Mike Ashley’s decision to let the Chronicle back into St. James’ Park was widely welcomed.
Having the main local newspaper group denied official access to the club, manager and players was surely doing nobody any good.
The return of the NCJ Media journalists was almost by the back door, clearly the agreement was to have no fanfare announcing the move and so the likes of Mark Douglas, Lee Ryder and Neil Cameron returned for the Chelsea home match at the beginning of December with no publicity from either side.
Despite protestations to the contrary, the coverage by the Chronicle/Journal and Sunday Sun was always going to change after the ban was lifted. Though I think most of us have been surprised by just how far the other way the coverage has gone, with ‘positive spin’ the order of the day.
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Exactly what deal with the devil the local Trinity Mirror people had to make with Mike Ashley, we’ll never know.
This isn’t to say that every single piece written by the various journalists is saying that everything is great at the club now, but it is obvious that the underlying feel is far more positive than it should be, while I believe it is also clear that certain themes have been ‘encouraged’ by Newcastle United and inspired by their PR guru Keith Bishop, then repeated until many people are taken in by the spin.
The local press is important for many reasons and no doubt Keith Bishop will have made sure Ashley was very much up to speed on this. As well as the obvious local coverage going out to local people, much of the national coverage of our club comes from the nationals picking up on the stories/themes that are running in the local press, especially the Chronicle.
Having a more sympathetic local press available to help manage the shambles at the football club is a no-brainer, no wonder they lifted the ban.
The original impetus for the ban wasn’t so much what was reported locally in terms of the protests and the imagery, more the fact that it then got a big shout nationally/internationally and embarrassed Mike Ashley, with the potential damage it could cause to his business empire.
The Newcastle United owner keeps his cards close to his chest and obviously rewards those close to him in his inner circle that he relies on, as well as making sure there is no chance of kiss and tell afterwards. So all we can do is rely on what we see with our own eyes and make our own judgements.
I don’t know about you but I think it is a bit of a ‘coincidence’ that the Chronicle and the other titles were allowed back in only three weeks before Alan Pardew walked, or in my opinion, was allowed to leave at last by Ashley.
The main local press allowed in only weeks before this ridiculous period where United are in limbo/chaos without a manager for a month now and we are being told that what is happening is ‘sensible’ by the Chronicle amongst others.
The Chronicle allowed back in only weeks before a January transfer window opens where there is clearly no intention to buy anybody and potentially sell a star player yet again.
Allowed back in only a month or two before the club is expected to announce profits of potentially £50m-£60m for last season, when not a single player was bought.
The recent Lee Charnley interview with the Chronicle was laughable in terms of the message put out by the club, yet any criticism of it since has been minimal in the local press.
Call me paranoid but no manager, no signings, a club on the slide and massive profits, I wonder what the Chronicle would have said if still banned?