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End It Now!

By: Bill Osborne
Date: 10/02/2005

THE stalemate between the club and Radio Humberside continues with no sign that the club are willing to remove the ban they placed on Humberside, which prevents them from interviewing management or players.

Home > Editorials >  End It Now!

The ban itself may well be in breach of the current contract that the BBC have in regards to post match conferences but that is not the main problem unless the BBC resort to seek some legal redress.

In regions such as North East Lincolnshire, a strong relationship is often built between the local community and the regional media. The football clubs are usually the one's who gain the most benefits from this relationship.

Some clubs do not enjoy that relationship simply because of their location. They sometimes only have the national dailys to assist them and building relationships with them is not easy, if at all possible.

So a good working relationship with the regional media is a very valuable asset to a club who get free promotions, publicity and the opportunity to get their message across to the community without cost.

However, no matter how supportive they are, the media, have a duty and responsibility to keep the public informed. The BBC has a charter strongly committed to that aim and will not waver from it.

That sometimes brings problems. The media may report on something that the club thinks should not be aired in public or report in a way that seems to be knocking the club or the board. But that is the price we pay for having a free press. They will not always say what you want to hear, they will call it as they see it and often present their view, which may well differ from the 'official' view.

That does not mean they are not being supportive. But they have a duty to ask the 'hard questions' and recent events shows that they are prepared to do so.

The Problem

Over the last few days we have attempted to find out exactly why the club have imposed the ban.

Information gained from a number of sources suggest that that chairman Mr John Fenty objected to David Burns referring to him as "multi-millionaire Chairman John Fenty".

The club also complained that Radio Humberside interviewed supporters in the Imperial Hotel car park in a way that would produce negative responses. (Radio Humberside have since denied that accusation)

The club also felt that David Burns was ridiculing the "Keep the Mariners Afloat campaign" and not taking it seriously or supporting it.

From what we can gather those are the main reasons for the ban.

We sought information from Radio Humberside and asked them for their side of the story.

Simon Pattern the Managing Editor, BBC Radio Humberside made the following statement to the Fishy;

"BBC Radio Humberside can confirm that we are in ongoing dialogue with Grimsby Town Football Club, in relation to an aspect of our output. As discussions are underway with the club, it is not really helpful if we make detailed comment at this stage.

"BBC Radio Humberside is passionate about supporting all our local clubs, through good times and bad. It sometimes means challenging and difficult questions have to be asked. Our aim is, and always has been, to provide in depth coverage for our listeners and a forum where the voice of the club, its fans and our experts can all be heard.

The ban on interview access to players and managers at the club means that the fans are not able to hear in our programmes from the people at the heart of their club. We regret that the club felt this was appropriate action to take.

It is still our hope that the issue can be resolved quickly."

We also asked David Burns (Burnsie) for his response. Burnsie was reluctant to say too much as talks were still going on with the club but he expressed his disappointment saying;

"I think it's extremely sad and short-sighted that at a time when they need all the help they can get, that they piss-off the local representatives (not just me but the whole sports team here) of one of the world's biggest broadcasters. We're all wasting time on this when we should be concentrating on the matter in hand.

At the end of the day the ban just damages the club and hurts the fans, it's not productive."

The Fishy supports the view of David Burns.

The Fishy is fully supportive of Grimsby Town Football Club, the board, the Keep The Mariners Afloat campaign and the trust.

In particular we support the efforts of chairman John Fenty in his commitment to bring success to the club and the significant personal financial commitments he has made.

But we have to say, that in this particular issue, John is taking too strong a line with Radio Humberside and the banning order is not what is needed. He should certainly voice any concerns he has about Radio Humberside reports and let them know he is not pleased.

But getting into a protracted battle with the nations major broadcaster is not what we need when we are currently facing probably the greatest challenge the club has faced in its history.

We need all the friends we can get and Radio Humberside can play a very important part in the months ahead.

We appeal to John Fenty on behalf of fans and supporters of the Mariners to end it now. (The polls we have conducted and the feedback we have received on the issue shows the fans are opposed to the ban.)

We say that as friends. Our support is unwavering but we believe that, as friends, we should point out the damage this action can cause to our long-term aims.

C'mon John you have made your point! But end it now and let us all work together to keep the Mariners afloat!

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