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Silence is golden?

Filed: Monday, 29th October 2007
By: Gordon Thrower

When you get home from the Bolton match on 4 November there will be something different about KUMB.com's coverage of the match.

There’ll still be match reports from East Stand Martin and (when I get back from study leave) my own less accomplished efforts will also appear. However what will be missing will be our coverage of the post match press conference.

We’ve had access to the managers post-match for about four years now. We were there when then QPR boss Ian Holloway went into a 20 minute ramble about what a great game football was. We were there when a distinguished journalist who ought to have known better cheesed off Alan Curbishley enough for the Hammers boss to walk out after less than a minute. We even turned up when Sir Alex Ferguson couldn’t be bothered to. Twice.

But no more.

When we popped in to pick up a team sheet prior to the Sunderland game I was told that we would not be welcome after the match any longer. When I asked why no reason was given but I was told that the club’s press officer, Miranda Nagalingam, had issued an order that we were no longer to be allowed in and that the order should have been effective from the start of the season.

You may wonder what heinous crime we had committed to have been summarily dismissed in this manner. I know I did. So we asked Miranda. We were given a variety of reasons, none of which were particularly convincing.

Firstly we were told that The Premier League had issued an order banning non-accredited journalists from attending press conferences. This at least is partly true. The PL has indeed issued an edict that suggests press coverage of matches should be restricted to those with accreditation. This was alluded to in a spectacularly poor article written for the ESPN Soccernet website by someone hiding behind the pseudonym “The Insider” who bemoaned the fact that the press-box was full of “dozens of free-loading tourists”.

Well I’ll admit I have availed myself of the odd sandwich if there were any left over, and the very wonderful Milly has always made sure there’s been a warming cuppa waiting for me on a cold day. However, I don’t go into the press box. Never have. Furthermore, I suspect that having laid out the better part of £800 for my season ticket, I may have paid a little bit more to get into the match than “The Insider” which hardly qualifies me for “freeloader” status!

However, our contact at the PL said the decision should ultimately rest with the club and, when we put this to Miranda, she admitted that the PL’s edict had little to do with her decision.

It was then suggested that I had been told at the start of the season that we’d no longer be welcome and that I’d turned up every week anyway. This was just nonsense. The club has contact details for both me and the editor and Miranda even has my work email address but, until the Sunderland match, nobody had said a word. Indeed, it’s a little strange that, if that had been the case, Miranda hadn’t seen fit to say anything to me at any of the 5 conferences that she’d seen me turn up for this season.

The next excuse given was that there had been complaints from the Sunday papers that we’d been putting the press conference transcripts up on the site straight after the match on a Saturday night before they’d had a chance to go into print. Well I’ll have to plead guilty to that one (though by the time I’d finished typing up Holloway’s ramblings it must have been nearly Tuesday!).

In my defence I would say that I rather foolishly thought that that was the whole point of websites – that news appears instantaneously. Do the Sunday papers issue similar complaints to www.bbc.co.uk? Are we that much of a threat to their circulation?

Of course we did score heavily over the papers in one respect. It was our policy to publish the managers’ comments in full – the only edits were normally grammatical, or, in the case of away managers, we might omit team news that would be of little interest to Hammers. As far as I’m aware we were the only place that would cover the conferences in such detail - even the official site usually only gives edited highlights.

This is in stark contrast to the version you read in your Sundays, where managers’ comments are often selectively quoted to make a more sensational read. Indeed I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve pointed people on this site to the full transcript of a conference with the words “what he actually said was……” You’d think the club would be grateful wouldn’t you? Apparently not.

It seems a shame, that in a year when the new owners have done a lot to improve relations and communications between the club and the fans, it has now taken what many might consider to be a retrograde step.

Still on the bright side it’ll give me an extra hour in the pub post match and the long hours of typing on a Saturday night will be a thing of the past.

Just don’t tell ‘er indoors!

