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EP Let Us Down Again
EP Let Us Down Again
Thursday, 11th Sep 2003 00:00

One Headline Can Mean So Much

Interpretation Can Be Costly

On Tuesday evening I was sent the same press briefing that went to the Evening Post. The announcements were simple as mentioned at the top of the article. The wording used was pretty straight forward and easy enough to understand. But it prompted a headline in the Evening Post which caused the club a deal of concern - the headline (again simple enough read) "BOUNCERS ON THE NORTH BANK"

Now that conjures up all pictures in the mind not least the ones of big (as in wide!) men in jackets and ties designed to physically eject people from premises - you know the ones you see down Wind Street on the weekend. Not really a team of stewards who are there to try and keep the spectators at a sporting facility safe. Does the same paper refer to "Bouncers at the Millennium Stadium" or "Bouncers at Old Trafford" as these places will use professional show safety companies to ensure that their customers are looked after properly.

But that's just a picture that it conjures up now put yourself in the place of the mother or father of a young teenager who goes to the Vetch on his own or with his mates. You let them go as you don't read of widespread problems at the Vetch and then you read this headline. Automatic reaction is to wonder whether you want your child to be allowed into an atmosphere that needs bouncers to sort it out. So you stop them. Multiply this by several parents of several children and we lose crowds because of one badly worded headline.

Then you get an article that contains this line "The club has been told by the safety committee that if fans behave at the Macclesfield match next Tuesday the crowd limit will be raised in time for the match with Huddersfield the following Saturday." The press release actually says "If the supporters conform then the crowd capacity will return to the previous limit." Not dis-similar but the line from the Evening Post tends to suggest that supporters have been badly bahaved whereas in reality we have a slight issue with fans standing on areas that should be kept clear for health and safety reasons. Yes it is a concern to the safety committee but not the football hooligan picture that the Evening Post's wording tends to conjure up.

And of course all of this led to the club yesterday issuing an apology to fans for the wording in the Evening Post. And they state that the paper was to print a prominent apology in today's edition - surprisingly it failed to materialise. If it was the Cardiff press you would accept it but the Swansea press should be looking after the interests of the football club not sensationalising the simple. Their job is to report what is happening not to create a Sunday Sport type headline out of it (wait for the "Huw Jenkins ate my hamster" story next week!)

For many years we said that the Evening Post didn't support us. Through the Lewis and Petty era they seemed more interested in them than us as a club but the corner seemed to have been turned in recent months. But one thing has put that backwards and that's a shame - maybe that's what happens when the news desk tries to report on a sports story?

Any supporter disappointed with the Evening Post's handling of this affair should e-mail their letters page using this link and express your feelings - let's see if they print football letters in the same volume as letters wondering whether the regional rugby side should be called the Ospreys. Somehow I doubt it.

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