The Mansfield Chad has published the apology to Mansfield Town FC and the team’s manager Adam Murray after admitting to running a “misleading” report, written by a freelancer, following a 0-0 draw at Portsmouth.
The apology comes after the Johnston Press-owned Chad recently decided to stop sending its own staff reporter to cover away fixtures.
While it is understood the decision was made partially to cut costs, among other contributing factors, JP says the Chad remains “committed” to covering the club.
The newspaper was one of several in the company’s North Midlands and South Yorkshire region to pilot its ‘newsroom of the future’ initiative, which sees journalists work across multiple titles within the same area.
The National Union of Journalists has described the incident as an “inevitability” as a result of the move.
The offending report appeared on the Chad’s website, and was later amended, while the same initial copy was also used in specialist publication the Football League Paper.
In an interview on Monday Mr Murray, pictured above left, described the report as “disrespectful” to his team.
The apology on the Chad’s website, published after the interview, reads: “Chad Sport would like to offer its apologies to Mansfield Town and manager Adam Murray for any offence caused by our match report on Saturday.
“The report incorrectly cricitised Stags and Adam for the tactics used during the battling display, which secured a superb 0-0 draw at Portsmouth.
“Our report was commissioned from a freelance supplier and WAS NOT written by a Chad reporter.
“Chad Sport are fully behind Mansfield Town and the excellent work Adam Murray is doing in laying the foundations for what we all hope will be a successful play-off push.
“We would like to assure everyone connected with the club that such misleading reports will not appear on the Chad Sport platform in future.”
The apology has been accepted by the club.
A spokesman for Mansfield Town FC told HTFP: “Following yesterday’s news conference at One Call Stadium, Chad, the local newspaper, with whom the club maintain an excellent working relationship, have apologised to the club and Adam Murray for the ‘misleading’ match report on Saturday’s impressive 0-0 draw at high-flying Portsmouth.
“For purposes of record, news agency Sports Beat, who had sent a freelance reporter to cover the game (whose report was used by the Football League paper and Chad) have also contacted the club’s press office to apologise for the report.”
Concerns had been raised about the Chad’s decision not to send a reporter to away games at a meeting of the NUJ’s Nottingham branch earlier this month.
Branch chair Diana Peasey said: “Sadly there is an inevitability in what has happened.
“When you keep cutting experienced staff, such as photographers, reporters and can’t stump up to pay for your own football correspondent what does that say about the enduring quality of the paper and its ability to survive.
“It’s a huge own goal and the paper should be red carded for it.”
A spokesman for Johnston Press said: “We are constantly looking for new ways of delivering the best possible all-round service to Chad sport fans.
“We remain committed to covering all Mansfield Town FC games, home and away, and consider our relationship with the club one of our biggest strengths.”