AddThis SmartLayers

Banned weekly editor attacks football club’s inadequate coverage claims

Ashley Booker 1An editor has hit out at claims about perceived inadequate coverage of a football club which has banned his newspaper.

As reported on HTFP yesterday, Chesterfield FC informed the Derbyshire Times it will no longer agree to requests for interviews with players, management and other key personnel at the club after the paper ran stories about financial issues involving a football school co-owned by its chief executive.

In a statement announcing the ban, Chesterfield further claimed that for most of last season, no Times journalists attended games or pre-match press conferences and that officials were “disappointed” the paper did not cover an event staged to announce a record sponsorship deal.

But Ashley Booker, pictured above left, acting group editor of Times owner Johnston Press North Midlands, has dismissed the claims made by the club, nicknamed the Spireites, in a piece on the paper’s website.

He wrote: “During the 2015/16 season the Derbyshire Times took steps to improve its coverage of Chesterfield FC, appointing a Spireites-dedicated writer to ensure all home games and press conferences were attended.

“We published reports on every single Chesterfield fixture, exclusive player interviews, comment pieces, video content and digital coverage including web polls and picture slideshows.

“Prior to the appointment of our Spireites writer, all matches and the majority of the club’s press conferences were covered by staff journalists or freelance writers.”

The ban was put in place after the Times ran articles detailing losses of £77,000 in the 2015 accounts of the Chesterfield FC Player Progression Pathway (PPP) football school, owned by Chesterfield CEO Chris Turner and former non-league footballer Liam Sutcliffe.

It detailed recent staff departures amid allegations of unpaid wages, as well as concerns for the welfare of young people on the programmes run by the school.

Ashley added he believes this, and not the cited lack of coverage, is the sole reason for the ban.

He wrote: “If Chesterfield FC is citing [lack of coverage] as the reason for the ban, we would invite them to clarify why this was not raised with the Derbyshire Times earlier.

“We believe that this ban has been put in place as a reaction to our recent coverage of the Player Progression Pathway.”

The club said there had been a “breakdown in its relationship” with the Times, and had received complaints from sponsors, commercial partners, suppliers and an educational partner which were contacted by the newspaper after the stories were run.


You can follow all replies to this entry through the comments feed.
  • June 2, 2016 at 9:15 am

    I can understand the rush for tit-for-tat argument when both sides feel they are in the right, but the way forward (with the readers in mind) will have to be conciliation and compromise. The sooner club and paper reach that stage the better for everyone.

    Report this comment

    Like this comment(2)
  • June 2, 2016 at 10:14 am

    Web polls eh? Great coverage.

    Are web polls adequate coverage for a football team

    A) Yes

    B) No

    I’m now adding Holdthefrontpage content provider to my CV.

    Report this comment

    Like this comment(3)
  • June 2, 2016 at 12:51 pm

    Possibly its because they can put their own stuff out online these days, but many football clubs seem to take a high-handed approach when the press say something they don’t like the sound of (regardless of it being true).
    Where the facts rest regarding how well the DT has covered the club is anyone’s guess. JP don’t really much by the way of staff these days. But if the club are correct in saying the DT never turn up, a ban will have minimal impact….

    Report this comment

    Like this comment(0)