Related News

   arrow   Today's snippets [28th Oct 2008]
   arrow   Duo suspended [12th Aug 2008]
   arrow   Silence is golden? [29th Oct 2007]

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by MK Iron
10:34AM 30th Oct 2007
''Do you think this incredulous decision has anything to do with the official site re-launch????

It's bloody crazy having to log in.

Come on Eggy show us some of your common sense.''

by Matthew O'Greel
10:22PM 29th Oct 2007
''Due to the overwhelming response to this news item we have placed all of your comments in a seperate item (see above, shortly). Thanks to everyone who has expressed their support today.''

by Mark Speller
03:20PM 29th Oct 2007
''This is so stupid. Considering that we dont get any information from the club at all about injuries it seems silly to me that the club is stopping this website getting any sort of information.

It's the same with OLAS as well. I see that they've been banned from the press box. Why can't we, the fans, know after a game what our players thought of the match? Interesting about Phil Parkes; I was in the same suite as him and I wondered why he hadn't been this season. ''

by Mark Day
02:46PM 29th Oct 2007

Sort this out. Get KUMB back in now.''

by Phil
02:36PM 29th Oct 2007
''You would think the club would be grateful that during the 'Tevez Saga' there was one reliable independent source of the truth, and it wasn't the 'accredited' media. This borders on contempt for the Hammers fans who keep the club in business.

Keep up the good work KUMB, the best source of Hammers news I have read. ''

by joy baker
02:14PM 29th Oct 2007
''Absolutely disgusting! How are you NOT a recognised media source? Are they actually DOING any media evaluation? On a pounds per column inch basis they're getting a great deal from KUMB and most of it is positive. Truly, they don't know what they're doing!''

by Tell it how it is Charley!
01:34PM 29th Oct 2007
''I think this is just another nail in the coffin for the ordinary fan. Don't you think the real reason West Ham baned KUMB from the press conference because it conflicts with Pravda's (whufc.com) 'Manager on Monday' column?

It's getting to the stage now where the ordinary fans view on things doesn't mean nothing at all. It's like you've never played the game so your opinion is worthless regardless. I think many who view KUMB come to this site to get an unbiased view on matters unlike on Pravda where every thing is always cheerful & Rosy (the sun never sets). Come on Eggert get KUMB reinstated.''

by Jack (Centenary Stand Lower)
01:21PM 29th Oct 2007
''Sorry to hear that. I've had to deal with Ms. Nagalingham before and actually thought she was alright, but this is just ridiculous. Why wouldn't you want to support a website that spreads reliable team news (often before anywhere else) and probably gets more hits than whufc.com!?

Seems like WHU will never be the same as it used to be...''

by Celtic Hammer
01:16PM 29th Oct 2007
''This is very disappointing but why am I not surprised. I have worked on hospital radio in the past and WHU were the worst for allowing press passes etc.

I heard from a close source that Phil Parkes, once one of the hosts in the hospitality area at UP for some seasons came along for the first game of the season only to be told his services are no longer required… they didn’t have the decency to let him know before making the journey from Berkshire.

The story also goes that he asked to see the match and was asked did he have a ticket? If they can treat one of our true heroes in such a manner guess what they really think of us!''

by Bill
12:38PM 29th Oct 2007
''Unbelievable! I'm stuck out in Hong Kong, knowing that the best place to find out what’s really happening back at Upton Park is KUMB and now they've silenced you! Outrageous, you guys are the true voice of the fans.

I check out your website all the time for accurate updates, which in my opinion are never available in the press. That press officer has no clue what fans overseas want! Keep trying fellas, I’m sure they’ll change their mind if you set up an online petition proving how many people rely on your straight-talking updates.''

by Jim
11:30AM 29th Oct 2007
''This is a disgrace, I'm sure I'm not alone in relishing reading the managers comments in full after the game on this website. Now where are we supposed to turn? Heavily edited versions from media outlets such as the official club site?

Ridiculous, I will be looking to address my disgust with the club that have stooped to favouring tabloid journalists over the fans. ''

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