Wednesday 29 March 2017

Newcastle ban local media from Steve McClaren unveiling

The boss: Steve McClaren is braving the Newcastle hot seat Photo: GETTY IMAGES
The boss: Steve McClaren is braving the Newcastle hot seat Photo: GETTY IMAGES

Luke Edwards

Steve McClaren was forced to speak to Newcastle’s carefully selected media partners rather than hold a press conference as his reign as manager began on Wednesday.

Despite much talk of a fresh start and new era on Tyneside, the club decided to only allow access to McClaren for Sky Sports and the Daily Mirror.

Newcastle talked of the need to improve their communication with fans in the wake of loud and sustained protests calling for owner Mike Ashley to sell the club last season, as relegation was narrowly avoided, and supporters took to social media on Wednesday night to express their concern over the decision to cherrypick media.

Some claimed it showed that McClaren will not be strong enough to stand up to the board on more important football matters.

The exclusion of journalists extended to all of the North East’s local newspapers. It is the first time the Newcastle Chronicle – which had a ban lifted last year - has not been at a new manager’s unveiling.

Sky Sports and the Daily Mirror were invited to a private meeting with the former England manager.

When approached by journalists outside St James’ Park and asked whether he would speak to them, McClaren replied: “I can’t, I’m sorry guys.” When asked again whether he wanted to speak to the independent press, he replied: “Sorry… Let the dust settle first.”

Michael Martin is editor of True Faith and chairman of the Newcastle United Supporters Trust.

"They have had yet another opportunity to change, another opportunity to clean up the mess they have got into and they have failed to take it. This just seems unnecessarily antagonistic. To not have the local media there makes them look like a club that does not even know where their supporters are from.

It looks like a club that has no idea what it is doing, it is clumsy, clunking and shows what a daft football club it is. We were told things were going to change, that there would be better communication and more transparency, but this suggests nothing has changed at all."

Telegraph.co.uk

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