'Not our job to be a cheerleader': Hull Daily Mail banned from Hull City

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Ehab Allam

The Hull Daily Mail says it was banned from Hull City’s home defeat by Charlton on Saturday because of “perceived negative coverage” of the team.

This was the first time in 15 years that the newspaper had not been present at a City first-team fixture.

In an editorial published in the newspaper and online today, the Mail said: “On Saturday, the Hull Daily Mail and Hull Live were denied access to the KCOM Stadium to cover Hull City’s home game with Charlton Athletic.

“The club took this disappointing stance on Thursday morning, two days before the resumption of the Championship season.

“They explained it was due to what was perceived to be negative coverage and cited our assessment of captain Eric Lichaj and vice captain Jackson Irvine leaving the club last week as the latest example.

“To be barred entry to the KCOM Stadium on the grounds of being negative, we believe, is not justified.

"We have always supported the club and wanted success from every game but we make no apologies for honest and frank analysis. It has never been our job to be a cheerleader or a PR arm.”

With eight games remaining, Hull are 22nd in the Championship, meaning they will be relegated unless they can move up a place.

The club is yet to respond. Hull City are owned by chairman Assem Allam, whose son Ehab is vice chairman.

Response to club in full:

We hope you did not notice. We hope you enjoyed our in-depth and comprehensive coverage like any other football weekend.

But on Saturday the Hull Daily Mail and Hull Live were denied access to the KCOM Stadium to cover Hull City’s home game with Charlton Athletic.

The club took this disappointing stance on Thursday morning, two days before the resumption of the Championship season.

They explained it was due to what was perceived to be negative coverage and cited our assessment of captain Eric Lichaj and vice captain Jackson Irvine leaving the club last week as the latest example.

This was the first time in 15 years that the Hull Daily Mail was not present at a City first-team fixture. In that time we have covered games from China to Chelsea, Slovakia to Southend and Portugal to Portsmouth, covering the highs and lows of a club this paper has followed like no other since founded in 1904.

On every occasion we have strived to be accurate, honest and fair. Nothing has changed. Our reporters only remit is to say it as it we see it. We always have and always will. And when we make a mistake, we right the wrong and hold our hands up.

To be barred entry to the KCOM Stadium on the grounds of being negative, we believe, is not justified.

We have always supported the club and wanted success from every game but we make no apologies for honest and frank analysis. It has never been our job to be a cheerleader or a PR arm.

Clubs make mistakes and take decisions that are not well received by supporters. To turn a blind eye to these is impossible if you strive to be a respected media outlet.

Our approach did not change for the weekend even though, like you, we watched the game through the club’s streaming service. We offered analysis and reaction like no other outlet and will continue to do so in these eight crucial games that remain.

Below we have included the articles which have angered Hull City and were sent to our sports editor James Smailes and Hull City reporter Philip Buckingham to explain the reasons behind the ban.

We hope in time there can be an amicable resolution that allows our reporters access to the KCOM Stadium and to ask the questions of Grant McCann and his players, but we will continue to cover City’s fortunes as fairly and as honestly as we have always done.

In the current climate with so many concerns in the world, we don't see the sense in falling out over a handful of stories which are perceived as negative. There are bigger concerns right now and in football terms, bigger concerns for the club.

Eight crucial games remain - five of them away from home where we will be present and we hope to report on the club successfully retaining their position in the Championship.