Swindon Town fans have called on chairman Lee Power to end the ban on the Adver from reporting at the County Ground .
On Monday morning the owner, who has been in charge for just over six weeks, moved to ban the paper after objecting to a Tweet by reporter Sam Morshead.
The Adver’s chief sports writer Tweeted the news that striker Nile Ranger was in the team to play Peterborough United at the County Ground on Saturday at 1.15pm – 45 minutes before the team sheets were handed to match officials.
The reporter Tweeted the information after seeing a Tweet by fan Daniel Hunt, who had photographed Ranger’s shirt hanging in the dressing room during a pre-match tour of the ground at 12.30pm.
Robins fans have voiced their concerns over the chairman’s decision and many do not expect the ban to last for long.
Before boarding the bus to Stevenage for Town’s away match last night, Kevin O’Shea, 63, of Pinehurst, said: “They should get together because we need the Adver in there reporting. Hopefully it will be sorted before the next home match.
“I suppose, in a way, you can see both sides. But you just hope Lee sees sense and lifts this ban. It’s silly.”
Tony Silk, another supporter on the bus, said: “It’s absolutely ridiculous. How can this ban happen? The supporters need daily news from the club.”
Isaac Chandler, 18, of Lawn, said: “It’s ridiculous, to be honest.
“The people at the match would have seen him (Nile Ranger) warming up before the match anyway.”
Will Harris, 17, of Lawn, said: “It’s a massive overreaction. I am supporting the Adver. I hope the ban doesn’t last long.”
Roger Bunce, 67, chairman of Swindon Town Supporters Club, said: “It was a shock really.
“He’s (Lee’s) a manager and he wants the best for our football club. He probably thinks that is the best for the club.
“Sam was doing his job as he saw it. I quite enjoy reading his stuff, so it will be quite difficult for us as fans to stop having that to read.
“People do want to see what’s happening at the club, and we need the Adver for that.
“What worries me is that Lee’s actually gone and done this. The supporters don’t know what’s happening.”
North Swindon MP Justin Tomlinson has been lobbying the club to end the ban for the good of the fans.
He met with director Sangita Shah in London yesterday.
“This is utter madness,” he said. “The Adver does more than anyone to promote Swindon Town Football Club.
“I will be making it clear to the board of the club this is madness and, frankly, the football club is cutting off its nose to spite its own face.
“Over the years the Swindon Advertiser has always been a supportive friend, not afraid to challenge, but always on the side of the football club.
“My biggest concern is the blow to the fans, who really need their daily updates from the Adver.”
- A poll on whether the ban was just is on swindonadvertiser.co.uk
WE ARE NOT THE ONLY ONES
Town chairman Lee Power is not the first club boss to introduce censorship of the local media.
A host of clubs from the Premier League and the Football League have had falling outs with their local papers, including Newcastle United, who banned three local titles.
It upheld its ban on The Chronicle, The Journal and Sunday Sun at a fans’ forum last week. The ban has been in place since last October when the titles were adjudged to have been promoting an anti-Newcastle United message.
Reporters and photographers from Southampton’s Southern Daily Echo have been banned from St Mary’s Stadium since 2010.
Since last August, Nottingham Forest has limited all media access. Players are not permitted to speak to the press before or after matches.
In November last year, the Rotherham Advertiser published a front page story about a kit shortage that prevented a six-year-old being a mascot for Rotherham United. The club withdrew “privileged access”.
Port Vale also banned local paper The Sentinel last October over a question its sports reporter asked about delays in deliveries of special replica kits.