Got round to emailing a response to The Reporter today. Quite difficult trying to deal with all the points, when there's no way they're going to print a long reply. Anyway, for what it's worth, this is what I sent.
"This season & last The Reporter’s coverage of the Fleet’s games has been superb. The back 3 pages reporting on the County game were no different. Indeed, your reporter went out of his way to print a lengthy interview with Paul Gibbs & specifically squashed rumours that he had petulantly stormed off. Then what do we find? A red bannered headline on the front page, urging us to read of 'Fleet player’s shame' on page 2. And what a heap of nonsense awaits us there.
"According to this, Paul Gibbs has: damaged 'the world of soccer in general' and cost 'the club hundreds of thousands of pounds' to the extent that it 'should consider ditching him altogether.' And this for an offence, which your own reporter described with the words, 'replays suggested that Gibbs could be unfortunate as he neither raised his studs or feet when making the challenge.'
"The ultimate insult (apart from calling football, 'soccer') is to hold rugby players up as paragons of virtue, perpetuating the old myth that rugby players are true sportsmen, unlike the hoi polloi, who play football. Now was I hallucinating, or do I remember half a dozen occasions, within the last 2 years, where high profile rugby players, from this country as well as overseas, have been front page news for all the wrong reasons? I take it that refusing to room with a team mate on racial grounds, deliberately raking an opponent’s face, when he is on the ground in a maul, or gouging his eyes in a scrum all qualify as acts of 'honour, gentlemanly tactics & skill?'
"Don’t make us laugh, Melody. Were you at the game by the way?"
Other people might wish to take up things I didn't focus on.
The address to use is: KTNeditorial@inuk.co.uk Graham S