When footballers and journalists go to war

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Patrick Vieira and the BBC’s Dan Roan became the latest pair of footballers and journalists to become embroiled in a row after the former Arsenal midfielder gave an interview criticising Manchester United, only to accuse roan of mis-quoting him.


Vieira described himself as ‘angry’ following the release of a sensationalist story from the BBC before City subsequently banned Roan from attending press events in the future.


Journalism and football have rarely made the most comfortable of bedfellows – and now GMF is here to bring you the very best of football’s media bust up.


Sir Alex Ferguson v the BBC, 2004


Perhaps the original and best media bust up in football’s history, Sir Alex Ferguson maintained his boycott of the BBC for over seven years having branded the corporation as ‘arrogant beyond belief’ after the 2004 documentary, Father and Son, made allegations of wrong doing towards his then agent son, Jason.


For years Mike Phelan and Carlos Queiroz were forced to do the post-match interviews because of Ferguson’s anger towards the BBC, with the Manchester United manager even ignoring for some time a rule introduced that meant all managers had to give interviews to broadcasters or be fined.


Speaking about the broadcaster he said: "It was a horrible attack on my son's honour and he should never have been accused of that. But it is such a huge organisation that they will never apologise.


"They don't even care if you sue them or whatever, because they are so huge and have insurance. They carry on regardless and it's breathtaking."


Sky also briefly incurred the wrath of the Scot after their camera’s were banned from Manchester United press conferences or broadcasting footage of him trying to identify a reporter from the Press Association who had asked a question about Ryan Giggs he did not like.


The stand-off came to a surprise end last year after a personal visit from BBC general director Mark Thompson.


Bournemouth FC v Bournemouth Echo, 2012


Not so much as an individual taking exception to a documentary or a story that has been published, Bournemouth FC took the unprecedented step of banning the entire staff of the Bournemouth Echo from covering its games earlier this month.


Conflict arose between the two parties after the paper picked up on comments made by manager Lee Bradbury and ran with the headline ‘Immature’ – taken from comments made by Bradbury after the Cherries game against Sheffield Wednesday.


Bradbury allegedly lodged a complaint with one of the Echo’s journalists before the club’s press officer blocked the paper from attending the club’s press conferences.


The paper says that is the latest in a long line of clashes between the two parties, and ‘one of many’ calls made by the Bournemouth boss in recent months as he continually voiced his displeasure at stories ran on his side.


An editorial article in the Echo blamed ‘weeks of needless and childish screw-tightening’ while also revealing club chairman Eddie Mitchell had attempted to have an input on stories printed in the paper.


So far the dispute shows no sign of ending.


Southampton FC v Photographers, 2010


It isn’t just the written press that come to blows with footballers and their clubs, even photo-journalists have been in the firing line from irate football clubs in recent years.


In 2010 the Saints took it upon themselves to refuse accreditation to any regional or national newspaper photographer, saying instead they would have to by their pictures form the one agency allowed into the ground on match days.


"Just so you are aware, this year, Southampton Football Club will be syndicating images from all home fixtures via a local agency," the Guardian reported the club as saying when asked for accreditation for the opening game of the season against Plymouth. "As such, no access will be granted to external photographers."


Mooted as an attempt to control media rights and branded ‘outrageous’ by some in the industry, Southampton were put on the back foot after the photo agency they did allow in the ground said it wouldn’t agree to the deal because it believed it wasn’t fair on other photographers and agencies.


The farcical issue came to a head when Plymouth’s winning goal in the opening match of the season was captured by a cartoonist for the local paper, the Plymouth Herald.


By September the ban had ben partially lifted as complaints continued before being fully lifted later that season.


Sam Allardyce v the BBC, 2006


Another manager angered by the BBC, Sam Allardyce refused to speak to the corporation for two years after more allegations made by the Panorama programme investigating his transfer dealings during his time as Bolton manager.


Allardyce, who was never charged by the FA over the content of the documentary, refused to speak in post match interviews to the BBC while also banning their journalists from his pre and post-game press conferences.


'Big Sam’ planned to sue the programme makers over the allegations made, describing them as ‘false and highly damaging’, although nothing came to fruition.


He mellowed in 2008 and began speaking to the BBC once more, although there was another bump in the road along the way as he imposed a brief ban on BBC Five Live just minutes after he had spoken to Match of the Day because he was unhappy with a story the radio station had ran on wantaway striker Roque Santa Cruz.

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