SWINDON TOWN: Club accept apology over 'cheat' article

Former Swindon Town chairman Jeremy Wray

Former Swindon Town chairman Jeremy Wray

First published in Sport by

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.

Chris Dunlavy”

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.”

Comments (21)

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6:30am Wed 23 Jan 13

the wizard says...

Quite simple Jeremy, if you are not satisfied personally then sue them. Most who have received the apology also think the same, it doesn't go far enough and it sounds less than sincere.

They need a reaming.
Quite simple Jeremy, if you are not satisfied personally then sue them. Most who have received the apology also think the same, it doesn't go far enough and it sounds less than sincere. They need a reaming. the wizard
  • Score: 0

6:42am Wed 23 Jan 13

International Robin2 says...

Go Jezza! Sue the b*stards! Totally agree with you that the apology wasn't worded to be apoligetic enough and instead tried shifting the blame by covering up tracks by claiming to talk about 'the wider issue', when CLEARLY there was no mention of the wider issue, it was all Swindon and nothing but incorrect facts! Sue them for a bucket load and really make it hurt!
Go Jezza! Sue the b*stards! Totally agree with you that the apology wasn't worded to be apoligetic enough and instead tried shifting the blame by covering up tracks by claiming to talk about 'the wider issue', when CLEARLY there was no mention of the wider issue, it was all Swindon and nothing but incorrect facts! Sue them for a bucket load and really make it hurt! International Robin2
  • Score: 0

6:43am Wed 23 Jan 13

Lazaat says...

And while we are at it there is a lot more people that should be brought to account including Adrian Durham!
And while we are at it there is a lot more people that should be brought to account including Adrian Durham! Lazaat
  • Score: 0

8:02am Wed 23 Jan 13

London Red says...

I've got to admit I'm with JW - it was half hearted and still factually incorrect as he said
.
For me his whole column should be an apology and a correction of his statements using facts
.
Ie 100% of debt is to shareholders not 98% - that's AB's ownership!
.
It should also state that at no point did we break the FL rules and the fact we could sign lots of players is we had a massive fan base for L2 and an owner willing to invest to achieve a goal - not to mention cup runs bringing in hundreds of thousands!!!
.
He should then explain if it was a wider cause why no other team was actually mentioned - like Cardiff who spent 110% income on wage while facing winding up orders for non payment o tax and other clubs!
I've got to admit I'm with JW - it was half hearted and still factually incorrect as he said . For me his whole column should be an apology and a correction of his statements using facts . Ie 100% of debt is to shareholders not 98% - that's AB's ownership! . It should also state that at no point did we break the FL rules and the fact we could sign lots of players is we had a massive fan base for L2 and an owner willing to invest to achieve a goal - not to mention cup runs bringing in hundreds of thousands!!! . He should then explain if it was a wider cause why no other team was actually mentioned - like Cardiff who spent 110% income on wage while facing winding up orders for non payment o tax and other clubs! London Red
  • Score: 0

8:06am Wed 23 Jan 13

Sparticus says...

Come off it Sam! Dunlavy's article didn't just "suggest" the club committed “financial doping” and “virtually cheated” their way to the League Two title last season. It made a very unequivocal accusation of these misdeeds. More sloppy journalism or are you afraid of Dunlavy?
Come off it Sam! Dunlavy's article didn't just "suggest" the club committed “financial doping” and “virtually cheated” their way to the League Two title last season. It made a very unequivocal accusation of these misdeeds. More sloppy journalism or are you afraid of Dunlavy? Sparticus
  • Score: 0

8:40am Wed 23 Jan 13

Highworth red says...

Personally, I think that the club should let it go, depending on what is printed FRONT PAGE, on Sundays FLP. Obviously their excuse is nonsense as no other clubs were mentioned, but they are obviously cacking themselves and I think they have learned a valuable lesson. Mr Wray must do what he feels best, shame he's not our chairman anymore, the best we've ever had without a doubt.
Personally, I think that the club should let it go, depending on what is printed FRONT PAGE, on Sundays FLP. Obviously their excuse is nonsense as no other clubs were mentioned, but they are obviously cacking themselves and I think they have learned a valuable lesson. Mr Wray must do what he feels best, shame he's not our chairman anymore, the best we've ever had without a doubt. Highworth red
  • Score: 0

9:32am Wed 23 Jan 13

Oi Den! says...

