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Football club bans daily journalist after ‘Muppet Christmas Carol’ tweet

Marc IlesA sports journalist has been banned by a football club after he attached a light-hearted clip from the Muppet Christmas Carol to a tweet about a pay dispute.

Bolton Wanderers has told the Bolton News that chief football writer Marc Iles, left, is no longer welcome at its University of Bolton Stadium,

The ban, imposed by club chairman Ken Anderson in an email to the newspaper this morning, follows a Twitter post by Marc in which revealed that Wanderers’ players and coaching staff had been paid their overdue November salary today.

The post was accompanied by an image from the 1992 film ‘The Muppet Christmas Carol’ featuring Michael Caine, playing Ebeneezer Scrooge, and the subtitle ‘God bless us, everyone.’

In its email to the News, the club said its had found Marc’s post “offensive and amateurish” and added it had harboured “concerns over the tone and accuracy of his reporting over a long period of time”.

In November the News had taken Mr Anderson to task on the pay dispute which led to the salaries being overdue, running a comment piece written by Marc under the headline ‘Enough is enough’ in which he called on the chairman to give readers a “truthful and straightforward explanation of Wanderers’ financial situation”.

Addressing the media at a press conference this afternoon, Wanderers manager Phil Parkinson said of Marc’s ban: “I’ve only just heard, obviously that’s the chairman’s decision.

“I’ll probably be speaking to [Mr Anderson] later on this afternoon, that’s all I can say on the matter.”

The ban means Marc will not be granted access for home fixtures of pre-match press conferences.

Bolton News editor Karl Holbrook told HTFP: “We stand firm in our commitment to report to the fans, not the chairman.

“Marc is a fantastic reporter, who pours his heart and soul into Wanderers and will continue to do so, with or without special access.

“We are proud of Marc’s coverage and we are proud to independently cover our great, historic club. We fight on.”

Last month Marc was also a finalist in the Football Journalist of the Year category at the Northwest Football Awards – losing out to Matt Scrafton, of Blackpool daily The Gazette.

HTFP has approached Bolton Wanderers FC for a comment.


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  • December 15, 2018 at 6:33 am

    Don’t know the club, the background or the reporter – but if he’s got that much under their skin with such a playful tweet it sounds like he’s doing a good job. Keep up the good work Marc!

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  • December 15, 2018 at 10:39 am

    The journalist concerned should regard it as a badge of honour to be banned.
    There are far too many supine, tow-the-line, laugh-at-the-manager’s jokes habituees of the press box whose limit of expertise and interrogation does not stretch far beyond the latest groin strain or hamstring pull.
    They are in essence fans with a laptop or a microphone, with questionable journalistic qualifications.

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  • December 15, 2018 at 11:49 am

    Another slice of unwarranted petty censorship. Football Clubs shld be above such idiocy.

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  • December 15, 2018 at 3:17 pm

    Marc obviously won’t make a career in the diplomatic corps, but the whole thing made me laugh. There must be greater evils in the world.

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  • December 17, 2018 at 6:08 pm

    He may have made one enemy, but gained lots of friends at the club. Well done

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