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October 28, 2013

Newcastle United bans local papers over critical coverage

By Darren Boyle

Newcastle United has banned local newspapers from post match press conference because they dared to cover a protest march against the club’s owner Mike Ashley.

The Journal’s Mark Douglas was banned from asking questions yesterday along with colleagues from The Chronicle and the Sunday Sun.  

Around 300 supporters marched before the club’s recent 2-2 draw with Liverpool calling for the in opposition to Ashley’s continued ownership as well as his appointment of Joe Kinnear as director of football.
Coverage of this protest by the Chronicle and the Journal caused anger among senior officials at the club.

Douglas tried unsuccessfully to ask questions following Newcastle’s 2-1 defeat to local rivals Sunderland in their second derby defeat in succession.

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Manager Alan Pardew was prevented from answering the question by a club press officer Wendy Taylor who knew Douglas worked at the Journal.

She said: “Sorry you can’t ask any questions.”

Meanwhile, The Stoke Sentinel has been banned by Port Vale from the press box after one of their reporters asked difficult questions of the club chairman over the delay in sending out replica shirts to fans.

The newspaper was instrumental in saving the club from collapse.

On Friday, the newspaper’s reporter Michael Baggaley asked when the 1,000 fans who paid £55 for special replica shirts would receive them.

When he turned up at the ground on Saturday, he was told he could not access the press box and had to pay into the ground.

His colleague, photographer Mark Scott was also refused entry. He was told he could not take photographs.

Port Vale chairman Norma Smuthwaite ordered staff to ban the Sentinel from the ground.

Now, the club wants the Sentinel to pay £10,000 to cover matches inside the ground citing the fact that television and radio stations pay for live broadcasting rights.

The newspaper said it will not be paying the fee.


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