Highworth red wrote:
Personally, I think that the club should let it go, depending on what is printed FRONT PAGE, on Sundays FLP. Obviously their excuse is nonsense as no other clubs were mentioned, but they are obviously cacking themselves and I think they have learned a valuable lesson. Mr Wray must do what he feels best, shame he's not our chairman anymore, the best we've ever had without a doubt.
Agree. If I was in JW's shoes, I would want a personal apology. I think he'll probably get that in the paper on Sunday, as well as a personal letter. Then perhaps we can all move on. The damage has been done and cannot be undone, either with an apology or financial redress. Dragging the matter on through the courts may achieve one thing - the closure of a national newspaper that cares about the Football League, unlike most of the Premier League-obsessed media in this country. I don't want to be associated with that. Enough is enough.
[quote][p][bold]Highworth red[/bold] wrote: Personally, I think that the club should let it go, depending on what is printed FRONT PAGE, on Sundays FLP. Obviously their excuse is nonsense as no other clubs were mentioned, but they are obviously cacking themselves and I think they have learned a valuable lesson. Mr Wray must do what he feels best, shame he's not our chairman anymore, the best we've ever had without a doubt.[/p][/quote]Agree. If I was in JW's shoes, I would want a personal apology. I think he'll probably get that in the paper on Sunday, as well as a personal letter. Then perhaps we can all move on. The damage has been done and cannot be undone, either with an apology or financial redress. Dragging the matter on through the courts may achieve one thing - the closure of a national newspaper that cares about the Football League, unlike most of the Premier League-obsessed media in this country. I don't want to be associated with that. Enough is enough. Oi Den!
  • Score: 0

9:38am Wed 23 Jan 13

Stilloyal says...

I agree that the club and Jeremy Wray should pursue this more actively and vigorously.
The little clubs always get dumped on and it's time that the little fella came out on top.
GO FOR THE JUGULAR Jeremy !
I agree that the club and Jeremy Wray should pursue this more actively and vigorously. The little clubs always get dumped on and it's time that the little fella came out on top. GO FOR THE JUGULAR Jeremy ! Stilloyal
  • Score: 0

9:52am Wed 23 Jan 13

Stilloyal says...

Oi Den! wrote:
Highworth red wrote: Personally, I think that the club should let it go, depending on what is printed FRONT PAGE, on Sundays FLP. Obviously their excuse is nonsense as no other clubs were mentioned, but they are obviously cacking themselves and I think they have learned a valuable lesson. Mr Wray must do what he feels best, shame he's not our chairman anymore, the best we've ever had without a doubt.
Agree. If I was in JW's shoes, I would want a personal apology. I think he'll probably get that in the paper on Sunday, as well as a personal letter. Then perhaps we can all move on. The damage has been done and cannot be undone, either with an apology or financial redress. Dragging the matter on through the courts may achieve one thing - the closure of a national newspaper that cares about the Football League, unlike most of the Premier League-obsessed media in this country. I don't want to be associated with that. Enough is enough.
If they cared that much about the football league then they'd get all the true and proper facts before grabbing ONE comment and printing a libelous piece of fiction based on that.
This journo his editor and his paper should be given a lesson so as to deter other papers from doing the same to other small clubs like Swindon.

It's a matter of principal as much as anything else, getting financial recompense is secondary in this instance.
[quote][p][bold]Oi Den![/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]Highworth red[/bold] wrote: Personally, I think that the club should let it go, depending on what is printed FRONT PAGE, on Sundays FLP. Obviously their excuse is nonsense as no other clubs were mentioned, but they are obviously cacking themselves and I think they have learned a valuable lesson. Mr Wray must do what he feels best, shame he's not our chairman anymore, the best we've ever had without a doubt.[/p][/quote]Agree. If I was in JW's shoes, I would want a personal apology. I think he'll probably get that in the paper on Sunday, as well as a personal letter. Then perhaps we can all move on. The damage has been done and cannot be undone, either with an apology or financial redress. Dragging the matter on through the courts may achieve one thing - the closure of a national newspaper that cares about the Football League, unlike most of the Premier League-obsessed media in this country. I don't want to be associated with that. Enough is enough.[/p][/quote]If they cared that much about the football league then they'd get all the true and proper facts before grabbing ONE comment and printing a libelous piece of fiction based on that. This journo his editor and his paper should be given a lesson so as to deter other papers from doing the same to other small clubs like Swindon. It's a matter of principal as much as anything else, getting financial recompense is secondary in this instance. Stilloyal
  • Score: 0

