Rotherham Advertiser strikes deal to become football team's media partner two years after club banned reporters

A weekly newspaper has partnered up with the football club that once banned it over a news story.

The Rotherham Advertiser is now the official media partner of Rotherham United FC.

The paper, part of Regional Media Ltd, is set to run the club’s player of the year awards with the aim of boosting sales by offering coupons that fans can use to vote.

The Advertiser was banned by the club, nicknamed “The Millers”, two years ago after running a story about a kit shortage at the club that prevented a six-year-old being a match day mascot.

A “a strongly worded” front page response from the Advertiser, alongside an inside spread about its history with the club, saw the ban lifted six weeks later, according to editor Andrew Mosley.

The new Rotherham Advertiser masthead incorporating the Rotherham United logo
The new Rotherham Advertiser masthead incorporating the Rotherham United logo

He said: “Our relationship with the club has mainly been positive, but has had its difficulties in the past as has been well documented.

“Less than two years ago we were banned by the club and took a strong stance which eventually led to us being allowed back into the fold and to lessons being learned on both sides regarding the value of the relationship.

“We would not hesitate to do the same again, however, if a similar situation arose.”

Mark Hitchens, Rotherham United head of commercial, said: “This is a deal which cements the great working relationship we have in place with [the Advertiser] and I am looking forward to having them on board with us throughout the 2016/17 season.

“The club has successfully worked alongside the paper for many years and I am sure that the relationship will continue to grow stronger.”

A number of newspaper titles have faced reporting bans from their local teams in recent years after running what were viewed as unfavourable stories in the paper.

Last month, Chesterfield FC banned the Derbyshire Times over reports it said had had a “destabilising effect” on the club.

In January the Bury Free Press was blocked from covering Needham Market FC because club manager Mark Morsley took issue with the newspaper over its reporting.

Last year, Rangers FC banned the Daily Record as well as a Times columnist and a BBC correspondent from covering matches and press conferences, prompting a boycott from the corporation. Gillingham Town and Swindon Town also imposed bans.

In 2009 Southampton Football Club banned the Southern Daily Echo after it refused to abide by an embargo about a planned redevelopment of the club’s ground.

In 2007 Tottenham Hotspur Football Club has banned the Evening Standard from covering home matches and press conferences after it received heavy criticism for its behaviour.

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