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Ex-Premier League chairman applauds Erik ten Hag’s banning of newspapers from Man United press conference



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Former Crystal Palace chairman Simon Jordon has applauded Erik ten Hag’s decision to ban three newspapers from asking questions during his most recent press conference.

Erik ten Hag banned reporters from the Manchester Evening News, The Mirror, and The Sun on Friday afternoon as he previewed Manchester United‘s Premier League clash with Burnley on Saturday afternoon.

The ban came as a result of what the Dutch manager perceived to be “embarrassing” and “a disgrace” coverage of the club’s FA Cup semi-final penalties win against Coventry City last weekend.

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Speaking on talkSPORT, presenter Jim White asked former Crystal Palace chairman Simon Jordon whether reporters can now only ask questions to the manager in a way Ten Hag likes – a notion that Jordan disagreed with entirely.

“No, I don’t think that’s a fair characterisation, Jim,” he said. “I think that the media and certain sections of the media don’t have a God-given right to ask certain questions or to be afforded the opportunity to ask certain questions, and narratives get created by the media.

“Do I think it’s advisable to shut down them so they can be even more vociferous in their condemnation of you? Possibly not. But I’ve had this issue; I had this issue when Simon Greenberg was the editor of the Evening Standard and went on to be Chelsea’s head of communications, telling me about my football club.

“So I banned him because I got fed up with the way they were behaving. I remember watching Alan Sugar struggle with the press over the battle between him and [Terry] Venables, and him and potentially George Graham.

“Because certain sections of the press, the Mail and Jeff Powell, were very friendly with certain people, and they created a narrative. Watch Todd Boehly, watch the media narrative around Todd Boehly and the fact he’s ‘an idiot American that doesn’t know what he’s doing’, and he’ll carry that with him for some time.

“So narratives get created by newspapers, so I understand why you’d go, ‘I tell you what, if that’s the way you want to play this game, if you want to paraphrase words and stick ’embarrassing’ in front of me and get me to bite down on the word ’embarrassing’ so you can create headlines off it, then you’re not a journalist that I particularly want to talk to.’

“So it reminds that press that they don’t have a God-given right, if the press had their way, they’d pick the England team, they’d pick the England manager, they’d tell you what everything’s wrong with society without providing any solutions.

“So I make him right, but I try and put myself in that position and think to myself, ‘Would I let some saucy sod journalist try and create a situation with me where I couldn’t deal with him?’

“And gave him that level of power that he felt that he was being excluded because it was that important. But that’s me, and not a huge PR mechanism like Manchester United.”

White then asked Jordan what the point of banning journalists from press conferences actually is, to which Jordan replied that it was to send a reminder.

“To remind the press,” Jordan replied. “Because I remember, again using Simon Greenberg as an example, he told me that the results and the performances of Crystal Palace players were often shaped by the newspaper reporting.

“For which I nearly spat my dummy across the room because actually you’re reporting the results that we do, you’re nothing, you’re bugger all to do with the outcome. It’s reminding the press that they are a cog on the wheel, that they’re part of the equation, they aren’t the equation.

“And so when they get ahead of themselves with opinions, what the press writes, like all of us and we sit here the same, is an opinion, it ain’t a fact. So if you don’t want to deal with a certain section of the press because you don’t want to, you don’t have to explain it to them, they’re there by consent, not by right.

“So I don’t blame him for doing it because I think that they crossed the line, I do think they crossed the line by trying to force a narrative into Ten Hag’s mouth about the embarrassment he must have felt about that performance.

“Because the moment he cops to that, the back pages of the newspapers would be, ‘Manchester United manager says players are embarrassing.’”