The Sun are refusing to refer to Southampton FC by name

Tabloid goes to war with League One club over match photos


Not usually ones to get hysterical at the drop of a hat, The Sun is currently going through a Kill Bill-style ‘rip-roaring rampage of revenge’.

Having crossed World Cup scapegoat Fabio Capello off their list this morning by talking a load of old shit then proudly sticking a picture of him Photoshopped like a donkey over the top, they’ve turned their wrath on the whole of Southampton Football Club – sorry, we mean ‘South Coast Club‘ – in a row over photography rights.

The problem started earlier this month when the Saints rather stupidly decided to ban all outside press photographers from home games and announced news organisations now had to buy any shots of match action from a local image agency, as part of a money-spinning syndication deal.


While most editors chose to shoot off angry letters about ‘freedom of the press’ and so on, The Sun have decided to go one step further and ban all reference to Southampton altogether. A match report from ‘Opposition’s’ 1-0 opening day defeat to Plymouth began with an explanatory rant:

While applauding Plymouth’s amazing victory we are deliberately ignoring one of the hottest title favourites in history. All this is down to Southampton’s draconian executive chairman Nicola Cortese. His totally crazy decision to ban national and local newspaper photographers from the game will hurt his club more than he thinks.

This senseless move will not make him extra money but it will turn the fans and, more importantly, sponsors away from the club. [...] We apologise to the supporters who have stuck by their club through thick and thin. We make no apology to Cortese.

Now every account of South Coast Club’s games has to use increasingly creative ways not to mention either the team or its players. Here’s a extract from their 2-0 win over Bournemouth in the first round of the League Cup:

Eddie Howe’s side finally conceded on 64 minutes to a player who still lives in Bournemouth. The home winger [Adam Lallana] curled in a delightful 18-yard shot.

The Hampshire side sealed victory on 87 minutes, when their teenage forward [Alex Oxlaide-Chamberlain] scored in his first full home match.

We respect The Sun’s endeavour (this time), but there’s no way they’ll be able to keep this up all season… surely?

12 responses so far
  • St Godders // August 25, 2010 at 3:52 pm

    Isn’t it about time you started reading a grown up newspaper mate?

    Leave the the Stun to the saddo tit lovers and royalists.

    No one with half a brain would waste a moment of their life to turn a page of that low life rag.

  • waggy // August 25, 2010 at 3:56 pm

    not the first time that we’ve been at odds with that comic, pretty childish really.

  • em k // August 25, 2010 at 4:25 pm

    Southampton’s decision to ban photogs is the most idiotic thing I’ve ever heard, for many many reasons. Do they have no one properly trained in sport business working there? Photographs are a PRIORITY. They are why sponsors pay the big bucks to have their names plastered everywhere. I’m honestly shocked that anyone thought this was a good idea.

    /rant over.

  • a grown up // August 25, 2010 at 4:27 pm

    no matter i dont read comics

  • Saint // August 25, 2010 at 4:28 pm

    This blog keeps up to date with current events, all this happened only 3 weeks ago.

    As for the Sun… f**k em. It’s a right wing rag and the hypocrisy of a tabloid that will stoop to any level to get a story and ruin peoples lives is laughable.

    Well done Saints, the only club with any guts to stand up to the scumbags in the media.

  • Mark_the_pirate // August 25, 2010 at 4:32 pm

    em k

    Photographs are a priority?? I thought TV was rather more important hence why we sell footage of our games to Sky & BBC etc.

    As for sponsors – you may not have seen (as no papers have kindly bought one of Southampton’s excellent own pictures) but Southampton do not need a sponsor and are celebrating their 125th anniversary by not having one.

    Interestingly license payers – the BBC have bought the first of our pictures. Let the money roll in….

  • SLY ONE // August 25, 2010 at 5:21 pm

    South Coast Team Fans – try one of these T-Shirts if you want to show how you feel!!!

  • Dan // August 25, 2010 at 5:30 pm

    As a Liverpool fan I don’t care too much for the Sun

  • David Allison // August 25, 2010 at 5:52 pm

    They won’t write your name OR send you an apology…! Ouch… take that, Saints. Clearly your loss…

  • em k // August 26, 2010 at 9:50 am


    photographs certainly are a priority, clubs want pieces about them to be visible and prominent on newspaper pages and websites. it’s in the best interest of the club to have photos immediately accessible to media agencies, in order to achieve timely publishing of articles. if a paper or site has to go through the process of purchasing the rights before they can use anything, it’s going to hinder the club’s potential appearances in the publications. especially with a lower-division club like southampton, photos are important because television airtime is not as widespread.

    as for sponsors, southampton isn’t exempt from needing sponsors–you may not have a shirt sponsor, but you have on field advertising, umbro kits, etc. in fact, southampton has a somewhat unusually large number of sponsors, considering your players’ kits are each individually sponsored. these sponsors depend on the visibility of the players and value their contribution on how much publicity they’re getting.

    so all in all you may get a bit of income out of it, but it could certainly come back to bite you when the sponsors who are paying up for visibility realise the club is actively limiting it.

  • Mark_the_pirate // August 26, 2010 at 10:01 am

    em k

    In reality i do realise that images help to publicise the club – of course you are correct.

    What i somewhat disagree with is that you infer that Southampton have created a stumbling block for publishers to get the photos needed to produce an article on time.

    The timescales would be no different going through our agent as it would through the many other agencies that papers deal with every day.

    The difference? No kickback.

    I don’t think Saints will be the only club to do this – if all clubs did it then more money would stay in the game rather than leaking into the press. That’s why the sun are up in arms.

    Still, if publicity is where value is em, then it seems we’re getting rather a lot right now! Whether it be under our pseudonym or not ;-)

  • em k // August 26, 2010 at 12:16 pm

    ha ha oh god–i’ve fallen right into the trap!!

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