A weekly newspaper is publishing a 56,000-run standalone supplement to mark its local football team’s promotion drive – despite having been banned by the club.
The Rotherham Advertiserwas banned by Rotherham United FC for a time earlier this season in a row over a story.
However the paper has now published Reach For The Top! – a 70p stand-alone 32 page publication – charting the progress to the play-offs of both Rotherham United (The Millers) and rugby union outfit the Titans.
The Millers hope to gain promotion to football’s Championship while the Titans are in the mix for a position in rugby’s English Premiership.
Advertiser Editor Andrew Mosley said: “Both teams have done remarkably well and the fact that both will be involved in play-offs in the same weekend means it is an ideal time to produce something to mark their achievements.
“The initial idea was to produce a supplement inside the paper but we decided to take a bit of a risk and test the water by putting out a stand-alone product.
“Hopefully it will appeal to both sets of supporters as we cover the Millers from the front of the publication and flip the pages for the Titans section at the back, with both clubs having their own front so to speak.
“We’re producing 56,000 and putting them in supermarkets from Wednesday and regular newsagents later in the week.
“Hopefully people will see it alongside their regular Advertiser and buy both.
“If it sells well and either or both sides reach the play-off finals the idea is to produce another one.
“It’s been something of a monumental effort form the sports team — all of two of them — who have produced 18 pages for this week’s Advertiser as well as the supplement.
“People know we had our differences with the football club earlier in the season and were banned for some time, but this shows that we continue to back the clubs supported by the Rotherham community.”
The Advertiser was hit by a ban over a story about a kit shortage which prevented a six-year-old being a mascot.
The football club claimed the story was a “complete misrepresentation of our relationship with our supporters” and, told the paper it would “withdraw the privileged access” enjoyed by the title.
The Advertiser responded with a strongly worded front page story and inside spread pointing out that it had helped save the club from extinction seven years ago.
The paper refuted the claim that the article was a misrepresentation of the club’s relationship with its supporters.
The row was the latest in a string of disputes between football clubs and regional newspapers.
Journalists at the Newcastle Chronicle and its sister titles were banned from press access at St James’ Park following a row with club owner Mike Ashley and Stoke daily The Sentinel and Port Vale Football Club also hit by a ban.