Newcastle United are coming off a huge win at Manchester United, but they're making news for the wrong reasons: Multiple outlets report that NUFC have approached local and national newspapers, offering them access to players between matches only if they're willing to pay for it.
The club has so far only raised the idea with papers, sending official letters inviting them to become "media partners." The pitch offers gold, silver, and bronze packages, each providing a different level of "exclusive" access to players at a different price point. If you don't pay, you only get the players on match day. "Cash for questions," one of the offended papers has dubbed it.
The move comes in the midst of the club's war against one regional media company, whose three newspapers were banned from covering the team earlier this season after they gave heavy coverage to a fan protest against the Newcastle regime. (The fans' dissatisfaction is familiar—they believe owner Mike Ashley isn't putting nearly enough money back into NUFC, who remain just on the fringes of the Premier League elite.)
We feel strongly that the turnout at the march renders your extraordinary coverage completely disproportionate. Furthermore it is evident from the scale and prominence you devoted to it that your agenda was the pursuit of sales based on an anti-Newcastle United stance, rather than a fair and balanced approach.
Having given due consideration to the above and your response to my email of Monday 21 October, the club's owner, director of football, board of directors and team manager have reached a unanimous decision that the three NCJ Media titles, The Chronicle, The Journal and Sunday Sun, will not be permitted access to any media facilities, press conferences and player interviews at Newcastle United indefinitely and with immediate effect.
It's hard not to read that as a club throwing a tantrum over negative coverage. Which doesn't mean those papers haven't deliberately carved out a niche as antagonists; blasting a team tends to garner more eyeballs than does praising it. But that's the sports media ecosystem, and Newcastle—who weathered a brief relegation in 2009—should probably learn that if you want to be a big boy club, sometimes you've got to let the haters hate.