The Teesside Gazette has announced it will not interview Middlesbrough FC manager Garry Monk, left, or his players after the club informed sports reporter Dominic Shaw that he was not welcome to speak to the former Swansea City and Leeds boss.
Instead, another unnamed Gazette journalist was invited to interview Monk following a friendly match against Mansfield Town last night, but the newspaper decided not to publish the resulting story.
It comes after an incident in June, when the Gazette says Middlesbrough made clear that Dominic and his colleague Jonathon Taylor were “not welcome” when Monk was unveiled as manager at the club’s Rockliffe Park training ground.
A statement on the Gazette’s website reads: “As an independent publisher, we simply cannot allow any organisation to apply restrictions on our journalism by dictating which of our staff they are happy to field questions from.”
It continues: “No proper explanation has been provided despite repeated requests from The Gazette for clarification on the reasons. Other journalists attended Monk’s first press conference on behalf of The Gazette while we attempted to resolve any outstanding issues.
“It is now clear the club does not wish its employees to engage with certain members of our staff. It is with deep regret that The Gazette is in this position. We are eager to move on and are looking forward to what should be an exciting season for Teesside.
“But as it stands and under the current conditions, The Gazette will not interview the manager or players. We will of course continue to attend all matches and provide our usual mix of news, comment and analysis.”
The self-imposed ban comes two days after the Gazette welcomed a statement on Middlesbrough’s website pledging to be “transparent” after the club accused the paper of spreading “misinformation” over its reporting of two transfers.
However, the Gazette has denied the two incidents are linked.
The statement concludes: “While the current situation is unfortunate, our aim will always be to act in the best interests of our readers. Everyone at The Gazette wishes Steve Gibson, Garry Monk and the Boro players all the very best for the forthcoming season.”
Football clubs to have banned regional journalists in recent years include Coventry City, Chesterfield, Rangers, Blackpool, Rotherham United, Newcastle United, Southampton, Swindon Town, Port Vale and Notts County.
HTFP has asked Middlesbrough FC for a comment.