Daniel Hunt’s take on the Adver’s County Ground ban
Our very own Daniel Hunt has made the news for his part in a bizarre move by Swindon Town Chairman Lee Power, who banned the Swindon Advertiser over Sam Morshead’s Nile Ranger Tweet. Here is Dan’s view on the situation that he’s embroiled in…
On Saturday 11th January, I took my Dad (a Town supporter since the mid 1960s and the very reason I’m a Swindon supporter myself) into the Sponsor’s Suite hospitality at the County Ground for the League One match against Peterborough United. We both had a great day and the football club couldn’t have been more hospitable – I want to make that clear from the start.
Former STFC left back Phil King was an excellent matchday host. He led a group made up of half of the hospitality guests on a stadium tour before we all sat down for our pre-match meal. We took in the boardroom, the home changing room and then the dugouts in that order.
We were told that the normal protocol was for the tour to take in the away changing room but that Peterborough United had objected – meaning that the home changing room became our destination for the second part of the tour. It was immediately visible that Nile Ranger’s kit was laid out ready for him to use that day – something that King touched on in his entertaining pre-match patter.
At no point were hospitality guests asked not to take photos on the stadium tour, in fact it was encouraged. I took several pictures including the token ‘pretending to be a manager in the dugout’ shot and the now infamous Ranger shirt shot. All part of the fun.
At 12:35 I tweeted that Ranger’s kit was laid out in the changing room and later at 13:57, I tweeted the picture of Ranger’s kit which I had taken earlier on the stadium tour. In the meantime, Nile Ranger had himself posted an image on Instagram at approximately 13:15 proclaiming that he was back!
With Ranger’s involvement in the match day squad becoming public knowledge through Twitter/Instagram, I believe Swindon Advertiser journalist Sam Morshead was correct to take to the ‘Twittersphere’ and confirm what he already knew for the benefit of the Swindon Town fans he serves daily.
If Darren Ferguson is to be believed (his Dad was one of the master exponents of mind games after all), Peterborough United caught wind of the Ranger developments on the internet and adjusted their team accordingly – something that worked a treat as Ranger glanced Swindon into the lead in the 28th minute…
If you ask me, Peterborough changing their team at the last moment was a massive compliment to STFC and would have been disruptive to their preparation – perfect start to the day for Cooper’s men.
What transpired on Monday afternoon – Swindon Town F.C. banning the Swindon Advertiser from covering press conferences/home games/etc – was a highly unfortunate culmination of events. As far as I’m concerned, Sam Morshead did everything by the book on Saturday and should receive the fans full backing. Once again it calls into question the much debated subject of who needs who more…
Local football club or local newspaper?
A subject complicated by the backdrop of ever increasing social media usage by clubs, media and supporters alike. The matchday experience has changed – Twitter/Instagram/Facebook are vital tools for information hungry football fans to gather and share information ahead of 3pm on a Saturday.
Hopefully this whole mess can be resolved very quickly for everyone’s benefit. For my part, I feel genuinely sorry for Sam Morshead and the Swindon Advertiser.