10:06am Wed 23 Jan 13

Davey Gravey says...

Talksports Adrian Durham also called the club cheats on Twitter.
Talksports Adrian Durham also called the club cheats on Twitter. Davey Gravey
  • Score: 0

11:01am Wed 23 Jan 13

Oi Den! says...

Stilloyal wrote:
Oi Den! wrote:
Highworth red wrote: Personally, I think that the club should let it go, depending on what is printed FRONT PAGE, on Sundays FLP. Obviously their excuse is nonsense as no other clubs were mentioned, but they are obviously cacking themselves and I think they have learned a valuable lesson. Mr Wray must do what he feels best, shame he's not our chairman anymore, the best we've ever had without a doubt.
Agree. If I was in JW's shoes, I would want a personal apology. I think he'll probably get that in the paper on Sunday, as well as a personal letter. Then perhaps we can all move on. The damage has been done and cannot be undone, either with an apology or financial redress. Dragging the matter on through the courts may achieve one thing - the closure of a national newspaper that cares about the Football League, unlike most of the Premier League-obsessed media in this country. I don't want to be associated with that. Enough is enough.
If they cared that much about the football league then they'd get all the true and proper facts before grabbing ONE comment and printing a libelous piece of fiction based on that.
This journo his editor and his paper should be given a lesson so as to deter other papers from doing the same to other small clubs like Swindon.

It's a matter of principal as much as anything else, getting financial recompense is secondary in this instance.
So what is the lesson they should be given and what would be achieved by it? The principle is not in doubt. I think that's agreed by all concerned. I was appalled by the article and told the paper exactly that. Now they know the seriousness of their mistake, I think they are probably appalled too.
.
I think there are three people culpable:
Patey, for his disdainful and dismissive communication with everyone outside the club - since day 1 of his tenure - that led to all the speculation and inaccuracy;
Dunlavy, for not doing the simple thing and checking the facts;
Emery, for his poor editorial control.
.
I think it's highly likely that Dunlavy and Emery have already learned their lesson.
[quote][p][bold]Stilloyal[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]Oi Den![/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]Highworth red[/bold] wrote: Personally, I think that the club should let it go, depending on what is printed FRONT PAGE, on Sundays FLP. Obviously their excuse is nonsense as no other clubs were mentioned, but they are obviously cacking themselves and I think they have learned a valuable lesson. Mr Wray must do what he feels best, shame he's not our chairman anymore, the best we've ever had without a doubt.[/p][/quote]Agree. If I was in JW's shoes, I would want a personal apology. I think he'll probably get that in the paper on Sunday, as well as a personal letter. Then perhaps we can all move on. The damage has been done and cannot be undone, either with an apology or financial redress. Dragging the matter on through the courts may achieve one thing - the closure of a national newspaper that cares about the Football League, unlike most of the Premier League-obsessed media in this country. I don't want to be associated with that. Enough is enough.[/p][/quote]If they cared that much about the football league then they'd get all the true and proper facts before grabbing ONE comment and printing a libelous piece of fiction based on that. This journo his editor and his paper should be given a lesson so as to deter other papers from doing the same to other small clubs like Swindon. It's a matter of principal as much as anything else, getting financial recompense is secondary in this instance.[/p][/quote]So what is the lesson they should be given and what would be achieved by it? The principle is not in doubt. I think that's agreed by all concerned. I was appalled by the article and told the paper exactly that. Now they know the seriousness of their mistake, I think they are probably appalled too. . I think there are three people culpable: Patey, for his disdainful and dismissive communication with everyone outside the club - since day 1 of his tenure - that led to all the speculation and inaccuracy; Dunlavy, for not doing the simple thing and checking the facts; Emery, for his poor editorial control. . I think it's highly likely that Dunlavy and Emery have already learned their lesson. Oi Den!
  • Score: 0

11:36am Wed 23 Jan 13

Reality Red says...

