Score Draw

Posted by on Aug 10, 2010 in Uncategorized | 5 Comments

Amusing news from St Mary’s, where there were signs that League 1 favourites Southampton – free of the shackles of a hefty points deficit – may be getting too big for their boots.

Saints have decided, in their infinite wisdom, to impose a severe restriction on unofficial photographers, which on Saturday included the Plymouth Herald. Not to be forced into shelling out for official pictures, editor Bill Martin was inspired by those chalk artists’ impressions of courtroom scenes to commission cartoonist Chris Robinson – who subsequently sat at home watching the match on TV and captured the moment when Luke Summerfield gave the home side their comeuppance.

Incredibly, the ban appears to extend to the visiting sides’ official photographers – but Plymouth quite rightly thumbed their nose at their south coast opponents by deciding to publish their own pictures of Pilgrims players, the club’s communications manager Rick Cowdery reasoning: “Our motivation was to make sure we did the best for our club and our fans and supporters. Football is a fans’ game.”

All joking aside, there is of course a serious issue at stake here. How clubs can think they should have the right to control what images people can and can’t see is quite beyond me. And it’s not just other clubs and the mainstream media who are affected: glenglenglen of excellent Doncaster site Viva Rovers found out first-hand how the innocent use of photos taken inside stadia and posted on a blog can land you in hot water. This draconian determination to regulate images is as absurd and insidious as the concept of an organisation “owning” fixture lists and player data.

As Cowdery says, we own football, not Them.

Presented with the opportunity to explain and justify their decision, Southampton apparently refused to return the BBC’s calls. Talk about a PR own goal…

Ben is a long-suffering Newcastle Utd supporter (is there any other kind?) who co-founded and co-wrote Black & White & Read All Over, a blog that, over the course of a decade, chronicled the ups, downs, chaos and calamity of the club he has the misfortune to follow. Since the blog hung up its boots in May 2014 (note: not as a mark of respect for Shola Ameobi leaving St James’ Park), he has contented himself with sporadic, splenetic Twitter outbursts and shamefully rare contributions to The Two Unfortunates. He is currently haunted by visions of Joe Kinnear returning to the club for a third spell and pondering whether he’ll live to see another victory over the Mackems, but at least has a cardboard coathanger with Robert Lee’s head on it for consolation.


  1. Lloyd
    August 10, 2010

    Chris Robinson is a great local artist in Plymouth, who has worked with the club before on caricatures, etc.. Glad to see him get a bit of positive publicity. Unlike the Saints.

  2. Lanterne Rouge
    August 10, 2010

    Excellent post Ben. Is it just me or does everyone find it hypocritical that the same people who espouse open markets and untrammelled competition will be the first to restrict rights to just themselves once they have obtained them. It was really important to highlight the troubles Viva Rovers experienced last season too. Love the response to use the local artist.

  3. Stanley
    August 11, 2010

    Beat me to it, Ben. I was going to write exactly the same thing. To go as far as to curtail press freedom for a fast buck and to shaft the local 'paper is astonishing. Nicola Cortese's plot may well go up in smoke, though, as the anointed photo agency has since pulled out of the agreement.

    By the way, full marks to the Herald. A much wittier response than the Sun's sulk.

  4. gerschenkron
    August 11, 2010

    Good post Ben. Responding to moronic moves from branding “experts” who doubtless use terms like “blue ocean strategy” on an hourly basis can be tough and humour is – I think – the way forward.

    Those managers who refuse to talk to certain media outlets should also be treated with similar mirth – why doesn't the BBC hire someone to do a drunk impression of Fergie instead of broadcasting the Phil-Neal-like Mike Phelan?

  5. mirkobolesan
    August 12, 2010

    I actually prefer the cartoons to photos. I'd love it if they kept doing those (they could perhaps not include the club's sponsor's name on the shirt as well)..


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