Newcastle United bans yet another publication, says it’s not for sale

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Look: we get it. There’s a lot of irresponsible “reporting” in the sports media, but the way Newcastle United is treating publications feels right on the edge of something nasty.

The latest incident comes courtesy of writer Luke Edwards and The Daily Telegraph, who are not allowed within the vicinity of Newcastle United after publishing a “factually inaccurate” report that claimed owner Mike Ashley wanted to sell the club and purchase more of Scottish club Rangers.

Newcastle claims that they were not asked for comment before the publication of the story, and so neither Edwards nor the Telegraph can cover the club.

Which honestly seems more than reasonable except this is far from the first occasion of NUFC wielding a big stick at the expense of reporters. The club was also rumored to be implementing a policy where publications would have to pay for exclusive access to the team.

From NUFC.Co.uk:

Newcastle United has today banned the Daily Telegraph with immediate effect following a report published in its paper yesterday (Thursday, 11th September), headlined ‘Newcastle United For Sale As Ashley Eyes Rangers’, as well as a follow-up article from the same reporter which appears in the Daily Telegraph today (Friday, 12th September).

The reports by Luke Edwards on 11th September, and again today (12th September), are wholly inaccurate and written with the intention of unsettling the Club, players and its supporters.

This is disgraceful journalism for which the Club and its supporters should receive a full and unreserved apology from those concerned.

“Unsettling” as in many fans would be very pleased, as Ashley has been a massive piece of consternation for fans. But I digress. Here’s part of what Edwards reports, an what NUFC does not dispute:

Newcastle says the club is not going to be moved.

The truth is Mike Ashley remains committed to Newcastle United.

For the avoidance of doubt, this means that for the remainder of this season and AT LEAST until the end of next season, Mike Ashley will not, under any circumstances, sell Newcastle United at any price.

The Club cannot be stronger in stating its position on this matter.

So the report has at least achieved the objective of getting clarification. But here’s a big problem for Ashley: he refuses to speak to any media about the club, including this super awkward interview at a recent shareholders meeting at the company Ashley owns, Sports Direct.

And the club has basically either dug its feet in the sand regarding media criticism. The biggest local paper and reporter Lee Ryder were banned for their coverage of a protest outside the stadium last year.

What’s funny, though, is the continued banning of major media role players in the NUFC story. By treating them like controlled objects, Newcastle is asking reporters to aim for the club. And, in turn, NUFC ownership will become more distrusting of the media. It’s a self-perpetuating cycle.

Maybe that’s the English way and just not something we’re used to Stateside, but it reads odd almost every time.