Two north-east daily newspapers have been banned from a League One football ground.
The row started after the Hartlepool Mail refused to sign a commercial agreement with the club.
After its reporters and photographers were prohibited from entering press areas at the stadium, the Northern Echo supplied them with photos and manager’s quotes which in turn earned the paper a similar ban.
Other media organisations have been warned not to send quotes or pictures to either paper or face the threat of a similar shut-out, according to the Mail.
Reporters from both papers managed to cover the home game on Saturday after paying to sit with the regular fans.
Today’s Mail carries photos from last night’s historic Carling Cup win against Premiership team West Bromwich Albion, secured from another media organisation, while the Echo had a reporter entrenched with the fans again.
The Mail also helpfully includes the phone number of Hartlepool United’s chairman Ken Hodcroft for fans keen to gain a better understanding of the situation.
Hartlepool Mail editor Joy Yates called it “a sad situation”, adding it was a complex matter and therefore inappropriate to comment further.
Today’s Northern Echo carries a match report and statement by the paper, along with a Roy of the Rovers-esque cartoon (below), drawn by a graphic artist in the absence of real photos.
Echo editor Peter Barron said: “I have twice written to the club, proposing a meeting so we can try to find a constructive way forward but, sadly, the offer has not even been acknowledged.
“It is very sad that the two newspapers which have given Hartlepool United the most coverage home and away for many years should be treated in this way.”
A spokesman for Hartlepool United confirmed the ban was in place but would not comment any further on the reasons behind the decision or how long the ban would remain in force.
Ray Bradbury (27/08/2008 13:03:30)
Well done Hartlepool Mail….the football club will soon be running for your assistance when they see the gates drop and they are in Div2
Gary Beard (27/08/2008 14:24:43)
Too many of these lower league clubs think they can boss newspapers around and act like Manchester United just because they have their own wesbites now. Not the case, they need putting in their place so keep up the good work
matt (27/08/2008 19:17:10)
I don’t understand why the papers cover the game at all. Instead attack the club for the ban. Encourage a boycott of the bullying club. Who will suffer more. The club or the papers. I can’t imagine Hartlepool getting more than low thousands each week. Most of the people will follow through the papers. Don’t cover it and fans will want to know why.
Steve Dyson (27/08/2008 21:48:56)
Well done Peter and co! Hire a cherry-picker and make a real fuss of taking pix from a crane OUTSIDE the ground! Send a rep in disguised as a fan to report from the stands. A great fight. H’pool will lose!!
Chris Fidler (28/08/2008 09:26:33)
I was told by a colleague on the South London Press that Charlton banned the local Greenwich Mercury several years back. The good old Merc responded by banning Charlton from the paper! Why not try that?