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Red card for newspaper in football kit row

The Croydon Advertiser has been gagged from speaking to staff and players at Crystal Palace FC after it ran a story in which fans criticised the club’s new kit.

Manager Neil Warnock is also banned from writing his weekly column for the Northcliffe weekly after many fans expressed their dislike for the new kit design via the Advertiser’s pages.

The story has upset Palace chairman Simon Jordan and chief executive Phil Alexander who complained that the paper should have used the page space to promote May’s Player of the Year event instead.

It echoes a similar argument last August which saw The Northern Echo and Hartlepool Mail banned from Hartlepool United’s ground.

Editor Ian Carter said: “The Advertiser has always been proud of its association with Crystal Palace. But it is high time the club hierarchy realised that the Advertiser’s loyalty does not mean we will simply act as their mouthpiece.

“The ban on our staff speaking to the manager or players is a ridiculous over-reaction to last week’s article.

“We have no beef with manager Neil Warnock, nor the playing staff, and would rather have used our pages to focus on Palace’s excellent win at Plymouth.

“But if we have a direct choice between losing access to players or cravenly agreeing to publish only stories the club’s bosses personally approve of, there is no real decision to be made.”

The Advertiser told HTFP it was exploring its options for covering home matches and would pull out all the stops to ensure it reported them as fully as it did before the ban.

A statement issued by Crystal Palace chairman Simon Jordan said: “Over the last eight years I have tried to maintain a positive relationship with the local press and in particular the Croydon Advertiser.

“Unfortunately, despite my hopes, the club has continually been reflected in a disproportionate and negative light by this paper over the ensuing years to the degree where very few positive stories are given their due and the expected positioning or prominence within the paper.

“Contact from the paper to the commercial side of the club is non-existent unless it is to obtain a last minute quote to a negative story which on the converse to the many positives that the club is doing and those stories are blazoned across a multiple spread to exaggerate the issue.”

The move has been dubbed “petty” by supporters, who fear the decision will turn the club into a laughing stock while the Football Supporters’ Federation has described the decision as “bizarre”.


Rick (21/02/2009 18:09:23)
Jumped-up twits at Palace, me thinks.

Dandepan (21/02/2009 18:24:48)
Why pull out all the stop to cover games? Why not print a page blank except for a WOB announcing “This would have been a Palace match report if the Advertiser had not been denied access because we allow our readers to comment on issues surrounding the club”
Or charge Palace per cm for each bit of commercial “news” the club wants printed

Phil (22/02/2009 15:54:04)
My paper was banned from covering a semi-pro club in the 90s for equally absurd reasons. We reported nothing but results and fixtures for three weeks. Eventually their chairman resigned. I accepted the invitation to resume normal coverage but declined the club presidency.

James (09/03/2009 15:02:36)
Forget Palace and their winging ways – get yourself down the Den, a proper football club.