‘Leon, not to try and curtail your ability to write whatever you feel is most appropriate, however if the content ever becomes critical of the club and/or players, we would not be able to continue to carry it in the shop.’
I received this in an email from Chris Pearlman back in December with regards to the club shop selling our new weekly sports newspaper ‘7 Day Sport’. The reality is that this position is totally understandable and in many ways perfectly acceptable; who would wish to promote something critical of them self?
Yet this afternoon (08/02/19), the day before the protest march, the second issue of the paper has been taken off the shelf. Why? Because it had ‘Huw Jenkins picture on the front of it’.
The club, in my opinion has been too overly obsessed with controlling their own PR in recent years and it is reaching a dangerous level. Interviewing the players is completely off-limits as the club churn out increasing number of ‘in-house’ articles, so that news regarding Swansea City Football Club comes directly (and edited) by the club itself via the official website.
On the few occasions that I have been able to sit down with the hierarchy of the club then it is always on the understanding that the club sees the content and then edits it before print. It feels like the club are currently on a different page to the fans and those workers on the ground floor.
There was nothing critical written about the club within the 7 Day Sport Newspaper. The paper promotes all local sport from grassroots to professional; Mumbles RFC, Resolven AFC, Kristian Tooze boxing etc…. The cover stated ‘The week when Huw left Swansea as eyes turn to Millwall’. We then printed the statements from the club, Jenkins and Supporters Trust over the week with a small summary ending ‘eyes must be on Millwall’. If this is seen as ‘critical of the club/or players’ then we sit in very dangerous times!
The other content on the football club were Statistical & factual analysis of the Bristol match, a preview to tomorrows clash with Mlilwall, a feature (statistically and factually) on Ollie McBurnie and none of these were in any way negative.
Our 100 copies have been picked up from the club shop (no email/message from the club to tell us that they were taken off the shelf by the way, luckily we found out) but don’t worry as the paper is still available in newsagents/shops all around SA postcode and the paper will print as we see fit; we shall not be gagged!! >