Following up on what has been an awful two weeks for Newcastle United after getting thrashed by Sunderland and Liverpool, the Tyneside club is now getting bad press off the pitch as well as on it.
According to a fellow colleague of his, Telegraph reporter Luke Edwards has been banned by Newcastle United because Edwards revealed that the Newcastle dressing room is split. In his article on Monday, Edwards wrote that:
“Telegraph Sport understands that there is concern that the large French contingent on Tyneside do not care as much about the team’s demise and have failed to grasp what is needed to succeed in English football.”
“The tension is believed to be down to the fact some individuals have been more interested in complaining about tactics and worrying about their own personal agendas rather than helping the club to survive in the Premier League.”
In response to the article, Newcastle United today issued a solicitor’s letter to the newspaper, demanding an apology and the withdrawal of a report, according to the Sports Journalists’ Association. An excerpt of the letter read:
“Having carefully considered the content of the article Newcastle United have asked for it to be made clear that unless a full apology is received from the Daily Telegraph and the article is immediately withdrawn from the Telegraph online edition, then both Luke Edwards and any representative of the Daily Telegraph/Sunday Telegraph will be banned from attending St James’ Park and from attending any Newcastle United pre-match press conferences and all Newcastle United player interviews at the training facilities with immediate effect.”
In a game of cat and mouse, The Telegraph quickly published a reply to the solicitor’s letter on their website, which read:
“We regret the club’s decision to ban the Telegraph from attending matches and press conferences, but will not allow it to prevent us providing the most incisive, trustworthy Newcastle coverage, rather than pandering to what the club want you to read.”
If you thought the propaganda campaign by Newcastle United was over, the club published an official statement on its website today saying that there’s no disharmony among its players.
“The Club is determined to turn things around and everyone is working together to secure that goal,” said Newcastle United managing director Derek Llambias. “It is not helpful when people try and distract the team and the manager with false rumours.”
Whether there is a split in the dressing room at Newcastle United or not, probably the best barometer is how the footballers are playing on the pitch. And right now, they’re bloody awful.
However, Newcastle United are doing themselves no favors by employing these strong-arm tactics to control the media. It’s one thing to disagree with the newspaper and to request a retraction, but it’s another matter entirely to threaten to ban the newspaper’s staff from the club. That is definitely out of order.
I don’t trust Newcastle United to be an impartial viewpoint on what really is happening inside the club since they have their own business interests to protect. And I don’t believe that The Telegraph made up this story, but they haven’t attributed any of the dressing room strife to any footballers inside the club, understandably so since they would have wanted to speak off the record.
Who do you believe? The Daily Telegraph or Newcastle United?