Needham Market FC bans Bury Free Press over story

Image copyright BBC/Bury Free Press
Image caption Needham Town manager Mark Morsley suggested the story was "inaccurate in many ways"

A lower-league football team has banned a local newspaper from covering its matches in a disagreement over a story it printed about the club.

The Bury Free Press (BFP) published a back page article about the departure of striker Adam Mills, who left the club after a disciplinary incident.

Needham Market manager Mark Morsley wrote a blog post saying he had warned the journalist the paper "would not be welcome" if it ran the story.

The club declined to comment further.

The story focused on an alleged incident between Mills and a Staines Town player during a Ryman League Premier Division match in December.

Mills has since left the club and signed for Maldon & Tiptree.

Football clubs v the media

Image copyright Swindon Advertiser
  • The Plymouth Herald used a cartoonist to draw highlights, while the Swindon Advertiser opted for Subbuteo recreations after Southampton banned photographers from their ground in 2010
  • Newcastle United banned regional papers from the press box in 2013 after they covered a fans' protest march
  • Last month, Leeds United made a late U-turn and allowed Sky TV cameras in to cover their match with Derby, after previously saying they would be blocked
  • Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson went seven years without talking to the BBC, after allegations about his son in a documentary

In his blog post, Morsley said he had spoken to Bury Free Press journalist Russell Claydon over his plan to run a story about Mills's thoughts on his exit.

"I told him that if he runs it then the BFP would no longer receive any comments or stories from me, my football club and they would not be welcome at any Needham games," he wrote.

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Morsley, who said he was not speaking on behalf of the club, suggested the story was "inaccurate in many ways" and aimed to "create a slur" on his name.

"I feel that the relationship that has been built up over the years should mean something and the story should be shredded," he wrote.

Mr Claydon said the newspaper prided itself on "fair and impartial reporting".

"On this occasion, we feel we fairly represented the views of both Needham Market FC and the player involved and it is therefore hugely disappointing that the club has chosen to take this course of action," he said.

"Not only does the position they put me in seemingly question the integrity of the newspaper and its journalists, but the threat of a ban they then carried through on publication of a story now deprives club supporters of great local match and club coverage."

He said he hoped the club would reconsider the ban.

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