After the Reading Chronicle’s management apologised for its staff linking the Hillsborough disaster with hooliganism, criticism over its four-page coverage has continued with the Supporters Trust expressing its anger in an open letter.
Despite pressure from, among others, Rob Wilson MP for Reading East, Victoria Groulef, Labour’s candidate for Reading West and The Thames Valley Police the Reading Chronicle has yet to retract it correct its strong accusations that hooliganism is rife in Reading FC.
— Victoria Groulef (@VictoriaGroulef) March 21, 2014
This is one reason why @readingchronicle has been so insensitive & upset football family. Put it right. http://t.co/fAilEKyZcX
— Rob Wilson (@RobWilson_RDG) March 20, 2014
Supt Stuart Greenfield, area commander for Reading, told BBC News: “We would say that Reading Football Club is one of the best run football clubs in the FA.
“It’s irresponsible and I don’t think it portrays the right picture of Reading football club at all.”
At 11.30am on Friday, the Chronicle’s managing director issued an apology for linking Hillsborough with hooliganism. The disaster saw 96 Liverpool fans die and a full inquiry is due to commence later this year.
Now, STAR (the Supporters Trust At Reading) has joined the voices of disapproval with an open letter. The group had been part of the Chronicle’s special report and feels it has, like the club, been misrepresented.
Here’s STAR’s letter to the Editor of the Reading Chronicle, in response to yesterday’s article. https://t.co/1SD9N9HtzA
— STAR-Reading (@STARReading) March 21, 2014
In a letter to the editor of the Reading Chronicle, STAR’S Chairman Paul Ellix said that the Trust ” frankly some of your so-called ‘flashpoints’ really are scraping the barrel in terms of news value”.
Paul continues: “We do dispute the impression you attempt to create without any proper context given to actual arrest numbers, history of disorder, other clubs’ fans’ behaviour and other activities that take place in this town.”
He adds: “We wholeheartedly agree with the sentiments expressed by Reading FC in its open letter and we would not be in the least surprised if many Reading FC supporters ceased buying your newspaper as a result of this article.”
The letter ends with an acknowledgement of the earlier apology but presses the Chronicle for more.
“We consider that it does not go far enough and believe it would be appropriate for you to have a total re-think and publish an apology to the thousands of Reading FC fans who have been hurt and offended by the implication in your article that hooliganism is rife.”
STAR were not the only Reading fans were to demand a further apology from the paper, and the Chronicle issued a short statement on Facebook just before 6pm in which it apologised to any third party.
It reads: “The publishers of the Reading Chronicle wish to apologise unreservedly for any offence taken by any third party to this week’s front page article which focuses on football hooliganism. The article was intended to form part of a topical debate and was in no way intended to offend.”
This has also been met with disdain.
Under its Facebook post, several people have expressed their dissatisfaction.
Richard Allan: “I suggest you print a full retraction of equal size to the original article. Never buying this paper again.”
Andy Jaundrill: “You need to do a FULL FRONT PAGE apology and make a £96,000 donation to the HFSG. Then we MAY consider accepting your apology.”
Martin Bentley: “You are apologising for offending people. You are not admitting that you made a mistake.
“Your apology is meaningless. You should say sorry for being wrong. Not for offending.”
On Twitter, there is equal concern – much of it peppered with mild swearing. Some of the cleaner comments include :
— Brian Davis (@BrianDavisSFG) March 21, 2014
@rdgchronicle too little too late. Disgraceful lies. Reported to IPC.
— Strawberry Spritzer (@sis02ejf) March 21, 2014
Sorry @rdgchronicle but words are not enough I think some sort of payment to the family’s to say sorry would help
— Jon (@jonreading35) March 21, 2014