The accepted view is that Ince was class and merson was head and shoulders above everyone else.
The reality is that Townsend's Boro got the highest league placing under robbo with 51 points, despite losing the supposed god of the team merson. The following season Boro added juninho, Ince and ziege. Such world cup winning titans of the international game should have blown townsends efforts out of the water. Yet they got one more point and finished lower than the legendary Townsend team. The season after they lost ziege and added boksic and ehiogu and scored a measley 44 points.
The only logical conclusion that can be drawn from this is that Andy Townsend rather than Ince juninho and merson deserves to be lionised as the true Boro hero of the late 90s and early noughties.
There should be four statues in the Riverside carpark. Mannion, Hardwick, camsell and Townsend.
**Dean Gordon was good also.
As an interesting aside I would subscribe much of inces reputation down to him doing a lot of pointing. Stick a bloke on a football pitch who does lots of pointing and before long everyone will be in agreement that here is a man that knows his onions. I'd go so far as to say that if Liz truss had done a bit more pointing she would still be in number ten today. Many people think that good leadership is through setting a good example, keeping a clear head and making bold decisions. It isn't. It's about pointing. Shouting helps also, but it's mainly pointing.