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Football club bans regional dailies over ‘silly season’ transfer stories

Elliot FlearTwo sister dailies have been banned by a non-league football club after running a series of “silly season” transfer stories about one of their players.

Forest Green Rovers banished The Gloucestershire Echo and The Citizen, Gloucester, to what the club has described as “the naughty step” for Bank Holiday Monday’s home match against Southport.

The newspapers and their companion website Gloucestershire Live had reported that winger Elliott Frear, pictured above left, was “close” to joining nearby league club Cheltenham Town before negotiations fell through at the last minute, and had also been subject to an offer from Tranmere Rovers.

Forest Green, who play in the National League, English football’s fifth highest level, described the stories as “false” in a statement issued on their official website.

Chairman Dale Vince said: “Forest Green have had no contact from either club, let alone any transfer offers or negotiations. The stories are pure fiction.

“We’re not sure why Cheltenham Town would claim to have been close to a deal for Elliott, when they haven’t even spoken to us, it’s bizarre – perhaps it’s a distraction from their own season, being currently without a league win.

“It’s the same with Tranmere, though at least they don’t claim to have been in a negotiation – we’ve had no approach from them at all. The Gloucestershire Echo/Citizen seems keen to run these stories, without checking the facts with us first – despite us asking that they do so, after the first false story appeared – they seem more interested in creating headlines than reporting the truth.

“Hopefully that’s the silly season over and CTFC and The Citizen will stop this nonsense now, and let our player concentrate on his football.”

The Citizen said its photographer would be at Monday’s game “as usual” while the match would be reported on from the stands.

Editor Jenny Eastwood said: “We are naturally very disappointed with the decision taken by Forest Green Rovers to deny us media access for the game. We pride ourselves on maintaining the very highest standards of sports reporting.

“Our reporter will buy a ticket for the game to enable us to maintain our coverage of the club for our readers and we look forward to working with Forest Green Rovers to resolve this matter as soon as possible.”

A number of other regional newspapers have been subjected to bans by football clubs in recent months.

Earlier this month, the Derbyshire Times had its ban from Chesterfield FC revoked just in time for the start of the new season, having been barred from the club following the end of the 2015/16 campaign.


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  • August 27, 2016 at 6:46 am

    Surely ‘the very highest standards of sports reporting’ would involve seeking a comment from the club itself? It does on my watch.
    Normally football clubs involved in such petty bans – like Newcastle Utd – think they can control the press but I can see FGR’s grounds for grievance here.

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  • August 30, 2016 at 12:17 pm

    As Regional rightly points it’s poor journalism. PPJ in fact.

    On the subject of poor journalism, the kings of PPJ, Johnston Press have had another kicking by the stock market today. Before noon, over 500,000 JP shares were dumped. Market capitalisation is now about the same price as a Forest Green winger and you could get a hundred shares for the same price as a ticket on the terraces.

    Well done the JP top team. My good day just got even better. Sun shining, wife out at work, Johnston Press a step closer to obliteration. I’m tempted to crack open a small shandy before the sun has gone over the yard arm. Happy days. Chin, chin . . .

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