Alec Swann - A battle that clubs can’t win

Northamptonshire Telegraph's sports writers Jon Dunham, Jim Lyon and Alec Swann.
Northamptonshire Telegraph's sports writers Jon Dunham, Jim Lyon and Alec Swann.

The front pages of the Nottingham Post may not have come to your attention this week.

If they didn’t you will have missed the publication’s none too subtle parting shot at former Nottingham Forest manager Billy Davies.

A boost for their employment section included a picture of Davies alongside the words ‘Hundreds of vacancies up for grabs: See our jobs fair special inside’.

There was good reason for the paper’s equivalent of sticking two fingers up as Davies had done his level best to alienate the local media during his second spell at the City Ground.

Reporters were banned and it even got to the laughable point where a photographer was asked to stop taking pictures of the manager during a game.

Needless to say, this idiotic and paranoid behaviour wasn’t met with much appreciation and there will have been a few wide grins when Davies, in the aftermath of a 5-0 hammering by rivals Derby County, was handed his P45.

There is a moral here and it’s that the club that does the censoring is rarely, if ever, the victor.

As a colleague of mine pointed out during an office discussion, ‘don’t heckle the comedian as he’s the one holding a microphone’.

I’ve yet to see a case where it is the media organisation that goes crawling back to the club they cover and any that does needs to admonished.

Just what Forest intended to achieve by their actions is unclear but they did incur the mocking of the majority for such short-sightedness.

By believing they were demonstrating who was boss, the Forest hierarchy merely showed they were in possession of a weakness of character that could only be manifested in taking aim at the easiest target.

And a club website, however well meaning, simply cannot offer the same message, or breadth of coverage, as the press.

All of this made me recall an email sent to this publication by Northamptonshire who didn’t like the way a match had been reported and threatened to withhold the cooperation of their players if future coverage wasn’t more to their liking.

It was nonsense of course and nothing ever came of it but in the same way Forest missed the point by a considerable distance, the County in this instance failed to recognise the nature of the beast.

It is a two-way relationship and if allowed to exist as such then few problems will arise.

Forest weren’t the first, they certainly won’t be the last, and the newspaper can hardly be blamed, in fact they should be congratulated, for having the last laugh.

There was only ever going to be one winner.

Tough luck Billy.