It does strike that local BBC started this whole problem and seem to have melted away in the background. If I am wrong I stand to be corrected but have the Club dealt with the source of the problem and surely Talksport Adrian Durham should be made to apologise, he said the same stuff.
It does strike that local BBC started this whole problem and seem to have melted away in the background. If I am wrong I stand to be corrected but have the Club dealt with the source of the problem and surely Talksport Adrian Durham should be made to apologise, he said the same stuff. Reality Red
  • Score: 0

12:00pm Wed 23 Jan 13

London Red says...

To be fair to the BBC while they did start this all by suggesting we were going into Administration to wipe out £9m for potential new owners - they never once claimed we were cheats, commited financial doping or any other such nonsence
.
They made it clear that all debt and therefore loss from administration would be to Andrew Black
.
Yes they should have clarrified that Admin is not being looked at - but don't have a liable case to answer
.
Talksport though could do if they said we were cheats - and I would hope that the club pursue them too
.
I'm also disappointed not one other media source has published this - surely the BBC could make up for its initial role by publishing article saying club gets apology and damages over cheat claim
.
they can then spell out the truth and state administration (as WE previously stated was an option) is not at this point in time being considered
To be fair to the BBC while they did start this all by suggesting we were going into Administration to wipe out £9m for potential new owners - they never once claimed we were cheats, commited financial doping or any other such nonsence . They made it clear that all debt and therefore loss from administration would be to Andrew Black . Yes they should have clarrified that Admin is not being looked at - but don't have a liable case to answer . Talksport though could do if they said we were cheats - and I would hope that the club pursue them too . I'm also disappointed not one other media source has published this - surely the BBC could make up for its initial role by publishing article saying club gets apology and damages over cheat claim . they can then spell out the truth and state administration (as WE previously stated was an option) is not at this point in time being considered London Red
  • Score: 0

2:14pm Wed 23 Jan 13

mickry says...

Well done Town. I couldn't believe the way the article completely disregarded the facts of the case. What Dunlavey doesn't seem to understand is that yer investigative journalist needs to (yes!) INVESTIGATE before going into print. I think that whether the club now lets this go should depend on just how clearly and humbly 'The Football League Paper' apologises in print on Sunday.
Mick.
Well done Town. I couldn't believe the way the article completely disregarded the facts of the case. What Dunlavey doesn't seem to understand is that yer investigative journalist needs to (yes!) INVESTIGATE before going into print. I think that whether the club now lets this go should depend on just how clearly and humbly 'The Football League Paper' apologises in print on Sunday. Mick. mickry
  • Score: 0

2:57pm Wed 23 Jan 13

London Red says...

Take it back the BBC have not leart there lesson!
.
In the Fitton article despite him repeating the debt is to him, AB, Sir Arbib and JW and they have the power to deal with that debt they still say Administration is considered to wipe out £9m!
.
How hard is it for them not to say Administration?
Take it back the BBC have not leart there lesson! . In the Fitton article despite him repeating the debt is to him, AB, Sir Arbib and JW and they have the power to deal with that debt they still say Administration is considered to wipe out £9m! . How hard is it for them not to say Administration? London Red
  • Score: 0

3:17pm Wed 23 Jan 13

Oi Den! says...

