Tottenham Hotspur will welcome banned Newcastle journalists to this weekend’s London clash between the two sides, despite being blacklisted at home.
Journalists from the Newcastle Chronicle, Journal and Sun on Sunday have been banned from the Magpies’ press box after they covered protests against the club’s owner Mike Ashley.
During a recent game against local rivals Sunderland, Newcastle manager Alan Pardew was ordered by a club press officer not to answer questions asked by the three local newspapers.
However, the National Union of Journalists wrote to Tottenham – who trail five points behind local rivals Arsenal – to seek assurance that the Newcastle journalists will be welcomed at White Hart Lane.
The NUJ feared that Tottenham may be put under pressure by Ashley and prevent the journalists from covering the game. Tottenham confirmed to the union that the Newcastle journalists will be welcomed as normal.
The letter to Spurs said: "The NUJ is concerned, first and foremost, that freedom of the press is upheld and that our members can carry out their professional duties without hindrance. We believe the attitude of the owner of Newcastle is unreasonable…It is for this reason that the NUJ is requesting that Spurs does not intervene in any way and that it treats its visiting journalists in exactly the same way as it would normally do."
The Newcastle Chronicle published a letter to Ashley on its front page: “The club flexed its muscles like some kind of North Korean dictatorship – hitting out at the set of newspapers that have followed the club through thick and thin since their very first game in 1892."
Chris Morley, NUJ Northern organiser, said: "I am pleased that Spurs have moved to reassure the NUJ that its members suffering a ban by Newcastle United in their home city, will be welcomed as normal as journalists covering the visitors to White Hart Lane on Sunday. We are told they will be afforded all normal facilities and courtesies.
“There is no place for some football clubs, such as Newcastle, to take petty, vindictive actions to hinder and intimidate journalists who happen to work for media whose coverage the clubs take offence at. We call on all clubs welcoming Newcastle to their grounds while this stupid ban exists, to follow the lead of Spurs and insist that it is business as usual for visiting journalists irrespective of what differences there may be.”