Club shows newspaper red card over interview

How the Mail reported its ban

Hull City FC banned the Hull Daily Mail from Saturday’s match over an article on star striker Stuart Elliott – before it had even been printed, writes Jean Morgan.

But Mail reporter John Fieldhouse paid to get in and filed a report while surrounded by security men, who even followed him to the lavatory. The Bristol Evening Post helped out with pictures of the Hull v Bristol Rovers game.

The Mail is a corporate sponsor of the football club at its new Kingston Communications Stadium but this did not stop chairman Adam Pearson imposing the ban. Fieldhouse believes it was because the interview did not have the permission of manager Peter Taylor.

By Tuesday, Pearson had backed down on allowing Fieldhouse to use the press box for City’s next game but remained adamant that all access to Tigers players would continue to be denied to the Mail.

The Elliott interview, by reporter Jonathan Reed, was printed on Monday. It profiled the footballer as triumphing over an unhappy family background to turn his life around.

When Taylor discovered Elliott had agreed to the interview, he rang him to try to stop him talking to the Mail but the striker said he was happy for his story to be told because he felt his experiences could inspire others.

Pearson telephoned editor John Meehan on Monday to voice his anger, claiming the paper had breached a relationship of trust. Elliott has been fined two weeks’ wages for giving the interview without permission.

Meehan said he was astonished the club had reacted so strongly to a positive story, adding it was important the relationship between the club and the Mail was "two-way and flexible".

"I am disappointed Mr Pearson is denying access to the players. That can hardly be in the club’s interests in generating publicity to fill seats at the new stadium.

"I want to stress we wish to have a positive relationship with Hull City but it is vital it is based on a proper understanding of our role.

"We cannot agree to allow the football club to decide what appears in the pages of this newspaper."

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