The latest episode in Mike Ashley’s dealings with the press have led to condemnation from the National Union of Journalists (NUJ).

Instead of holding an open press conference for the massed ranks of the media to welcome Steve McClaren to the Newcastle United job, instead Ashley allowed in only two preferred media partners behind closed doors.

This ongoing divide and rule police by the club owner has been labelled ‘childish’ by the NUJ, with the club accused of trying to manipulate how they are covered in the media.

According to the NUJ, Mike Ashley’s pattern of behaviour is simply helping to drive Newcastle United ‘further towards irrelevance’.

NUJ official statement below:

NUJ response to Newcastle United’s attempt to deny access to certain reporters and newspapers.

The NUJ’s Newcastle branch said:

“Newcastle United are at it again. Desperately over-sensitive about what people are saying about them, their first reaction is to try to manage and manipulate press coverage – instead of trying to give people some reason to say something more positive about them. Their problem, of course, is the football. If they were a bit better at playing football, their fans might have something more positive to say about them. 

“But then, they have a lot of form for such childish behaviour. Who are they going to speak to next week – and who are they going to blank? Who will they ask to be their new best friends, and who will they turn their backs on?

“They should take care. To turn their backs on the sports reporters is to risk cutting themselves out of the conversation – driving themselves yet further towards irrelevance. “