#9 v2 - Page 22

MARCH AGAINST THE REGIME HAD NUMEROUS RAMIFICATIONS WORDS BY PETER MANN Cont. from pg 21 As for the media, a club statement published in The Chronicle spoke volumes from which extracts show this. The club’s Head of Media pointed out the extent to the media coverage of the Time 4 Change march, some dozen or more articles over a six week spell in both The Chronicle and its sister newspapers, The Journal and Sunday Sun. In the statement they said “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 22 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. “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.” The first game after that ban was imposed would see the non-presence of regional press but the allowance of national media cameras into changing rooms and the managers’ private lounge prior to kick off of the Carling Cup match with Manchester City. A statement of intent clearly laid down by the hierarchy at the football club. A statement that, quite frankly shows that, although the events surrounding the march was heard, was it not ultimately in vain? There was, and most likely still is, a need to unite the supporters of Newcastle United Football Club and show that strength arrives from the unity that we, the supporters, show for what surely is, our club. 23