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November 10, 2013updated 11 Nov 2013 3:18pm

Newcastle United continues ban against local newspapers

By Darren Boyle

Newcastle United is continuing its ban on local newspapers even though they have now won two games in a row.

The club announced the move following this afternoon’s dramatic 1-0 victory over Tottenham.

Earlier this week, the London club announced that journalists from the Newcastle Journal and Chronicle would be welcomed to White Hart Lane and avail of the press facilities.

However, at the post-match press conference a Newcastle United official announced that manager Alan Pardew would not answer any questions from the Journal or the Chronicle.

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The club are angry at the newspapers because they covered a protest march against the leadership of the Newcastle United chairman Mike Ashley.

The dramatic win over Tottenham saw Newcastle move level on points with Manchester United as Tottenham once again failed to score a goal from open play. Newcastle's goalkeeper Tim Krul was man of the match as he managed to keep out Tottenham's impotent attackers.

Last season, when Ashley rebranded the club’s iconic home ground, The Sports Direct Arena after his company, the newspapers refused to co-operate.

Also the newspaper has covered discontent amongst fans about the club signing a sponsorship deal with payday loan lender Wonga.

In a letter to the newspapers, the clubs press officer Wendy Taylor warned the ban would last indefinitely.

The letter said:

I write in reference to the above coverage in The Chronicle, The Journal and Sunday Sun regarding the protest march on Saturday 19 October by a small number of Newcastle United fans operating under the campaign name Time4Change.

It is quite frankly staggering that you devoted 15 full pages, including two front page splashes, a back page, three double-page spreads and a remarkable six full pages in one (September 7) in The Chronicle to a protest march which ultimately was attended by approximately 300 supporters. Even if the 1,000 supporters expected by the organisers had marched your coverage would have been disproportionate. Given the turnout was significantly less than this, in fact only just over a quarter of that anticipated, something your coverage following the march failed to reference or reflect whatsoever, you should be in no doubt as to the strength of feeling that exists within the club in relation to your coverage.

Indeed after reviewing all of the above articles, and in particular, the front page headline and a large map outlining the route of the march, spread over two pages in The Chronicle on 19 October it is our opinion there was an underlying message of encouragement and support provided by your titles in the lead-up to the day and on the day itself.

We feel strongly that the turnout at the march renders your extraordinary coverage completely disproportionate.  Furthermore it is evident from the scale and prominence you devoted to it that your agenda was the pursuit of sales based on an anti-Newcastle United stance, rather than a fair and balanced approach.

We could never dream of generating this level of coverage, over such an extended time-frame, for some of our positive news such as some of the fantastic work undertaken by our Foundation in the local community which benefits so many or the recent announcement of reciprocal ticket pricing for away fans which received a fraction of the coverage of the march.

Having given due consideration to the above and your response to my email of Monday 21 October, the club’s owner, director of football, board of directors and team manager have reached a unanimous decision that the three NCJ Media titles, The Chronicle, The Journal and Sunday Sun, will not be permitted access to any media facilities, press conferences and player interviews at Newcastle United indefinitely and with immediate effect.

We do not require a reply to this letter, our position on this issue is not up for negotiation.

Yours sincerely,

Wendy Taylor

Head of Media, Newcastle United

 

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