London Red wrote:
Take it back the BBC have not leart there lesson!
.
In the Fitton article despite him repeating the debt is to him, AB, Sir Arbib and JW and they have the power to deal with that debt they still say Administration is considered to wipe out £9m!
.
How hard is it for them not to say Administration?
Very selective LR! The article also says: "After the revelation of the club's money problems, current chairman Sir William Patey said they had several interested buyers and was quick to play down fears of administration." The full truth is made clear enough.
.
There's been a lot of gnashing of teeth over a few words here and there. I'm more concerned about how we are going to repay the debt (or whatever part of it Black demands)than the media's representation of it - FL Paper excepted, of course.
.
Yesterday there was much excitement over some mythical Arab investor. Is this the sort of thing anyone really wants? To be honest, I'd rather carry on being a small to medium sized club than attempt to become a big one by going down that road.
[quote][p][bold]London Red[/bold] wrote: Take it back the BBC have not leart there lesson! . In the Fitton article despite him repeating the debt is to him, AB, Sir Arbib and JW and they have the power to deal with that debt they still say Administration is considered to wipe out £9m! . How hard is it for them not to say Administration?[/p][/quote]Very selective LR! The article also says: "After the revelation of the club's money problems, current chairman Sir William Patey said they had several interested buyers and was quick to play down fears of administration." The full truth is made clear enough. . There's been a lot of gnashing of teeth over a few words here and there. I'm more concerned about how we are going to repay the debt (or whatever part of it Black demands)than the media's representation of it - FL Paper excepted, of course. . Yesterday there was much excitement over some mythical Arab investor. Is this the sort of thing anyone really wants? To be honest, I'd rather carry on being a small to medium sized club than attempt to become a big one by going down that road. Oi Den!
  • Score: 0

4:56pm Wed 23 Jan 13

London Red says...

You must be in favour of Fitton returning then Den
You must be in favour of Fitton returning then Den London Red
  • Score: 0

5:25pm Wed 23 Jan 13

Oi Den! says...

London Red wrote:
You must be in favour of Fitton returning then Den
We could do a lot worse. If there had been no Fitton, there might be no STFC today. But it's the overall package that's important. For me, a consortium like the one we've just had would be ideal. But I never could understand what the attraction was for AB & co. Unless they happen to enjoy pouring money down the drain, it's hard to see what it was.
But if there was some magical incentive that was there when they came in, why is it not there now? And if they wanted out, why will anyone want in? The key question, as Fitton says, is how does the club get funded in the future - someone else putting in a shedload of money only to want to get out a few years down the line amid more speculation about huge debts and possible administration? Wish I could understand it all.
[quote][p][bold]London Red[/bold] wrote: You must be in favour of Fitton returning then Den[/p][/quote]We could do a lot worse. If there had been no Fitton, there might be no STFC today. But it's the overall package that's important. For me, a consortium like the one we've just had would be ideal. But I never could understand what the attraction was for AB & co. Unless they happen to enjoy pouring money down the drain, it's hard to see what it was. But if there was some magical incentive that was there when they came in, why is it not there now? And if they wanted out, why will anyone want in? The key question, as Fitton says, is how does the club get funded in the future - someone else putting in a shedload of money only to want to get out a few years down the line amid more speculation about huge debts and possible administration? Wish I could understand it all. Oi Den!
  • Score: 0

8:44pm Wed 23 Jan 13

London Red says...

Den I don't know why you refuse to believe that the club can not be profitable once it reaches its target
.
That is the attraction - redevelopment and championship football will see our revenue stream increase substantially (TV money alone will match our total revenue now!) and via careful cost management that means profit and returns
Den I don't know why you refuse to believe that the club can not be profitable once it reaches its target . That is the attraction - redevelopment and championship football will see our revenue stream increase substantially (TV money alone will match our total revenue now!) and via careful cost management that means profit and returns London Red
  • Score: 0

8:23am Thu 24 Jan 13

Oi Den! says...

Well, we could be on the brink of Championship football LR, so if those economic assumptions are right, why has our consortium pulled out?
Well, we could be on the brink of Championship football LR, so if those economic assumptions are right, why has our consortium pulled out? Oi Den!
  • Score: 0

1:17pm Thu 24 Jan 13

Stilloyal says...

Oi Den! wrote:
Well, we could be on the brink of Championship football LR, so if those economic assumptions are right, why has our consortium pulled out?
Because Black got bored with his toy and wants to play with something else. However Mr Black thank you for all you have done for STFC.
[quote][p][bold]Oi Den![/bold] wrote: Well, we could be on the brink of Championship football LR, so if those economic assumptions are right, why has our consortium pulled out?[/p][/quote]Because Black got bored with his toy and wants to play with something else. However Mr Black thank you for all you have done for STFC. Stilloyal
  • Score: 0

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