Man Utd stand accused of ‘bullying’ (self) important journalist who raised Mason Mount questions

Editor F365
Man Utd boss Erik ten Hag
Erik ten Hag attends a pre-match press conference.

Manchester United refused entry to four journalists on Tuesday and one of them is really angry. Don’t they know who he is?

 

As Luck would have it…
On Tuesday several high-profile journalists were refused entry to Manchester United’s pre-match press conference.

Mediawatch will now explain why, because that information is missing from much of the coverage, but particularly from a self-important, self-aggrandising, self-indulgent, self-serving w*nk-fest written by second-year university student Manchester Evening News man Samuel Luckhurst, who wants you to believe United are conspiring to silence his truth-seeking rather than, you know, uphold the basic principles of journalism.

Luckhurst, along with Sky Sports‘ Kaveh Solekhol, the Mirror‘s David McDonnell and Rob Dawson of ESPN, were not allowed to attend Erik ten Hag’s press conference ahead of the Wednesday night clash with Chelsea after writing stories about players and staff members turning against the Dutchman.

United were pretty clear in their reasoning, issuing a statement saying: “We are taking action against a number of news organisations. Not for publishing stories we don’t like, but for doing so without contacting us first to give us the opportunity to comment, challenge or contextualise. We believe this is an important principle to defend and we hope it can lead to a re-set in the way we work together.”

Basically, the journalists gave United no right of reply.

Very little has been heard from three-quarters of the Forbidden Four since. But there is an exception. Step forward Samuel Luckhurst, clearly absent from the opening-day lecture about how journalists should never make themselves the story, not least because nobody gives a f*** about journalists.

And my word, does he make himself the story.

The headline:

I pointed out Manchester United dressing room issues and was banned

No, you pointed out Manchester United’s dressing-room issues, did not follow the etiquette of offering a right of reply, and were banned.

But this might be the greatest of all opening lines:

During a heated discussion with a Manchester United player outside the team coach at Southampton last season, the player asked me, “Do you support us?”

I informed him, “Journalism is an impartial industry.”

If your nipples have not withdrawn into your body and your toes have not cringed deep into your ankles, are you even alive?

What follows is astonishing, but we will run you through a few highlights, none of which feature the actual reason Luckhurst was banned. But all of which paint Luckhurst as being one of the most important people in Manchester.

The exchange ended with the player having more of an understanding of what the role of a United correspondent entails.

As you will learn, the role of a United correspondent seems to be to have lunch and inform Manchester United staff of your misgivings.

Around a month before Erik ten Hag stepped into the Old Trafford press conference room and pressed the flesh of journalists to engage with the British press for the first time, this correspondent lunched with a senior staff member.

I flagged some abusive emails that I continued to receive from the relative of a player, citing it as an example of the toxic culture within the squad and the need for tangible changes.

Whether the staff member passed on the information he was furnished with is unknown. But, as Jose Mourinho once said, the problems are still there.

If only they had listened, Samuel.

One of United’s summer signings is represented by the same PR whose clientele includes disgruntled players past and present. United were unaware of this until yours truly made them aware of it. They proceeded with the deal.

‘Yours truly’ is amazing. But possibly not as amazing as expecting Manchester United to pull out of a multi-million pound transfer because of information that is widely available on the internet.

There were many other reasons not to spend a small fortune on Mason Mount.

By banning journalists from press conferences, United are effectively showing contempt for supporters, for we ask questions on their behalf.

Hmmm. This would carry slightly more weight if the reaction from Manchester United supporters to Luckhurst being banned had been different. But this is the most-liked response and it is indicative of what comes afterwards:

Mediawatch has been scrolling for three or four minutes and is yet to find an announce of sympathy.

Now, some of us have been demonised after another defeat. It is not my fault Ten Hag picked Anthony Martial, bickered with him and then dithered over when to substitute him at Newcastle. Or for playing Marcus Rashford on the right.

No. But it is your fault you did not contact Manchester United for a right of reply when you wrote that ‘Manchester United manager Erik ten Hag is losing the confidence of players and some staff members as the club’s season continues to spiral’.

Mediawatch suspects that it was the ‘some staff members’ that irked. As you absolutely knew it would.

United were bullied by Newcastle on Sunday and some journalists feel United have tried to bully them over a story written in good faith. They will not succeed.

‘Bully’ is a strong word for ‘refusing entry to their own property’. All they have asked is that you give them an ‘opportunity to comment, challenge or contextualise’ next time. It doesn’t sound like bullying. We don’t think you’d have a case at tribunal.

Nobody is doubting that there is trouble afoot at Manchester United and it is absolutely Luckhurst’s job to write about it. But it’s really not his job to write about himself as if he is the victim of a great injustice because he failed to follow the rules. Yours truly is happy to point that out.

 

Star-f***er

Penny for the thoughts of the Mirror‘s David McDonnell, who definitely never tells anybody his words also appear in the Daily Star.