The Liverpool Echo's dedicated Liverpool FC reporter, Chris Bascombe, has received violent threats and been the subject of written abuse on online football forums after accepting a job on the News of the World.
Many Liverpudlians have boycotted the NoW's daily stablemate, The Sun, ever since it carried negative stories about Liverpool football fans in the aftermath of the Hillsborough disaster in 1989 which resulted in the deaths of 96 people.
A number of unofficial Liverpool FC websites including Red All Over the Land (raotl.co.uk) and Red and White Kop (rawk.co.uk) carried a series of malicious postings about Bascombe for moving to the News International title to become Merseyside reporter this month.
Many of the comments were abusive and obscene, calling Bascombe a Judas and a sell-out. One, posted under a pseudonym, even expressed the wish that he contracted Aids.
In response, Bascombe posted his own comment on raotl.co.uk blaming anger about his job move on a 'conservative'group of people who had an 'entrenched belief in the permanent righteousness of the past.'He also posted his phone number inviting people to make their criticism directly to him.
He wrote: 'The News of the World is not The Sun, never has been and never will be. There's never been a Merseyside boycott of the News of the World.
'To those people (on other sites) who've condemned my decision, issued threats and written lies about my situation, I say thank you. In attempting to damage a reputation without having the decency to check your facts, or approach me for an explanation of my decision, you've behaved like the gutter journalists you claim to be on a moral crusade against.
'The difference is, journalists have to put their names and a point of contact behind their allegations, rather than hide behind alter-egos or pseudonyms."
Bascombe, who has written on Liverpool FC at the Echo for seven years, has been named sports writer of the year at the North West Newspaper Awards for the past five years running.