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SWINDON TOWN: Club accept apology over 'cheat' article
SWINDON Town yesterday released a statement in which they revealed that they have accepted an apology from the Football League Paper regarding an article published on Sunday.
The piece, by FLP staff writer Chris Dunlavy, suggested the club committed “financial doping” and “virtually cheated” their way to the League Two title last season.
Town also confirmed that the Football League Paper will pay damages.
The statement read: “Swindon Town Football Club have today accepted the following apology from the Football League Paper following the article which appeared on Sunday 20th January.
A letter was issued to the paper on Monday, demanding a retraction of the article, allied to an unreserved apology and a request for damages. All of these have been agreed to by the Football League Paper.”
Swindon also made public the apology sent by Mr Dunlavy, which reads: “Dear Sirs, I am writing to offer my unreserved apologies for my article in the Football League Paper on Sunday 20 January under the headline ‘Swindon Town: The ‘cheats’ who really prospered’.
It has been made abundantly clear to me by Swindon supporters that I have made a grave misrepresentation.
Swindon Town’s debt is owned 98 per cent by Andrew Black, the owner of the club, so no-one has ‘gone unpaid’ as I wrongly suggested.
My intention had been to raise the wider issue of insolvency and debt in football, and more precisely the need for clubs to move towards self-sustainability.
I saw Sir William Patey’s reported comments about administration and used this as the basis for my comments.
I chose the wrong target and for that I am genuinely sorry.
Football League Paper editor in chief, David Emery said: “Chris Dunlavy is a fine young journalist who on this occasion allowed his crusading instincts to obscure the true facts.
“It is a harsh lesson.
“Another regret of this unhappy episode is that, until now, Chris had always enjoyed good relations with Swindon and found the club to be both helpful and accommodating.”
In addition, the Football League Paper will also make a £500 charity donation to Swindon’s chosen charity of the year, the Wiltshire Air Ambulance.
Former Town chairman Jeremy Wray, who was named within the article in question, was not satisfied by the paper’s apology, however.
He said: “The young journalist has offered some apology but personally, and from my point of view, it doesn’t go far enough and it’s factually incorrect.
“Secondly, the claim he’s championing the wider cause of financial mis-management but it’s not born out by the tone and the nature of his article.
“I haven’t received the specific apology which I asked for and the most important thing is the apology comes from the newspaper and takes some editorial responsibility for the young journalist.”