Newcastle United ‘preferred media partner’ – The Mirror, have been explaining why a month ago they stated that Charlie Austin’s move to Tyneside was a ‘Done Deal’ and that he would be signed by mid-June (with Saido Berahino following as well!).

The newspaper, and in particular their north east football reporter Simon Bird, have taken a lot of stick over the farce.

The ‘exclusive’ appeared on 11 June following The Mirror being the only newspaper invited to meet Steve McClaren on the day he was unveiled as Newcastle’s Head Coach.

As a preferred media partner, the Charlie Austin exclusive was seen by everybody as further evidence of The Mirror being handed stories by Newcastle United, in return for whatever they had promised to gain the exclusive relationship with the club.

charlie austin

Not much sympathy for Simon Bird or The Mirror that the story turned out to be rubbish and that 25 days on, there is no Charlie Austin, no Saido Berahino, or indeed anybody….

The journalist and his newspaper had savaged The Sun previously after they were given similar exclusive access, the very idea being seen as totally against whatever integrity supposedly exists in the way newspapers should behave.

Now though, Simon Bird has finally responded to those fans who have challenged him on the ‘Done Deal’ story, many of them quite rightly, whilst others less so – especially somebody blaming him for a new Newcastle shirt being purchased with Austin’s name on it….

Simon Bird using his Twitter account to reply with the following:

“It was probably (by NUFC) unjustified over-enthusiasm that they would get it done that week and create momentum, rather than deliberate.

“and tough to read changing situations. Players and clubs all have agendas. Best deals get done quickly and quietly.

“And as journos we want to see signings, the team improved and to compete properly up the league and in cups.”

The last week or two has also seen Pete Graves, of Newcastle United’s other preferred media partner – Sky Sports, being posed questions by fans after he stated that a number of transfers would happen by last week.

Accusations by some supporters that both are guilty of working with/for the club to paint a positive picture and drive season ticket sales by giving false expectations.

Though like some dope getting Charlie Austin on the back of his shirt based on what a journalist says, I find it even more astonishing that anybody would rush out to buy a season ticket, even (especially?) if it comes from a source that has jumped into bed with Mike Ashley.