Crystal Palace bans Croydon Advertiser over kit criticism

The Croydon Advertiser has become the latest newspaper to be banned by its local football club.

Coca Cola Championship side Crystal Palace has severed all contact with the Advertiser after the paper published negative reaction to the club’s new kit design.

This season, Palace have played in a “sash” kit – white, with a red and blue diagonal stripe. Options for next season’s kit, which fans will vote on, do not include a sash option.

The Advertiser quoted one fan who said: “It seems there is no understanding of our heritage or tradition. I always get excited about the launch of the new kits, but these are just a massive disappointment.”

Palace chairman Simon Jordan said the ban was for “continual disproportionate and negative” coverage.

Following the story, Crystal Palace’s communications team sent the newspaper a text message, saying: “Simon and Dominic Jordan are not happy with kit coverage.

“SJ doesn’t want the Advertiser doing interviews with players or going to the training ground.”

That was followed by statement on the club’s website in which Jordan said: “I wish to stress this is not a position of the club wanting to have the power of censor or have the news it thinks is relevant only being reported.

“I believed we would and should be able to work with the local press to promote important issues in a balanced and positive manner.”

Jordan claimed the paper only rang for “last-minute quotes on negative stories”, and added: “It is with regret that I have made the decision, at this point, to cease our relationship.

“On that basis any information contained within the Croydon Advertiser cannot be relied upon for either accuracy or content as it does not derive from club sources.

“Until the paper balances its reporting to provide equal content on numerous good news stories as well as taking a fair approach on the negatives the club will not be prepared to re-establish this relationship.

“The very latest information and breaking news stories from the club are available here on the club’s official website 24 hours a day.”

Palace manager Neil Warnock’s weekly column in the Advertiser will not appear until the ban is lifted.

‘Completely over the top’

Advertiser editor Ian Carter told Press Gazette: “The text was sent on Saturday – we thought we’d wait for it to blow over. But this time it was such a hysterical reaction to a small thing, we thought we’d run the story.

“Simon Jordan has been trying to sell the club for a year or so, and I’m not sure if he’s getting frustrated. The reaction has been completely over the top.”

Asked if the club was trying to control its own coverage, Carter said: “I think that’s absolutely right.

“They said breaking news will be available around the clock on its website, but that’s not the case. Fans aren’t stupid.”

Carter added the paper would continue to cover the club, and its matches, even if the ban continued.

It is not the first time the Advertiser has been banned by its local football club. In January last year, it was banned for two weeks after Warnock said its coverage of a fight involving a player was “unbalanced”.

Then, Carter apologised, and said: “Unusually in these kinds of scenarios, I can slightly sympathise with his [Warnock’s] view.”

Last year, Hartlepool United, in football’s third tier, banned the Hartlepool Mail and The Northern Echo in a row over photo rights.

The Echo got around the ban by printing cartoons of Hartlepool’s matches, rather than photos.

Three years ago, Palace chairman Jordan had a weekly column in The Observer in which he criticised – among others – the Football Association, agents, and fellow owners.

In one column, he wrote: “All the issues I’ve raised in these columns this season – dildo-toting owners, corruption, agents, racism, salaries – need to be open.

“They need debating because underneath it all there’s a sport, and people, worth protecting.”

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