share the things you love about the city, including the people, the parks and (of course) our coastline.

Watching the Tall Ships in Sunderland.

Watching the Tall Ships in Sunderland.

While some of you had some criticism to share, many also pointed out all cities have their good and bad points.

Here's what you had to say about the city on the Sunderland Echo Facebook page:

Holly Rose James: "I was born and raised in London and have been living in Sunderland for the last 6 years! It is a beautiful part of the country!"

Michael Jones: "Beautiful beaches and coastline, second to none."

Daniella Hanson: "We have one of the best coast lines in the country. Yes our city has its flaws like every city but we do have friendly people and a beautiful view!"

Ron Matthews: "All my family are Sunderland born and bred and I hadn't been back in a long while. My wife had never been.

"We spent just a few days there couple of months back and she adored it, the sights, the places, the beaches and most of all, the people."

Alison Dorrian: "Whenever people come to visit, especially Away fans, they cannot believe we live on such a lovely coastline. They comment how friendly we are to them."

Read more: Talk Radio presenter slams Sunderland live on air - despite never visiting the city

Steven Ross: "It's not the best place but it's home and I'm proud. The fact he's never visited speaks volumes of his credibility."

Maurice Alderson: "Sunderland is a lovely place to live ... yes it has its 'tired' parts but believe me so do most places in the UK.

"We have a beautiful coastline and we’re only a short drive to wonderful countryside."

Pat Seadog McCardle: "There is more to Sunderland than a simple ‘joy ride’ to Newcastle."

More on this story: Sunderland council chief hits back at Talk Radio presenter

Christine Murphy: "Wonder where his home town is ... [being] Sunderland born and bred have to admit I am disillusioned with our town centre as a lot of local people are but there is a lot more to Sunderland than the town centre it annoys me that they don't look at the bigger picture of the area."

Heather Chidgey: "I lived in Sunderland from 2004-2006. I liked it. Live down south now but would definitely move back."

Michael Mountain: "It has its good points and bad points like everywhere."

Sylvia Weetman: "How dare he say such awful things about Sunderland I have lived here all my life and would not live any were else the people are friendly we have lovely parks and beaches."