Preferred media partners and press censorship

The club says it is trying to improve its image.
The club says it is trying to improve its image.
Channel 4’s Alex Thompson has confirmed that he has been banned from Newcastle’s press conference head of the home game against Southampton after proposing to ask a question relating to the media being banned from football clubs. This has been a topic of much debate for some time now, so maybe it is time to open up the floor to a dedicated debate and poll on the issue to find out what the Toon Army really thinks instead of it being an ongoing sideline discussion.

The following is a quote from Mr Thompson; ”The current predicament of Channel 4 News says much about the bizarre ways of modern British football. We find ourselves banned today from a major football club because we wanted to ask about football clubs banning the media. The club? Why, Newcastle United of course – under Mike Ashley’s controversial control they have banned more journalists than any other club since 2007.Nowhere else in British public life is this kind of conduct tolerated.” For those that do not know, Alex Thompson is in fact a Newcastle United fan. Here is a follow up article he wrote on the subject. It is an emotive subject and I have read one poster state that people have died for the freedom to express their opinion (so the censorship should not be allowed), whilst I have also read comments suggesting the press have portrayed Newcastle United in a bad light for such a long time that the current stance is proportionate and understandable.

The Telegraph’s Luke Edwards was allegedly banned for reporting that all was not well in the Toon dressing room, whilst the club has apparently selected Sky Sports and The Mirror as its ‘preferred media partners’. When McClaren was unveiled it was only these two agencies that were invited to the party. The Sun newspaper responded with a piece headlined: ‘We wont dance to your Toon.’ They went on to state they they were the ONLY independent paper that could be trusted to hold the club to account.

Michael Martins of the Newcastle United Supporters Trust had this to say; ”They have had yet another opportunity to change, another opportunity to clean up the mess they have got into and they have failed to take it. This just seems unnecessarily antagonistic. To not have the local media there makes them look like a club that does not even know where their supporters are from. It looks like a club that has no idea what it is doing, it is clumsy, clunking and shows what a daft football club it is. We were told things were going to change, that there would be better communication and more transparency, but this suggests nothing has changed at all.

It all looks pretty damning on the face of it – but delve a little deeper and you will find that Charnley and Co. are not the first or only football club bosses to take such a stance. Rangers and Celtic have been doing it for years. Sir Alex Ferguson famously refused to talk directly to the BBC, including Match of the Day, for years. The Sun seems to turn on the charm only when it suits itself. It takes the high ground in this particular scenario because it has not benefited from coverage of Newcastle United whilst their competitor have done. Only last year The Sun was accused by it’s rivals of having made a ‘preferred media partnership’ deal with NUFC when it was the only national paper to appear at the unveilings of Cabella, De Jong and Colback.Around about the same time The Sun presented the Country with this headline; ”Why we should love Mike Ashley.” It’s not like The Sun had not seen this coming. Only the year before they were selected as ‘preferred media partners’ for those unveilings, they were banned (together with NCJ Media outlets such as The Chronicle) for printing derogatory stories about the club.

Toon fans have long been accused by rival fans, newspapers and pundits of being fickle. If the above example of The Sun’s ‘changing Toon’ does not reflect the irony of such media allegations leveled towards us fans then I do not know what does?

Newcastle United has a fanatical fan base that lives, sleeps and eats football. That is why there is so much media interest in all things Toon. For a long time, the club has been described as a ‘Goldfish Bowl’ – most notably by Jermaine Jenas when he left for Spurs. Everything that gets reported about the club gets magnified and scrutinised not just by our own fans, but by most other fans too. If you look at a lot of comments on blogs from rival clubs, the fans quite often express their lack of empathy for us in recent years. The ‘fickle’ tag has stuck. Does this harm the club’s reputation abroad – where a very big market is there for the taking and with it an opportunity for the club’s brand to expand? If we ever want to compete at the top of the league again then we have to break into that market.

Newcastle United is high profile, so we get all the attention. But ours in not the only football club in England that has taken this stance in recent times. Swindon Town, Rotherham United, Blackpool, Southampton and Port Vale are all ‘guilty’ of the same policy from time to time. Yet I do not see them getting a massive slating from The Sun? Lee Charnley explained at the recent Fans Forum the current media approach was to; ”control and reinforce the positive messages the club wished to deliver.” Some see this as akin to a dictatorship, some see it as the club genuinely attempting to turn the image of the club around after years of ‘bad’ press. I suspect it’s not been brought about because the Big Bosses have have their feelings hurt by some articles in recent years, but because they have recognised that something has to change if they are ever going to break into the wider market.

The question is, are they going about it the right way?

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About Shamrock

Like everyone here, support Newcastle United. Not the easiest side to feel good about at times, but it's our side!

