Newspaper article Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)

END OF AN ERA; Our Boro Man Eric Signs Off

Newspaper article Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)

END OF AN ERA; Our Boro Man Eric Signs Off

Article excerpt

AFTER more than a quarter of a century on the Boro beat, Eric Paylor is hanging up his pen and notebook.

The vastly experienced journalist is retiring at the end of the week after a remarkable 26 seasons covering the club for the Gazette.

Eric took over as the paper''s Boro writer in the summer of 1985 and within a year was reporting on the club's fightback from the brink of extinction following relegation to the old third division.

It was a baptism of fire and there's rarely been a dull moment since.

In fact, Boro were either battling against the drop or fighting for promotion in almost all of Eric's first 13 years. Between 1986 and 1998, the club suffered four relegations, five promotions and one play-off final defeat as well as reaching four Wembley finals and Eric was on hand to report the events for the paper every step of the way.

Latterly, Boro have enjoyed the Carling Cup victory in Cardiff and two European campaigns, culminating in the UEFA Cup final in Eindhoven five years ago, something which would have been unthinkable when Eric started out as Boro correspondent 21 years earlier.

Eric has worked with no less than 10 Boro managers: Willie Maddren, Bruce Rioch, Colin Todd, Lennie Lawrence, Bryan Robson, Terry Venables, Steve McClaren, Gareth Southgate, Gordon Strachan and Tony Mowbray.

Eric, who joined the Gazette sports desk in 1977 from the Hartlepool Mail, where he had also covered the Boro, said: "Teesside fans know their football and want to see the game played in the right way. I feel the same.

"It's been an honour to do this job for 26 years.

"I've met some wonderful people, developed strong relationships with many managers, and interviewed

some great characters. "And even though I am taking early retirement from the Gazette, I won't be walking away from the Boro! …

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