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Archant chief joins football club board

  • Stephan Phillips, right, with
    fellow Norwich directors David
    McNally and Alan Bowkett.
  • The managing director of Archant Norfolk has joined the board of local football club Norwich City.

    But Stephan Phillips promised there will be no conflict of interest between his place in the boardroom at Carrow Road and his role in charge of the Norwich Evening News and Eastern Daily Press.

    “The company has a very clear policy on editorial,” he said in a story published in Friday’s Evening News.

    “That is that the editors decide what goes in our newspapers and websites and they’re the people who choose the content and decide how it’s going to be portrayed and in that sense they have total editorial freedom.

    “That’s really important because we would lose the support of our readers and I think fans would see through it if it wasn’t independent.

    “That integrity is one of the reasons people buy our newspapers and go to our websites. My role with the football club here will not change that in any way, shape or form.”

    Mr Phillips, a Canaries fan for more then 20 years, said he “didn’t have to think too long” about joining the board.

    “I’ve been a fan since I first came to Norfolk in 1986 so I know how passionate the support base is here. It’s probably every fan’s dream to be in a position to sit down and help the club,” he said.

    “The people who buy papers feel like they own those papers and it’s a bit like that with the football club. You buy your season ticket and you feel part of something.

    “Those relationships are not necessarily found in other businesses so there are quite a lot of similarities between readers of a paper and supporters of a football club.”

    Mr Phillips, 54, has ruled out any investment in the club from Archant, but said there were areas where they could work together for the benefit of both parties.

    “At the moment Archant itself is not looking to make any investment in non-media companies. It’s really about how we work together to develop the club with what we’ve currently got,” he said.

    The appointment is one of a series of boardroom changes following city’s relegation to League One.

    Businessman Alan Bowkett has taken over chairman, replacing Roger Munby who has resigned.


    Cynical ex-Archant employee (06/07/2009 10:56:07)
    As if things couldn’t get any worse for the Canaries after their relegation from League One!

    Chris Youett (06/07/2009 16:39:19)
    Speaking as a former Sports Editor, the idea that there is some bamboo curtain between the publisher and editorial is cobblers – especially in sport. How many employers own shares in their local soccer clubs? When I complained about the failure of newspapers to declare shareholdings in soccer clubs, I was told by the Chairman of the Press Council that many media groups had bought parcels of shares in 1930s to stop the League going bankrupt.
    I doubt very much whether any Archant Norfolk journalist will be allowed to investigate the affairs of The Canaries, apart from a short report on the AGM.