Freedom of the Press Challenged

I thought it was somewhat ironic to learn how Sir Alex Ferguson courted the media to promote his recently launched autobiography.

And it was somewhat laughable to see the ‘Boss’ eager to take questions from gentlemen of the Press some of whom he had previously banned because they didn’t toe his particular party line.

Mind you, just as he has left a football legacy, Sir Alex has also left a template for dealing with a non-compliant media pack and other managers and owners have picked up on it.

No surprise then that the deadly duo of Newcastle owner, Mike Ashley, and his so called Director of Football, Joe Kinnear, who originally contented themselves with trying to run football manager, Alan Pardew’s Press Conferences.

Now though they have gone one step further and banned three newspaper reporters and their organisations - two local and one national!

This shouldn’t really come as a surprise us as Ashley has reportedly banned at least 10 reporters and their employers over the last three or four seasons.

It’s not only in the big leagues that this happens as has been the case recently at Port Vale.

On behalf of some fans the local ‘Sentinel’ newspaper asked the club when the fans could expect delivery of club shirts which they had paid for in advance.

The ‘Sentinel’s’ reward was to be banned and then further insulted by being told they would have to pay £10,000 for the privilege of covering Port Vale games!

Surely it is not in the interests of the football industry to have a totally compliant media which avoids to pose controversial questions and controversial debate?