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Mike Ashley bans reporter due to negative Newcastle United coverage

3 weeks ago
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Mike Ashley is back on the banning trail.

The Newcastle United owner has a well trodden path of treating the media with absolute contempt.

Whether it is ‘his’ football club or retail empire, Mike Ashley has a big track record.

With Sports Direct and his other retail interests, Ashley has often messed journalists around, particularly when it comes to AGMS and the release of financial figures.

As for Newcastle United, many journalists have been banned in the past, although not so many recently, as the vast majority slavishly follow the Mike Ashley line, despite the absolute mess the club is in.

However, news on Saturday morning that Mike Ashley has handed out his latest ban.

No surprise as to the identity of the reporter the NUFC owner has banned this time…

For months now, Craig Hope of The Mail has been pretty much the only one to step out of line and question what is happening at the club and the shocking football played. The sheer luck Steve Bruce carried for a long time and then the shocking form of the past two and a half months the worst of any of the 20 Premier League clubs.

At the start of the week, Hope said that a number of first team players were unhappy and frustrated with Steve Bruce’s negative tactics.

He also said that sources had told him that Allan Saint-Maximin had been fully fit for the Burnley match when Steve Bruce had justified playing Joelinton instead of ASM on the left because of injury worries about the winger, yet still brought ASM on as a sub.

On Monday, Steve Bruce said ASM had back and hamstring worries only 24 hours before the West Brom game. Hope said after Bruce had made those comments, that ASM was fit and available for that WBA game as well. Saint-Maximin did indeed start and star in that FA Cup match.

After the game though, Steve Bruce launched an attack (verbally!) on Craig Hope in the press conference after that 3-2 FA Cup win.

Now Mike Ashley has banned Craig Hope.

Hope’s colleague Matt Hughes says that this ban is initially for one week.

However, it remains to be seen what will then happen if Craig Hope continues to tell it how it is about Steve Bruce and Mike Ashley and the mess at St James Park.

In the lead up to this afternoon’s Southampton match, I personally haven’t seen any proper coverage from the rest of the NUFC media about the shocking form of 1 win in 10 PL games, worst form in PL since 21 December 2019, no goals in over six hours of PL football, only 7 goals in the last 12 PL games.

It was of course a relief when a very strong NUFC side crept past a Championship reserve side 3-2, West Brom with a midfield pairing with a combined age of 74 (Barry 39 and Brunt 34), but beating League One sides (after replays) and second tier reserve sides is in stark contrast to the week after week failings in the Premier League.

If the worst happens at Southampton, interesting to see if any/many of the happy clapper NUFC reporters are willing to step up to the plate.

Matt Hughes writing for The Mail:

‘Manchester City and Newcastle have joined the trend of Premier League clubs banning journalists after West Ham set a worrying precedent by barring a reporter from their premises in January.

Sportsmail’s Craig Hope has been given a one-week ban by Newcastle after a story this week which revealed details of Allan Saint-Maximin’s disagreement with Steve Bruce over his fitness.

A correspondent on another newspaper was banned by City last week after the club objected to an article about Raheem Sterling posing with a Real Madrid shirt on the eve of their Champions League tie.’

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