177 thoughts on “Preferred media partners and press censorship

  1. Still not bad having them coming from the bench, which reminds me. It will be interesting to see if we can finally start making decent, well-timed tactical substitutions.


  2. Actually Pardew played Gouffran quite often to protect the defence and that didn’t turn out very well, we conceded 63 goals! He also offers nothing going forward.

    Our weakness is defence so I’m not sure the way to counter that is by weakening our attack also. We should play to our strengths and attack as we will concede, we know that.


  3. Yeah we’ll see Lionel. SM has been hinting at starting cautiously but not being afraid to reach for the firepower on the bench pretty quickly if need be. Consider me cautiously optimistic on that front.

    I think we’ll see him open things up a bit more once the the defense is fit (or added to). Tiote would help on that front if he sticks around and gets fit


  4. Yes, Stuart, they are all opinions. But they are all negative ones about our club.

    “Need” another defender? Really? If we have Mbemba, Colo, Taylor and Lascelles as our 4, how is that inconsistent with going for the top 8? Is that worse than Everton for example? I bet they are targeting top 8 too. It’s frustrating to see a Toon fan negative about our current players rather than seeing the positives about them.

    Even if the club did have dressing room issues (and we have no idea to what extent), why do you think it’s right or good for our club to have them discussed in the media?

    Why shouldn’t the club be pissed off when a media outlet writes an article than is untrue or unbalanced? Wouldn’t you be?

    I get what you are referring to in terms of “ambition”, though I think you and I have different ideas of what that is. And besides, surely you can see the positive signs now and we are in a better place than this time last year.

    So why not look at some positives?


  5. I’d still like to see a proven quality centrethalf signed but we need to see mbemba and laschelles first, we also have dummett


  6. Thanks for the good feedback on the article all. The constant arguments on here these days really is boring by the way. It’s nice the new season is back on our doorstep again.


  7. So we are pinning our hopes on the new guys Mbemba and Lascelles. Both unfamiliar with the PL and will take time to adjust. Mbemba looks the business and let’s hope he settles in quickly because if we are relying on Colo, Saylor, Willo at CB heaven help us. I say that based on the last couple of seasons goals against tally. ( a fact to back up my negativity ). On the positive side we have what looks like 3 gems in Mitro man, Gini and De Jong but again the first two are new to the PL AND need to adjust. I think it’s also fair to say Mitro needs service to flourish and I’m not sure he’ll get that enough but hope I’m wrong. Overall I can see us still shipping plenty but hopefully we’ll score a few more than last season. I just want to be entertained and not subjected to another season of sterile, negative poor football. I do have faith in Steve and the coaches but still think we are short on the quality to gain a top 10 finish.


  8. KIM your not daft,that’s a good take on where we are at the moment imo and what we still need,defo another c/b even SM said the defence needs work,haven’t made my mind up about Dummit as the whole defence were a shambles last year which would not have helped the lad,I saw him have a good game against l/pool and never gave Sterling a kick the rest of the time he was poor,I’ll wait to judge the lad with better defenders around him


  9. Kim. Only disagreement is that if Pards can go on a short undefeated run, why not steve? I think squad is stronger as a whole and yes 63 goals against is greatheadline I would be surprised, even with justonenew defender if steve cannot organise them to be better than that. I would expect to be mid 50s at worst.


  10. Anyone who thinks we will finish in the top 10 with our CURRENT squad is deluded, in my opinion.


  11. Like I said before, I think we will sign more players this season. Maybe not complete the building for the season during the summer, but certainly ensure they are in by end of the winter window. If that happens, I reckon we’ll hit 8th to 10th. If not, I’ll go 11th to 13th.


  12. There’s some sensitive people on here if they think Stuart shouts people down. He explains all his opinions in detail and has the right to continuously call others as talking rubbish. It’s not like he doesn’t face the same accusations from some who don’t explain their opinions in detail. 🙄


  13. Anyway on top of that, I’m going to the Southampton match based on that it’s the first game of the season amd we’ve spent £35m.
    I expect to see more players come in though I’m not hopeful amd actually expect us to recoup some money by selling.

    If the latter happens I will once again boycott the games.

    The cape, trunks and wrestling boots are coming out for Sunday! 😆 I love the walk up to sjp.


  14. well the start of the season is near here, cant believe it, and am starting to look forward to it, even though I think our defence is still very weak imo. so hopefully with the start of the season I can get my head back in the game.


  15. I see Toney is playing for the under 21s on Sat,I hope he doesn’t get buried in there like a lot of prospects ended up never to be heard of again, Beardsley doesn’t seem to have brought many players through imo


  16. We complain twist and winge about footy,but my god its a miss,any parent that brings their kids up with footy in the family wants beating with a stick lol,the torture it puts you through is unreal


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