Liverpool-based football reporter Chris Bascombe has responded to violent threats and abuse since accepting a job on the News of the World by inviting disgruntled fans to phone him.
At last weekend’s match at Portsmouth, some Liverpool fans displayed a banner saying “The News of the World is the Sunday Sun” apparently aimed at Bascombe, who is due to start at the News of the World on October 2. Bascombe has previously worked on the Liverpool Echo.
“It appears that a vocal minority cannot distinguish between The Sun and the News of the World. They are labouring under a misconception. It is ironic, is it not, that the criticism of The Sun‘s coverage was that it failed to check the facts. Yet the people now having a go at me have done so without checking their facts either.”
A number of unofficial Liverpool FC websites including Red All Over the Land (raotl.co.uk) and Red and White Kop (rawk.co.uk) have carried a series of malicious postings about Bascombe for moving to the News International title to become Merseyside reporter.
In response, Bascombe posted his own comment on raotl.co.uk blaming anger about his job move on a â€œconservativeâ€ group of people who had an â€œentrenched belief in the permanent righteousness of the pastâ€. He also posted his phone number inviting people to make their criticism directly to him.
He wrote: â€œThe News of the World is not The Sun, never has been and never will be. Thereâ€™s never been a Merseyside boycott of the News of the World.
â€œTo those people (on other sites) whoâ€™ve condemned my decision, issued threats and written lies about my situation, I say thank you. In attempting to damage a reputation without having the decency to check your facts, or approach me for an explanation of my decision, youâ€™ve behaved like the gutter journalists you claim to be on a moral crusade against.
â€œThe difference is, journalists have to put their names and a point of contact behind their allegations, rather than hide behind alter-egos or pseudonyms.â€
Bascombe, who has written on Liverpool FC at the Echo for seven years, has been named sports writer of the year at the north-west newspaper awards for the past five years running.
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