Former Middlesbrough FC commentator to stand for mayor

Dave Roberts Dave Roberts currently works as a vice president of Fox International Channels

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Former football commentator Dave Roberts says he plans to stand as the next mayor of Middlesbrough.

Current independent mayor Ray Mallon announced in 2013 he would stand down in May when his current term ends.

The former police superintendent of Cleveland Police, who was known as Robocop, became the town's first elected mayor in 2002.

Mr Roberts, 50, a media executive, said it was time for Middlesbrough to "get back on its feet".

'Ready to lead'

Mr Roberts said he was leaving his job as a vice president of Fox International Channels in Singapore to return "home" to campaign to become the town's next mayor.

He previously worked as a radio commentator for Boro games, for Century FM and TFM.

He said: "Political votes have to go, councillors need to come together with the town's people, businesses and mayor. Personally, I'm ready to lead the town through the change that is needed.

"We all need to work together - all ages, all religions, all political animals, as together Middlesbrough will succeed."

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Analysis: David Rhodes, BBC Radio Tees politics reporter

In a perceived age of "anti-politics" many prospective politicians now see it beneficial not to be affiliated with a political party.

For many "independent" candidates they believe it gives them the platform to talk about "genuine change".

In the case of the Middlesbrough mayoral election, though, the independent field is now becoming rather congested.

How each independent candidate differentiates themselves from their fellow independents will make for interesting viewing ahead of 7 May.

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Mr Roberts is the third independent candidate to have announced his candidacy.

Local businessman Andy Preston and former Labour councillor Len Junier will also stand as independents in May.

The current deputy mayor of Middlesbrough Dave Budd will be Labour's candidate, whilst David Masterman will represent the Green Party.

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