Football: Brady's boycott threat to paper: Birmingham chief executive's diatribe

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The Independent Online
KARREN BRADY, Birmingham City's chief executive, threatened to organise a boycott of one of the city's evening newspapers, the Evening Mail, unless it agreed to sponsor the club.

In a series of letters to its publishers, Midland Independent Newspapers, Brady, 24- year-old chief aide to of David Sullivan, the Daily Sport proprietor and owner of the First Division club, claimed that the relationship between the club and MIN was 'totally one- sided financially and ethically'.

She set a deadline of 7 February for a 'satisfactory sponsorship agreement' to be concluded.

If it were not, Brady warned, she would set up a mail-shot to the club's 28,000-strong list of supporters to tell them of the paper's 'total lack of support and financial rape of our club'. The football club has no formal links to MIN, although MIN's chief executive, Chris Oakley, had estimated the cash value of the 'coverage, promotion and publicity' the paper had given the club recently at pounds 1m.

Brady also promised to inform financial journalists and investors about 'how we believe we can knock at least 10 per cent off your circulation', adding: 'Clearly this can affect your projected profits.'

MIN reporters and photographers would be barred from the club's ground, St Andrew's, so that 'Blues fans will have to buy alternative publications', while advertisers would be urged to snub the paper.

The letters were apparently timed to coincide with MIN's flotation as a public company. A statement in the Sports Argus, the Mail's Saturday-night edition, described the campaign as 'an insult to her club's name and a damaging miscalculation of the way to conduct business'.

Arsenal, the holders, were knocked out of the Women's FA Cup when Knowsley United beat them 1-0 in yesterday quarter-final with a goal by Cathy Gore.