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Supporters criticise Newcastle press ban

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Newcastle United Supporters Trust have reacted strongly to the banning of leading local newspapers by the club after their coverage of a protest march. It is clear that they are unhappy with the way in which Mike Ashley is running the club.

They say in a statement, 'The NUST Board were shocked and surprised to learn that the Journal, Chronicle and Sunday Sun have been banned by Mike Ashley. The local media plays a vital role in the flow of information between the football club and its supporters, with the club having many avenues such as the match day programme, official website and social media to respond to any perceived injustice it feels, without the draconian and negative decision for all parties, of bullying the local press.'

'In a recently televised interview, the Newcastle United manager, Alan Pardew, in a rare moment of openness said ,in addition to Mike Ashley not understanding the football business, that “When he (Ashley) is upset he does things that aren’t brilliant for the football club.”'

'Unfortunately, we have found yet another example where Mike Ashley has got upset, the local newspapers having the temerity of reporting on a march by supporters who aren’t happy with the running of the football club by Ashley.'

'This episode is yet another in a long line of embarrassing incidents that the football club and its supporters have had to suffer, thanks to a remote owner who runs Newcastle United with only lip service to the idea of a properly functioning board and management team.'

'Until the football club have an ownership structure that endeavours to work constructively with all parts of the local community, including the media and especially the supporters, Newcastle United appears doomed to continue in this day to day existence of moving from one "own goal" to the next. A long-term plan built around an all-inclusive structure is the only way the club will ever stand a chance of achieving the potential we all know Newcastle United has in abundance.'

Unfortunately, incidents of clubs banning reporters are all too common at all levels of football. For example, at the weekend the reporter from the local paper the Sentinel was banned from the press box at Port Vale on the grounds that the paper's coverage had been too negative since the club was taken out of administration. Clubs sometimes seem to think that coverage should be uncritical.