When certain sections of the media were banned from St James’ Park not so long back I personally thought it was a sledgehammer approach to a minor problem.
The club were seemingly unhappy about certain stories and how coverage had been portrayed and took the decision to act upon it.
Now it has become clear just why that decision was taken, and ultimately it is all about money. The written press have been welcomed back into St James’ Park, but now they are being asked to pay for the privilege of player interviews and access behind the scenes – basically all the things that they used to get for free they must now pay for.
I’ve always been sceptical of the press as they survive by selling copies of their publication and sometimes that can lead to half-truth and rumour being cast as something more serious, but all in all I don’t especially mind them as I can read them without hanging off of every word they say.
However the decision to ban local press and then decide to charge them to return to the club is baffling. I get it, in theory, but I just don’t see how it is going to work? How can it really be policed? Surely you cant stop anyone speaking to anyone else? How far does it go? Are blogs and forums like this next in line for the rough treatment? After all, there is plenty of critical reaction to Ashley and Co on many of them…
At the end of the day Ashley is trying to break links that have been in place for decades and that is only going to hurt fans who turn to the press to read about the club. The press may hurt for a bit, but they’ll soon get around it and certainly on a national level they’ll just make up the detail if they need to.
Rather than being so against the press, why not try and work with them? At the end of the day they can be used by the club just as much as they can be used by the fans so why be so against building a working relationship with them? Perhaps then they might not be so eager to jump on anything that paints a negative picture at United.
After all, they are only reporting Ashley’s own mistakes in the first place…