Discussing Newcastle and their aggressive press-handling 1

Newcastle United have today announced that they have banned The Express from St James’ Park for inaccurately reporting that Alan Pardew’s job is under-threat, and have issued a terse statement denying that their manager is any way vulnerable.

The press can be a pain, everyone knows that, but this isn’t the way to deal with this problem. Newcastle have already banned several papers for their reporting of a protest march last year, and are currently the only Premier League club to charge news outlets for media access - there are ways of reacting to negative publicity, and then there are ways of needless making a lot of influential enemies.

This, obviously, is the latter.

“Newcastle United will not accept false, misleading, mischievous or inflammatory reporting such as this and will take appropriate action as and when necessary.

To this end, Newcastle United can confirm that the Sunday Express is banned with immediate effect.”

Newcastle United

I understand the frustrations a club must have when a paper prints false accusations, but by banning certain sections of the media all Mike Ashley is really doing is being antagonistic. This really serves no purpose; The Express are still free to print whatever they want within the libel laws, so banning them from attending press-conferences and briefings is just provocative.

Every big-name club has this problem, and every team within the Premier League has faced some kind of negative speculation about their future at one point or another, but it only seems to be Newcastle who have a consistent habit of banning people for it.

As the expression goes: keep your friends close and your enemies closer. Does Mike Ashley believe that if he imposes enough bans then the negative reporting will eventually go away? He can’t be that naive. Newcastle should be embracing the media and not ostracising them; good PR is built on a foundation of positive relationships, and not on self-defeating over-reactions.

Watch for The Express to publish something even more venomous within the coming days as retaliation - because that’s really how this works.

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