Journalists barred from access to Newcastle United have suggested that the club's footballing ability is the "problem". (Picture: Reuters)
Last week, it was alleged that the club has developed "special" relationships with the Mirror and Sky Sports News after new manager Steve McClaren was apparently prevented from speaking to other journalists.
This came after Newcastle narrowly avoided being relegated from the Premier League last month.
A statement from the National Union of Journalists chapel in Newcastle said:
In response, the Newcastle branch of the National Union of Journalists has issued the following statement:
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.“
On Friday last week The Sun, which was accused this time last year of having an exclusive relationship with the club, told owner Mike Ashley: "We won't dance to your Toon!"
North East football correspondent David Coverdale wrote in the paper: "Newcastle would love the Toon Army to believe everything is rosy again on Tyneside.
"They have a new manager and coaching staff, with new signings to follow.
"The message screaming out of St James’ Park is this is a fresh start, a clean slate from the troubles of the past season.
"But this message is being controlled by Newcastle via their preferred media partners.
"So only independent newspapers — like The Sun — can really be trusted to hold the Toon to account."