A former chairman of Salisbury City Football Club accepted a public apology from the publisher of the Salisbury Journal over a story which reported a player's comments that he had been "bankrupt a few times". (Picture: Reuters)
Newsquest Media (Southern) Ltd said it fully accepted the statement that businessman William Harrison-Allen had been bankrupt was untrue, and that he had never been made bankrupt.
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Barrister Joanne Kirby, for Newsquest, told Mr Justice Warby at the High Court on 24 March that on 2 October last year the Salisbury Journal's back-page sports section published an interview with former Salisbury City FC player Robbie Matthews "who was bewailing the continuing financial difficulties faced by the club".
She went on: "In the closing paragraphs of the report, the claimant was mentioned.
"Mr Matthews made the claim that Mr Harrison-Allan had been partly to blame for the problems.
"He then added that Mr Harrison-Allan 'has been bankrupt a few times'. He went on to say that Mr Harrison-Allan had 'walked away scot-free' while the new owners of the club suffered abuse from fans on account of the club's troubles."
Harrison-Allan had complained, and Newsquest Media (Southern) had agreed to settle the matter by making the statement in open court, and had previously published an apology, Kirby said.
She added: "We, the publisher, fully accept that the claim that Mr Harrison-Allan has been bankrupt is untrue. He has never been made bankrupt.
"It was an oversight that the claim was not checked and we apology sincerely to Mr Harrison-Allan for the embarrassment and distress cased by our mistake.
"We also accept that the claimant invested large sums in Salisbury City FC and lost a good deal of it. In that financial context, Mr Harrison-Allan did not get away 'scot-free' and we would like to set the record straight in that regard."
Solicitor Duncan Lamont, for Harrison-Allan, said that with the public apology and his costs paid, his client was content to let the matter rest.