Pictures ban is an insult to supporters
MEDIA coverage is the lifeblood of professional football; it is what gives the game such massive global appeal.
It whets the appetite of fans of all ages, sets pulses racing, celebrates the action, turns players into superstars and sends its profile into the stratosphere.
Anyone who doubts how much the game relies on TV, radio, newspapers and magazines has only to look at the acres of newsprint and hours of broadcasting which are devoted each week to the beautiful game — and how many millions of pounds are pumped into the professional leagues by media moguls. On a more local level, detailed coverage in papers such as The Herald enables fans to follow their heroes in the kind of depth which cannot be offered elsewhere. It allows players and managers to communicate with their fans, some of whom may be unable to attend matches, and keep them informed of the twists and turns which are such an absorbing and intriguing part of any season.
Match reports and pictures allow supporters who were there to relive moments from games, or those who weren't to catch up on what they missed. Previews, team updates, interviews and statistics — all backed up by photographs — ramp up enthusiasm for games, and help clubs sell match tickets which provide the vital revenue which keeps them afloat. It is a symbiotic relationship which has worked brilliantly well for all parties.
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Until now: because in the pursuit of extra money, Argyle's opponents on Saturday are seemingly prepared to deny Pilgrims fans the chance to see photographs of their heroes in action on the St Mary's pitch. Southampton Football Club is refusing to allow access inside the ground to photographers from local papers, the national press or news agencies. Instead, they expect print outlets to buy 'official' pictures from their in-house photographer.
Not surprisingly, The Herald — and many other media outlets — have refused. What a cheek, and what an insult to the fans whose money helps pays the players' wages and makes the professional game viable.
It is a ridiculous situation, but rest assured that we will do whatever we can to ensure the Green Army does not miss out on its Monday 'footie-fest' in The Herald. We won't be beaten by this nonsensical restriction, which we are striving to overturn.
Let's hope the sinning Saints have a rethink: but if they don't, make a date with us on Monday to see how we beat this ban.