After a recent deterioration in the relationship between reporters of a local newspaper and management at a UK south coast town League One football team, the Bournemouth Daily Echo announced, on March 21, 2012, that its staff had finally been banned completely from AFC Bournemouth’s Seward Stadium. According to the newspaper article
, the ban has come about because the football club’s Chairman, Eddie Mitchell, did not like what he considered to be recent “unfair and negative” newspaper reports.
This latest news comes less than a month after Mitchell was fined by the Football Association for swearing
three times on live radio and less than a week after a story about his planning application for gates, described by some as the ugliest in the world
, caused local residents to comment on his taste (or lack of it).
The newspaper is, naturally, displaying indignance over the ban and explains how it has provided the football club with over £800,000 worth of free publicity in the form of back page articles, photographs and column inches since Mitchell took over the club in 2009.
AFC Bournemouth fans have, on the whole, reacted badly to the news. In a forum thread
on the Bournemouth Vital Football News and Fans Community website, this comment by “Jimmy_Connelly” sums up what a lot of the fans are saying:
I don't think the Echo have been particularly responsible in some of the stories they have ran in the last 12 months … but I am not sure how shunning the local press paves a successful path for the future. It does seem a case of the club biting the hand that feeds it.
As does this comment by “hba1”
A sad decision which reflects badly on the ego at the top of the so called family football club.
The Echo didn't instruct the fans to go and watch Saints. They didn't wander about the pitch in a drunken haze inviting confrontation. The Echo didn't swear 3 times on national radio.
The Echo reported public unease at developments on and off the pitch. Grow up Mitchell someone throw the toys back in the pram.
There has been no official word on the football club’s website
about the ban at the time this article went to press but maybe the media team are too busy fielding angry emails from the fans (as talked about on the above forum link) to be able to actually report formally on Eddie Mitchell’s version of events.