An ambitious plan by Aberdeen’s Evening Express to mark Aberdeen Football Club’s centenary celebrations has had to be postponed because of the strictures of the Data Protection Act.
The newspaper wanted to pay tribute to the club’s 8,000 season ticket holders by publishing a special centenary pull-out carrying all their names last Saturday.
But it has been forced to postpone the proposed tribute until 6 September because six season ticket holders warned they might take legal action if their names were published – claiming Aberdeen FC would be breaching the Data Protection Act.
Now the newspaper and football club have had to put an elaborate public appeal together to seek permission from the other 7,994 season ticket holders to have their names printed.
Aberdeen FC spokesman Dave Macdermid said: “After taking legal advice we were advised not to release the names. It is unfortunate because we are fully behind the Evening Express tribute. “But we regret that we cannot release the names without the permission of each individual ticket holder.”
Evening Express chief football writer Charlie Allan attacked the “sel?sh six”, asking: “What do they have to hide? For the life of me, I can’t understand why a handful of Dons fans have objected to their names being printed.
Are they ashamed to be Dons fans? “If it had been something controversial, then fair enough. But we are talking about a newspaper pull out aimed at praising 8,000 people for showing loyalty to the Dons in their centenary year.
“I can see no sensible reason for the six to object, but their names will, of course, be left out. But it would be a shame if their sel?sh stance spoiled the fun for the rest of the fans.”
Alan Duncan, chairman of the Association of AFC Supporters’ Clubs, urged the remainder of the fans to take up the chance to have their names published. “It is very disappointing that the Evening Express has had to postpone the tribute because of a handful of objections, although we have to respect the wishes of those people.
“But the rest of us appreciate that the newspaper didn’t just decide to scrap the idea. It is a great idea and I would have expected season ticket holders to be more worried about their names being left out!” Aberdeen FC has now put plans in motion to get the permission of fans who can either return a special coupon being published in the Evening Express or e-mail or fax the club direct.
It will then match the name up against their data base and forward it to the Evening Express for publication.
By Hamish Mackay